Modern-day RPGs: urban fantasy

This is a companion entry to my list of horror and supernatural modern-day RPGs.

The term “urban fantasy” in the context of roleplaying games is a source of some confusion, because it can be taken to mean city-based adventures in traditional fantasy secondary worlds. For the purposes of this list, it refers rather to present-day settings that are permeated with fantastical elements. A common trope of many such settings is a “hidden world” of supernatural beings and magic that exists underneath the veneer of contemporary consensus reality.

In urban fantasy games, the player characters are typically either mythical creatures endowed with superhuman abilities or powerful mages capable of breaking the natural laws. Very often, the challenges faced by the players arise from the difficulties of leading life simultaneously in the magical “hidden world” and the mundane one.

The unquestionable leaders in this genre of RPGs are the sibling lines of World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness. This list aims to indicate the alternatives to their well-known and numerous titles. These lesser-known urban fantasy games sometimes contest or overturn the thematic and mechanical assumptions popularized by the White Wolf and Onyx Path behemoths – beginning with the necessity for an all-pervading angsty “darkness” itself.

The list