Idea for Urban Arcana campaign

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Okay, so I am looking at various webcomics, and come across a fun, silly comic called Flaky Pastry.

flakypastry.runningwithpencils.com/

For those who don't feel like reading it, it's basically a modern style setting but filled with lots of D&D style fantasy elements, all out in the open.
It occurs to me that this would make an interesting setting for a d20 Modern game. Urban Arcana is the obvious choice, but there are other things that could be mixed in since the world seems to have a multi-dimensional thing going on.

The reason I like this idea is that I have never really liked the idea of the "humans don't see what's going on" thing. Or the idea that humans react to the supernatural by going into a fugue, saying "I'm fine, Mommy, I'm fine," then forgetting it ever happened. Humans have a long history of dealing with the strange and unusual. Of course, they often deal with it using hatred and fear, but still....
It also seems like a way of maintaining the world's status quo without worrying about the effect that the supernatural will have.

So, any ideas of how to run a world with elves, goblins, et al, running around in the open? It wouldn't be as blatantly goofy as the comic that inspired it, but I would dismiss all goofiness either.
Do they have legal rights? The right to own property. The right to vote. Protected from rapine,theft or murder? Can one marry your sister?

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

I'd say it's a fairly modern, progressive society. People of other races would be like people from other countries. Occasional prejudice, but as long as you act like someone who can behave in a society, you will be treated as such. It's not really a new thing with people freaking out about the wizards and elves and stuff. It's been like this for a long time.
How about a vampire or ghoul? Do they still own the property that they owned while alive? If your spouse dies and becomes a ghoul does the government say your still married but does the church consider the marriage null and void? Is it legal for Vampires to put the bite on under-age partner's? Do non-intelligent undead like zombies or skeletons have any rights?

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

That's a tricky question. Maybe undeadness is considered a disease. If you are a zombie, then you are dead, and someone is taking liberties with your body, in which case the family could sue. But things like ghouls and vampires are tricky.
Since, according to the RAW, vampires gain allegiances to chaos, evil and their master, they aren't probably given a lot of legal consideration. Ghouls are probably considered to be infectious disease carriers, and any appearance of them would be stamped down by the CDC (or this world's equivalent). They probably get completely wiped out after a certain time, but the existance of necromancy leaning wizards meant they probably will pop back up.

To continue my idea. I imagine the world being earth-like in a lot of ways, but ill-defined outside the core city. (This is part laziness, but also lets the players and GM make up new things on the spot. "My character goes to France!" "Um, sure, there's a France in this world.")
The story would be in Valley City, which is in a valley (obviously). It's a pretty large valley with a river going through it. It's got a very large city, with a lot of woods surrounding it.
I decided it would be like this, because I wanted woods for the elves to hang out in, and mountains for the dwarves to hang out in. I figure the dwarf kingdoms would be in the mountains, but if you go straight down from the Valley, you get into underdark type Drow territory. Lots of border disputes and stuff that the surface folk don't even know about.

SHADOWRUN!! 

WOOHOO!!

"Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together" -- Carl Zwanzig

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SHADOWRUN!! 

WOOHOO!!




heh. Honestly, I hadn't even noticed the comparison till you pointed it out.

I think I want something that has a d20 Modern/Urban Arcana feel to it, while Shadowrun has a very different vibe. Shadowrun is very gritty, everyone's screwing everyone, and there is a lot of high tech.
Most of the tech in my idea would be modern day, but with bits of future tech that came in from other places.

I imagine that the area is in a dimensional "weak area" where it's very easy to get from one world to another, so there is a lot of travel and trade between them. Because of some kind of "law of sympathy" you'd have to go out to the deep woods to get to the elven pastoral world, or deep in the mountains to get to the dwarven kingdoms. Communities of these races would of course build up in these areas.

a dimensionally "weak area"

Way Cool. 
So, are these areas well defined (gates)
 

or just an area in which one can "crossover" either by choice or by accident?



========================================================
OREGON VORTEX
According to the locals, a gold assay office built in the area in 1904 slid from its foundation in the early teens, coming to rest at an odd angle. Odd angles seem to create an illusion of objects seemingly rolling uphill. The same optical illusion can be seen in Pennsylvania's Laurel Caverns and at Santa Cruz, California's Mystery Spot which are copies of the The House of Mystery at The Oregon Vortex.

also see: magnetic hill
========================================================
"Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together" -- Carl Zwanzig

Shaman.jpg
D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

The pen is mightier than the character builder.
Copy this to your sig if you like 4e but don't use the CB.

a dimensionally "weak area"

Way Cool. 
So, are these areas well defined (gates)
 

or just an area in which one can "crossover" either by choice or by accident?



========================================================
OREGON VORTEX
According to the locals, a gold assay office built in the area in 1904 slid from its foundation in the early teens, coming to rest at an odd angle. Odd angles seem to create an illusion of objects seemingly rolling uphill. The same optical illusion can be seen in Pennsylvania's Laurel Caverns and at Santa Cruz, California's Mystery Spot which are copies of the The House of Mystery at The Oregon Vortex.

also see: magnetic hill
========================================================



I imagine that there is probably a well-known spell, or more likely an incantation, that allows dimensional travel. The basic version of this spell just displaces you from your own dimension and into a neighboring one. Usually this spell has a hellaciously high DC, and is risky, since you don't usually know where you will end up. But in the Valley area it's a little different. In a "weak area" the DC of the spell is much lower, and you know where you are going. If you are in the woods where the elves hang out, the incantation will be easy, and take you to the elven pastoral world. If you are in the center of that area, the incantation can be cast almost casually. This area isn't large, and is likely clearly defined as a "border area" with a guard post and stuff.
I imagine during certain periods, like maybe if the phases of the moon sync up between worlds or something, it becomes even more easy to cross, and people can accidently slip between worlds, or perhaps areas will form that are odd blends of both dimensions, phasing apart later.

Have you taken a poll of your players? Not much sense in developing elvish culture if nobody wants to play one. Have you decided what you won't have in the game.psionics,mindflayers,yuan-ti,lycanthropes,deities,etc? What you won't allow in your game sets an important set of limits and is tough choice for begining DMs.

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

Have you taken a poll of your players? Not much sense in developing elvish culture if nobody wants to play one. Have you decided what you won't have in the game.psionics,mindflayers,yuan-ti,lycanthropes,deities,etc? What you won't allow in your game sets an important set of limits and is tough choice for begining DMs.



Don't currently have a set of players, to be honest, so this is more of an intellectual exercise than anything else.

Have you taken a poll of your players? Not much sense in developing elvish culture if nobody wants to play one. Have you decided what you won't have in the game.psionics,mindflayers,yuan-ti,lycanthropes,deities,etc? What you won't allow in your game sets an important set of limits and is tough choice for begining DMs.



Also, if it's in the books, I would consider it. I like the idea of an "inclusive" setting rather than an "exclusive" one.
I probably wouldn't allow vampires or werewolves as PCs, but any fairly normal race or class that you could justify could be part of it.
Psionics and magic would both be allowed.
As for deities, I would keep it vague. There are probably a lot of religions, and they have followers, and you could play Acolytes or Holy Knights or whatever. Whether they gain powers directly from their god, or practice a form of generlized belief-based magic is up to the in-game philosophers and metaphysicians to decide.
Here's an odd thought. In greek mythology every body of water had an associated deity. You could have a River deity who generates plot hooks.
NEPOTISM
The river deity has chidren and wants to see them do well. If a child is murdered causes troubles for mortals and demands the execution by drowning of murderer.
NYMPHs
You know what you never see enough of in D+D,Nymphs! Now imagine that Nymphs are always bathing in the holy waters of the river deity. Human teenagers keep getting struck blind by gawking at them. How do the Pcs get involved.
RIVER OF FIRE
The caihoga river was so polluted it once caught on fire. What happens to a river deity if the river is filled with industrial waste?
And the waters yeilded up their dead
suppose the River Deity would occasionally return a drowning victim? Would this be a zombie,leading to tragedy or a true resurection?

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

DWARVEN POLICE FORCE. Dwarves tend to be L/G and tough fighters. What would New York be like if the police force included a clan of 400 dwarven cops? Would these dwarves speak with a scottish accent and wear kilts? The Grey dwarves would be natural villains in this campaign.

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

HALF-ELF, HALF-HIPPY....ALL SILLY. Now in the 60's hippies were really enamored of the native americans and would occasionally move to reservations to learn native crafts and such. Watch any "BILLY JACK' movie and see how the "enlightened "hippies were escaping from the "Man" by living on the reservation. In a world with elves you'd see Hippies following the elf tribes around,adopting their langauge and crafts,a lot of hippy chicks would probably produce children who were 1/2 elf..1/2 hippy. Now a 60's style feminist was always reluctant to give up her last name when marrying. So an elf and a hippy wed and take a hyphaneted  last name; Silverbow-Silverstein. This could lead to silliness when Monnbeam Silverbow-Silverstein marries Elijah Truesilver-Silverberg and becomes Moonbeam Silverbow-Silverstein-Truesilver-Silverberg. A good compromise would have been the Silver family,but that would be a commonsense solution,utterly foreign to the feckless hippies. So imagine a place like San Fransisco where this Half elf/hippy is running for office and needs two lawn signs to hold their full name? Plus whenever the Pcs meet them it takes five minutes to make intro's.

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

HALF-ELF, HALF-HIPPY....ALL SILLY. Now in the 60's hippies were really enamored of the native americans and would occasionally move to reservations to learn native crafts and such. Watch any "BILLY JACK' movie and see how the "enlightened "hippies were escaping from the "Man" by living on the reservation. In a world with elves you'd see Hippies following the elf tribes around,adopting their langauge and crafts,a lot of hippy chicks would probably produce children who were 1/2 elf..1/2 hippy. Now a 60's style feminist was always reluctant to give up her last name when marrying. So an elf and a hippy wed and take a hyphaneted  last name; Silverbow-Silverstein. This could lead to silliness when Monnbeam Silverbow-Silverstein marries Elijah Truesilver-Silverberg and becomes Moonbeam Silverbow-Silverstein-Truesilver-Silverberg. A good compromise would have been the Silver family,but that would be a commonsense solution,utterly foreign to the feckless hippies. So imagine a place like San Fransisco where this Half elf/hippy is running for office and needs two lawn signs to hold their full name? Plus whenever the Pcs meet them it takes five minutes to make intro's.



hehe. Good one.
JENNA ELFMAN AS A HALF ELF/HALF HIPPY. In the hit series Dharma&Greg ,jenna played a free-spirited Dharma. Suppose you created an Npc based around the idea of combining Dharma with a Half elven version of Jenna?
MUSIC
This Npc plays in an all-girl elf rock band.( Is a bard.) Plays Theremin,Flute and electric Lute. Plays songs written by her brother danny elfman?
LOOKS
Is tall,blonde with pointed ears and delicate facial features. Wears a short white doeskin dress that allows her to run and shows off her pretty legs. Has beads and feathers in her hair like an Elwood heroine.
ARCHER
Has a mighty composite bow. Beleives it's ok to hunt provided you don't over-harvest an area. Has a problem with PETA over this. Will shoot out tires of Hummers as an eco-terrorist?
HASSLES
Will shoot out hummer tires with bow. Eats dear meat and will wear hides as a cute outfit. Dances nude by light of the full moon. Speaks out against modern religions,worships elven pantheon. Has a pet wolf?
Just a few thoughts on a humerous NPC.

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

BI-FORMISM. In mythology many monsters were cursed humans who became a travesty of the human form that reflected their crimes or habits. Now suppose that in order for a human to be cursed the possibility of this had to exist in the human genetic code? Ex.,long before Medusa was created the great god of all gods creates humans and makes it possible to turn them into medusae? Suppose that some Medusae gained the ability to switch into a human version of themselves? This would allow Medusae to move freely amongst humans. For game purposes you would limit this to important monsters and not goblins or orcs. Monsters that are identified by the PCs tend to get eliminated faster. A transformation from monster to human can be voluntary or something that is triggered like Bruce Banner's rage. The monsters I most commonly Bi-form are Minotaur,Mermaid,Medusae,Harpy and Centaur.

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

MEDUSA-A bi-formed monster. A  concept based off Marvels Medusa and Dc's Catwoman.
Appearance
6'2" Red hair down to ankles. Green eyes. Wears lavender spandex. Wears lavender leg warmers. Has Earings that are a set of minature lockpicks.
Profession
A multiclass rogue/sorcerer. Has a public Id as a "Party Girl".
BRUNO
A bugbear chauffer who has sacks and a warhammer for breaking up any statues that Medusa creates. Has an elaborate hairdo. Has a petrifed hand in his pocket.
Medusa is paid to attend a lot of high class parties and will return for a robbery. Has left one statue of a robbery victim posed so that his family thinks it is actually a statue he had made.  Give Medusa a power to temporarily petrify Pcs? Do reporters see pcs in petrified state?

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

Medusa edit----I meant to mention her hair in human form was flexible and that she would occasionally get wrapped up in it like the character from the Disney movie"Tangled". Also meant to add that I would make her a Rogue/Sorcerer instead of a Fast/Charismatic hero. Also wanted to add that bruno only speaks one word in answer to questions as a tough -guy routine.

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

GI-NORMICA-THE GI-NORMOUS GIRL.  Large people are just naturally funny. Imagine the Pcs read an ad in the personels; "Woman with worlds largest chest seeks meaningful relationship,no fatties." When the Pcs show up it's a fifty foot tall woman.  She eats 50 steaks,a ton of mashed potatoes and washes her meal down with 50 gallons of milk,most guys couldn't afford the tip on a meal like that. When most girls get angry they toss a dish or ashtray at you,Gi-normica throws a car. Gi-normica gets upset when people look up her skirt(hard to avoid looking with a 50 footer). Gi-normica is from the movie "Monsters Vs. Aliens." A large giant minus the powers could serve as Gi-normicas stats? Gi-normica should develope a crush on one of the Pcs and follow them around,a 50 footer trying to be discreet and peek around a corner is funny.

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

Adventure scenario. The Pcs are having other adventures and they keep encountering flocks of pigeons and occasionally get splattered with guano. Suddenly the pigeons disaapear from the city and strange mishaps start to happen to people and their pets. What has happened is that a demon-worshipping wizard has gotten tired of the pigeons. He couldn't find a church with statues of gargoyles. So he bought hundreds of 6 inch tall gargoyles like some people put in their gardens or computers. He animated them using the same sort of demonic wish that created the full size Gargoyles of D+D. He then compelled them to kill all the pigeons. The Mini-Gargoyles have been waging a tireless war against the pigeons and have virtually exterminated them. They are now tormenting other living creatures starting with pets and will eventually attack people unless the demon-worshipper reverses his wish? The Pcs must compel but not kill the wizard?

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

VINNY VERMACELLI THE VEGETARIAN VAMPIRE. Many vampires crave a certain type of blood;virgins,elves,bad guys,good guys ,etc. Vinny was created with a craving for the rich,ripe ,blood of the tomato. Vinny runs an all-night pizza place. Has vampire powers. Does a trick for his customers where he pierces the side of a tomato can with his fangs,drinks deep,then smashes it into his forhead saying'Wow,I could have had a V-8!". Vinny can transform into dozens of tomato red bats. In bat form Vinny leaves behind catsup rather than guano. Perhaps a murder site is covered in red and the PCs figure out it's catsup. They confront Vinny in his Coldroom hanging upside down and must give him a can of Tomato juice to restore his wits? Is Vinny allergic to garlic? Still a catholic?

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

The Golden Banana-an adventure site. It's always a good idea to have a few adventure sites mapped out. Temples,mansions,bars,homebase,research facilities,bus depots,airport terminals and museums are just a few. When you're stumped on where the pc's should go next pointing them in the direction of an npc who hangs out at an adventure site gives you a breather and allows you to work from familiar ground. The Golden Banana is where all the Big Banana's in town like to hang out. It takes up one city block and is six stories high. It consists of a resturaunt,2-3 bars,a performance lounge,kitchen,office,6-8 bathrooms,a dozen small rooms for private parties,some changing rooms for performers and etc.
Goblins
The Golden Banana has 40-100 goblins who act as dishwashers,busboys,crude food processing like peeling potatoes and etc. The goblin busboys will occasionally lick a plate clean even they've been told not to. All goblins work for 10$ a day plus 10LBS of food scraps. The goblins come to work in a "GOBBO BUS",a purple painted school bus that has modified foot pedals so a 3 FT. tall goblin can operate it. If the pcs are chasing a goblin crook the goblins will help the crook.
BETTY THE BOUNCER
Betty is a real ape. A 600 LB mountain gorilla who has been given sentience using the "AWAKEN" spell. Gorillas lack bowel control so Betty wears 4xxl -sized depend diapers. Betty is a stand -up comedian and juggler. Betty will juggle banana's that patrons bring her. Betty tells jokes like" How do I like living in the city?,.... DEPENDS(said while waving her diaper covered butt at audience).. But Betty spends most of her time Bouncing and has been known to throw the contents of her depends at hecklers or drunks.
HENRIETTA THE HOWLER
A bi-formed harpy . Sings at the lounge. Not known to be a harpy. Looks like a thin,evil tempered broad with a turban on. Has a heavenly voice though. Possible adventures include guys who take her home and are never seen from again?

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

CALVIN +HOBBS. A Wildlord of 9-10th lev can convert his animal companion into a transportable ,non-living form. The preferred forms are drawings,statuettes and stuffed animals. So the Pcs meet this childish 30 year old guy who carries around a stuffed tiger and constantly talks about their adventures. Unbeknowingst to the Pcs the guy isn't crazy and the tiger can become real. Do the pcs meet Calvin when the city is over-run by animated snowmen?

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

WITCHES. Now I was watching Shrek 4 the other night and it features a lot witches.
POINTY HATS
Now nothing says comedy like silly laws. Suppose there was alaw forcing witches to wear pointy hats. The good witches would wear white. The evil witches would wear black. Anybody wearing gray gets attacked?
Some thoughts on literary witches follow.
willow
Willow and Anya from Buffy were of course good witches. Except when willow turned into Black Willow. But most of the time they were "friendly" witches.
Wendy the Friendly Witch
Had a buddy called Casper the Friendly Ghost. Wore red,hat ,cape and dress. Had a flying broom.
Sabrina
A teenager with spells. Had maiden aunts who were also witches. Had a talking cat familiar named Salem. Rarely dressed as a wicth.
Samantha
From Bewitched. Mother endora was witch. Had a ditzy aunt with spell control problems. Dr.bombay was her warlock/physician. Had a lot of trouble keeping her powers a secret.
Baba Yaga
An Ogre-Magi? Most powerful and evil witch in all of russia? Demanded babies to eat from people seeking her help. One hero wrapped up a piglet. Had a hut that walked around on legs and was bigger on the inside.
glinda the good witch
From the wizard of Oz. Took non-violence and non-interference to extremes? Flew around in a magic soap bubble.
Hidegarde
A comic strip featuring a 900 year old witch and her difficulties in dealing with modern life.
Wicked Witch of Oz
Enfabala was the wicked witch of the west. could teleport and had a flying broom. Flying monkeys slaves. Castle with guards. Wanted ruby slippers. Had a sister who ruled the munchkins(Halflings?)
How can you have a humor campaign without witches?

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

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