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Ian Pytlarz

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Some folks had expressed interest in seeing what I provided my players after I got it all written up. Here it is:

In addition, this is my threats writeup:

Didn't include anything explicitly in the threats concerning the gods of chicago yet. I'm pretty sure I don't have enough threats yet (some, like the urbanophage, don't adequately connect to all the PCs), but I'm hoping I can find ways to solve that in the second session tomorrow. Cheers!

I'm preparing to run a game set in Chicago, and took a lot of inspiration out of the Dark Streets book. Of particular interest to me was the idea that Chicago's iconic works of public art were gods, and that they could be interacted with. This stopped at the level of concept in the book, so I took a crack at fleshing this idea out, with the idea being that I can dole out access to these Gods as it is narratively interesting. It's not my best writing, but it's ok. Not at all sure how/if they will be useful, I tried to make them interesting above all else with the assumption they'd fall into place later. I welcome any thoughts, this was my first pass at making custom moves as well:

Chicago’s Gods

Summary: Most of Chicago’s iconic works represent the faces of the city’s gods, realistic beings each with their own worshipers to help bring about their will. Loyal worship is rewarded, and the gods trade favors like anyone else.


Fahim Ahmed – This drug-peddling Fae is said to deal in more than simple dope, for those that know the right questions to ask. Fahim is familiar enough with Chicago’s Gods, though he isn’t always on all of their good sides. In fact, Fahim often finds himself on the run from anyone who might wish to keep the city’s Gods secret. When all else fails and the desperate seek answers, Fahim can point them in the direction of whichever God can best help them… for a price, of course. Drive: Find a way to stay in this city/dimension.

Ceres – Chicago’s Goddess of trade and wealth, Ceres sits atop the Chicago Board of Trade Building. She has boosted many of Chicago’s wealthy elite to their positions in exchange for favors and debts that flooded her city with yet more wealth. She is represented by a nondescript man or woman in a pinstriped suit who will appear to anyone who drops something of substantial material value into a trash can on the trading room floor, the one with the mark of a scale carved into the side. Ceres wants business to always be booming in Chicago and may call in debts when she sees an opportunity to generate wealth.

Will of The Markets: When you leave something of substantial material value for Ceres on the trading room floor, roll with Wild. On a hit, she will make the markets obey a wish, the strength of the market shift being relative to the item offered. On a 10+, she allows the markets to move somewhat more strongly than your offering would normally allow. On a 7-9, you owe Ceres a debt. On a miss, Ceres’ avatar still takes your offering, but will only answer one brief question about the direction the markets are heading.

The Picasso Bull Woman – Columnist Mike Royko said of the bull woman at it’s unveiling "Its eyes are like the eyes of every slum owner who made a buck off the small and weak. And of every building inspector who took a wad from a slum owner to make it all possible...”. This is indeed what the bull woman demands of her worshippers. Represented by a seedy looking businessman in a crinkled suit to anyone who mistreats the downtrodden in her presence, the Bull Woman will call in her debts to keep the weak and unfortunate in their rightful place.

Keep Them In Their Place: When you mistreat the downtrodden in front of the Bull Woman, roll with Wild. On a hit, she’ll have a slimy but semi-powerful figure in the city carry out a minor favor of your choosing. On a 10+, pick 3. On a 7-9, pick 2.
• They carry out a medium favor instead
• The person(s) you mistreated and/or onlookers to your act won’t remember you
• You don’t owe the Bull Woman a debt
• You don’t have to mark corruption
On a miss, the downtrodden or nearby onlookers (citizens, police, etc) fight back against your behavior.

Sue the Tyrannosaur – The most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever found, Sue’s history is that of much of America: the subjugation of Native Americans. When the owner of the land Sue was founded on, a Sioux wizard, regained possession of the bones he channeled the power of his Native gods into them. Sue would serve as a conduit to spread his people’s desire for natural preservation from deep inside one of the world’s largest cities. Today, Sue sits in the Field Museum in Chicago. Those who present her with a gift of nature may be approached by the museum’s Sioux custodian, Lawrence Williams. Debts called in by Sue will always revolve around returning things to their natural order.

Mother Nature’s Roar: When you give a gift of nature to Sue, roll with Wild. On a hit, she’ll call upon a force of nature of your choosing to abide your wishes for a few hours. On a 10+, pick 2. On a 7-9, pick 1.
• The force abides your wishes for a day
• Lawrence is able to collect your gift before other museum staff take notice
• You don’t owe Sue a debt
On a miss, Sue may still grant your wish for a debt (or two), but someone notices your offering and informs someone powerful of your communion with Sue.

Eternal Silence – Statue of the Grim Reaper located in the Graceland Cemetery. It is said that gazing into its eyes will grant you a vision of your death. Bring the right offering, and you might even get a vision of someone else’s. He is represented by the elderly caretaker of the cemetery, the one who has always seemed to work there, who appears from behind the statue to anyone who offers a life in front of it. The Reaper occasionally calls upon those who owe it a favor to make sure its visions come to pass.

Vision of the Reaper: When you deliver a life to the Statue of Death, roll with Wild. On a hit, you are granted a vision of someone’s death, your choice whose. Take +1 ongoing towards attempts to make the vision come to pass. Additionally, on a 10+, pick 1. On a 7-9, both happen.
• You don’t owe the Reaper a debt
• You don’t have to mark corruption
On a miss, you suffer a violent and hazy vision of your own death and mark corruption. Take -1 ongoing in the next scene closely resembling your vision, and remember that visiting death itself is a risky endeavor.

I have a few more I'd like to do, might add them here later if I come up with something I like.

Hello! Prepping for my first campaign with US after several years of running EotE campaigns. We've been doing stuff very narratively, so I decided to suggest we move to something more narratively focused and everyone agreed.

Typically, I do a lot of world-building for my campaigns. I run a custom setup for them that I called cooperative world-building, not too dissimilar from US' character creation. Everyone went in a circle naming NPCs, places, etc and how they connected to both each other and to the players. Not necessarily building out plot per-se, but building up the world, crafting these key NPCs and places, and deciding on some basic motivations/goings on. That would always be our entire (3-4 hour) first session. From there, I'd figure out how things in the world would work, define new connections that were logically necessary, and decide how important events would unfold without PC intervention so I'd have some better ideas as to how things will advance in the campaign based on what the players do. Only THEN would I start to craft one bit of plot at a time, in more typical adventure-writing style (these turned into something akin to 'clockwork sandboxes' as I got better, where the players had a loose goal and almost unlimited freedom for accomplishing it). This seems to click pretty well with US' clock/threat mechanics, where the only thing I cut out is that very last bit and just fly by the seat of my pants session-to-session for story.

Which sounds great, except that contrary to my typical approach US seems to heavily suggest you start playing in session 1 and keep the world creation a bit simpler than what I described above. Due to said prior experience I'm not totally confident in my ability to just 'go' based purely on the cooperative world-building we've done on the spot, and not confident the world will feel 'complete' enough without the ability to sit and think about the world for awhile after that first session.

Now my question. Am I worried for nothing? Should I go ahead and do character creation flowing straight into play, and just deal with the details after? Should I do some pre-prep of my own that I can use or throw out depending on what the players come up with? How much work to other GMs out there typically do with regards to building out their worlds?
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