Americana (DnD Campaign Setting)/Places
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 The Nation of Chicago
Chicago is the largest Nation in terms of land area, and except for the extreme west areas it is FLAT. The nation's borders are marked in the west by the foothills of the Pacific Mountains, on the north by the Sea of Ontario, in the south by the St. Louis River, and in the east by a low stone wall built after the Treaty of Missouri to mark the west edge of the new Nation of St. Paul. Essentially the entire state is dominated by plains and small lakes, with a network of thin streams and rivers coming together to either the Minnetonka or St. Louis rivers (flowing east to the Mizibi River and west to the coast near Seattle, respectively) or the Greenfield River (flowing north through Chicago proper to the Sea of Ontario). The land between the St. Louis and Minnetonka is primarily agrarian, pulling in vast crops of wheat and corn to feed the populace of Chicago and beyond. The land north of the Minnetonka is kept mostly as grazeland, with timber forests taking over as the sea draws near, raising the famous Chicago beef cattle. But under that same land run the vast Chicagoan coal mines, drawing out the precious black rock through mines dotted all across the region to keep the continent running.
 Chicago Proper
Chicago, at heart, is a trading hub pure and simple. The city itself is not quite as big as New York for population or size but now far exceeds it in wealth and importance, sited on the Greenfield River in the middle of the Plains. From the west, over the Pacific Mountains, come wagon trains and airships brimming with the riches of the Coast- gold, silver, tin, and various crops. From the north and northeast come Minnesotan iron and timber, carried on the waterways by the vast barges of the Paulites. From the far east come forged goods and equipment, hauled by the carts of Detroit and New York.
But the greatest trade in Chicago is produced by herself, going outward. Though the city is well-known for its meat, especially its beef, the biggest commodity to pass through her gates is coal. All of Americana runs on coal, and the largest deposit by far sits deep under the surface of nearly half of the nation's land. All the country north of the Minnetonka River is studded with coal mines and processing plants, hauling nearly four hundred tons of coal a year from the ground. That means an awful lot of money for the nation, which is the richest on the continent and constantly under construction.
Chicago herself was once primarily made of wood- though some of the ancient buildings had survived, over 70% of the city had either been flattened by the war or damaged so heavily that they had to be flattened. However, that all changed after the Great Fire- a huge conflagration of unknown source that erupted one night after a long drought and lasted for three long days before a rain squall put it out. The nation's riches ensured that the city would be rebuilt, and the casualty count and ambition of her politicos ensured that it would NOT be of wood. Architects from all across the country descended upon the city and started a boom of construction that has yet to stop, and which transformed a vast but low-lying prairie town into a stark, towering metropolis of iron and glass that makes aims to rival- or maybe even surpass- the great New York.
Chicago does not like looking back. Much history has been lost in the move to evolve and expand the city, but few protests have been made- they are the best, after all, and if they want to remain the best they have to make sacrifices. Still, traditions survive here and there, such as the Ceremony of the River (which takes place on the first Monday of every summer month, and in which the city's Chief Mage forces the Greenfield River to flow backwards for eighteen hours in memory of the Miracle of the River) and the Fire Festival (which is a huge citywide ceremony giving thanks to the gods- specifically the rain god, in certain religions- for ending the Great Fire). These and other small festivals mark general "days of rest" for celebration, and almost all businesses and operations- government, private, and even illegal- close down for the day to join in the fun.
 The Nation of St. Paul
St. Paul, as far as territory is concerned, could easily stand up to Chicago in might and girth. But there the resemblance ends; St. Paul is a young nation, sparsely populated, and in the northern areas, except for a few native villages and outposts on the coast, there is no civilized life to be found.
The Minnesota territory, in the more heavily inhabited areas, greatly resembles that of Chicago- flat plains with low, rolling hills and the occasional deciduous forest. All of the land is heavily covered with water- it is estimated, in fact, that almost half the nation's surface area is lakes or rivers, all flowing down to the deep-cut channel of the Mizibi, which winds its way up the Duluth Peninsula before dumping off the tip into the Bay of Rain.
Following the Mizibi north, one watches the terrain change. The plains vanish, the hills grow steeper, and by the time you reach the latitude of the Bay of Rain's southernmost shore the rivers are winding through marshes and bogs nestled between rocky hills and forests of pine so dense you need a machete to clear a path in places. It is beautiful country, but also somewhat dangerous- beyond the monsters and creatures, the native Minnesote are absolute masters of this land whether on the ground or the water, and they will take violent offense to any who trespass without their express permission.
The dual nature of life in Minnesota makes it easy to tell who is in charge before you even enter a town. Minnesote villages are stockades made of pine and birch, with the only non-wood buildings in town being the housings for their "mosquito fleets". They are generally of simple construction and offer little in the way of luxury, but this does not mean they lack the basic amenities- and it should also not be taken as a sign of stupidity among the populace.
In contrast, Paulite outpost villages are almost all metal- iron and stone constructs ringed by steel walls. They hum with activity, usually processing timber or iron ore for shipping back upriver, but in many cases offer few more services than the Natives.
Though the land can be pleasant enough in the spring, summer, and fall seasons, it is not advised to attempt traveling during a Minnesota Winter, which (due to the nature of the terrain) are easily twice as harsh as winters anywhere else, and as a result invoke consequences (like movement penalties) that are twice as brutal.
 St. Paul Proper
Due to the odd nature of Minnesota's populace and governorship, the nation actually has TWO capitols, seated opposite each other on the banks of the Minnetonka River, less than three miles upstream from where it flows into the Mizibi. St. Paul City sits on the north bank.
The central home of the Paulites was originally established by the Detroi to act as a local diplomatic post with the local Minnesote Natives, and this is immediately evident upon seeing the town, which looks like Detroit in miniature. Encircled by a massive wall of stone and iron with over a hundred cannon mounted atop it, the city is a fortress in itself, built around the St. Anthony Power Plant. That plant, which is built next to and over the Falls of the same name, produces the electricity that keeps the city humming, processing an endless stream of iron ore and timber from upstream that is either used in-city to forge the machines and weapons to supply the young nation, or sent back to the Mizibi, where it is met by Detroi traders to be exchanged for gold and equipment before being hauled over the Atlantics to the Iron City.
Though their gear and products are somewhat more rugged in design than those of Mother Detroit, St. Paul can offer an adventurer all the benefits and amenities of any East Coast city. And anything that can't be found in the "Pig's Eye" can likely be found across the river, in the native capitol of Minneapolis.
 Minneapolis Proper
Minneapolis is the largest and most sophisticated city built by Natives on the entire Americana continent, and the only permanent settlement of the Minnesote. Built on the south shore of the Minnetonka and connected to St. Paul by the Three Brothers bridges east of the Falls (one for foot traffic, one for cart traffic, and one bearing a short-run railway), the city is practically a mirror of her northern neighbor, but rendered in wood and stone rather than iron. As could be expected, she offers much the same services- inns, taverns, merchants, and the lot- though the vast smithies and forges of the Pig's Eye are not to be seen.
However, while Minneapolis may lack metalworks, she holds other secrets that the Paulites lack. The Minnesote know the terrain of the Nation far better than the Paulites, and if you need to hire a guide or an escort- or simply buy a map- you'll find none better. The Minnesote have also put their ability to travel unnoticed on the water to a profitable use, and if you have the money they can ferry you unnoticed to any town on the north river system, from Rainmouth at the Mizibi delta to Plain's End at the base of the Pacifics, deep in Chicago territory. But though soldiers and bandits may not take notice of your trip, creatures are much harder to fool, and if you intend to make the trip a long one you should be advised to pack a weapon.
 Las Vegas
MORE TO COME
 The Neon Lights
Very early on in its history, Las Vegas was seriously considering folding its cards--in only three years since their declaration of nationhood in 30 A.G., they had been the subject of repeated attacks by hobgoblins at the Plains end of the pass, a year-long, bloody Crusade of Regulation courtesy of Los Angeles, and general disdain and disregard from big markets like Chicago and Dallas--the result being that trade had slowed to a trickle, and the city was barely getting by.
The Council voiced this concern to its people, and was pleasantly surprised to find widespread indignation--many of them had been thrown out of the other Nations and would have nowhere to go if Vegas disbanded. Few, however, had solutions. One did, however, and he caught their eye. Konstantinos Neon was a sorcerer, and had fought in the Great War itself under General Andora, but then had been thrown out of Los Angeles shortly after its founding because he thought their Holy Audience thing to be a bunch of rubbish. When he spoke up to the Council now, he was nearing ninety, and was completely blind in one eye. But he spoke up strongly, and went straight for the Council's throat--he asked them to try his idea at least once.
Even though Neon's plan involved the use of the nation's twelve best magicians and enough spell materials to empty what was left in the treasury, with it worded like that, they couldn't well refuse.
For two weeks, the thirteen magicians could be seen moving around the city, scribing something in magical runes on every vertical surface that wasn't made of glass--and some that were. Other magic-users tried reading them during that point in time, but found the runes incomprehensible. It seemed like a fool's errand, but Neon had not declared that he was done yet.
He never would, either. On the fifteenth day, Konstantinos Neon, a master of Abjuration who would later be remembered as a truly epic Sorcerer, climbed unaided to the highest point in the city (at that time, the roof of the five-story-high Council Hall) and, in front of the Council, the Everyman, and several hundred curious onlookers, blew himself apart in a flurry of magical energy that melted the spire off the dome of Council Hall.
Before the fireworks atop the Hall had had a chance to fade, however, the whole city exploded with light. Neon's runes, scrawled all over Las Vegas' outer walls and most of its buildings, formed the largest web of wards and guarding spells ever seen--and it is very doubtful that they will ever be surpassed. Neon, being a sorcerer, left behind no spellbook for study, but eight of the twelve magicians who had aided him had been wizards, and he had had to teach all of them how to do what was, to him, second nature. That knowledge is now Las Vegas' greatest secret, but it is definitely not a lost one--whenever a Crusade of Regulation ends, or a swarm of orcs is finally driven off, everything else that was damaged gets to wait until the Council Mages have fixed any gaps in the runes.
Nowadays, Vegas is lit in a myriad of lights and colors that give it a garish, almost cartoonish look. Almost all of them are magical. But whenever you pass one of those buildings lit by thin, brilliant lines, rest assured--you're safe in the glow of the Neon lights. And if you happen to arrive when the gates are closed, you can catch a glimpse of the man who created them.
|“|| As hard as it is to believe, Las Vegas is closed. Be sure to come back soon!
|—inscription on the underside of the drawbridges of Fort Las Vegas.|
 Carlsbad Caverns
The massive Carlsbad Caverns cave system runs deep underneath the South Pacifics--too deep. Since before history it had been home to the mines and cities of the kobold kingdoms, housed in glittering grottos thousands of feet below the windswept surface. Even to this day, the Caverns are still a fantastic sight--if you can manage to see them.
In 62 A.G., the kobold kingdoms were abruptly and horrifically overrun by a boiling mass of squid-like creatures from below, which butchered everything in their path. The evacuating kobolds barely had time to get messages to Dallas and the nascent magic enclave of Phoenix, which moved the fleeing refugees out and fought several bloody holding actions at the two main cavern-mouths. Eventually the torrent subsided, and no more of the mind-flayers could be seen: but the Caverns were no longer safe.
Steps were quickly taken--with the aid of the escaped kobolds, the many minor exits and bolt-holes into the caverns were permanently sealed off with blasting powder. Dallas quickly established a permanent policing outpost at the main eastern entrance which would later grow into the police-state of El Paso; Phoenix took them one step further by completely relocating their growing town so that it surrounded and blocked off the western entrance and its nearby oasis. But for thirty years, nobody dared to venture any further into the Caverns than the sunlight could reach.
 Carlsbad One
 The majority of the Carlsbad Caverns have become uninhabitable. But that has never stopped human ingenuity before. Almost immediately after the fall of Kurt'yip'yak, Dallas began sending regular scout patrols into the caverns, to keep an eye on the illithid activity--many have died on the Carlsbad Watch since then. But by 90 A.G., the mind-flayers had settled down and retreated far enough in that Dallas found it worthwhile to send in a colonization team (perhaps spurred on by their shortages of resources and the fast-expanding conflict that would later be known as the Twenty Years War).
The team settled on the main access bridge to the upper caverns, roughly a mile inside the east entrance. The bridge was large enough to support extensive construction, and as the war flared up, Dallas evacuated many civilians into the cavern, causing the bridge to abruptly bloom into a full-blown city.
Carlsbad One is the only proper underground city in all of Americana (Phoenix's workings, while extensive, are counted along with the aboveground portions of the enclave), and since the end of the war it has become a paradise for mechanics and machinists seeking to work with geothermal energy--the bridge-city is built over a deep geothermal vent, and siphons the vast majority of its power and systems from the depths of the crevasse. The city also hosts the largest permanent kobold population in Americana today, though it is smaller than even certain nomadic populations. Many have come to Carlsbad One out of nostalgia for the life they once had, though the majority stay away, not wanting to have anything to do with the virulently xenophobic Dallasites.
Note: Kobolds living in or coming from Carlsbad One are to be considered traditional kobolds, instead of the vagabond kobold variation that predominates in most areas.