This page sets out to explain a little bit about the underworld of Toronto for the players. If the PC is from down below, this is common knowledge, except where noted otherwise. First off, a map of the system:
Click on the map to the side for the large, uncut map of the Toronto subway system.
A PDF version of the same map (463kb) is available here.
The Layout Of The Underworld in Toronto
3 Royal York
4 Old Mill
7 High Park
9 Dundas West
18 Lawrence West
20 Eglington West
21 St. Clair West
24 St. George
26 Queen's Park
27 St. Patrick
29 St. Andrew
40 St. Clair
44 York Mills
46 North York Centre
|49 Castle Frank|
57 Main Street
58 Victoria Park
61 Lawrence East
64 Scarborough Center
First off, the Toronto underworld is older than the subways, having been first maintained - some even say, created - by the natives, then the Europeans came and by a stroke of luck saved the radiance from dying by inventing street cars, then subways and the rest is history, more or less. Of interest to note is that a subway system was planned for Toronto in 1909 (at a cost of $1 million a foot) but it was scrapped very quickly due to political issues. The one built in 1954 was funded by the results of two world wars - public transit ironically one of the few services to prosper during that time. The underworld has prospered since then, growing with the nascent subway system, bits of the past flowing into the present to create a strange, communal whole.
The TO Underworld is largely set up like the world above, in some strange ways. it has 5 mayors, each who rule over a number of domains and their surrounding area. Each mayor rules over their own area and they avoid all out wars as often as possible, mostly because it weakens the regions to attacks from their neighbours. The individual domain lords - who control a specific area of the underworld roughly near a subway station, though often deeper underground - are under no such constraints and domain wars happen between lands ruled by one mayor or inter-mayoral regions often enough.
Domains are listed under a very basic classification system. A Freehold is one open to all travellers, a fastness is one closed to them. a Fastness/Freehold is one that is a bit of both, but more free than closed etc. A domain labelled with Open or Closed means it is that way due to orders of the regions Mayor, not necessarily due to the Domain Lords choice.
Region: Sherbourne (48) to Woodbine (56)"The Eastern Track"
General Status: Freehold/Fastness
"Violence is never the answer, neighbour. Sometimes, perhaps, it is the only solution to a problem but like all solutions it merely creates new problems. I recommend you put that knife away and think before you act so that you can speak according to your actions."
- Andy Lingos, to an unfortunate Bravo who tried to knife him.
Andy is an enigma to the other mayors. A kind, helpful person, he has somehow risen up from a domain lord to a mayor in 3 years. The fate of his successor is still a mystery, but some claim that the homeless tagger known as Seeker Amy abdicated in favour of Andy or lost in a poker game. Regardless, she hasn't been sighted conclusively in the three years since Andy gained her position. Other than that, he is a very fair and surprisingly honest ruler, making his permanent home beneath Castle Frank, which has become an unofficial Mendicant guild hall. There are a surprising number of Feral in his region.
Defining Traits: Intuitive, Friendly, Commanding
Secondary Skills: Animal Handling, Cooking, Lore
Magic: Red Rover, Sleep Visor, Protective Chalk, Abracadabra
Region: Downswiew (15) to Dupont (22) "The Badlands"
General Status: Open Freehold
"If you ask me "why can't we all get along?" one more time, brother, I am going to have to do something permanent to your face. If you're unlucky, you might survive it."
- Jefferson Mathews
Jeff, as he calls himself, is a dark skinned homeless man with a murky past and a willingness to do whatever it takes to get something done. His domains are famous for their Freak bravo guards, hence their name of the badlands. Some hint that the Factory might even be in his domain, but there is no proof. He is very big on trade and tries to remain at peace with the other mayors, but has very little to do with the Queen of the North. He is known to be rather smart and seldom a fool. He also kills people who disagree with him without pausing, which helps a lot.
Defining Traits: Perceptive, Cunning, Fierce
Secondary Skills: Carousing, Criminal, Trivia
Weapons: Shotgun (Damage: 5, Range: Distance), Knife (Damage:2; Range: Immediate)
Region: Kipling (1) to Bathhurst (14) “The Western Track”
General Status: Fastness/Freehold
“Some feller once said that it is better to be feared than loved. He got it about half right, like most up worlders. Fear is part of love and fear can lead to love. I love it when people are afraid of me.”
- “Mad” John the Baptist
Mad John is a delusion Artificer who wears a shirt of camel hair, lives on nuts and berries and is convinced he is John the Baptist reborn. No one is sure where his home is - some say it moves around on its own - but no thief has ever been able to leave it alive and only the best manage to enter it at all. Mad John calls his home the “Judgement Seat” which proves to some that he does have a sense of humour, at least. The waters in his region are astonishingly clean and other artificers speak of him in tones of dread and awe. Some claim he is the head of their guild, others that he is outcast and still others that he is too brilliant for the guild to be able to outcast. Regardless of the truth, the domain lords pledged to him tend to be very insular and respectful of their mayor.
Defining Traits: Clever, Driven, Blessed
Secondary Skill: Concealment, Invention, Trivia
Salvage Tech: Classified
Weapons: Pistol (3)
Region: Museum (25) to St. Andrew (29) & King (31) to Wellesley (35) “The Harbourlands”
General Status: Freehold
“People claim to be sad that I don’t know who I am. They forget that death is the greatest forgetting of all. Until I remind them.”
- Mistress Quick
Ruling the most contested area of the Toronto underworld is a big chore. Being really hard to kill helps a lot. Being ruthless helps even more. Having a whole death squad of like-minded people working for you, well, its just the icing on the cake, really. The woman known as Mistress Quick is fast, ruthless and gets whatever needs to be done, done. She generally leaves a lot of bodies behind. The other mayors consider it a blessing that her area is in constant turmoil, or they would have had to gang up on her long ago. The odds are even that Mistress Quick would make it out alive of such a confrontation.
Defining Traits: Commanding. Veteran, Fast
Secondary Skill: Stealthy, Tracking
Magic: Bluebeard’s Key, Colors, LifeStone
Weapons: Sword (3)
The Queen Of The North
Region: Finch (47) to St. Clair (40) “The Winterlands”
General Status: Fastness
“I have heard people say that cold is a state of mind. I find that fascinating. If it is, then what is that false warmth in fingers and toes before they fall off? If cold is a state of mind, what is hypothermia? Please, allow me to demonstrate my point.”
- The Queen of the North
The Queen is infamous as one of the oldest Legendaries in the underworld. She is also one of the most feared and some say when the famous ice storm struck the city in recent times, it was her storm, and that she was seen Up Above at that time. Others claim that is just a load of propaganda, but not to the cold-eyed bravos and taggers who work for her, the sort of people who can say hi to you and kill you in the same breath. The Queen is likely the most powerful of the 5 mayors but has never been seen out of her territory, and some say whatever magic lies in Summerhill is responsible for that. Everyone else is just really, really glad.
The Queen of the North
Defining Traits: Strong Willed, Agile, Cunning
Secondary Skills: Fighting, Negotiation, Observation
Magic: None Known
Special Abilities: Look, Mommy, It’s Snowing! (major) - The Queen can cause it to snow wherever she wants, as cold as she wants, and even affect just one person with cold.
Cold Hearts (minor) - The Queen seems able to make those who serve her into emotionless people. What else she is capable of is not known.
Weapons: Heart of the North - A sword made of ice, this personal relic does 4 damage (range: personal, 1 coin to resist damage, 3 coins if the damage is fire)
The area from Main Street (57) to McCowan (65) is so far mayorless with none of the Domain Lords powerful enough to become a mayor.
Domains are various locations in the Toronto Underworld, some near or below subways stations and others within the downtown underground walkway system from St. Patrick (27) across to Dundas (33) and south a bit further south than Union Station (30). If a domain comes under the rule (even nominal) of a mayor, that will be listed.
Castle Frank (49) - The Eastern Track -
The area known as castle frank isn’t truly a castle, but the closed down old sewers that compromise this domain are drafty enough that one would think so. As the centre of Andy Lingos’ mayorship, it serves as a place of healing for the wounded and rest for the weary. Andy himself often deals with complaints and issues from the other domains in his region, sending out guild members and healers to deal with situations before they become grotesquely unstable.
Rosedale (38) - Non aligned -
Dwelling close to the magic of Summerhill, the sewers of Rosedale are said to hold doors to other places and wisdom for the fools who seek it. Some say that a Wishing Well is located here, but this has never been proven. What is known is that many so-called witches and wizards come here often and that, unless one wishes to go to Summerhill, it is largely avoided by most. In the UnderWorld, the stories you don't heed are often the ones that kill you.
Summerhill (39) - Non aligned -
Generally considered a Fastness, the Gates of Summerhill - wrought from moonbeams and true love, according to some - open about once every decade. Even in the UnderWorld, this place where summer never dies and magic flows like water has become a place of wonder and awe. The Opening of the gates happens rarely, but many charms and magics get traded then and the UnderWorld, for a brief, tantalising moment, gets a glimpse into what the land of Fairy might have been many centuries ago. Exactly how Summerhill maintains this level of Radiance isn't unknown but stories speak of dark rites and such, generally fabricated by those jealous of this magic. The fact that the last time Summerhill opened - January 20th, 1994 - was the day of the (in)famous Toronto Blessing is a source of concern to many.
Woodbine (56) - The Eastern Track -
Home of the largest - Ok, the only - joint feral and moleperson community, the trees of woodbine have long been nurtured by the mole people. Radiance flows through them, allowing this underground forest to bloom without the light of a sun. The mole people keep it up because the believe the Radiance made this wood for a reason. Unlike other domains, it has no set ruler and the mole people and ferals just guard and nurture it more than anything else. Travellers coming across this massive cavern are often suitably awed and the inhabitants make a good living trading away acorns and twigs and other things not common Down Below.
Locales are places that are often hard to find or move around alot. Their actual locations are shrouded in legend - some literally, if Legendaries have died there - or rumour.
The Blessed Room
The blessing rooms are places created by the Toronto Blessing. People who enter one tend to speak in tongues from time to time, but on the whole the rooms provide a feeling of peace and healing. The location of such rooms is a closely guarded secret and they can be destroyed by violence done within their borders. Some of them are said to prohibit violence within them if the faithful are inside them. The trick would be finding out what faith the room is sacred to.
Said to be a metaphor for closets everywhere, and secrets in general, this small, well, closet, contains every hidden, dirty secret ever. However, to get one out one has to put one of their own into it of equal or greater value (Cunductor's discretion). The location of the closet is obviously a big secret, however it's not one the closet considers admissible to get a secret with.
The (Dark) Closet
Said to be a metaphor for closets everywhere, and the fears of children in general, this small, well, closet contains the "monster in the closet" personified. it is quite likely unkillable and few adults can see it at all. If it ever allied with Fear Bugs, it could cause an underworld epidemic of fear. The location of the dark closet is unknown.
A rumour in the underworld, The Factory is said to be a dark, magical factory where freaks are born and made. There are stories of collaboration with governments from Up Above or of mayors looking the other way regarding freak kidnappings and deaths. (The latter, obviously, never to any mayors face.) Some freaks have strange, disjointed memories of their pasts they never can recall and others claim some nomads are some freaks turned normal, or a result of a Factory experiment from a long time ago due to their lack of memories.
Feral legends speak of a place deep within the sewers where the water is quiet and the animals flushed down toilets - the unwanted and those cast out from the Up Above - find themselves, if they are lucky. This place is said to be guarded by four magical turtles, either normal turtles touched by the Radiance or the legendary protectors to turtles everywhere. They were taught the ways of the UnderWorld by a freak who looks like a rat and calls himself Splinter. The names of these four turtles should be obvious to players and those among the homeless who know of UpWorld Television shows scoff at this foolish legends. The older denizens of the UnderWorld are less sceptical.
The Wishing Well
The wishing well is an underworld myth borne of the old power associated with wells and the radiance that comes from the holes dug into the earth. (The oil boom with black gold probably cemented the magic of wells.) There is said to be two wells, whose locations change from siting to siting. Some claim they are called by need, or only found when they are not sought. One of the wells gives users what they want, the other what they need. Which one is good and which evil is a matter for philosophers and poets. Other legends claim that the bigger the sacrifice thrown in, the bigger the wish the wells can grant.
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