Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Paratopian City (Part 1)

Work and classes keep me busy as usual- I've been one of Applecare's senior-tier agents since the end of last year. Some big game design efforts that'll have to wait for another time, but I wanted to share this one while it was fresh.

(7:25:15 PM) Dagda: Been brainstorming a new setting, actually- yesterday and today, it's coming together nicely. Think I could bounce it off you?
(7:25:22 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Sure
(7:25:30 PM) Dagda: Awesome, was hoping to get your input
(7:25:46 PM) Dagda: Are you familiar with any of the Abhorsen books, by Garth Nix?
(7:26:04 PM) Sylvia Viridian: I am not, unfortunately
(7:26:09 PM) Dagda: No worries
(7:26:29 PM) Sylvia Viridian: I am familiar with some of his Keys to the Kingdom books, but not the Abhorsen ones
(7:27:23 PM) Dagda: Main relevant thing is that Abhorsen's setting had two countries that shared a border.
(7:28:22 PM) Dagda: It was something of a gothic fantasy story, main characters are necromancers whose arts are used to *counter* undead raised by other, irresponsible necromancers.
(7:28:36 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Oh, interesting
(7:28:44 PM) Dagda: But the other country is actually a secular, rational nation alot like 1920s britain.
(7:29:23 PM) Dagda: Most people there are highly skeptical about magic being real, and remain that way for a bit in the instances where they see it firsthand.
(7:30:15 PM) Dagda: This setting is. . .half that, half District B13 (or Mirror's Edge, if you prefer)
(7:30:38 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Ooh
(7:31:16 PM) Dagda: You have a particular region where supernatural stuff goes on. In this case were talking a large island or two of the coast of a larger landmass, a la great britain
(7:33:24 PM) Dagda: That's not the setting, though, the stories never directly show what it's like there. The setting is a massive modern-day city that's right across the English Channel-equivalent.
(7:36:11 PM) Dagda: See, the goverment for this nation takes great pains to keep the supernatural region contained. Helicopters and patrolling gunboats serve as a border guard, concentrated on the channel but also covering the islands as a whole.
(7:37:58 PM) Dagda: They downplay the paranormal side of things to the public, dismissing the old tales of bogeymen coming ashore to terrorize families in the night as a bunch of quaint rumors and superstitions (which, to be fair, is mostly true)
(7:39:16 PM) Dagda: But for both political and pragmatic reasons, they go to great lengths not to let anyone in (without clearance) or any*thing* out.
(7:41:15 PM) Dagda: Knowingly harboring or failing to report any supernatural being, artifact, anything of the sort is a serious crime.
(7:41:32 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Of course
(7:41:49 PM) Dagda: In theory, this particular harbor city is no exception.
(7:43:15 PM) Dagda: In practice, there are hundreds of illegal border crossings each year. Within the borders of this city, as long as you don't do anything obviously paranormal in public you're relatively safe.
(7:43:25 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Oh, fun
(7:44:19 PM) Dagda: Mind you, the people from this region might have different skin/eye/hair color but they're still flesh and blood the same as anyone.
(7:44:49 PM) Dagda: The supernatural elements are seen in the effects they can have on people (and sometimes the world in general) around them.
(7:45:02 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Like what?
(7:46:12 PM) Dagda: Someone who's utterly, fascinatingly beautiful- but looks pretty darn plain if you're looking at them in a photograph or via security camera.
(7:46:27 PM) Sylvia Viridian: I see
(7:47:16 PM) Dagda: Or someone who can move around as though their body (and whatever they're carrying) weighed less, a la Spring-Heeled Jack
(7:47:31 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Sounds neat~
(7:47:50 PM) Dagda: Or telekinesis
(7:48:04 PM) Dagda: Of a relatively raw and uncontrolled variety
(7:53:02 PM) Dagda: The scene at 1:30 in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDcxuiFLA64 being an extreme example
(7:54:12 PM) Sylvia Viridian: /watches
(7:55:03 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Whoa. Cool.
(7:55:47 PM) Dagda: It's a neat set of movies- not something I'd objectively argue as great, but I'm a fan
(7:56:09 PM) Sylvia Viridian: I like the animation
(7:56:32 PM) Dagda: Yeah, it's very well done. Consistently, too, doesn't just spike in the fight scenes
(7:56:46 PM) Dagda: As for her attacker, in the red jacket- that's a nice tie-in to another key thing about this setting
(7:57:41 PM) Dagda: What started me on this concept was reading some recent Batman comics, and thinking about how much I like the better-written portrayals of Gotham city.
(7:58:49 PM) Dagda: And how I could keep alot of that while removing the superhero thing from the equation.
(7:59:12 PM) Sylvia Viridian: I see.
(7:59:38 PM) Dagda: Specifically, keeping things like the police department- there was a great comic series called Gotham P.D., police procedural format but in Gotham city.
(7:59:53 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Oh, that sounds fun
(8:00:14 PM) Dagda: It was, I'm sure I could track down a DL for the scans if you wanted.
(8:00:24 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Sure
(8:00:56 PM) Dagda: To rs.4chan.org I go!
(8:01:03 PM) Dagda: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=kco7igqj
(8:01:12 PM) Sylvia Viridian: That was fast
(8:01:20 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Awesome
(8:04:08 PM) Dagda: Anyway, part of what I really liked was this idea of a city that had these metahuman elements going on in it, good and ill, and had adapted accordingly.
(8:04:44 PM) Sylvia Viridian: I do like that idea. Sort of similar to one I've been working with myself, anyway
(8:05:01 PM) Dagda: Oh? Interesting
(8:05:20 PM) Dagda: This is a good point to pause for a bit- would you be up for sharing your concept?
(8:05:36 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Basically, an urban fantasy setting ten years after the masquerade broke
(8:05:46 PM) Dagda: Ahaha nice
(8:05:52 PM) Sylvia Viridian: The FBI has a Magical Crimes Unit
(8:06:03 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Atlantis - where the elves live - has its own seat in the UN
(8:06:10 PM) Dagda: Nice
(8:06:12 PM) Sylvia Viridian: That kind of thing
(8:06:40 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Most magical species are actually still under the masquerade
(8:06:48 PM) Dagda: Huh
(8:06:58 PM) Sylvia Viridian: it's just elves and mages - who are humans with elven blood - that are out and about
(8:07:01 PM) Dagda: So there's a twist that this is just the tip of the iceberg
(8:07:03 PM) Dagda: Interesting
(8:07:09 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Yeah
(8:08:01 PM) Dagda: Kind of a different bent, but that has something else occur to me
(8:08:32 PM) Dagda: That in my setting, maybe yours too, the full extent of what paranormal things could actually do would almost be ambiguous
(8:09:38 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Magic as almost a force unto itself, one that can be tapped into but never fully defined
(8:10:11 PM) Dagda: You'd have rumors about power to bring cities crashing down, and then the truth of some scared migrant family whose middle-aged grandpa can throw you out a window in a pinch but that's it.
(8:11:00 PM) Sylvia Viridian: I see. But who knows - *someone* out there might have that much power
(8:11:08 PM) Sylvia Viridian: And there would be people seeking those that did
(8:11:15 PM) Dagda: Yep on both counts
(8:12:38 PM) Dagda: And then you get a fight scene like in that youtube vid, with some scared, desperate half-crazed prodigy cuts loose with no restraint. And an awful lot of load-bearing walls are getting wrecked.
(8:13:25 PM) Dagda: And what do you know, it's starting to seem like a building might come tumbling down after all.
(8:13:37 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Yuup

Art by Kweli

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