Every World of Darkness game has a signature city that is in some way well suited to the themes involved. The signature city for Princess is San Francisco, California. Naturally, the surrounding Bay Area will also be of interest.
Note: This page is an early draft, and nowhere near complete.
San Francisco first began in 1776 as a Spanish attempt to spread the Catholic faith amongst the Ohlone tribes in the region. To make this possible, the Spanish established a small fortress, the Presidio of San Francisco, and the Mission San Francisco de Asis.
Following Mexico's independance from Spain, not much changed, although a small town had sprang up around the Mission San Francisco called Yerba Buena. Things got more interesting after the Mexican-American War resulted in Mexico losing the city and much of California to the United States of America in 1848.
Which happened to be just in time for the California Gold Rush.
San Francisco's population exploded.
Unfortunately, infrastructure both physical and governmental did not. The end result was predictable, with law, order and sanitation breaking down, multiple cholera outbreaks followed along with extensive criminal problems and governmental corruption. Racial tensions also flared up, with Irish and Chinese immigrants taking the brunt of the hostility.
Although the repercussions of these events would last for decades more, from the 1860's onwards the city of San Francisco started to recover from the massive overcrowding and resultant breakdown, expanding its borders in all directions. It also became a major cultural centre, with writers like Ambrose Bierce, Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain and others spending time in the city. More peculiar was the arrival of the madman Emperor Norton, whose delusion as the Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico may have been harmless, but was certainly colourful.
|'Emperor' Joshua Abraham Norton might require some further explanation. Joshua Norton was an English born South African who arrived in San Francisco after he was bequeathed the sum of $40 000,- from his fathers estate. Although he saw some success as a bussinessman, a poor investment resulted in his financial ruin in 1858. Unable to pay his debts, he left San Francisco.
He returned sometime in 1859 and declared himself Emperor of the United States. His 21 year reign saw him issue his own currency and multiple Imperial Decrees, as well as order the construction of a suspension bridge and a tunnel across the bay. Emperor Norton was generally held to be a kind, generous and rather eccentric gentleman, and was gently entertained by the population and the authorities, although few of his decrees were actually followed.
And yet, although there is no doubt that the man was crazy, some of his insights were incredibly profound. He was the first to call for the establishment of a League of Nations, which would become the forerunner to the United Nations, he forbade any conflict between religions or their sects and as noted called for the construction of the Bay Bridge and the Transbay Tube, although actual construction happened many years after his death.
San Francisco's rise went on into the 20th century, with the establishment of new educational, sewer and health care facilities improving the situation in the city. At least, until the 1906 earthquake tipped houses, candles and fireplaces, causing a days long blaze that would lay four fifth of the city in ashes as water mains ruptured due to the quake could not provide the water needed to quench the flames. It's estimated more than 3 000 people died as a result of the fires.
Reconstruction efforts started nearly immediately. Although the previous city plan was mostly maintained, the establishment of a metro line and wider streets left the city in a better position when dealing with large amounts of traffic. Unfortunately, corruption of city officials remained a problem, with multiple officials jailed for bribery.
Nothing really interesting happened from the reconstruction onward, at least, not interesting to the Nobility, even with the construction of the Bay and Golden Gate bridges in 1936 and '37, until the events of the 7th of December, 1941 forcibly dragged the USA into the Second World War. Soaring anti-Japanese sentiments saw Americans of Japanese decent, ex-patriats and their bussinesses assaulted, while federal legislation saw them deported into concentration/internment camps away from the Western Coast in an overzealous and misguided attempt to avert the formation of a sixth column spy and sabotage movement.
The result of this was a humongous Taint covering most of the Japantown neighbourhood. Although fortunately of only middling strength at most, mortal exorcists and the Nobility found themselves battling the Taint and its effects well into the Eighties, with many inhabitants describing the area as feeling 'empty' and 'abandoned.' That few deportees returned to Japantown did not help in these efforts, as it had already been claimed by African-Americans in need of housing as a result of the rise in military related jobs during the war.
The end of the Second World War did not provide much reprieve, with M. Justin Herman appointed to redevelop the city and clean up blighted areas, he instead concentrated his urban renewal efforts on working class non-white areas of the city. At least Taint development as a result of this was limited, as the very nature of urban renewal is to tear a location down and build something new in its place from the new foundations upwards, while a semi fortunate coincidence was the redevelopment of parts of the Tainted Japantown area.
The rise of the hippie movement and counterculture in the 1960's prefaced the later establishment of a large, openly gay community in the city itself. Although this community would later become a breeding ground for Taints as a result of homophobically motivated violence, it is and remains a large, active and influential participant in the city's culture.
This violence would come to a head in 1979 when the man whom murdered Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Milk in their offices was given the minimum sentencing due to jury sympathies. Milk was the first elected official in the entire United States whom was openly gay, and as could be expected the homosexual population was outraged. The results of the White Night Riot and retaliatory strikes by the police saw a shift in San Francisco politics.
Throughout the 1980's and onward there has been for the most part a decrease in racial or homophobic violence, while the city of San Francisco grew as a result of developments in computer technologies and the establishment of many software companies within the city. It also saw the rise of a sizeable homeless population, attracted by the year round fair weather and excellent welfare services offered by the city.
The Mission Edit
At varying times, the Mission District has been inhabited by German and Irish immigrants as well as Polish-Americans. Around the time of WWII and the decades following, though, it started to become a Hispanic district and Latinos now make up half the population.
It also has cheaper rents than other central neighborhoods, which makes it attractive to young people. If you talk to your typical twenty-something starving artist, he probably lives in the Mission.
The Mission is named after one of the old Franciscan missions, "Mission San Francisco de Asís". Constructed in 1776, it is the oldest remaining structure in San Francisco and actually predates the city. It was also the only building in its area to survive the 1906 earthquake. Nowadays it is something of a tourist attraction, but it is still a functioning church, used for Saturday Masses. (Sunday draws too many people, so they've built a larger basilica next door.)
Notable Organizations Edit
Los Vigilantes de la Noche Edit
The Mission is also home to the Vigilantes de la Noche, an unusual nakama of the Hopeful. They rarely see eye to eye with other nakama for a few reasons: (a) four out of the five members are hispanic young men who are naturally a little uncomfortable with some of the terminology other Hopeful like to use, and (b) all five of them are staunchly Catholic and they filter the known cosmology through Catholic doctrine; to them, the purpose of the Hopeful is set out in the Our Father: "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven" (see Catholic doctrine on the Kingdom of Heaven). As a result, while they are very good at preventing crime and encouraging citizens, they have a blind spot when it comes to supernatural problems, which means other nakama will have to pick up the slack (and deal with any diplomatic problems).
The Cult of Broken DreamsEdit
As in many other major North-American cities, the Cult maintains a cell in San Francisco. This specific cell, under the leadership of Mnemosyne Cheryl Bean, seeks various means of social control over the city. In particular, Bean likes to play on religious strife.