Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 27: City Design

City design is sort of a follow-up post to Favourite City/Setting - especially since my favourite Requiem city is a city design book.

So go check out Damnation City, whatever game you prefer. Come back when you have. ;)

To the centre of the city of night 
Waiting for you 
Joy Division, Shadowplay 

So to avoid repeating myself there, and in Favourite Chronicle Concept, what does a city need?

Vampires and people, of course.

Quite a few vampires - someone in charge or at least apparently in charge, someone who wants to be in charge, supporters, apparent supporters, someone keeping order, someone in charge of clans, covenants and other power blocs, coteries going about their business, loners best avoided...

And also quite a few people. Touchstones and Backgrounds/Merits. Victims. Threats. Police, doctors, paramedics, coroners. Reporters. Unwitting or witting servants of vampire power structures - from gangs serving Kindred criminals to the staff of a gallery used as Elysium. Hunters. People who would become hunters if they learn too much. Occult experts who know enough to deal with vampires with great care.

What else? What can you drop in that fits the atmosphere you want? I tend to keep the other supernaturals at arm’s length - there are no wizards in Near Dark, or even other vampires outside the gang, although Anne Rice has brought quite a few other things into her Chronicles. I also run other games that feature a wide variety of creatures. And it can be easy for fans of the Worlds Of Darkness to expect werewolves to be Garou or Gauru and ghosts to be Wraiths or Geists, for example, rather than something else I had in mind. 

Some story hooks. Things for the characters to look into, trip over and fall afoul of.

Landmarks and other visuals, perhaps a recurring motif. Look at the start of the list for Forged In Steel:

Old tattered billboards
Beyond hope, beyond despair
Rust - Rust Belt
Steel mills, factories
Chain-link fences
Poverty-stricken, deteriorating streets
Abandoned houses

Local legends that may or may not be true. What is the truth about the “haunted house” at the end of that street?

What is real, based on the world we know, and what is exaggerated or created whole cloth? For example, the sample setting in Damnation City is fictional but recognisable, with enough history and diverse neighbourhoods to feel real. The City in Never Let Go is never named, it’s The City. (It might be close to New York judging by the Requiem Clanbooks. Or it might not.)

I’ve avoided setting games in my home of Edinburgh because I like having a free hand to change things if I have to and that’s harder to do when the setting is right outside - although Edinburgh is a great Gothic-Punk setting, with a rich history, a high number of hauntings and the clashing architecture of the Old and New Towns giving it the feel that seeped into Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde...

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