Tag: world-building

The City (A Setting for A Penny for My Thoughts)

(A bit of self-indulgence here. Simple homebrew setting for a game I reviewed here.)While Mnemosyne helps to break down the barriers between your mind and the minds of your fellow patients, it also weakens the barriers between the compartments of your mind. Memories, dreams, books, graffiti – all of these can mix together. To help you distinguish fact from fiction, we have prepared this guide to the world you live in. You may treat the following statements about the world as true:

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Between Streets with Secret Names

Urban fantasy is built on the concept of magic existing in modern world, hidden from the eyes of most people. It’s a great concept which leads to a lot of cool imagery and scenarios, but, well, it’s not really believable when you consider how our history would be different with magic around. Magic in many settings is capable of feats impossible even with modern science, and in many settings it was just as powerful (if not more powerful) in the past than it’s today, so it would stand to reason that mages would become our divine overlords back when the ruling class was just forming and cling to power ever since. Real priests, after all, typically had quite a lot of power in ancient societies, and they merely claimed they could bring forth miracles.

That’s just one example, but I hope it demonstrates the problem urban fantasy faces: how to keep our world mostly the way we know it, but with magic hidden in shadows?

I love urban fantasy genre, so I typically let it slide when a satisfactory answer isn’t provided, but still, it grates a bit every now and then.

So now I am composing a list of works that do provide good explanations for the secrecy of magic, or at least have interesting ideas on that front. The list is far from complete, of course, and you are welcome to provide your own examples, as well as examples of works that botch the justification for secrecy in a remarkable way.

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