Darkness in the Sunshine State
…the City Dark and Beautiful
“There’s power in the night. There’s terror in the darkness. Despite all our accumulated history, learning, and experience, we remember. We remember times when we were too small to reach the light switch on the wall, and when the darkness itself was enough to make us cry out in fear. Twilight means more than just time to call the children in from playing outside. Fading light means more than just the end of another day. Night is when terrible things emerge from their sleep and seek soft flesh and hot blood. Night is when unseen beings with no regard for what our people have built and no place in what we have deemed the natural order look in at our world from outside, and think dark and alien thoughts. And sometimes, just sometimes, they do things.”
- The Tourist Veneer Masks the Blight
On the surface, Orlando is the City Beautiful, and ad campaigns feature the theme parks and arts and parks and other Good Things across the country and the world to bring in the tourists, who then have the best vacations of their lives in the safety and wonderfulness that is Orlando and the surrounding areas. Of course, on the flip side of this fantasy is the reality – the dark underside of Orlando where predators (both mundane and supernatural) stalk their prey. The local government and police forces are a big part of the problem, as they struggle to maintain the veneer to keep the lifeblood (tourism) flowing into the area, while dealing with the predators by accepting bribes and graft from many sources.
(Aspect: Corruption and Decay)
- The Golden Rule
Whoever Has the Gold, Makes the Rules. Money is the lifeblood of Orlando, brought in by the tourists and taken by the city’s inhabitants – either as payment for amenities, theme parks and everything else imaginable, or through those that prey on said tourists in more criminal ways.
(Aspect: Money Talks)
Generally speaking everything is very similar (on the surface anyway) to our Orlando, with the exception of the downtown area. In the Dresden-verse version Downtown O-Town has become a study in stark contrasts – the gleaming high-rises where big business rules overshadow the squalid underside of downtown. This dark side is a mix of Pleasure Island (Pinocchio’s, not Disney’s), Escape from New York, and Resident Evil. What isn’t abandoned and boarded up is given over to every imaginable fringe vice – bars, strip clubs, tattoo parlors, smoke shops, etc. But there is a certain mystique to the area – a “forbidden fruit” aspect that continues to lure the more adventurous tourists from the “safety” of their theme park resorts to partake of the dangerous side, so they can tell their friends back home how very daring they were. At least those who return home…
The major supernatural factions of the area:
The Red Court Vampires – fully immersed in the business aspects of Orlando with many ties to most of the government, via graft (both money and the addiction of key officials to their particular brand of narcotic saliva… eww.) They rule primarily from the aforementioned high-rises of downtown Orlando. They are probably the single strongest supernatural group in town.
The White Court Vampires – dealing more directly with the tourist trade, they focus on the theme parks and other tourist areas, dabbling a bit in the more upscale downtown clubs (with a facade of safe-dangerous over the reality of the dangerous-danger.) They love bike weeks, spring breaks, and the like – supporting most of the events that encourage drunken, reckless revelry.
The Black Court Vampires – a very small presence in Florida, however what there is probably lurks in the shadows of Downtown, picking off the fringes of the fringe elements.
In the wilder areas (either the outskirts of Kissimmee or far east Orange county) there’s a pack of werewolves. Redneck werewolves? Or possibly more of a Alphas thing in the UCF area.
Also in an outskirts area we’ll find a tribe of ghouls – ready for hire by anyone needing some muscle. (And also possibly at war with the werewolf pack?)
Plus the Green Swamp and other natural areas will be host to many, many forms of wildlife.
The Summer Court of the Fae naturally holds sway over Florida’s warm climes. And they, for some reason, have taken a particular liking to Disney World (possibly because of what’s on the other side in the Nevernever? Or because of some deal Walt made back when he was scouting out the swamps of central Florida back in the 60’s?) This makes WDW the one theme park that the White Court DOESN’T control – and they’re constantly angling to get in with the Disney corporate levels via hook or crook and coming up against fae protections time and again.
The Winter Court of the Fae has been occasionally known to side with the White Court Vamps, although this is most likely an alliance of convenience to be a thorn in the side of Summer.
The White Council doesn’t have much of a presence in Central Florida. There is a small group of wardens holding an outpost in town (which survives the Red Court menace more from not being found than by strength.) They exist primarily to track down and eliminate rogue warlocks who might take advantage of an apparent lack of White Council presence… (See below). These wardens, while small in number, are not isolated. They are quick to ask for – and receive – help from the rest of the White Council if they feel they need backup against a stronger threat. Their other main task is to keep an eye on Red Court activities in the area, in an aid to the war effort (yes, this is the time of the White Council and Red Court war – before Changes, probably sometime around Death Masks.)
Other White Council wizards in the area are mostly reclusive types (through inclination or for safety), and there’s probably at least one fairly powerful/old wizard living in the hermit-like existence among the denizens of Isleworth. Also other lesser talents, and the usual smattering of wannabes, posers and very minor talents just trying to get by.
Speaking of Warlocks – word is out that the White Council authority is considerably lacking in Central Florida and all manner of warlocks, sorcerers, witches and other rogue talents flock to the area. (Word is much less out that the wardens of the area propagate the rumors that the Council is not active in the area in order to draw in and trap said rogues.) Regardless, there is probably a higher incidence of “warlock” activity in the Orlando area than in most other similarly sized cities in the country.