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Urban Fantasy, Hidden or Open


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So, I am not sure the title explains it so I am going to ramble for a bit. I'm an Admin on a board that is Urban Fantasy. Supernatural creatures living in the modern world. Government Agencies try to control them. Criminal groups try to take advantage of them. Hunters try to kill them. But; on our board the broad amount of humanity has no clue that the supernatural beings exist. Witches, Werewolves, Angels, Demons, all of them are living in the world without letting the average fella on the street grasp that his coffee was just served by a woman who could set him on fire with his mind. 

 

So, what I am wondering - Is when it comes to Urban Fantasy, are people more interested in the humans and supernaturals coexisting and having to find ways to deal with each other? 

 

So; I mean, do people want to see werewolves going on rampages in shopping malls in the news and have it be a topic of discussion. Or is the government agents swooping in and tranquilizing the crowd and trying to change their memories a cool story? 

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Personally I don’t mind either however in my experience. Hidden provides a great groundwork for plot that open just doesn’t have. Most open types I see lend themselves to slice of life situations while the hidden ones provide an sense of danger and risk. 

 

That said when supernaturals are powerful  and common the setting sometimes needs a reason as to why they are even in hiding. If a vampire can control the government or a lady can fry humans with her mind why not have humans be oppressed and by the supernatural presence instead of the other way around. 

 

Well usually the setting explains the why but it’s something to think about when planning the world in these kinds of rps

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Well in our world, its basically a numbers game. The most powerful species used to be out in the open... and meager little humans banded together to take them down. Some groups, Witches, Psychics, Gifted... they're all supernatural brands of humans who can hide in plain sight and in general they side with humans in those ancient battles. So while 25% of the population might be supernatural, they're still outnumbered by humanity and for THIS setting (I can only speak for my own) the government's of the world KNOW supernaturals exist and have organizations that basically work like the Men in Black. Covering up events and getting rid of supernaturals who cause to many problems. 

 

So in our world you can be a really powerful supernatural being; but you're still likely to be pretty paranoid because you are way out numbered and none of the species are so powerful that technology can't hurt them in some ways. 

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As long as there is not a divide in where the characters are, I am indifferent to open or hidden world. 

 

I have played in more hidden "woah! Vampires are real?!" Worlds than open worlds, but each lends itself to different plots, both of which can be a ball~

 

The only thing i don't like for these kinds of world builds is if basically... the supernatural creatures all live in hogwarts and the humans live in London, only because I am the type to only have two or three characters at most, and it makes plotting so much harder. If you can't have run ins with characters because they simply live in different places.

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I can totally go either way. It kind of depends on how the conflicts of the world are established. Different approaches can be equally interesting! The key just seems to be making sure folks understand how they can use different types of characters under the circumstances.

 

For Fragile Futures (as an example), I opted to keep magic largely an unknown thing in the world. There are tons of people who know about it, so it's not the BEST kept secret, but mages have a hefty investment in keeping their abilities secret. In our future, people aren't about to accept MAGIC in the face of science (Is that an overarching plot waiting to be unleashed? :P), and an all-out war would be B A D. Plus, magic seems to be dying. Mages aren't in power in government or business anymore, and they'd be extremely vulnerable if people decided to go against them. While some magical creatures exist, they're an anomaly, so it's not super likely anyone's running into a shapeshifting beast. Is it still fun to play a mage? Totally! They want their power back, and within their own subculture there are massive issues of family politics and relationship dynamics.

 

In any case, it's aaaall about finding the plot footholds and making them accessible, methinks. It's also super important to make sure people feel like their fantasy-oriented characters can interact with mundane folks.

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On my forum we have the humans blissfully ignorant of supernaturals. There are some humans that know and of course from fear they hunt them. It gives leeway to both, there's a good balance there. It also leads to more danger and various interesting stories that have come from members and what direction they take their characters. I'm not a fan of fully open really, just couldn't see myself happy writing that way. I guess because I like the added edge of danger. I think it works out nicely in the long run.

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either way is great depending on how it's handled.

 

buuut i would love to see more worlds that have supernatural creatures out in the open. i think it'd be so fun to have supernatural people integrated into society, having positions of power and being open about it. vampires who want to be teachers but struggle with the hours so there's a specialized union for them, werewolves in high demand as dog groomers because they know their body language and there's less of a fuss, humans going to witches for spells to keep ants out of their kitchens or make sure their car doesn't break down.

 

i'm on two supernatural sites with them as a hidden world, and there's a lot of possibilities there as well. but for me, personally, i'd be interested in more supernatural sites where humans are aware.

 

 

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I write on both types. Depending on the environment itself (mostly the time setting, known supernaturals tend to be set in dystopian futures where there is some unequal power distribution between vanillas and supes), I find both enjoyable! But the site I personally admin have them hidden for plot's sake, and I do like secrecy. 

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One of the things I have considered for a possible board event was the revelation of the supernatural. But of course it would come with a complete board rework. @jordanand I have considered setting it up in our AU area with the realistic ground rules of what we think the society would suffer through as it it suffered the dynamic shift from human only to supernatural. 

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I'm with others. Depends on the dynamics that you want. There is plenty of tension and wars and things in something like "True Blood" where Vampires are known to exist but weres aren't and neither are witches or faeries etc because they don't want to be known.

 

With hidden you get coverups and whatnot. With open you have factions fighting for control, you have factions trying to make rules. I find that both have politics but open has more because you have "there are more humans than X.

 

It also really depends on the lore too. I'll stick to True Blood, the reason the vampires came out of the coffin (so to speak) is because there was an alternative blood source developed by the Japanese (called True Blood) which sufficed and was able to provide what a vampire needed to survive but I mean it tasted terrible. It was like real meat versus something like "tofu" made to seem like meat so it was a hard adjustment plus young vampires are like toddlers and if they don't like it they will only eat what they want, etc.

 

Without that supplement though, humans wouldn't have readily accepted them because they would be the only blood source. They only accepted that vampires could co-exist (albeit hesitantly) because they didn't think they were their only way to eat. This in turn created factions though, people that hate them, people that are indifferent and people that love them (and a few others like fangers etc). But having on out world that wasn't before, you have to consider the ramifications it will have on your general populace.

 

I go with the old saying:

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Honestly they're both good for different reasons. 

 

Hidden world: has a better sense of mystique, I think.  Plus, I'm a huge sucker for Overly Curious Human Accidentally Uncovers The Supernatural plotlines.  But the downside of this is that the dynamics feels limited.   The world will ALWAYS be hidden.  So this is generally more sandboxy, rather than plot-driven.

 

The Unhidden: has WAY more potential.  Vampires + internet is just... it's inherently hilarious to me to think about how supernatural beings cope and work in this world we've got.   I LOVE plot driven games, so I tend to lean more towards these types of games.

 

Personally, I'm still hoping to either run or find a highly plot-driven game where the players see and play out the discovery of the supernatural world.  I just want to see how people would handle it real-time, so to speak. 

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We have actually toyed with the idea of the supernatural creatures banding together to the point where they can make their presence known to the world at large and be strong enough to keep from being immediately overwhelmed. Thus forcing humanity into a position where it must adapt to the presence of supernatural beings and figure out how to deal with them. 

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The idea of hidden supernatural-type creatures in an urban setting always reminds me of the Modern Faerie Tales series by Holly Black. And in that series, the second book, Valiant, was my favorite specifically because the main character in that one is human and everything she's experiencing is foreign to her. I think more mileage is gained through hiding the creatures among the humans and biding time to reveal them to the general populace -- then, subsequently, exploring the fallout of that. Once the hidden realm is suddenly public, prejudices would be expected to form. You'll get factions of creature hunters and factions of people trying to save the creatures. Humans vs. humans when they find they're on opposite sides of the belief system. Starting out hidden and then having a "big reveal" of some kind opens the door for a lot of plot potential -- because not even every creature will be happy with that either 😉

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