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City of Souls • 2018 rpg

Frederic Deux • no link

You're a soul fragment of The City, incarnate as a human to rise against the rot that gnaws your mother.
Corruption, criminality, pollution.

One of your brothers has failed The City.
He's The Lost Soul.
He's your enemy.
And he's one of the players.

- Roll secretly 2d6 with the referee. The lowest roll designates the Lost Soul.
- Choose four Aspects: a name, and three other broad traits that may apply to both a human and a city's neighborhood.
- One has to be a serious flaw!
Ex: John, artistic, full of life, insane
- Each is valued 6.

 To perform a difficult action:
 - Choose an appropriate Aspect (including Name)
 - Roll 1d6 and minus Aspect by one
 - Roll <= Aspect: success, otherwise: failure

Except Name, all Aspects can generate « low magic » (use your imagination).
A serious wound reduces Name by 1.
Reaching 0 on an Aspect means Soul's vanishing.

Play a short adventure in which characters fight corruption/criminality/pollution in a big city (think about "street-level characters" in comic books).
If at the end the flaw of the Lost Soul is above 0 and lower than any "positive Aspects" of the other players, Mother City dies, and The Enemy reveals himself.

Author Comments

Ever since I was a kid I have really liked the Marvel and DC street-level characters such as The Punisher, Daredevil, Moon Knight, Batman, etc. And, actually, I like all kinds of stories in which the city is also one of the main characters. In these stories we can feel the breath of the city. It is alive, it has a conscience, a soul, a bright side and “a dark half” … and it naturally gives birth to villains and heroes. One of the most interesting things about these street-level characters is that they are not so different from the villain(s) they fight so hard. They all have weaknesses, they all break the law - most are even murderers -, and if they sat down in a therapist chair they probably would be qualified as “psychos”.

Anyway, these are both basic and deep topics, with infinite narrative potential. So, I wanted to give a try such a setting, in which a city literally gave birth to these two strong archetypes: heroes and villains. I also wanted a touch of esoterism and a strong connection to the “Mother City”, who gave the characters a part of her soul… and some powers by the way. But most of all I wanted one of the players to assume (secretly) the role of the traitor, the one who works against the heroes in the shadow, the one who reveals himself at the end to claim: “Ah, ah, ah, ah! Finally, I won!”

Considering the “200 words constraint”, and since there are so many similar inspiring comic books and detective fictions to easily adapt, I did not feel the need to focus on the creation of the adventure itself. But specific rules were needed still. They had to favor narration and, obviously, they had to be as simple as possible - but not simplistic -, concise, and light enough to easily set up a credible but short “one-shot” adventure.

Thanks for reading this. Have fun!

PS: Many thanks to my wife and her limitless patience. ;)

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