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Necropolis: U.S. Route 66

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  • Necropolis: U.S. Route 66

    I was poking around the labyrinth of my files the other day and realized I had a few necropoli that I'd never used for anything. I figured the Halloween season would be an appropriate time to share them with the three of you who still read this forum.

    Enjoy.

    - C.


    U.S. Route 66

    In its heyday, Route 66 was a peerless transportation artery, running from Chicago to Santa Monica. Threaded through Joplin, Tulsa, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles, it showed American motorists a vibrant cross-section of the Midwest and Southwest until the interstate highway system supplanted it in the 1950s and '60s. Without federal maintenance funds, Route 66 withered, subsumed by state roads or vanishing entirely.

    In the Underworld, derelict highways may resurface as byways or ghost roads. Not so for Route 66. Sometime in the early 1970s, its entire 2,448 miles manifested in the Shadowlands. Wraiths in Riverton, Kansas were the first to report that even as Maelstrom tornadoes ravaged the surrounding region, the highway was untouched. In mid-1976, an Anemographer/Ghostrider expedition out of California met a band of Legion of Paupers explorers from Illinois at the highway's Adrian, Texas midpoint. The Empire's Bureau of Trade soon proclaimed that Route 66 appeared to be a safe and stable route through the American Underworld.

    What troubled early explorers remains a concern today: Route 66 defies all conventional wisdom on Shadowlands geography. Although plenty of blood soaked into its asphalt, it never approached the body count of deadlier highways like Interstate 95 or Camino a Los Yungas. The Artificers and the Harbingers would like to claim credit, but there's no evidence that Route 66 is a cultivated byway or an unprecedented working of Inhabit. The popular and comforting theory is that its modern status is a result of its cultural iconicity, a rare example of a non-living construct accruing Memoriam. A less benevolent explanation is that popular culture has imbued Route 66 with a myth-driven form of quasi-sentience. No one wants to hear the fringe belief that the "highway" is really a charmingly useful and friendly-faced manifestation of some Labyrinthine elder horror.

    Route 66 earned recognition as a Necropolis, albeit a very long and narrow one, by virtue of its permanent population. In most places, its protection from Maelstroms extends five to ten yards from the asphalt. This so-called Black Ribbon Citadel is home to perhaps a thousand wraiths, many of whom form small Circles to offer travelers' services. Most such groups have colonized the ghost towns that crumbled along the route after the interstates diverted travel and commerce. Other citizens include the Night Mail (ghost truckers and bus drivers who serve connected conventional Necropoli), Wings for Wheels (a Chanteur troupe famous for its repertoire of travel-themed songs), and Detroit West (a large nomadic Circle immersed obsessively in the imagery and culture around classic muscle cars and drag racing).

    The Hierarchy's hand rests lightly upon Route 66. The Legion of Paupers first re-mapped the highway's full length and was quick to lay claim to authority here, but its duties are largely ceremonial. The ghost road needs no maintenance; indeed, it rejects all attempts to patch its cracks and potholes. With the population so widely-distributed, there's little call for bureaucracy. Under the command of Anacreon Robert "Pony Bob" Haslam, the Legion's 7th Cavalry Squadron provides what law enforcement is needed here. The 7th, more commonly known as the Black Ribbon Patrol, spends most of its time assisting travelers and investigating the occasional mysterious disappearance or reappearance.




    Clayton A. Oliver | Formerly Ubiquitous

    When the half-light starts to rise/And the long gone come back again
    After the shortcuts and the highs/Comes the pain
    And the rain

  • #2
    I find this one especially nifty. Not least of which because I've long lamented that there was never a book about trade, travel and transportation throughout the underworld, dealing with the old Roman Roads, the relic railroads, teamsters, explorers, and the like (Lost Highways or some such).


    What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
    Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

    Comment


    • #3
      Of the four, this is the one I most expected to garner criticism for violating established metaphysics. But I didn't care because it was also the most fun to write, and I think it could easily be an entire campaign setting unto itself.

      - C.


      Clayton A. Oliver | Formerly Ubiquitous

      When the half-light starts to rise/And the long gone come back again
      After the shortcuts and the highs/Comes the pain
      And the rain

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Tegyrius View Post
        Of the four, this is the one I most expected to garner criticism for violating established metaphysics. But I didn't care because it was also the most fun to write, and I think it could easily be an entire campaign setting unto itself.

        - C.
        Well, if you want to get pendantic about it, technically the Midnight Express could qualify as a Necropolis if one wanted it to. I'm also of the opinion that there should be some sort of digital quasi-necopolis within the Underworld reflection of the internet and Digital Web (the Dark Web?), because I'm weird that way. More things on heaven and earth and all that.

        And yes,this would make a cool campaign, especially if it involved relic cars from the 50s and 60s.


        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
          I'm also of the opinion that there should be some sort of digital quasi-necopolis within the Underworld reflection of the internet and Digital Web (the Dark Web?), because I'm weird that way. More things on heaven and earth and all that.
          I'm on board with this. Where do dead people's social media profiles go after idle-deletion?

          - C.


          Clayton A. Oliver | Formerly Ubiquitous

          When the half-light starts to rise/And the long gone come back again
          After the shortcuts and the highs/Comes the pain
          And the rain

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Tegyrius View Post

            I'm on board with this. Where do dead people's social media profiles go after idle-deletion?

            - C.
            That, all those lost websites in the Wayback Machine, all the forgotten search engines, the dead mailing lists ard newsgroups, and artifacts like AOL or Prodigy.


            What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
            Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

            Comment


            • #7
              I have an alt.games.white-wolf slush file post around here somewhere. Is that good for a fractional dot of Memoriam?

              - C.


              Clayton A. Oliver | Formerly Ubiquitous

              When the half-light starts to rise/And the long gone come back again
              After the shortcuts and the highs/Comes the pain
              And the rain

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Tegyrius View Post
                I have an alt.games.white-wolf slush file post around here somewhere. Is that good for a fractional dot of Memoriam?

                - C.
                Probably better than my shrine to forgotten WWGS Developer Ichabod Schlitzpickle.

                Still trying to find someone to make me custom Axl Blood & Friends action figures.


                What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thank you very much.

                  Comment

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