Oakland Mystical Nexus
The Oakland Mystical Nexus (locally known as "The Swirl" and "The OMN") is the name given to the fact that the City of Oakland, CA is the center of very powerful, somewhat chaotic, fast-moving currents of magic.
While the area encompassing the current city of Oakland has always been a part of the greater Bay Area mystical environment, events in the early 20th Century led to a permanent perturbation of the magical currents, as well as an increase in the speed with which they flow.
Their chaotic and shifting nature has caused the magicians of the city to adopt as a general practice a "Don't Roll Your Own" policy within the city's borders. Because of fear that non-standard magical practices that go wrong within so powerful and suddenly shifting an environment could quickly lead to catastrophic results and massive collateral damage, any magical practices that rise above minor cantrips and charms/fetishes in power and focus must be well controlled and come from an established tradition, or they risk the attention of The Shield.
The two major events that shaped the OMN were the dispelling of the last of the Ghost Monkeys in late 1905, and the erection of the The Black Stones at the corner of Broadway and 14th in 1907. These two events are, together, considered to be the two "straws that broke the camel's back" and tipped the local manasphere into instability.
Dispelling of the Ghost Monkeys
- Main article: Ghost Monkeys of Oakland
For the last two centuries, the ghosts of primates from all over the world, both captive and wild, were drawn to the City of Oakland, CA because of the presence of so many graftopi. It was the Ghost Monkeys that kept the graftopi from getting out of control by keeping their forays out of the local waterways and streams to a short duration, before being scared back to the water by the ghostly monkey howls.
Due to the spread of ghost knives among the general population out from their beginnings in Chinatown, ghostly dispellings became more and more indiscriminate, with what many considered to be an appalling rate of lemuricide. By the mid 1950s, the last of the Ghost Monkeys had been dispelled and no more came to replace them. This led not only to a massive increase in graftopus incursions, but also to the unofficial laws governing the length of ghost knives within the city limits.
The Black Stones
- Main article: The Black Stones (Oakland)
The Black Stones are a pair of abstract sculptures made of roughly rectangular grey-black pillars set at angles to each other. Erected in 1907, they are a major factor in the perturbation of the local manasphere. They are believed by many to house the spirits of incredibly powerful, ancient beings of a distinctly alien nature. Whether they are purposefully causing the disturbances or not is unknown. Whether or not they are even sentient is a subject of heated debate.
The OMN is roughly centered in the downtown Oakland area. However, due to the unpredictable nature of the energies involved, the exact boundaries ebb and flow, and pockets of varying levels of stability or instability may occur throughout the area. The hills seem to provide a natural barrier to the east, and the bay does the same to the west. The effect gradually diminishes to the south, frequently washing past the Coliseum but rarely much farther. To the north, the Wall of Eville, constructed in the mid-90s, effectively separates the OMN from the more stable natural energies to the north.
The Shield is an impartial entity whose job it is to protect the city from magical energies gotten out of control. It is centered on the large shield emblem above the main entrance to the Oakland Police Department's downtown precinct.
Its job is not to enforce good or evil, but to make sure that those doing magic of any sort within the city do it carefully and in a controlled manner. This has led to some criticism of The Shield in that demonologists and other black magic practitioners have the same access to the OMN's extreme mana currents so long as they keep it controlled with well established rituals.
Magicians who engage in uncontrolled, on-the-fly magic will bring themselves to the attention of The Shield, which will then use its authority and power to nudge the magician out of their equilibrium and bring their magic to a screeching halt. While this practice has kept the city safe, it has also led to the deaths of more than a few magicians deemed by The Shield to be a threat to the city's magical stability.
Chabot Hawking Cannon Controversy
There are rumors that part of the equipment at the Chabot Observatory in the hills above Oakland are home to a secret Hawking Cannon disguised as a telescope. It is believed to be comparatively small and based on an early, prototype design. Critics assert that the design is faulty, significantly less refined than the Canadian version, and its being fired in 1989 was the cause of the Loma Prieta earthquake that shook the Bay Area that year.
Supporters of the cannon counter that while the Canadians did eventually refine the design, that it is a necessary evil due to the threat of strange alien beings from the depths of space attracted to the unusual mystical energy patterns of the OMN. Some believe that the 1989 firing of the Cannon was to repel one such entity. They assert that it would be too costly and time consuming to replace or upgrade the cannon at this time, and would leave the City too undefended against extra-terrestrial mystical incursion.
Supporters of the cannon are often accused of being werenadians due to the national origins of the Hawking Cannon design.
Officials at the observatory deny that there is a Hawking Cannon on the premises at all, much less one disguised as a telescope.
The Airport Fog
- Main Entry: Bavarian Carnivorous Fog
Oakland International Airport and it's immediate vicinity has seen activity that some have interpreted as Bavarian Carnivorous Fog. Small animal skeletons, including slash-ferals, razorgeese, and various normal birds and rodents have convinced many that it is an authentic "German Fog". It should be noted that in Germany, bavarian carnivorous fog rarely affects animals that large. This may be an effect of the OMN.
It is speculated that the was somehow brought to the area to combat the local graftopus problem. But as graftopi have no skeletons, there is little evidence to saw one way or another. While Graftopus beaks would presumably be left behind after a fog incident, their value as collectors items and for use in various folk remedies could imply that locals are scouring the area picking them.
Alternately, it is argued the graftopi don't like the sound of the jets and so aren't going by the airport in the first place, as close to the water as it is. If this is the case, then the Airport Fog is not a response to the graftopi, but a manifestation of The Weirdness in and of itself.
Dueling in Oakland
- Main Article: Oakland Dueling Laws
Due to a quirk in the California State Constitution and serious political graft in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, specific types of dueling in order to settle points of honor remains legal within the city limits of Oakland, CA. The types of dueling allowed are:
- Claymores (Two-handed, basket-hilt, and ladies)
- "Squid Guns" (sawn-off double-barreled shotguns firing shells filled with salt)
- Riding Crops (Ladies only)
In an effort to contain and channel the public's appetite for engaging in and watching duels, the City Council established the City Dueling Commission in 1962, which immediately ruled that all public duels must be settled every July at the annual Oakland Scottish Highland Games and Dueling Festival.
The fact that neither the City nor the State have been able to repeal these archaic laws is considered to be a manifestation of The Weirdness.
Oaklanders of Note
- Arthur Hicks, current Oakland Municipal Champion
- Avram Hornbeam
- The Elevated Knights of the Order of St. Orlas
- Helena Tetropolis
- Nathanial Wilberforce Sherman
- The Lady and The Monkey
- Paul 'Gladiator' Thorpe
- Pontius Tacklethorpe
- The United Norswedish All-Thingy of Oakland, CA
Oakland Places of Note
- Chabot Observatory Trans-Dimensional Alien Threat Management Center
- Gorm the Old and Sleepy Memorial Norswedish Community Center of Oakland, CA
- Greater Oakland Museum of Technology and Mysticality, final resting place of Benjamin Dover, inventor of the Freezerwave.
- Jack London Square
- Sherman Ranch Park
- St. Orlas Hall