“It is the nature of the universe that things remain. Nothing ever disappears completely. The very sound of Creation still echoes throughout the vast darkness: The universe remembers.” Ghost Story
In The Dresden Files RPG, the world of the Dresedenverse is a magical place. You may live in Chicago, Baltimore, Edenburg, Scotland, Mexico City; or Your Home Town, but no matter where you live, the supernatural world co-exists with yours. Mortals have been around for a long time, but there are much longer-lived things out there…
Being a game powered by FATE, players have much higher control of story and setting than in many other games. The greatest demonstration of this is in the default assumption of The Dresden Files that your group will create the setting “city” you are playing in before creating your characters. In “Chapter 3 – City Creation”, players work with the GM to develop themes and threats of the setting. From the start, this collaborative approach helps inform the GM what expectations the players have for this game.
Normally, the first choice the group makes is to decide in which city the campaign will take place. If you read my last article, you know I have taken GM license in saying that I want the game to take place in Reno, with my players playing themselves as PCs being introduced to the mysteries of the Dresdenverse. From there, we will decide as a group some themes we might want to see in the setting.
As an example, I am going to throw out a couple of potential Themes to get us started… Let’s say that we want to see some corrupt politicians and gangsters lining their pockets, but in a Reno way (as opposed to “the Chicago Way” or as it’s done in the Big Apple). We may want to emphasize our connection to the Wild West or how mining and gambling have influenced the local scene. This may lead us to historical connections to the silver mining industry of the mid-to-late 1800’s or to the mob bringing legalized gambling into the state or any number of other perceptions we want to have of our fictionalized home town.
Playing with this theme we talk about potential Aspects and get the following:
- Power is Good, but Politics is Better
- It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who you Know
- Good Old Boys
I particularly like the last two, but want to tweak them to be more engaging for our setting. The second might be shortened and therefore more useful: It’s Not What You Know… This now makes it broader and more sinister feeling. I can still use it for its original purpose, but the dangling ending can be used in other ways (i.e. …It’s What You Don’t That Can Kill You, or …It’s What Knows You). This change might also lead to certain implications, maybe that the politically powerful in Reno are clued in to the supernatural players and activities in their town. Maybe it just means that there is a lot going on in Reno that the PCs are unaware of.
The last aspect really speaks to me, especially with a very minor change. Good “Old” Boys. This still evokes the feel of connections equals power, but also suggests many possibilities for me to look at as a GM. Does “Old” refer to vampires, wizards, decrepit Mafiosos, ancient Native American spirits, the Civil War, or all of the above? Are the “Old” in Reno attempting to maintain the status quo because “that’s the way it’s always been” and can’t break the cycle, or to some other villainous end? Are they trying to destroy the status quo?
Thanks for tuning in, next time I’ll show our finalized theme aspects and maybe a Threat as well. We will also discuss the importance of Locations and Faces and how they will help breath life into our setting.