When the Realm appeared (or re-appeared, if you believe the folklore) in the late 20th century, it threw pretty much everybody for a loop and divided recent history into "pre-Change" and "Now." Once the Border appeared, any city out in the Worldbe it New York, Chicago, Berlin, Beijing, you name itbecame a gateway to Bordertown. Someone just has to want to find it bad enough and poof!, he or she discovers they're on the yellow brick road to Oz. Truebloods call the World "The False Lands." Soho is jam-packed with runaways from the World, and every once in a while, an act from B-town will make it big back in the World. Most folks who go to Bordertown either return to the World during the first year, or never again. And most B-town folks who head out into the World are never heard from again.
The Border which divides the World from the Realm appears like a shimmering curtain. Humans can't cross it (well, ostensibly. If a shape-changed human crosses and is caught, he or she will at best pay for it with their sight; at worst, their life). Elves can't cross it, except through the Gates. Anyone who tries to "jump" the Border is pretty much dusted. The lands along the border are, quite sensibly, called "The Borderlands" which include Bordertown, and the patch of wild between the Border and the city called "Nevernever." There's a two-car steam train which runs from Nevernever to Bordertown, and you need a ticket to ride, or your butt will get tossed off. The Border messes with both magic and technology, rendering both inoperable 50% of the time, and forcing residents of Bordertown to get... creative. Most usable tech can be powered using spell-boxes, though these can fail somewhat spectacularly, so backing them up with a working motor is sound advice (especially if the tech in question is a motorcycle, for example). Cameras don't work the way they're meant to, and forget your CDs, and invest in a seedy box, if you want to listen to tunes. It makes for a curious existence, but people manage.
What humans call Elfland and Faerie, Truebloods refer to as The One True Realm. Truebloods rarely speak of it, and most of the Truebloods in Bordertown who arrive there from the Realm are either exiles, runaways, or there on business or pleasure. Time passes differently there. The main gate (and most heavily guarded) which connects the Realm to the Border is Elfhaeme Gate.
Nevernever is a stretch of wild between the Border and Bordertown. Truly magic mushrooms grow there, and wild elves roam there, and it's probably not too safe to be there, unless you've got some major mojo, or your own set of claws and fangs.
A human city all but abandoned after the Change, it's been repopulated by humans, elves, and halfies, several generations of whom live in various sections of the city.
Soho (Old City)
Soho, i.e. "South of Ho Street" is pretty much given over completely to kids, and is carved into various territories by the Bloods (an elf gang), the Pack (human gang), Rune Lords (halfling gang) and Rats (human kids addicted to water from the Mad River). The cops (i.e. the Silver Suits) generally won't come to Soho for anything less than murder, so it's up to the inhabitants to police themselves which, for the most part, they do.
The Northern boundary of Soho (i.e. "South of Ho Street"). Neutral territory. Landmarks include:
- The Oberon Building - Runaway central.
- The Puck Building - home of Oberon House, which is best avoided by humans, as within Elves coax stories out of human children lured there (and is little more than a brothel in many ways)
- The Poop - is a squatter's advisory network run out of a wheel-less van permanently parked on Ho by Café Cubana. The Poop has bulletin boards with adverts for squats looking for squatters, squatters looking for squats, maps of the neighbourhoods, up to date gang boundaries, warfare information, and treaties, mail service, free condoms, stale doughnuts, tea, and gossip. The Poop is run by Pony Express.
- Danceland - (Ho and Third). The Factory is older, the Dancing Ferret is trendier, and the Wheat Sheaf is more exclusive. But Danceland has a certain kind of magic to be found namely in the company one keeps there. Run by Dancer. The Terrible Trio (Strider, Sai, and Goldy) work as bouncers there, and Valda is one of the waitresses. Features dance concerts in the main room every Sunday night, ranging from traditional elvish court dancing, to elvish-human modern dance, to "glam-dance" troupes.
- Contraband Books - (Ho and Third, behind Danceland) has elvin sculpture in the courtyard.
- The Wheat Sheaf - (far east Ho, beside the Old Town Wall)
- Taco Hell - Cheap, pleasant, all races welcome, and their Meltdown Burrito is infamous.
- Café Cubana - A tea room run by the inimitable Screaming Lord Neville. A chalkboard lists the current performances of the Squatter's Theatre, including (occasionally profane) reviews.
- Hell's Kitchen - Theme restaurant, with the theme being damnation (and spicy, spicy food). It's also considered a bit of a Yeppie (Young Elvin Professional) spot.
- Miruvor's - Elvin take-out. Bad elvin take-out.
- Ozeki - The sole Japanese restaurant on Ho street. Well know for its excellent sushi and sashimi prepared by a Trueblood sushi chef called "Gojira".
- Hard Luck Café - Originally a bank, now an all night greasy spoon across the street from Danceland, next door to Snappin' Wizards. The Stone Soup of the Day is listed on a chalkboard, and not to be missed. The last Thursday of every month is Open Mike night
- Snappin' Wizards Surplus and Salvage; - Across the street from Danceland, next door to the Hard Luck. Where you can get "More Bang for the Buck. More Spell For The Silver."
- The Lost Sequoia - A cut above dive local, populated mainly by working class humans.
- The House of the Onion - (Ho and Ginger) Where Trueblood exiles and highborns from the Realm can find refuge.
Northernmost boundary of Pack territory. Landmarks include:
- The Electra Lightworks Building - Pack headquarters
- The Chrystobel Street Transit Station - one of Bordertown's oldest clubs, located at Chrystobel and Old Bleak Court
- The Factory - The oldest rock n' roll club in the city. Humans only. Horn Dance won't play there any longer, after George wouldn't allow halfie Manda Woodsdatter to play with the band.
Neutral territory between Mock Ave. and Stone. Landmarks include:
- The Dancing Ferret - The oldest dive of a club in town, and traditionally the first stop on every green newbie's tour. Farrel Din, the portly Trueblood owner, gives a free beer to every greenie. Serves the best burger in town. Once the hottest club in town, now it is the traditional venue for bands about the break. The back room is often used as gallery space, and hosted the first ground-breaking Mock Ave. show. Liza Malone and Laura work there.
- Magic Lantern - B-town's only movie palace, for very good reason, as characters have a habit of escaping their celluloid confines, if too much fairy dust gets into the projection equipment. Run by movie-buff O'Malley and his niece, Pickwick.
Rune Lords territory. Landmarks include:
- The Branch Library of Alexandria
- Café Breve
- Mock Avenue Church - topped by the Mock Avenue Bell, which never rings the actual hour. If it does, the gargoyle atop the Church would be free. Headquarters of Patrick Hale, Ash Bieucannon, and the Move Ave. School of painters.
- José Gutierrez Gallery (Mock & Carnival) - Once a store, now the most important exhibition space in Soho. If someone wants to make it as an artist in Bordertown, the goal is to hang in José's.
- Wu's Worldly Emporium - a market run by Madame Wu (one of B-town's doctors, and a fortune-teller whose fortunes always come true)
- Elsewhere - Bookstore originally owned by Mickey. Sai, Goldy, and Wolfboy worked there.
Runs North to South, from Hell's Gate (closest to the World). The area is mainly trailer parks and old homes. Landmarks include:
- O'Donovans - Next to Hell's gate. Has Guinness on tap, and hosts a Session.
- Tumbledown Park - Near Hell's Gate. Skater's heaven, with pipes and ramps that make it a favourite hangout of the Bogans and the Khandromas.
Locted in Soho, the Diggers provide a place to crash for all races, and help addicts kick their habits.
- Caliente! - (Stone and La Llorona Place, in the old Rio Grande Hotel).
- Vates - Elvin restaurant, which serves mostly Elvin variations on pizza.
- Digger Free House
- Carmine Street Drums
- Digger Free House (Bard circle held on the porch)
- Milo Chevrolet, one of B-town's best magicians, has taken over a used car lot located at the corner of First St. and First Ave. where he dispenses both magic and medicine.
Runs parallel to Ho. Landmarks include:
- Godmom's (Puck & Second) - Neutral territory, and home of the best pizza and cheesecake in town. Run by the eponymous Godmom, it features cosy decor including sofas, red-checked tablecloths, and a free wish with every meal.
- Planet Kolob - Dance club.
- The Eighth Street Cafe - (Corner of Eight and Puck) All of the food seems to have been prepared to look perfect based on photographs of real food, but no one seems to know how anything ought to taste.
Runs perpendicular to Ho. Café Cubana is located at the corner of Ho and Oshun.
Runs perpendicular to Ho. Danceland is located at the corner of Ho and Third.
- Chaz'N'Chang's - Where to find tofu teriyaki and fiddleheads.
Runs perpendicular to Ho. Ginger Street is the boundary of Blood territory.
- Birch Street Bar & Grill - A Blood handout.
Headquarters of the Bards, a gang of storytellers who escaped from Oberon House.
PS 101 - Old public school located at Lower Down and Bleak, home to a women-only Health and Community Center.
Runs perpendicular to Lower Down.
- Club Kooeykooeykooey - Relocates every now and then, apparently having something to do with the Great Bear Cult's rendition of "Waka Waka Stomp."
Red Rowan Lane
- The Cairn Palace - A huge house turned into a dance club. Hosts bands such as The Void Boys, and Wheels of If.
Bloated Fish Lane
- Wholesale Closeout Outlet - A favourite hangout for morris dancers and folk musicians. The folk group Sandie's Bairnes perform there nightly.
Home to hobos and runaways. The Diggers had a free flophouse in Tintown, which was burned down by Ysa Cran and Corwyn, trying to shut the Diggers down and keep them from helping kids kick their drug habits.
Old freight yards turned into a dump located out past Tintown, where rats, packs of wild dogs, and a few lone hobos live.
Home of the Thunderbirds, a Native American gang. Located on baseball field between the city wall and the Factory, Little Earth is the Native American is a collection of tipis, trailers, tents, shacks, and a cottonwood grove. Natives can always find a bed and a meal at Little Earth, but it's closed to outsiders. Electrik Hawk has the easternmost tipi, and is a healer. Has community bonfires where the Bards are allowed to storytell.
Once a Wordly shopping centre, this crowded indoor/outdoor market is now where everyone comes to buy and barter all manner of goods and services.
- Endless Rave - A dance party that never ends. Hundreds of dancers of all aces can be found here, dancing to music from everything from seedy boxes to drumming circles.
- Tent City
- Stoned Soup Kitchen and Herbal Pleasures - Where you can find Juju Daddy
The red Light District. Rents are cheap, so lots of folks live here who aren't in the Trade. landmarks include:
- TheHot Club - an exotic dance club in the Scandal district. Sarah and Lolly Dove dance there.
- The Body Shop - (Brews street) A gym and headquaretrs of Alison Gross, a witch who buys full-blood human or Trueblood children.
Dragontown (New Asia)
Sandwiched between the Scandal District and Soho, the Asian district is a rabbit warren of narrow streets and alleys, patrolled by the local gang called the Dragons. Also home to the Tongs and Yakuza. There's magic here that even the Truebloods have learned to respect and avoid. Full of martial arts studios, tea houses, and noodle shops. Landmarks include:
- Koga Sensei's dojo
- The Phoenix - Best Chinese food in Bordertown
- Lhasa Tea House - A Tibetan restaurant where Deki and the Khandromas hang out
Latino neighbourhood. Scorpion territory.
La Llorona Place
Dragon's Tooth Hill (Uptown)
This is where the rich folks live. Humans, in mansions, and elves in crystal palaces. It's the glass ceiling of Bordertown. It has its own gang, Dragon Fire, but they're mostly poseurs.
Jamican neighbourhood above the Hill, right up against the Border.
A working-class Trueblood neighbourhood, officially known as Fare-You-Well Park (not to be confused with the actual park).
Between Dragon's Tooth Hill and the Scandal District, borders the Business District Filled with enchanted fountains and fantastic statues. Hosts free music concerts May through October.
A suburb of Bordertown. Patrick Hale and Linnea Dark Garnett are both from Pleasant Gardens.
Also called "The Big Bloody" the red river runs from the Realm down through Bordertown. The water is harmless to Truebloods, but addictive to humans. River water addicts are called Wharf Rats. Closest to the Border, the banks of the river are home to galleries, posh restaurants and trendy shops, and the old city Art Museum. At the end of the Promenade, below Dragon's Claw Bridge, it gets decidedly seedier.
This abandonned amusement park is prime Wharf Rat territory.
Where the boats come in. Populated mainly by Fisher Folk. Landmarks include:
- Fish and Farms's Market - An outdoor market almost as crowded as Trader's Heaven.
- Tatterstock - Where ragpickers drop off loads of clothes, which are sorted, washed, repaired, and re-sold.
- Ground Zero Café - (Avenue A) Coffee shop with live jazz.
Gang Warfare Neutral Zones:
- Ho Street
- Carnival Street between Mock Avenue and Stone
- Water Street up to Canal