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Jkeown

Urban Fantasy: Ravenna Grimoires

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In my Ravenna game (that takes place in a hidden city "inside" Ravenna, Italy) there are magical books from the past and from other realms (i.e., my other HERO campaigns). Here are a few.

 

There is evidence of house rules (like allowing wizards to use Multipowers, the inclusion of Detects in MPs, etc. I humbly beg indulgence... and if you use them, please make them match your own house rule situation.

Ravanna Grimoires.pdf

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In brief, there are Hidden Cities inside the cities we know. The largest of these is (probably) Ravenna, but Roma Aeter is suspected to be larger. These things are hard to judge. Mundanes are not aware of these cities, but access to them is found in Ravenna, Rome, Leipzig, Bonn, London, Indianapolis, New York, Tokyo and San Francisco. Opposing Ravenna in its goal of Maxime Magica (Magic Over All) is the Establishment, a group of mages who operate out of Roma Aeter. They also revere Maxime Magica, but they envision a domine of a magical Roman Empire, where the mundane world serves the magical one.

 

Ravenna is ruled by the Signoria, a group of wizards who are elected by the whole of Ravennati society.

 

Players in the setting are Normal Heroes, 175+50 and all that. They tend to be wizards, but can also be a variety of magical creatures, undead, Dolls (ball-jointed ceramic people) and Eikones, the spirits of long-dead people and minor gods.  

 

Adventures include breaking up Establishment plots, busting monsters, taming feral undead and the politics of wizards. Also, a lot of poorly pronounced Italian.

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Chris,

 I have an NPC by the name of Mercy Ashdown... a Harry Potter-esque name, methinks. I found a list of popular Victorian names that I'm using for some NPCs. Others are people from history, such as Alessandro Cagliostro, Dante Alighieri, Avicenna, and John Dee. But others are just weird... Scratch, Jink and Ferminous Grump.

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Chris,

 I have an NPC by the name of Mercy Ashdown... a Harry Potter-esque name, methinks. I found a list of popular Victorian names that I'm using for some NPCs. Others are people from history, such as Alessandro Cagliostro, Dante Alighieri, Avicenna, and John Dee. But others are just weird... Scratch, Jink and Ferminous Grump.

 

Please tell me you've got Francis Bacon and the Comte de Saint Germain as well!  

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How do magic and technology interact in your setting?  

Completely and seamlessly. So much, that I do not (now that you ask) even mention in the book. I might have to address that. You can enchant an SMG, have a phone booth that's Bigger On The Inside, and employ a smart phone as a focus for casting spells. Old school wizards, like Cagliostro and such, do not use much in the way of technology, but more modern mages, Dante Morse, Scratch (Khunrath's Apprentice), Skid and Aubree have technological foci. (Truthfully, Aubree has but a few, she normally casts using a bouquet of flowers and a lizard)

 

An evil NPC emailed an attack spell to a Player Character. (New Deep Discounts on Fireball Video Cards!!). Another NPC was saved to a USB drive as a method of imprisonment. There is a Killing Attack that leaves brass cartridges lying around so the cops won't think a murder was anything other than a typical street hit. (Do not leave a magical crime scene...They'll ask the wrong questions.)

 

The characters in the last go-around used:

 

1. no focus (she was a newborn dryad, using staffs and wands made her cry)

2. an electric whip (a Scourge, the guardians of Ravenna, who employ whips and magical tattoos)

3. a staff  (Anachronistic wizard)

4. a wand (Yet another Anachronistic wizard)

5. a smart phone. (Gunslinger... a Galaxy S4, I think)

 

My next NPC of note uses an umbrella, so really, the setting is all over the place.

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Did I happen to mention that I love everything about this setting?   :)

Why, no... you did not. But now that you have, Thanks! I'm cleaning up a copy for public use. It's hard, as I've ripped off so many Urban Fantasy novels, games and concepts that it is hard for me to state what's mine and what appeared (for example) in Ars Magica. I'm also working on increasing the detail of the thing. Its at 165 pages right now, and I might let it out to play soon.

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a lot of poorly pronounced Italian.

 

Did I happen to mention that I love everything about this setting?   :)

Everything?

You like a lot of poorly pronounced Italian?

 

Seriously, I'm intrigued too. And it's not like I understand Italian however it's pronounced.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says I'd be lucky to pronounce my own name correctly

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Why, no... you did not. But now that you have, Thanks! I'm cleaning up a copy for public use. It's hard, as I've ripped off so many Urban Fantasy novels, games and concepts that it is hard for me to state what's mine and what appeared (for example) in Ars Magica. I'm also working on increasing the detail of the thing. Its at 165 pages right now, and I might let it out to play soon.

 

I look forward to discussing it more! 

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The public copy is coming along nicely. I've removed the more overt rip-offs, added a bit on GMing Ravenna, and started a section on Campaign Themes, Group Composition and Adventure Seeds. Some of them are from actual play, others are being written by the Other Jeffery Keown. Added the Abyssals (a race of shape shifters in no way inspired by the Chaosians from Roger Zelazny's Amber... not at all. :angel: )

 

The first few games were played without this guide, so the characters in those early moments really defined the scope of character generation.  Since then, I've written about 433 pages for my other setting, Caleon. I might move some of the spells and processes over to Ravenna. It will have three effects; it will tie Ravenna to Caleon more deeply than it is currently, it will blow up my page count, and most importantly, broaden the scope of the game.

 

I think I'll do a bestiary as well.

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Okay. Deep Breath. Here it is.. still a work in progress, but I'm getting good feedback from Chris "Ravenna's Biggest Fan" Goodwin. His unending praise has fueled another revision, and now public access. This terrifies me.

 

As with anything I post, suggestions, feedback and out-right re-writes are encouraged. Such submissions will be edited (heavily) and included with appropriate credit and apologies where required.

 

Still need to work on Scourges, Ravens, House Descriptions.. more magical arcana and expanding the roles and descriptions of Collegio.

 

Enough of me. Download it. Be gentle, Heroes! :angst:

Ravenna Public.pdf

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Why, no... you did not. But now that you have, Thanks! I'm cleaning up a copy for public use. It's hard, as I've ripped off so many Urban Fantasy novels, games and concepts that it is hard for me to state what's mine and what appeared (for example) in Ars Magica. I'm also working on increasing the detail of the thing. Its at 165 pages right now, and I might let it out to play soon.

Remember: Steal from one, it's plagiarism. Steal from a dozen, and it's research!

 

Thank you for sharing the campaign guide. I'm noodling around with an Urban Fantasy campaign; I hope you can help me avoid reinventing the wheel a few times.

 

Dean Shomshak

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Perhaps I can. The setting really revolves around stealthy locations, Hidden Cities, Strange Places, Nascoti...  I didn't want overt magic that allow Mundanes to see a Dragon on the 6 o'clock news. The feel I'm going for is that Ravenna could be our world, with magic hiding just Under the Rug.

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Right. Updated File. Added:

 

The Machine - I mentioned it once and then did nothing with it. So under Threats, you'll find the armies of the Machine, a clanking, steam-powered threat that spreads via pop culture.  

Harpies - New Player Character Race. Expensive, but very characterful, I think.

Nye Powers - Weird mutant-like powers with weirder names.

 

Next update should include more GM stuff. Perhaps more detail on Parts Unknown, Examples of Strange Places and details on other Hidden Cities like Roma Aeter and Hafen.

Ravenna.pdf

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I think it's awesome that there's a harpy named Jennifer Rehnquist.  I mean, this is a half-human half-bird, and she's got such a normal sounding name.  (I'm assuming it could very well be an alias, but still.)

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It's not an alias. Harpies have come a long way since Homer's time.

 

A few weeks ago, my Player Character got a hold of her smartphone (She, strangely, was allowed to get away with a Devah's burnt feather). It was great fun having various awful characters call that phone over the next couple of sessions... sometimes in the middle of fights. I have no idea if they'll ever catch up with her again.

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Given she hangs out in Portland, she's American, I'm guessing?  

 

That led me to some questions: does she have a birth certificate issued by a US state?  Or do the various magical polities have their own equivalents?  If she has a smartphone she has a credit card or a checking account, which means she has some form of legal existence (credit rating... Social Security number?).  

 

Or is all of that handled with a few simple spells?  ("You don't need to see my identification...")

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