If you’re not careful, the bright city lights will blind you. By day, the crowded plazas and broad streets are home to flashy super-stores and tourist attractions. When the sun sets, the real illumination reveals itself: from neon signs to jumbo screens, passers-by are bombarded with fluorescent light and mesmerizing commercial messages. The smoky side streets are laden with theaters, clubs, and bars, their signs flashing in the dark. Downtown never really takes a break, so it often seems to blur into a high-exposure time-lapse of days and nights.
What really happens in the shadows of the neon signs? From mad preachers raising support for their cause to pushers selling designer drugs with a mysterious logo, Rifts with big aspirations often operate here. If you’re a legend trying to get at the masses, downtown is your place.
But there’s a deeper side to that. There is something in this dark marketplace, in the subliminal urges pumped into unaware minds. All these people so frantically seeking relief generate a lot of angst. Who’s profiting from it? Is there someone behind all the reckless hedonism and blind consumerism, painting the night in colorful strokes of ‘want’ and ‘have’?
Places of Interest:
The Financial District - A conglomerate of glistening, larger-than-life glass skyscrapers and lower, yet equally gargantuan, ornate stone buildings, at least half a century old but well-looked after. This is the City’s main seat of power, where corporate giants, banks, and government officials rub elbows - the stench of corruption is everywhere. Black government cars, ostentatious white limousines, and limited series sports cars glide by effortlessly, reflecting citadels and palaces on their tinted windows. A handful of well-established plush hotels and expensive art-deco residential towers accommodate the rich and powerful, with all the luxury, security, and anonymity money can buy. It is from here that these modern-age queens and kings, along with their advisors and emissaries, play a multi-faceted game of chess where the City’s residents are the pawns.
The Smoky Jazz Club - Music coaxes you in as you pass by the Smoky Jazz Club; it sounds like a tune you once heard, a long time ago. It evokes a warm and familiar feeling which compels you to enter. There, amidst wafts of cigarette smoke, a mixed crowd of well-off enthusiasts and bohemian artists listen to the switchbacking improvisations of a small band of suited musicians, accentuated by the husky voice of a singer in a flowing evening gown. Unexpected help or a fateful meeting may emerge from the smoke. Then again, it can always be that you were dreaming, or drunk, and when you leave this place you’re still just as depressed as you were when you came in.
Sheryl Fisher / Ebisu, Japanese god of wealth in business and of the Seven Lucky Gods
Sheryl Fisher is the plump and preppy CEO of the City’s top advertising firm. From her office on the 40th floor of the highest skyscraper, Sheryl makes sure that the transactional juices of the City keep flowing, keeping her clients, her bank account, and her Mythos happy.
Judah Wells / The Frog Prince
Judah Wells is a hard-working garbage collection truck driver who covers the back alleys of the district. Every day, Judah laments his lack of a more lucrative job, but in the meantime, he keeps his eyes open, hoping for a windfall of some type. Truth be told, it is only a matter of time. Judah will find something and it will be golden and worth considerably more than just money...
Alice / Alice in Wonderland
Alice is new in town. Few know her; no one knows where she’s from. She seems to be a drifter just wandering downtown in a windbreaker and wool hat. Buy her a cheap burger and she is happy to talk without taking a breath. She’ll tell you that everything here looks absolutely mad to her. Some of the things she says make sense, because downtown is pretty crazy after all. Just make sure you don’t follow her nor take any recreational substances she offers you... unless you’re just dying to know what’s down that rabbit-hole...