Oldcastle was invented by Stuart McBride for some of his crime novels.
Oldcastle is a small city in the northeast of Scotland, roughly halfway between Dundee and Aberdeen. The nearest towns are Montrose and Arbroath. It lies on the confluence of the Kings River and the River Wynd. The Kings River is tidal in its lower reaches. Oldcastle is in Tayside. The best map of Tayside towns I’ve found is on this NHS website. I’ve re-drawn it bigger for the game. https://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/WorkingWithUs/PROD_305394/index.htm
Oldcastle was (until recently) in the Kindred ‘kingdom’ of Forfarshire. Because old, powerful Camarilla vampires don’t like this new-fangled Angus nonsense, and swoon at the mere concept of Tayside. In fact, some of them are probably pining for the Pictish kingdom of Circinn or wondering where all the glaciers went…
Population: approx. 95,000. For comparison the 4 biggest cities in Scotland are: Glasgow 600,000; Edinburgh 465,000; Aberdeen 200,000 and Dundee 150,000.
Nice middle class area. Lots of houses built in the 70s with grey harling and terracotta pantiles. The houses often have twee names: Dunroamin, ___ View, Rose ___, etc. There is a large park – Montgomery Park – with a boating lake, leisure centre, winter gardens and petting zoo. The Tarantula Music Festival is held in the park annually.
Burgh Library is on a hill in the middle of Blackburgh Roundabout. It is a glass and concrete building which looks like a 1960s idea of a spaceship.
A large granite outcrop. Sheer cliff on one side, steep winding cobbled streets on the other. Ruined castle on the summit, known locally as The Old Castle, with a visitor centre. Houses are Victorian and built of sandstone.
Castle Hill Infirmary is now a more prominent feature than the castle. There are corridors underneath it which allegedly stretch for miles. Rumour has it these tunnels go all the way down to the river, and that students used to buy corpses for dissection from smugglers and resurrection men.
By the river is Dundas House – a massive Brideshead Revisted tribute act, with pillars and carved twiddly bits, sited in manicured grounds in Kings Park. Illuminated by spotlights at night.
The other side of the river from Castle Hill.
Mixed area – part is an expensive, middle class area, full of folk with loads of money. Sandstone terraced houses, surrounding little private parks. Around the Burns Road are blocks of terraced flats, and shopping centres with more boarded up windows than new shops. Functional industrialisation.
South area is the docks – large blue cranes and long brutalist rows of grey 4 storey flats. Local amenity: Club called the Dockmaster’s Yard. Snooty people pretend this is not part of Castleview district.
Lies between the River Wynd and Castleview. Well ordered Georgian streets.
Mainly a post-war beige and grey housing sprawl of two-up, two-down houses. Some have been demolished to build 4 storey blocks of flats. There are boarded up shops and pubs where Cowskillin merges with Castle Hill.
The City Stadium (football ground) is modern construction. The Westing (greyhound track) is much older.
Council estate with a small shopping centre. Lots of 70s council houses. Plus 7 massive 18 storey tower blocks: Millbank Park West, East and North, linked by walkways, plus Faulkner Heights. It used to be posh – the older areas are Victorian red sandstone houses, built by sugar barons. They are now all converted into flats. Lots of cars up on bricks, abandoned sofas & washing machines in gardens. Local amenity: Little Mike’s Pawn Shop.
The local landfill site is east of Kingsmeath (not in map).
Formerly dockland area. The western part used to be warehouses until the development boom, when tons of luxury apartments with onsite shopping were built. However, because of the credit crunch/recession, there are many empty shop units to let and lots of unsold flats, so you can probably rent a flat for £400 per month.
The still working part of the docks (King’s Harbour) has chandler’s yards, shipping containers, huge grey warehouses.
To the east is the Logansferry Industrial Estate. Lots of chain-link fences and guard dogs.
Oldcastle railway station and the huge Templars Vale Shopping Centre are on the western edge of Logansferry.
Not on the map (apart from Moncuir Park) on edge of Logansferry. There is an actual wood. Plus a sprawling, middle class housing estate which tries to look countrified.
Not on the map. Industrial estate with plots which have guard dogs, CCTV and razor wire. The overflow facility for the local mortuary is here. Also has housing.
Old fashioned, quaint and touristy. Gaily coloured boats and fishermen’s huts.
17th Century – in the Scottish Civil War (War of the Three Kingdoms) George, Marquis of Huntly, commander of a Royalist force salted the earth of Oldcastle “so nane croppes shall growe on the accursd haven of evill and wicked Covenanters”. Then a few months later the Earl of Montrose (a Covenanter) burned Oldcastle down. His men killed the Town Council in Trembler’s Alley and painted the walls with their blood.
18th Century – Jacobite Rebellion: Duncan Forbes raised Highland Companies to fight the Jacobites and burned Oldcastle down.
During WW1 Oldcastle manufactured chlorine gas. The factories dumped mercury into the environment, and lots of it is still there. Local legend says this is why Oldcastle has so many serial killers and such a high level of mental health problems. The chlorine factories are all shut down, though there is still a chemical works in Logansferry.
St Jasper’s Cathedral – granite walls: dark dirty red stone with gargoyles and a spire. Nearly 500 years old. There is no such saint. The name St Jasper is probably a corruption of an Irish saint’s name.
TRANSPORT AND TRAVEL
Oldcastle is on a branch of the east coast main line.
The railway station is in Logansferry. The building is a wrought iron and glass Victorian building which “looks like a vast glass slug” or “an upturned boat”. It has a blocky 70s concrete portico stuck on the outside for taxis and smokers to loiter under. The interior is open plan, with walkways arching over the tracks. There are half a dozen platforms.
Southbound and westbound trains:
Oldcastle Arbroath (15 mins) Dundee (25 mins) then south to Edinburgh (2 hrs) and stations to London
or southwest to Perth, Stirling, Glasgow (2h) and on to Birmingham
Oldcastle Montrose (4 mins) Stonehaven Aberdeen (44mins)
Road: Motorways? Pah! Do not be foolish. If you want to get to Dundee or Aberdeen speedily by road you leave Oldcastle and head for the A90 (dual carriageway). Coaches go to all the Scottish cities and stop at big towns on the route. Or you can get a local ‘country’ bus to Dundee or Perth which stops at every village and cowshed and takes forever.
Air: Teeny, tiny airport in Dundee. They can’t make it bigger unless someone invents a passenger jet which can land on a river. Without crashing into the bridges. Proper airports are in Aberdeen (incl oil industry helicopters), Edinburgh or Glasgow (2).
River: The Kings River is tidal in its lower reaches. Nothing much arrives by river these days. Most of the dock areas have been converted into flats or are used for leisure craft.
LAW AND CRIME
Scotland is one big police jurisdiction: Police Scotland. There used to be regional forces: Tayside Police, Grampian Police, Strathclyde Police, etc, and they all resent being lumped together into one force. Oldcastle was in Tayside Police. Big cases (like murder hunts) will have a Major Investigation Team coordinated from Dundee, and may have an influx of detectives from Glasgow.
Detective Chief Inspector Weber heads Oldcastle Police.
The police station is Kings Cairn in Castle Hill. It is a mouldy, red brick Victorian building, which is incongruous in a street of sandstone houses. There is a boarded up cinema opposite.
The nearest prison is in Dundee.
People of Note in the Criminal World
Mr Andy Inglis. Mr Big in the world of drugs, loan sharking and sending thugs to break people’s kneecaps.
Big Johnny Simpson. Murder charge didn’t stick because of a crime scene cock up. Employs not too bright goons.
Wee Free McFee. A cross between a Reverend Ian Paisley fire-and-brimstone preacher and Hannibal Lector’s more psychotic younger brother. Alleged to cut rival’s ears off, smoke them and eat them.
Publically Known Criminal Weirdness
In 2008 a “ghoulish fiend” stole bodies from mortuaries. Never caught.
Serial Killers (warning SPOILERS for the books)
Oldcastle has more than 15 confirmed serial killers in the past 35 years, many with tabloid press nicknames. These include:
The Nightmare Man
Denis Chakrabati – a paedophile who butchered the bodies of little boys as if they were livestock.
The Birthday Boy – SPOILERS – a national serial killer, as there were victims from elsewhere in the country. Kidnapped and murdered girls just before their 13th birthday. Then on their birthday every year sent their parents a birthday card with a photo of their torture and mutilation. ‘He’ turned out to be a brother and sister.
The Inside Man – SPOILERS – kidnapped nurses and stitched a plastic doll into their womb. Turned out to be a woman.
The Granny Snatcher – Pawel Sabachevich – abducted, raped and strangled eight old ladies. Dismembered them & put bits into incinerator at Woodrow Hospital.
Imhotep/Paddington – SPOILERS – kidnapped people, starved them to death and mummified their corpse in a fish smokehouse. Believed he was turning them into gods, like the Incas did.
Emma Travis-Wilkes – SPOILERS – confessed to murdering people, butchering them for meat, storing the flesh in her father’s freezer and eating it. Her dad is famous author R.M.Travis.
CELEBRITIES WHO WERE ORIGINALLY FROM OLDCASTLE
R.M. Travis (Ray) – author – best-selling children’s author in the 80s. Writes scary and grim comedic books – Open the Coffins, Russell the Magic Rabbit, The Monsters Who Came for Dinner, The Amazing Adventures of Ichabod Smith, Imelda’s Miraculous Dustbin. He has Alzheimer’s.
Donny ‘$ick Dawg’ McRoberts – rap star – with Bob’s Speed Trap Records. Best know album is Live Free Or Die Trying. Been arrested on drugs charges.
Catnip Jane – pop star – album is Once Upon A Time in Dundee.
Leo McVey – aging rock star – biggest hit was an 80s concept album based on the children’s book Open the Coffins by his friend R.M. Travis.
Bands and musicians who play at the Tarantula Music Festival:
Nearly Blind Vera
Mr Bones (boy band)
Four Mechanical Mice
Stalin’s Wardrobe (indie/hipster)
Gerbils From Saturn (indie/hipster)
Local radio is Oldcastle FM. Features The Very Early in the Morning Show (with Jane Forbes); Sensational Steve’s Breakfast Drive Time Bonanza; Crazy Colin’s Rush Hour Drive Time Club; Midmorning Madness (with Annette Peterson); Deathbed Disks.
Football teams: Oldcastle Warriors (blue scarves) and Oldcastle United. The Warriors play at the City Stadium (not on map), a lopsided bird’s nest of steel, concrete & glass, amidst 50s semi-detached housing.
Local paper: the Castle News & Post.
MSP for Oldcastle South: Lord Forsythe-Leven.
VAMPIRES ELSEWHERE IN THE UK
London Power vacuum. In November 2013 the 2nd Inquisition hit lots of havens simultaneously, concentrating on high level vampires such as the Prince, Lady Anne. They also seized the assets of powerful vampires. The survivors of the court have moved to Edinburgh.
Edinburgh A Camarilla city. There is tension between the local vampires and the recent incomers from London, who have usurped several Court positions. Kindred who do not wish to live in such a London influenced city have fled elsewhere.
Manchester An Anarch city.
Glasgow An Anarch city.
Aberdeen A Camarilla city.
Dundee The Camarilla are clinging on by their fingernails.
Middlesbrough Nominally Anarch. But Gangrel predominate here so it is better described as a Gangrel town than an Anarch town.