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Unknown Armies Hardcover – Jun 2002


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Atlas Games,US; 2nd Revised edition edition (Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589780132
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589780132
  • Product Dimensions: 28.6 x 21.9 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 768,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Rolling Dice: Use two ten-sided dice to play the game. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "juglar6" on 19 Feb. 2004
Format: Hardcover
A great game about power and its consequences, John "Delta Green" Tynes, and Greg "City of Lies" Stolze have created in "Unknown Armies" a deep and fascinating underworld of obsessed urban mages, everyday gods-archetypes and secret cults and armies.
A very fun game for lovers of modern day horror and good rpg writing in general.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A fine modern horror RPG 15 Sept. 2003
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It isn't often that I can read an role-playing game cover to cover and find that the game is playable and it reads well. Unknown Armies, UA, is a fantastic game with ten gaming ideas for every paragraph.
The system is a simple percentile system but the system is elegant, letting the player characters flip numbers under certain role-playing situations. It plays dramatic and fast.
The combat chapter begins with ways to avoid a fight. Then it launches into the way combat works. Beautiful.
Magick is brutal and extracts a price.
The world is fun and has a captivating cosmology while still allowing the DM and the players to make some choices about how the world really works and the headlines of the paper are fine adventure fodder.
I cannot stress enough how well written and fun this game is. I have both played and run it. Please pick it up and find out for yourself.
The works of Tim Powers are where many of the metaphysical ideas of the game come from. Check out his novels if the game appeals to you.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
A True Horror Game 7 Sept. 2002
By "scottgcar" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Unknown Armies is great. If you are a fan of Tim Powers or Ken Hite, or even know who they are, then you want this book. The various levels the game can take (street, global, or cosmic) add a good twist. My players keep saying: We don't know what that is because you wont let us read ahead! For tone, setting, and over all feel this is a great RPG.
The downside: Unless you have played Unknown Armies 1st Edition, this is a completly new system. The broad possibilites of skill sets are great, if you have people who like making those things up. My group is a mix and so we had some people who were not as happy about that. One of the biggest complaints so far is in the descriptors of levels for madness and skills. Especially the skills. The difference between a 40s Speed Stat (picking one at random here) and a 60s Speed stat is difficult to understand. Number wise its no problem, the descriptions could have been better.
So far thats the main problem, but we are still learning the system. Overall the ideas are great, but some of the mechanics, at least in their descriptions, are a bit disappointing.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Very cool 13 Jan. 2004
By David A. Farnell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're a roleplayer, and you're tired of the same-old stuff, give this a look. The first edition of Unknown Armies was good, but the 2nd edition is much improved--the elegant rules are somewhat simplified and easier to grasp now (and thereby more elegant). The book is organized more logically, and the writers provide much better information on how to run a campaign, giving this book a lot more direction.
It's a very setting-specific game: It seems that the world we know is full of secrets, and when you start to learn of some of them, everything changes for you. That in itself isn't original, but the details often are. The "feel" of the game is that choices have consequences.
The rules focus properly on role-playing over rolling dice. Character generation is fast and simple, with only 4 characteristics, and no definitive skill list (players can make up their own skills, subject to GM approval). Combat requires only two rolls per round: initiative and a single attack/damage roll--whether you hit and how much damage you do is resolved in the same roll. There are three different and fascinating systems of magic, all easy to use, believable within the context, and highly flexible. The "sanity" rules are an improvement over the already-good Call of Cthulhu rules.
A comparison to Call of Cthulhu is apt--both Tynes and Stolze have written quite a lot of Call of Cthulhu material in the past, and it seems almost a cliche now that so many people who read this book immediately start to think of how to incorporate Call of Cthulhu into it. But while there are many correspondances, at their hearts, Unknown Armies and Call of Cthulhu are opposites, and merging them is a difficult (but worthy) task. CoC is about a nihilistic spiral into madness and death; Unkown Armies is about desire, hope, and what you'll do to get them--and the consequences of your actions. As dark as it can be, Unknown Armies is set in a human-centered world; CoC is set in an alien-centered world, in which human hopes are utterly irrelevant. Both are wonderful games.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
My favorite roleplay system 17 July 2001
By S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I got to test a white-bound version of this a few GenCons ago, and i've been hooked ever since. If you have ever played a game like Nephilim or Immortal, you will come to grips with this one quickly. You can pick it up rather fast if you really have any experience with non-fantasy RPGs. The world they have created (with the 'chorus' of various avatars, conspiracies upon conspiracies, etc) is a very compelling one that is uniquely flexible. Want to run a shadowy game full of backstabbing, intruigue, and mystery? No problem. Feel like blowing away magickal automatons? No problem. We usually run sessions filled with conspiracies, cults, and a general noir atmosphere, but the world also adapts to occasional horror or dark humor themed one-shots as well.
I actually find myself reading this book frequently as general source material for games I run in other systems, and it serves as a wonderful well to draw from.
A special mark has to be made of the magic system. This is, hands-down, the most enjoyable magic system i've ever used. The concept of "earning" your magical charges (where magicians who use chaos have to do chaotic things to get magic, and dispomages need to get drunk, etc), is a very inventive game system that always makes for interesting scenarios for your players to play through.
The character creation/advancement systems are well thought out, combat is handled well (I particularly like it how the GM keeps track of actual damage levels rather than the player to avoid metagaming). The general dice-rolling is kept to a minimum of tables and such, and the game captures a great element of "flow", where the mechanics rarely serve to bog the game down.
In short, I give this game my highest reccomendation.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Wanna change the world? 28 Mar. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I can't speak too highly of Unknown Armies. My favorite aspect of role-playing games has always been the chance to explore the very human nature of my characters. Unknown Armies is all about human nature. Sure, it's a crazy world full of magic, monsters and horror; but it's human-created magic, monsters and horror. We (literally) created the world, and we'll make the next one. All the horrors of this world stem from us, but so does all the good. It is both empowering and humbling. This game comes with a recommendation for mature readers, and they mean it. Not just because it's got naughty words, but because it's trying for a grittier, more thought-provoking kind of play.
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