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aaron mosley

Discussion  - 
just tried out urban shadows and im really loving it, but im torn between the new edition and the 1.1 playtest since so many awesome archetypes are missing from the new edition. Is the dark streets add-on still coming out? and if so when?
Luke Walker's profile photoMark Diaz Truman's profile photo
Yup! Like +Luke Walker said, all those playbooks will eventually be released (including the Revenant). I playtested it this weekend and it was amazing. Stay tuned!
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Robert Ruthven

Discussion  - 
Are the print book pre-orders on the way yet? The mecha game I'm in is wrapping up soon, and I'm considering running US as a follow-up for my group.
Andrew Medeiros's profile photo
We're expecting them this week to arrive from the printer and ship out from our warehouse after that. :)
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chris smith

Discussion  - 
Has anyone worked up any city moves particularly for London? If not does anyone have any thoughts? Looking for some catalysts to kick start my game and having a bit of a blank.
Lisa Padol's profile photoDaniel Krashin's profile photo
Here's a couple suggestions:
--Produce something very old from the back streets
--Show off something new or foreign on the high street
--Provide hints of things to come via overheard conversations on the Tube
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I just stumbled across this and I'm immediately in love with the style. I'm getting a group together to play a game, but I had a question. How would you describe the different archetypes' roles within a group? Which ones are more combat focused, which are more diplomacy focused, etc..?
Richard Zapata's profile photoAndrew Hinkebein's profile photo
Goddamnit, Rick
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Are there any place where I can download the playbooks and share with my players?
Mark Diaz Truman's profile photoRafael Sant Anna Meyer's profile photo
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Michael Barrett

Discussion  - 
My Oracle, in the last game, realized that they didn't quite understand the wording of 'At Any Cost'.  Is it basically just an extra bonus on top of Foretellings that applies only to the Oracle?

As well, I'm finding that I'm having some trouble with a few of the Basic Moves.  For example, in the last game one of my players, the Fae, used his power that lets him cast an illusion to cause a swat team to appear in the club he was playing at in order to cause a panic and give everyone a chance to Escape the scene (a lot of nasty stuff was about to go down with some vampires, at least that's what the Oracle believed).  I had him roll Distract - taking into account he was using a power so it allowed him to do something that cool - and he rolled a 13.

He had a hard time coming up with 3 things off the list.  He wanted an advantage, but really all he wanted to do was give everyone the chance to Escape.  I had planned to let everyone bail if they wanted to without even having to roll, since he did something so awesome and rolled so well, but then the other players didn't play along and stuck around.  I think he felt cheated.  He was trying to come up with an advantage he could use, but to be fair he wasn't sure what he wanted to do at that moment other than stay hidden, which was pretty much covered by the Distract roll already.  He also thought "You create an opportunity" and "you confuse them for some time" were both too similar.

Finally, the other move I'm not sure how to deal with relates to a mystery that is unfolding in the game.  A local medium has gone missing, and one of the players feels like they were framed since they heard they had been seen with the medium when they clearly couldn't remember it.  A few of the players (who are friends with her) are trying to find her - so they hit the streets.  The players all assume there's some sort of doppelganger, or more likely, a Fae involved.

So one of the players says he wants to hit the streets with wild to talk to a Fae, lets call him Fergis, who is an outcast of the Fae, and so often deals with the other factions (They're pretty sure the vamps are behind the whole thing).  He wants to find out if any of the Fae were paid to do this thing.

On one hand I want to let them use their moves - but on the other this doesn't seem like something someone would talk a lot about (a Fae working for a Vampire), so picking some random NPC out of the air feels like a shortcut to clearing up the mystery a little too quickly (honestly, I'm not sure exactly who did it - I have ideas, and one that could fit the Fae angle).

Anyway, any help you guys can give would be great.  The players had a blast, though the Fae really seemed discouraged by the big roll that the other players basically made not so useful.
Christopher Meid's profile photoLisa Padol's profile photo
In any case, hitting the streets is designed to give information. "People wouldn't talk about it" isn't a thing you need to worry about -- the debt economy covers that to the extent the move itself doesn't. "This particular Fae wouldn't know" has two possible answers. The first is that this particular Fae knows who might know more. The second -- assuming the system allows for this -- is to do a montage scene. Sure, the pla..yer might not know the right name so the PC might not have gone to the right Fae at first, but lots of footwork later, which doesn't need to be played out in exhaustive detail, the PC is now with an NPC who DOES know something useful.

If you're thinking, "But only one person would know, the one who did the deed, and they'd never tell", well, find a way someone else would have found out, preferably several someone elses. Or find a mistake that character made, some clue left behind that someone else found and can tell the PC about. Like, if I hit the streets about a crime and go to a mortal cop, maybe the cop knows that there was this weird odor of brimstone, or something. Or find a reason that the character who did the deed might boast.

The moves give the mechanics. What we need to do as gms is to avoid GM Panic, that voice that says, "But, this thing the players are doing can't possibly work, because that breaks things" whether those things are your plot, your sense of how the world works, your suspension of disbelief, whatever. Often -- very very, often -- if you think about it, you can find a way for the tactic to work that you CAN believe in, and that will make what's going on even more awesome.
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John Alexander

Discussion  - 
Once upon a time, you were someone important...and dangerous. People knew you and gave you a wide berth. You were a force to be reckoned with in this city. And then you got old, broken, or both.

Looking at playbooks for an upcoming game and I'm attracted to The Veteran. Problem is, I'm not sure what The Veteran is. The intro suggests a badass, maybe an ex Aware or Hunter?  But being bad-ass doesn't seem to be the focus of the playbook. They don't have an arsenal of old weapons, instead they have a workshop. They make stuff. They are artists.
What stuff do they make? Magical stuff? Weapons? High Tech gear? All of the above? Is this what they did when they were important and dangerous? 
Andrew Medeiros's profile photoSeth Harris's profile photo
The Sean Connery in Untouchables is the best comparison IMO. The Veteran is the guy who has been around, seen it all, maybe he doesn't get involved until he absolutely has to, but when he does he knows the right people to go to make things happen and he knows how to put pressure on them.
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Brion Oliver

Discussion  - 
The Tainted's demonic jobs section references what the Tainted can cash in a Debt with the Patron for, and "their Faction" is referenced. This confuses me: isn't the Tainted's Patron a Demon? Isn't their Faction always going to be Wild?

"Answer a question (honestly) about their Faction; Introduce you to a powerful member of their Faction"
Luke Green's profile photoBrion Oliver's profile photo
Thanks for the response. :)
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Peter J

Discussion  - 
Has anyone ever added an faerie Otherworld to their game? An example of this would be the Bright world from Changeling: the Dreaming, or Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, if you wanted to emphasize the "urban" part of it. 
Andrew Medeiros's profile photoDaniel Krashin's profile photo
When we were pitching city ideas for my upcoming game, one of the suggestions I had was for a paranormal ski resort -- if we'd gone with that option, Faerieland would have been a phantom mountain that you could only climb when the conditions were right or you had a Fae guide.  Every so often, mortal skiiers would end up on it by accident and disappear. 
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Patrick O'Duffy

Discussion  - 
Hi folks,

We started playing Shadows this week and everyone seems to be having a good time (me included).

The session threw out a lot of plot hooks and elements, and I'm slowly winnowing them down to a handful that I can effectively use in this three-session game.

However, one thing I'm struggling with is turning these ideas into Threats. (I've had difficulty with this in other PbtA games too.) It's tricky for me to break an idea up into the six clock-ticks; I have a habit of overcomplicating things, putting too much into each tick and dragging in additional plot bits that don't connect to the core idea.

So it'd be great to hear from y'all about how you make effective Threats - particularly if you could share some you've made and talk about how they worked in play.

Daniel Krashin's profile photoPatrick O'Duffy's profile photo
Hey, picking this thread up again to share my progress on making good Threats.

I read through the Storm chapter again and realised there was a resource there I'd overlooked - the additional sample Threats in the 'All the King's Vamps' sample Storm. I hadn't really read deeply after the 'Ley Lines Loose' sample Threat earlier in the chapter, since I'm not using a full Storm in my game, so I missed these until now.

(If/when Magpie take in any further corrections, a pointer on p259 to check pp265-9 for more examples could be helpful.)

Once I had a good set of examples to cross-check, I realised the key thing my problematic threat was missing - meaningful aftermath. 12.00 isn't (or isn't just) 'the last big thing happens'; it's 'the city is changed permanently due to the previous events'. To make the Threat kick, you have to have a payoff - ideally a concrete, specific one - and the payoff needs to be outlined in the Threat.

My 'Ice on the Blood' Threat had no payoff - nothing happened once Iannos claimed the Arcardia apartments. So I needed to rethink things from that angle - what happens after that - and to keep the countdown clock focused specifically on tick that lead to that payoff.

The other thing I took on board was some advice from +Daniel Krashin, to make every tick a hard move. (Well, reasonably hard). Looking through the Wild and Night moves suggested some appropriate ticks; looking through the Threat moves first made me decide to change the Threat type, and then again to make some moves into ticks.

All that said, here's the revised version:
Blood on the Ice
Threat Type: Territory/ Expansion (Impulse: to create and multiply)
Cast: Iannos, Lillian, Elsa (archivist at the State Library and information broker to several supernatural contacts)
Description: Iannos wants to connect the Vamp PC's Arcadia apartment construction project to the Realm of Winter, in order to bring more Winter fae to Melbourne. He's allied with Lillian, who wants his assistance against the younger local vampires.
• 3.00: Elsa supplies Lillian with pertinent legal and architectural records from the State Library.
• 6.00: Iannos' fae sabotage the construction site to temporarily stop work.
• 9.00: Lillian uses the records to make a hostile takeover bid on the project.
• 10.00: Iannos kidnaps Elsa to use as a sacrifice to fuel the Realm connection.
• 11.00: Iannos sacrifices Elsa; streams of frozen blood enmesh the apartments.
• 12.00: Iannos connects the apartments to the Realm of Winter. A dozen powerful Winter fae come to Melbourne, and the apartment complex becomes a feeding ground for them.

This still needs work, and I suspect I'll rewrite a bunch of it on the fly while running the game, but I'm feeling a lot more confident about it.

So that's my take on Threats now - a clear and specific payoff that changes the city, and a clock that uses hard moves as ticks to coherently set up that payoff.

...which is more or less what the book says, I guess, but I needed some help and examples to see it.
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Hi everyone.

We're doing some fan archetypes and I want the booklets to look as in the book. 

Can anyone help me find the fonts used in the rulebook if they are free? And if they aren't, what fonts do you recommend?
Thomas Deeny's profile photoKatarzyna Matylla's profile photo
Thank you very much!

I see those are non-free fonts, so some OFL lookalikes will have to be enough. It's just a fan-made playbook, so I guess it's OK. ;-)

I don't have Illustrator (I'm not a designer, at least not enough to want pay for fonts and designer software), but Inkscape works very well for me.

BTW I really like your book design. It looks cool, fits the game mood and at the same time it's very clear and legible (unlike some other modern occult games with B&W pictures ;) ). The illustrations are also very nice and inspiring. Great job!
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About this community

Urban Shadows is an urban fantasy tabletop roleplaying game in which mortals and monsters vie for control of a modern-day city, a political battleground layered just under the reality we think we know. Vampires, faeries, hunters, and wizards fight to carve out a piece of the streets and skyscrapers, ready to make deals with all those who have something to offer. The city is waiting for you. What will you make of its secrets and sins?

chris smith

Fan Made Content  - 
I noticed in US there is not a default search/spot move. Only one for places of power. This came up in our first session so I have made a custom move:

Scope out a Situation

When you survey your surroundings to gain understanding roll on Mind. On a 7-9 choose 2. On a 10+ choose 3.
• What is not as it seems?
• Where is the greatest danger?
• What here is useful to me?
• What is the best way in or out?
• Oracle only: What is about to happen? 
• I do not bring attention to myself

Thoughts welcome.
Luke Walker's profile photoDaniel Krashin's profile photo
Yeah, you can use let it out for that and it feeds the corruption cycle.  I like to take a film noir approach to running Urban Shadows -- when in noir do you ever NOT find a clue when you go through the bad guy's desk?  And all a clue has to do is link to another character or place -- a name on a check stub or the sterotypical book of motel matches.
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Fan Made Content  - 
Well, believe it or not, I just recently saw for the first time The Crow movie (the original with Brandon Lee). And I'm wanting to work on a playbook for Urban Shadows now that Halloween is coming! But what Faction do you think it should be? My first thought was Night, but Wild may fit too, no? #thecrow #urbanshadows  
Robert Ruthven's profile photoJeff Johnston's profile photo
I highly recommend reading the original graphic novel. The movie tried hard but didn't quite reach the same level.
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Nathan Avant

Fan Made Content  - 
I'm about two sessions into running an Urban Shadows game for four players, and we're having a blast. However, the rate at which we are accumulating rumors, locations, and NPCs is clearly too much for my brain and poor MC playbook sheet to handle. 

My solution was to create a Drive folder with charts to track Rumors and NPCs and a custom Google Map to keep track of the locations. I shared it with my players and encouraged them to add to the map or the sheets as they saw fit and they took to it enthusiastically, adding their characters homes to the map etc. 

Below is a link to the folder in Drive (this is a copy of the one we are using). Feel free to steal my charts for templates or to make suggestions for improvements!

Its definitely a work in progress. For example, I still need to go back to my hand written notes for the NPC debts and rumors from the first session and add them to the charts, I'm considering making a separate debt chart, and I plan eventually to make an MC only chart to track Threats. Still, I think it's pretty useful and I am pleased with my conditional formatting rules to color code the factions :-)
Andrew Medeiros's profile photoChristopher Meid's profile photo
Love the map. Glad to see a project in my neck of the woods, loving the map.
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Discussion  - 
Hi everyone, I have a question, do you think possible to play a Urban Shadows game with 8 players (not including the MC). My group is that big, and we play every 2 weeks, so it's really hard to split it.
Christopher Meid's profile photoazlath's profile photo
Thanks everyone for all your comments, let's see if my players agree with a 2-table day.
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Michael Barrett

Discussion  - 
The Spectre owes someone, say a mortal reporter who is Aware - how does the mortal get ahold of their ghostly ally?  In a world of cell phones, I'm curious how you handle this.  Maybe the ghost has a phone somewhere he can get messages at?  Maybe a mortal friend, the person he's haunting, takes messages for him?
Andrew Medeiros's profile photoDelos Adamski's profile photo
This is easy. You just find the phone that the Spectre had in life and let the battery run out. Ta da! Dead phone.
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Suppose I'll be starting a US campaign soon, and two players have expressed their intention of running it too (as sequels). How would starting the first with a character of my own interfere with the game?

I mean, it's not like I'll have any plots planned beforehand or anything. Has anyone ever tried that?

(Mind you, I'm still half way through my reading, so it's possible such thing is already covered in THE book.)
Sergio Maximo Jr.'s profile photo
+Mo Jave
I haven't planned that far yet, but I'll keep this in mind when I reach fronts/NPCs part of the book.
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Travis Scott

Discussion  - 
Travis Scott originally shared:
Urban Shadows Session Summary

Players: "Ugh, I keep taking corruption! This sucks!"

Me: "It's OK. Take another corruption."

Players: "Ugh, I have five corruption! This sucks!"

Players: reading corruption moves

Players: "I can possess people? I can have a gang of demons? This is AWESOME!"
Paul Beakley's profile photoTim Franzke's profile photo
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Katarzyna Matylla

Fan Made Content  - 
Because I think that the Wolf is kinda, well, weak and not fun to play... ok, actually I just don't like it and neither does my gaming group, but that's another topic... Anyway I decided to make an alternate version of this archetype.

Classic reluctant werewolf, inspired by Jeckyll/Hyde and similar tropes. 

So, if you want a more unwilling werewolf, here is a first version of the playbook (I will update it at the same link):

It keeps just one move from the original (and gear which I will fix later). I would love some feedback.

Thank you.
Andrew Medeiros's profile photoOmar Amador's profile photo
I think this version of the archetype can work pretty well with a bit more honing in key places. Here’s some feedback that you’re free to consider or toss out.

The short version:
Identify and emphasize the core themes you’re hoping to put into this playbook.
Consider a name change for the archetype to draw out it’s uniqueness and breakaway from the apparent similarities with the existing playbook.
Remember to keep in mind how archetypes touch on both the Fantasy and Urban concepts of the genre.
Make good use of the character creation options to hit home the thematic tone to your version of the archetype.
With the main themes in sight, the moves can be fitted to highlight the concepts and bring these about in play.

The long winded version:
It’s great that you’re writing up a new archetype and looking to emphasize different themes in an existing playbook. As is, this draft has good ideas and ties into the monstrous tone well, but there’s some thematic ambiguity that may be preventing it from reading as a ready-to-play archetype. There’s big distinctions to be made with the original “wolf” and the “werewolf” ideas you’re aiming towards and have touched upon, it’s just important to highlight those concepts and use them to tie together all the underlying pieces that make up an archetype.

I think you may benefit greatly by fully embracing the differences you’re going for and siding with a different name for this playbook. It’d really drive home the uniqueness of this type of character and better point out what people could expect to see in play, without having to be locked into or getting distracted by the werewolf myths. With their reluctance and tragic nature, the troublesome dark side, and the struggle to stay in control from this ever present compulsion: The Accursed seems like a good title for the archetype, if not too on the nose. :)

This is generally true for all games Powered by the Apocalypse, but the character playbooks for Urban Shadows are aptly named Archetypes, in the literal sense that they are meant to represent concepts from both the Fantasy and Urban genres. The ‘Fantasy’ portion is pretty overt, but all the playbooks work best when they also bring about the ‘Urban’ troupes that are present in any city setting. The Aware is new to a side of the city never before seen. The Vamp is the leech looking to amass influence over all comers. The Fae is the exotic outsider that’s so appealing, but so foreign. The Wizard is the wild card playing a dangerous game with those on a higher level. The Wolf is trying to carve out a small piece to call home. Both sides work on their own, but together they make something stronger and more relatable to a political urban fantasy setting.

Usually the ‘Monstrous’ natures for archetypes are relegated to the corruptions moves, but your concept is instead emphasizing this as the core of the playbook and should be reflected in the ‘Urban’ themes that would make the archetype feel solid and ready to hook into a game. This is the read that I got from the first draft of the playbook and seems to be missing from key areas of the character creation process: The character is a blight on the city, a pariah for what they carry inside them, the pretender trying to fool everyone that they’re not who they really are, the danger to themselves and others that would be best avoided or people would want seen put down.

The moves and character options the player has to chooses from should carry those core concepts throughout, painting a clear picture of the things to expect in play. You did a good job of fitting the Demeanor, Stats, Intro and Debts. Maybe they can be revisited once the core themes of the archetype are refined, but the gear is also something that adds great color to a character type and should definitely be fitted to your ideas.
Here’s a pitch for the gear : Cattle prod( stun-harm hand ), Handcuffs( hand restrain ), Flash-Bang Grenade ( stun-harm close area loud blinding). “These aren’t to stop you from doing anything dangerous. These are to stop me.”

The moves can and should fall in line once the themes are put into focus, but here are some ideas going off of the “monster within” tone:
If you do change the playbook name, this’ll allow you to change up the wolf theme names for the moves and make them more in line with your them. You can also swap “Bloodhound” with a new move to help in this and to avoid further overlap.

Make ‘Oaths as strong as blood’ a default move and the player only chooses one playbook move. The move is good for hooking the archetype into the game and may not like come up other wise.

The wolf should be a full on npc that the player has to contend with. What better way to show you’re not in control than to put the wolf in someone else's hands. You’ve got two options with this: similar to the Tainted’s Patron, it collects debts, is of the Wild faction, and when ‘Wolf in Human skin’ is triggered, it gains a debt on you for being a weak vessel. It can spend the debts to let itself take over, triggering the shape shifting move as you struggle to gain some level of control. The funner option is to make the hold instead of debts, hold that anyone at the table can spend to trigger the change. >:D

If you’ve been struggling with this wolf all along, this may be a more fitting end move:
When you die, the wolf emerges in your death throws, seeking revenge for it’s demise. Name NPC’s present that it slays equal to its hold/Debts on you(minimum 1) and the MC may choose 1 extra.
If you get cured from lycanthropy, the wolf escapes your body and you may choose for it to hunt down and kill a number of NPCs equal to its hold/Debts on you(minimum 1) before fading away or for it to kill no one and MC chooses which NPC it will now inhabit.
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Discussion  - 
A review of Urban Shadows I wrote. Its in german, but just in case somebody likes touching new markets :)
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Blechpirat's profile photoMark Diaz Truman's profile photo
+Blechpirat - Of course! We'll put together a small press packet when we get the book shipped off to folks. Thanks!
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