Feints & Gambits
Dublin is in a bit of a slump right now. The economic boom has faded, leading in to one of the nastiest financial recessions in Ireland’s history. The land developers who got rich in the last decade are feeling a real crunch, and the politicians they kept fat for years are starting to find out what it’s like to live on their salaries. That hasn’t slowed the corruption, though; it’s just lowered the price, and let a lot of new players in to the game.
The middle class of Dublin is actually doing a little better, overall, than the upper class. The prosperity that buoyed them up over the past few years has produced infrastructure, tourism, and cultural vitality that insulates them from the worst of the financial downturn. The poor, however, are suffering – as they always do. Organized crime is on the rise, and the mobs have the Gardaí in their pockets.
Politically, Sinn Fein is still being tarred with the same brush as the leftover splinter IRA groups and Unionist agitators. The open warfare in the streets is mostly gone, but there are still incidents, outcries, protests, and some unrest. The Good Friday Agreement is starting to wear thin.
The main supernatural players in Ireland are the Summer and Winter Courts of the fey. In many ways, Ireland is the mortal realm closest to their hearts, and they have used its lands, cities, and people in their games, competitions, and wars for centuries. In Dublin, they have catspaws and servants in all levels of crime and politics, meddling with things in their lengthy, convoluted contest against each other.
Balancing them since the dark ages is the Catholic Church, and their secret society of guardians, the Malleus Maleficarum. While few in number, and lacking real supernatural firepower, they have extensive records in the Vatican vaults, giving them access to much dangerous information about their paranormal foes. The mandate of the Malleus is to protect mortals from supernatural threats, but the local branch has been known to undertake preemptive protection, if they feel the need is there.
Mirroring the Malleus in many ways, the Venatori Umbrorum has a few safe-houses and operatives scattered through Dublin, in a loose network, plugged into the underworld gossip. This network primarily provides information and communications with the rest of the VU, but they can get their hands on some interesting materiel from time to time.
Into this fairly stable balance comes a new threat. Supernatural creatures tagging along with the immigrants from Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia are looking to carve themselves a place in this land. Led by Baba Yaga, the fearsome witch of Russian legends, these creatures – and their mortal representatives – have insinuated themselves into the city. They carry on a bitter, ruthless battle from beneath the Dublin streets, trying to win territory, respect, and wealth.