Lead Gate Chronicle
Milwaukee’s Shadow is well known as a volatile place, due to the numerous regular festivals throughout the city and the three large entertainment stadiums it hosts – giant events happen frequently, creating enormous bursts of essence which send the spirits into a feeding frenzy.
The local Consillium usually alerts its members about a volatile event immediately beforehand, but not many of its mages get involved with the Spirit Courts.
One of the city’s Thrysus, Beauty, is rumored to have been mentored by werewolves. Everyone is suggested to talk to her before they get involved with the local packs or spirits.
The spirits of tourism, art, museums, performance theaters, and historic sites shape much of the Shadow’s landscape. These courts are more stable than the rest of the city, having a large and steady supply of essence throughout the year. The reigning City Spirit is the head of the tourism court, and the figurehead of Milwaukee in general: The Bronze Fonz.
For more than century, Milwaukee has been the center of a major brewing industry, without a handful of breweries being the backbone of the city’s economy – for most of living memory, the spirits associated with them were the heart of Milwaukee’s Shadow. However, when the rustbelt decline began, the major breweries began closing and moving away. Over several decades, the Old Masters fought for their ever-dwindling essence. This war has subsided by now, with the city’s giants having died or gone into slumber. In recent years, the microbrewery trend has awakened a new generation of beer spirits – a minor, but growing faction, sprouting from the decayed bones of the old giants in the roots of the city’s economy, history, culture, and reputation.
The Michell Park Horticultural Conservatory is a research lab / tourist lure consisting of three large bio-domes, each with a different mini-ecology: a desert, a rainforest, and a seasonal flower garden. Across the city, the Wehr Nature Center offers a hiking trail through 6 more bio-domes: a prairie, an oak forest, a savanna, woodlands, wetlands, and a lake. They are small, isolated worlds of foreign plants and landscapes right in the heart of the city. This intense cultivation has fed powerful spirits, infuriated by their constraints, and seeking to colonize the Shadow outside their domes.
Menomonee River Valley
In the south-central part of the city is a stretch along the Menomonee River which used to be the industrial and shipping heart of the city – now closed down after the rust belt decline of the 70’s. Quite recently, the city rejuvenated the area with urban green spaces and family parks. These rapid transitions, each one causing powerful spirits to grow, has put this area in turmoil and warfare between clashing spirits.
The Great Lakes are so large that they are considered inland seas – having characteristics like rolling waves, sustained winds, strong currents, and deep, wide rivers. They formed at least 14 thousand years ago, as the ice sheet pulled away. The spirits here are old enough to remember a time before human habitation – old enough to even remember the time before the realms of flesh and spirit were divided. As such, Lake Michigan is a spirit that is revered globally, and sought out by many mages and werewolves. She is a tempestuous force of nature, expressing her temper though hailing rainstorms and tornadoes. Though not directly involved with the politics of the city’s Shadow, she does loom large over the region. Her waters are also rumored to harbor the largest Hallow of the region and a gate to the Underworld – both controlled by the spirit of the lake.