Austin in the Dresden-verse

Master of the Game

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#1
This is my group's first attempt to create a city using the city-creation rules in the Dresden RPG. I've only read the first four novels, so what I have here may not jive completely with what came after, but here goes:


Outsiders point to Austin, Texas as an eclectic blend of the liberal and conservative, tech savvy and environmentalism, party town, and business center. This perception, however, barely reaches below the surface, no matter how hard the chamber of commerce tries to force the illusion.

This city isn’t some beautiful blend of ideology; it’s a town at war with itself. Environmentalists strike socially, politically, and economically at any attempt to bring business into town. New businesses bring pressure against the city council to extort rules exceptions and tax abatements. The city council leans on its citizenry, rewording long-standing ordinances to fit their agendas and transforming the roads that form the city’s arteries into illegal toll-ways. And all the while the citizens argue with each other, fighting over special interests and private agendas to the point where reform is impossible.

Nothing but rats, fighting for high ground on a ship slowly sinking into chaos.

Aspects:

* State capital
* Warring ideology
* College town
* Live music capital
* Partying on 6th street.
* Keep Austin Weird
* Environmental battles
* Silicon hills
* Plugged in
* Bats at sundown
* Robert Venaliter owns this town

Who cares about the city?

Since the city was nearly abandoned by vampires of the Red Court in favor of better picking just to the south in San Antonio it has become a sort of haven for young wizards and hedge mages seeking to avoid the war. None of these are particularly powerful, but all feel a sort of vested interest in keeping the town neutral, and they’ve proven themselves willing to fight when necessary.

Just because the Red Court has abandoned the city, however, it doesn’t mean that the town is free of vampiric influence. Austin is well known as a party town, with 24/7 live music, bars, and college students out looking for a thrill. This is an image perpetuated and financed by the White Court, who find the young party-goers to be a virtual smorgasbord of emotion and appetite every weekend night.

Finally there’s the striking figure of Robert Vinaliter himself. A much-loved politician who keeps his fingers in every pie in the city, carefully riding the fence, simultaneously avoiding tying himself to any cause while convincing the people of the city that he supports them completely. Unimpeachable and untouchable, there is a darker side to Mr Venaliter however. The hedge mages of the city are convinced that he dabbles in the dark arts, and that the endangered bats that call the city home and give it its identity somehow answer to him, going forth at night as a legion of tiny spies gathering information for him to use against his enemies. Then again, they also believe that the toll roads serve as some sort of mystical process by which he purchases pieces of your energy a tiny bit at a time, so no one really takes such stories seriously.

Who keeps the peace?

For the longest time Austin was sort of a haven for the supernatural, kept as elysium by mutual unspoken accord. A group of aging hippy hedge mages did their best to keep the worst offenders in line, while the White Court made an example out of any of their own who went too far and began to scare away party goers and tourists.

Recently, however, there has been a subtle shift in the balance that threatens to ignite the chaos boiling just under the city’s surface. A new group of technologically adept vigilantes seems to be very aware of the supernatural in the city, and very willing to bring the finances and technology of the city’s formidable tech center to bear against it. No one knows quite what they do with the creatures they capture, but it’s clear that they see no difference between creatures of the Nevernever and mortal practitioners. Anyone who draws too much attention makes themselves a target. It’s true that they serve to keep the peace, but without a clear idea of who might really be behind their attacks (though hushed whispers speculate that a member of the Black Court might be seeking victims), one begins to wonder about their deeper motivations.

How do mortals cope?

Until recently the supernatural activity in Austin has been seen as little more than a joke, an urban myth the college kids use to scare one another when walking home from a late night on 6th street. Lately, however, one is forced to wonder. No one outright says that they believe something weird is going on; well, not supernaturally weird, but everyone can feel the subtle shift in the air, and they seem to subconsciously draw themselves into small groups of like-minded individuals, fighting their little economic and political struggles as a prelude to real war.

All the while they laugh at themselves and proudly proclaim: Keep Austin Weird, as though the mantra would ward off the truly disturbing creatures that roam their streets.

What interests a supernatural tourist?

As noted above, Austin is home to a number of supernatural creatures and practitioners. Most of whom would be glad to help a visitor to the city in exchange for their service in whatever is to come. The White Court makes an appealing offer to the young and disenfranchised, with party’s drugs, liquor, and music available on-call, and the town’s hedge mages work well together to provide holistic and spiritual guidance to those new to their power.

The Driskill Hotel, a famous Austin landmark, is also home to the Suicide Brides, a pair of ghosts who each committed suicide in room 525, 20 years apart on their wedding day. For years the room was bricked up and sealed off from the rest of the hotel to try and contain their curse, but ten years ago the current owns tore down the brick as part of the hotel’s renovation, only to find the bath tub filled with crystal clear water, though the faucet didn’t drip and the floor was completely dry. To this day it is said that one can go to the room and refill the tub with water to speak with the brides, who seem very self-aware and tuned into the spiritual happenings in the city.

Lastly, there dwells in Barton Springs an exiled noble fairy of the summer court who calls the underground spring and pool her home. She is said to make deals with other fey creatures and mortals alike to protect her home and grant her a measure of power in our world. This fairy, fashioning herself as “Lady of the Springs”, may well have given rise to the environmental movement that seems to have completely gripped south-west Austin, a movement most easily identified with the “Save Our Springs” (or, SOS) Alliance.



A note: The character of Robert Venaliter is completely fictional and not based on anyone really (except maybe a tad on our corrupt governor :) ). Also, I can't help but equate Willie Nelson in my mind with the hippy hedge wizards. Does that make Matthew McConaughey an apprentice?
 

Jason D

was just here
Validated User
#4
Not to derail, but has the Dresden game come out yet?
No.

The playtest is underway and the authors/publishers are encouraging the playtesters to share their experiences with it. It's like the opposite of an NDA: more of a PDA.
 

AusJeb

Dreaming One
Validated User
#5
Aspects:

* State capital
* Warring ideology
* College town
* Live music capital
* Partying on 6th street.
* Keep Austin Weird
* Environmental battles
* Silicon hills
* Plugged in
* Bats at sundown
* Robert Venaliter owns this town
As I mentioned in the Newark thread, I think that this is too many Aspects, and I think that you'd be better served by narrowing this list a bit, such as:

- The University and the Capitol
- Live Music Capital of the World
- Keep Austin Weird
- The Rednecks and the Hippies
- High rollin' tech town

I think that captures the atmosphere and conflicts in a shorter list.

Lastly, there dwells in Barton Springs an exiled noble fairy of the summer court who calls the underground spring and pool her home. She is said to make deals with other fey creatures and mortals alike to protect her home and grant her a measure of power in our world. This fairy, fashioning herself as “Lady of the Springs”, may well have given rise to the environmental movement that seems to have completely gripped south-west Austin, a movement most easily identified with the “Save Our Springs” (or, SOS) Alliance.
Nice. This is similar to my work-up for the Springs for a Werewolf campaign, where the political struggles about development over the aquifer were the outward manifestation of a campaign to corrupt the Springs through spiritual pollution of the aquifer.

Note, though, concern and protection of the Springs predates SOS by several decades.

Also, I can't help but equate Willie Nelson in my mind with the hippy hedge wizards. Does that make Matthew McConaughey an apprentice?
lol Again, with the WoD, he'd definitely be part of the Cult of Ecstasy.
 
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IntegralENT

New member
Validated User
#6
No.

The playtest is underway and the authors/publishers are encouraging the playtesters to share their experiences with it. It's like the opposite of an NDA: more of a PDA.
You mean they encourage people to hug and kiss and pet one another in the hallways? ;)

Also: * Robert Venaliter owns this town

Who's he?
 

Master of the Game

Registered User
Validated User
#7
As I mentioned in the Newark thread, I think that this is too many Aspects, and I think that you'd be better served by narrowing this list a bit, such as:

- The University and the Capitol
- Live Music Capital of the World
- Keep Austin Weird
- The Rednecks and the Hippies
- High rollin' tech town

I think that captures the atmosphere and conflicts in a shorter list.
Yeah, 11 may be a bit much, though I'd hate to scale it back quite so far. I guess it's an artifact of my Spirit of the Century experience, but my players love tapping anything and everything.

Nice. This is similar to my work-up for the Springs for a Werewolf campaign, where the political struggles about development over the aquifer were the outward manifestation of a campaign to corrupt the Springs through spiritual pollution of the aquifer.

Note, though, concern and protection of the Springs predates SOS by several decades.
Thanks. I know SOS is a more recent addition, that's why I went with "most easily identified with." I thought it might make it easier to give a face to the movement, something my players who are recent transplants can identify with. I see the Lady of the Springs having been around there for a very, very long time.

I really wanted to attach some mystical properties to the Round Rock as well, but I didn't want to crowd the entry too much. Besides, Round Rock is probably big enough to deserve its own entry eventually.

lol Again, with the WoD, he'd definitely be part of the Cult of Ecstasy.
:D

IntegralENT said:
You mean they encourage people to hug and kiss and pet one another in the hallways?
awww, I owe Kurt Wiegel a hug anyways :)

Also: * Robert Venaliter owns this town

Who's he?
Just a evil, magical politician I made up to serve as a long-term enemy. I go into a little detail on him under "Who cares about the city" added below:

me said:
Finally there’s the striking figure of Robert Vinaliter himself. A much-loved politician who keeps his fingers in every pie in the city, carefully riding the fence, simultaneously avoiding tying himself to any cause while convincing the people of the city that he supports them completely. Unimpeachable and untouchable, there is a darker side to Mr Venaliter however. The hedge mages of the city are convinced that he dabbles in the dark arts, and that the endangered bats that call the city home and give it its identity somehow answer to him, going forth at night as a legion of tiny spies gathering information for him to use against his enemies. Then again, they also believe that the toll roads serve as some sort of mystical process by which he purchases pieces of your energy a tiny bit at a time, so no one really takes such stories seriously.
I wanted someone so visible and connected that he was untouchable, and having the endangered bats as his lackies makes them more-or-less untouchable as well. Besides, the bats are too big a part of Austin to ignore.
 

iago

www.evilhat.com
Validated User
#9
No kidding. I'm seriously "bite my knuckles like a cartoon villain" jealous.
We had over 500 applicants for the damn thing, alas. But we hope to be able to figure out something to thank those who applied, even if they didn't make it in.

And this is just the first round of alpha-testing. More alphas, and more betas, await.
 
#10
We had over 500 applicants for the damn thing, alas. But we hope to be able to figure out something to thank those who applied, even if they didn't make it in.

And this is just the first round of alpha-testing. More alphas, and more betas, await.

Oh I know. I'm not getting on you guys or anything. Back a couple years ago, if you wanted an audition on Jeopardy, the first hurdle was that they pretty much picked a bunch of names at random from all the folks who sent in their info. Once you got over that hurdle, you got the actual audition. I didn't get picked for an audition until my sixth or seventh try. I figured it was kind of like that. I can be patient. :)
 
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