I just created an 'urban fantasy' tag. I figure this is a very common genre, and as such is deserving of a unique tag. I think the genre is pretty well known.

However, I'm really bad at short & concise descriptions. I was hoping someone could help word-smith a good and precise description for the urban-fantasy genre, or what a tag related to worlds with such a genre is.

The short version is "magic in modern world", I have something like that already, but I know others can do better :)



The question I tagged was one asking about modern warfare in presence of magical healing being available. Other examples I can think of

  • How will some group respond when magic suddenly reappears in the world
  • Magic exists in a world identical to ours, but most people aren't aware of it. How do I justify no one proving it's existence?
  • Our world is suddenly invaded by a magical world that created a magic portal to ours, how do we defend against them?
  • How do I keep my rare wizards in the modern world a viable threat that other supernatural folks would fear when a sniper rifle could kill them immediately no matter how strong they are?
  • How would a modern legal system create fair laws to maintain order in a world were some individuals are affected by magical curse causing them to become Were-people; who's instincts drive them to be more territorial and settle internal disputes with physical fights for dominance?
  • How does a Mageocracy handle the advent of modern technology making most of the effects the public depended on them accessible to non-mages? can they keep their power etc.

Some of those are a little open ended, but I think the express the idea, presumably the actual questions would be a bit narrower focused.

Justification of the tag

It was pointed out that we got rid of the Fantasy tag as redundant because we had more exact tags for most cases fantasy covered, and thus it was asked rather this was likewise superfluous due to it being handled by other tags. I think this is a valid point, I'm willing to debate rather a tag should exist at all.

I do see that we have the Modern Age tag, so in theory most of the above answers could be covered by using the Magic and Modern Age tag's together; thus arguably covering the need without a new tag. However, if you consider my last two example, these cover worlds that would likely qualify as urban fantasy (depending on how one defines urban fantasy) but the modern age tag definitely doesn't apply since, while our modern technology exists, it is clearly not our modern world, and doesn't have our social norms (a mageocracy would be opposed by most societies in normal world, and the were-people are explicitly defined as having foreign social norms).

I suppose a looser interpretation of modern-age, or a separate tag that refers only to modern technology but not modern social norms, could still cover the above examples.

However, I still kind of prefer this tag. In the case of removing the Fantasy tag the argument was not that other tags could cover it, but that other tags more exactly covered the situation; with fantasy too much of a catch-all. with this tag, even if you assumed some combination of magic and modern-tech tags could cover the question they are still less exact then urban fantasy is for describing the exact feel and type of world (based off of the general understanding of urban fantasy I have from fiction). I feel this tag allows an increased degree of accuracy when describing the format of the question, as opposed to the fantasy tag which was so generic that it failed to increase understanding about the world.

So generally speaking it seems to me like it's better to have then not have. However, perhaps others disagree, if the consensus is that the tag is superfluous then obviously it should be removed.

  • $\begingroup$ A while ago, we decided to get rid of the fantasy tag because '' it wasn't adding anything meaningful '' (to quote Tim B). I don't see how the urban fantasy tag is different. meta.worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/1830/… $\endgroup$
    – Vincent
    Dec 14, 2015 at 22:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Vincent the basic argument for getting rid of fantasy is that other more exact tags could cover the role that the general tag did not cover. In this case this is a more exact tag. If we had a tag for "magic" and "modern world" that would perhaps work as well, but we don't have a take that implies modern technology but not our current world. IF we had that tag then I could see no need for this one. I'm open to making a tag like that instead if that was believed correct. but as of now I don't know a way to convy "urban fantasy" genre with existing tags. $\endgroup$
    – dsollen
    Dec 14, 2015 at 23:12
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Could you edit your question to include some example questions that you feel would benefit from this tag? (I recommend not editing it in at the very least until we have some clear consensus on what the tag is for.) $\endgroup$
    – user
    Dec 15, 2015 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling I added examples as you suggested, and more $\endgroup$
    – dsollen
    Dec 15, 2015 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Vincent I addressed your comment in more detail in my edit if you would like to argue for or against the tag's existence. I tried to modify the question to both cover both rather the tag should exist and it's meaning. $\endgroup$
    – dsollen
    Dec 15, 2015 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ One of the major reasons for removing the fantasy tag was that it was also being used in a majorly incorrect way. Given that almost a year has passed, might it be worth having another conversation about this tag? There are at the time of posting only 9 questions using the tag, it seems underused? $\endgroup$
    – Mourdos
    Nov 15, 2016 at 11:59

2 Answers 2


I hear what you're saying; it feels very much like every genre ought to have a tag.

However, all of the questions cited are excellent junctions of + . Having these questions tagged this way increases your granularity when searching. It would be weird to have + + ; it seems redundant. Having only is substantially less searchable.

With this in mind, we probably shouldn't have any genres as tags at all. Questions revolve around their subject matter, and their answers will almost always apply to multiple genres. Additionally, I'm pretty sure we don't want to join the debate on how to define genres and subgenres. After all, it can get worse. Much worse.


For questions relating to magic or other fantasy elements in a relatively modern setting.

Still seems short, but I think explaining any more than that would limit the tag.

By the way, is there a hat for editing tag wikis? Because if so, and people like this one, I want to be the one to put it in.

  • $\begingroup$ I would probably go with something different then 'modern'. If I want to write a world set in, say, 2000, I would still consider it urban fantasy if not quite modern. Though I'm not sure of a good definition for urban that leaves a little room for not-quite-modern so maybe I'm just over complicating things :) $\endgroup$
    – dsollen
    Dec 14, 2015 at 18:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @dsollen How about 'relatively modern'? Considering 2000 isn't more than five hundred years ago, it's a lot more modern than most fantasy. $\endgroup$ Dec 14, 2015 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not a subject matter expert (I don't even play one on TV), but if I were writing a question involving "magic or other fantasy elements in a relatively modern setting", then I really don't think "urban fantasy" is the tag I would reach for first... $\endgroup$
    – user
    Dec 15, 2015 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling It is very possible I have a flawed definition of the term. Based on the Wikipedia page, time doesn't really matter, so long as it's in a city. But when I think of urban fantasy, I think of late 20th, early 21st century, and rural fantasy just doesn't seem like something that exists. $\endgroup$ Dec 15, 2015 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ There are a bunch of potential synonyms. Contemporary Fantasy, Paranormal, etc. Paranormal Romance for example is often modern+fantasy+romance. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Dec 18, 2015 at 13:59
  • $\begingroup$ Why couldn't you just use Reality check + Magic? $\endgroup$
    – Aify
    Feb 14, 2016 at 1:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ reality-check is, in theory, for yes/no answers. It doesn't apply to any of the questions cited as examples. $\endgroup$
    – Lord Dust
    Sep 14, 2016 at 16:37

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