Spirits of New York
Despite an initial impression of the City that Never Sleeps, some of the hith residents of New York date back for millennia, to ancient times. They might have new forms, sure, but those of the Giants umia have prowled these lands on both sides of the Gauntlet since time immemorial.
Still, much of the spiritual landscape is, in fact, shaped by the frenetic pace and energy of its more than eight million human inhabitants, along with a host of attendant spirit entities that take shapes such as taxi cabs on the streets or stony gargoyles atop skyscrapers, flickering and dancing flames in the Torch of Lady Liberty, and raucous spirits of whimsy up and down Broadway. But not all of New York is bright and glittering, and where the Gurihal grows dark, the Hisil grows even darker.
Tread cautiously. Spirits can be dicks.
Type: Conceptual - City
Rank: Unknown - Greater than 5
Influence: City, Hope, Inspiration, Power
Description: Big Time. Bright Lights. The City that Never Sleeps. The Melting Pot of the World. The spirit of New York is all of this and so much more. The combination of hustle and entrepreneurship meets packed community support meets culture meshed over a thousand different neighborhoods. But what everyone will talk about is the draw of the city. What brought them here, what keeps them here. Why they could never imagine living anywhere else. That promise of bigger and better, the allure of creation, the pull of possibility. The spirit of New York is as much in the skylines marking the limits as it is in the back of a cab sharing a heart-felt story of how Bobby Ableman finally passed his bar exam. It’s in the clink of every beer glass and wail of every ambulance. A sparkle of light, a sounding of cheer. Nestled on pathways between parks and in Time Square as tourist twirl to see her grandeur.
Rumors: The city itself would never be so occluded as to not participate with her citizens, for they are the very sources of her power. Every so often the spirit itself urges those who look upon the city lovingly, who take care of her buildings with pride, who connect with the pulse of her thematic heart beat, in a direction to their benefit. Hit every light going down a main street? Your favorite bodega stayed open later than usual? You walked unharmed in Central Park past dark? The city looks out for its own.
Empire State Observatory
Influence: Inspiration and Nostalgia
Description: In the Hisil, this Art Deco Icon is gold and silver. Within the building itself faceless ushers will guide you to and from your destination. Elevators will take you from the bottom floor to the 86th where the outside observation deck is located, where you can step out and be soothed by the muted hum of the city below. Its on this floor where nostalgia overwhelms you. Looking back out over the city one can see the locations and histories among their friends, families, and loved ones. Perhaps it the long hard road you’ve gone down to get where you are today. You sit at the top and know there is hope on the horizon. Above on the 102nd floor, you’re back indoors in a much smaller circular room with windows over most of the floor. Inspiration and direction blossom at the forefront of your mind. You can clearly see now where you’re headed and all of the hurdles that you will overcome.
Rumors: For those that can reach these floors they’re a wonderful place to go and reflect. When one needs to remember a loved one, cherish their current family, take pride in their accomplishments and revel in hope. Likewise, when one needs to clear their head, break apart the fog of sedentation, and get inspired by new possibility.
Location: 34th Street, Manhattan.
Influence: Fear, Protection, Observation
Description: These gothic beasts do much more in the Hisil than in the physical world. Able to move from their posts and truly guard their buildings with the ferocity and terror they were meant to induce. Ranging from bestial winged creatures to stoic golems and severe birds of prey.
Rumors: Some say that there is what’s called the Stone Voices Network, the choir of guardians share information from rooftop to rooftop as they watch over the city from above. A wise Hunter In Darkness would take advantage of such voyeurs.
Location: Rooftops and Skyscrapers
Influence: Prosperity, Greed, Dominance
Description: Once meant to symbolize the aggressive financial optimism, the Wall Street Bull has become a spirit of Greed and fast paced monopoly. The bull itself looms over Wall Street and Bowling Green leading the financial choir in the area.
Rumors: Like most financial systems should spirits of the choir wish to stay, they must pay their dues.
Location: Wall Street, Bowling Green Park
Influence: Nature, Trees
Description: The impressive greenery at the neighborhood park is usually a cherished trait for any new buyers. In the concrete jungle a tree or stretch of green is a lovely feature. The trees of the hisil look over their neighborhoods, their root systems spreading far and wide, tracking the health and temperament of its residents.
Rumors: The quickest way to appease these spirits is by helping them shine and contributing to their growth. Is there base covered in overgrowth or brush? Are the lawns near them nicely manicured? Help make them a feature attraction and their sway among nature spirits amid the concrete will go a long way.
Location: Neighborhood parks, Green belts
Influence: Inspiration, Art, Music
Description: The diversity of NYC lends to various types of buskers and artists in Squares, on street corners and along the greens of parks. Most locations within the hisil will have a man playing saxophone with an open case below him, ‘A-Dollar-For-Jazz’, a woman pushing her bow across her violin ‘Evening-Melody’, or even a crowd of spirits clapping as ‘Lite-Feet’ and ‘Rocks-The-Night’ battle in a dance off atop cardboard mats.
Rumors: With spirits such as these contributions go a long way. Can’t contribute with essence? You’d better be able to join the music with either song or dance. In the Hisil you pay to watch or you participate.
Location: Street Corners, Parks, Squares
Rank: Usually 2.
Description: Gremals’ bodies take the general form of small simians or crow-winged humanoids, self-fashioned from an assemblage of rusted mechanical parts. They have grown fond of the faces of humans, so much so that Gremals often wear human masks shaped to resemble peaceful mien of a human’s final rest or their expression of terror in the final moments before impact.
Rumors: Gremals are spirits of industrial accidents, mechanical failures and the human tragedies that result. These spirits were once the spies and saboteurs of powerful nature spirits against the machines of the artificial spirit courts, growing very adept at causing machines to self-destruct. Over the millennia, the spirits changed as they fed on their spiritual enemies’ corpses and the tragedy they dealt humanity. Now they work for themselves — having competitions to see who can engineer the most ingenious breakdown. (Book: Book of Spirits p161).
Location: Brooklyn Navy Yard, Bathgate, Jamaica, Long Island City.
Influence: Fear, Inspiration
Description: The Grandmother is a magath of ancient provenance. As far back as history records, the stories of humanity have always warned of the dangers that lie beyond the circle of firelight, where the shadows slink and mutter.
Rumors: The Ithaeur say that while Granny Stitch is a terrible being to deal with, she is a force neither for good nor evil. She is just as likely to ensnare the malign as the benevolent. If the opportunity arises, enemies could be drawn into her traps and be forced to face her hunger. (Book: NH-Shunned by the Moon p68).
Influence: Fear, Violence, Larceny
Description: These spirits of desperation and blood lurk in shady alley ways, dark park pathways, and empty parking lots, feeding off the senseless violence of those in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Rumors: Crime of all sorts rages in New York, though these are by far not the most powerful entities when it comes to death in the streets.
Location: Various dangerous locations at night.
Influence: Navigation, Vehicles
Description: Up and down the main streets of New York City, the stampede of traffic never stops. Among the fastest are the Yellow Cabs who know their way around the Hisil far better than most.
Rumors: For a price, these spirits will take you quickly to your destination. They deal in rumors, favors, and of course essence.
Location: All over.
I <3 NYC
Influence: Knowledge, Travel
Description: Any New Yorker could spot them a mile off. Tourist spirits. In a shapeless Statue of Liberty t-shirt, a fanny pack, Croc shoes, and a selfie stick at the ready. They tend to be faceless, but their stereotypical features always remain. Sunglasses even in the evening, visors, barking directions for the rest of the spirits in the area to stick to the itinerary.
Rumors: What people aren’t aware of is just how useful these spirits can be. Unlike many of the residents in New York, these spirits have recently brushed up on the facts. Local news, factoids, and fantastic deals are their specialty.
Location: Tourist attractions.
Type: City, Art
Influence: Inspiration, Art
Description: Some of the most beautiful, colorful and diverse spirits you’ll find in the entire city. A mixture of culture and style, these spirits morph in size and shape, with a consistent shifting of palettes as if they were constantly being ‘painted over’.
Rumors: Some young spirits won’t know much, but older graffiti spirits have been around long enough they know what’s under every layer of paint. Local history and rumors hide in each new rendition atop the last.
Location: Tunnels, Abandoned Buildings, Under Bridges, Mural Walls
Hot Dog Vendor
Description: From time to time, and usually only in the summer months, an iconic Hot Dog stand will arise in the Hisil. The smell of roasting meats wafts for blocks, tempting hungry spirits and wolves alike.
Rumors: When these spirits are plentiful, one might watch them go to war with other carts in their area. The title of best hot dog of New York is a big deal.
Location: Street corners, Squares, Parks
Shine Bright Like A Diamond
Influence: Hope, Elements
Description: In the 1800’s it was just a few gem merchants that settled on Maiden Lane and Canal Street, in downtown Manhattan. High Society found a cachet saying their diamonds came from there, enough so that the sellers found it worthwhile to stay in the district. These days the district is one of the worldwide spots for dealing in diamonds, and all that energy has to go somewhere. Diamond is a coruscating shard that spits out colors as the light shifts. The smaller spirits that attend it are made of varying gemstones, carrying out tasks that only they understand.
Location: Downtown Manhattan
Influence: Secrets, Knowledge
Description: A slouching figure with a porkpie hat, the private eye can be found anywhere the shadows gather. There has always been a person that others hired to discover secrets, and NYC is no exception.
Location: City Centers
Influence: Death, Decay
Description: A nasty roil of pollution and lost items, it seeks to corrupt that which it touches. At one point, an average of 59 bodies per year would be pulled from the river, some dumped to hide a murder, some jumpers to their death, and some … well, who even knows.
Location: The Hudson River
Influence: Strength, Endurance
Description: As long as New York has had docks, it’s had the hardy men who worked there, loading and unloading the shipments that never stopped. It’s been this way long enough that a spirit has arisen to represent all that energy spent. Faceless, it’s similar to a golem in shape, slow moving but immensely strong.
Location: City Docks
Description: What other place would have so many dreams, hopes, and desires wrapped in one package? People have told stories for eons, and the theater is the pinnacle of this craft. Broadway is a swirling form made of multiple masks and fabrics which sometimes takes the shape of a person, sometimes the shape of an animal or tree, or anything that might be found on the stage.
Location: Theatre Houses
Ban: Must touch anything with static
Description:Once an electricity spirit, Electroshock became a magath when he consumed a madness spirit in an asylum. Some time later, Veronica made a deal with him in exchange for knowledge regarding a Bloodstone.
Rank: 0 to 2
Bane: Rubber tire tread from a car.
Description: Tend to gather near power breakers and before electrical storms; a huge wave was introduced during Gerald the Lightning Claimed's rampage.
Ban: He will become aggressive if his food is threatened
Bane: Sticks from a peregrine falcon's nest
Description: Pudgie is a pigeon spirit with a nasty attitude and a physical appearance that perfectly coincides with his name. He even waddles when he flies.
Ban: Must attempt to steal any book with soft, worn paper.
Bane: Library card
Description: Swifty is a raccoon spirit often found in the New York Public Library system, and occasionally Penumbra Hall.