Fiasco Playset: Occult Strangeness

For a long time, I’ve talked about how I’d like to make an Unknown Armies-inspired Fiasco playset. A few months back, I got started on one I didn’t finish. Leonard Balsera gave me some good notes on it, and a couple friends have contributed elements to it, but I stalled out in March and haven’t look at this since.

I figure that means I should crowdsource elements from you fine folks.

Occult Strangeness (the working title) is a mix of Unknown Armies, Hellblazer, and similar inspirations. It’ll have two modes: street-level and cosmic-level, which will mean two different Needs tables and two different Aftermath tables (and likely nothing else, other than a paragraph or two of text about that).

You can see the work-in-progress document by clicking on this Google Drive link.

(Because Google Drive was being crappy this morning, I couldn’t edit the file to say that the Needs list is currently a mix of street and cosmic, as I haven’t added to that part since Lenny told me to separate the two scales.)

Put your ideas in this post’s comments. If I get enough to roll on (including ideas that y’all spark from me as I read your comments), I’ll put up a playtest file.


  • If you aren’t conversant in the source material listed above, but have a sense of “spooky occult folks,” drop ideas down. It’s on my to curate the playset, not on you to tell yourself no.
  • If you have an idea but I don’t have a category for it, don’t stop yourself from suggesting it. Maybe as the categories shift around, that idea suddenly fits into a hole.
  • Did you read this far? Can you contribute even one idea? If not, why do you hate freedom?

– Ryan


17 Responses to Fiasco Playset: Occult Strangeness

  1. blackcoat says:

    damnit, ryan, I don’t have time for this and but I want to make time for this because Hellblazer and Fiasco go together like smokes and whiskey

  2. I’ll contribute if I wrangle more time soon, but definitely also let meknow when it’s done so I can add it to FiascoMobile.

  3. James Gabrielsen says:

    I have a few ideas. When I get a chance on my lunchbreak, I’ll brainstorm and send them to you.

  4. Alan says:

    Relationship/Pawns: Cursed and curse caster.

    Object/Forbidden Knowledge: A weaving made from the tongues of skilled liars.

    Object/Forbidden Knowledge: A Hand of Glory.

    Object/Forbidden Knowledge: Ritual to bind a demon into a human.

    Object: Feral ghoul in a self-storage container.

    Object/Suspiciously Mundane: Bus terminal locker key.

    Location: Graveyard

    Location: Fairy ring in the forest

    Location: Faerie. (More Books of Magic than Hellblazer, but similar. Seemed like they were popping in and out of Faerie all the time.)

    Location/Place of Power: the abandoned warehouse that will house the Faerie Court in 3 nights time.

    Location: Trashed slum apartment.

  5. Object/Suspiciously Mundane–an abandoned infant
    Location/Unexpected Places of Power–the “haunted” house on the edge of town
    Need/”To feel again…”–by embracing chaos magick
    Object/Suspiciously Mundane–the script for the X-Files pilot

  6. James Gabrielsen says:

    First round of ideas:

    Relationship>Family: prodigal child and parent

    Relationship>Friends: We got into this mess together

    Relationship>Colleagues: Detective partners

    Relationship>Rivals: Detective and criminal

    Relationship>Family (or maybe even love): The same soul literally split into two bodies

    Relationship>Love: “They will love me whether they want to or not”

  7. James Gabrielsen says:

    “Suspiciously Mundane” (or something similar) might also be a good location category.

  8. Ryan Macklin says:

    I don’t know where it’ll go in Objects, but “The Burn Ward Oracle”

    – Ryan

  9. Martin says:

    Location: The film set where the moon landing was faked

    Also, there is no whisky on the list. This needs whisky.

  10. Colin says:

    Postmodern relics: Tommy and Pam’s video camera
    To redeem myself: On behalf of all of humanity
    Suspiciously mundane: Baby (always a good one!)

  11. Morgan Ellis says:

    A Large Chunk of Trinitite (Desert Glass created by the detonation of the Trinity Device)
    Elvis’s DEA Badge given to him by Richard Nixon

  12. Morgan Ellis says:

    Last Two Survivors of a Doomsday Cult.

    A No Shit, Honest to God Hand of Glory.

  13. Morgan Ellis says:


    An 8mm snuff film of an occult Sacrifice

  14. Matthew Harris Glover says:

    Okay, here’s my first batch:


    Friends: I’ll always owe you for that thing you did.

    Pawns: Of destiny! One prophesied for greatness, one for disaster.

    Rivals: A follower of the righteous path and one who has turned from it.

    Love: A love battered by situation, faded and fraying, struggling to survive.


    To ascend…
    …because the whole world deserves to burn.

    To steal power…
    …from a death cult of fire-eyed zealots and madmen.
    …from a Lord of Hell.
    …from everyone around me.

    To feel again…
    …because ever since I got home, everything seems pointless.
    …because they took that away from me.

    To redeem myself…
    …to my family.
    …to my master.
    …so I can retake my rightful position.

    To escape… (Rather than “To escape that compact”)
    …that compact and bind the one who tricked me into it.
    …the destiny foretold for me.
    …that nagging harridan and her soul-sucking kin.
    …the mystical bonds upon my soul.
    …this hellhole town and everyone in it.

    To break this curse…
    …and rise up to rule with fear and blood!

    To stop…
    …sabotaging myself, again and again.
    …a raging engine of chaos, set upon ravaging this city.
    …using this power, since it’s tearing me apart.
    …them before they kill again.
    …for some smokes and a fifth of whiskey.


    Forbidden Knowledge
    – What Evil Lurks In The Hearts Of Men
    – The True Origin Of Species

    Ancient Relic (man, do I have a lot of these)
    – Clay tablet from the First City, inscribed by Inanna herself
    – A splinter of the True Cross
    – A sickle forged of meteoric iron
    – The Golem
    – Coyote’s tooth
    – The Apple of Discord (Hail Eris!)
    – Pandora’s box (mostly empty)
    – Wayland’s hammer

    – The first breath of a newborn, caught in a bottle
    – An angel feather
    – Hope, ever fleeting
    – A pure soul, stopped from its natural path
    – Salvation
    – The dying breath of Thomas Edison, saved in a jar

    – Slaughterhouse hammer

    Postmodern Relic
    – Guitar autographed by Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly, & The Big Bopper
    – 18″ piece of rebar from the World Trade Center, South Tower, 78th floor
    – George Reeve’s Superman costume
    – James Dean’s driving gloves

    Suspiciously Mundane
    – Set of cheap steak knives
    – Dime bag of weed
    – 1987 Ford Mustang, fair condition
    – Barbecue grill, never used

    Unexpected Place of Power
    – The MegaBall Lottery claims office waiting room
    – The corner at the bottom of Breakneck Hill

    Den of Vice
    – The Morning Star Casino

  15. Morgan Ellis says:

    Antique Hand Painted Tarot Deck

  16. Matthew Nielsen says:

    For street level needs (which is the level of Unknown Armies I’m familiar with), I feel like a lot of the standard categories would work well, e.g.:
    To get out…
    To make it big…

    Object/Suspiciously mundane/box of loosing lottery tickets

    Also, I’m not sure if this would be an object or location, but schoolbus converted into a residence