Unknown Armies – The Great American Bakery Ascension

Wendy is calling in some favors. Four men owe Wendy big and they have to repay it by doing a small job for her. Saying no is not an option. The job itself sounds pretty simple. Retrieve some cookies, a cake, and a video recording of a failed cooking show shot just outside city limits. Of course, it won’t be that simple. It seems the debtors have some competition, occult groups willing to kill for the baked goods. Join us for our first game of Unknown Armies!

Liked it? Get exclusive bonus episodes on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!


  1. [I can’t remember if I said before that I’ve moved on from crawlkill, it sorta coincided with my not commenting so much on this site, but I am that dude]

    “is this the shark you want to die on” is my favorite sentence ever uttered

    I feel like Unknown Armies fans spend too much time arguing about “is this Unknown Armies?” I feel the instinct myself, but it’s a waste of time in the face of inspiration; “is this a great fucked up culture-centric game” is way more interesting than “is this Unknown Armies,” and TGABA definitely qualifies!

    my particular fav moments were the Usurer talking at the beginning and the end? when she explained her whole thesis I was like YES THIS IS AMERICAN EVIL IN A NUTSHELL THIS AVATAR IS TOO GOOD

    10/10 would know armies again

  2. YES YES YES a million times YES

    I’d heard whispers of you guys finally playing UA, but I didn’t dare to hope to hear it. And I did. And it was glorious.

  3. This was one of the most gloriously weird things I have listened to.

  4. This is probably one of the weirdest things I’ve listened to on this site and I enjoyed every minute of it.
    All the talk about cookies reminded me of God’s Teeth.

  5. Faust just dropped a Shadowrun actual play where the PCs are given their job by a Wendy who is literally Wendy from the logo of the fast food chain. Since I knew UA was all about archetypes and pop culture becoming occult, I just sort of assumed it was the same Wendy up until the very end when Caleb explained she was just a regular Usurer and not the divine avatar of a corporation. It made the whole thing a bit more surreal.

  6. Between this and Bestow, you guys are on point at the moment!

  7. Yep, Unknown Armies is still my favorite RPG. I hope there’s more on the way, whether it’s in the form of one-shots or a campaign.

  8. Aaaaah the amazing UA. Come to think of it, I’m a bit surprised we haven’t heard any Unknown Armies from you earlier.
    I’ll just join in the praise and hope for more.

  9. I love this. I love you guys. This was a really great AP!

    I think I crumbled into cackling hysteria when Caleb described the cookie box being brought past a cow and the cow started spraying milk everywhere, because – I knew implicitly – the cookies needed milk.

    Unknown Armies is clearly the kind of game that’s great to play – or listen to – if you can follow the setting and the GM’s twisted train of logic.

  10. I know this is just one data point — but I sort feel like Unknown Armies is the ultimate RPPR game. Or at least the ultimate Caleb game. This was fantastic to listen to, start to finish. Highlights were Bill’s MAGA hat-wearing boomer hitting on the undrunkable old TV star, the collapsing apartment, the milk…but it was solid stuff all the way through.

    And thanks for running an intro game; I’ve been having trouble wrapping my brain around how to run Unknown Armies from reading the books, and seeing how identities, attacks on gauges, and hardening works in action was really helpful.

  11. I have to agree with @thrilledintent. After I read the title, I assumed Wendy was THE Wendy of the food chain, possibly some mystical avatar. And in a broad sense that assumption didn’t turn out to be too far off either.

    Caleb was asking if the tone of the campaign was ‘Unknown Armies’ enough. I think you nailed it sir. Most Caleb campaigns have a shading of David Lynch but this one went all out. I think the ‘perfect tone’ for an Unknown Armies game is a mashup of gonzo, Lynchism, horror, and Clockwork Orange ultra-violence all set to a frenetic pace. And again, Caleb occupies this game space with ease.

    This makes running an Unknown Armies game distinct in execution from a more real-world occult heavy game like Mage the Ascension/Awakening. The three games are nearly the same in theory, but they play out very differently.

  12. Can you please commit to Horror on the orient express, a longer Red Markets thing or what ever. Love you guys but this one-off…b o r i n g.

  13. Personally this was my first exposure to UA in any form what so ever. An interesting romp but without experience playing it, my reaction to “What is UA” is something akin too “Is everything slightly silly but serious/what is “Your a wizard Everyone” was a thing.

    Also, and I have no idea if this was in the spirit of UA or not, but the ending would have been wildly differnt had the Vape salesman heard Wendy’s “well its not ‘quite’ what I wanted so…” speech and proceeded to shoot both the super injured party members (if I heard right neither of whom had any sort of chance at fire-arms training). Tell Wendy he was happy to have brought her the hard-drive, which she had already accepted and thanked him for. Remindered her it was “one item per person”. And walked off scoot-free with both the remaining cookies and the cake. Bonus extra points if he had turned around and offered a “And I seem to remember my good friend Wendy really wanted these two items. I would be glad to give them too you, you know, for a bigger favor to be owed later.

    But then maybe that’s not how your suppose to play UA.

  14. Well, in addition to the psychological checks for murdering his compatriots (the vape salesman wasn’t some kind of hardened sociopath – yet), since Wendy is an Avatar and Ross’s character was just a guy with no magical capability, she probably would have put some hellacious whammy on him for that kind of move. Now, if he were to spend a few sessions learning an Adept school or something, he might have a chance…basically, it would have been a pretty bad idea for any of them to try to get one over on Wendy.

  15. I too thought it was Twitter Wendy’s as I knew nothing of UA. I found it strange and surreal, with little to ground me. I found Wendy to be interesting and intimidating, with a great presence. One thing I note for UA is that its crazy in another way than CoC, and that’s just great. CoC got predictable to listen to overall (and that’s not disparaging to RPPR in the slightest), just that after you know the answers to the questions, you can analyze the situation better.

    I’m going to borrow part of this concept for a different game. The idea that the cookies were made perfectly and therefore since a skill was perfected that the chef could ascend to a higher plane of existance is great. I think EATING the cookies should produce the same result, as you’ve experienced something beyond mortality. That’d make the cookies something to be feared, and even more so when living creatures smell the cookies and MUST EAT THEM because since the cookies are perfect, they are appealing to all things.

    That means a bug lands on it, tastes it and the bug ascends, and then a whole stampede of cows come after the players. I just picture this whole herd of cows ascending reality due to the cookies, and that sending players off the deep end!

  16. Depending on exactly how the Usurer works, Wendy might well have violated taboo if she didn’t accept Daniel’s scenario. On the other hand, violating taboo is a bad thing for both avatars and adepts, but it’s a recoupable penalty and arguably not as bad for avatars and if she wanted the thing bad enough…well…

    Also, zero, Unknown Armies has a concept called the Statosphere, where the Invisible Clergy operate. There’s room for a certain number of clearly defined, separate (and human) archetypes to ascend into being and then the assembled clergy tear down the current universe and create a new one before vanishing forever. So, in this scenario the Cook has ascended as an archetype, but the only way anyone else is going to ascend is to either a) find a completely separate archetype to perfectly embody, or b) nearly perfectly align to the Cook as an avatar (like Wendy is an avatar of the Usurer) and become the closest avatar of the Cook to that archetype (called a godwalker), while having a meaningfully different take on the archetype’s role, and then push for that last percent of avatar to ascend and replace the current Cook, who gets metaphysically rejiggered and pops back into existence as a regular person.

    Both are really, really hard. Anyway. Point being, just eating mystical cookies isn’t gonna do it in the UA setting. Fun idea to toy with in other contexts though!

  17. That. Was. Awesome.

    I really hope you guys play more UA.

  18. Ha, thats just cute you terrible monster. So ok, I listened on the mask podcast. Totaly wiped clean by the gumeshoe engine. Also, Masks, for crying out loud! Bought it, Trail… and the Masks companion (pdf so far). Ok, 15 years since my last rpg session. 4 boys, one girl and me. Ok, great. Started out 1 of december 2016 and now last session of australia this sunday, then shanghai left. At the same time I’m finising up with my Phd and have 2 small children, Ross. So don’t give me the: “We hava a Mask” – what ever. Listened to it twice now. So who do you think I’m, just another forger/sniper? I know all about the lure about this podcast, makes you do strange things! Love you guys, thanks!

  19. I hope you’re all proud of yourselves, now I need to buy Unknown Armies.

    My bank account weeps every time I listen to you guys play a system for the first time.

  20. You know, a ‘vapour store’ could work.
    Alcohol vapour-filled rooms in bars have been tried before. (I believe ultrasonicly agitated)
    They’re a REALLY BAD IDEA (as is any way to consume alcohol ‘more efficiently’ ever developed), but they work, apparently. I mean, if “smell ethanol, get drunk, continue smelling of ethanol after leaving” is the objective. I don’t know anything about the flammability, but it sounds like a fire code violation too.
    There’s probably a lot of vapours people would pay to stand in, some of them legal!


    …I like this ‘other flavour’ of weird horror. Things happen, and there IS a good reason but it doesn’t make sense in the traditional fashion and will probably kill you and everybody else involved (or worse) even if you DO understand it. It’s a nice break from the constant “… but you’re all doomed because humans are INSIGNIFICANT!” punchline that a lot of Lovecraft-inspired stuff uses every time.

  21. Is this scenario published somewhere or did you (ahem) cook it up yourself? I’d like to run it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *