Winnipeg sits at the junction of the Red River and Assiniboine River. Throughout history, it has been a primary gathering place, first for the native people of Canada, and then for the European settlers. This has had an effect very similar to the multiple waves of settlement in Ireland, with new ideas and beliefs coming in to first battle against, and then reach an accord with the forces already here. Now, a new wave of immigrants from some of the most violent areas of the world are arriving, bringing with them their anger, hatred, and desire to carve out a place for themselves in the staid, reactionary city and the surrounding area.
Consecration of the Two Waters
When the Selkirk Settlers arrived in the area, they brought their own traditions, and a few of the fey of their homeland, with them. These didn’t mesh well with the placid, peaceful native spirits who already made their home at the meeting place of the two rivers, and the newcomers suffered a few years of hardship, trying to acclimate to the hostile climate and uncooperative nature.
No record exists of the actual act, but the spirits in the area speak of a great magical working that was done to settle the matter, which created a neutral ground for the spirits at the site of the junction. Both native and newcomer spirits, faeries, and magics were now welcomed, and settled into a dÃ©tente. As new waves of immigration arrived, bringing their own spirits, faeries, and magic, they were also absorbed into the mystical DMZ that is Winnipeg.
It is only lately, with the exceedingly violent new wave of immigrants from war-torn Somalia, Sierra Leone, and Eritrea, that the pacts seem to be wavering. Some claim that this is because of the rage and anger of the new spirits, while others cite the fact that the floodway around the city has prevented the mystical cleansing of the land by flood for the past fifty years, thereby weakening the consecration.
- DÃ©tente between native and newcomer spirits
- Mystical DMZ
- Bound water spirits
- Floodway tampering with spirit energy
- New violent incursion of immigrants
Ragnarok has not come. All the signs are there, sibyls prophesied the end of the world for a dozen different dates in the past. Woden has made all his preparations and still the signs point to the destruction of Asgard ands all he holds dear. The Allfather casts about searching for further means to tip the balance.
But if he cannot find them, Asgard, and much of Midgard is doomed. So he has sent some of his court to find a new hall in Midgard. What else can he call such a court – he names it Gimli. There he sends those retainers he can spare, and others that have not been singled out in prophecy. It is foretold that Gimli will survive the doom of the worlds, but the Allfather cannot give up any advantage in the coming war, so those that go to Gimli are the unwanted – the maimed, the lost and forgotten, or the cowardly. It is a sad, bitter court, until Freya demands that Woden give it its due. There he sends a number of einherjar, heroes that he will sorely miss in the Ragnarok.
But matters do not improve. The court of Gimli is still a bitter, forsaken place. True heroes are wracked with the knowledge that they will be left out of the greatest, most glorious conflict in the nine worlds.
- Old, crippled Norse gods
- Bitter, disgruntled einharjar
- Prophesied doom of Ragnarok
- Rowdy parties
- Necessity of secrecy so that the giants don’t find out
The Council of Ghosts
Like any other city over a hundred years old, Winnipeg has its share of ghosts. The Consecration of the Two Waters has had an interesting effect on them, though: they are much more aware and active than most ghosts, who are mere echoes of a dead person’s personality. This doesn’t seem to apply to all ghosts; just to those who had strong wills and personalities in life.
The Council of Ghosts, as they call themselves, is often used as arbiters in the mystical world of Winnipeg. They seem to have an intuitive understanding of the rules and terms brought into effect by the Consecration, and help the various sides settle disputes without violating the dÃ©tente. They can be found in a few famously haunted buildings in the city, but meet regularly in the Nevernever, on the site of the infamous Vaughn Street Jail, guarded by the restless spirits of those who were executed there.
- Ghosts, of course
- Fort Garry Hotel
- Walker Theatre
- Mother Tucker’s Restaurant (old Masonic Temple)
- Vaughn Street
- Elmwood Cemetary
- St. James Graveyard
The Golden Boy of the Temple of Hermes
The Manitoba Legislature is a classical revival domed building, crowned with a statue of Hermes covered in gold leaf. At the base of the dome are a pair of sphinxes, and many other elements of sacred geometry are encoded in the building and the various rooms and chambers it contains. It was built as a focus for the mystical power that ebbs and flows around the city, due to the fact that the city sits at the longitudinal centre of Canada, and focuses it in the fields Hermes traditionally governed: commerce and transport.
Of course, Hermes was always a little trickier than that. He also governed magic, theft, and the passage into death. Various rooms in the legislature hint at these other roles, and there are even signs of veneration of the child he had with Aphrodite, Hermaphrodite.
While rumours abound as to who commissioned the strange construction of the Legislature, there seems to have been a deliberate attempt to obscure the truth about who designed and built the building. Even the name of the architect and engineers are subject to debate, and stories of stolen plans and credit abound.
Whoever designed and built the structure, itâ€™s clear to the mystically inclined that they no longer wield any power here. The time of Winnipegâ€™s importance as a financial hub has passed, though it still is an important link in the rail network that brings oil, beef, and grain from the prairies to the more populous eastern provinces. Indeed, Winnipegâ€™s power as a commercial city has been fading since the General Strike of 1919.
- Golden Boy
- Sacred Geometry
- Mystical Hermaphrodite
- Mystery cults
- General strike
Malachi Taris, White Court Preacher
Winnipeg has long been a focus for Pentecostal Christian churches, and the religious ecstasy that they generate is the food of choice for House Taris of the White Court. Taris is a small House in the White Court, and not very powerful, but they are the dominant vampires in the city, ruled over by a Malachi Taris, who preaches regular services in his Chapel of the Cross in downtown Winnipeg. His services are never televised, and are quite popular, with multiple instances of speaking in tongues, frenetic dancing, and other manifestations of religious mania in each service.
Several other Pentecostal churches are headed by White Court vampires, though by no means all. In total, there are less than a dozen vampires in the city, at least two-thirds of them being White Court.
- White Court vampires
- Other vampires
- Religious mania and ecstasy
- Pentecostal churches
- Rivalries with other churches
- Rivalries with Red Court
Muuxi Jilaow, The Mad Bull
Over the past several years, a violent new street gang has been gathering up the African and Asian immigrant youth, forming a new criminal group to combat the native Posses that control most street gang activity in the city. Calling themselves the Mad Cowz, they have brought the savagery of their war-torn countries of origin to the streets of Winnipeg, heightening the anger and hate.
The head of the Mad Cowz is Muuxi Jilaow, a Somalian man of 25 years, who rules his gang with a bloodthirsty ruthlessness that the local police and gangs have very little experience with. He has brought the dark magic of his homeland to fight the old, stagnant magic that has formed in the city. He keeps a pair of hyenas on chains, treating them like savage dogs, and teaching his closest, most trusted lieutenants how to take on the hyena spirits, becoming lycanthropes, and forming a smaller sub-group: the Posse Killers.
- African and Asian street gang, the Mad Cowz
- Rivalry with native Posses
- Dark, angry magic
- Hyena lycanthropes
Until very recently, the native Posses controlled most of the low to mid level gang activity in the city, with the Hellâ€™s Angels handling the upper end. The Posses tend to be a loose confederation of smaller gangs, like the Manitoba Warriors, Indian Posse, the Deuce, and Native Syndicate. For the most part, they divided up the downtown and north end of the city, skirmishing with each other, but keeping a fairly low profile. With the arrival of the Mad Cowz, they have begun to co-operate in order to keep their turf.
They clash regularly with the Mad Cowz, but have been taken aback by the savagery and brutality of the newer gang. Faced with the strange abilities of the hyena lycanthropes, they have begun to turn back to ancient native magic to protect themselves.
- Native street gangs
- Uneasy truce
- Native magic
- Nature spirits
Operation Clean Sweep
Because of the escalating violence among street gangs, the Winnipeg City Police Department has instituted Operation Clean Sweep, a task force focused on cleaning up gang-related street crime in the city. They are resourceful, experienced police officers, drawn from the gang task forces, narcotics, and violent crimes divisions, and have been making some progress in cleaning things up.
They have, however, started running into a number of strange incidents as the various battling gangs have begun to employ supernatural means to press their causes. The Sweepers, as they call themselves, donâ€™t really talk about these things, but few of them doubt that there is more going on in this situation than meets the eye. One or two have even begun to seek outside help, using contacts in the immigrant communities or talking to their own babas about how things were in the old country.
- Winnipeg Police Department task force
- In the know, but donâ€™t discuss
- Experience with weird stuff
- Focus on gang activity
- Contacts in various communities
The Faerie Rambles
Winnipeg is far from the politics of the Faerie Courts, but not from Faeries. With the safety established by the Consecration of the Two Waters, a number of minor spirits and faeries have gravitated to the city, taking up residence primarily in the parks and forests within the city, forming numerous openings into the Nevernever for their use. While the tamed land of Assiniboine Park doesn’t hold much attraction for them, places like the Assiniboine Forest, Maple Grove Park Woods, Seine River, and St. Norbert all have enough wild space to be hospitable to all manner of faeries and nature spirits.
Of course, some spirits aren’t as picky, and you can find knockers, kobolds, and such things in the abandoned urban places, trolls under the overpasses, and other more cosmopolitan spirits, including ruselkas and such, hiding here and there around the city.
- Nature spirits
- Native spirits
- Immigrant spirits
- Gates to the Nevernever
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Neat ideas! Thanks for writing this up – I’ll probably use it if I end up running a Dresden Files game.