Sunday, March 18, 2012

Wandering Through the Graveyard



Barrow Island now serves as the City's potter's field, but it has been the site of burials going back even to pre-colonial times.  It's located close to Empire Island in the Wyrd River.  Despite it's proximity, there are no bridges with the island as their destination.

The Mortuary Division of the City Department of Hospitals ships an average of around 200 corpses to the island weekly (as well as amputated limbs) from it's offices at Blackmoore Hospital.  The simple and unadorned pine boxes are laid three deep with a marker inscribed with a code by the barrow men.

The public is allowed limited visitation to the island. A ferry leaves from a terminal at the end of 14th Street.  Ferries leave from the terminal at ten in the morning and two in the afternoon.  The return trips from the Barrow Island docks leave at noon and four.  Non-official visitors at other times require special permission.

Here's a rough map of the island (scale: 1 in.=600 ft.):


The dark paths are paved or cobbled roads.  The lighter ones are trails or less well-kept routes.  The building at the junction of the paths is the mortuary headquarters.  Here photos and descriptions are kept on the unidentified bodies in the potter's fields, as well as older burial records of the other cemeteries (if they exist).  The buildings behind it are storage and some staff quarters, and the power plant (a former crematorium).

There are other buildings on the island: the decaying remnants of the former settlement and the shanties of barrow men.

In the south of the island, the dashed line represents the path of the Wychwire Bridge.  One support column of the bridge stands on the island and houses an elevator down from the bridge that can only be accessed with a key.

At night, when the barrow men cluster around their campfires and tell their macabre tales, the island becomes a more dangerous place.  Various forms of undead have been known lurk amid its crypts and mausoleums.  Ghouls (not undead--but cannibalistic) occasionally make in-rounds onto the isle before the Barrow Men can drive them off.  If the tales of the barrow men are to be believed, stranger less well-known horrors are sometimes encountered--but of course, the barrow men don't let truth get in the way of a good story. 

14 comments:

richard said...

If The City is Alternate New York then I guess this is Gotham's very own Isola di San Michele. And maybe it should be obvious from settlers' graveyards to sleepy hollow that this should be a flattish piece of ground with yew trees, crosses and the occasional big mausoleum but my first question as a player would be: what sort of graveyard is it inside? A stone necropolis like you find in Catholic New Orleans or Recoleta? Arlingtonian manicured lawn? Or "arcadian style" picturesque vistas like Mount Auburn cemetary - the graveyard that proved so popular that its designer (Olmsted) was given the job of designing Central Park after its model?

Any of them can be fabulously creepy: Olmsted's "garden of many rooms" was criticized at the time for providing a labyrinthine mugger's paradise, even while it was being praised as a restful retreat for grieving relatives.

Mark K said...

Great idea and the endless possibilities for adventures/quests/scenarios are virtually endless. It would also provide an excellent piece for mapping and artwork.

Love the B-movie vamp photo - classic stuff! :)

Mark K said...

PS: this would make for an amazing campaign for Ravenloft.

Trey said...

@Richard - It varies. As a potter's field, the majority of people buried here are nameless and in close quarters, with very simple markers. Something like some military or battlefield cemeteries, though less stately.

The next newest era of cemetery probably resembles something like London's Highgate for the most part with areas looking like the Père Lachaise picture above.

The oldest parts look like simple churchyard burial sites with the occasional mausoleum, though the markers may be somewhat overgrown or fallen to odd angles.

Needles said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hart_Island,_New_York
I've used this location for CoC games in the past as well as World of Darkness Wraith. This must be the City's reflection of Hart.. Nice entry..

Bard said...

Great photo at the top. Looks a lot like Père Lachaise, my favorite cemetery. Wait...is it weird that I have a favorite cemetery?

Trey said...

@Mark K - Thanks!

@Needles - Hart's Island is indeed part of the inspiration here.

@Bard - Yep, that's it. Only if you have fantasies about being buried in it. :)

Malakor said...

Trey
Have you read Gideon's Sword by Doug Preston and Lincoln Child? An equivalent of this island figures into the story.

Trey said...

I haven't. Is it any good?

Tim Shorts said...

Boris thinks Ivanka is going to have good time on island. She will get to meet new people. She leaves an impression one does not forget. Who says Boris cannot show a girl a good time.

Pat said...

This is one of those cemetery islands where they bury big suitcases full of cash, right? The barrow-men should clearly mark the locations on that map so the stashes can be "protected".

Trey said...

That's it, guys. Think positive.

garrisonjames said...

Yay more about the Barrow Men! Even better we get Vampira! What a great place to kill a few hours killing a few undead...if you've got a proper license, of course...

Malakor said...

@Trey . . . It was entertaining. Fairly predictable, but fun and very modern/pulpish.