The following resources were useful in creating Urbis, and might be helpful in inspiring campaigns and adventures.
RPGs and RPG supplements
- Catle Falkenstein: This world simply adds magic to an Age of Industrialization setting instead of replacing technology, but it has plenty of material which can be useful to Urbis campaigns anyway. In particular, the supplement Comme Il Faut is worth checking out thanks to its discussion of Victorian-era high society. While the Patricians of Urbis are generally not nobles, they do have many of the same affectations, and thus much of the material can be used for this setting as well.
- Suppressed Transmissions 1 and Suppressed Transmissions 2 by Kenneth Hite: Plenty of weirdness from the real world (or at least the imagined real world). The second volume also includes the essay "Plumb Weird: Sacred Geometry", which was the original inspiration for nexus towers. The other Pyramid articles not collected in such volumes were also very useful indeed. Unfortunately, they are no longer available…
- The Dictionary of Imaginary Places: The Newly Updated and Expanded Classic by Alberto Manguel: This book lists the locations where most of the great classics of fantasy literature take place. Urbis tries to pay homage to many of them.
- Planetary by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday: A comic series where the protagonists are superhero archaeologists trying to uncover the secret history of their world. Its stories have a multitude of homages to superhero comics and other adventure stories of past decades while also showing that the world has moved on from them. In a similar way, Urbis tries to pay homage to the various fantasy worlds in general and fantasy rpg settings in particular that came before it, and an entire campaign could be run with the player characters trying to uncover the secret history of Urbis - with plenty of suitable references to other classic role-playing game settings.
- H. P. Lovecraft: Many of his stories are appropriate for Urbis. A small sampling:
- The Cats of Ulthar, Celephaïs, The Doom That Came to Sarnath, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, and The White Ship: These "Dreamlands" stories are perfect for some of the stranger and more remote regions of Urbis, especially the Lake of Dreams.
- The Nameless City: Very appropriate for any of the desert regions.
- The Horror at Red Hook, The Rats in the Walls: Urban Horror at its best.
- Perdido Street Station by China Mieville: The city of New Crobuzon wouldn't be too out of place in Urbis.
- Francois Schuiten, Benoit Peeters: Brusel, Fever in Urbicand, The Invisible Frontier - The "Obscure Cities" (or "Cities of the Fantastic") were the primary inspiration for Urbis, and thus are highly recommended. Sadly, many titles of this fantastic series of comics are unavailable in English, including a brilliant guidebook to the Obscure Cities - but these titles should be enough to get you started.
- Victorian Babylon: People, Streets and Images in Nineteenth-Century London by Lynda Nead: Indispensable for the development of the city of Dartmouth, and highly inspirational for understanding how 19th century cities function.
- Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor by Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh: While written from a modern-day perspective, the insights into how the shadow economies of cities work are timeless and equally applicable to the world of Urbis.
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Yes, it's near-future science fiction instead of fantasy, but the kind of mayhem the cyborg members of Section 9 are capable of aren't too different from high-level characters, so the series can serve as inspiration for powerful characters who work for the government of a large city - including all the intrigues and conspiracies running in the background.
- Arcana Wiki: A huge collection of the weird, the strange, and the apparently mundane - and how it all can be used for gaming. Many of the articles there directly inspired articles for Urbis.
- Obskür : Weaving the web of the Obscure Cities: - an archive of the above-mentioned Obscure Cities, including a brilliant image gallery.
- TV Tropes Wiki: A brilliant deconstruction of many common story elements in media and fiction. Beware: Do not go there unless you have plenty of hours to spare…
page revision: 4, last edited: 01 Oct 2010 08:40