Theme: 1940s Amplive Remix
- Type: Material
- Gravity: Normal
- Time: Normal
- Size: Unknown
- Morphic: Alterable
- Energy/Elemental Traits: None (specific localities may vary)
- Alignment: Mildly neutral
- Magic: Normal
- Technology: Progress level 4
It may not be earth, but it looks a lot like it—at least, like earth did in the 40s. Each nation calls it something else, but the portal opens up in Northport—so Northport it’ll be.
The biggest city in the Commonwealth, Northport has everything—skyscrapers, mansion-studded hills, organized crime. It’s inhabited by wealthy industrialists, glamorous movie stars, smiling politicians, cold-hearted smugglers, Omelan spies, sophisticated jewel thieves, and vicious thugs who’d club their mothers senseless for a bottle of rye.
In countless university labs, scientists try to build the future itself, and the exhibit halls are full of the finds of a dozen archaeological exhibitions. The Northport police are so overwhelmed and corrupt that masked vigilantes prowl the streets, seeking justice by moonlight. And as always, when someone goes missing or a body gets found, there’s a guy in a trenchcoat who’ll tell you why for $50 a day, plus expenses.
Northport: An Overview
As with many cities throughout the Commonwealth, Northport teems with neighborhoods and districts. The rich live one place, the poor live another, and the truly destitute gather wherever they can. Warehouses dot the harbor district, banks cluster near downtown, and the university sits atop green hills on the outskirts.
h3. Old Town
The original downtown core, Old Town is the historic part of the city, with crumbling brick buildings and narrow streets. It’s still an important center of commerce, although many of the largest companies have moved across the river to Newton.
WHO LIVES THERE: Large apartment buildings are mostly middle-class or working class, but Old Town is primarily a place where you work, not love, If you stop people on the street and ask them their address, you’ll find most live in Mercury City or Curtistown.
ATTRACTIONS: Kristof Cemetary is the city’s largest, and while its riverfront landscaping is worth a trip in the day, high crime makes it a dangerous place at night. In addition to roving street gangs, more sinister shadows violate the tombs themselves to aid in mystic rituals or re-animation science.
Pioneer Park is the site of the original for that protected the harbor back in settling days. The wooden stockades and log cabins have been restored, and costumed guides describe hinterland life in the previous century. Some of the city fathers are pushing to turn Pioneer Park into a more modern amusement park.
City Hall takes up four city blocks, and it’s a squat gothic building with mazelike corridors and nearly endless rooms of file cabinets and storage crates. Full of sallow, slouching bureaucrats and grasping politicians, it’s a frequent place to meet a patron or do business. Finally, police headquarters and the courthouse are here, so those who run afoul of the law disappear into the warrens of City Hall’s justice wing.
This is the city’s bustling banking and business center, full of gleaming skyscrapers that compete for a view of Bailey Harbor and the ocean beyond.
WHO LIVES THERE: Apartments are available, but expensive. For rich executives who don’t want the bother of an entire Highvale estate, a Newton penthouse is the next best thing.
ATTRACTIONS: The Pinnacle Bank building is the city’s tallest skyscraper, an elegant, art-deco spire that stretches into the clouds. It’s the geographic center of Newton and was the catalyst for the neighborhood’s redevelopment a decade ago. Now it’s actually one of the older buildings in the neighborhood, so its lower-level offices have reasonable rents. The upper floors, however, are the most expensive office space in the city.
Resko Field is the city’s multipurpose stadium, and it’s full on most nights during caidball season (when the city’s pro team and both college teams play) and the summer Rounders season (if the Monarchs rounders team is in town). Bars and restaurants dominate the cityscape for blocks in every direction.
The Commonwealth government building has its offices at McCulloch Place, a nearly featureless black skyscraper just a block away from the Pinnacle building. Most of the upper floors are heavily guarded and off-limits to the public. The Commonwealth Investigative Department (CID) and other agencies with law enforcement roles have extensive offices here. Though the Pinnacle Building is taller, any city resident can confirm that the McCulloch Building casts a longer shadow.
This collection of tenements is one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city (only Aleburg is more destitute). Many immigrants find their first homes here, and they’re quickly disillusioned by the crime and corruption they find here.
WHO LIVES THERE: Poor and working-class immigrants, who segregate themselves by nationality on a block-by-block basis. If you walk a dozen blocks in Curtistown, you’ll hear a dozen languages. And if you run a dozen blocks in Curtistown at night, you’ll hear screams in a dozen languages.
ATTRACTIONS: Below Darcy Street, a network of sewer tunnels leads improbably to a richly appointed throne room of sorts—the home of Cassius, the self-styled “Beggar Prince.” Cassius has a network of winos, hobos, and panhandlers, who assign territory and beat up “freelancers” who don’t tithe to Cassius. The Beggar Prince has eyes and ears everywhere.
Sihaitown is a world unto itself. Police don’t go there unless called, and even then it’s only to perform a perfunctory crime-scene investigation, cary away a body, and mark the case “unsolved” before they’re back to the precinct station. But Sihaitown is the most rigidly controlled part of the city, with gangs of expert martial artists ruthlessly enforcing the discipline of the shadowy Mr. Lo. Old-timers can recall their grandparents living under Mr. Lo’s rule a hundred years ago.
The Black Rose is a surprisingly nice restaurant on Allegrini Avenue, right on the border between Curtistown and Oldtown. The food is excellent, and the conversation is unfailingly subdued and polite. Lots of well-dressed Local Businessmen frequent the Black Rose, chatting with each other in the restaurant’s main floor or using one of the upstairs conference rooms. The owner, Umberto Torquelo, replaces the front window glass and patches the round holes in the wall every few days after “misunderstandings” and “disagreements” among the local businessmen.
H3. Ivy Shores
Northport Provincial University dominates this tiny neighborhood, whose gently curving streets wind among large white houses with impeccably manicured front lawns.
WHO LIVES THERE: College professors and white-collar workers in Oldtown make their homes in Ivy Shores. There’s a small but bustling commercial strip that offers small apartments and boxy homes for students.
ATTRACTIONS: Northport Provincial’s Behavioral Science Center does a lot of work in experimental psychology and rehabilitation of the criminally insane. Accordingly, it has a “secure facility” that would put a prison to shame, where a variety of electronic, pharmaceutical, and more esoteric techniques are used to turn hardened killers and criminal masterminds into productive members of society.
The Northport Provincial Museum of Natural History has one of the finest collections of antiquities in the world. Its roving " acquisition coordinators " scour the globe for wonders in need of preservation, and its collection includes a number of pre-Zoquian artifacts that mystic shamans used in tribal rituals.
The Grove Apartments are among the most nondescript dwelling around campus, housing a fair number of students dutifully attending their studies at the University.
H3. Bailey Hook
This sand spit provides a measure of protection for the city’s deep-water harbor, and it’s a popular destination for city residents tired of the hustle and bustle of the city.
WHO LIVES THERE: Other than the Coast Guard contingent at Bailey Coast Guard Base, Bailey Hook has no permanent residents. The population of destitute transients who sleep on the beaches is growing, however.
ATTRACTIONS: The Coast Guard has two main functions: pulling drowning people out of the water and enforcing shipping regulations. Between the rise in organized crime and the machinations of Omelas overseas, smuggling is at an all-time high, and the Coast Guard is hard-pressed to catch even some of the smugglers bringing weapons, gold, narcotics, and weird super-science components to the city.
Many of the city’s factories squat on the riverbanks in this district, sending a pall of smoke across Curtistown and Mercury City.
WHO LIVES THERE: Residential space is almost nonexistent here, although squatters have taken up residence in some abandoned factories.
ATTRACTIONS: Alliance Motors ordinarily makes automobiles in their vast warehouse in the Dockside district. But with war looming overseas, the government has converted some of Alliance’s production facilities to manufacture “experimental vehicles for the Commonwealth’s defense.” They’re very tightly guarded to keep Omelan spies and Alliance’s corporate rivals away.
Fomoco Chemicals is the new workplace of Dr. Evan Synestro, a brilliant researcher who was fired by the University of Northport after repeated indiscretions with students. Now Dr. Synestro is working in the private sector, and entire assembly lines pump out chemicals at the Doctor’s whim. Fomoco’s board of directors is certain that Dr. Synestro is working on a new plastic that will revolutionize the packing industry.
H3. Mercury City
This working-class neighborhood is home to many of Dockside’s factory workers and some blue-collar and clerical employees of Old Town businesses.
WHO LIVES THERE: This mix of small homes and tenement buildings is one of the most densely populated areas of the city. The loud trains and planes from Kaufman Station and Orchard Airfield, plus the smoke from Dockside factories, ensure that few live in Mercury City once they have the means to leave, however. Still, crime is lower in Mercury City than in Curtistown or the Garment District.
ATTRACTIONS Mercury Hospital was the city’s largest hospital until it was destroyed in a bomb blast and melee six months ago orchestrated by a secret society known as the Army of the Eclipse. The Society’s motives for attacking the hospital were never made clear, nor were their larger goals. Those who stood trial after the attack described a network of cells, none of which knew the identities or activities of the other groups. Commonwealth authorities announced that they’d smashed the leadership ring of the Army of the Eclipse, but subsequent investigative reporting by the city’s newspapers revealed evidence of other Eclipse cells that extended into the halls of government and industry. Today Mercury Hospital sits as an ugly reminder of a mysterious attack—and perhaps a harbinger of more to come.
Both the government, several major conglomerates, and Omelan spy networks have heard persistent rumors of “Strange batwings in the night sky” in this district and are trying to uncover the truth.
Vast mansions sprawl across the foothills in one of the city’s most expensive neighborhoods. Most of the city’s fathers and titans of industry have their estates in Greenvine.
WHO LIVES THERE: Anyone who isn’t wealthy has no place in Greenvine, and a vigilant police presence takes glee in rousting those who don’t belong. The University of Northport has some on-campus dormitories, but many of the upperclassmen live in the Garment District and commute to class.
ATTRACTIONS: The University of Northport has one of the country’s finest hard-science facilities, with Global Prize-winners in several disciplines all working in the chemistry, applied physics, and more exotic departments. Perched on a steep hill, the University doesn’t have more room for office and laboratory space, so they keep digging basement after sub-basement in their science facilities. Some researchers haven’t seen natural sunlight for months or years, students say.
Vineyard Street is appropriately named; it’s a serpentine road that connects most of the hills that make up the Greenvine neighborhood. Its sharp turns and steep inclines and descents make it perfect for the city’s illegal street-racing clubs, who wager vast sums on who’ll win races along the length of Vineyard Street. The police quickly put a stop to such races—unless they’re among the bettors.
Halsey House is the mayor’s residence, an intentional replica of the Executive Residence of the Commonwealth’s Prime Minister. It’s heavily guarded, and the mayor’s flunkies and troubleshooters (and, some say, his patrons) come and go at all hours of the day and night.
The city’s fastest growing neighborhood, Gloverton is a planned suburban community for middle-class families tired of the squalor and crime of the city.
WHO LIVES THERE: This district is almost entirely middle-class; those poorer can’t afford the mortgages, and those wealthier wouldn’t be caught dead among these cookie-cutter track houses. But unlike most places in the city, a middle-class paycheck in Gloverton buys you a grassy yard of your own, friendly neighbors, good schools, and low crime.
ATTRACTIONS: Everyone knows what a suburb looks like, so at first glance Gloverton seems devoid of attractions. But in Northport, even a suburban cul-de-sac is probably home to (right to left) a family with a psychic bond to the Tundra Wolves who rescued them, the beautiful daughter or son of the Repello-Ray inventor, a mob safehouse hiding “Ice” Mallory, and a serial killer who collects eyes in pickle jars.
Like all bridges in Northport, the Victory Bridge is a drawbridge that opens to let particularly large ships through. And because it accommodates trains, the opening and closing of the bridge must be carefully timed to avoid a mishap.
H3. Garment District
This neighborhood is a mix of light-industrial businesses (including the clothiers who gave the district its name) and working/middle-class housing.
* WHO LIVES THERE:* This is one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods; everyone from college students to illegal immigrants to upper-class artists can find a loft, apartment or room for rent here. It’s a poor neighborhood on average, but there are pockets of wealth and extreme destitution here as well.
ATTRACTIONS: The Essex Hotel looks like any other fleabag joint from the outside. But the guy at the desk, Phinney, can get anything for you—forged papers, a gat with the serial numbers filed off, and cash for those jewels you “inherited.” Phinney does this effortlessly and with an attention to detail that would make the concierges at Newton’s fanciest hotels jealous. What his customers don’t see is Phinney’s network of contacts that reaches almost everywhere, and his ability to use money to open any door.
Tidepoint is block after block of massive factories devoted to the production of basic commodities: steel, chemicals, and machine parts.
WHO LIVES THERE: Almost nobody. Some of the newer factories have guards who live in barracks on-site, and some Newton companies are talking about building self-contained “future factories” where workers will live, work, and raise families without ever leaving the factory grounds.
ATTRACTIONS: Joost Stamp and Die is a large machine shop on the periphery of Tidepoint that’s rumored to be haunted. Its tool-and-die machines occasionally turn and move of their own volition, maiming or killing their operators. Cheap labor is plentiful in the city, so the Joost family was able to keep the hauntings quiet for a long time. But eventually word spread, and now the shop lies quiet—mostly—because no one will work there. Recently, however, mystic characters have felt the pull of strange energies drawing them to the site. A scientist from the University of Northport reported “agitated neutrinos” when she took readings from outside the building. Then she went inside, and she never came back out.
Keller Industrial once made cleaning fluids. Now the mob runs the place, and they’re making booze and other pharmaceuticals under heavy guard in the massive vats. Quality control isn’t exactly high, and those who cross the bosses often get thrown into a boiling mass, then rendered and bottled. There are a lot of teetotalers on the mob crew at Keller.
The city’s poorest neighborhood, Aleburg is a mess of burned-out buildings, rubble-strewn streets, and political anarchy. Police patrols along the neighborhood’s borders are frequent (no one wants Aleburg gangs menacing other neighborhoods), but it’s rare to see a squad car drive into Aleburg—much less drive out again.
WHO LIVES THERE: Only the desperate; poor folks don’t live in Aleburg if they can help it. But those battling drug or alcohol addictions wind up here, as do criminals who want to ply their illicit trade free of scrutiny.
ATTRACTIONS: Fifty years ago, there were boat races along the Aleburg canal. Now a body or two floats down the canal and washes into the river every morning. The canal’s only real value is the fact that it serves as a moat, protecting the Studio District and Torton from the residents of Aleburg.
One of the Aleburg street gangs, the Freaks, have recently organized themselves under paramilitary lines under the leadership of an outsider known as the Red Hand. Internecine warfare continues in Aleburg, but the Freaks seem to be gaining the upper hand, absorbing the remnants of the gangs they defeat.
H3. Studio District
The city’s burgeoning motion-picture industry has its studios here atop what used to be apple orchards. Known as “proptown,” this bustling neighborhood draws everyone from wealthy financiers and famous movie stars to an army of working-class extras and behind-the-camera crew.
WHO LIVES THERE: Apartments are springing up around the edges of the district for the studios’ technical workers (editors, lighting coordinators, and camera crew), but the back-lots and alleyways of the studio district fall silent shortly after dark.
ATTRACTIONS: Duke Studios is one of the bigger movie-production companies in the district, and their backlot is currently filming the epic “Tlacelel vs. Amotxtli.” Acres of the backlot are devoted to replicas of the ziggurats, the stone serpents, and various obelisks. The director, Will Orsonne, is fanatic about accuracy, so the sets are just like the real thing. And the few security guards assigned to guard the vast backlot report that they’re always chasing off “weirdos playing on the pyramids.”
Bennett Stunts, Inc. is a stuntman group based in an old warehouse near the major studios. Under the lead of famous retired stuntman Sir Ian Bennett, the company’s staff rigorously trains in an ever-changing obstacle course inside the facility. Passersby have become inured to people flying through the skylights of the building cannonball-style, staggering out into the street engulfed in flames, or dueling with antique sabers while driving motorcycles around the block.
This working-class neighborhood supplies workers to the Studio District, Fitzgerald Army Base, and the under-construction skyscrapers of “Tomorrow Town.”
WHO LIVES THERE: “Fort Fitz” is home to thousands of soldiers, many of whom take advantage of the movie houses and night clubs of the neighborhood. The district’s civilian residents are almost entirely working-class.
ATTRACTIONS: The high-security base-within-a-base, Special Projects Pavilion, is home to several ongoing military efforts, including Project: Crucible, a rigorous physical and psychological fitness regiment, and Project: Thunderbolt, an effort to develop a tank that hovers above any terrain and blasts its foes with energy rays. Work on Thunderbolt is promising, but the massive machinery required means that there may not be room for a convention tank crew.
Phillip Carrington is one of the city’s brightest young architects, and his modernist skyscraper designs are the centerpiece of “Tomorrow Town,” a gleaming high-finance district planned north of Bouchard. Phillip’s grandfather Aloysius is a noted occultist, and the Northport Tribune identified Phillips’ mother, socialite Jasmine Ruiz-Carrington, as a member of the shadowy Army of the Eclipse (a claim later retracted as part of a libel settlement). Both are frequent visitors to the building site. The foremen are beginning to complain about frequent change orders to the skyscraper plans.
These hills are quickly being covered with the gleaming new mansions of starlets and movie producers, plus executives for companies based in Newton who don’t want to cross the river from Greenvine every day.
WHO LIVES THERE: The city’s nouveau rich call Highvale home: entertainment executives, bank presidents, and the cream of city society. Because they’re used to dealing with the eccentricities of “the movie people,” the police in Highvale are far more discreet than their more aggressive Greenvine counterparts.
Persistent rumors place the mansions of the city’s most notorious crime families in Highvale. If true, discreet payoffs would also help explain the laissez-faire attitude of Highvale’s police force.
ATTRACTIONS: It’s likely that the boards of directors of every corporation in the city could meet for liquid lunches at the Highvale Tennis Club. Considered the city’s most exclusive daytime meeting place, HTC is a members-only club where you’re more likely to get served a martini than a tennis ball. But some executives and political leaders do take to the courts, including the mayor and the president of Pinnacle Bank.
The Highvale mansion of Thornacre is home to Lincoln Giotto, head of the Giotto crime family. The guards are discreet, polite, and uttery deadly. Everything is of the finest quality. Giotto does much of his business in various warehouses, office suites, or the Black Rose, but occasionally he’ll invite his top associates to Thornacre for a business dinner. And newly made women and men are always feted at Thornacre galas that are starting to attract notice from both traditional high society and the more jaded elements of the film industry.
This middle-class neighborhood supplies many of the middle-management and clerical workers from Thorton.
WHO LIVES THERE: Torton is known for its ambitious middle-class residents. Many work as junior executives in Newton skyscrapers, and they consider their neighborhood the equal of Seaside or Greenvine. To anyone not blinded by civic pride or busy scurrying up the corporate ladder, the differences in the neighborhoods are obvious. Saying “I’m from Torton” is like saying “I’m about to act like a high-powered executive, but I’m really two steps from the mailroom.”
ATTRACTIONS: An unassuming office building in the heart of Torton is the home of Fidelity Investigations, the city’s largest independent detective agency. Fidelity’s waiting room is a perfect cross-section of the city itself: socialites reluctantly rub elbows with dockworkers, while recent immigrants and hardened gun molls eye each other warily over copies of the Evening Post. Beyond the waiting room are dozens of offices and meeting rooms, extensive case files that rival the police archives at city hall, and even a crime lab and library. The top floor is owned by Millie Kenworth, Fidelity’s founder. The building is open 24 hours a day, and of course there’s always a taxi waiting outside the lobby. Cabbies who like to drive fast make a lot of money at the fidelity building.
On Bleeker Street, the Grundys are known as “The Weird Family.” They dress awkwardly, their children don’t join in neighborhood stickball games, and their splotchy complexion makes the neighborhood wonder if they’re sick. Anyone on the street could tell you that the Grundy’s aren’t from here. But only the Grundys know how true that is.
H3. Harbor District
This vast array of warehouses and docks is the real center of industry for the city. Many of the Tidepoint and Dockside factories and Old Town and Newton conglomerates rely on convenient shipping to turn a profit.
WHO LIVES THERE: Some flop-houses exist for merchant marines between postings, and there are about two dozen blocks of row houses and tenements for warehousemen who grow weary of a commute from Bouchard.
* ATTRACTIONS:* A warehouse near Pier 42 has nothing to do with shipping at all. Home of the hush-hush Knuckle Society, the warehouse is actually a stadium for a mob-protected bare-knuckle fighting league. Matches are “anything goes” and don’t end until one pugilist is unconscious or worse. Crime syndicates have stables of fighters, and wagering is fierce. And despite everyone’s efforts to keep the Knuckle Society quiet, word is beginning to leak out. One of the fighters is a point man for the city’s pro caidball team, another is an army lieutenant at Fort Fitz, and one of the studios’ most famous actors is trying desperately to prove his worth in the ring.
Originally a collection of summer homes, Seaside is now an eclectic mix of older bungalows and newer mansions. Prices are high, because this is where the wealthy come to play and enjoy the ocean breeze.
WHO LIVES THERE: Seaside is a playground for the rich, although it empties out when the weather is bad because many of its residents are only here part-time.
ATTRACTIONS: Most people don’t know that the richest man in the city doesn’t live in Greenvine or Highvale, but in a dilapidated yet still grand mansion on a bluff overlooking the beach at Seaside. Zachary Emmersmith made his fortune building bridges overseas in the last century. Now more than 100 years old, he rarely ventures outside a massive greenhouse full of orchids. But his business holdings are so vast it’s said no one knows exactly what Emmersmith owns. But his two daughters are spending his fortune as fast as they can in the city’s nightclubs and underground casinos.
The Seaside beaches are mostly full of well-to-do families frolicking in the surf and starlets surfing or sunning themselves, but the beach hasn’t been quiet lately. The Coast Guard has blamed six swimmers’ deaths recently on a vicious riptide near Queens Quay, a section of beach popular with the city’s rich and famous. Only one body later washed ashore, and it was covered with unusually large sucker wounds.