Thursday, April 19, 2012

Building A Location

On Friday one of the groups I'm in - one where I'm a player - is going to be starting a new campaign. The game chosen for this run around is The Dresden Files RPG by Evil Hat. It will be my, and I believe much of the group's, first experience with the Fate system aside from reading about it online and the occasional poking through a book here and there. I have to admit that I am greatly looking forward to the experience, especially the first session where not only does the group - as a group - make the characters that will be in play, but also the city that the game will take place in. Today, I want to talk about what my goals for this will be, and what I am taking from my brief skim of the chapter to be the goals of the game with this step.

A Word Of Note
Some of this is intended to be things you may want to think abuot when designing locations for your own cities. Some of this is just my own meanderings for this particular game. Either way, I have only skimmed in the quickest sense the city creation rules because I want the experience to be fresh when I have it on Friday. Nothing I read contradicts what the GM told us about the game though, so without further ado...

Contribute To The Atmosphere
One of the things that a location can really do well is contribute to the atmosphere of the locale that it is in. For the case of this game I would have a hand in defining an aspect of one part of the city, and I feel that if I do it right I can really hammer home some of the atmosphere for that area with the place I create and define for the game. With the concept I have in mind for my character he will probably be involved with the seedy underbelly of the city life, and so this place should probably have some way of adding to that flavor.

A Place To Be Used
What good is putting work into a location if it never comes up in play? Now obviously the game wants these places to see some play, but that doesn't mean the player doesn't have to facilitate it. Defining an ostrich farm on the outskirts of the city when no one has a need to ever be at that farm doesn't help very much aside from making the GM feel obligated to include the ostrich farm now and then. On the other hand, a police character defining one of the precincts could see a lot of use. In my case, I'm hoping to make a place that can be something of a neutral ground for the players and NPCs alike. A place to be found. A place to go and relax. A place that dozens like it could easily exist in any major city.

Create Opportunities
The final note is that the place should create opportunities. This goes hand in hand with the above note about the place being used, but it also goes further. A well established location has a life of its own. It can almost be a character in and of itself. When that happens, the location itself can create opportunities for play, action, and reaction. Plots can start off or end there easily, and sometimes without any planning. After all, a major altercation can start as easily as pick pocketing the wrong person in a subway tunnel, or spilling your drink on the wrong person in a night club. Either way, opportunities abound.

Other Things
What else do you think an established location should bring to a game? What goals am I not pursuing as I plot and scheme what I'll hopefully be doing in this first session? Sound off in the comments.

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