Fantastic Tales of Avalon City
Self-proclaimed mystic defender of Avalon City and Guardian of the Gate.
Avalon City is the Windy City, and here the winds of change scour the community of mages who call this metropolis their home. The heartland of America bears the stamp of its history, from its earliest days as a center of trade and, perhaps, spirituality for the various native tribes that lived or crossed through the land around the “Great Water” to its modern history as one of the world’s busiest cities and a magnet for violence and discord.
The first Avalon City mages may have been shamans or medicine men of the Potawatomi tribe, but the influx of white settlers to the area may have led to the ultimate disappearance of those first practitioners of magic. Did the soldiers and settlers eradicate the Potawatomi shamans?
The mounds and earthwork structures that remain as a testimony to those early inhabitants of the area may not be just architectural and anthropological curiosities. Area mages have reported strange resonances coming not only from parts of the city that once served as centers for Native American activity, but also from certain items and artifacts in the Mitchell Museum of the American.
Avalon City’s magic is laced with violence, debauchery and the taint of corruption, but the city’s magic is also rich with enterprise and invention, a heady brew for new and old mages alike. This is an era of caution and uncertainty. Many new mages must relearn the secrets and truths uncovered by the wizards who lived in Avalon City before them.
The Arcane Council
Arcane Council wizards abide by the rules of the Council and the decrees of the Arcane Consilium. Only members of the Arcane Council are properly termed “wizards.” Being a member is like having a black belt—a mark of respect and status. The Council only grants membership to the strongest of practitioners; in terms of raw magical strength, Arcane Council wizards rank in the top five percent in a region. At yet, the power of even the strongest wizards is insignificant in comparison to a supernatural heavyweight like a Faery Queen.
The Arcane Council is governed by three wizards, with the leader referred to as the Archmage; traditionally regarded as the most powerful wizard in the Council, though the politicking required to secure the position may suggest that factors other than raw power are equally important. Beyond the Council, which constitutes the executive branch, there are other wizards of the council that contribute to the legislative branch. The Judicial branch belongs to the Wardens, a combination arcane paramilitary police force.
An Arcane Council arrives at its decisions through majority vote, but the Archmage has proxy authority to cast the vote of any Arcane Council member not present at a Council meeting who has not designated a substitute; politicking at this level often turns simply on who does and does not arrive at a meeting before a vote is concluded.
The Arcane Consilium is the governing body of the mortal wizard community in the world. They primarily protect humanity from abuses of magic, but also shield this world from supernatural creatures that wish humanity harm. It is also a political and democratic organization seeking to unite wizards throughout the world, and can make or break treaties with the other supernatural powers as necessary. Members from various local Arcane Councils serve, making collective decisions as necessary that concern wizards as a whole, guided by a Hierarch.
Due to the multitude of nationalities present, meetings of the Consilium are traditionally conducted in Atlantean, called High Speech, a procedural point which has, not coincidentally, served to keep younger wizards from gaining too much standing or momentum by making it very difficult for them to speak eloquently or even coherently.
The Consilium meetings’ dress code imposes wizards to wear robes. Wizards and apprentices are differentiated by the color of their robes: brown and gray respectively. In addition, Senior Consilium wizards wear a gold stole over their shoulders, while Arcane Council members wear a blue stole.
The “caverns” beneath Avalon City are also known as the Undercity. The Undercity has three primary components: sewage and infrastructural tunnels, train routes and multi-layered streets. Many of these are interconnected through sundry, small official and
unofficial access or “home-dug” passages. A few disused tunnels serve as refuge for the homeless, or lairs for worse threats.
Many ages past, something terrible was bound by Native American shamans deep below the ground next to the “Great Lake”. So deeply was this force- this entity, this thing- buried, that many believed it might never be freed until the end of the world. They were wrong.
Not only has its prison, known as the Hellgate, been penetrated by modern industry, but the entity was roused by the rumble of enormous boring machines. Now, the Grand Hall, the center of Undercity society (such as it is) runs scant feet above the prison of something evil that strives to be free.
From time to time major tears or wounds in reality occur at the site of some significant event. These events include things like natural disasters and major mystical activity. These tears attract unnatural beings and forces like moths drawn to a flame, and occasionally things leak into our reality as well. Smaller events can lead to smaller tears. Haunted places are often the sites where these small tears once were. The haunting phenomena are unnatural forces or beings that were drawn to the tear and have stayed after the wound closed. These forces could be the ghost of a murder victim or something more or less sinister.
Many forms of magic are nothing more than controlled tears in this reality. A mystical event of great magnitude caused a wound in reality beneath what is now Avalon City. Unfortunately, energies of this event ran out of control and caused this ‘wound’ in reality to become infected, and it would not close. This is Hellgate.
There are other much smaller permanent or semi-permanent tears, but they are only a fraction of it’s size. Beings both mystical and mundane have contained this tear for thousands of years, keeping the infection from spreading, while never being able to completely close it.
Occasionally there are things that attempt to make their way out of the tear and although they aren’t able to catch them all, the Hellgate Guardian makes sure to contain the worst of these beings and happenings. Some of these greater creatures are nothing less than walking infections of unreality, and would wreak havoc wherever the tread. Some of these creatures are what we would term evil, some good and some just ‘are’.
Just as the Arcane Council seeks to contain or even eliminate the Hellgate, there are other forces, either self motivated or influenced by outside forces, that seek to widen these tears.
This dimension, also known as the “Other Place”, is imbued with mystic power by way of the Jewel of Vishnu soul stone. The jewel once belonged to the previous Keeper of Artifacts, Ian McNee. This is where Artifact stores the arcane relics he has rescued, for safekeeping.
Avalon City is the focus of several major ley lines and areas of concentrated magic, called Hallows. The web of Hallows and ley lines sets the magical boundaries of the area and affects the practice of magic within the city and its surroundings.
The most powerful lines of power that traverse the area are the Avalon City River, the shoreline of the lake and the borders of the Knot. Other, smaller ley lines connect various Hallows within Avalon City, but these three serve as major life lines for the