UA lore issue: what is the Unknown Armies game?

Good day (or night)!

First of all, I’m sorry if my English is bad, cause it isn’t my native language and my bear is disturbing me.

I’m deep in love with your Unknown Armies system, and honestly I suppose I have my best games, while playing UA with my friends.

But few hours ago I had a discussion with some internet guys, and they made me wrote this letter, but I don’t know if it kinda a rule question.

Issue is the next: I say, that I’m as GM free of interpret and change all lore information from the books as I want. E.g. I really hate Saint Germain (as many of plot devices) or the Sleepers, and it is my privilege to not just ignore them in my games, but even never allow their existence. If I’ll need some instrument of influence or antagonist, I can make my own concept.

But some internet guys said that I’m totally wrong, and my games are not Unknown Armies games, because all that had written in books are carved in stone and I MUST use it, or, if I don’t want to use some elements in my game keep in mind, that all this stuff like St. Germain, TNI, Sleepers and others are real and present in my games’ world.

So, some internet guys joked that “You’d better to write a letter to authors of UA, and they will explain you the truth”, so here I am. I would be happy to see answer from Greg Stolze, but I hope on any answer from Unknown armies team.

Am I right, that there no truth or obligatory lore elements and Unknown armies is about idea of world-changing madness and post-modern god-making, or I’m totally wrong?

And where the thin black line, where denying of UA lore made my games not-UA games?

From Siberia, with love.

If you are looking for an answer from Greg, you'd be better served contacting him directly. Twitter for instance: https://twitter.com/GregStolze

I'm just some random dude on the internet.

Speaking as the guy currently in charge of canonical Unknown Armies : Those guys are full of it. Your game is you game. Your version of a setting created by someone else is YOUR version of it. That's true whether it's UA (game of reality-altering insanity) or any other setting.

On the flip side, if you alter a setting too much you might eradicate the reason that you were interested in using it in the first place; you might also eradicate the reason your PLAYERS were interested in playing in that setting (assuming they were familiar with the setting in the first place). But that line is entirely a matter of your taste and what your players are looking for from the game. It's not a firm line; it's a movable one. And it's often one that you can DELIBERATELY move by having a frank discussion with your players about what's important to you, what's important to them, and what you're all hoping to get out of the current game.

I've written an article about this topic here: https://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/39775/roleplaying-games/random-gm-tip-the-grok-threshold-running-a-published-setting

Check out Greg Stolze's How to Run the Game on his site: http://www.gregstolze.com/downloads.html

Most importantly: Have fun!