So, Dark Days… I’m a big fan of the Jim Butcher Dresden Files books and this setting came about as a result of reading those around the same time that I became acquainted with the Rippers setting. Rippers is pretty cool and I’d encourage you to check it out; it got me going on this idea of having a more modern version of the whole “monster hunter/chop parts off of monsters and surgically graft them on to yourself” type of concept. While the Rippers seed was there, I moved fairly quickly past that and focused instead on building out — what I think — are some varied and interesting magic systems, alternate character types and, yes, more random generators.
Before going any further it must be said that I’m not wild about the title. It was definitely ‘working title’ material that I just never got round to replacing. If you have any better suggestions I’m all ears.
My favorite things about Working Title are probably the setting (it’s set in my home town of Portland and I had fun re-imagining the city through the prism of Sunnydale’s Hellmouth), the aforementioned magic systems (White Magic, Black Magic & Psionics) and my “Infernal/Celestial Entity Generators”. Did I already say I love generators? I do… There’s no cure. You should love them too. What I didn’t like so much? Oh god, stat blocking all the Monsters and Spells… Yuck! It’s one of things that feels totally necessary but is pretty damn boring to write out. What I really need is to write a generator that can just make those on the fly. Hey now…
This probably won’t be the first time I complain about stat blocking. It’s one of the things that actively drives me away from writing more game stuff.
With the magic systems, what I was shooting for is that White Magic draws from the caster’s own reserves of power (basically a straight-up, by-the-book Power Point mechanic with ‘manaburning’ added in to give the caster the option to dig deep and trade Fatigue for more PP); Black Magic is powered by taking energy from others (via sacrifices, etc.); and Psionics is the ‘deep but narrow’ school of magic with no real inherent risks but a very circumscribed power set. I like the idea that the systems themselves can provide additional flavor to the characters that use them — Black Magicians, for instance, aren’t necessarily evil by nature but if they want to be successful with the type of magic they use they are forced into morally precarious situations. How the player character reacts to this can make for interesting table play.
I did have a whole campaign planned out for this at one point but never actually did run any of it. It’s still in my notes so I might at least draft an overview or something that folks could use to run their own “Modern Gothic” style games.
Later on I decided to do a more direct take on the Dresdenverse, as you will see in a future post, but all manner of ‘Dresdenalia’ was very much on my mind when I wrote this.