San Francisco is a setting for use in any first through revised edition World of Darkness game. It is NOT canon, though it borrows freely from canon elements. Wherever possible, inter-supernatural issues or conflicts have been either downplayed or ignored completely. There are a few major themes to outline in order to give you a good idea of what this setting is like and how it behaves.
* While supernatural beings are far more common, powerful supernatural things are incredibly rare -- No really. This can't be stressed enough. In most of these games and story cycles, there are a grand total of about 5 characters that have phenomenal supernatural power. This is out of a cast of some five dozen major, minor and supporting characters. Furthermore, these characters are almost never meant to be the subjects or stars of storylines. They are basically Deus Ex Machina with an attitude. It's also worth noting that supernatural beings are not the one in a million thing that the White Wolf books say they are here. San Francisco manages to have several supernatural beings per neighborhood.
* The wild yonder of the supernatural life is scary, but the real world is scarier -- This world works best when you try to run a game with characters that still have a decent tie to the waking world. The characters in it are well. . . a lot like normal people. You don't have to be hunting the killer of your amnesiac half-demon brother to be interesting, after all.
* There's a real police force in town, and it's called the Technocracy -- This idea may chafe at many of the people out there that don't play a lot of mage. First, it's important to remember that this setting was originally created for a Mage campaign. More than that, however, this is to set down the idea of supernaturals as a society rather than as some wild, naked force. If the characters of an SF chronicle get way out of line the Technocracy shows up. Treat them exactly like the Police. They are here to do a job. They are here to be the no-fun responsible ones, because no one else will be. Act like a punk and get hassled by The Man. Stay a basically decent citizen and you barely notice they're there.
* Above all else, everyone is a person -- You are not your adept level sphere. You are not your Auspex 5. You are not your fucking Athro rank. We are engaging and full of life because we are real people with personalities. Most supers in this game have been incredibly humanized. This is why many of the darker splats are under-represented.
* There is no World of Darkness -- Worlds don't have have keywords. Worlds don't favor dark or light or good or bad or anything else. The World is all that is and ever shall be. Any world as imbalanced, haphazard and poorly conceived as the World of Darkness would have collapsed under its own weight millenia before the 20th/21st century cusp when this setting is based.
* This is a game and it is also a story made for having fun -- Relax. Have fun with this stuff and with your playing style. All of this is now “Freeware.” I wouldn't have put it up here if this weren't true. I refused to be bound by cannon and created a unique setting. Take what you like, like what you take. For all my talk of simplicity and humanism, the characters here are still larger than life and have a habit of just springing to the forefront of any scene they're in. Hold on to 'em tight.
Enclosed here is all that makes the San Francisco Setting what it is. The people, the places, the meta-story arcs. . . everything! The setting is for use anytime from 1996 to the present day. Some aspects of the White Wolf cannon world plot are here but there is no dramatic apocalypse or end times scenario.
The first section will attempt to familiarize you with the city itself by way of articles on real life San Francisco and on the game environment. Afterward, this site is separated by major time periods/story arcs. The specific years of the arcs are not given in order to let the stories be run anytime after 1996. Earlier than that would require actual time period research and/or storyline re-tooling and who wants to do that?
The amount of time each meta-plot arc takes is given under the title. Each arc runs directly after the last. These story arcs more or less define the collective zeitgeist of the city and its supernatural residents at the time. Games may follow the central story directly or simply happen in parallel or tangent. The world is a big place.
The Basics -- Things you might like to know about the setting in general
How this All Began -- A little history on how I came to write up this setting
Life on the Bay -- An essay on being there.
Great Places -- Real locations in the bay area and thoughts on them.
Legends of the City -- The most important or well liked of the SF NPCs reside here. Full write-ups on who these men and women are and where they've been.
Supernatural Society -- The way they live in this city.
The Mandatory Links Page -- 'nuff said.
The First Age -- “All that Glitters. . ."
(about 1 year)
It is here in the gentle mania of a changeling story that the bulk of the setting is introduced. Here we meet some of San Francisco's friendlier supernaturals and embark on a wild, ultimately lighthearted quest to find and keep a box that, at a conjunction which happens once every century, grants its bearer a single wish.
The Second Age -- “When The Saint Comes Marching In"
(about 2 years)
The story that caused the SF setting to be created. It is here that some of the widest of interactions between all the cliques and organized groups of supernaturals takes place. A man driven by hatred attempts to bring a genocidal secret war to the city. But when the group in question is one already looked down upon by most of the other supernatural beings will anyone bat an eyelash? Is racial cleansing still wrong when it's to stamp out those cursed by God? How do you stop someone from corrupting the System when you don't know the first thing about how the System works?
The Third Age -- “The End of the World"
(about 1 year)
As the events of Saint draw to their desperate conclusion, the board is set for each side to play out its assigned role. The heroes that stepped out of obscurity to save everyone quickly disappear into the woodwork as they are sought for use to gather people to greedy causes. The beleagered Technocracy grimly decides to carry on its work, having to uphold the law and bring somebody to justice for defying them. . . even though they know it was for the best. . . even though they know it was what they couldn't have done. In this darkest age of the SF chronicles the weeks are marked by persecution, vendetta, avarice, and retreat.
The Fourth Age -- “Night Shift"
(about 2 years)
The streets once pulsed with life in this city. There used to be something new hiding around every corner. There used to be others like us. This is the time of slow, sure regrowth. From the ruins of the last age, the life and pulse of happier times returns to the city. New beings waking up to their power and place in the world are arising from the sleepy corners of the city. The survivors look to them and reach out. If the old supernaturals can teach the new, then this new generation will shine brighter than any of those who came before.
Technical note: If you plan on having a “Setting Update", “Story Overview” and “Major Characters” for each age, remember that they won't be able to share the same name unless you use the “collaborations” user naming convention. You may have this covered, but I thought it'd do well to remind you. ~Dog