Friday, March 13, 2015

Influential 2: Noir

Howard Chaykin's amazing cover. 
I previously talked about Starman and how its characterization of Star City influenced the cities of the Quadrant Universe. Today I want to focus on another influence to Walking Shadows with similar ties to location, but in a very different genre, as it is a role-playing game with very little to do with super powered figures.

Noir was a little known game from the late 90s that was designed to allow players to recreate a 30s-50s setting and the gritty crime drama of film noir cinema. I loved it because I could use it to create pulp stories with relative ease, but I also loved it for its rather generic setting, a vague City without a name.

The City (no relation to the home of The Tick) seems inspired by Dick Tracy’s nebulous setting. It’s clearly designed to resemble Chicago, but at the same time isn’t exactly Chicago. In the matter of a few dozen pages, the author’s brought the pseudo-Chicago to life in glorious detail through first hand narration by residents of the area. It was an ingenious way to create a stylized Chicago even when it isn’t really Chicago.

That is my goal with River City in a nutshell. I want to give my heroes a city that lives and breathes, even if it may just be a strange reflection of other cities. At the same time, it gives me room to grow the setting of Walking Shadows, which I very much want to be a world of superhuman beings without costumes.

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