Dresden Files Baltimore/D.C.

Washington D.C. and the Fae

In the late 1780s, as the land around the District of Columbia was being acquired from Virginia and Maryland, Thomas Jefferson quietly negotiated the neutrality of the nation’s new capitol from power struggles of the Faerie Courts. The agreement, consummated by both Mab and Tatiana, resulted in changeling children who were given to Jefferson as wards. As a part of the bargain, in each generation one of the descendants of these children must enter the service of either Mab or Tatiana. Many choose to become fully Fae and enter the Faerie courts, but some serve as mortal proxies, furthering the goals of their Queen among mortal kind.

Some of Jefferson’s changeling descendants have found their ways into politics over the generations. The political power of their parties often seem to wax and wan in relation to the strength of their associated court. While there is a lack of open hostility between Summer and Winter within the borders of Washington D.C., both courts frequently utilize Wyldfae proxies to accomplish their goals.

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The Pentagon's Weaponsmiths

The svartálfar are producing equipment for the Pentagon. A collection of small arms, utility equipment, and protective gear have been provided to select members of various security forces tasked with supernatural engagement. These items combine modern technology and fae magic. Conflicting rumors abound about the nature of this work. It is unclear if the dwarves have been paid for their services, or if they are working under duress.

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Underwood & Associates
K Street Lobbying Power Brokers

“If you’ve got the money, they’ll get things done.” Ties to several industries including finance, oil & gas, agribusiness, defense and security.

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Firefly Coven
Clued-in Pagans in D.C.

Home to a thriving community of witches, druids, and other Pagans in D.C., the community is clued in to the supernatural, and knows enough to protect its own and keep its head down when major trouble rolls through the area. There are a few minor talents within the group, but they have no official ties to the White Counsel or other supernatural nations.

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Fae vs Ghoul

A Freehold of several dozen ghouls lives in the tunnels under the ground between Federal Hill Park and Fort McHenry. Because this lies along a particularly powerful branch of the ley line, the ghoul “king,” Gilgamesh (a real humble guy, that one), has been able to open a portal to the Nevernever—in particular, to the regions where the Summer Court holds sway. Now, consider that the Summer Court is locked in an ugly little war with this band of ghouls, and you can see why this situation gets interesting on a fairly regular basis.

Let’s just say that mortals want to watch their backs after dark in that part of the city. Not only is there occasionally collateral damage, but ghouls get hungry, and there are only so many fish in the Patapsco River for them to munch on.

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Black Aggie & the Black Court Scourge

Years ago, a statue called Grief was placed as a monument in Druid Ridge Cemetery (not to be confused with Druid Hill Park; Druid Ridge Cemetery is just outside the city limits). “Creepy as hell” is a completely insufficient description of this statue. Known as “Black Aggie,” it was downright sinister—grass wouldn’t grow in front of the damned thing. All kinds of urban legends grew up around it, about how it would haunt people, how people caught alone in front of it vanished, that sort of thing.

A Black Court scourge started taking advantage of the situation. From time to time, one of them would actually replace the statue, using some glamour to take on its likeness (and believe me, it wasn’t a real stretch for them). Of course, whatever damn fool frat pledge or drunk teenager sat on that thing’s lap was never heard from again. About forty years ago, in an uncharacteristic fit of good sense, the cemetery’s caretakers removed Black Aggie; the official reason was to stop the “circus atmosphere” surrounding it. You can believe that if it helps you sleep at night. Their hunting patterns disrupted, the scourge fractured and with it the Black Court presence in Baltimore.

Currently, a scourge of at least three is attempting to re-establish itself. Hoping to draw upon the power of the ley line to enhance minor magical talents that they picked up somewhere, they have rooted themselves in a lair in the water tunnels under the Clifton Gate House, which is near the campus of Heritage High School. The students’ safety is at terrible risk. See “What’s Where in Baltimore” for more information on the Clifton Gate House and the vampires there.

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Baltimore White Court

Vasiliki Lagios, a two hundred year old vampire, has led House Lagios of the White Court since soon after the U.S. Civil War. Vasiliki is a politically wily and patient schemer, excelling at using misdirection and subtlety to exert his influence. However, there’s a faction within the family that wants to be a more active presence in Baltimore; they’d like to actively oppose the White Council, more aggressively seek out prey, perhaps even make a play to claim major points along the ley line. Led by the ruthless and ambitious Alexandra Lagios, niece of Vasiliki, they may soon make their move to take control of the family.

Alexandra has several members of the Baltimore police department on her pay role. She has also made overtures to several local gangs but hasn’t secured them as vassals yet.

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The Ley Line

The single most important bone of contention is probably a major ley line that runs southwest to northeast across the city. This ley line follows the Fall Line, the boundary between North America’s coastal plain and the Piedmont region, which passes directly through Baltimore. This ley line funnels considerable magical energy through the city, but its focus is the large, vaguely phallic-looking Washington Monument (yes, there’s one in Baltimore, too, and it’s older than the one in D.C.). Situated on the Fall Line, in the Mount Vernon neighborhood not far from the Inner Harbor, the Washington Monument acts as both a focus and a distributor of the energy in the ley line; three additional branches reach out from that point. One reaches southeast, through Federal Hill to Fort McHenry, then under the Patapsco River to Fort Carroll. Another reaches north, through Bolton Hill and Reservoir Hill into Druid Hill Park, where it dissipates. A third runs more or less west-northwest, through the greenway around Gwynns Falls and out of the city, eventually dissipating in the hills. Magical power is enhanced all along the ley lines, but it is particularly strong at a few points: the Washington Monument, Druid Hill Park, Heritage High School and Clifton Gate House, and Fort Carroll.

The branch reaching through Federal Hill is particularly strong and, together with the Monument itself, is the focus of a very tense stand-off among the four major supernatural players in the city.

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The Supernatural Community

In Baltimore, you have your typical collection of minor supernatural players: clued-in hippies and new-agers, devotees of nontraditional magic-aware religions, nosy academics, a few knowledgeable cleric types, some cops who have seen a bit too much to live in denial, some hedge wizards and minor practitioners, and a handful of honest-to-God creepy crawlies who do, in fact, go bump in the night.

Rising above all those are the four real heavy hitters in town; these are the seriously powerful factions that you don’t want to cross unless you have plenty of friends willing to back you up. The White Council had a strong presence under the leadership of Old Man Montrose, but since he passed on, the wizards’ presence in Baltimore has been significantly weakened. A clan of White Court vampires thrives here, House Lagios. The Fey Courts have a strong interest in Baltimore for reasons we’ll get to soon. And, finally, there is a clan of ghouls (the Ereshkigal clan) led by the powerful ghoul lord Gilgamesh, self-proclaimed God-King of ghouls. He’s a Freeholding Lord, a signatory to the Unseelie Accords.

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Welcome to your campaign!
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Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

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