Author Topic: Legend as urban fantasy  (Read 2799 times)

Firewalk

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Legend as urban fantasy
« on: February 03, 2015, 06:17:49 PM »
Hi all, I'm currently looking into running a Legend game as a modern day urban fantasy (a sort of hidden magic/ ancient magical conspiracy/ monster hunter sort of thing) & am trying to work out a few things.

Firstly is the maintaining a World of Darkness style "masquerade" (ie. not letting normal people know weird things are going on). While this shouldn't be a major concern for magic in fights, are there any other problems. Would fighter types needing weapons with the [hold out] property or similar or having the risk of being separated from a main weapon be a major problem? Are there any other major issues I need to think about with this?

The second big thing is what to do with knowledge skills in this setting. While Medicine, Arcana, Engineering & Nature are all useful in such a modern fantasy setting, I can't think of enough things that History & Geography would be useful for. I'd be inclined to make history a "knowledge about monsters" skill, but I'd like to get an idea what sort of things this could mess up & what skill uses I'm neglecting to use.

Any other advice would be neat.

rejectedreality

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Re: Legend as urban fantasy
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2015, 07:45:31 PM »
History could totally be useful. In an urban fantasy setting, I wouldn't think it'd be totally crazy to think that historical events actually had some magic behind them, and knowing the truth about history could be helpful (ABE LINCOLN WAS A VAMPIRE HUNTER, AND ONE HAS RETURNED TO WREAK VENGEANCE ON ALL BEARDED MEN! :O )

Geography might be a bit less useful, but you could easily combine/add a sort of "streetwise" or knowledge local or something into it. It'd basically be the same, but more likely to be of use when looking for places to hide or something.

Tim4488

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Re: Legend as urban fantasy
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2015, 08:36:01 AM »
Geography can cover the geography of the city - knowledge about certain neighborhoods, certain famous locations, which streets you don't want to walk down at night, that sort of thing. I think Geography might also actually be the best skill to cover Knowledge (Local) things as rejectedreality mentioned like who the movers and shakers of the city are, current day politics, that sort of thing.

As for the masquerade/veil aspect, I think you should think about what your group will find most fun? If the group are the kind of folks who are going to have their immersion ruined if you let them carry around giant swords, then use [hold out] or other things to make that relevant. If your group is going to be annoyed by feeling like they're denied their best weapons all the time, then just ignore it. Really depends on the playstyle you and the group want.
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Tenno Seremel

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Re: Legend as urban fantasy
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2015, 12:14:28 PM »
If your group is going to be annoyed by feeling like they're denied their best weapons all the time, then just ignore it.

(suggestion) Handwave via hammerspace.

rejectedreality

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Re: Legend as urban fantasy
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2015, 05:26:45 PM »
I dunno, weapons could be part of some sort of glamour for normal people or something. So anyone involved in the supernatural sees them, but those who aren't just see... I dunno, nothing? Sticks?

That's kind of a question for the setting, I'd say. It would give Hold Out a dang good reason for existing, since it's not super useful in the campaigns I've run.

sfriedberg

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Re: Legend as urban fantasy
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2015, 02:27:19 PM »
So anyone involved in the supernatural sees them, but those who aren't just see... I dunno, nothing? Sticks?
In the Skin-Horse and Narbonic webcomics (heavy on mad science bizarre happenings), there's this world mechanic where normals/mundanes suffer from reality blindness.  They either don't perceive at all, or subconciously rationalize away, "impossible" things like talking dogs, zombie municipalities, etc.

Mystify

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Re: Legend as urban fantasy
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2015, 10:50:13 AM »
I agree with what others said about the skills. History is still relevant in an urban setting, and geography can be used for the geography of the city. an "identifying monsters skill" isn't needed, the other knowledges should cover it.

As for weapons, it really depends on what flavor you want. If everyone should have holdout weapons, and being caught with them would be problematic, then consider giving them all a free hold-out property to represent mascaraed nessecary weaponry. This allows you to mechanically use hold-out, without making it a tax. You could fluff it as a magical protection to make people not notice the weapons, them being collapsible, have it vary depending on the instance, whatever. Bear in mind that magic users often have [arcane] weapons, which may not be /as/ problematic for people to notice, but would probably look valuable and would be extra likely to be stolen, taken away when captured, etc, so they would also be interested in having it hidden. Esp. if its something big and obvious like a staff.
You could also take the suggested approach of handwaving it as hammerspace, so everyone has some magical ability to conceal their weapons, maybe an extradimensional sheath, for instance. Or a general principle that people will notice the weapons, but assume they are fake (they must be props, they are going to a ren fair, etc). If you get stopped by the police, however, they will be more scrutinizing, so actually having a way to hide your weapon is beneficial. This may make holdout or extradimensional useful, without being nessecary.

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Kip Shades

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Re: Legend as urban fantasy
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2015, 06:12:14 PM »
Sorry to dig up this old topic, but along the lines of sfriedberg's comment, if you're looking for something more strange and over-the-top I'd look at how JoJo's Bizarre Adventure handles interactions between the fantastic and the mundane, as one of the things about Stands is that unless they're particularly powerful, ordinary people cannot perceive them, only the effects that they have on the world around them.  When Star Platinum beats the shit out of a shark, mundanes don't actually see it getting beaten up, they just see the shark getting thrown around by some unseen force.  It also gives some interesting examples of the supernatural stuff's impact on history, particularly parts 1, 2, and 7.  You have Jack the Ripper as a vampire, intelligent zombies in the RAF, psychic powers that manifest in the form of guardian spirits (which can be granted by ancient arrows formed from meteoric iron, parts of the preserved corpse of a saint, or an odd geological phenomenon that occurs within a small town in Japan), and Benjamin Harrison losing the 1888 election to a man named Funny Valentine with abilities granted by one of the aforementioned corpse parts.  You also had groups like the Speedwagon Foundation, a private nonprofit paramilitary organization dedicated to handling (and possibly covering up) supernatural incidents.

I'd also look at the Shin Megami Tensei games.  Persona (Which is basically SMT with demons as JoJo's-esque fighting spirits) had a major corporation that may or may not have been a front for a yakuza organization conducting research on twisted manifestations of peoples' inner selves, called Shadows, including developing weaponized androids designed to combat them.  In Devil Survivor, supernatural entities are only visible to those with a certain custom firmware for a specific model of smartphone.  As for the weapons issue, that's actually addressed.  In Persona 3, they operate mostly after midnight, and in Persona 4, one party member gets himself and the protagonist arrested for waving weapons around in a big box store's food court while basically yelling about how much he loves swords.  While there's an investigation going on surrounding a string of murders.  It's hilarious.

I'd also point out that the hold-out property could be used for stuff other than glamoured, collapsible, or mundane but easily-concealable weapons.  Perhaps someone has an everyday object that they use as a weapon.  Canes, umbrellas, and walking sticks are especially useful for this, from sword canes to a mage using one as a short staff to just using one that's balanced so it can be used as a bludgeoning weapon.  Maybe they wield a shovel, an ice scraper, or a squeegee in a similar manner.  Or maybe they wield a folding chair like a pro wrestler.  And of course, enchanted musical instruments.  Nothing's more fun than fighting evil with the power of rock.  Or just pulling an El Kabong and whacking someone with a guitar.

Spoiler
You should totally have something about an entire presidency turning out to be a cover-up to prevent information from getting out about a magically/psionically-gifted president (preferably with a ridiculous name based on a song or band) who nearly broke the masquerade.  Bonus points if it's Benjamin Harrison.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2015, 07:55:26 PM by Kip Shades »