Drama Moves

Drama moves are central and unique to your Archetype; they describe how your character responds to the big stuff, like slipping toward the darkness, getting intimate with others, and…dying. 

Each Archetype includes three drama moves: a corruption move, an intimacy move, and an end move. In this section, we detail how these moves work and provide a few examples to help you make use of them in your sessions. 


Every Archetype has a unique corruption move written specifically for that Archetype, aimed at exploring the major themes of darkness associated with their story. Corruption is more than just darkness or evil. It represents your character slipping toward the worst parts of their nature, becoming that which should be feared instead of respected, hated instead of loved. Yet, as your corruption mounts, your powers only grow…

When the conditions of your corruption move are met, mark off a box on your corruption track. If you’re unsure if the conditions have been met, ask the MC. There might be other moves that call for you to mark corruption—or other times that the MC tells you to mark corruption based on your terrible actions—but the primary source of corruption for your character is your corruption move. Look carefully for it during your story. The MC can help remind you, but it’s tough for them to watch everyone’s corruption moves. 

When your corruption track fills, mark a corruption advance and clear the track. You get some new moves, but at the cost of your soul. Eventually you won’t be able to fight the darkness any longer… 

See Corruption on 176 for more information on how corruption affects PCs, including more on corruption advances and examples of corruption moves triggering. 



Intimacy moves are also unique to each Archetype, reflecting how your character connects with others during moments of closeness. What defines a moment of emotional, mental, or physical intimacy is up to the parties involved, but the MC might ask, “Is this a moment of intimacy?” if no one is bringing it up. Intimacy moves require both or all parties to agree intimacy occurred: it means they’ve shared a poignant and personal moment with one another. 

There are obvious moments of intimacy—sex, vampires feeding, transcendental psychic experiences—but urban fantasy is filled with a broader set of emotional connections. Two characters might get drunk together or tell each other a painful secret or open up about their real desires in the face of the city’s daily grind. Any and all of these moments are triggers for the characters to go deeper into their connection by activating their intimacy move. 

When you trigger an intimacy move, both players should read their intimacy moves out loud and follow the instructions given. If an intimacy move requires you to hold one, note that on your Archetype sheet. Sometimes an intimacy move gives other characters moves or bonuses. Tell them to note those on their Archetype sheet as well. 


End moves may only trigger when your character dies or—in many cases— retires. Retirement is only available as a result of character advancement (see 162), but death might strike at any time. Note that faking your death doesn’t trigger the move. You’ve got to go for real if you want your end move to happen. 

When your character fulfills the criteria of their end move—death or retirement—they’re removed from the story and their end move triggers (unless they have a way to come back from the dead). Read the move out loud and follow the instruction as written, like any other move. Some end moves involve a quick resolution in the scene that triggered the move; others have long term effects on the remainder of the story. 

Drama Moves

Urban Shadows kristycutsforth