Lake Wobegon
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"It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, my home town…"

—Garrison Keillor, A Prairie Home Companion

Basic Information

Described as "the little town that time forgot, that the decades cannot improve," Lake Wobegon is a small Midwestern town located somewhere in central Minnesota. Where exactly is hard to say, because the surveyors mapping out the state in the early days made a mistake and left it out of their maps. It is the creation of humorist and storyteller Garrison Keillor, whose rambling tales about his fictitious home town are a weekly feature of his radio show "A Prairie Home Companion".

The town was founded by Unitarian missionaries who sought to convert the Ojibwe Indians through interpretive dance. Demographically, the town is evenly split between German Catholics and Norwegian Lutherans. The people are good folk, on the whole, and reflect the virtues and flaws of small town midwestern life.

Some of the notable features of the town include:

  • The Statue of the Unknown Norwegian — so called because the fellow who posed for it left town before the sculptor asked him his name.
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility — the local Catholic church
  • Lake Wobegon Lutheran Church
  • The Lake Wobegon Whippets — the local baseball team, whose arch-rivals are the Upsala Uff-Das
  • The Chatterbox Cafe — "The place to go that's just like home, assuming you were brought up that way."
  • The Side-Track Tap — run by Wally and Evelyn
  • Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery — 'If you can't find it at Ralph's, you can probably get along without it."
  • Bob's Bank — in the green trailer
  • The Sons of Knute Temple — meeting hall for a local fraternal organization

"…And that's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, and all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."


2. book: Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor (1985)

Game and Story Use

  • It can be used as a model for a small midwestern town.
    • … Which seems peaceful and idyllic on the surface… until you discover the Cthuloid Horror living in the bottom of the lake
      • … or the terrorist organization operating out of the Sons of Knute Lodge
      • … or the mind-control drugs slipped into the Powdermilk Biscuits.
  • A small, peaceful down full of above average people? Might be some kind of creepy Stepford full of Pod People … or a front for something else like a secret military base or someone's eugenics programme.
  • A PC might have been raised in Lake Wobegon, or a similar midwestern town.
  • Because it has such a richly-developed backstory, you can mine it for background characters, businesses and organizations and see if anyone notices.
    • You need an NPC clergyman? Why not name him Pastor Ingvist?
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