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Exaccus

A New Europe: Magic University.

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EDIT: After some discussion in the chat we have decided to instead focus on making europe as a whole a more enticing place to play by developing certain ideas that we had for the city to serve as points of intrest for the continent.

 

The most popular of which is a teleporting magic university in the vein of the unseen university of discworld and dracula's castle from the reccent netflix series that we have more or less decided to focus on and that begins at this post

 

A while ago i had mentioned in the chat about wanting to make a european city along the lines of bedlam and emerald city and it being received fairly well i put my mind to creating something of a concept for it that i feel ready to be pitched to those who might be interested.

 

a city built ontop of its past the equinox of old ideals and new ideas brought together; refined and improved. Im personally imagining it being somewhere in main land europe with a wide canal or river running through it; home to many peoples and cultures; art, science and history; essentially a new camelot in continental europe.

 

but as with the old there are forces, mystic and mundane, without and within that would see it twisted, corrupted or outright destroyed. everything from the greed of men, the wrath of of tyrants and the inscrutable agendas of beings from beyond.

 

you probably noticed i have avoided naming the city, this is because i have not settled on one, it feels like a cities name probably comes last, after its been built and established.

 

Regent City

Marquis City

Argent City

Bulwark City

 

those are the ones that most strongly resonated with me but im completely open to suggestions both on the name and any aspect of the idea.

 

 

 

Edited by Exaccus

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Interesting! It might be a good idea to make such a place the main city of a small duchy, like Luxembourg or Lichtenstein, with two or more official languages like French and German. Banking and/or technology as well as tourism would probably be the basis of its economy, and there should be both a major research university and a well-established polytechnic school within its walls, which it might actually have , like many European cities still have at their core thanks to people like the Marquis de Vauban.

 

The two sides of the city might have somewhat different characters; one natural split is to have one bank be the older side while the other is the newer. The 'old bank' still shows signs of the old city walls, and is home to the university, major art museums and a beautiful cathedral, as well as the original government buildings. The 'new bank' features the polytechnic (lots of glass, steel and concrete), major tech firms and perhaps a modern 'super-jail' for metahumans.

 

You'd also need a few castles dotting the surrounding countryside, with maybe one or two in the city proper; one could make an excellent base for superheroes, while at least one should have a dark and sinister reputation, maybe involving a fringe sect of the Knights Templar.

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The questions you really need to ask is what makes this city any different from London or Paris in terms of the stories you can tell? Both for the bill as you've described them and are tragically underused, and that's from someone who's doesn't really like the fact that everything that happens in the UK more or less happens in London!

 

Though in principles there's nothing wrong with a new city, Superhero comics are full of them after all, I would suggest you start from the ground up by having adventures in the city and build things up from there. Start small and grow things and build a base as you go, rather than just plonking down a city all done and expecting people to just start using it.

 

That said can I draw your attention to the tiny fictional Kingdom of Foix on the France/Spain border that I briefly used for a thread, other fake fictional European States can also be found scattered amoung the book as well!

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Well its not so much about that; you see, if i did need to create a city for doing something in, anywhere in the world i would just hit "random" a few times on a name generator and make it up as i was going along really. this is more the development not only of setting where Magic and myth is at the precedence over the established themes of Freedom City: "legacies" and Emerald cities "New stories" or even bedlams cities fine crusty layer of "doom and gloom"

 

a central continental European city setting would draw upon numerous rich mythologies that share not only a continent but a set of themes that are repeated over and over within each which is i feel a sub-genre at best in the other settings or so has been my personal experience both in play and in reading; whether thats because its easy to get a fill of it from these brief encounters or not its a matter of personal taste, there is after all only 7 basic plots in world and i feel like a predominantly Myth and Mystic modern setting would add a new and fresh layer to them rather than serving as the garnish it currently does to the others.

 

That said i think its important to establish a framework from outside the setting before working on the internal nuances, what makes this city different from others? well at the moment, its geographical location as it has no details beyond that. I was imagining something approximating Vienna in location.

 

I quite like @Heritage suggestion about making it a bastion fortification in the middle of a Duchy; luxomborg seems to be a bit too central to be outright replaced, I thought about bastion city but that kinda resonated poorly with me; "its a city made from a bastion fort called bastion city." just doesn't quite stick in my head right.

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Being a Yurpean I feel like I should comment on this. :) 

 

A city in Europe with its own flavor would be neat. I do have concerns about adding a third extra city while Bedlam and EC are still such fledgling places, a few archived characters away from being ghost towns. But, still, it could work if enough people show interest. Now, the two things: thematic elements to be accentuated and location.

 

1. Themes: I gather you mean to make it more of a Magic and Myth focused place, as opposed to the others, which is fine. However, I do think that if you're going to do a European city, drawing from European comics like the Franco-Belgian or Italian tradition would be cool: a certain investigator of nightmares, a globetrotting adventurer archeologist researching ancient mysteries, an enigmatic sea captain or a dashing master thief, among others, might serve as inspirations. (Those are the ones that could fit. The pulpy Wild West yarns and weirdo Métal Hurlant sci-fi, not so much, obviously) Obviously, I'm biased, since I grew up reading fumetti more than American superhero comics, but I'd hate for this new city to be an American tourist's idea of old, mysterious, quaint lil' Europe where everything's stuck in a Medieval time warp as opposed to the gleaming modern metropolises of FC, EC and BC. At the very least, a little variety couldn't hurt, and a lot of the examples I mentioned would actually tie very nicely into a Magic-focused city. 

 

2. Location: It sounds like it should definitely be on the border between several countries, lots of possibilities for that, although the names you said resonate the most sound rather Francophone, as does Bastion City for that matter. Perhaps somewhere near Switzerland? Our Bedlam is roughly on the location of an actual town (Manitowoc, WI), so I think it's OK to replace actual places provided they're under 50 000 people. Some possibilities are:

  • The border between Austria, Slovenia and Hungary. (46°52'11.0"N 16°06'46.9"E)
  • The border between Austria, Italy and Slovenia (46°31'31.4"N 13°42'27.8"E)
  • The border between Austria, Italy and Switzerland (46°50'11.8"N 10°28'57.0"E)
  • The border between Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia (48°37'00.6"N 16°56'17.1"E)
  • The shores of Lake Constance (Bodensee), replacing the town of Hard or Bregenz (47°29'55.4"N 9°42'03.6"E)
  • The border between Germany and Switzerland (47°33'29.8"N 7°38'35.1"E) or Germany, France and Switzerland (47°35'23.7"N 7°35'28.4"E)
  • or, the border between France, Italy and Switzerland (45°48'47.0"N 7°00'44.2"E)

 

Making it the capital of a fictional independent Duchy (or a former Duchy, now a republic) would probably work best. As for the name, I think so far Argent City's the best one (though there's apparently an Argent City in a defunct pirate-themed Chinese MMO), and the one that sounds the most like an actual place. Anyway, I think this is has a lot of potential to be a really fun addition to the site, and I'd like to volunteer my services when it comes to helping out with world-building. 

Edited by TheRedGuy

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Thanks for the Continental input, RedGuy! My biggest fear is that such a hypothetical city would feel too EuroDisney, and a good point about it being a former duchy, though there may well be some sort figurehead royal family around.

 

I have a limited knowledge of fumetti, but agree they'd be a good touchstone; mostly I've learned about them from reading about film adaptations, as well as gialli and Edgar Wallace krimis. I also have some familiarity with European characters like the previously-mentioned Diabolik as well as Fantômas and Dr. Mabuse, enough to know they have a very different feel from either their American or British counterparts. The enigmatic supervillain or anti-hero who uses his wits, disguises, technology and a network of spies and flunkies is a long-standing trope that goes all the way back to the 'yellow peril' stories of Fu Manchu.

 

Obviously we don't allow villainous PCs anymore, but any morally ambigous crimefighters or villainous NPCs in Argent City could do well to draw inspiration from this heady stew of European influences.

Edited by Heritage

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Olopi mentioned in chat that the current location of Basel might make a good spot, as it would then border France, Germany and Switzerland. I rather like this idea.

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Like I mentioned in chat, I wouldn't be comfortable replacing a city of Basel's size and importance. Somewhere near Basel, perhaps, but not the city itself. I think the list of triple borders in my previous post can suggest some alternatives. Also, keep in mind that, if it's going to be a fictional duchy, it ought to be at minimum a few hundred square miles in size, to accommodate a proper city. There's other options as well: a fictional city in a real country, a real city (I'm opposed to that one), or an island nation in the Mediterranean, though that'd be too far from what Ex was going for. 

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Why not just use the actual Basel? 

 

I personally like the idea of using a real city - it's more fun to have a real place to play with. 

 

My personal thoughts - 

 

IMO a good super-city needs a multinational character, a decent-sized population, and a skyline. 


Which gives us Paris, Frankfurt, and a few other cities in Western and Central Europe. 


OTOH, Switzerland (Basel, Geneva, etc) gives us a neutral setting where all sorts of characters can pop up. 

 

 

 

 

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My thoughts are exactly opposite - I think a fictional city is way more fun. For one, it ties in with the rest of our cities, all of which are fictional. Two, you get to customise it to your own liking, and have fun creating a new place with demographics, history and ties to the FreedomVerse canon of your choice. Since Ex had the idea to make it Magic-focused, I think working from a clean slate would be better than grafting that theme to an existing city. Building a setting, even just a rough outline enough for play (a Visitors Guide, some metaplots, a couple of villains) takes work, and the amount of work is pretty much the same regardless of whether you choose to do a real or a fake place. Three, a fictional place avoids being tied too closely to an actual country. Cultural differences in Europe are a tad more pronounced than the regional differences between, say, an East Coast metropolis and a Rust Belt city. A city in Germany would be a German city, first and foremost, a city in France a French city, regardless of whether it's a capital or not. The question would always be - why is this city getting fleshed out into a regular setting rather than an occasional adventure location, and not any of the dozens of equally good candidates? Differences inside countries also matter. Bavaria or Berlin? Paris or Provence? Northern Italy and southern Italy, for example, are worlds apart. The reason I suggested putting the new city on a triple border is precisely to make it a liminal place, tied to but not bound by the countries that surround it.

 

As for Switzerland, I feel it would be a poor choice, because it's both too neutral and not neutral at all. What do I mean? It's too neutral because, well, it's Switzerland. :) A rich, safe, orderly country where nothing much happens that's scrupulously neutral in international affairs feels like a poor setting for continuing adventures, whether superheroic or badass-normal in nature. It's not neutral at all because it's a country with a very distinct, deeply rooted idiosyncratic culture that's also legally separated from the rest of Europe. We'd be in that hole in the middle. Any character who's a native would have little reason to concern themselves with goings-on outside of Switzerland, and any outsider is presumably going to Switzerland to get away from the rest of Europe. It feels too isolated, and too particular in terms of mentality and traditions (and legal framework) to truly be a "neutral" blend of influences.   

 

Now, a lot of people have voiced their opinions and raised their concerns on this matter both in chat and in this thread, and it's clear we don't have anything remotely close to a consensus as to what this new city would be. People have different tastes and different ideas on what it should be like, and olopi in particular has raised the issue of making the new city feel sufficiently different in terms of threads and content to the existing three. Whatever we settle on will leave at least some people indifferent or disappointed. My own preferences are a fictional city in a fictional, roughly Luxembourg-sized country, and at a very distant second, a fictional city in a real country (Germany being the obvious choice, due to its size and importance). I'm very much opposed to a real city setting, and would rather just have Europe become another dedicated staff department instead.

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On the otherhand switzerlands physical and political isolation might also be good for such a setting.

 

A modern country with a large population and amenities would be like a siren song to various super natural creatures who either want to live quietly amongst humans like various skinwalkers or to have a fairly isolated feeding ground thats still large enough to move around far enough to avoid drawing heavy attention to their patterns of predations, but those in the know would recognize this as an ideal hunting ground for such creatures and stalk the streets looking.

 

Germany is also a good option for similar reasons alongside having the black forrest as a faorly iconic and haunting location and a turbulent social climate with various fachist groups that are willing to sell out those whom they deem unfit to live to such creatures for boons and aid.

 

I dunno if the thule society comes up a lot but i imagine they'd make a good counter point to @Heritage idea to have the templars as a faction involved perhaps a good time to make use of the tropes "good is not nice." And "Darkness is not evil." That and draw some inspirarion from the secret world mmo.

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Some of the ideas that came from the chat.

 

-Thule society/overshadow

-Knights of St. Anthony

-A small mystic and mythic weirdness magnet town/Magical university town.

-psychopomp pitstop

Edited by Exaccus

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I agree with RedGuy on the 'fictional Luxembourg' idea, for all the reasons he states; it's also the most in keeping in the way fictional European countries tend to be handled in comic books (i.e. Doom's Latveria).

Edited by Heritage

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While, I also lean on using a real city/country instead.  I don't actually have any qualms against creating a new city/country.  It's comics after all.  Heck, I'm going to use a version of 3e's Barony of Volkavia’s in a thread eventually (It's a slightly crime ridden country with a magical university and an immortal leader who pulls the strings behind whatever shadow government is at play)

 

That said, part of why I've kept out of this is because Tiff already eloquent put my thoughts on all this.  Especially the rather than trying to build the whole thing all at once, starting small getting something of an idea down and just having adventures there.  It can be built as things go along if the support is there for it.

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For me the advantage of an existing city is that it comes with a history, a streetmap, and a culture we can easily graft superheroes onto. 

 

As for why people are in Switzerland, don't forget that UNISON is based out of Geneva, so there's existing precedent for that being a base for international heroes. (A UNISON hero team would also be able to travel pretty freely, as would a EU-centered one based out of Brussels) 

 

However - that's just my two cents.

 

I agree with what RedGuy says about the need for making the investment to make things work - I think if we're willing to do the work to make a fictional European city (and if we can get some actual Europeans weighing in) then that's a perfectly good way to go. 

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So after some further discussion in the chat i think it was pretty much decided that we should focus on the magic school concept that @Vahnyu suggested.

 

Some ideas we have so far are

 

  • The school can rearrange its internal and external features freely and without limit thanks to its "Chaos Architecture"
  • The School can move its location freely, possibly of its own volition to fixed locations over continental Europe, it is in a vein more along the lines of the Charmed Series school than hogwarts
  • The school is something of a patchwork of different eras and culture's architecture as its been repaired and partially "modernized" by its users over the centuries of its existence.

Are what i have gleaned so far from the discord so far.

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