Mage: New Orleans
New Orleans is a mystical melting pot, with members of every Tradition, nearly every Craft (but especially Bata’a), and quite a few nightfolk rubbing shoulders and cutting deals. It hosts a subsidiary of the Tradition Council, with their own lavish Chantry in the Garden District. The Council claims it has overall control of the city, and maintains a code of law that theoretically applies to all mages therein. Of special note is a quiet arrangement between the local Camarilla Court and the Tradition Council, where both sides try to stay out of one another’s affairs, while trading pertinent information and favors. This has given the Traditions an unexpected ally against Technocratic influence.
Bata’a, Ngoma, Verbena, and Dreamspeakers all touch on African-descended magical traditions like Voudoun, and these mages are very common. Hermetics and Choristers make up the other major power blocs in the city. Ecstatics frequent the city, but rarely stay for more than a few months at a time. Each other Tradition likely has only one or two full members in the city, not counting the Council chairs themselves.
The Templar Knights have a small chapter-house in Baton Rouge, and used to have one in New Orleans. However, they caused too much friction with the vampires, and were pressured to leave by the Tradition Council. Templars still visit from time to time, often when tracking a particular vampire, but they are an unwelcome presence. When detected in the city, standard procedure is to inform the Camarilla that Templars are here, but only after letting the Templars know their cover is about to be blown.
The Technocracy is not believed to have a permanent presence in the city, but every so often they will send in a small reconnaissance and raiding force to wave the flag and cause some havoc. It is thought that Stennis Space Center, just north-east of the city, is their nearest outpost.
Hauntings benign and malicious are commonplace. The Swamp is a constant background presence, seeking to drag the whole city down into it, so slow and omnipresent that few actually notice it. Spirits of entropy are common, though so are spirits of fleeting pleasures. The Loa are drawn to the city, making it much easier to reach them, and easier for them to reach you. There are enough shamanic types in the city to stop widespread spiritual disturbances before they start, but smaller problems still slip through.
There is a pervasive (but subtle) aura/theme of decay and obfuscation in the swampy or flooded areas of the city, tending towards overgrowth and mystery as you go out into the bayou. Directions become confused. Shallowings into the Umbra can pop up without warning, and vanish hours later. Strange sightings or disappearances are common, for all class and manner of being. Monsters from Cajun myth emerge from the waters for a brief time, spirits come and go on their own enigmatic schedules. Mages sometimes use the bayou as a place of meditation or refuge; sometimes they don’t come back.
Best estimates from the Council are that maybe a dozen shapeshifters inhabit or frequent the city, none of which are known to be particularly friendly or cooperative with mages. Werewolves lurk in the forests north of the city, and those mages who have successfully dealt with them advise caution when traveling those woods, in case there is a sacred site hidden out there. Other breeds of shapeshifter have been spotted in the urban areas, including rat and jaguar people. Persistent rumors from the bayou (and anecdotes from surviving mages) imply that there may be alligator people out there, as well.
The New Orleans Tradition Council and the Camarilla have come to blows before. It got very messy, very fast, and both sides saw that there wasn’t enough to be gained from carrying the fight through to an end. As a result, a truce was declared, and several arrangements were made to prevent hostilities from flaring up again.
By longstanding tradition (and a few quiet bylaws), the Council and the Camarilla must inform one another of things like sacred spaces, feeding grounds, and protected Sleepers. Failure to duly inform the other faction means that any “unfortunate incidents” are not valid grounds for grievance or redress. In practice, some members of each faction prefer to keep some people or places undeclared, risking safety and legitimacy in favor of secrecy. In cases where a declared person or place is interfered with by the other side, the leadership may impose penalties, require duties, levy reparations, or perform other actions that punish the offending party or mollify the “victims”. Neither side is particularly thrilled with such arrangements, though they recognize its uses for genuine diplomacy and vicious politics.
Upstart mages who accidentally breach the truce tend to receive showy but relatively harmless punishments, while those who intentionally rock the boat are mercilessly brought to heel. On the vampire side, unpopular members of the Camarilla must be on the lookout lest they be tricked into violating the truce, a transgression that is embarrassing at best and potentially fatal at worst.
There are a great many mages (Euthanatos, Choristers, Templars, and certain Hermetics in particular) who would love nothing more than to purge the vampires from New Orleans, but those in power are well aware that any resumption of war with the Camarilla would lead to tremendous human casualties, mage and Sleeper alike. Because of this, the Council has a special cabal tasked with enforcing the terms of the truce among the city’s mages. The Camarilla likewise has a coterie, officially under the command of the Sheriff, who does the same under the legal pretense of preserving the Masquerade. Neither enforcement group cares much for the other, though circumstance may force them to share information at times.