[Dresden Files] Gateway City: Newark in Dresdenverse

Robert Bohl

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So I have been honored to be invited into the "bleeding edge" Dresden Files RPG playtest. The first official task we were given was to Dresden-up a city using the city rules. This is at about the 75% done stage, but I'm excited and want to share. I should note that I have not read a single Dresden book and only watched the show a couple of times, so some of what I have here might not be totally in theme for Dresden. Please take such failings as my own, and not as those of Evil Hat. Here it is:

Aspects

* Corruption at every level
* A new day is dawning
* The Riots hang like an ancient curse
* Former industrial hub
* Extreme poverty
* Hub of transportation and commerce
* Black wizards' haven
* There are gateways, then there are Gateways
* Mainstream religions are infiltrated
* Rich mystical ethnic traditions
* Abandoned by The White

Who cares about the city?

After decades of neglect, The White Council sees the error of its ways and wants back in to the city. In their absence, black wizards have formed a cabal--Feiticeiro Negro --too strong for the Council to eradicate easily. On the other hand, the lack of meddling by the Council has allowed the Fellowship of St. Giles to gain a foothold; the neglected finding home in a city of neglected people.

Overall, dark forces are drawn to the city for the way it breeds and sustains human misery. All three vampiric courts hold sway, and major demonic activity seems to be drawn to the "gateways" that give the city its name. Faeries, meanwhile, are not very common. This may be due to the heavy influence of industrial production in the city's development.

Who keeps the peace?

Newark is kept from exploding by mutually assured destruction. While there are many extremely powerful corrupting influences in the city, they must carefully keep the Accords with one another lest the good times come to a sudden and complete halt. It is said that the '67 riots resulted from one side or another momentarily gaining a monopoly on power. The city almost tore itself apart then.

How do mortals cope?

As the established mainstream religions are so thoroughly coopted, mortals have turned to the rich folk traditions which have been allowed to flourish among the many insulated ethnic communities in the city. There also appears to be some hand at work trying to protect the citizenry: do the streets flood after rains because there is no money to deal with the problem, or to give mortals some running water to hide behind? Were the riots a hell-spawned paroxysm of hatred, or were they a cleansing fire which wiped away even worse corruption?

What interests a supernatural tourist?

Gateway City is aptly named: Newark is riddled with gateways to the Nevernever. However, few of these gates are permanent. Rather, many appear spontaneously and flicker out just as swiftly. The few permanent gateways are jealously guarded and often secret.

As below, so above: The network of railways, airlines, and shipping containers that pass through Newark have a great deal of utility to denizens of the supernatural world, both as powerful concordances for magic having to do with passage and transference, and for more mundane concerns which even the unearthly require.

Many also come to Newark in search of the kind of black arts, mere curiosity about which would ordinarily bring hard questions. The presence of this darkness also draws those who feel the need to act against it; many use Newark as a training ground for those who wish to hunt evil and some seek the most powerful foes out of Quixotic nihilism.
 

Robert Bohl

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I come bearing praises and critique, in the form of elaboration on the process that got me where I am thus far.

First, I failed to mention that the draft rules were helpful to me in that they very strongly encouraged me to do research on the city. Even thinking about doing so brought a bunch of ideas to the fore, then actually doing so produced a wealth of information. I'm not sure how much of that got into the Aspects I've created thus far, but I expect it'll be useful in the future.

On the other hand, the layout of that chapter so far (and keep in mind, this is a super-mega-early draft which is in no way ready for publication, so I offer this solely as a fresh-eyes way of helping the Evil Hat guys out) lead me to believe that I should be coming up with some Aspects early on. Now I think that the entire process was supposed to lead me to come up with a bunch of junk, then refine that into a list of Aspects. I'm also not sure how many Aspects I'm supposed to come up with for the city. I think it would be helpful, in the final book, to have something like a flow chart or worksheet that leads you through every step of the process. I should also mention that I need to do a careful re-read of the chapter to make sure there's not stuff I'm just missing.
 

mitchw

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I'm also not sure how many Aspects I'm supposed to come up with for the city.
Your list of aspects is interesting and would be good for a general urban fantasy game but it doesn't quite feel like the Dresden universe IMO.

I guess the biggest reason I feel this way is because of the aspects "* Black wizards' haven" and "* Abandoned by The White".

In the books, a black wizard is very, very bad (on the level of the uni-bomber or a son-of-sam type killer in the real world) and the white counsel would not let one city become that infested with them. Even the Fae and the vampire courts would not be happy to let one place get that one-sided.

Maybe milder versions of your aspects like "* The White Counsel is stretched thin" and "* Someone's recruiting for the other side here"

Mitch
 

mpascal02

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Your list of aspects is interesting and would be good for a general urban fantasy game but it doesn't quite feel like the Dresden universe IMO.

I guess the biggest reason I feel this way is because of the aspects "* Black wizards' haven" and "* Abandoned by The White".

In the books, a black wizard is very, very bad (on the level of the uni-bomber or a son-of-sam type killer in the real world) and the white counsel would not let one city become that infested with them. Even the Fae and the vampire courts would not be happy to let one place get that one-sided.

Maybe milder versions of your aspects like "* The White Counsel is stretched thin" and "* Someone's recruiting for the other side here"

Mitch
I agree with Mitch. Thinking about it, the White Council has their executioner/enforcer, who's admitted responsiblity for Tunguska, New Madrid, and Krakatoa, as well as dropping a satellite on a vampire stronghold. If there was a city where there was a cabal of black mages working openly (more or less), the Council would probably be voting unanimously to just wipe the city off the face of the Earth and be done with it. If you tone it down a bit, as Mitch suggested, it'd fit a lot better with the Dresdenverse.

Still, I look forward to hearing anything more about the Dresden Files RPG that you can share with us in the future! ^_^
 

Robert Bohl

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Mitch,

Thanks for your comments. As I've said, I am a Dresden newbie. However, let me provide some details that weren't in the writeup. My notion is that as bad as the '67 riots were for Newarkers, it was like a holocaust in the supernatural community. Simultaneous to this (or shortly thereafter), New York City got really horrible as well. The White Council was struggling to stay afloat there and gave up on Newark. It's only now that it's got its shit together enough to start dealing with things seriously, and whatever nuclear strike option the White Council has, the black cabal has one too.

Given that this doesn't happen in the books, is it directly contradicted by them? I'm willing to wiggle. I don't want to violate the Dresdenality of it too much. On the other hand, I think it's ok to do things that haven't happened before.
 

mitchw

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whatever nuclear strike option the White Council has, the black cabal has one too.
Who and what the 'black cabal' is has only been hinted at up through the current books. In fact, only a few people in the supernatural world even suspect that such a group exist.

Again, not a bad idea for a non-canon game but not in line with the official universe.

That does bring up a question. Are you testing the rules to see if you can stay in the official universe or just testing them to see what kind of city you can create? If it's the later then I don't see any problems with your set-up.

Mitch
 

Robert Bohl

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See I didn't even know a black cabal was a thing in the Dresdenverse. I thought I made that up.

Subtler might work fine. I still like the White Council having abandoned Newark in the past and trying to make inroads now, but perhaps the black cabal is not an open thing. Would that work more in canon?

As to your question, I have a couple of intents (in no particular order):

1) To test out the DFRPG rules.

2) To create a fun city for my friends and I to have a game in.

3) To publicize DFRPG to fans of FATE and Dresden Files.

It is to this final end (and the fact that one of my group is a Dresden fan, which blurs 2 and 3 a bit) that I want to be true to the books as much as possible, while still keeping things fun for my friends and I.
 

flymolo

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Somewhat random question if you can answer:
Is the city creation designed for the GM or for a collaborative brainstorm the world, then do group char gen?
 

Robert Bohl

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Somewhat random question if you can answer:
Is the city creation designed for the GM or for a collaborative brainstorm the world, then do group char gen?
At this stage, the city creation leaves room for group or individual creation. I'm doing it solo because I wanted to get moving on this and it was going to be a while before my group would get together. However, my usual preference would be to do it as a group.
 
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