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Pagan City: Located in the arid Desert Region in the Western Territories of North America. Population: roughly two million people. A city-state of the Western Territories; autonomous and unanswerable to any centralized national government. Known throughout the world for its prestigious theater community; entertainment capital of the North American Continent. Plays host to numerous magical and supernatural beings.

Downtown Pagan City

Pagan City's downtown area is divided into three districts: The Business District, where most of the city's banks, official departments, and corporate headquarters are found; The Theater District, home of the Pagan City theater community, most of the city's motion picture studios, as well as Cult Row (a strip of churches and temples devoted to some of the more eccentric and recent of Pagan City's many religions); and The Quaint District, the recently renovated open air mall.

Residential buildings are scattered throughout, with rents varying according to their location. The clock tower of the widely successful Taggart Railroad's Downtown station is the most famous of Pagan City landmarks apart from Temple Avenue.

The Quaint District is the area to the immediate east and south of Downtown, which has recently been completely renovated into a nearly vehicle-free open air commons, with shops, museums, entertainment centers and all manner of interesting restaurants and clubs.

Westlake

A collection of suburban subdivisions, modern strip malls, and public parks. Westlake is where most of Pagan City's average citizens move to when they no longer want to live in the city. As a result, this suburban community is in a state of constant expansion and development. Unfortunately, it offers relatively easy hunting for some of Pagan City's monsters like the fearsome Werewolves.

North Park

Old mansions, sprawling estates, and opulent gardens make up the mysterious walled community known as North Park. Most of Pagan City's magical elite make their homes here, especially those who can trace their lineage back to the original founders. North Park is located deep in the foothills, roughly three miles from the downtown area, and sits on a rise overlooking the rest of the city. Visitors are not encouraged, though some magicians and prominent witches allow limited tours of their homes and lands. Some of Pagan City's more infamous citizens living in North Park are Ellsworth Keating (last surviving city founder), Rose McKenna (leader of the Witches' Collective), and the nefarious Johnny Dedphish.

East Boro (The Pit)

After the dismal failure of Pagan City's foray into the automotive industry, the East Boro degenerated into squalor and abject poverty, making it a haven for junkies, criminals, and the darker elements of the magical community. It was shortly after this that the East Boro acquired the unflattering sobriquet of The Pit. It is currently held by the Necromancers, who, in addition to the vampires, prey on the Pit's wretched and pathetic citizens.

Southtown

Located across Paradigm Canyon from Pagan City, the city of Southtown began simply as a Christian mission a few months after Pagan City's founding. Its population grew during the mid-twenties, when a number of vaudeville performers fled the city in the wake of a devastating war between the witches and the magicians. Though obviously opposed in their religious views, Pagan City and Southtown enjoyed a relatively peaceful co-existence, as well as a mutually beneficial trade agreement, for many decades. However, recent changes in the Southtown political climate have caused the doors of the once friendly city to slam shut on all Pagan visitors.

In the early 1980s, the last mayor of Southtown, Rev. Joseph Matthews, was violently impeached during a military coup by the Inquisition. The Inquisition, started in the early 50s in an attempt to ferret out the numerous Satanic cults that had sprung up throughout Southtown, swiftly rose to power as the premier police and military force of Southtown.

Following the success of their coup, the Inquisition initiated a regime of oppressive tyranny. They began a systematic elimination of all "heretical" Christian sects, eliminating all those who opposed their brutal doctrine. Among those destroyed by this "reform" were the Gnostics, a monastic group possessing miraculous powers bestowed upon them through devotion to their Lord Jesus Christ. As a result of the Inquisition's police state, and the heavy raise in taxes, the average citizen of Southtown has been reduced to a life of abject poverty and fear.

However, there are tales of a mysterious masked hero among the people. Known as The Heretic, this hero is believed to be the sole survivor of the Gnostic massacre, and the beleaguered citizens of Southtown believe that he will one day use his God-given powers to rid their city of the tyrannical rule of the Inquisition.

 

The Witches' Collective

Headquartered in the mysteriously elegant Temple of the Goddess, the Collective is an officially sanctioned group of witches who are responsible for the policing of all magical crime in Pagan City. This often puts them at odds with the police, as most of the magical criminals of Pagan City commit rather mundane crimes, and questions of jurisdiction tend to arise. Field agents are grouped in divisions of four witches called covens, which are comprised of Priestesses/Priests, and led by a High Priestess/Priest. Most field agents are trained in combative spells, various martial arts, and investigative techniques. Other witches function as healers in many of Pagan City's hospitals, or using a wide number of psychic and telepathic abilities to hunt down the plethora of magical rogues abounding in Pagan City.

Though they are ruled by a council, that council is often represented by a Prime Speaker, usually a High Priestess, who casts the deciding vote in most of the council's decisions, and initiates Collective policy. The current Prime Speaker, High Priestess Rose McKenna, achieved her position in the wake of the bloody North Park Massacre of 1989, when nearly a third of the Witches Collective, including their leader, were brutally slaughtered by Bellona and her band of Necromancers.

Novices are the beginning students. They learn only the most basic of spells: those requiring no religious devotion. Many people become novices for various reasons and lengths of time. Most citizens of Pagan City have been novices at one time or another in order to learn one or two simple spells. The only requirement to cast novice spells is the ability to read and speak the magical language.

Initiates are novices who have chosen to follow the Goddess, but have not yet sworn themselves to Her. They can cast some of the religious spells, but must pray and meditate regularly to do so.

Priestesses/Priests are Initiates who have consecrated themselves to the Goddess. They can cast any spell, though they are required to pray and meditate daily, as well as strictly observe all Holy Days and Lunar Ceremonies.

 

The Magicians' Guild

The Magicians Guild was established in the late 1940s as a way of guaranteeing the legitimacy of its members. Too often, when Pagan Citizens would hire a magician, they would discover that said magician was practicing illegal magic, or using their abilities for illegal purposes. This made it rather difficult for the honest magicians to find work, hence the Magicians Guild. Members of the Guild were expected to hold to the highest standards of professional and legal conduct, and were forbidden from utilizing the dark arts.

Sadly, however, the Guild is now largely just as corrupt as the people it once attempted to police, and the reputation of Pagan City's magicians has hit an all-time low.

Mundanes are what the magicians call non-magical people. Mundanes can use the most basic of artifacts: those requiring no study. Most of these artifacts work only once, though there are some that produce multiple spells. Mundanes can also cast scroll spells, though no scroll can be used more than once.

Apprentices are those people who have chosen to study the magical language, and learn the use of more advanced artifacts. Traditionally, apprentices are taken on by a single magician, though most modern apprentices attend Pagan City University.

Magicians are apprentices who have managed to successfully construct their first artifact. They are capable of using any artifact. Magicians begin as Journeymen, and are required to find or construct ten magician-level artifacts on their own before being raised to Master.

 

The Spiritual Dynasty/Mystic Empire

Hundreds of millennia before the advent of recorded history, there existed a global empire, ruled by a succession of empresses, whose connection to the mystic energy field gave them great power. Each time an empress died, her soul would be reborn, retaining full memory of all past lives as well as the connection to the energy field. Known as the Mystic Empire, it ruled over the entire world for hundreds of thousands of years, until the last empress was betrayed and murdered through the treachery of a cabal of evil immortals with plans for global dominance. Her soul was cast into the time stream, seemingly never to be reborn again.

Once bereft of its leader, the empire crumbled, sending the world into a Dark Age so severe, that all traces of its existence were lost. During this time, the immortals laid the seeds that would eventually grow into what we call civilization. They were certain they could work unopposed, as the sovereign of the empire would never return. Since the dawn of civilization, the immortals have been the shadow rulers of the human race.

When Rachel's fame as an actress began to grow, she attracted the attention of Obsidian, one of the immortal cabal. Upon recognizing the soul of his ancient enemy, Obsidian flew into an incredulous rage, and ordered the vampires to kill her.

 

Vampires

Vampires are the result of an experiment gone horribly wrong. Centuries ago, in an attempt to create more beings like themselves, the immortals gave transfusions of their blood to a select group of humans. What resulted was the abomination known popularly as the vampire. No longer human, yet not truly immortal, vampires are ageless creatures who must feed regularly on human blood to survive. While they are impervious to age, disease, and most injuries, vampires are vulnerable to fire, and exposure to sunlight will destroy them. And, of course, a wooden stake through the heart will kill them. However, rumor has it that if a vampire drinks from an immortal, it can survive in the sun for one day, with great discomfort and weakness.

Vampires are capable of making more of themselves, through the exchange of blood, and can also transform humans into ghouls. A ghoul is a normal human, who, through regular infusions of vapiric blood, assumes the immortality and some of the powers possessed by vampires. Ghouls are able to go about during the day, though direct sunlight causes them some pain. Ghouls do not feed on human blood, and their powers are sustained only so long as their vampire supplies them with blood. If that supply is cut off, the ghoul will lose its powers, and revert to the age it should be within two weeks. Needless to say, the older a ghoul gets, the more dependent on its vampire it becomes. Vampires use ghouls as servants and messengers, and will occasionally elevate them to the status of full vampire. The vampires of Pagan City are ruled over by one they call the Primus, who, in turn, receives its orders directly from Obsidian.

 

Werewolves

Werewolves are one race among the lycanthrope species, and are an amalgam of human and wolf. They live on the fringes of human development, and are voracious meat-eaters. This makes them extremely dangerous to humans, though there has been talk of werewolves who eschew human flesh and feed only on animals. No one is really sure how the lycanthrope species came about, not even the immortals. One is usually born a lycanthrope, though the transformation does not take place until mid-adolescence.

The werewolf population of Pagan City is extensive, though they rarely enter the city itself, unless recruited as minions by a magic-user, and do most of their hunting in the suburban communities of Westlake. Not much can harm a werewolf, other than silver, and they have a high resistance to disease and poison. While not immortal, werewolves age slowly, the average life-span being over two hundred years old. After undergoing the transformation, lycanthropes retain their human intelligence and personality, yet this is often supressed by the emergent instincts of the animal they have become. Werewolves travel in packs, and obey the commands of their Alpha, who decides which magic-users the pack will work for, and for how long.

 

Zombies

Zombies are the reanimated corpses of dead humans. Only a Necromancer can make a zombie, and therefore the Pit is currently full of zombies or people who are well on their way to becoming one. The recruitment of a zombie is varied. Usually, Bellona (or one of her followers), will make a zombie from the corpse of a junkie who has overdosed. As Bellona currently controls the heroin trade in Pagan City, there is no shortage of future zombies among the city's more wretched inhabitants. However, Bellona is also fond of reanimating the corpses of her sacrifices, and these come from all walks of life.

Being nothing more than reanimated corpses, zombies are not very effective on their own, and work better in mobs. Nothing can kill a zombie, as it is already dead, and the only way to stop one is to destroy the body itself. Though animate, zombies are still dead, and they continue to rot throughout their extended existence. The average period of use for a zombie is only one or two years, after which time the zombie simply decays too far to remain ambulatory. Zombies are mindless creatures, and follow the will of Bellona slavishly.

 

 
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