Geist/Society/Twilight Locations & Avernian Gates
All around us, Ghosts of people, animals, things, and places exist. Sin-Eaters see them clearly and can reach out and touch them as if they were real, despite being ephemeral entities. Large public places, historical locations, places of devastation, mourning, loss... these will all have more ghosts than normal. Finding ghosts isn't the hard part.
The long history of violent crimes here after dark lead to plenty of ghostly activity. The North Woods in particular have been noted as haunted. And several Avernian Gates are in the park. Often they look like hollowed out trees, pathway arches, or tunnel openings.
Empire State Building
Dating back to 1931, there have been more than 30 suicide attempts from the top or the higher floors of this building with most of them being successful. There is an Avernian Gate located at the very top observation deck.
Sparks Steak House
Paul Castellano and Thomas Bilotti arrived at Sparks Steak House in December 2, 1985 for a prearranged meeting; an assassination team was waiting for them near the restaurant door, and took them down by gun fire. There is no Avernian Gate here, but death resonance tends to ebb and flow as people recall the famous incident.
St. Patrick's Old Cathedral
The cemetery of New York City's oldest Roman Catholic church is reputed to be haunted by Pierre Toussaint, a slave who became a hairdresser in the early 19th century. The ghost of Bishop Dubois, who is buried below the entrance to the cathedral, has been reported seen frequently in the church.
The Algonquin Hotel
Many guests at the Algonquin Hotel have claimed to spot members of The Round Table, a group of writers that met at the Algonquin for lunch daily after World War I. Members of The Round Table, who called themselves the Vicious Circle, included Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Franklin Pierce, Robert Sherwood, Harpo Marx, Alexander Woollcott, Harold Ross, George S. Kaufman, Heywood Broun, Marc Connelly, and Edna Ferber.
The Belasco Theater
Numerous accounts of haunting at one of New York City's oldest theaters include sightings of the building's builder and namesake, David Belasco, who lived in an apartment at the top of the theater before his death in 1931. His ghost is reported to interact with actors, offering kudos and handshakes, and many have reported hearing footsteps and the disconnected elevator running. Sightings of the Blue Lady, possibly Belasco's companion, have been reported numerous times.
Morris Jumel Mansion
Built in 1765 as a summer home for British Col. Roger Morris and his wife, the Morris-Jumel Mansion is the oldest remaining house in Manhattan. Several ghosts are reputed to haunt the mansion: Eliza Jumel, the former mistress of the mansion, has been reportedly seen wandering the house in a purple dress, rapping on walls and windows, the ghost of a young servant girl who committed suicide by jumping out a window has been reported in the mansion's servants' quarters, and sightings of a soldier from the American Revolution, whose picture hangs on a wall in the mansion, have also been reported.
Where to Find Them Avernian Gates occur all over New York City. The living of course don't know they're there, at least not consciously. In places of death, mourning, loss, a doorway will make itself known. They look similar to their surroundings but a Sin-Eater and a Ghost will always know one when they see it. A gate at a morgue might look like another closet that wasn't there before, condensation leaking from its edges. In a cemetery a mortuary arch stands alone, an ephemeral puddle around its base.
- There are Avernian Gates located at Green-Wood Cemetery.
Each gate has a Guardian. Like the Hell Hounds of lore, these are the first tenants of the location, that guard over the passage into the Underworld. Those who should not be passing might just meet them. They take on the forms of their surroundings but often with age and power they become more abstract; just another icon of death. A grim reaper, a woman in white, a grisly black dog.
Going into the Underworld is no small feat. It requires effort and in many cases emotion. If one isn't willing to sacrifice living animals (and most should not be so ready to do so!), then often a ritual of remembrance is performed. What that looks like is up to the Sin-Eater, and ultimately it will be the Guardian who decides if it was heart felt or a shallow farce to gain access.
Ghosts of course pay their own way with the Toll Coins, earned at the time of their death.
Coming back would be as simple as opening the door right? You'd be wrong to assume so, and many have been and never returned. Geists do have it a bit easier, though everyone pays the price. By using their Innate Key, they can accept the Doom of it, and open the door. Doors can also be physically destroyed, but that Guardian is always watching.
Going into an Avernian Gate takes effort and sacrifice. Whenever possible an ST should be present. That being said, if an ST isn't and its necessary, please submit a ticket with the following:
- How you got in: Please use the methods on page 199, and include as much detail as possible. How one represents their loss or how much they're willing to sacrifice says a lot about your PC and we'd like to know that about them.
- How you got back: Again, as described above, let us know your method. If you chose to accept the Doom of your Key, let us know which Key, what Doom, and if you intend on resolving it or living with it for a while. You'll carry the Doomed Condition until then.
- What you were doing down there: No character can go beyond the Upper Reaches without an ST. You are limited to this area for plenty of reasons. All of the denizens of the Underworld want something, and many find quickly the price is too steep. That's not to say you'll never go, but these scenes must be done carefully and ideally in groups. River Towns will be played out by STs (similar to Goblin Markets), to allow for players to explore in searches for new Haunts, Mementos, etc..
Note: If a player goes into the Underworld (sans ST) within the Upper Reaches without a Ticket submitted, goes to River Towns, or engages in River Travel without an ST the scene will be nulled. Do not do it.