Iâ€™m using the scenarioÂ Pinfeathers from the UA 2nd Edition rulebook for the first adventure in our UA campaign. Now, the bookâ€™s been out for twelve years, andÂ Pinfeathers was originally released as a free adventure for the first edition, so itâ€™s gotta be past the statute of limitations, especially with the third edition on its way. Still, donâ€™t read any farther if you want to make sure you avoid knowing too much about the adventure.
In UA, knowing too much will save your life but damn your soul.
**YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED**
This was an interesting second session of ourÂ UA campaign. The characters spent most of the time trying to clean up the mess they made in the previous session. They had chased a woman into traffic, where she was hit and killed, and then grabbed her purse and driven away in their TNI-issued SUV ((That’s enough initialisms for one paragraph, yeah?)). So, their first order of business was to swap the plates on their vehicle.
This led to a caper comedy of our less-than-inconspicuous heroes ((“Heroes” may be the wrong word forÂ UA PCs. It’s certainly highly debatable for this group of characters. But it is traditional.)) prowled residential streets, stole license plates, fast-talked patrolling police officers, and calling on contacts to get a replacement vehicle. After that, they thought they’d go check out the hotel room their ((Kind of.)) victim had been staying in, to see if they could learn a little more about what was actually going on.
They split the party at that point, for some reason that seemed entirely reasonable but, upon reflection, may have been not-so-good. In the hotel room, two of them were taken at gunpoint by an unseen man who bound them and left them facedown on the floor before vanishing just ahead of the other two PCs arriving. The only traces they had of him were the zip ties on the wrists of the ((Very embarrassed.)) hostages, and the word “HUSH” written on the bathroom mirror.
This got Cruz all fired up, because he had, at one point, been a low-level operative of the Sleepers before TNI snatched him. So, he knew that was a Sleeper warning sign, and that the Sleepers are major-league bad-asses in the Occult Underground. With that information, TEAM BANSHEE called in for directions, and were told by Eponymous in no uncertain terms to break off the operation and not to engage further with the Flock, Sid, or the crazy ritual that was going to happen in a few days.
That rankled a bit, so the team decided that, if nothing else, they could burgle Sid’s place and steal the compass they found there – the one that they think belonged to Amelia Earhart. That’s where they ran into the mysterious Angela that their previous victim had been worried about – she showed up and started to pick the lock of the apartment while they were already inside, so they yanked her inside and tried to knock her unconsciousÂ to take and interview her later.
Two things really interfered with that: first, it’s very hard to actually just knock someone out without doing enough damage to possibly kill them ((This is reflected in the combat mechanics ofÂ UA – if you getÂ really, really lucky, you might be able manage it, but mostly you have to beat your victim into dreamland in an ugly, violent manner, and hope that he or she doesn’t just die from it.)). Second, Angela is a fairly powerful avatar of the Flying Woman, which means it is very, very hard to capture, confine, or restrict her.
A third factor was the fact that I had introduced the idea of Madness checks this session ((None of the players had playedÂ UA before this campaign, so I’m building the complexity of the rules at a slower pace.)). In the midst of trying to capture Angela, there were a couple failed Violence and Unnatural checks. I was tempted to throw in a Helplessness test or two as she kept slipping out of their grasp, but I thought that would just be cruel.
So, the team’s first real combat in the game turned into a confused, desperate, panicked, and chaotic mess, just the way it should be. It ended with Angela literally flying away out a mysteriously open window, and our heroes took their stolen compass and skedaddled.
We’re playing again tonight, and I’m not sure if the group is going to cut and leave things in Boston alone, or if they’re going to defy their orders and see if they can observe the Flock’s ritual and see what happens when Sid tries to channel the power of the Flying Woman through his male body.
I’ve got their next assignment ready, just in case. It happens to be another adventure I ran years ago in my firstÂ UAÂ campaign, and had a surprisingly high body count for what it was. It may have been – to my complete and utter shock – the deadliest scenario that group ever got mixed up in.
We’ll see how TEAM BANSHEE handles the mystery of… STOON LAKE!