View Full Version : Need an Urban Fantasy system

2012-12-19, 02:29 AM
Hey, I'm thinking of running a quick campaign soon, and I wanted to get and urban fantasy sort of setting and game system. But it needs to have two things

1) There needs to be magic available to the players, and would preferably have more than blasters.
2) Guns and melee should both be viable.
3) Needs to be fairly easy to learn.

Thanks in advance.

Edge of Dreams
2012-12-19, 02:44 AM
Dresden Files RPG.



It's based on the FATE system, which is pretty easy to learn.

Wizards can both blast and do ritual spells that do more complex stuff.

Playable character archetypes include vampires, werewolves, other were-animals, focused spellcasters (e.g. that guy who does ONLY fire magic or ONLY talks to ghosts), wizards, pure mortals, changelings (child of a magical creature and a mortal), and people of faith (your faith makes you powerful, but it doesn't necessarily have to be faith in god).

Guns and Melee both work great. Guns have the range advantage, but melee characters who invest in Strength and Speed powers (such as werewolves and some changelings) can be very deadly.

And it's all based on the amazing series, the Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher - it's about a wizard private eye who solves magical crimes in modern Chicago, and gets tangled up with faeries, vampires, werewolves, necromancers, and even fallen angels.

2012-12-19, 02:50 AM
Dresden Files sounds like a good choice. Another idea is to use Spirit of the Century and homebrew a few Occult stunts that will let you use magic more overtly. The big advantage SotC has here is that, in addition to being based on FATE, it's absolutely free - you can legally find an OGL on the internet.

2012-12-19, 05:29 AM
Witchcraft (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/692/CJ-Carrella's-WitchCraft?it=1) looks pretty good, although I've never had the chance to play myself.

2012-12-19, 12:19 PM
IMO Dresden Files is the best Urban Fantasy game. There is also the new Fate Core kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/evilhat/fate-core) though it doesn't have an official magic system yet but plenty of advice to put one together.
You could also use Mutant & Masterminds with just a few tweaks or justifications for specific types of magic using the powers.
If you are looking for something on the minimal side of lite then take a look at Risus or MiniSix, both will work very well.

2012-12-19, 06:07 PM
Savage Worlds?

Gives a "Yes" to all three questions, and is cheap to boot (Explorer's Edition).

- M

2012-12-19, 08:17 PM
GURPS 4e is a good choice, except for #3. It's easy to learn if you are good at maths.

2012-12-19, 09:15 PM
I don't know if they Dresden Files RPG would be any good outside of the Dresdenverse. Plus, for some, the rules system is way too light on mechanics.
Otherwise it's decent enough, if you've read the books you'll love all the writing in the margins

2012-12-19, 09:20 PM
I'm amused that nobody's brought up World of Darkness. :smallbiggrin:

But honestly, Dresden Files is a more interesting system.

2012-12-20, 11:21 AM
I'm amused that nobody's brought up World of Darkness. :smallbiggrin:

But honestly, Dresden Files is a more interesting system.

That was my first thought, but I decided to discard it because I didn't think it met criteria #1 sufficiently (magic available to players) - sure, disciplines/paths/kith powers are magic-y, but I didn't think that was what OP meant - Mage would be the obvious exception. Secondly though, for some reason I don't think of WoD as Urban Fantasy, despite having clearly fantastical elements.

- M

Holocron Coder
2012-12-20, 01:12 PM
+1 on Dresden Files. We've tested it in a non-DF setting and it works fine and has just enough rules to have a really flexible system.

2012-12-20, 03:15 PM
Why hasn't Shadowrun been brought up yet? Too Sci-fi?

2012-12-21, 04:35 AM
What level are the players at, and just how much magic do you want to give them? Technically, I think d20 modern/past with urban arcana can work; magic is available, just not at the start. It's not that great, but if they've played D&D 3.x they will have the advantage of familiarity.

If the players and DM don't mind learning a new system, I imagine DF can be quite good, but if they do have some experience with d20, they may as well put it to use.

On a somewhat unrelated note, a group I'm playing in worked fairly well using Star Wars ORE for wuxia, so I'd imagine it might work tolerably well for urban fantasy too. It needs some finetuning, but on the plus side it's a total of 15 pages, "force powers" included :smalltongue: .

2012-12-21, 02:22 PM
Another vote for Dresden Files- I haven't played it, but the books are a blast to read, and FATE looks like it has a lot of cool elements. Also, <shamelessselfplug> my homebrew system, STaRS, might do what you need for a quick, easy game :smallcool: </shamelessselfplug>

2012-12-24, 12:14 PM
Savage Worlds?

Gives a "Yes" to all three questions, and is cheap to boot (Explorer's Edition).

- M

Seconded. Although the Fate system, with as much or as little as you want to take specifically from Dresden Files, is also a good option on all fronts except possibly the financial.

EDIT: In making the choice between the two systems... imho, Fate plays better with more experienced roleplayers who get into the habit of creatively leveraging Aspects etc., whereas Savage Worlds is simple to play pretty much from the get-go (still possible to make errors in first-time character creation, however). On the flipside, I've only ever played Savage Worlds for one-shots, and I don't know how it keeps its appeal over prolonged play.