Thursday, January 24, 2013

Urban Fantasy: Stranger Shores

Note: In the next days I'll publish my notes for "Stranger Shores". I've already discarded the overall concept and will be going for something different. But after having written this already, I figured that I could as well publish it - and buy myself some more time to come up with an idea.

Finally, while starting to get my setting bible together, inspiration hit me. While I totally like Urban Fantasy, I want to do something different from the settings that have come before (e.g. Neverwhere, The World of Darkness, Urban Arcana, The Dresden Files, Supernatural, Buffy, Grimm, etc). The high school idea fell through with my players, and as much as I like Storm Calling, Storm Summoning and The Void from the FATE Core: Magic System Toolbox, I want to do my own thing. Something that I feel is uniquely my own idea. It's not going to be a mash-up like a lot of the settings in The FATE Worlds Compilation, it's going to be straight Urban Fantasy (uh..., well maybe not so straight, as I like me some queer content).

The premise, set to suitably dramatic introductory music.
On January 1, 2000 the world changed. Not for humanity, but for everyone else. The Otherworlds, whether called Faerie, Heaven or Hell simply closed. They threw out their tenants into the real world, the mortal realm, and shut their doors. Stripped of most of their powers, the faeries, angels and demons had to learn to live a mortal live. No longer immortal, they are vulnerable to accidents, diseases and violence. Only age does not hold dominion over them. Thirteen years have passed since then and the nightfolk has adapted to living unnoticed among the teeming masses of humanity, their numbers dwindled as a result of initial internecine conflicts. But cooler heads eventually prevailed, founding the Silver Settlement, delineating the rules of co-existence on Earth. In each city, a council is tasked with enforcing the rules of the settlement. You are those councillors and this is your story.
That is the premise. At first, what was still missing, was what the players are doing in the setting. I like the idea of them being some sort of police force enforcing the rule of the Silver Settlement. Unfortunately, that's also the point where it gets less original. Of course, the movie (and book franchise) Night Watch comes to mind, as well as the Wardens in the Dresden Files or Dogs in the Vinyard. But letting the player characters be a police force has several advantages. First, the player characters have a reason to stick together and involve themselves in the story. Secondly, the comment of a player about playing "competent" characters would be satisfied. Third, having them play authority figures within the setting is something I so far have rarely done, thus giving the campaign something unique. Maybe let's not call them a police force. They are not watchers, guardians or observers. They are councillors. People tasked with mediating disputes and organizing the co-existence of the various factions.

Okay, let's see what my net gains and losses are. I feel that I have a sufficiently original concept, something that hopefully engages the players. The concept offers a perspective on Urban Fantasy that I feel is somewhat unique. While the entities are still old, they are new to Earth. They are forced to contend with everyday life as oppossed to being set appart like in the World of Darkness. What I am losing is the human angle and the connections to a mortal family. Friends certainly figure into it, but no family.

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