Another game from Atlas Games, I pretty much just stumbled upon Unknown Armies. John Tynes was the first name I had any interest in that was associated with RPGs. On his old website, he included some old design notes from this game. I read them, and was immediately interested to learn more. So when I encountered the second edition of Unknown Armies in a store many months later, I had to buy it.
The premise of the game (co-created with Greg Stolze) is that the world we live in contains an occult underground, inhabited largely by outcasts who just don’t fit into regular society. These individuals each hold an obsession that colors they way they look at everything, and which can lead them to insights into the way the world really works. Of course, they each have their own different obsessions, so they still can’t quite agree on what that means, even with each other. This short description does the game no justice, but we’ll touch on some more details of the setting as we explore the book.
I recently learned about the upcoming release of Legend of the Five Rings, fourth edition (published by AEG). I’m still not entirely sure what I think about this. L5R has been among my favorite games since my friend and I bought our first starter decks for the CCG sometime in the late ’90s (Jade edition starters, though that story arc was nearing completion). I noticed books for the RPG soon afterward, and started picking those up just as the 1st edition line ended. Since then, the game has been a standard among my group of ever-shifting players, both with 2nd edition and then 3rd. The L5R CCG remains the only CCG I’m even willing to consider playing anymore, and the RPG is one of the few games that I’m equally excited to run or play.
Ars Magica (published by Atlas Games) is one of those games that I’ve heard of, over and over again for many years, but never read or played. The basic premise is pretty simple. The setting is basically Europe in the year 1220. The catch is that this is a “Mythic Europe,” where myths and legends are true. The game is centered around an organization known as the Order of Hermes, which is a loose confederation of wizards of various sorts. The game is known primarily for its comprehensive magic system, and its “troupe” style of roleplaying, both of which will be discussed.