Chicago, nicknamed the Second City, is one of America's largest urban areas. It is home to populations of Kindred, Mages and urban Uratha, who exist in a somewhat uneasy balance of territory and power. Neutral ground for meetings between these groups include the historic Palmer House hotel, the Field Museum, and a night club called Abattoir.
Prince's Court Edit
The vampire ruler of Chicago is Maxwell Clarke, an Invictus Ventrue who took power from the Carthian Movement in 1986. Prince Maxwell is accepted by most but actually liked by few, and while he keeps the peace, even his own covenant tend to view him as a placeholder until a stronger leader comes around.
Maxwell is allied with Solomon Birch, the local leader of the Lancea et Sanctum. Birch's fundamentalist theology is off-putting even to some of the faithful, but he supports Maxwell's ban on Embracing new Kindred. Maxwell also has the services of Norris Kleinspiegel, a former lawyer, as his spymaster and fixer.
The Kindred control much of the Chicago Loop, but Maxwell is usually tolerant of mages and werewolves passing through as long their visits are brief and non-hostile. He also keeps his personal hunting ground, the Palmer House Hotel, open to any Kindred, so long as they feed discreetly and non-fatally.
The Undercity Edit
An intricate network of sewers, underground trains and access tunnels runs under the Loop, creating a parallel world home to almost as many Kindred as the surface. Known as "the Undercity," a Ventrue elder named Max Maurey holds more power than the "other Max" here. Many Kindred who dwell in the Undercity go years without surfacing, and their society is fundamentally different from the topsiders. Two rules are absolutely enforced: first, Kindred may not prey on the mortal sewer workers, linemen or other workers who come to the Undercity on business, to avoid attracting mortal attention. Second, whatever happens in the Great Hall--a massive underground reservoir used as a gathering area--stays in the Great Hall. Nobody wants the Prince sending a clean-up crew below, either.
O'Hare International Airport Edit
The Carthian Movement has established control of one of the world's biggest transportation hubs, and defend it relentlessly against any comers. Mostly made up of Mekhet, the vampires of O'Hare are also constantly vigilant for danger: both the mortal kind that could result in unwanted law enforcement presences, and the "weird" kind that could be a threat to Kindred on the whole. They even share this sort of intelligence with the mages and werewolves, if the threat seems big enough. They are also known to cooperate with a cabal of Banishers who occasionally search the airport for something.
The Tribes of the Moon have a slim numerical advantage within the city, while downstate rural areas are controlled by the Pure. In the city, the Iron Masters are the most numerous tribe of the Forsaken, but they generally lack the leadership skills to unify all the Forsaken against the Pure. Individual packs have carved out their particular territories, mostly in the suburbs and on the less densely populated parts of the South Side, where vampires are less likely to compete with them.
The Shadow around Chicago is heavily scarred thanks to gang violence, industrial pollution and the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, among other dark moments in Chicago's history. Many of the city's Barrens resemble burnt-out wastelands of cold ashes. In addition, the city's harsh winters affect the Shadow, as spirits echo the effects of cold and snow on the material world.
Union Station Edit
While close to the Loop, Union Station is undisputedly werewolf territory, and mages or vampires who intend to travel in or out of Chicago by rail need to negotiate with the packs for permission. Union Station is used by the Forsaken as neutral ground for different packs and tribes to deal with one another, and they take turns patrolling the area for security. They also have an alliance with a train-spirit called Bright Iron Worm that patrols the Shadow side of the area on a roller-coaster-like track.
Chicago is home to a few unique local spirits, such as the half-butchered spectral cows that haunt the former stockyards. Two spirits vie for the title of "Spirit of Chicago" and the Uratha generally try not to pick a side. The spirit of the Chicago River is turbulent and deceptive, tainted by generations of pollution and by the human engineers who reversed its flow in 1900 to prevent runoff from tainting the lake. The spirit of the Great Chicago Fire slumbers somewhere in the city's Shadow. Whether this spirit caused the fire or was born of it (or both) is unclear, but the Pure would love a chance to wake it up and purge the city properly, while the Forsaken keep watch on any activities that could rouse the spirit to action.
Western mages have been present in Chicago with the first colonization by whites, and have been influenced by the same social movements as the sleepers. The ethnic strife between the Irish and the Italian communities spilled over into inter-Order politics, as did the rise of Chicago's notoriously corrupt political machine in the 20th century. But the War of Mages in the 1980s was entirely an internal affair: rumors of an Atlantean artifact called the Celestial Flange tore Chicago's magical community apart, and in 1987 it erupted into open (by mage standards) warfare. A sizeable chunk of the Awakened population died or fled the city, and the population has only recently begun to rebound.
The Consilium Edit
Chicago's Consilium has been led by the same man, an English immigrant named Manipra, since 1989. They meet in the Glessner House, a protected historic site and museum located on the South Loop. Manipra's personal cabal also meet in the Walsh Industries building in the Loop, where they have created a Demense to tap the ley line created around the Loop's perimeter.
A cabal of Free Council mages called the Game of Geometric Perfection control U.S. Cellular Field, where they have been monitoring the occasional appearances of the ghost of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. On the north side, Abbatoir is run by a cabal of Adamantine Arrow mages of the same name, who enforce the club's status as neutral ground for mage, vampire and werewolf with extreme prejudice. On the west side, Cassandra's Vision is the name of both a cabal and the bookstore they run, which has seen a worrying uptick recently in both arson and elemental spirits of fire.
A mysterious cabal of Banishers has formed an alliance with the vampires of O'Hare Airport. Another group of highly religious Banishers called the Other Shore use the Greenstone Church in the Pullman District as their base of operations. They are known to raid into other neighborhoods when they sense an Awakening to try to "save" the unfortunate individual in question.
The Seers of the Throne Edit
Two pylons operate in the Loop, one from the Monroe West Tower and one from the Harold Washington Library Center. The pylon called Executive Suite is also active about pursuing newly-Awakened Mages, though those who don't agree to join the Seers frequently end up dead. They are outnumbered by the Atlantean mages, but they have powerful footholds in both the finance industry and higher education in the city.
Disciples of Nehjarra Edit
An apostate cult based in the suburb of Hammond, Indiana, the Disciples have their own Demense and a large group of sleeper allies. The leaders are an Obrimos couple, Sam and Katherine Miller-Roth, who originally founded the group as an Evangelical ministry. But their ministry has changed drastically under the influence of a being called Nehjarra, which presents itself as an angel of God preaching through Sam. In reality, Nehjarra is a spirit of lies and corruption, and it's only stringing the Miller-Roths along until it can possess Sam fully.