Gotta make sure there are places to spawn plotlines. Check out Psychedelic Goblin’s list of fight locations for inspiration.
The place outside ordinary reality that connects different times an places; the only location to remain unchanged by changes in history. Anyone who has ever entered the Netherworld will never have their memory changed by a shift in history again; they may find themselves in a new body if history changes sufficiently, but after enough changes, their home history may be forever lost.
One of the greatest places of power in the modern world, where massively wealthy concerns compete to improve the feng shui of their sites to draw ever-larger crowds. A side effect of this continuous meddling to channel better and better chi flows is that the Las Vegas Strip has more Netherworld entrances than you can shake a stick at... but they open and close unreliably with the fluctuations of power. As junctures to different eras open, Netherworld portals that are near exits to those junctures appear in the hotels that are appropriate to the juncture. The portal in the Luxor is believed to be located in the Netherworld near a portal to ancient Egypt or perhaps Alexandria in its heyday; the Excalibur is rumored to be situated close to an exit into the Middle Ages. Beings from various futures use the portal hidden in Star Trek: the Experience as a staging area in the Las Vegas Hilton. The MGM Grand is another place where the most bizarre things can happen and the tourists think it’s part of the act. The Stratosphere has an observation tower that has to be good for a fight scene or three. Westward Ho could have a portal to the Wild Wild West, and the Monte Carlo to Victorian England.
Tim Powers’ Last Call can provide an excellent source of inspiration and a unique spin on the matters.
A powerful Feng Shui site with access to the Netherworld; a bastion of those who celebrate diversity. The Netherworld portal is in the underground men’s bathroom. Attuning to the Madonna Inn provides a supernatural ability to locate exotic and bizarre little shops, restaurants, and bed-and-breakfast inns.
The Romans were pretty good at spotting powerful chi, and they built Londinium on an older site for a good reason. Arguably, Britain could have stayed Roman while the rest of the western half of the Empire crumbled, but all the legions were recalled to defend Rome from barbarians, so it didn't. It has twice been burned to the ground, once in 62ad (I think) it was Boudicca anyway, second time in 1666 to get rid of the bad chi from the Great Plague of London.
Still, after this beginning London has been continuously inhabited for kicking on two thousand years. The Romans may have buggered off, but the feng shui stayed. London is old, and there's a lot of hidden chi flowing under the surface, where there may have been a plague pit 600 years ago, or whatever.
London is actually two cities: the City of London and the City of Westminster; grown together with countless other villages and towns. The City of London (or just "the city") is now almost entirely a business district, and its generally good chi has kept it the largest in europe.
In a way, the chi of London has represented the fortunes of the country; it was at its height in the 19th century, after the fire of London allowed a massive ascended sponsored rebuilding scheme. Whether the fire was deliberate just to allow this to happen is a matter of conjecture, but it's interesting to note that it's more or less the opposite of what happened to ancient Rome during Nero's reign. Anyway. Sadly, after the Blitz in WW2, the city was never rebuilt in its former glory, and post war Britain started to go to the dogs as the Ascended moved to focus of their operations to America. [Oh, and you want to know the real reason for area bombing? It burns one hell of a lot of sites. the property damage was incidental compared to the disruption to the enemy's chi and the boost it gave the attackers.]
However, things have been looking up lately. After the frankly dismal architectural experiments of the sixties (with a few visionary exceptions) the tower blocks are being torn down and a new school of modern British architecture is becoming more and more influential worldwide. London now has a population approaching 10 million (more than Scotland and Wales put together) and a further 5 million or so commute in to work every weekday.
To start where everyone starts: Chinatown. I'm sorry to say, that London's Chinatown has the chi of a dead dog, being mainly a collection of restaurants. given that it's right in the centre of London it's too expensive for anyone to actually live there. Nevertheless, there is one site remaining, a big Chinese-run grocery store which is the best place in London to buy oriental ingredients.
Trafalgar Square. Nelson's column has ever been a symbol of Britain's naval prowess, though nowadays it's more symbolic of pigeons. Trafalgar Square isn't much of a feng shui site— even the pigeons are diseased— except at New Year's Eve, when it forms a focus of the partying crowds and draws a *huge* amount of positive chi. The current "fourth plinth" debate (there is a missing statue in the square) and the talk of pedestrianising it are attempts to boost this yearly phenomenon and focusing it in "constructive" ways. Of course, the bad news for millenial secret warriors is that the thousands of people crammed into the square make it almost impossible to do anything on the actual night. Whitehall, which leads off it, is much better. The government buildings just hum with hidden power. Maybe there's a standing wave between Big Ben's clock tower and Nelson's Column at either end?
The Thames. The Thames flows through the city, like an artery of clean air. It's also an artery of good chi. The river boasts some of the best architecture in the city, both modern and retro. some of the sites dotting its length include:
Canary Wharf is actually an Architect front. C'mon, it's a great big tower, biggest building in London, with a pyramid at the top. Got to be dodgy. It's also emerging as a financial centre to rival "the city".
The Millenium Dome is less of a site than a plug. Remember that they built the building and tried to think of what to put in it? The way it actually happened was that they built it to cover a nasty festering sore of toxic chi, and tried to work out how to justify it. Not a good place to take the kiddies after all! Currently run by an Ascended lackey who specialises in fixing the chi of ailing sites; last responsible for the Eurodisney/Disneyland Paris transformation.
The Lloyd's building. one of the flagships of modern architecture, and a brave attempt to build an inside out building. an insurance centre, it still contains the Lutine bell, which has hung at Lloyd's for over 100 years. From HMS "Lutine" which sank off the Dutch coast in 1799 carrying gold bullion, it was recovered during salvage attempts and hung in the Room. Traditionally it was rung once for bad news about overdue ships, or twice for good, but is now only used on ceremonial occasions. Lloyds Building, modern tall (for London) building with all its innards on the outside, possibly a siphon for bad feng shui, as the Lutine Bell is here, this is the bell which is rung every time a Lloyds registered ship is lost or sunk.
The London Underground is just weird. There are miles of forgotten tunnels, and ten whole tube stations buried down there!
Greenwich Royal Observatory deserves a mention for being the place from which zero degrees is measured. There's a metal strip in the ground running north south that you can go and look at. It's vaguely surreal, kind of like those places on the equator that have a line painted on the ground. It's quite a zany building, designwise. at the centre is the octagon room, complete with copper domed roof, and we all know that octagons have good chi.
Finally, there's the M25, which is essentially just a Druidic stone circle writ large (similar to the pentagon). Sadly, it's jammed with traffic for much of the day, which isn't good for the chi flow, so the effect is fairly nominal, except to delimit the city quite nicely.
The Bank of England (the old lady of threadneedle street) is a good place to start, huge building surrounding an internal courtyard. But best of all, the exterior wall has only doors, no windows, good base for any of the major groups to control.
St Pauls Cathedral a great and powerful place, who could control it or attune it is moot... but it would be powerful if someone did. It stood standing while German bombs destroyed everything around it.
The Tower of London. Really a collection of buildings, the one I would rate as the centre of power is the White Tower, which is the inner keep within the walls. Bombed by the IRA, who says that wasn't a plot to wreck the chi flow by some other group... Its ravens are a potent focus - Britain will always prosper while these birds live.
The Old Bailey. The central criminal court for Britain, here has housed most of the big trials since it was built in 1902, it was built on the infamous Newgate Prison. Serious power is housed here.
The Natwest Tower. Until the building of Canary wharf this was the tallest building in London... surely that counts for something.
Post Office Tower, or BT tower as it is now known, tall cylindrical tower in the west end of London, not far from Oxford Street. Highly visible and very distinctive. Are those horns really beaming telephonic microwaves or are they mind control rays subjugating the entire population of the city?
The British Museum, a large Georgian Building around a central courtyard which contains the reading room of the British Museum, now that the British Library is housed elsewhere, currently being redeveloped. A really eclectic collection ranging from a Canadian Indian totem pole to Assyrian Gates, Egyptian Mummies, a Cartoon by Raphael. A very strange place, it feels like lots of people are manouvering for the chi here, but a wonderful place to stage fights...
Soho Square, just off the corner of Charing Cross Road and Oxford Street, always contains people and seems to be an island of tranquillity in this very busy part of London. It contains one of the last remaining original statues of Charles the First.
Foyles, a huge bookshop on Charing Cross Road, arranged on many floors in a strange higgledy-piggledy fashion, is this arrangement to break the chi flow, or to make the chi flow work. Never ask the staff for help in here, cos they'll say if its not on the shelf we don't have it...
The National Gallery, On the north side of Trafalgar Square, a huge (with the new extension) gallery of paintings up to about 1850, (most of the later stuff is housed in the Tate Gallery).
Harrods. Tycoons like Al Fayed and Tiny Rowland have struggled to control this peerless department store which has the reputation of being able to acquire anything that its customers want. The IRA obviously knew something - they really tried to blow it up!
St James' Park. Probably the best of the Royal Parks - a swathe of good feng shui between all the centres of power. Its pelicans were recently taken to task for snapping up pigeons - obviously pumped up by all the positive chi. Regent's Park deserves a mention too - another place that the IRA tried to blow up.
Kew Gardens. Full of exotic plants and complete with an enormous Chinese pagoda. Gaming note - Games Workshop founder, Ian Livingstone, used to live close by in Pagoda Avenue.
And there are lots of little known sites which are much more exclusive - the Freemason's Hall, the cricket ground of the Honourable Artillery Company, Lincoln's Inn Fields, Little Venice - little islands of calm in the midst of the hustle and bustle.
The setting of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. There is a parallel, magical alternative to mundane reality. The inhabitants of the mundane world, London Above, seldom percieve the dwellers of London Below, discounting them as street people and bums. The universe itself tends to act to isolate the inhabitants of London Below, quietly erasing them from the memories and records of the world above.
Whether or not it’s a gravitational anomaly in the real world, in our twisted shadow of reality it can be all manner of bizarre phenomena... More information on the Oregon Vortex at Compressed Air. For a Californian imitation near Santa Cruz, try the Mystery Spot.
Megatokyo, in the Cyberpunk juncture, is a dark and forbidding place, built on the ruins of an earthquake-wracked Tokyo, where the sun seldom breaks through the clouds of pollution, and even then has trouble reaching between the skyscrapers to the street level. This means street-level lighting is always on... and there’s lots of neon to identify establishments even when street lighting is out. Lots of neon. Even on public buildings. When the magic is running quiescent, the powered armor troopers are only worried about renegade cyborgs who have lost their connection to humanity and berserking android Boomers. When magic runs higher, dark portals to the Underworld open and terrible demonic forces emerge. (Hit anime like Bubblegum Crisis, AD Police, Silent Mobius, Demon City Shinjuku, and Akira for inspiration.) Not everything is necessarily in good repair— add flickering neon signs, solar panels on roofs as backup power, vidphone transmissions breaking up into fat pixels, fast food vending machines breaking down and spewing their ingredients on the sidewalk, and other indicators of turbulent chi flow. Freeways are huge, and most cars have autopilots; autopilot overrides are often illegal, and autopilots that can be programmed to ram people or block pursuit are definitely illegal. Don’t use the orbiting laser/particle-beam satellites too much. :-)
The Winchester Mystery House, in San Jose, and Doe Library, at UC Berkeley, have portals to the Netherworld. (The Winchester Mystery House is actually a bad feng shui site. Anyone who tries to control the portal there for more than a day winds up getting attuned to the site and suffering from terrible luck.)
The Winchester Mystery House is a sprawling mansion that covers more than six acres and is located south of San Francisco. It was built over a period of 36 years at the request of Sarah Winchester, heir to the Winchester rifle fortune. The house features 2000 doors, 160 rooms, 47 fireplaces, 40 staircases and many hidden rooms and corridors. The number 13 predominates as a design element, with rooms having 13 windows and staircases having 13 steps.
According to legend, Sarah built the house as a home for the spirits of all those who were killed by a Winchester rifle. She held seances in two rooms built specifically for the purpose of contacting ghosts and threw dinner parties for herself and 13 ghostly guests. After her death, the house passed to Sarah's niece and is now a tourist attraction.
Fight locations include the Palace of Fine Arts, containing the Exploratorium.