Let’s start by contextualizing the product; Tails of the City is a compendium for Pathfinder (first and second edition) and D&D5e which opens up the possibility of having a modern world inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. The material revolves around this fulcrum, giving many new customization options (useful for both the player and the master) and never goes off topic. So don’t expect introductory adventures, a specific lore from the game world or even just a specific setting. Silver Games LLC give you the tools, the rest is yours.
A modern world between technology and magic
However, a genre is suggested, a “mood” to be given to the adventures lived thanks to this work: pulp action. In various passages the strong advice is shown not to penalize the players too much, but to reward their imaginative ideas so that the action and adrenaline will benefit. Mentions are made to ancient civilizations and ruins hidden under modern skyscrapers, as part of an interconnected world full of ideas. Too many details are never given about which ancient civilizations and which skyscrapers, leaving total freedom as regards the setting (although there are reference to modern-day America, as an example). We therefore imagine adrenaline adventures, research of artifacts and struggle against unscrupulous corporations.
The society is presented and contextualized and it’s very different from the classic fantasy Middle Ages to which the reference game systems have accustomed us. We will therefore find explanations on how to manage the cardinal mechanics of modern society: earnings, possessions, crimes, diet and more. We will also have a section dedicated to firearms, obviously much more common and accessible.
This dualism between technology and magic assumes a central role. The first one has reached a level of development that has become something absolutely stunning, almost inexplicable for those who are not familiar with it. The second one has the same aura of mystery, but having fewer explanations it is considered more unstable, more difficult to manage and in fact remains rarer within the work. This subtle boundary made me think that the authors were inspired by the brilliant thoughts of Arthur C. Clarke.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.Arthur C. Clarke
Horses are NOT terrible people
A large part of the manual is dedicated to the inhabitants of this world, anthropomorphic animals with a varied appearance. The difference between animal races is seen as the difference in ethnicity in the real world, with all that follows. There may be racist species, others mentally more open; this introduces very interesting scenarios that may push us to deal with a very heavy issue, that of racism, in a lighter but no less significant way. Tails of the City also takes into consideration the possibility of including famous people who really exist in their games; in this case, the breeds of anthropomorphic animals to be attributed to them are not provided, leaving the narrator free choice.
Speaking about the rules, a main race is introduced, customizable both aesthetically and mechanically based on the type of animal you want to interpret. This includes a wide range of options, all available in three versions: D&D5e, Pathfinder 1 and Pathfinder 2. New backgrounds, talents, skills, spells, traits… there is something for everyone, also valid in terms of balancing. This great freedom in the creation phase risks letting implausible combinations, but this, as always, depends on the maturity of those who sit at the gaming table.
But the most attentive have already asked themselves a question: what happened to humans? This is another question left in the hands of the master. They can be fantastic creatures that never existed (generating a pleasant sense of “reverse” compared to the classic connotation of fantasy), they may have died out for some reason, they may have changed in the current inhabitants of the planet or they may have literally left for the stars. Everything is possible!
First impressions on Tails of the City
Summing up, does this title deserve a chance? In my opinion, yes, if you like this kind of elements. What impressed me most is probably the union of the modern society with anthropomorphic animals. And the chance to see a Trump pug or a Beyoncé panther, of course.
In general, Tails of the City offers what was promised, without overdoing it. I am a bit sorry not to see an introductory adventure included to be used as a reference point for narrators who approach this genre for the first time, but who knows if it will be added later.
This is all that emerges from an initial analysis of the project and sincerely gives us hope! We also advise you to take a look at the video on the Kickstarter page, very bright and in full spirit of the project.