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Urban Shadows: Political Urban Fantasy Powered by the Apocalypse

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The City Hungers. Will You Feed It? The streets bleed shadows as the supernatural politics of the city threaten to swallow you whole. Will you die a hero—a savior for those who have never had enough—or live long enough to become the villain? Will you fight the darkness...or give in for power? The choice is yours. Urban Shadows is an urban fantasy tabletop roleplaying game in The City Hungers. Will You Feed It? The streets bleed shadows as the supernatural politics of the city threaten to swallow you whole. Will you die a hero—a savior for those who have never had enough—or live long enough to become the villain? Will you fight the darkness...or give in for power? The choice is yours. 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.


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The City Hungers. Will You Feed It? The streets bleed shadows as the supernatural politics of the city threaten to swallow you whole. Will you die a hero—a savior for those who have never had enough—or live long enough to become the villain? Will you fight the darkness...or give in for power? The choice is yours. Urban Shadows is an urban fantasy tabletop roleplaying game in The City Hungers. Will You Feed It? The streets bleed shadows as the supernatural politics of the city threaten to swallow you whole. Will you die a hero—a savior for those who have never had enough—or live long enough to become the villain? Will you fight the darkness...or give in for power? The choice is yours. 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.

30 review for Urban Shadows: Political Urban Fantasy Powered by the Apocalypse

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stuart

    An interesting take on the AW engine that gets to third base on being inclusive (excellent treatment of characters as more than stand-ins for white guys, what it means to play dark fantasy in a diverse and dysfunctional city, use of the X-Card, etc), knocks it out of the park with factions, GM theory, Storms, City moves (seriously--the notion that specific places have an animating moveset is so beautiful and simple that I am angry that I haven't been using a similar mechanic for years) and (I sa An interesting take on the AW engine that gets to third base on being inclusive (excellent treatment of characters as more than stand-ins for white guys, what it means to play dark fantasy in a diverse and dysfunctional city, use of the X-Card, etc), knocks it out of the park with factions, GM theory, Storms, City moves (seriously--the notion that specific places have an animating moveset is so beautiful and simple that I am angry that I haven't been using a similar mechanic for years) and (I say this with apologies to the brilliant and talented crew that put the game together)--whiffs on the prose. I love many of the concepts, I love the archetypes and use of corruption, but the text itself is frustrating: it sporadically attempts--and fails--to be edgy, is by turns too sparse and overly verbose and distracts the reader from the brilliance of the core ideas. I think everyone running any sort of modern, city-based or socially conscious RPG should buy and read Urban Shadows. And if the talented authors and illustrators ever do a comprehensive re-write for a second edition, I'll buy a copy again.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alfonso Junquera perez

    Un interesante y, desde mi punto de vista, bien conseguido intento de simular las situaciones típicas de los libros, series y películas del genero de la Fantasía Urbana. Ya sabéis: el cazador con un pasado turbio, el vampiro consumido por el hambre, el Licantropo incapaz de controlar a la bestia... O no. Porque lo bueno de este juego (y seguramente sera malo para otros) es que no trae ninguna ambientación sino que, siguiendo el sistema de juego del Apocalipsis World de Vicent Baker, cada jugador Un interesante y, desde mi punto de vista, bien conseguido intento de simular las situaciones típicas de los libros, series y películas del genero de la Fantasía Urbana. Ya sabéis: el cazador con un pasado turbio, el vampiro consumido por el hambre, el Licantropo incapaz de controlar a la bestia... O no. Porque lo bueno de este juego (y seguramente sera malo para otros) es que no trae ninguna ambientación sino que, siguiendo el sistema de juego del Apocalipsis World de Vicent Baker, cada jugador tiene que dar vida a su persona, contar su historia y sus relaciones con el resto de personajes y sobre todo con el gran protagonista: La Ciudad donde los personajes habitan. Y claro a mas imaginación de los jugadores (y del director de juego) mas cosas sorprendentes te puedes encontrar.

  3. 4 out of 5

    William

    I liked a lot about this book. I would probably play this with few tweaks if I could get a group together for it. It's not the best-written RPG manual I've read, but the system seems solid. I think the best chapter is the one on customizing the game. While I wished that they would include "fixed" versions of the problematic example moves, I felt they did a very good job explaining how the various parts of a PbtA move fit together and gave good advice for making your own. I liked a lot about this book. I would probably play this with few tweaks if I could get a group together for it. It's not the best-written RPG manual I've read, but the system seems solid. I think the best chapter is the one on customizing the game. While I wished that they would include "fixed" versions of the problematic example moves, I felt they did a very good job explaining how the various parts of a PbtA move fit together and gave good advice for making your own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sam Hanawalt

    Really excellent rendition of the Apocalypse World Engine, drenched in atmosphere and political intrigue.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ben Grimes

    The book conveys the rules well, and is a relatively easy read. Occasionally, the author adds unnecessary anecdotes that make it frustrating when you just want to read the rules. Gameplay wise, this game accomplishes a unique spin on the Powered by the Apocalypse system. It reminded me a bit of another game, "The Sprawl," a cyberpunk game, run on the same system. The character creation's simplicity and overall ease to do, well, everything, makes this game deserving of praise. The book conveys the rules well, and is a relatively easy read. Occasionally, the author adds unnecessary anecdotes that make it frustrating when you just want to read the rules. Gameplay wise, this game accomplishes a unique spin on the Powered by the Apocalypse system. It reminded me a bit of another game, "The Sprawl," a cyberpunk game, run on the same system. The character creation's simplicity and overall ease to do, well, everything, makes this game deserving of praise.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nicolas Ronvel

    Un jeu bien épais pour commencer. C’est le plus gros du lot que j’ai reçu. Une belle qualité de papier, et une mise en page plutôt bien faite (à part cette propension à faire des orphelins et à ne pas laisser de blancs !). Au niveau du jeu, c’est plus ouvert que ce à quoi je m’attendais. Il y a de nombreux types de personnages accessibles, pour commencer (10). Et ils sont tous intéressants et stimulants. Surtout, les auteurs ont bien rempli le livre de conseils et d’exemples, pour les livrets ain Un jeu bien épais pour commencer. C’est le plus gros du lot que j’ai reçu. Une belle qualité de papier, et une mise en page plutôt bien faite (à part cette propension à faire des orphelins et à ne pas laisser de blancs !). Au niveau du jeu, c’est plus ouvert que ce à quoi je m’attendais. Il y a de nombreux types de personnages accessibles, pour commencer (10). Et ils sont tous intéressants et stimulants. Surtout, les auteurs ont bien rempli le livre de conseils et d’exemples, pour les livrets ainsi que pour les actions. Il s’agit sans doute du PBTA le plus garni à ce sujet que j’ai pu lire, et c’est vraiment une bonne idée. Cela clarifie pas mal l’utilisation de certaines actions et cela permet de voir comment le jeu est censé fonctionner. Au niveau du jeu, les actions proposées sont assez classiques (Se tirer d’affaire, Cerner quelqu’un, Attaquer …) mais sont bien adaptées au système classique. Et on trouve surtout deux catégories d’actions très importantes. Les Actions liées aux Faveurs mettent en lumière une ressource précieuse et centrale du jeu : les Faveurs. Les personnages des joueurs, dès le départ, vont devoir des Faveurs à d’autres personnages (joueurs ou pas) et pourront également en réclamer. En tant que joueur, vous allez réclamer des Faveurs pour faciliter vos œuvres, et vous devrez parfois agir pour quelqu’un à qui vous en devez. À moins de refuser ? Mais cela comporte de nombreux risques. Il s’agit d’un mécanisme très bien expliqué, qui focalise ainsi le style de jeu attendu et génère tout ce qu’il faut de tensions dans la narration. Les Factions sont l’autre élément central. On en trouve 4 générales, qui permettent de regrouper les types de personnage sans forcément être un carcan (et il y a des dissensions et des conflits au sein des Factions) : Mortalité (les humains), Nocturnes (Garous, Vampires et Spectres), Éveillés (Oracles et Magiciens) et Indomptés (Fae et Démons). Deux points à relever sur les Factions. Le premier est l’action Mettre un nom sur un visage. Il s’agit d’une Action vraiment ingénieuse, qui permet aux joueurs de nommer et caractériser un PNJ qu’ils rencontrent, et que le MJ peut ensuite intégrer dans sa toile. Bien sûr, ce PNJ vient avec des Faveurs ! L’autre point est que pour progresser, les joueurs doivent entreprendre des Actions de Faction visant chacune des Factions. C’est ainsi qu’on obtient l’XP. Il faut se mêler à tout et de tout, et ne pas rester dans son coin. Malin ! Le livre se dévore, sachant que certains passages peuvent être zappés avant de revenir dessus au besoin (certains livrets, les conseils pour chaque livret …). C’est un des meilleurs PBTA que j’ai lu, alors que j’avais du mal à imaginer le jeu au départ (personnages si typés, objectifs différents, pas de mission claire, jeu politique de factions …). Mais à la lecture, avec la profusion d’exemples, cela est beaucoup plus clair. Mais surtout, cela donne envie de s’y plonger ! Aussi : http://www.gulix.fr/blog/2018/04/08/u...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    This review is about the book, not the game. Compared to other pbta games, this book is a lot to read. On the one hand, that thickness and the full pages make it a hard book to dive into. On the other hand, there is a ton of valuable material in it. If you have read no other Apocalypse World games, you are going to have everything you need in this book, which is, I think, the right way to write a game book. The moves are explained in detail and examples of when a move triggers and how the MC shoul This review is about the book, not the game. Compared to other pbta games, this book is a lot to read. On the one hand, that thickness and the full pages make it a hard book to dive into. On the other hand, there is a ton of valuable material in it. If you have read no other Apocalypse World games, you are going to have everything you need in this book, which is, I think, the right way to write a game book. The moves are explained in detail and examples of when a move triggers and how the MC should treat the results are enlightening and useful. Urban Shadows creates a complicated world, and the book does an excellent job of helping the reader envision how that world will exist, how you can use those complications in play, and how you can keep on top of those complications. Debts, factions, intercharacter relationships, and NPCs call all appear overwhelming, but the manual does a great job of letting the MC have a handle on it all. I have come to judge game books by their GM/MC section--how well they give the GM the tools she needs to feel in control of her material and to have fun playing the game. Of the pbta books that I have read, Urban Shadows has one of the best MC sections (and really all of them are well done). Before I play, I will be going back and reading through the last 100 pages again . The book is fantastic. Now I just need to give the game a go.

  8. 4 out of 5

    John

    Urban Shadows is a roleplaying game of urban fantasy based on the system introduced by the game Apocalypse World. Players take on the roles of different urban fantasy archetypes: vampire, werewolf, wizard, ghost, monster hunter, etc. The game uses a unique system of 'debt' mechanics that are designed to tie the characters together into a political web regardless of whether or not they might actually get along, even if they have conflicting goals. The game is obviously influenced by both White Wol Urban Shadows is a roleplaying game of urban fantasy based on the system introduced by the game Apocalypse World. Players take on the roles of different urban fantasy archetypes: vampire, werewolf, wizard, ghost, monster hunter, etc. The game uses a unique system of 'debt' mechanics that are designed to tie the characters together into a political web regardless of whether or not they might actually get along, even if they have conflicting goals. The game is obviously influenced by both White Wolf's World of Darkness games and urban fantasy novels like the Dresden Files, but credit is also given to urban political dramas like The Wire. Overall it seems to be a solid implementation of the Powered by the Apocalypse game engine, but special mention needs to be given to "The Shadows" chapter at the end of the book. This is the book's version of the "Advanced Fuckery" chapter from Apocalypse World. Whether it was the style of writing, or just the fact that this is the third time I've read a similar chapter, it did a better job making me understand how custom moves should work than the equivalent chapters in Apocalypse World and Dungeon World did.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    Actually quite engaging to read. The writing is clear and vibrant. For a game book that is not as common as I'd like. Urban Shadows is a Powered by the Apocalypse game that pulls on urban fantasy tropes to create adventures filled with difficult decisions. I especially liked how important the cities are to the stories told through this system. In my favorite urban (really, cityscape) fantasy tales, the city is as great and interesting a character as the protagonists, allies, and antagonists. So Actually quite engaging to read. The writing is clear and vibrant. For a game book that is not as common as I'd like. Urban Shadows is a Powered by the Apocalypse game that pulls on urban fantasy tropes to create adventures filled with difficult decisions. I especially liked how important the cities are to the stories told through this system. In my favorite urban (really, cityscape) fantasy tales, the city is as great and interesting a character as the protagonists, allies, and antagonists. So I was glad to see that called out. The GM section was well-written and did a good job of explaining what 'play to find out what happens' really means at the table. As I have not read AW or any other PBtA book before, that was very helpful. I also really liked the section on love letters near the end of the book. They are an interesting and fun-sounding solution for mission players and one-shots. I read this book after playing US once. I rec both playing the game and reading this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tommaso De

    It's the clearest PbtA I've read, and a decent WoD substitute if you're not into the metaplot and even less into details, but some things puzzle me. The Storm makes no mechanical sense to me, and looks like a cool concept that doesn't actually work in practice. Also, the game is sometime hellbent in limiting and confining your options, like... Why the hell do I have to play involving all Factions in a game to use the advancement system as it is intended? That doesn't make the game feel more vari It's the clearest PbtA I've read, and a decent WoD substitute if you're not into the metaplot and even less into details, but some things puzzle me. The Storm makes no mechanical sense to me, and looks like a cool concept that doesn't actually work in practice. Also, the game is sometime hellbent in limiting and confining your options, like... Why the hell do I have to play involving all Factions in a game to use the advancement system as it is intended? That doesn't make the game feel more varied, it makes it feel forced if anything. All of this is easily fixable with a couple of home rules but still...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jose Lomo Marín

    Un buen acercamiento al sistema de juego Powered By The Apocalypse, en especial si disfrutas de la fantasía urbana. El texto y el propio sistema es una tormenta de ideas para recrear historias alrededor de monstruos y antihéroes modernos. El tratamiento de las facciones es especialmente interesante y muy apropiado para dar pie a la intriga que tan bien funciona en estas ambientaciones. Es como el hermano salvaje de Vampiro La Mascarada y cualquier otro juego de mundo de tinieblas.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nikolay Golubev

    Сама по себе игра (точнее, книга; попробовать игру в действии мне вряд ли в ближайшее время удастся) заслуживает твердой пятерки. Оценка снижена исключительно из-за некоторых проблем русской версии.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jules

    Great game, great book!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Homunkulus

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dan Jensen

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marcus

  18. 4 out of 5

    Victor Castillo Rodriguez

  19. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  20. 5 out of 5

    Will

  21. 5 out of 5

    Han

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ollie Gross

  23. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin

  24. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  25. 4 out of 5

    Olav L

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

  27. 5 out of 5

    Scott Rossi

  28. 4 out of 5

    Darren

  29. 5 out of 5

    Leandro Pondoc

  30. 4 out of 5

    Phil

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