Dresden Files Baltimore/D.C.
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. 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.
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.
The Black Panthers
In response to the protests, riots, and social unrest of recent years the Black Panther Party has experienced a resurgence within Baltimore. Concerned primarily with protecting the Black community from police violence and developing social programs, the group has not taken an active role in local politics. Their ranks include a number of actual shapeshifters who stalk the neighborhoods as night. It is unclear how aware they are of the other factions within the supernatural community. For the moment the ghouls, vampires, and fae seem to be giving the streets patrolled by the panthers a wide birth. The Black Panthers are also beginning to organize in D.C., primarily around Anacostia and SE.
D.C. is a busy place. It’s the seat of the three branches of federal government and the military. Inside it’s small borders are over 200 foreign embassies, a municipal government, eight universities, several research hospitals, political think tanks, finance groups, lobbying firms, defense contractors, international aid organizations, and a huge tourist industry.
Thomas Jefferson and the Fae
With so much going on, you’d think the District would see a lot of supernatural activity. Several factors have combined to keep the more-than-human world on the down low. For starters, 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.
The White Court
The White Court has a major presence in D.C. This faction, led by the husband and wife duo of Francis and Clair Underwood, feeds on pride. Although relatively young as vampires go, the Underwoods have been able to insinuate themselves into many of the back rooms where political power plays happen. They operate a number of businesses that cater to the rich, powerful, and well connected.
The White Council
After the vampire wars, the White Council’s presence on the Eastern-seaboard has severely reduced. Evan Montrose does his best to fill his father’s shoes, but pretty much has his hands full keeping things calm in Baltimore.
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.