Austin is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. In the 1830s, the place was very little more than a settlement on the Colorado, right in the middle of the Comancheria. Now, it's the State Capitol, the site of a prestigious Texas University* and the Live Music Capitol of the World. This once-was outpost of thieves, debtors and hustlers is now better known as the Silicon Hills for its technology and gaming corporations. The city's history is one spiced with urban legends like the Curse of Shoal Creek.

This is a compilation of links to where you can find out more about the various spooky and interesting things in Austin, whether to augment your ideas for character generation and plot fodder, or to help you perform the duties of the Scarecrow Ministry.

Places in Austin

An overview of the game's grid with more information can be found at the Austin Grid page.

Most Texas cemeteries close and are gated shut at dusk by law.

  • The Oakwood and Oakwood Annex Cemeteries Oakwood is full of crypts, ornate monuments, and unmarked graves. It is the oldest cemetery in Austin with a reputation for ghosts at the unmarked graves. The Annex was added when the cemetery filled. In the early 1900s, medical school professors actually stole the freshly buried pauper's cadavers from the annex for use in educational, medical demonstrations. The city of Austin reacted with demands to protect the graves of the poor, and so the Oakwood Annex became the place where the city would afford the dead who could not cover the cost of a funeral.
  • Austin State Hospital Cemetery: There's this lovely place called Asylum Avenue (fitting?), which is now a stretch of Guadalupe (downtown and the UT campus are covered by Guadalupe). It was named so for the Texas State Lunatic Asylum, founded in 1861, but now it's the Austin State Hospital. The cemetery was moved and most of its bodies reinterred at 51st street. Thousands of the deceased here were patients of the asylum. The place is sobering and somber, and actually composed of stretches of empty space. 3,000 patients were buried in a shroud and marked with wooden sticks, which of course were lost to time. Those patients who were buried in a pine box were given their patient's ID number rather than a name. Graves older than 1998 have no names or dates of birth and death. There is a morbid section of the cemetery actually dedicated to just body parts thanks to the autopsies conducted by the hospital.
  • The Driskill Hotel: The Driskill is a luxury hotel in downtown, swallowing nearly a block. It's as ornate as a store-window wedding cake, just as decadent inside, and easily one of the most haunted hotels in the United States. There's also the haunted Paramont, just across the street, but characters like Pete Lawless, the resident who never checked out, and the cleaning lady who rearranges flowers but isn't alive at all, plus the Colonol Driskill himself and his fascination with playing with the bathroom lights of residents, put the hotel on the map. The more prominent stories are those of the Senator's daughter who fell to her death down the grand staircase, the room of the suicide brides, and the suite on one of the lower floors that, for some reason, was rented out and closed for 50 years. It was re-opened in 2007 or so.
  • Spaghetti Warehouse at 117 West Forth: There's this ghost at Spaghetti Warehouse, a restaurant, that appears as a pair of legs more often than as the rest of him. Just his legs. I don't know why, either.
  • Oilcan Harry's: Oilcan Harry's is a gay bar that was once a brothel owned by Blanche Dumont, who still is around. Now what must this soiled dove of the prairie think of her establishment turning into a gay bar? No idea, but nothing so awful that she doesn't show up with the dancers!
  • Metz Elementary School on east I-35: This place is just, no, no thanks. This is the place where children are said to still haunt, but the tone of the laughter heard on the school grounds isn't child's play at all, and has chased out at least two or three construction companies, one of them being Torres. A wall exploded while in the middle of renovation and sent a construction worker to the hospital if it didn't kill him. Seeing children writing on the chalkboard or walking down the halls has chased out a few construction workers. They stopped trying to do anything to Metz. Now, that laughter that originated in the hallways is heard outside and coming from the trees.
  • Fado Irish Pub: Not far from other haunted locations (although really, kind of every building in downtown is haunted), some people say that the things that move furniture, turn lights on and off, and move small objects aren't ghosts but Celtic faeries. Then again, it's named Fado's Irish Pub. Either way, things have a way of never staying still in there.
  • South Congress Bridge: No ghosts, just bats. Thousands of bats. Hundreds of thousands of bats. In fact, I think the number is well past a million bats. They come out every night in droves, rain or shine, at sunset, and by day they hide under the crevices of the South Congress bridge.
  • Buffalo Billiards: This is the place to look for ghosts of cowboys and rustlers and hustlers: it was the site of the very first Brothel in Austin and has seen quite the clientele.

Famous Ghosts of Austin

  • The ghost of Blanche Dumont:
  • The ghost of Peter J. Lawless:
  • The Paymaster of Shoal Creek:
  • The Ghost of Sheriff Ben Thompson:
  • Susannah Wilkerson Dickinson:

Romantic, Tragic, and Interesting Stories

  • The Shoal Creek Curse: There's something wrong with Shoal Creek, the site of massacres, murders, Indian raids, and buried treasure. The site was hallowed as sacred by the natives. Nothing can really take off at Shoal Creek, business wise, home wise, because it floods and wipes away development. Cholera killed Robert E. Lee's men who camped at Shoal Creek. There are two stories of buried treasure at Shoal Creek: The Paymaster's Treasure and the Digger Hollow Gold. In the late 1700s, Digger Hollow was a gold mine fifteen miles out of Austin. It was closing due to Indian attacks, and so the mine tried to evacuate as many gold ingots as possible to hide in a cave for later retrieval. One team of men stopped at Shoal Creek to bury the gold out of fear of whoever was following them. Comanche attacked, and only one person survived by hiding himself and running away. The Comanche left the dead to rot on the shore of the Colorado River by Shoal Creek and the bodies were found by locals, who buried them. Their ghosts are still looking for the treasure. The Paymaster's Ghost is that of the second man who died after burying treasure at Shoal Creek, specifically the stolen payroll to Santa Anna's army. He died in a bar later, victim of violence, and never did return for the treasure. That weird light that bobs along around 3 and 4 in the morning at Shoal Creek? That's supposed to be him, walking the length of he water for his treasure.
  • The Carlotta Mirrors of the Driskill Hotel:
  • UT Tower Tragedy:
  • America's First Documented Serial Killer: If you're willing to stop and listen, some people believe that Jack the Ripper started his career in Guy Town, in Austin, then went to New York, and then finally, to London. There is no substantial evidence, but books and informed locals can make a compelling case in a single conversation. All the same, whether it was Jack the Ripper or Maurice the Malay cook, the 150-foot tall moonlight towers that cast blue light in certain places of Austin are the results of a series of gruesome murderings in 1884. The Austin Annihilator's list of documented victims: Mollie Smith, whose home on Pecan Street is still an empty lot; Eliza Shelley, killed in May 1885 on Cypress (Third Street); Mary/Masy Ramey, only eleven when she was murdered and found a block from Shelley's house; Susan Hancock, killed by impalement of the brain just like Mary Ramey and whose ghost haunts around the Four Seasons hotel; Irene Cross, found dead at Scholz Garden; Gracie Vance and Orange Washington, killed on Guadalupe; and Eula Phillips, an aristocrat who had worked for fun at Delia Robinson's brothel. The suspect is a man named Maurice, who lived and worked at the Pearl House hotel (now this building is a NPO called La Pena). Some people will tell you to stay well away from the area at night.

Cryptids in Texas

  • Old Red: Old Red is one of the nicknames of Texas's Bigfoot.
  • Ozark Howler: This thing supposedly lives in remote areas of Texas and surrounding states. The Ozark Howler is typically described as being bear sized, with thick body, stocky legs, black shaggy hair, and as having prominent horns. Its cry is often described as being a combination of a wolf's howl and an elk's bugle.
  • Lake Worth Goatman: For a week in 1969, residents of Lake Worth, Texas saw a "goat fish man" in Greer Island which supposedly attacked a car and threw tires. It showed up around the same time as some sheep mutilations in the area.
  • El Chupacabra: A popular myth originating from Puerto Rico which is retold to children and visitors in Texas. This legendary creature is Spanish for "Goat sucker" for its reputation as an animal that drains livestock of its blood.
  • Wild Man of the Navidad The Wild Man is another big-foot like creature which has captured attention in Texas.

Politics and City Organizations

Note: City NPCs can be purchased as Retainers, or can be approached for pledge deals. However, such things should happen in play, and will likely require social tests. Some NPCs may already be beholden to other PCs, or other PCs may work to remove NPCs and replace them with ones they control. As such, it is possible that social merits/pledges with these NPCs may be altered or influenced by IC events. Risk is the price you pay for political influence.

Austin Police Department: You can find information about the RL Austin police here. PC police officers and associated characters will be assumed to be attached to the Downtown Area Command, unless otherwise specified, to maximize RP opportunities with other police PCs. The actual bounds of the Downtown Area Command's jurisdiction may be fudged to accommodate the maximum RP potential. The Chief of Police and Downtown Captain are currently both NPCs.

Irregular Investigations Unit: This is not an official unit of the APD, but it exists, nonetheless. It's the designation for those cases where no one wants to write the report - the lunatic, the strange, and the difficult to explain. Any officer can get IIU'd if a case they're working on takes a turn for the weird, but a couple of officers and detectives earn a reputation for being 'regular irregulars', and get assigned more than their share of weird stuff. You want to be one? Just put it in your background.

Mayor: The mayor is an elected position. The current Mayor is Steve Adler (an NPC).

City Manager: The City Manager is a hired position, and advises the Mayor and City Council, as well as having direct logistical and planning influence on the city. The current City Manager is Joanne Powell.

City Council: There are six seats on the city council. These are currently held by NPCs, but if a PC wants to app in at a City Council member, that's entirely possible, until all seats are full. Characters who wish to be city council members must have: Resources 3+, Politics 2+, Socialize 2+, Persuasion 2+, and (if a Lost), either New Identity 2+ or their original, human identity without felony convictions or unusual and unexplained gaps in their history.

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