The Houston Metroplex
Houston, the New Glitter City, where the only things worth having are fake and expensive. Houston sprawl reaches as far west as Victoria and Columbus, to the north in Conroe and Cleveland, and east to the eighty-foot Sabine Wall on the banks of the Sabine River, where beyond that the encroaching Gulf of Mexico had turned what was once called Louisiana into an enormous swamp populated with thirty-foot-long alligators and snakes that can swallow a person whole.
After the Violent Shift the survivors of the Midwest surged to the south, desperate to escape Way storms that rolled down from the mountains and destroyed almost everything in their path. The population of Houston tripled in less than a decade, leaving the largest problem of how to feed so many new mouths. Farms outside the city limits were eradicated by swarms of insects and packs of dogs that the reemerging Way lines had increased to monstrous size and ferocious appetites. With the Way lines affecting the appearance of humans, new racist groups were attacking anyone they could make a scapegoat of. With the collapse of the federal government, there was no outside aid, and Houston teetered on the brink of collapse that had reduced so many other great cities to ruin.
It was the influence of magic that saved the metropolis as academics experimented and learned about the new wave of energy that technology could not detect or manipulate. The ‘magicians’ joined law enforcement and hospitals, bringing order and stability to the ever-widening city. Massive skyscrapers were built both to house people and to grow food with aeroponic levels that were maintained and distributed by the inhabitants of the same buildings. Robots maintain the plants, and the people guard the robots and sell the food for a profit. With abundant food sources, more people moved from other failing areas of the country, telling stories about monsters thought to be myths, but as always the greatest threats were roving gangs of people killing and taking whatever they could.
With the widespread destruction of the Violent Shift, the oil industry collapsed, and fuel reserves were quickly consumed. Once the epicenter for fossil fuels, Houston had to adapt and evolve. Tall Tesla towers were erected to broadcast electricity all over the city, and to power these towers the most abundant resource was utilized, people. New devices were invented to transform the motion of people into useable energy, along with widespread solar panel and wind turbines built into the city structures, and all ground vehicles were transferred to electric. Air ships were implemented to transport goods and people far above the congested streets, and new railways were built for the fastest mode of transportation across the city.
Houston is now the largest city in North America and has started to accept international trade again. Twenty two million people call it home.
Leadership: The Houston City Council administrates the massive city, although bribes from corporate interests often sway votes to the benefit of a few over the many. Houston is divided up into hundreds of districts and city council elections are heated affairs with more than a few assassinations of promising candidates over the years.
Transportation: Widespread and reliable public transportation is available at all hours. The cheapest and fastest are the railways that stretch from one end of the city to the other, stopping at regular rail stations along the way. Private citizens still rent out their services and vehicles as an alternate means of transportation to anywhere in the city. The roadways are wide and there are no lanes since all are connected to the VR realm. The most expensive means to get around are airships for those who have the means to avoid the crowded rails and congested roads. With the invention of the Vehicle Link Displays, all means of transportation are connected by the VR Realm and accidents are now rare and minimal in damage.
Law Enforcement: The Houston Police Department solves crimes and keeps the peace. The world might have drastically changed, but humanity hasn’t, and the same old crimes are committed every day. The emergence of the Way lines has brought about new controlled substances as magical drugs can increase Way line manipulation for a time, yet can cause the user to lose control and attack anything close by.
Nearby places of interest:
The Gulf of Mexico: The Violent Shift swept the gulf clear of oil drilling platforms, yet no residual remains of any oil spill was seen. The coastline was battered by tremendous waves, wiping away island populations like Galveston. Large boats still fish the gulf, but reports of tremendous marine life are well documented and sometimes ships set out into the water and never return.
Louisiana: The major populations of the former state are all gone, yet the guards of the Sabine Wall report seeing some tribes of people in the distance, sometimes riding on the backs of giant alligators.
The Big Thicket: The forests to the north of Houston have all regrown, populated by tribes of secretive elves, giants, and orcs.
Dallas/Fort Worth: No one knows why but a major Way storm descended on the Dallas/ Fort Worth area and has been swirling over the remains of the dual cities since the Violent Shift. No one that has travelled there has ever returned.
Austin: The former capital of Texas was rocked by earthquakes that toppled most of the buildings. It is now an abandoned ruin populated by wild animals.
San Antonio: After the collapse of the federal government San Antonio was taken over by deserters from the Mexican army. There is little communication between their leadership and the Houston Council.