Chi-raq. Paris of the Prairie. Beirut by the Lake. The Windy City. Hog-Butcher to the World. Many names for different facets of the same city. With roots in trains and the mass production of meats, it was one of the epicenters for the growth of big industry in the eighteen hundreds. And then it grew up into a place of might makes right, crime, oppression, racial divides and police shootings. Riots. A dangerous place where tensions run high and the shadows are thick. In some parts of the city, the dead can lay out on the road for days before they're picked up and written off. People are hungry and desperate, and the crimes are fierce and competitive. Corruption of all sorts is pitted against the few strong enough, or brave enough to try and sway the tide towards unification and growth.
It's a hard city that somehow thrives, flourishes, despite it all. Close to three million people call this place home, split up into seventy-seven neighborhoods within nine districts.
Large bodies of water always have their ghost stories. Storms coming out of nowhere, vessels going missing, people coming back changed by something they've seen on or in the water.
The Great Lakes are no different. They have their own legends and tales. Fake sea monsters, haunted light houses, ghost ships, the Dogman... The waters are vast and mysterious, a breeding ground of potential for the imagination to run wild and the darkness to gather.
Chicago. An old city with a long, sordid history. The seeds of today's feedlots and mass production of livestock into meat were planted here. The fires that took out a vast swath of the city in 1871, destroying thousands of buildings and killing more than three hundred people. The Candyman - an Urban Legend made into movies - originated on these streets.
That it is festering, rotting, drawing in the Darkness to thicken the shadows shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Three Princes joust politically over territory, yielding to those in physical control and cutting deals with the different factions. Wolves war with the spirits, the Pure, and the Bale Hounds that seek to rout them from the city. Changelings just want to survive, to stay hidden and out from under the gaze of their Keepers and the Loyalists while the Wise Mages chase their own Obsessions and seek Knowledge.
Politics are intense - everything must seem above board and be discreet with the Accord looming overhead. A wolf living in vamp turf that mages control, has three sets of laws to tiptoe around. And they shift between territories and claims. Factions differ, each with their own goals and desires as the city shifts and sways, blissfully unaware of the society that entwines with the lives of the mundane.
Struck alongside the Accord, the coins became the grease that kept the wheels from seizing. With so many boundaries always in flux, being able to smooth over a trespass or violation with something more fluid than favors alone became a necessity. Trying to enforce the value of favors between the four factions was nightmarish. What is a trivial thing for one faction can be an immense burden for another.
The simplest solution was to enable the different factions and people within them to name a price and pay with coin. Negotiate. After all, it's far easier to hunt down someone that hasn't paid coin and turn their pockets than it is to force them to follow through with a promise made in secret.
Akin to the Accord, the consequences for failure to pay for a service can range from a slap on the wrist to something dire. Most often, it's handled between the people involved in the negotiations. Sometimes, it spills over and the various leaders of the factions get pulled into the web. It rarely favors anyone when the leaders got brought in to clean up such disputes. Especially if they have already caused strife between the different groups that are bound by the Accord.