Welcome to New Branch

So, I was looking at the coast of New Jersey to get a sense of the geography and figure out where I was going to put the fictional town for the game. As I was zooming around with Google maps, I spotted a town in about the right place with the improbable name of Avon by the Sea. Curious, I check it out, and discover it's a tourist town which seems to take great pride in its victorian buildings. What's more, looking at the map, it's bounded on three sides by water, and on the fourth by the railroad. I literally could not have planned it better. (The logo, btw, is based off the real logo for Asbury Park).

Now, the main problem is of course that Avon by the Sea actually seems like a much nicer place than I'm expecting our town to be. It has a non-commercial boardwalk, for one thing, and my game falls apart without Skeeball. Serious. Even god plays Skeeball, and Kevin Smith will back me up on this. What's more, I've never actually been there, or even seen it, so it would be a sham for me to pretend I'm using it. I'm planning to be crueler to this town than any town really deserves, so I'm going to overtly fictionalize it, renaming the town, the streets and the major landmarks so that there's no confusion.

I was worried I was going to have to make up some derivative name - Avalon by the Sea has a nice ring, but suggests a different game than the one I'm playing - but it turns out that before it got incorporated as Avon by the Sea, it was alternately called Swanton Tract or New Branch. New Branch, New Jersey has, I think, the right tone to it.

Now, Avon by the Sea has a small population, about 2000 people, and the whole county weight in around 600k, but there's an interesting twist - it's close enough to New York City that the county has been getting steadily gentrified by well off folks from the city. That's a great axis for conflict, and it makes things all the more interesting when we go with the darker vision of New Branch - that pressure to change is going to have some teeth, especially if you have a small enough community that the freehold is actually a substantial local force by numbers alone. Small town, quirky community, big city pressures and economic woes? Awesome.

This hit a few notes I was still a little uncertain about, so I feel much better about this now. I even have a map, and that satisfies some deeply geeky part of my soul.

And as an aside, dinking around with graphics and poking around has inspired in me one of my first NPCs. His card:
Naturally, he only wants was best for the town, and his backers have an interest in making sure everything goes smoothly. And he, in turn, is willing to go to great lengths to keep those backers happy.