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Rune

What do you consider a "requirement" of urban fantasy?

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Alright, so maybe this is just me.... but I like my modern / urban life with a SIDE of fantasy. I really like the juxtaposition between the supernatural and real world events or elements... It's as though sticking close to reality makes the supernatural more believable... If there are different creatures, I love to delve into the impact those creatures in our world has politically, economically, culturally. Like, if werewolves are out to humans how that impacts life as we know it, especially if there's prejudice or intolerance there that leads to dynamic plots. 

Edited by omgwes
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1 hour ago, Rune said:

Though, weirdly, if they're classified differently than other shifters, I'm more hesitant.

 

An urban fantasy definitely has to have werewolves for me to have anything to do with it. I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum, though, in that I can't stand it when there isn't a clear distinction between were-creatures and regular shifters. Its a very subjective issue, and if a plot is compelling enough I'll get over it and participate anyway, but to me they're two very different sets of fantasy beings. 

 

43 minutes ago, jenneral_jennson said:

Yeah, that wouldn't make sense in the least. Werewolves or not, they are essentially just shifters so why classify them as something else? 

 

Generally I view were-creatures as being related, but still distinctly different from general shifters - kind of an all squares are rectangles but rectangles are not squares sort of deal. So all were-creatures are shifters in the most general of senses, but shifters are not were-creatures. Personally, in most forms, I feel like were-creatures deserve, if not demand, their own distinct classification, even if its a sub-class. 

 

Obviously it varies between realms, but more often than not there are pretty distinct differences between the two.

 

Ex: 

  • In a lot of fantasy realms, a were-creature is classified because it is infected with some kind of disease, whereas shifters in that same verse are simply born that way.
  • Were-creatures have hybridized forms and are usually held in thrall to powers beyond their control (the extent of which varies between mediums, some werewolves can only transform on a full moon), while shifters typically take on a naturalized form and have a greater spectrum of control. 
  • were-creatures tend to be more animalistic where shifters retain full sentience

 

There's no "right" answer to the subject since its so subjective, but for my part if there's no hybridization of form - regardless of what influence the moon has - then its not a werewolf. Its just a shifter that might have a slight catch once a month. To me a were-creature is supposed to have a monsterous visage, whether or not its a true monster.

 

But its an entire can of worms, really. My site has a creature based heavily on the Skinwalker that's technically a sort of shifter, but neither a were-creature nor a traditional shifter. They're self-created through a black magic ritual, and they have to carry a piece of the animal they can turn into with them in order to complete the shift. If they lose this piece (feather, ear, claw, teeth, pelt whatever) or it is destroyed then they lose their ability to shift. Nor is their shift "natural" there is always something that's just off about their animal form - they might not move quite right, might seem deformed players choice. 

 

Like were-creatures, I see them as a sort of shifter; but they're still a very distinct classification. 

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I get that, but if there's shifters AND werewolves, why aren't there werealligators or whatever? It's when it's just wereWOLVES and then shifters. So, shifters can be whatever, but weres only get to be wolves. 

 

I can appreciate a difference, but I like having them as two distinct things, were-whatevers and shifters. Unless they have different restrictions. Ie: Briggs' world shifters are "walkers" and can only be native american animals.

 

Carrie Vaughn does it nifty. They're all wereanimals, no shifters. But there's literally every animal ever, or at least we're led to believe it to be that way.

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On 12/6/2017 at 3:25 PM, Rune said:

I get that, but if there's shifters AND werewolves, why aren't there werealligators or whatever?

 

I guess that's just one of those verse things. If I was running a site that had both general shifters and were-creatures then I would definitely run multiple were-species. Personally I love the were creatures from non-Euro based cultures - like the werehyenas of African myth or the Aztec Naguals, for example. I wouldn't open it up so much as to have were"insert any literal critter here", because I like a certain amount of nuance to this kind of thing, but I definitely wouldn't just point blank limit it to werewolves. 

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It has to have supernatural beings from mythology in a modern setting, so it doesn't necessarily have to be in an urban environment. So, the beings can be anything from the usual suspects like the monsters of classic horror movies to gods, goddesses and creatures from various mythologies. (I do find European and North American mythologies get more coverage than others.) I think werewolves are singled out more because people are more familiar with them. (If you look at Tolkien, most of his creatures are based on Norse, Anglo-Saxon, Celtic. Classical and Finnish myths, and he has Beornings as bear shape-shifters, though you don't tend to find many examples of ware-bears or shifters in urban fantasy, and there are many examples of shape-shifting beings in Norse mythology - even dwarves have that ability, but you'd have to have read the original stories and poems to know about them.)

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I've been leaning a little toward the "angels and demons" aspect of supernatural lately. Rather than the traditional "Vamps and Wolves not-so-monstery-monsters". 

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On 06/12/2017 at 5:45 PM, jenneral_jennson said:

Yeah, that wouldn't make sense in the least. Werewolves or not, they are essentially just shifters so why classify them as something else? 

 

I know this topic was already set but I'd like to add my two cents here. My view on the differences between werewolves and wolf shifters is, in essence, the difference between werewolves and the animagi in Harry Potter. Yes, I know shifters are born shifters while animagi became shifters, but bear with me.

 

In the Harry Potter series, werewolves are cursed, uncontrollable and can just shift during the full moon. The "wolf" is completely apart from the human (which means the human doesn't remember what they did as "wolf" form and the "wolf" doesn't remember they were human).

 

On the other hand, animagi can choose when to transform and remain conscient of their humanity during their transformation, although the human has some the animal's traits (Sirius has a bark-like laugh and Pettigrew has a squeaky voice, for example).

 

Now, back to the topic of this thread.

 

I mean... to me, fantasy to me has to have magic. At least, magic in the broad sense of the word. Basically, "supernatural creatures" are one kind of what I call magical creatures—races gifted with magic.

 

I don't think I care much about supernatural creatures, though. I tried joining a site with this thematic once and I gave it up within two months because it wasn't what I wanted. I would prefer being on a site where you can play humans with different professions, some magical, some non-magical. My favorite kind of RPG is the so-called slices of life, where you can just focus on the character's day to day without worrying about big plots... 

 

Funnily enough, most of the ones I've found that are at least slightly like this had settings I wouldn't like playing in. So... *shrugs* 

Edited by ArthurGael
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On 12/25/2017 at 11:42 PM, ArthurGael said:

In the Harry Potter series, werewolves are cursed, uncontrollable and can just shift during the full moon. The "wolf" is completely apart from the human (which means the human doesn't remember what they did as "wolf" form and the "wolf" doesn't remember they were human).

 

On the other hand, animagi can choose when to transform and remain conscient of their humanity during their transformation, although the human has some the animal's traits (Sirius has a bark-like laugh and Pettigrew has a squeaky voice, for example).

 

I did a similar "break" on a site. There are "Werecreatures", which look human but function very similar to how you described the Animagi.  Then there are "Theriantropes", which function like the Classical werewolf; half man/animal with full moon transformations they cannot control or remember. Theriantropes are presented more like the result of a viral genetic disease (similar to how the "monstery" wolf creature was a regressive genetic mutation in Blutbads in Grimm), and split into 5 subcategories:   Lycanthrope, Ursidthrope (Bears), Falcothrope (Falcon), Vulpesthrope (Fox),  and Pantherathrope (predatory cat). 

 

For me "shifters" should be able to like, choose multiple forms rather than be confined to just the one. So like, There's a Shifting ABILITY that several creatures can have in their makeup, but then a ShiftER would naturally be able to take up a broader set of transformations. 

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For me, the werewolves thing is an absolute must. I am not a big fan of vampires, but I also feel like they need to be included in an urban fantasy story in some aspect, unless the world is specifically made up not to include them (why they wouldn't be included, no idea). 

 

BUT OVERALL - the theme for most urban fantasy/modern fantasy is going to have to involved that magical element. Whether it is directly stated as being magic or implied as magic, you can have a number of species, a number of origins, a number of things that don't make sense, but in order for it to work, you gotta have that magic element to it. Anything can be explained by magic. That's why it's called fantasy to begin with. 

 

So going back to the werewolf versus shifter thing, I can have both and they can be different because I said so (and magic). ;) 

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For me, it's really just anything that has a touch of magic to it as some sort of explanation to the supernatural/paranormal of the world. Other than that my definition of requirement is pretty open. 

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A supernatural fantasy about spirit animals set in Somerset, Pennsylvania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I look for sites that allow for concepts and characters I want to play. This can mean dusting off an old character of mine I want to play or just a new concept that tickles my fancy. My big problem is that so many urban fantasy/supernatural sites have restrictive lore. So many are like: here's the lore, here's your character's abilities, pick a few spells, you never have the ability to create your own. This just doesn't allow me to create or play the characters I want.

 

Next, I'm looking for something that isn't a small town. Some of my characters are fairly international, so coming up with a reason why they would settle in a village of 300 in the middle of nowhere is a little tricky. It also just feels constricted to me even if it isn't.

 

More general is I look for grit. What makes urban fantasy/supernatural interesting to me is that potentially you can put the vampires in a sci-fi setting or wild west, but there needs to be a dark off-kilter feel. There needs to be a feeling of danger and conflict. I find the point of the supernatural genre to delve into the darker side of human nature. If I don't think I can do that, I'm not going to join.

 

After that, I start looking into lore and opportunities. Can I make a movie studio? An art gallery? Can it be a sub-board? I look for what makes your world interesting and what I can add to it. The first character or two is going to usually be one of my concepts, after that once I'm comfortable with the lore I'll create original characters for that site. How restrictive is said lore? While I like that dark grit, I also like having a character or two that plays against type. Some people love having innocent characters and ripping them apart, I love having a happy innocent character to turn to.

 

As far as species go? I'm into witches for the most part. They tend to provide the most versatility. I can play a witch who practices Santaria, Shintoism, or Wicca. They can be good, bad, or something inbetween. Even if the lore is very North American / European centric, I usually squeeze something else in there without too much difficulty.

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