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» Urban Arcana Part III, Globetrotting fantasy-noir
dingo
 Posted: May 12 2014, 04:36 PM
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It has been roughly two years since the end of the last Urban Arcana game, and it seems we're due for a continuation!

The campaign will feature a fairly similar play style to the previous games: an emphasis on RP and world-development, with themes of mystery, heroism, and conspiracy. However, as requested, the setting will be expanded beyond the city of New York, to include new locales for the heroes to explore.

I am waffling somewhat on which system to use. Current candidates are D20 Modern, Storyteller, and Cortex. I would like input from interested players on which system would suit this game best (and of course I'm open to other systems not mentioned). The main criterion is a balance between flexibility and robustness. I want to be able to find creative solutions to situations in the moment and not spend hours prepping a single combat scene, while also relying on the system to cover gaps in knowledge.

I am willing to run this for 3 or 4 players. Anyone wanting to resurrect their old character from a previous arc is more than welcome to do so. So, who is in?

This post has been edited by dingo: May 12 2014, 04:41 PM
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trick
 Posted: May 13 2014, 01:21 PM
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Greg brought this up at James' RPG last week. I'm interested. I think I might want to play my old character too.

Good luck with deciding on a system to work with.
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Greg
 Posted: May 13 2014, 06:10 PM
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I would need more examples on "gaps in knowledge" to provide any good suggestions. What I'm guessing is that it supports some sort of magic system vaguely similar to that of D&D, (unlike the very raw version of Fate that we tried).

The positive side of D20 modern is that it is designed alnmost specifically for running D&D in a modern setting. Negative side is that it is not terribly freeform in terms of character creation, and isn't mechanically conducive to roleplaying. I am still in support of the possibility of us using it.

Storyteller has the benefit of being a system that we all are familiar with, and is also what we've used primarily for past Urban Arcana games. The negative side of the Storyteller is 1) it is something we've used VERY extensively over the past three years, and 2) Unless you have a supernatural template, combat is devastating. I would personally prefer a system that is a bit more supportive of letting the PCs feel like badasses. If we can get Tobin a template or something that lets him do crazy stunts like jumping off buildings, then I am all for it!

Cortex... That really depends on what iteration. The cortex system is ridiculously diverse in terms of how it works. Compare the Firefly RPG to the Marvel RPG for example, and they look nothing alike. How on-board I am to this system really depends on what you go with. I'm guessing there are rules or at least homebrews that you can rip off the internet for putting magic in a modern setting. While I doubt we actually would, it might be interesting to try using one of the more recent iterations of Cortex, such as the Smallville or Marvel games to run Urban Arcana.

Shadowrun as a possibility also looks potentially good. The current edition that came out last year looks pretty solid, and while I think that it does still have character classes, I think it is still fairly free-form in terms of attribute and skill assignment. The primary issue would be that we would likely have to scale down the tech, but I believe doing so would remove an important balancing factor between magical and non-magical characters. We could cheat this a bit, however, if this arc is set a decade or so in the future, but I don't know if you really want to do that.

Fate in it's raw form is a bit too light for our tastes, though they may have better rules for adding magic in the newer edition that came out within the past couple years. Also, the Dresden RPG may be worth looking at too, as it is also an Urban Fantasy game, though it feels more closer to World of Darkness than Urban Arcana.

I hope this feedback is more helpful than frustrating.

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Aggregate
 Posted: May 13 2014, 07:27 PM
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D20 Modern
Pro
-Urban Arcana rules already written
-Classic d20 SRD action
Con
-No narrative, rp or on-the-fly-creativity support in the system (not saying there’s anything to stop you from doing it, there’s just nothing there to help you do it)
-Spend hours prepping a single combat scene

WoD
Pro
-We have used this system a lot in the past few years
Con
-We have used this system a lot in the past few years

Cortex+ (specifically cortex+ dramatic)
Pro
-An emphasis on RP and world-development
-Be able to find creative solutions to situations in the moment and not spend hours prepping a single combat scene
Con
-Rules may be more open-ended than our group prefers. Does not cover gaps in knowledge
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dingo
 Posted: May 18 2014, 08:56 AM
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Alright, while I haven't decided yet on the system (leaning towards Cortex+), I think we can go ahead and start talking like this thing is going to happen. It sounds like most people will be using their previous characters, which is great.

What I would like to do is to meet up in the next week to look at what we want out of this arc. I have particular themes I'm interested in, and I've heard some requests from a few of you. It has been quite a long time since we last did an Urban Arcana story, so I'm sure there are things we can improve on from last time, now that we're all a little wiser. So the main questions we'll try to answer will be about what we want this time: play style changes, character arcs, themes, methodology, etc.

Who would be available to meet at Greg's on Monday (Victoria Day) evening? Are there alternative days that work better? I'm fairly free these days.
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Aggregate
 Posted: May 18 2014, 09:32 AM
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Monday works for me.
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trick
 Posted: May 18 2014, 11:44 AM
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Monday does not work for me, It's my bible study night. Tuesday or Wednesday do though.
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Greg
 Posted: May 18 2014, 12:19 PM
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I should be able to either Monday or Tuesday.
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dingo
 Posted: May 18 2014, 10:13 PM
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Let's try for Tuesday evening, 7.15pm. Who would be willing to host? It'd be nice to have a change in scenery.
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mandlebrot
 Posted: May 19 2014, 01:31 PM
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Hey, I'm interested, Monday or Tuesday works for me. I don't have a character yet though and I'm still a little unclear about how the setting looks.
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Greg
 Posted: May 19 2014, 06:03 PM
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I can host at my place for tomorrow.
I can host at my place for tomorrow. As for not having a character, that's not really a problem since you won't have to try and shoehorn a character in. We're dingo hasn't quite nailed down the system we'll be using just yet. Currently, we're looking at one of the more recent iterations of Cortex, but whether we are going with the an Action, Dramatic, or Heroic version of Cortex plus is still up in the air.
I can host at my place for tomorrow. As for not having a character, that's not really a problem since you won't have to try and shoehorn a character in. We're dingo hasn't quite nailed down the system we'll be using just yet. Currently, we're looking at one of the more recent iterations of Cortex, but whether we are going with the an Action, Dramatic, or Heroic version of Cortex plus is still up in the air.
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dingo
 Posted: May 20 2014, 10:23 AM
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So to confirm, we are meeting at 7:15 at Greg's this evening. See you all there!

Also, I've been looking through the Cortex and Cortex Plus Hacker's Guide books, and considering the level and significance of magic in Urban Arcana, it seems that I'll have to do quite a lot of hacking to make the system hold up to the demands of the game. What I'm going to do instead is use d20 Modern, with a few alterations. I do need the robust magic system that d20/DnD offers, but in practice we have the right to bend or disregard rules that don't work for us.

If you don't all have the d20 Modern rulebook, we can share PDF's tonight.
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trick
 Posted: May 20 2014, 11:10 AM
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Woops, I didn't see this till now and I made some plans for this evening with some people. How bad would it be if I showed up late, like at 10 pm?
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Greg
 Posted: May 20 2014, 12:44 PM
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@dingo: Yeah. Playtesting D&D 5th edition taught me that while the game supports heavily detailed grid based combat, you can simplify things by being descriptive and keeping enemy stats down to what you can either keep in your head or would take less than a minute to write down. If you have even a passing understanding on game balance, you can probably get away with whatever seems to work best in the situation, rather than doing rule look ups every other minute.

@trick: Having you show up at around 10:00 shouldn't throw too much of a wrench in the plan, as long as you don't have any major issues with any of the decisions we make before you show up.

This post has been edited by Greg: May 20 2014, 12:52 PM
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trick
 Posted: May 20 2014, 02:49 PM
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I think I'll just have to live with any choices you guys make. It's my own fault for being absentminded.

I think it'll be fine anyways. I'm pretty happy with the 'feel' that dingo is trying to go for.

This post has been edited by trick: May 20 2014, 02:51 PM
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