roleplaying games

After-action report: Urban Shadows, May 25

Last night I started up what will hopefully be a long-running new game, running Urban Shadows in person. For the first session we got through character creation and some of the beginnings of broader world outlining, but after about 2.5 hours it was past ten and people were starting to conk out.

There are four protagonists in this game. Sun is a woman who sold her soul to a demon in order to provide a safe and comfortable life for her daughter in the States. Selan is a werewolf who feels obligated to protect a group of runaways and orphans who live in his territory in the city, but also wants to move on and avoid being tied down. Scarlett is a demon hunter who took up the family business, but also hangs around with the very supernatural creatures she was taught to kill. And last but not least, Sierra is a wizard who took up the arcane traditions of her ancestors, but is still conflicted over the choice to abandon her old life.

This initial session was a bit bumpier than my initial for Apocalypse World, mostly because of less familiarity with the system and more openness in the setup. In Apocalypse World, I also had an initial framework, which got people thinking immediately, something I didn’t provide much of here. Still, overall the session was just as successful, generating some really interesting relationships and ideas. I feel like the NPCs we got out of the process were a little thin on antagonists, but I’m going to try and move that along as we keep playing.

The next step for me is to take the notes I have, as well as the information about the player characters and their debts, and start filling out some details. We talked about some locations, like Selan’s territory and Sierra’s sanctum, using the details we developed I can fill in some city-centric specifics. The game is ostensibly taking place in Boston, which will help enrich my image of the world and hopefully the players’ images as well.

With AW still on back burner for the online group, our next session in two weeks will likely be the first legit session of a *World game I run. I’m looking forward to it.


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