World of Darkness: Aeon

World of Darkness: Aeon / Cities / San Francisco

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Random Quote

[O]ne gets the impression she finds his summary of the city... lacking.

"We're sitting in a sixty year old cafe, there's a book store up the street where Allen Ginsberg used to give readings, and all you can come up with is the Golden Gate Bridge."

--Naya

San Francisco


San Francisco itself is art... Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal.

-William Saroyan

Setting

One of the most fascinating, diverse and dynamic cities on the planet, San Francisco is one of those places that seems to exist by its own set of rules. The weather changes from moment to moment and block to block. Social and political activists are as common as air, yet the city's homeless population is one of the highest in the nation. A booming tech industry drives economic and scientific growth, while paving over some of the city's rich history with urban renewal and an influx of capitalism. The area is abundant with unique and beautiful architecture, sprawling parks, densely packed urban centers and sweeping ocean vistas. Queer and counterculture movements are alive and vibrant. Art, music and literature are plentiful. It's no wonder that so many Awakened call the city their home. Even the Sleepers here seem just a little bit Aware. There's something powerful and uncanny lurking in these mist-covered hills: an energy that is all at once creative, rebellious, passionate, whimsical, eccentric and vital. Love it or hate it, you'll never be bored.

Welcome to San Francisco: a city of sun and fog, a city of contradictions, a city of magic(k).

Culture and Conflict

The first thing you need to know is this: the city is Awake.

San Francisco and the greater Bay Area are home to the largest concentration of mages in the US. Magick is everywhere, bubbling up in museums and book stores and parks, blossoming amidst the powerful convergence of hearts and minds. Consensual reality may belong to the Technocrats, but around here that reality has a distinctly dynamic flair.

Mages here like to push boundaries. They don't hide away in dusty libraries and remote Chantries (at least, not for long.) Many of them are heavily involved in Sleeper affairs, from politics and humanitarianism to religion, technology, art, academics, street culture and radical fringe-groups. The relationship between the magickal and the mundane is more symbiotic here than one might expect.

Still, the mystical landscape is hardly utopian. The Technocracy is well-entrenched, and though they are technically outnumbered, they have the resources of a vast and powerful organization at their disposal. San Franciscans, for all their ideals, are still susceptible to influence. The Union has to be a bit more subtle and a bit more creative, but they've found fertile ground in the realms of finance and technology.

What this amounts to is something of an uneasy stalemate. Or perhaps more accurately: a cold war. Neither side has the power to push the other out, nor do they relish the prospect of the long and bloody conflict that would likely result if they were ever to try. So the Traditions and the Disparates keep a (barely) low enough profile not to draw the Union's ire, and in exchange the Union intervenes only when they deem it necessary. Of course, conflicts arise over precisely what constitutes "necessary" engagement, and it isn't unheard of for the Union to overreach their authority. Meanwhile, fringe groups within the Traditions and the Disparates devote themselves to acts of guerrilla warfare, hell-bent on breaking the Union's stranglehold on consensual reality. Needless to say, tensions run high.

Local Reality

The Bay Area is often thought to exist in its own bubble of reality, and in a certain respect that's true. In most ways, consensus here operates under the same rules that one would expect from a modern, technologically developed society. You still can't toss a fireball down a crowded street without getting hit with a dose of Paradox. However, the region does have a few interesting quirks:

  • Any attempt to exercise overt mental control over someone via the use of magick is treated as a vulgar effect, even if it would normally be considered coincidental. If there are Sleeper witnesses present, then it is vulgar with witnesses. Overt control would include direct mental commands, domination and possession, as well as invasive techniques such as altering memories or personality. (And yes, for the record, the Technocracy hates this.) It does not, however, include subtle or indirect methods of influence, such as empathic impulses or altering someone's biochemistry.
  • Gauntlet ratings in the Bay Area are 1 degree lower than standard, except in those spaces controlled by the Technocracy.
  • Time magick is cast at -1 the usual difficulty (3 is still the minimum.)

Demographics

San Francisco is primarily a single-system region. The themes and focus of our game are that of Mage: the Ascension. NPCs from other systems certainly exist here, but they tend to keep a low profile around the mages (who are widely known to have the largest population, influence and territory.) Anyone interested in learning more about the local vampires, werecreatures and changelings should talk to the Storyteller.

Tradition mages have the greatest numbers, particularly Sahajiya, Akashayana, Kha'vadi and Mercurial Elite, though all of the groups have a strong presence. Disparates are plentiful as well, most notably the Ahl-i-Batin, Children of Knowledge, Hollow Ones and Sisters of Hippolyta.

All of the Technocratic Conventions are represented in the area, though some have a stronger presence (and more funding) than others. The Void Engineers have a large base in the region and Iteration X flourishes in the tech industry, but ultimately it's the Syndicate that holds the greatest power and influence.

Due to its dynamic nature, the Bay Area has a larger than average number of Marauders. It's unclear how many Nephandi are in the region. If they exist, they blend in well.

Player Characters

PCs from any Tradition, Disparate Craft or Technocratic Convention are welcome here, as are Orphans. There are no special restrictions on these characters, though Technocrats will be considered more carefully.

Mortal characters of any kind are also welcome here. This includes those that fall within the bounds of other game systems (kinfolk, kinain, etc.) provided they do not have strong local ties to those supernatural groups. Which is to say, they need to be designed for a Mage game.

Nephandi and Marauder PCs are restricted and require advance permission, if they are approved at all. (I'd prefer these characters be limited to NPCs, except in cases where a PC switches allegiances through game events and character development. Even then they require approval.)

Although SF is primarily a Mage region, a limited number of slots are available for local Fera. These characters are restricted and require advance permission to play. Available species include Bastet, Corax, Gurahl, Kitsune and Nuwisha. (Hengeyokai are allowed.)

No other kinds of PCs are allowed in residence.

Crossover

There is a moderated crossover policy in place here.

Mage and Mortal PCs from any region may play here freely. They do not require permission, except in the case of Nephandi and Marauders (see above.)

Seattle PCs have special permission to visit the Bay Area and participate in RP here. (You do not need to ask.) However, any crossover scenes require active consent from all players.

Other kinds of PCs must 1) gain advance permission from the Storyteller, 2) gain permission from all players before entering a scene, and 3) put a note in their tag to warn anyone who might join.

All visiting PCs must respect the boundaries of local chantries and other off-limits locations. Visiting werewolves should note that there are other shifters in the area. Chinatown is off-limits to all garou except Stargazers. Muir Woods National Monument is only okay to visit if the garou stay on the designated trails with the rest of the visitors. The wild area surrounding it is off-limits (though further out into Mt. Tamalpais State Park is fine.) Public nodes are fine to visit, provided the garou are respectful. The local Sept is based out of Mt. Diablo State Park.

Storytelling

There is an open Storytelling policy here. Players are encouraged to run storylines and one-shots, as inspiration arises. Permission is only required under certain circumstances:

  • Any scene or SL involving system NPCs, Chantries or Nodes will require that you touch base with the ST (for obvious reasons.)
  • Any involvement from other supernatural groups (werewolves, vampires, etc.) will also require that you touch base with the ST.
  • Major events that alter the landscape or politics of the region, or that have potentially national or global impact, require approval.

To reiterate the site rules, storytellers should be mindful of the comfort level of their players, respecting triggers and limitations when necessary. Warnings should be given if there is a moderate-to-high chance of PC Death, or if players should expect particularly extreme content.

In addition to running SLs, players are also welcome to create system locations and NPCs, with permission from the ST.

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