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I'm trying to build a Dresden Files campaign set during the French Revolution (using the Dresden Files 2010 RPG rules).

First issue I had to solve was that wizards-technology incompatibility doesn't yet exist. I remember Butcher mentioned in one of the books that at some time period, wizards used to have problems with skin disease, so I went with that. (This also connected to Jean-Paul Marat, so it fit nicely with the setting.)

However, then I ran into a problem: in a Dresden campaign set in modern times, a Vanilla Human has access to guns, which even out the field quite a bit, and to cars (you can ram a monster with one), and to all kinds of other useful technology. French-revolution period guns were slow and imprecise compared to modern weapons, and while ability to use a sword was much more common, supernatural beings would have super-strength, or super-speed, or some such advantage making fights rather one-sided.

With that in mind, what advantage can I give humans in the 18th century, so they won't be drastically and painfully under-powered? I want to maintain "Mere Mortal" playable, without a player choosing it feeling like "the load" on the party.

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You likely won't have a problem.

The Dresden FATE rules don't account for as much of a gap between human capability and the Supernatural as there is in the books. Your average Murphy (with some Refresh put into Stunts) can keep up with a young Raith.

Furthermore, guns aren't nearly as powerful in RPG terms as they are in real life. See page 202 of Volume 1: Your Story which includes a table that:

  • Equates "belly gun" firearms to knives (Attack:1)
  • Equates pistols to one handed swords and baseball bats (Attack:2)
  • Equates Desert Eagles and long guns to two handed swords (Attack:3)

A Mere Mortal could pick a similar weapon of choice and keep up with Inuhuman Strength (damage +2) just as well as in 2010.

A Side Note on 'Technology'

One thing that could help make the campaign more engaging is have magic interfere with something else. Note this reference (9.0) from Cold Days:

It used to be magic caused dairy products to spoil and warts and boils appear on the human skin.

Magic always interferes with modern technology, whether that be archaic medicine, pasteurization, or electricity. Find something from the late 1700's that would be really inconvenient to the Wizards to not have, and say it affects that.


For permanency, @Blechpirat's awesome comment:

You could also vary the amount of knowledge the public has about the supernatual, esp. warding techniques. Since these guys are much closer to the dark ages, they probably have a lot of folklore that actually works - making it easier to guess vulnerabilites or being able to ward of magic. But don't overdo it, I agree that the game does not need any tweaking on the mechanical side. But what you need is a way to let non-wizards shine. Which is usually using computers etc. In your setting a wizard should have areas where he or she can not be better then a mortal.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You could also vary the amount of knowledge the public has about the supernatual, esp. warding techniques. Since these guys are much closer to the dark ages, they probably have a lot of folklore that actually works - making it easier to guess vulnerabilites or being able to ward of magic. But don't overdo it, I agree that the game does not need any tweaking on the mechanical side. But what you need is a way to let non-wizards shine. Which is usually using computers etc. In your setting a wizard should have areas where he or she can not be better then a mortal. \$\endgroup\$ – Blechpirat Mar 22 '18 at 15:47

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