Evil Genius (www.evilgeniusgames.com) is rebooting Urban Arcana with a contest and new books. Dave Scott was kind enough to talk to me again about the next book his company is launching which supports Everyday Heroes .
Addendum: Evil Genius Games just announced an upcoming kickstarter to support Everyday Heroes.
Charles Dunwoody (Charlie): Thanks for talking with me again, Dave. For those who don’t know, what was Urban Arcana and what will be in the new version?
Dave Scott (Dave): Twenty years ago, Bill Slavicsek, Jeff Grubb, Charles Ryan, and Rich Redman created d20 Modern. Using 3.5, the team set out to create a modern-day roleplaying game using the Dungeons & Dragons rule system. This extremely popular game spawned 11 expansions, including Urban Arcana– a system that introduced magic and D&D races and mythical beasts into the modern world. Since we announced the reboot of d20 Modern called Everyday Heroes, not a day has gone by when a customer hasn’t asked us when we will be rebooting Urban Arcana. Our version of the classic expansion will be its only fully fledged product line, complete with a player’s handbook, a game master’s guide, and a bestiary. We hope it will be a compelling alternative to the other fantasy products that exist today. As you would expect, the game will have all the playable races found in a fantasy setting (such as Elves, Dwarves, and Half-Orcs), a complete spell-casting system, magic items and artifacts, and, of course, mythical beasts (such as dragons). The only difference is that this game will take place within the modern era.
Charlie: Evil Genius is sponsoring a contest to create the setting, similar to the contest Wizards put on that launched Eberron. What made you decide to go with a contest to create this new magical urban setting?
Dave: When we started to discuss this ambitious project, we realized that there was a lot to consider. Would our world be low-magic or high-magic? Would it be more like Harry Potter or closer to Bright? How does magic manifest itself in the world today? Was it always here or did the power recently emerge? What about the elder races? Were they here all along, or did they magically appear on a rift in spacetime? The more we started to ask ourselves these questions, the more we realized how complicated the answers were. This led us to a few conclusions:
- First, we needed someone far smarter than us to help flush out the specifics of this world. Someone who is passionate about the fantasy setting and has a strong perspective on these questions.
- Second, since our fans have been demanding this reboot, we felt it was important to let the fans decide what our urban fantasy setting should look like. Lastly, our team thought that the Eberron contest was extremely well-executed.
- Last, we admired how Wizards of the Coast executed that program and enjoy the world setting of Eberron to this day. So, in typical fashion, we are lovingly stealing their idea
Charlie: What ideas do you have on implementing magic rules and elder races like dwarves and elves for Everyday Heroes? Is D&D 5E going to form the basis for these rules?
Dave: Yes, we plan to use D&D 5E as the basis. We definitely want to build a system that is extremely easy for fans of Dungeons & Dragons to pick up and play. Now that 5.1 is in Creative Commons, and thanks to the amazing fantasy systems that have been introduced within the last few months, we have plenty of great ideas to choose from. We want the races, spells, and even the monsters to feel familiar. But we also want it to have that modern-day era twist. Why would a wizard carry around a hefty magic book when we have Kindles? If you’re a cop, would you rather have a longsword +1 or a magical shotgun? These modern twists will make the game really fun to play.
Charlie: Is there planned adventure support for the new magical setting?
Dave: Yes, we plan to launch an entire line of products, including adventures supporting this setting. We’re investing in the world and the stories that can be told in this setting. We also hope that this will inspire independent publishers and freelancers to create their own adventures based on this setting. If they do, we’ll do everything within our power to support them because we really want this setting to be successful.
Charlie: Many readers of EN World play D&D and Pathfinder. What would you say to them if they asked why they should try fantasy set in the modern world?
Dave: I’m a huge Pathfinder player and I look forward to my weekly sessions at Heretic Games in Millbrae, California, but what we’ll offer is something a little different. We’re taking everything you love about fantasy roleplaying games and putting it in the familiar world of the modern day. I believe this will provide new opportunities for storytelling with a fresh new perspective. Adventure into the tunnels of the New York subway line to make a pact with an ancient dragon. Get hired by the CIA to stop a rogue government agency from summoning hellhounds and training them to do their bidding. Help President Abraham Lincoln slay vampires and end the war. The story ideas are infinite.
Charlie: Any final comments you’d like to share with the readers of EN World?
Dave: I really hope that the industry is inspired to get the word out about this contest. We would really like to hear from anyone who has a great idea for this setting. It’s important for us to make sure that we create a setting that people love and satisfies Urban Arcana fans everywhere.