Drinking & Dragons

User:Wizardoest/Read/Angel (Unisystem - Cinematic)

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Angel RPG Cover.jpg

The Angel RPG uses the cinematic branch of Unisystem, as does it's sister RPG, Buffy. As Unisystem books are reknown for being disorganized, this page will function as a cheat sheet.

Unisystem in general

Unisystem is a far cry from the d20 system. Characters are classless and challenges are overcome using ability plus quality or skill. It allows for more freeform play. For example, a jock could use Intelligence plus Football to formulate a plan or an engineer could use Dexterity plus Engineering to attack someone with electricity from an outlet.

All throughout the book the reader is reminded to talk to the Director about character options so that everyone gets the best possible game. This is a habit that all players should practice and all GMs should insist upon.

The editing of the book could be better. I've encountered a number of instances of "of" used instead of "or" and the like. Not as bad as the Arcanis Fastplay book.


Character Archetypes (p22)
Champion ("Lay down the smack", may be supernatural)
Investigator (Above average, good training but still human)
Veterans (Full-fledged heroes. Too powerful to be used with other archetypes.)
Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Perception, and Willpower
1-Below average; 2-Human average; 3-Above average; 4-Well above average; 5-Practical human limit; 6-True human limit; 7(+)-Supernatural
Life Points = 10 + 4(Str + Con)
Typically broken down into broad categories. Sometimes due to character focus, certain uses of skills may have a penalty. For instance a lawyer with Crime Skill may not get the full bonus (or any) at picking a lock.

Purchasing Attributes and Skills costs a ratio of 1:1 for up to level 5. After level five the cost is 3:1. To have a Strength of 6 it would cost 8 (5 + 3) points.

Qualities and Drawbacks

These are innate characteristics of a character that represent their advantages and/or disadvantages. Some are purchased separately while some are bundled in packages (such as with being a demon).

There are regular Qualities which any character may take and then there are supernatural Qualities that only, well, supernatural folk may take. Many of the qualities are specifically generic. For instance the Vulnerable drawback has a variable value and lists what types of things should be considered minor or major without saying things like "vulnerability to silver is a three-point drawback for werewolves". This framework helps to let the imagination run free while providing a guide for balance.


The book has a generous amount of pregen characters of some of the more common stereotypes. Very handy for starting a group onto the system or for GM use. Having character sheets for the Angel cast is a touch that I'm sure a lot of people appreciate. (I tend not to prefer it.)

Basic mechanics

d10 + Attribute + Skill (or Attribute)
Degree of success sometimes matters. See p110 for chart.
Defender wins on ties.
By default everyone gets an attack action and a defense action. Those with a Dex of 5 or higher gain the option of multiple actions at an escalating penalty. This makes Dex extremely valuable in my opinion, as number of actions means a lot.
Base damage plus success levels, then subtract armor, then apply type multiplier.
Type of damage: Bash (can KO someone), Slash/Stab (can cut off parts, damage is doubled), Bullet (damage is doubled), and Fire (heals at half rate)
Vehicle chases
Contested rolls. First to five successes wins. Excellent system for this.

Drama Points

Gain bonuses to actions to help pull off the impossible.

Heroic Feat
+10 to a die roll (attack, defense, etc.) and must be declared before used.
I Think That I'm Okay
Half the damage taken up to this point.
Plot Twist
Once per session the hero gets a break. This can be a clue, the cavalry arriving, etc.
Righteous Fury
Spend two Drama Points to get +5 to all attack actions for the entire fight. Requires the right provocation.
Back From The Dead
Drama Points may be spent to come back from the dead. The sooner a character is revived the more it costs.

When characters are hosed by plot or circumstances, the GM is encouraged to reward the player with 1-3 Drama Points.


Each spell has a power level which is determined by it's power level, number of casters, and requirements. After that it is a roll of d10 + Willpower + Occult Lore. The number of success levels must equal the power level of the spell, or else something strange happens. This strange thing is left up to GM's discretion, though there is also a handy chart.

A Further Look at Unisystem

Now that I've run a few Unisystem games, I have to say that everyone is really enjoying the rules-medium nature of the game. In fact, I'll soon be running a campaign using the system.

In preparing for that campaign I've been pouring through the unisystem books (Classic and Cinematic) and I have to say that the books are thoroughly disorganized. The books also lack clear separation between rules text and fluff, making it a hurdle to find things quickly. This is forcing me to compile my own documents. This system needs a strong editor.