Today I just finished reading Dark Streets for Urban Shadows. This is a setting book and a collection of extra playbooks and essays for the Urban Shadows (an Apocalypse World game). It is not something that I intend to write a review for unless I go back and re-read the Urban Shadows core book and review it first, but as I was reading through the various cities that were covered in this book, I realized that they are written in such a way that they would provide a useful framework for Deadlands Noir and East Texas University.
Each of the Deadlands Noir settings focus on a specific location (New Orleans, Chicago, Salt Lake City, etc.). Now what makes the Urban Shadows format useful is the organization of the information on these cities. Each location has a description for each of the factions in play, followed by a section on the most important person for each of the factions, and finally two city changing events that someone is trying to make happen1.
So what would this look like in Deadlands Noir? Well In New Orleans I would set the factions as:
1. The Black Hand
2. The Five Families
3. The Red Sect
4. The Mayor/Police
Each of these factions would get the most important member named and described. Now this is not necessarily the person in charge, but the most prominent mover in the faction. So you would get the following people described:
1. Sam “Silver Dollar” Carolla
2. Whoever you want as the representative for the Five Families
3. The most active person for the Red Sect
4. Either the mayor or the chief of police.
Finally you would set up one or two things that are happening in the city that will change the status quo and restructure who has power and who doesn’t. These are things that the players might choose to interfere with or might not. Examples of this might be:
1. The Red Sect instigating a mob war between the Black Hand and the Five Families.
2. The Black Hand searching for Baron LaCroix’s zombie juice.
This last section to me is the special one. It starts with the basic idea of what someone wants to do, and then it gives a countdown clock of events that will lead up to achieving the goal. And this is the one that I keep thinking about in relation to the game that I am running I just need to think about what the plans are for each of the threats to the city and let the players decide if they want to interfere.
- There are a couple of other things like City Moves (things that happen in the city), any custom moves with rules, but these are Apocalypse World specific bits. ↩