The location of Delta City has never firmly been established. I can only speculate that Mister X thinks a little mystery adds to the allure, much like Marvel keeping Wolverine’s background mysterious for decades. I did some investigation of my own, based on the stories that had been published thus far and simply emailed Mister X asking about the location. While he didn’t give a specific location, he did say he had always envisioned it somewhere along the Southeastern Coast.
I chose the Witchfire stories’ Delta City based on that information, and taking a few other considerations into account. What ended up as the ideal location for me was the location of the “Champions” RPG city of Vibora Bay. Besides the 5th edition rules set, this city is also used in the Champions Online MMORPG.
I’m only using the location of Vibora Bay, not copying the entire Champions game city. Why is the location ideal in my opinion? First, it’s close to Panama City Beach. College spring break part central. There’s a “creepy” swamp behind it, and the beach in front. In the real world, there are two military bases nearby, which could explain why General Wade and later Brenda chose the location to live. It’s also reasonably close enough to New Orleans to add a dash of that Voodoo and Zydaco music flavor from Nola without jacking the city. Let’s not forget that correctional facility Northeast of Panama City on the map as well.
Overall, it’s a perfect spot with varied terrain and cultural influences to make it great for storytelling.
The Only thing I can’t account for is the occasional appearance of snow in Delta City, but hey, we can chalk that up to strange magicks in and around the city, right? 😉
Delta City has had several stories set there, but no actual map. I don’t have one yet either, so I’m going to speak of different sections or neighborhoods of the city and leave it at that for the moment.
THE DOCKS: Most likely the northern half of the bay shaped crescent. This area is your standard mid to large sized fictional city area with docks for everything from freighters to gulf fishing boats & charters. Warehouses, the infamous fiction story dockside bars, some low rent motels for sailors in port, a seafood market, and a few ‘hidden jewel’ restaurants are likely to be in the area as well.
THE BOARDWALK: The further East one went along the coast of the city, the area would morph into touristy beaches hoping to compete with Panama City Beach, and wealthy housing developments with private beaches. There’s a beach boardwalk in the area similar to the one in Santa Cruz California or Atlantic City New Jersey
SOUTH TOWN: Beyond (the other side of highway 98 of) the expensive houses near the beach, there’s the middle class neighborhood of South Town. Stereotypical of any suburban ‘bedroom’ community with single family homes strip malls with shopping and restaurants, etc..
DOWNTOWN: Moving towards the West from South Town, there’s the Downtown district. In keeping with the trend of many cities nowadays, all the city offices are downtown, along with any state and federal offices, the DCPD headquarters and jail, along with a minor league ballpark and office buildings for companies such as Wade Industries. The city’s aquarium sits on the border of the boardwalk neighborhood and downtown.
CHINATOWN: West of downtown is the Chinatown district. The name is a misnomer however, as the Asian community there now has a vibrant mix of Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese residents and a small percentage of Japanese as well. Many of the residents are recent immigrants working the fishing fleets. The rest are everything from tech entrepreneurs to restaurateurs and shop keepers.
Much like San Francisco’s Chinatown, the central street is very touristy. That central street has a large “Japanese Garden” running down the center with one way traffic on each side. The park has a “Dragon Gate” on it’s Eastern entrance similar to San Francisco’s Chinatown
It also has a Buddhist temple across the street from the gate. On the opposite (West) end, there’s a Taoist temple across the street from the park entrance. The Asian American cultural center is half way along the north side of the street. After a block away from the main street, Chinatown quickly loses it’s touristy flavor, with the locals being less trusting of outsiders.
Wae Tu Phat and his triad operate out of Chinatown. They control the drug trade coming in and out of the port as well as running extortion and protection rackets withing the community. They also control some of the human trafficking in Delta City; smuggling workers in from Asia and sex trafficking women out of the country also.
THE AIRPORT AREA: West of Chinatown, and running to the city limits, is the Airport district. Aside from it’s mid sized commuter airport, the zone harbors some warehouses, industrial businesses and a smattering of new high tech companies that have moved into the area.
OLD QUARTER / RED LIGHT DISTRICT & “THE SWAMP”: West of South Town and North of highway 98 is The Old Quarter. Elegant 17th century mansions dot the area, along with restaurants and parks. Delta City was originally established by sugar cane and rice plantations, with the marshy soil in the area being ideal, thus the old quarter didn’t end up near the beach.
Near the West end of the Old Quarter is the ‘Red Light District’. Really just a single street, it’s where the city’s most upscale brothels operate within the luxurious mansions along the street.
After the red light ‘district’, the Old Quarter gives way within a 5 blocks to increasingly run down housing where many of Delta City’s poorest live. The neighborhood is called ‘The Swamp’ by cynical residents who live there due to the minimal city services in the area. The residents say they’d be just as well off living in the actual swamp outside the city.
Nightmare Manor stands near the border between the red light district and the swamp, and is a well known landmark that serves as a warning for locals not to proceed any further West. Likewise, Hexanna’s book store stands in the Southeast section of the neighborhood, on the border with Downtown and close to South Town.
The History of Delta City:
Delta City was originally founded in the mid 1700s as a slave plantation community. Frequent random misfortunes and stories of hauntings and other supernatural events kept it from growing like other cities it’s age. One event in particular marred the early town’s reputation. In 1821, a slave revolt led by a voodoo priestess resulted in the death of some plantation owners and overseers before the rebellion was put down in a particularly brutal manner. Stories say the priestess was captured alive and repeated raped before dying. She also is said to have cursed the families of the plantation owners and the land with her dying breath.
The exact truth is lost to history but few can argue that Delta City has seen more than it’s share of misfortune and strange, unexplained phenomenon. Spiritualists claim that multiple ley lines intersect in Delta City and that the nexus is a gateway to all manner of dark realms.
Delta City really didn’t begin to grow until the 1980s. At that point, fishing fleets moved into the area along with a few corporations looking for small land prices and large tax breaks. Freighter shipping and tourism soon followed. The tourism capitalized on ghost stories, tropical beaches and fresh seafood dining.
In order to compete with Panama City Beach for crowds, Delta City has declared all beaches not on top of the boardwalk to be topless, and a couple of beaches permit full nudity. Likewise, prostitution, while illegal in Florida, has a blind eye turned by city officials, and tacit approval in most cases, especially if the right wheels are greased.
Delta City’s Current Demographics:
Delta City has a very diverse population, owing to it’s location. White people are the largest group, making up perhaps 40% of the city’s population. Blacks, Creole French, Asians, and Latin Americans also make up sizeable portions of the city’s population, with the city only having a small representation of Native Americans and East Indians.
Aside from English, French Creole and Latin Spanish are commonly spoken around Delta City. The residents of the Chinatown district speak a wide array of Asian dialects as well, depending upon the individual in question and the specific block of the neighborhood.
Business in Delta City is also fairly diversified. While the primary drivers of the economy are tourism, fishing and shipping, corporations like Wade Enterprises also provide a large boost to the economy.
Transportation In and Around Delta City
Delta City has two major freeways cutting through it. State Route 30 runs along the coast and is heavily traveled by tourists. Interstate 98 runs through downtown Delta City and is the main traffic artery in the city. Delta City has twin railroad lines running through it as well, carrying freight cargo in and out of the city.
Delta City has a reasonably decent bus network for public transportation, as well as a trolley car line that runs from the Old Quarter through Downtown and has recently been expanded to run to the beach boardwalk area.
At one point, there were plans for a subway system, but the ground was found to be too soft to make the project viable. Reinforcement costs for the tunnels made it prohibitive.
Delta City has a modern commuter sized airport on it’s west end. The airport is capable of handling private single engine propeller driven planes on up to smaller commercial jet airliners and commuter aircraft. Flight paths to the East are limited due to Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City Beach
Corruption in Delta City:
Delta City has a long history of graft and corruption. To this day, the city government and a large portion of the police force all are dirty. Police support of metahumans is minimal and likely to waver on a whim. City officials are even less likely to be supportive of metahuman or other vigilante activity.
Wae Tu Phat’s gang in Chinatown controls the a large portion of the docks, and along with it, the drug trade from Asia along with smuggling immigrants for work visas or prostitution and exporting of locals as sex slaves.
Pimps and prostitution abound in Delta City, with a fairly large portion outside of Wae Tu Phat’s turf controlled by Adonis gene carrying pimps who use their abilities to control, manipulate or abuse their stables into service. Pickpocketing, muggings, car theft and sometimes worse are also not uncommon in Delta City, especially after dark.
With larger ports to the East and West getting more attention by law enforcement, Delta City has also become a hotbed of other types of smuggling. Drugs, guns, and all other manner of contraband come and go discreetly from Delta City’s port.
Magic in Delta City
Delta City’s position at the nexus of multiple ley lines makes it a hotbed of supernatural activity. The voodoo curse only made matters worse. More than one occult expert has expressed a belief that the dark energies infecting the city are responsible for the populace’s indifference towards crime and lewd behavior. Attempts to rebalance the city’s spiritual energy have met with no luck.
It’s rumored by a select few that the Dragon Gate and various features of the gardens in Chinatown act as a limited seal, preventing the barriers between Delta City and the lower realms from breaking down completely.
Nightmare Manor actually rests directly on the nexus point. It was originally constructed by a family with deep ties to dark elements of the occult community, and it’s rumored they carried out all manner of gruesome rituals there. Everything from sex magic orgies to human sacrifice. Being the focal point of so much negative energy accounts for why all attempts to demolish or renovate the Manor have met with complete failure. Renovation crews are mysteriously driven insane and demolition attempts, even when successful, only see the Manor standing once again the next day.