The Environs of GarouMUSH

Disclaimer: GarouMUSH is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events portrayed here or on the MUSH are fictitious, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. This includes references to its version of the Hanford Site, which make no attempt to represent conditions or situations prevalent at the real site.


GarouMUSH is set in and around the fictitious city of St. Claire in Washington State. St. Claire sits at a point where the Columbia River runs roughly north-south, and where US Interstate 90 crosses that river.

Originally a mining town in the mid-1800s, St. Claire has grown and evolved into a modern center of trade with roughly two million people. St. Claire has all the facilities (and problems) typical of a city that size.

The links below will take you to the relevant section:

St. Claire: Mundane information and history

Early history
Sections of St. Claire
The St. Claire Police Department (SCPD)
The 'burbs
Kent Crossing
Wolf Woods National Park (WWNP)

St. Claire: Supernatural information and history

The Caern of the Wheel (1824-1944)
The Caern of the Wheel Renewed (1993-1996)
The Ice King and the Ice King's return
Saul ben Isaac damages the caern
The Caern of the Hidden Walk (1996-present)
Consumer of Stone awakens
The Power Plant blight
Black Spiral Dancer invasion
Hilliard Memorial Hospital blight

St. Claire: Mundane Information and History

Early History

In 1847, two prospectors, Lan Gerlord and Jebediah Regan, traveling through the area on a long-term prospecting voyage, discovered a vast silver vein in the local hills. The two made a small mine, managing to avoid any trouble with the local natives.

By 1849, after a return to St. Louis, Regan and Gerlord came back to the area intent on getting rich. With them was a small group of workers and other prospectors and, as word began to get out, the town of St. Claire was officially founded by that small population.

In 1971, despite heavy campaigning, a proposal to rezone the east bank of the Columbia River between the Municipal Bridge and I-90 to allow industrial use failed. The corporation itching to get onto the land, Hernandez Industrial Steel, blitzed the local media with pro-rezoning, job-creating industry commercials. However, a coalition of local businesses and environmental groups got the measure voted down. Harbor Park is a testament to this legacy.

St. Claire, while too young to have the character of other cities such as New York, Boston or Los Angelas, is not without its big-city troubles. It has been subject to more than its fair share of mass murders, crime, corruption, and poverty.

Sections of St. Claire

St. Claire can be roughly divided into five sectors: Northeast, northwest, central, southeast, and southwest.

Northeast St. Claire is the historic district, which includes the bay and represents the heart and history of the city. A number of high-end businesses and well-established local firms make their homes here, along with newer businesses that make use of the artistic architecture or charm affiliated with things from the past. "Old Money" families tend to dwell in this area. The financial district, also in this area, is where the business powerhouses of St. Claire operate.

Northwest St. Claire is the affluent aspect of the city, where the wealthy--both "old money" and the "nouveau riche"--mingle. The westernmost portion of the city houses a large number of well-patrolled mansions and estates. Shopping areas tend to be high-class and a number of private schools are located here, providing easy access for the elite that wish to shelter their children from the ravages of the public school system.

Central St. Claire is the proverbial midtown area. Here, government services and the majority of the city businesses exercise their craft. It is also home to the burgeoning middle class of city dwellers struggling to make ends meet while living the lifestyle of credit and being only a couple months paychecks away from losing everything. An art district also struggles to survive in this area.

Southeast St. Clare used to be in better shape before the interstate highway system, in the form of I-90 and the trucking industry, ran roughshod over the local shipping industry. Dethroned from its prior status as the major means of goods transportation to St. Claire, the shipping industry has been significantly weakened and is more cut-throat--and this is reflected directly with the southeast section of the city. Wharfs and warehouses are in a poor state of affairs.

Southwest St. Claire, life southeast St. Claire, has long been in a state of economic and moral decline. This section of town is composed of old factories bordering on being closed down or condemned. What work there is is tedious and low-paying. Most of the factories, after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was enacted, promptly abandoned the area in favor of the much cheaper unskilled labor available in Mexico--leaving behind a swath of marginalized Americans. Littered with the dregs of society and intermingled with the poor, southwest St. Claire is the part of town you don't go to at night, and certainly don't go there by yourself. Everything about the area is dirty and tired.

The St. Claire Police Department (SCPD)

The St. Claire Police Department (SCPD) is most vigilent in patrolling the northern half of St. Claire, where the wealthy and affluent homeowners and businesses reside. In addition to the SCPD, private security firms are springing up in these areas. Additional security is only a matter of cost, and the wealthy are willing to pay for it.

Central St. Claire is patrolled less vigorously, but certainly not neglected. It is, after all, where most police officers and civil servants reside. And a lot of commerce takes place in this region.

Southern St. Claire is very underpatrolled, but not lawless. Calls to 911 are generally responded to, though reports of "shots fired" may have police units dispatched to the area intentionally dawdle in order to avoid a shootout with a gang or other malcontents. South St. Claire is where people go to get away with murder--in a literal sense.

Regardless of where in St. Claire a crime occurs, if a police officer is injured, the entire wrath of the SCPD will rapidly descend to deliver swift and brutal street justice. Forensics investigations for officer deaths and injuries are extremely thorough and have a much higher than average conviction rate--assuming the criminal doesn't resist arrest. On the streets, it is said that the largest, most armed, and best-funded gang in St. Claire is the SCPD.

The 'burbs

St. Claire has several suburbs, predominantly to the west of the city. The city butts right up against its natural eastern border--the Columbia river. Beyond the river to the east, the land is largely forested with the exception of Kent Crossing.

Kent Crossing

Kent Crossing, over the Columbia River, is about 10 miles away from St. Claire. As real estate boomed between 2002 and 2006, this sleepy rural town of 10,000 people has grown substantially to nearly 30,000 people as suburbs were added. Kent Crossing is becoming the "bedroom community" of St. Claire--a place where the middle class can buy a larger house and plot of land for much less than what they would pay in the city.

The Kent Crossing Police Department (KCPD) does an adequate job of patrolling the town and suburbs, but lacks the sophistication, equipment, and funding that the SCPD enjoys. Much of the forensics work for the KCPD is farmed out to the SCPD. There is some mild friction between the KCPD and the SCPD, generally resentment/envy over the SCPD's resources. Though the KCPD is rampant with the "good ol' boy" network and there is almost blatent favoritism towards friends and family of KCPD employees.

In 1993, large plots of land in Regan county and bordering on Wolf Woods National Park were bought by Aspen Demilune and a mansion was constructed. The grounds remained untouched and in her hands for only a short time, however. The multi-millionaire land baron disappeared without a trace later that winter. Almost two years after Demilune's disappearance, and with the absence of a will or any surviving relatives, her large tracts of land went on the auction block. Most of the suburbs cropping up today are on these highly desirable lands being rapidly converted into suburbs by people who want to escape the city and get back to nature--so long as "nature" refers to a nice yard and not dense forest with no amenities like electricity, city water, and sewage.

Wolf Woods National Park

Wolf Woods National Park (WWNP) was initially formed in 1908 when a substantial chunk of land was ceded to the federal government, then subsumed into the National Park Service with passage of the Organic Act in 1916. Various additions of much smaller sizes have been added up through 1994, when the park reached its current size. With the recent growth in Kent Crossing, it is unlikely that the park will be able to expand any more to the west, and may eventually lose land if the government declares eminent domain to later support the infrastructure of Kent Crossing.

WWNP is best known for the wolf packs being tracked and monitored within its boundaries. However, the most popular attractions with local residents are the camping and water recreation on Lake Arthur. Fishing, swimming, and limited boating (boats with less than a 10HP motor) is permitted in Lake Arthur. SCCU also conducts annual archaeological digs as warmer weather permits.

Peak season for WWNP is between May and August, with the winter months leaving the park largely deserted. Camp sites are available for $15 per night, and camp sites with electricity are available for $20 per night.

Visitors and hikers are strongly advised to stick to the trails and for their own safety to avoid any wolves or other wildlife that they might encounter. Park rangers are very vigilant about hauling and expelling people who break the rules or endanger the wildlife or forest.

St. Claire: Supernatural information and history

The Caern of the Wheel (1826-1944)

In 1826, the Wendigo re-awoke an ancient tribal Caern near the Columbia river. This Caern, like some other Caerns of the Pure Ones, was once a Medicine Wheel with the four aspects of the Wheel dedicated to the four seasons. For reasons known only to these Wendigo, when the Wheel was re-opened it was re-dedicated to the four elements instead of the four seasons--the beginning of a long history of unconventional aspects surrounding this unusual caern. Hints of the original seasonal nature of the Wheel were still evident in each of its four elemental aspects. It was called, simply, The Caern of the Wheel and was known as a caern of Visions.

Even among the Wendigo this caern of visions rolled counter to many of their traditional beliefs. While most Native American medicine wheels run clockwise, for reasons known only to the spirits and, perhaps, the first Wendigo, the Caern of the Wheel runs counter-clockwise. To move clockwise around it is to go against the will of the very totems that gave it strength.

In 1940, there were reports of a caern to the north being destroyed under odd circumstances, told by second-hand witnesses as there seemed to be no survivors. Two more caerns in Washington State were destroyed in the next two years, all with no known survivors. Then, in 1944, the Wendigo running the Caern of the Wheel simply vanished without a trace, leaving St. Claire's Glass Walkers and Bone Gnawers as the only Garou in the immediate area.

There were no clues left as to where the Wendigo went, and the caern had become dormant. None of St. Claire's Glass Walkers or Bone Gnawers had the skills required to awaken a caern--much less determine if it was destroyed--and the destruction of other caerns in the area had left the Garou presence in the State of Washington greatly depleted. Furthermore, the kindred presence in St. Claire grew stronger as the Garou presence weakened. The Glass Walkers and Bone Gnawers were eventually infiltrated, exposed, and either fled or were destroyed by the vampires within the city that had long been held in check by the combined forces of the Gnawers, Walkers, and Wendigo.

The Caern of the Wheel was abandoned.

The Caern of the Wheel Renewed (1993-1996)

In the spring of 1991, a Freebooter pack from the Sept of Gaia's Bones, Seneca Falls, was searching in eastern Washington, and made a major find: the ancient site of this slumbering Caern. A Strider who had been traveling with the Freebooter pack was dispatched to return to Gaia's Bones with the news. Confident that the Furies would soon arrive to open the caern, Seneca Falls continued on their path, looking for other new caerns.

Unknown to Seneca Falls, the Strider returned immediately to The Caern of Ptah rather than going to Gaia's Bones. A council of Striders was hastily convened and, for reasons of their own, a Elder of that tribe was sent with a scouting party to the dormant caern. Amidst an emerging turf war with the local kindred, the Caern was re-opened in November of 1993. The Garou called themselves the Sept of the Wheel Renewed and they found themselves guardians of an extremely powerful Caern--and a mystery. The Caern had two totem spirits linked to it, that of Magpie and that of Buffalo; they were aware that there was once a third totem, but the Wendigo had left no clue to its identity and no Wendigo visited the caern.

Finally, almost exactly a year after the site was re-opened, members of the Wendigo tribe returned to the Caern of the Wheel Renewed as did the third totem, Cougar. But it was not a warm homecoming for the Wendigo, who attempted to claim the caern as their own and wrest power away from the multi-tribal members of the new sept. Grossly outnumbered, the Wendigo had to compromise and admit that the caern no longer belonged to just their tribe.

Shortly thereafter, an archaeological dig unearthed the remains of nine dead native american warriors who, curiously, appeared to have died within 50 years' time. The Wendigo identified them as the "last stand" pack of Garou for the previous incarnation of the Wheel Renewed--and they'd been packed under Cougar.

Unearthing these bodies unearthed an old threat.

The Ice King and the Ice King's Return

The full story did not unfold until the Ice King, the original threat that had driven off the Wendigo and destroyed multiple caerns in Washington State, was finally defeated.

The Ice King, a creature from Malfeas, had destroyed several Wendigo Caerns in pursuit of the destruction of a Wendigo Garou bloodline. The seers of the old Caern of the Wheel were able to divine that the Ice King was coming after some Wendigo at the Sept, not the recently revived Caern itself.

Hoping to save the Caern, the Wendigo packed their belongings and left, accompanied by Magpie and Buffalo. Ten warriors remained behind with Cougar and all but one was lost as they, threw themselves in vain against the Ice King. Only the sacrifice of Cougar himself was enough to halt the enemy's advance.

When the Wendigo returned to the location of the last stand, they could only discern that both Cougar and the enemy were lost. They declared the place cursed, buried their dead, and closed the Caern.

Fast-forwarding 50 years to 1994, the revival of the caern, and the return of the Wendigo, the Ice King reawoke and was destroyed with the newly combined might of 13 tribes working together. Most of the Wendigo that had come back to the caern died in the fight to destroy the Ice King.

Saul Ben Isaac Dmages the Cern

In the spring of 1996, a worldbender named Saul ben Isaac began to establish links to places of power in St. Claire. He chose the caern itself as the site of one of his attacks and his minions pierced the holy site's wards and began to draw power from it. The caern was severely damaged in the attack and reduced to just half its previous strength.

Saul ben Isaac was eventually tracked down to a pocket umbral lair and destroyed by the Wheel's Garou and a handful of mages residing in St. Claire, who lent their grudging help (with grudging acceptance by the Garou) in the final battle.

In the aftermath, the Garou happened upon a piece of ancient knowledge in a far away Strider caern. Hopeful, the Garou ventured into the Deep Umbra to retrieve this powerful, mysterious fetish from minions of the Weaver, who had seized its Wyld power for thier own. After recovering the fetish and bringing it back to the caern, the spirit inside the fetish destroyed the Wheel's old triat of totems: Cougar, Magpie and Buffalo. As Buffalo died, the Caern died with him.

The Caern of the Hidden Walk (1996-present)

Saddened, angry and confused, the sept made plans to leave this formerly hallowed spot and find someplace else to serve Gaia. But one by one, signs that not all was lost began to appear. Eventually, the Wyldling spirit was called back to the spot of the Wheel, and was bound into the very land itself, causing a myriad of changes: a new totem: Aeolus (Fog) and a new landscape.

Still trying to cope with their new environment, the Garou of the former Wheel chose a new name, making a completely new start. The Caern of the Hidden Walk was selected by a group of Elders, so named for the mist shrouded valley in which the Caern lay.

Consumer of Stone Awakens

Little did the sept know that by the very act of transforming their caern, they unleashed a hidden and ancient evil from a long slumber. In the 1870s, when the Caern and the surroundings belonged to the Wendigo keepers, they battled an ancient and powerful servant of the Wyrm called Consumer of Stone. It took many lives before a strong Wendigo ahroun and a wise Wendigo Theurge devised a rite to imprision the spirit inside of an old and powerful relic, a medicine wheel. The Rite was performed and the object was buried in the far away caves in the mountains, drawing its warding strength from the very land where it lay.

As the Hidden Walk erupted from the ashes of the Wheel, the landscape changed. The bonds that once held Consumer of stone were weakened and it began to stir. By an unhappy coincidence, the old relic was found by a group of college students while out camping. The relic was taken to the local collage, SCCU, for further study.

Meanwhile, unknown to the sept, a powerful vampire in Seattle, Ashley Turner, as she was now known, had an old score to settle with the Garou in Saint Claire. Her husband, the late James Bartholomew, had been slain in the great battle which sealed the spirit away as he himself attempted to turn the spirit to his own ends.

Although the medicine wheel eventually returned to the Garou who were, by now, aware of what it was, and what it could do, the damage had been done. The medicine wheel shattered during a ritual designed to help restore its power, and Consumer of Stone was once again free to roam the Umbra. Consumer of Stone proceeded to cause considerable damage to the sept and the bawn. The only hope of containing the powerful spirit resided in the hands of the mysterious and powerful vampire, Ashley Turner. Turner posessed the amulet that her late husband had previously crafted using powerful blood magick, intending to use the amulet to enslave Consumer of Stone's will to its bearer.

The amulet was eventually stolen from Turner and fashioned into a new fetish in a huge mystic rite that envolved nearly the entire sept. Consumer of Stone was once again locked away from the Realm with the aid of the amulet, the garou, and assistance from a powerful Wendigo spirit. Consumer of Stone lies dormant, but not dead, as it was too powerful to be destroyed.

The Power Plant Blight

Every city has several blights, and St. Claire is no different. The largest, nastiest, most obvious and lethal blight was the power plant that generated the majority of power for the city. Numerous raids by the sept failed to make an impact and eventually it was simply avoided. It grew in size, becoming even more formidible, and then it exploded one day in 1999--like an overripe pus-filled boil. The collective banes and fomori spread throughout the city like a cancer, using the already-tainted sewer systems as highways to relocate, settle into new places, and begin forming multiple smaller blights or reinforcing and strengthening existing blights.

The explosion cast the entire city into darkness and chaos. Military forces were pulled in and curfews were implemented to deal with civil unrest and looting. Power was eventually restored some months later, and only protests from residents kept the new power plant from being a nuclear-powered one instead of traditional fossil fuels.

A glade child was transplanted to the spot of the power plant in hopes that it would help to ward off banes and help to heal the blighted area.

Black Spiral Dancer Invasion

In May of 2002, a massively coordinated strike by Black Spiral Dancers launched attacks on several caerns in the Northeastern United States. Two caerns were destroyed and another two--including the Hidden Walk--were lost to the BSDs. The BSDs used diversionary tactics to draw off the main force of Garou from the caern, then used their main force to assault the caerns from another direction--effectively drawing off the caern's defenders and leaving only a skeleton group to defend the caern itself.

Other caerns managed to repell the attacks at significant losses, rendering aid in retaking caerns out of the question as a follow-up attack would wipe out the caerns that survived. Numerous kinfolk were also slaughtered wholesale at these septs, particularly in the urban-dwelling tribes. Paranoia was rampant.

The Garou were able to retake the Caern of the Hidden Walk in early July, driving off a giant oil-slick bane. The caern had been rendered dormant and defiled by the BSDs, and over a year of work was needed in order to revive the caern and try to mend the damage done by the BSDs.

Hilliard Memorial Hospital Blight

Hilliard Memorial Hospital was one of the larger hospitals in Washington, with over 300 physicians (many of whom are specialists in their fields), and numerous SCCU medical and nursing students interned at Hilliard.

Hilliard was also the largest blight in the city of St. Claire after the power plant exploded. Like the power plant before it, the blight had grown too large for the garou to have any hope of defeating. It caught fire, burning numerous physician and patients, and burned to the ground. This released numerous banes and fomori back into the city to go seek out new places to corrupt and fortify, creating an untold number of new and undiscovered blights within the city.

Last updated on Dec 31, 2006.