"There weren't any fairy tales in the streets around me. If there was ever a Cinderella, her glass slippers shattered under her weight and she limped home bleeding from the ball."
— October "Toby" Daye, Rosemary and Rue
Very seldom in the realm of RPGs do we deal in urban fantasy, usually because developers are always sticking to typical tropes of high fantasy. Not to be mistaken for alternative history, urban fantasy is set in contemporary times and contains elements of the supernatural. Games such as Earthbound, the Persona series, and Devil Survivor borrow elements from the genre, and do a decent job of showcasing supernatural horrors within the world.
In Seanan McGuire's Rosemary and Rue we are introduced to changeling private investigator October "Toby" Daye. She is the half-human daughter of a faerie creature of the Summerlands. Toby's conflicts often relate to making decisions that involve which race she'd rather be associated with — although it can be argued that her feelings on this topic often change every day of the week. Being a changeling involves giving into her fae-side, which she hides with spells and illusions to throw off potential intruders. Still, she has her personal convictions which make her a strong female character to have at the helm.
With the exception of Faery, we have yet to see an RPG that stars a fae or changeling. Changelings in particular could offer some unique gameplay aspects for an RPG, be it either action or turn-based. What I would love to see in terms of an October Daye role-playing game would be something that makes use of a changeling mechanic. It could be used to help solve mysteries and puzzles while avoiding enemies, with Toby using her powers to manipulate various people and situations. It would also be amazing to be able to pass between both the human world and the fae realm. It would be interesting to see how the two worlds collide and have it be Toby's job as the knight errant to save the day. Other than Shin Megami Tensei's Devil Summoner series it's not often that RPGamers have hard-hitting noir fiction that focuses on paranormal elements, so for October Daye to be an effective RPG it would need to use of the changeling abilities as a key gameplay component.
I've always wanted an RPG that is heavily influenced by urban fantasy tropes. When it comes to the fae, they are often portrayed in a more traditional sense and gamers never get to venture in the Summer and Winter Courts to see what sorts of politics are involved. Having to jump between parallel worlds would offer an extra layer to the player when investigating crimes and conflicts, and using elements of classic detective novels would help add more player involvement in terms of making them feel engaged to solve the mysteries. Also considering Toby's personal conflict of what realm she wishes to be a part, players could make decisions that impact that choice in terms of whether she should stay human or completely give herself to fae.
It would be great to see more games focus on an urban approach to storytelling, and I think it would be refreshing to have these elements of the paranormal affect the way in which the world and its main character change. October Daye shines because it's a series that uses all of these elements and crafts a believable yet entertaining world where it's impossible to feel safe when shape-shifting and demonic baddies come a knockin'.
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