Tag Archives: Urban Fantasy

Black Magic & Haywire

So even more rants on New Bay City and Dark Streets & Darker Secrets. This week I want talk about Black Magic and Haywire. Both of these are standard tropes. How many times have read/heard something like vile arcane rituals? How about the characters are running away from the monster and the car doesn’t start? Both of those are examples. It’s not secret that I’m a fan of the Dresden Files and both of these things figure prominently in the books.
Now, Black Magic doesn’t need too much of tweak. There’s already plenty of Gifts that cause automatic Corruption or Sanity loss. However, (just based on my own interpretation) a few more should have that caveat. Namely, Cannibalize and Transfer Life. Of course, there may be more but that should be based on the Concept being used for the Character and for the Gift.
Now on to Haywire. Yes, this plays big into the Dresden Files. I also remember from Pacesetter Games’ Creature Feature. So I’m approaching this two ways. First, Gifted Characters that don’t have the Haywire Gift. It’s just a form backlash. Screw up a spell and trash everybody’s cell phone, laptop. or whatever high tech device happens to be around. And there’s the actual gift.
Haywire
This gift disrupts the use of high tech devices within medium range for PL turns. Maybe resisted with a successful Luck check.

Pretty simple actually and I’ve got a few more random thoughts to throw out there. So this campaign might be postponed a bit. We do an alternating GM thing in our group. One GM one week, then the other the next. It works and helps reduce GM burnout. But one thing we do is avoid very similar campaigns. That’s so the players don’t get confused about what’s going on and keeps the games and genres fresh. So he’s wanting to run Scion. And folks are pretty excited about it. So this may get postponed a bit. But that doesn’t mean my ideas will. So stay tuned for more. And it just may mean I start blogging about my brainstorming for another campaign.

New Bay City: Factions

I continue to work on my campaign for Dark Streets & Darker Secrets. One thing I want to talk about now is overall world setting and factions.
The biggest difference (IHMO) in this setting is that there aren’t any huge international conspiracies or group. Most of the supernatural factions hold or at least vie for power on a much more local level. But that doesn’t mean that such large organizations don’t exist. But generally the more territory a group tries to cover, the thinner their power is spread. So let’s talk about the big groups first in this post.

1. The Inquisition*: Yes, the Vatican knows about the supernatural and tries to keep things in check. With that being said, The Inquisition may be far reaching internationally, it’s also one of the smallest group. The group is intentionally kept small. It’s easier to maintain secrecy and security that way. While they get some legal leeway thanks to the Church, they don’t get that much. And generally to maintain some plausible deniability, members of the Inquisition are usually “excommunicated” or “defrocked”. The modern Inquisition isn’t a crazed fanatical organization. They are more about protecting the innocents than just hunting monsters because they are monsters. They know they are outnumbered. Inspiration: John Carpenter’s Vampires, Bloody Mallory.

2. The Wardens: Yes, I took the name from the Dresden Files. This is a loose network of civilian monster hunters. They generally work alone or in small teams. There is no real organization or hierarchy. Wardens are up to their own devices as far as financing their own operations. Compared to the Inquisition, the Wardens have a much deeper connection with the Supernatural world having contacts and informants to keep tabs on the happenings in the shadows. Because of this many Wardens also end up acting as diplomats or at least neutral parties between the local factions. If a Warden takes up permanent residence in a large city, they make it their territory acting as sort of sheriff, judge, jury, execution, and as said before diplomat. Inspirations: Grimm, Buffy, Supernatural, Lost Boys (The Frog Brothers).

3. The Network: Law enforcement isn’t totally ignorant of the Supernatural but they really can’t say or do anything officially. That doesn’t keep various law enforcement officials from various jurisdictions from sharing information and offering insight into what might be going on. The few members of the Network probably know the least, they do their best to keep too much mundane crimes with supernatural connections under control. Inspiration: Twin Peaks, True Detective, X-Files

And yes, there some specific local factions in New Bay City but that’s for the next post.

*It’s a fictional world, ok? It doesn’t reflect the real world.

New Bay City: A Partial Appendix V

Just what the hell is Appendix V? Well, us old grognards know Appendix N from the original DMG. Well, Appendix V is sort of like a list of inspirations but in this case the V stands for Video. So sit back and grab a gander at some of the video inspirations for New Bay City. I won’t go into each and every one but try to hit some of the possibly lesser know or at least one’s I like a lot.
I’d say the biggest influence is The Dresden Files. Unfortunately, the short lived series wasn’t that great. The fans did make a decent trailer.

But then fans also made some pretty shorts too.

And there’s the possibility of a reboot and Jim Butcher has confirmed it on reddit.
Of course, you can’t talk about the modern urban fantasy genre without mentioning Buffy. But remember it was movie before it was a TV series. Crap, vampire PeeWee Herman.

Lost Girl was great series at least for the first season. It did go a little down hill after that IHMO.

Hey remember this Marvel Movie? Yeah, Blade. It was a TV Series too.

Let’s head across the pond for a bit. First up, Bloody Mallory. A really low-budget French film.

But if you want something just plain awesome and higher up on the way cool list. There’s Nightwatch. This is a damned good Russian film. And this is one of those few cases where the movie is much better than the trailer.

Everything doesn’t have to be serious. Everybody knows Army of Darkness and Big Trouble in Litte China but how about some Lesbian Vampire Killers. Really.

And I’m not limiting it TV and Movies. There was (or maybe still is) an MMO called Secret World. I’ve never played it but the cinematic trailers rocked.

So there you go. By no means the complete list and may some of it inspire you as well.

Minor Psychics

I find a game and then go crazy on it. And such is the case with Dark Streets and Darker Secrets. And as I’ve said before there are a lot of ideas bouncing around inside my head. There’s redoing New Bay City and putting some gentle modifications DS&DS better fit. And in that vein, here’s the first installment. Going through my old New Bay City notes and going through the rule book, I noticed that one of the NPC’s just didn’t quite fit and I also wanted to have this option open for player characters. So the idea of the Minor Psychic took form.

First, the Minor Psychic is not an Archetype but an option that can be added onto any other Archetype except for The Gifted. This isn’t a flash bang type power. Instead the character has visions, can perform Psychometry, minor acts of divination and just get a bad feeling about a person, place, or thing. The GM can use at their discretion to give the PC’s a clue, lead, or even a warning. Heck, it’s even good to use as an adventure hook.
Of course, the players will want to actually use this too. The quick and easy method: Just make a Luck Check. If you want to go with something different, I’ve got an alternate idea. Make a Willpower Test using 2d20. If both dice fail, then no vision/nothing. If one succeeds then there’s some quick and vague visions. If both dice succeed then the character has a much clearer and more accurate vision.
Like I said before, this ability is tacked onto an existing archetype but it ain’t free. When the character’s ability manifested there probably wasn’t anyone around who could explain it to them or guide them. Therefore, the character begins play with 1d6 less Sanity than normal.
There you go and more to come. Unpleasant Dreams!

Dark Streets & Darker Secrets: Returning to New Bay City

Well, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Old Skull Publishing’s games. I’m working on a couple of things for Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells and Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. Well, the newest game Dark Streets & Darker Secrets is running on Kickstarter with three days left. It’s a quick Kickstarter with a planned quick fulfillment. That’s because the text is already done. So check it out and back it if you want.

I ranted during the most recent episode about “The Next Campaign”. Well, this week I’ve some more time to think and go down a couple of Internet wormholes and digging through depths of the hard drive and then dark places of “The Closet” to find all my own notes for New Bay City. New Bay City is my own urban fantasy setting. It’s a fictional city on the Texas Gulf Coast that’s sort of a combination of Houston, New Orleans and Sunnydale. I’ve done two full blown campaigns there. One with World of Darkness and then with the Dresden Files RPG. I also did a couple of one shots. A rather ill fated attempt to use the Hero System and another Savage Worlds using some reskinned East Texas University stuff. So yeah. I know the place and it evolves to match whatever game system that I happen to use.
So it’s time to start reskinning and doing some little rules tweaks. So stay tuned for that. Possibly some new Archetypes. Maybe? A few other little things. Right now they’re bouncing around inside my head. Those posts are coming as the ideas come together. But right now. Check out the Kickstarter. I mean damn you even to read the rules before you back it. How cool is that?