Modern day Boston is home to plethora of strange magics and beings. The Celtic and Irish creatures of myth and folklore continue to walk the earth and for some time, a large portion have found a new home on the shores of the growing United States. Centered around the docks of south Boston, families of strong Irish and Celtic blood have gathered in tight communities to hide their magical skills from the world. In this world, anyone can do magic, but few have to opportunity to learn, let alone know that such a thing even exists. Those that can are called druids. The creatures of legends, the banshees, selkies and more, do their best to hide in plain sight, relying on the aid of the magical humans. But not all of them are pleased with being confined to one place. Even more tensions arise when some of the magical families use their skills to profit off of the human drug trade that riddles the city.

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1. Political Structure

1.1 Government Involvement

South Boston is subjected to all state and federal laws that govern Massachusetts, USA in addition to city ordinances of Boston. In the eyes of the US government, South Boston is often overlooked by policy makers.

Within the local community, power and authority is distributed among an oligarchy of the elite families. Each family controls an area of South Boston, and owns most of the industry and trade within their territory. Territorial boundaries are stable, so most conflict arises through trade relations. The families’ influence on the community is reminiscent of Italian Mafia families of New York, but not as violent. Effective “legislation” between families is accomplished by meetings between faction leaders.

1.2 Rule of Law

The magics of South Boston abide by deep traditional norms for etiquette and respect, enforced through family influence and upbringing. Should someone violate one of these unwritten rules, action would be taken against the perpetrator by members within the community.

The most important (and most strictly enforced) rule is to not draw attention to magic outside of South Boston. By remaining hidden--or rather, ignored--by non-magic society, South Boston avoids conflict with Police or the US government. This way, members of the community are able to practice magic (and commit petty crime) at little to no consequence.

1.3 Social Services

There are several public and private schools in the area. Every school meets the standard curriculum prescribed by the state. Private schools, serving the local elite, also offer courses in the history of magic in South Boston.

By tradition, use of magic is learned through apprenticeship. Recently, some individuals have started to offer tutoring services and even small lecture sessions in exchange for money. This practice is controversial as it deviates from tradition and is lacks merit in the eyes of the elite.

Standard public health facilities are maintained by the state, but only treat physical (and nonmagical) injuries and illnesses. Home remedies using potions or enchanted concoctions are common, and clinics exist for this type of treatment. Apothecaries for magic ingredients are not uncommon.

2. Economy

2.1 Economic Wealth

There are two types of wealth in South Boston: old world and modern day. Artifacts and coin currency, called shickles, from back where druids’ ancestors came from provide a separate economy for them. Magical items and texts are usually bought with this currency. Other deals can be made with it as well if both parties agree to it. This is a currency whose true value is only known to the magical community. Any average human who finds these would believe them to be no more than cool looking coins. Modern day currency is used by druids and non-humans to interact with those who don’t use magic. Here, it is the American dollar and is used to pay for things that average everyday Americans use it for. Non-humans try to make a name for themselves with this currency, since they don’t have too much old world ancestry to speak of. Those who can pass as human seek wealth, but just enough to get what they can’t get from nature.

2.2 Economic Distribution

Distribution is mainly seen among the families when it comes to old world wealth. This type of wealth ranges throughout the major families of South Boston, with the major players having a bit more to play with than some of the smaller groups. Within the American system, most people are at about the same level. But within themselves, the community is distributed a bit more. When it comes to non-humans, they primarily deal with old world wealth. Today’s currency doesn’t really have any value to them, though you may find the occasional one with a bit of a thicker wallet. Non-humans also have very little need for human goods. They rely on nature to get what they need and will only turn to human items if they are in a desperate situation.

2.3 Agriculture

Agriculture, in this sense, is having a surplus of trade goods. Being located on the docks of South Boston, people in this community see a lot of trade coming through the area. Many families are involved in the imports and exports coming into the country and they see some of those goods come through their community. Magical items also come in this way and it is a hub for people seeking magical items and texts. Both legal and illegal trade go on in these parts, magic and non-magic alike.

3. Social Relations

3.1 Class

Within the magical human community of Druids, there is a distinct wealth gap. The elite families of the Druids are those that have collected wealth, magical items, and power over a long period of time. These families are also the ones who can often trace their roots as far back as when their ancestors lived in Ireland. The elite families tended to intermarry amongst each other in the past, but the younger generations are more interested in courting whoever they actually have romantic interest in, whether or not they are elites.

Those who are not considered elites do not have as much wealth accumulated, and they may have a history of marrying outside of the magical community in their family trees. These are often the shopkeepers, dockworkers, singers, dancers, and so on. They tend to take nonmagical jobs as well as magical ones. So you may find them working in a nonmagical law firm, for example. They are looked down upon by upper-class Druids for being more accepting of nonmagical people and their ways.

This middle-lower class has struggled to find their political voice in the magical community for a long time. These days, they are doing more community outreach with the help of new technology to get their voices heard. Some of the issues the middle-lower class have include: increased creature-on-Druid pranks and violence committed on them, lower wages when working for a magical employer, being treated like servants, and being denied access to powerful magical items based on their class.

3.2 Race

Druids are humans who are able to perform magic based on Celtic paganism. Those they refer to as creatures are magical nature beings who live in their world and that they have frequent contact with. The relations between these two groups can often be tense. Many Druids see themselves as being above creatures, culturally and economically. The creatures have a similar view of the Druids. They feel that Druids are below them because they are not as in-tune with the gods of the world and nature. These tensions can sometimes lead to crimes and violence committed against each other. Violence is seen as a growing problem, though many in both communities prefer to live a peaceful coexistence. Both sides are equally to blame for the growing tensions.

There are also issues between Druids who ‘look’ Irish and those who do not ‘look’ Irish. This often translates to a whites vs. nonwhites situation. Druids who are not Caucasian in appearance are often questioned about whether they actually are Druids by those who are Caucasian. Nonwhite Druids are often made to feel that they’ve somehow stolen their magic, and may need to prove that they can in fact do magic. This is becoming less of an issue with the younger generations, who are generally more accepting of people.

3.3 Gender

Gender is mostly an equal thing in the magical community, and has been so for longer than it has been in the larger nonmagical community. This is seen as being the case due to the fact that women have access to just as much magical power as men do. Traditional gender roles are largely nonexistent. It is very common for a man to do just as much cleaning around the house as the woman, for example. Women are never seen as trophies on a man’s arm; they are given just as much voice in conversation. There are stay-at-home dads in the magical community as well, which is seen as normal. Women are just as likely to be private eyes/enforcers as men are. Women and men have an equal number of seats on the South Boston Order of Druids.

3.4 Sexual Identity

LGBTQ issues in the Druid community are becoming more equal as time goes on. These days, two girls or two guys kissing in public is given barely more than a glance, and isn’t commented on or anything. Older generations of Druids may be uncomfortable with such public displays of affection between same genders, but they are becoming more accepting as more Druids are coming out of the closet. There isn’t a lot of overt tension in this regard, though there may occasionally be the awkward question or comment thrown at a couple.

However, transgender people still feel uncomfortable admitting that they are transgender in public. For the most part, transgender people tend to hide the fact they are transgender except among close family and friends. However, there is a growing movement in the community to be who you are, regardless of how you think people will react. More and more transgender people are choosing to be themselves in public.

Sexual relations between Druids and creatures are frowned upon, but they do happen with the more humanoid creatures. They tend to keep their relationships a secret, with the result that these relationships do not tend to last long. Children have been born of some of these unions between Druids and creatures, leading to a learning curve for the parents as they struggle to parent a child that often has dual magical abilities and may not be able to control their powers at a young age. The Druid parent tends to try to pass their children off as purely Druids, rather than a mixed race. As a result, many of these children have mental health issues and may act out.

Romance between a magical and nonmagical human is seen as a no-no by elite Druids, but middle-class Druids don’t have a problem with it. If a relationship seems like it is going to last, the magical partner brings the nonmagical partner into the fold. If the nonmagical partner is accepting of magic and of their partner’s magical powers, the relationship tends to have the blessing of the middle-class Druid community.

Strip clubs and hookers are largely nonexistent in the magical community. If someone really wants to participate in this, they go to a business run by nonmagical people. It is seen as demeaning to flaunt your body for the pleasure of others you may not know well.

4. Cultural Influences

4.1 Religion

Celtic Paganism is an ancient polytheistic religion that as many modern variations, but here it continues to serve its original purpose. There is a pantheon of nature spirits and gods and there is a general belief in reincarnation. Many families still keep small house shrines or votive objects for the gods out of tradition, but their use today varies.
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With the association with the modern world and modern beliefs, many see this less and less as a religion and more as a life philosophy and history of a time when magic was more potent. Due to spending so much time blending in, practicing their original beliefs publicly is not an option, especially with a lot of racial tension already focused on the community from the outside. With the move of many into South Boston, it seems that a lot of the “gods” and “heroes” who once protected everyone have vanished. There is a lot of broken faith in the gods, but the philosophy of harmonizing with nature and respecting others is still very strong. Some see the use of modern technology as interfering with this philosophy.

4.2 Military Influence

Natural forces such as strength and endurance are respected, but are not the only avenues to earn respect. There is no official military force within the community, but most of the members are trained either purposefully or just through family life to look after themselves. Many of those that work on the docks are physically powerful individuals and everyone will do what is necessary to ensure the safety and security of their members and their secret community as a whole. Some druids can be hired as private investigators/enforcers. There is no regulation on what they can be hired to do, but typically these things involved killing someone or searching for a missing person.

4.3 Technology

Modern day Boston isn’t one of the most up to date cities but it doesn’t fall far behind and there is a wide range of technology available. Cell phones have replaced the need to communicate in any magical way, since it blends in better and is much less expensive. The community of South Boston makes use of most modern technology, integrating it as much as possible, not just to blend in, but because it is very convenient.

4.4 Art/Culture

Performing arts, like music, storytelling, reciting poetry, are very common and encouraged. Singers and musicians are common avenues for those that don’t want to work at the docks forever, often performing in local bars. Modern instruments are typically used, but bagpipes, drums, and traditional instruments are common for ceremonies and celebrations within the community. Everything is very family oriented.

4.4.1 Holidays

There are a few religious related holidays such as celebrating the harvest and the beginning and end of spring, but other natural events such as the solstices and equinoxes are also celebrated.
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4.4.2 Creatures

There are many Celtic and Irish mythological creatures including, but not limited to: Banshees, Aos Si, Leprechauns, Cat Sith, Kelpies, Selkies, Merrow, Beithir, and Puca. For many of these nature beings, life in the city can be rough, even when they can shape shift into a human. Their natural form is often preferred or more comfortable and for those that get tired of blending in, they might try to find a safe place in the harbor to be themselves for a while. But there isn’t a lot of secluded places in Boston and sighting a random giant snake or seal in the harbor isn’t ideal for secrecy. One place that can provide safety is the local zoo. Going to the local zoo is a controversial decision for the magical creatures of South Boston.
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4.4.3 Magic

South Boston is rife with Celtic earth magic, a discipline characterized by its focus on charms, potions, herbs, incantations, and the like. Earth magic is performed by druids, human (or nonhuman) spell-casters who call upon the power of nature to affect change. Druidic spells are generally positive in nature, such as healing charms, beauty spells, and the creation of good fortune amulets. These benign spells use verbal, somatic, and material components, respectively - things that are easy to obtain, usually affordably. Charms of this nature are often pretty and resembling jewelry, in order to pass as normal among non-magical humans.

Darker spells, such as curses or elemental hexes, require expensive and illegal components. Curses are cast through the transmission of a hex bag with dark contents and can do horrible things - even kill - but the curse can be turned back on its caster if they aren't careful.

Earth magic relies heavily on intent, making it more of an art than a science. There are few rigid rules for spells, replacing the St. John's wort in a mixture with Haronga will make it have a slight variation, but no major changes as long as the intention is clear. This makes it difficult for the uneducated to accidentally cast dangerous spells! Emotion also plays a large part, spelling has to be done in the correct frame of mind or the risk of failure drastically increases. This is very important in large-scale druidic spells with multiple people involved. Orders will frequently engage in group meditation before undertaking any major casting to attune to each others' states of mind.

The magical society is, clearly, very separate from the non-magical society. Enchantments on nonhuman-trafficked buildings exist to ward away non-magical people. These enchantments differ, but in general they keep non-magics from ever noticing the area. A reagent shop could be right next to a school and non-magics would never be aware of it! Because of this level of secrecy, non-magics have to work very hard to enter the society, if they are even able to. Non-magics are called "nics" by magic users, a term considered derogatory and rude. Polite magic users just call them "non-magics."

4.4.4 South Boston Order of Druids

The South Boston Order of Druids is a subsection of the secret society of the United Ancient Order of Druids(AOD), founded in 1781, London. It is a fraternal organization modeled on Celtic Paganism. The AOD itself has nothing to do with the truly magical abilities and creatures that exist, but many subsections are parts of the wider magical community that have positioned themselves as part of the AOD in order to mask some of their actions.

5. People, Places, Things, Vignettes








(tags: vignette 5, SBOD)

World building starting values and brainstorming
Government Involvement
Rule of Law

Social Services

2 trending

Economy wealth

4 trending
Economic distribution


5 trending

Class Relations

3 trending
Race Relations

Gender Politics

1 trending
Sexual Identity Politics


Religious influence

Military influence

Technology influence

Arts & Culture

3 trending

Size: city
Geography: coastline
Season: summer
world tag: SBOD