John Wick As An Urban RPG Setting

One thing I enjoy far more than I care to admit is modern-day settings for roleplaying games. I would love to play some D20 Modern someday and one of my favorite characters ever was a sleazy pawn-store owner in Hunter: The Reckoning.

It seems like when someone creates a modern-day setting, because of modern law enforcement response times, there is a need to explain things by making the world a hidden world of magic that exists parallel to the “real” world. So you end up throwing fireballs in between shots from your silenced Glock +1, +3 vs Canadians. But what if you don’t want magic in your modern game?

There is a potential solution. As an early Father’s Day celebration, I watched both John Wick movies back-to-back on Saturday with my father-in-law.


Here is a “realistic” hidden world that exists parallel to the “real” world. Without going into spoilers, John Wick: Chapter Two expands on the criminal underworld that exists in the midst of the real world. And it would make a pretty good modern game setting!

While John Wick generally works alone when murdering people, you could tweak the formula so that your party is a group of novice criminals with various skill sets that work together to assassinate a target, rob a bank, or steal a particular valuable car. In the midst of all of this, you would need to make sure you follow the rules of the Continental hotel, as well as juggle the agendas of the various crime bosses that you work for.

Throughout the John Wick movies, you see that there is a strong presence of independent contractors that know each other, but sometimes are working at cross purposes. This could bring recurring NPCs that the party meets and takes a liking to…until the day they must rob person X, but the NPC is running security for person X. Can they be professional enough to pull the trigger on their old friend? It’s just business, after all. There could be some real potential for some interesting roleplaying scenarios in this world.


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