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Help me pick a system (Unknown Armies vs Hunter/Geist)

psycojesterpsycojester Registered User regular
edited June 2010 in Critical Failures
Atm i'm trying to get a game together amongst some friends, it'll be the first time for me running a game in RL and i'm curious to get some more experienced feedback as to what people think of my general idea for the campaign story and what system would best suit it.

Basic Concept: Heavily story/investigation driven adventure, players start out as average people being thrust into the London mystic underworld following the brutal murder of their friend (I've been reading Kraken by China Mieville and it inspired me)

Plot Outline: Several weeks ago Jessica Sandrow was a happy outgoing student of history at Oxford university, now she's a brutally dismembered corpse with several organs missing. Jessica was the second victim of the serial killer the papers are tastefully calling 'Ripper 2.0'. Frustrated by the Police's lack of progress, a group of Jessica's friends have decided to take matters into their own hands and attempt to bring the killer to justice.

Along the way the group will find out that Jessica was actually part of a Satanic cult at the university, who managed to summon the soul of William Gull from the grave, and who is now possessing one of the cult members. Gull is now preying on the members of the cult that brought him back, aiming to complete the grand ritual of banishment he first attempted in 1888.

The Jack the Ripper murders were actually an incomplete attempt at creating an immensely powerful ritual, which when completed would have exorcised every single unquiet spirit in London. Gull's aim was to destroy the 'Dark House of Lords' a cabal of decaying Revenants that have secretly manipulated and steered the United Kingdom for centuries, in pursuit of their own twisted vision of the perfect Britain.

Along the way the group will have to deal with disgruntled cops who suspect the players of having committed the crimes, other Ripper hunters and occultists who want to harness Gull's ritual to their purposes and the undead movers and shakers of England.

Thats my general campaign concept, i'd love to get some feedback from people that have run dark urban fantasy/horror campaigns as to the strengths and weaknesses of the various systems, any plot tweaks that people could recommend and just general advice for running a campaign like this.

psycojester on


  • LucedesLucedes might be real Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Either system would work well for this, but I think you might have to do the most backstory tweaks working with Geist, or Hunter vs. Geist. Geist has its own thing going on, which could mesh oddly, and you'd probably have to take out some of its historical stuff.

    I was in an amazing, amazing Unknown Armies campaign in college, which involved the same "track down horrifying serial killer who removes organs" theme. Unknown Armies is great for story-heavy games, and I'd recommend it over Hunter/Geist for this, mainly because Hunter/Geist will bother you with crunchy numbers more often and requires three times as many books.

    Lucedes on
  • Edith UpwardsEdith Upwards Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    This could work quite well as a Hunter/Second Sight/Mage/Slasher/Geist CLUSTERFUCK. Make sure to read up on the Vanguard Serial Crimes Unit.

    They're american(a branch of the FBI), but they have some explicitly defined ties to London and the Ripper case.

    Edith Upwards on
  • PinfeldorfPinfeldorf Yeah ZestRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Unknown Armies has some amazingly bad rules problems. Like, amazingly, horribly bad. If you only have 15 points in firearms, and you hold a pistol up to a motherfucker's temple, you only hit him 15% of the time. Now, if your storyteller is smart enough to realize the rules are fucking dumb, it can be cool.

    Pinfeldorf on
  • psycojesterpsycojester Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Actually it doesn't, if your holding a gun up to a dudes temple you hit him 100% of the time, it says that in the book, the skill rolls are there to represent the crazy everybody is shooting at each other and trying not to die circumstances of combat, if you're in relaxed circumstances and can take your time you automatically succeed in any skill you have over 15% in.

    psycojester on
  • PinfeldorfPinfeldorf Yeah ZestRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Well, it was in the thick of combat, and the dude had my buddy pinned and was about to slice him open with a meat cleaver. As soon as our GM looked up the rules and told me I had a 15% chance to hit him, I knew the game was flawed, but maybe she didn't do a good enough investigational job.

    Pinfeldorf on
  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Actually, it's more a case of having a 15% chance to hit IF they are resisting and IF they make their chance to dodge. I'd have ruled that if the dude with the cleaver was ignoring you, you'd hit regardless, and a 01-15% on the roll would be a stunning critical success. Honestly, if I was running that, it would have boiled down to who had the initiative. If the dude had ignored your pinned buddy and attempted to fight you, he'd have rolled his Bloody Cleaver skill against your Handgun skill, and then it might have been different. At least, that's how I remember the rules working.

    Unknown Armies has a very vague ruleset, and it's open to interpretation, shall we say.

    I'd go with an UA adventure, as while the others have more defined rulesets, they're defined so that they can work within their system with their powers and suchlike. UA is much more fluid, doesn't require billions of books, and is much more open to GM fiat in game-world background.

    Kay on
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  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    You could also run Nemesis which is a horror RPG made by Greg Stolze, one of the authors of UA and carries over a decent amount of the ideas with some refinement.

    Neaden on
  • PMAversPMAvers Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Don't forget shifts. They can change probabilities of hitting vastly.

    For the point-blank-to-the-face shot, I'd probably say roll, but against a skill of something silly like 99%. It's more than likely going to hit (for massive damage, to boot), but it leaves the wild-card of chance out there. (Like, say, the gun jamming...)

    PMAvers on
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  • tzeentchlingtzeentchling Doctor of Rocks OaklandRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Actually, generic WoD might be viable here. The PCs wouldn't necessarily have super powers, but are above-average humans - kind of Call of Cthullhu esque. Geist could work, but then you have to deal with the Geist mechanic. Hunter might work if you don't want the PCs to be too esoteric/magical/ghostly, but I'm not really familiar with it.

    tzeentchling on
  • cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I'd say Hunter is more for branching out normal humans. They're part of giant conspiracies and/or organizations, or are just really, really good with certain types of equipment.

    At a glance, generic WoD sounds good.

    cj iwakura on
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