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Urban Hero


HeroGM
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The New WoD game, Mage: the Awakening works harder to nail down the rules on building magical effects. OTOH it abandons the struggle for the Consensus for a rather more conventional power struggle between factions based on: Do you toady up to the Great Powers that have taken over the highest level of mystical reality, or do you oppose them and maybe try to replace them? Plus there's a bunch with Atlantis, crystals, and other bits of pop-occult that make me wince.

 

I can't speak to how the game plays at the table; I've never tried it.

 

Dean Shomshak

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That's fair. Everything I heard about Awakening made me avoid acquiring anything from it, even the fluff. I've heard Mage 20th was the best of both worlds, but that was the only day I missed when WW gave away a pdf a day for a week. Damn my luck.

 

I guess that means I would tend to prefer/run a hidden world style urban fantasy. With the exception of a monster of the week style game. Love Supernatural, don't know that I would want to play in it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I used to run a campaign that combined Highlander with a few elements inspired by the World of Darkness. I didn't have the rulebooks at the time, so I based the vampires on Forever Knight and werewolves on the Jack Nicholson movie Wolf. Then I added a dash of other elements such as the X-Files.

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I had a relatively long running Urban Fantasy campaign a few years back. 

 

Magic was "hidden" from regular people, but was lurking in the background. Lots of secret societies, cults, some monsters and cryptoids. Players had mystical/magical powers and abilities. 

 

I basically took most of the magical orientated stuff from Champions and put it in its own world with out superheroes, high tech, aliens, etc... So basically just a low powered magic and mystical only Champions. 

 

DEMON were the main bad guys and I used the Demon: Servants of Darkness sourcebook extensively for it, but also Mystic World and other groups and monsters out of it. 

 

It took a little adjusting to strip out the overtly super hero stuff, etc... but wasn't hard to do and made for a really fun campaign of Urban Fantasy, cults and saving the world from dark magic.

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27 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I think the toughest thing with urban fantasy is to figure out how to make most of the world unaware of the magic and monsters that are rampaging through it constantly.

 

Very true.

 

WoD had the "vail" an effect which made normal people rationalize and or forget anything supernatural they came across. 

 

In Buffy/Angel people did often learn about it, but just accepted it. Heck all the students at Sunnydale saw and knew of monsters, the newspaper had headlines lines like "Mayor assures us no monsters involved", etc... LA had supernatural nighttime placed over it for days, with demons and monsters running around killing hundreds or thousands of people, then went back to normal. Whole communities and groups knew about Vampires and organized to fight them, and so on. The US government knew about monsters and vampires and was using/recruiting them for missions as far back as WWII. So that was like an "open secret" about the supernatural in that world. Or almost a very cool "in" thing to know about hem and deal with them. There were numerous bars and nightclubs where we saw normal people and demons hanging out together. There was even talk about the LA D.A. using their own shamans to protect the jury during a trial. 

 

In Supernatural, thousands of people over the years grew to know about supernatural events and monsters, but I assume most of them only ever encountered something like that one time, and probably rationalized it as a one off event or occurrence never fully realizing how widespread it was. 

 

So I guess the easiest way is just not to worry about it. Most of the TV shows never do.

 

 

 

 

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On 4/5/2021 at 9:38 AM, HeroGM said:

So just curious. Of all the urban/modern fantasy out there what is your go to?


Buffy? Percy Jackson? Beautiful Creatures?

 

 

 

My own thing. The Hidden City of Ravenna. Secret magic, Black Schola, Mages kidnapped to swept away to a magical Sub-Realm to be initiated into an arcane society that's been around since Augustus ruled. Dee, Caligostro, a weird orb like entity known as the Librarian. Trolls. Something called a SOMA. Anti-mage special ops. The Contemptable Harpy, Jennifer Renquist. House Barlowe and their questionable experiments. A bunch of Kill-On-Sight wizards and undead known as the Execration. A tree that knows when you're going to die. Stagger-Lee's Stetson... the Bluesmobile... Excalibur... Wal-Martians. Wind, Fire... All that kind of thing.

 

"Santeria? I thought we was having wings!"  

 

Recently, a Fey Lord bet a tiny periwinkle he could get Ravenna to expose itself to the rest of the world. He did it. 

1 hour ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I think the toughest thing with urban fantasy is to figure out how to make most of the world unaware of the magic and monsters that are rampaging through it constantly.

 

We've got a thing called Drawing In. Some creatures can pull you into loops of Space-Time where you can't be seen. Kind of like the Mirror Dimension from Doctor Strange

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3 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I think the toughest thing with urban fantasy is to figure out how to make most of the world unaware of the magic and monsters that are rampaging through it constantly.

 

Men in Black had the neuralyzers to inflict amnesia on any witnesses.

 

The Old Guard had a CIA ally to cover the tracks of the Immortals.

 

X-Files had a widespread government conspiracy to cover up pretty much anything Mulder & Scully encountered.

 

Neverwhere's mundane inhabitants are essentially blind to the existence of London Below or anyone who belongs to it, rather in the way that the homeless are invisible to society.

 

The Highlander and other immortals are strongly motivated to keep their existence a secret from the rest of the world's inhabitants.

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I think the toughest thing with urban fantasy is to figure out how to make most of the world unaware of the magic and monsters that are rampaging through it constantly.

Anytime you set a fantastic story in the current day you need to either think through all the ramifications - or think of a way to keep that genie in its bottle.  The toughest thing would be to work through all the ramifications of openly-existing - worse yet, well-understood - supernaturals always having been part of the world, to the modern day.  Rather than tackle that, come up with a way to make the world unaware of them (phew!), easy by comparison.

 

WoD, the way the monsters were kept out of the limelight was front and center of each game:  Masquerade, Delirium, Paradox....

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28 minutes ago, Opal said:

WoD, the way the monsters were kept out of the limelight was front and center of each game:  Masquerade, Delirium, Paradox....

 

Yeah, even a Mage game with the dominant paradigm suffered from Paradox. They did well in that regard.

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7 hours ago, Opal said:

WoD, the way the monsters were kept out of the limelight was front and center of each game:  Masquerade, Delirium, Paradox....

 

I was a fan of Changeling (the Dreaming, not the Lost).  They had the Mists.. basically if you were too grown up to believe in Faeries you would forget what you saw.  Thing of it was, the people who were most like that were literally spiritual poison to the PCs, so there were many reasons to stay away.

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I file worlds where the fantastic exists alongside humanity in a different category than Urban Fantasy.  I suppose technically it's all the under the same umbrella but vampires openly existing (and running for the Senate) or Wizards hosting game shows seems designed to minimize wonder.  Such stories are usually either about remembering that this is all actually pretty cool or telling a more conventional story but with superpowers.

Urban Fantasy the way I think of it usually tries to evoke some mystery and wonder around a hidden world living right next to our own.  The protagonists usually spend some energy solving whatever plot they are dealing with while simultaneously protecting the magic from the world or the world from the magical.  There is usually something going on that makes it a little hard for the secret to randomly get out but the events of the story usually threaten that and keeping the secret from getting out becomes a requirement of the plot.
 

On the "Protect the world" side we have Agent K:
"There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT!"

On the "It's important to keep it quiet" front we have Cain from The Sandman:
"I keep telling you, it's the Mystery that endures, not the explanation... Nobody really cares who-done-it. They'll peck you to pieces if you tell them... [but] a good Mystery can last forever."

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 4/21/2021 at 12:53 PM, Old Man said:

 

 

X-Files had a widespread government conspiracy to cover up pretty much anything Mulder & Scully encountered.

 

 

 

 

 

"So what are we covering up today? More shapechanging alien goo oil  bees? Because I hate them. No? Human monster. Oh, God, not the liver-eating squidgy guy. He was disgusting. Oh. generational incest crime family? Look. Do we need to cover up these freaks? "Cuz it seems to me we could just return the case over to the FBI and maybe they could actually catch those freaks . . . No? Set a bad precedent? Okay, I'll add 'em to the coverup, but don't blame me if they move into your neighbourhood. Oh, right. Forgot you're a goo alien and you live on . . . a reservation in New Mexico? And commute to a secret base in Antarctica? No, no, that wasn't a judging tone. You do you."

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On 4/21/2021 at 12:36 PM, mallet said:

 

Very true.

 

WoD had the "vail" an effect which made normal people rationalize and or forget anything supernatural they came across. 

 

In Buffy/Angel people did often learn about it, but just accepted it. Heck all the students at Sunnydale saw and knew of monsters, the newspaper had headlines lines like "Mayor assures us no monsters involved", etc... LA had supernatural nighttime placed over it for days, with demons and monsters running around killing hundreds or thousands of people, then went back to normal. Whole communities and groups knew about Vampires and organized to fight them, and so on. The US government knew about monsters and vampires and was using/recruiting them for missions as far back as WWII. So that was like an "open secret" about the supernatural in that world. Or almost a very cool "in" thing to know about hem and deal with them. There were numerous bars and nightclubs where we saw normal people and demons hanging out together. There was even talk about the LA D.A. using their own shamans to protect the jury during a trial. 

 

In Supernatural, thousands of people over the years grew to know about supernatural events and monsters, but I assume most of them only ever encountered something like that one time, and probably rationalized it as a one off event or occurrence never fully realizing how widespread it was. 

 

So I guess the easiest way is just not to worry about it. Most of the TV shows never do.

 

 

 

 


        Let’s hear it for Sunnydale!   The national leader in bar-b-cue fork accidents and wild animal attacks. 
Yeah, that’s what vampire and other monster related deaths were characterized by.  It helps that the police dept. and coroner’s office were controlled by a mix of bribery and threats to class such thing that way.  Also it had what was called “the Sunnydale effect”  a psychological blind spot in most people to explain away the frightening or unusual.

    I still love BtVS and Angel. 

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