Friday, April 8, 2011

Old School Urban Fantasy: Return to the Border

I think the covers had something to do with us picking up
these books too. What do you think?
One of my most prized anthologies dates back to that era when shared world anthologies were common. Perhaps you picked up the Thieves World antho series? Or the Wild Cards antho series?

One shared world anthology that I wished had come out more often was set on the border of our world and the Faeries Realm in a place where the mundane and the magical mix uneasily. My first book was Bordertown, and my cousin coincidentally had picked up the other book out - Borderland.

You've got humans, elves, gangs of truebloods, half-bloods, and reg'lar (but no less dangerous) humans. You've got rock & roll bands and artists, scammers, and all sorts of runaways from both sides of the Border. And let's not forget all the problems that the Mad River gives to that little community.

It was urban fantasy, and not the current flavor of it -- filled with vampires, werewolves, and the like.

And maybe one day I can cobble together a ruleset to run adventures in it.

The difficulty is actually more of the setting -- much of the understanding of the Faerie denizens is a mixture of the mythological and modern, and not your typical "beautiful, arrogant humans with pointy ears" treatment of them -- so a more proper grounding in mythology would be wise. Perhaps learn about true names, and spells, and the works of Lord Dunsany.

Another headache is how magic and technology work -- not at all, partially, or explosively. And don't even get me started about cooking in Bordertown: it may start mundane, but the capricious nature of the place may recognize it as magic and treat it as such. Gingerbread men, anyone?

That and a quick peek at indie band and street culture that I can probably crib from the old Cyberpunk stuff.

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