The Seattle Sprawl
|Population Density||500+ per km2|
|Per Capita Income||26,000¥ per year|
|Below Poverty Level||32%|
|Felonious Crime Rate:||18 per 1,000 per annum|
- 1 The Redmond Barrens
- 1.1 Touristville
- 1.2 The Squatters' Mall
- 1.3 Hollywood
- 1.4 The Plastic Jungle
- 1.5 Glow City
- 1.6 The Rat's Nest
- 1.7 Organized Crime
- 1.8 Minor Characters
- 2 Downtown
- 3 Council Island
- 4 Bellevue
- 5 Tacoma
- 6 Everett
- 7 Renton
- 8 Auburn
- 9 Snohomish
- 10 Fort Lewis
- 11 Outremer
- 12 The Ork Underground
- 13 The Puyallup Barrens
The Redmond Barrens
|District Size||~436 km2|
|Population Density||1,142 per km2|
|Per Capita Income||6,600¥ per year|
|Below Poverty Level||79%|
|< High School||78%|
The district of Redmond was once among the most prosperous places in the Seattle region. During the late twentieth century, it developed from a suburban community into a major center for the computer industry. Huge office complexes and skyscrapers sprang up as more and more companies moved in. Then came the Crash of 2029, the viral attack that crippled the world telecommunications network and wiped out computer systems everywhere. Redmond's primary industry died overnight. Eighty percent of the businesses in the district collapsed, along with the local government, which was unable to cope with the disaster. A small percentage of the residents fled to Bellevue, which was also suffering from the effects of the Crash. The rest turned to lawlessness and riots.
Drawn by the abandoned homes and apartment buildings, refugees from other districts and Seattle's homeless began moving into the area. This caused further violence, prompting more "respectable people" to flee Redmond, resulting in more empty buildings, which in turn attracted additional squatters. Within a few years, this vicious cycle transformed Redmond into a ghost town inhabited by criminals, transients, refugees, and those who were unable or unwilling to get out.
Roughly half a million people live in Redmond, though it's tough to come up with an accurate number because most of the population is SINless and it's impossible conduct an official census. Permanent residents come from diverse backgrounds, but the percentage of metahumans is generally fairly low—a reminder of the prejudicial suburban attitude and the widely held belief that metahumans couldn't hack it (pun intended) in the ratified world of computer programming.
In Redmond today, a scrap of food or a cheap trinket can be a reason to die. Bands of squatters and gangs attack the weekly convoys of armed trucks that deliver food to the district's few grocery stores. Abject poverty gives rise to a host of social ills that repeatedly drag down every resident ambitious enough to attempt to rise above his or her station—or even to behave as a relatively decent metahuman being. Aside from a few remarkable cases, Redmond is a seething mass of violence waiting to explode.
Rather than attempting to find a way to improve the communities in the Barrens, the few companies that bother to have facilities to protect their investments. Many of them hire the toughest, most socially alienated squatters and gangers they can find as security guards. "Accidental" shootings in and around local corporate facilities are just another fact of life in Redmond.
The syndicates are big in Redmond, of course, and the Mafia and the yakuza run the local black market. Because even legal goods are difficult to get in Redmond, the biggest market is for daily necessities like food and medical supplies, followed closely by "entertainment" such as pirated trid, sim-chips, BTLs, booze, porn, and similar moneymakers. There's a brisk business in illegal weapons, though the syndicates are careful which factions they choose to arm. They keep most arms sales small unless the mobs are preparing their own gangers and soldiers for war.
Redmond is the perfect breeding ground for new syndicate muscle, mainly because the only way most youngsters can make it off the streets is by joining one of the mobs. Yakuza and Mafia recruiters keep their eyes open for promising young talent, especially from the local gangs, and the Seoula Rings also use Redmond as a recruiting center. At least five Rings tunnel recruits out of Redmond and into their ranks elsewhere in the metroplex. The Seven Triangles Ring is currently leading the pack–probably because their recruitment tactics seem specifically designed to scare the drek out of the candidates.
Redmond attracted a larger suburban population because it is mostly flat, with a few hills in the southern end and the Snoqualmie River winding through almost a third of the distrct. Now the river is filthy, choked with toxic sludge, and other refuse (including the more-than-occasional corpse). Massive packs of devil rats live all along the shoreline, some of them horribly mutated by whatever drek is in the water.
Apart from the kilometers of abandoned buildings, the cracked and deteriorating streets, and the vast slums and squatter "cities," Redmond's only distinctive features are the "toxic castles," as locals call the various factories and manufacturing plants. Plenty of them look a lot like techno-Gothic structures of rusting metal and soot-covered brick, surrounded by moats of their own poisonous filth and high walls topped with razorwire. Armed guards regularly patrol the walls to keep the facilities safe from armies of squatters and roving gangs, and most plants ship materials in and out via helicopter or tilt-rotor to avoid bringing trucks through Redmond's dangerous streets.
Redmond is not the place to go if you're looking for nightlife other than sleazy bars and strip-joints where most of the customers'll knife you for a drink or five nuyen. You're not likely to find much biz in such places, though they sometimes provide an out-of-the-way spot for a meeting, if you can keep the locals at bay with suitable levels of intimidation.
The only marginally safe area of Redmond is the section that borders Bellevue, near the offices of the so-called Redmond District Government. Known as "Touristville," the area caters to tourists and slummers from Bellevue who come to experience the "thrill" of the Barrens and hang out in sleazy clubs. Lone Star actually patrols here, but smart visitors bring along their own protection by packing heat or (if they can afford It) traveling with a bodyguard.
124th Avenue and 143rd Street
This bar and restaurant on the western edge of Touristville is owned and operated by a group of orks who opened the establishment after the Night of Rage. The place is popular with people from Bellevue and Downtown looking for a real "Barrens" experience, and the owners and staff work hard to make their establishment a sort of community center where the locals can gather. Racists have attacked the place more times than anyone can count, but Crusher 495 offers such a rare and successful opportunity for all the races to gather under one roof in harmony that the Humanis-types only create bad press for themselves by targeting it.
495 is a good place to be among friends in Redmond, especially if you're metahuman. The guide makes the place sound as corny as a 1960s musical, but it just happens to be —people can get together here without the pressures that normally make us fuck with each other. Johnsons, on the other hand, like it as a "neutral ground" between Bellevue and the true depths of the Barrens, where no suit is going to go.
Janus Koskey, the manager of the 495, hears everything going on in Redmond worth knowing. He'll pass on information from time to time for a reasonable fee. He's also been known to arrange introductions between Johnsons and shadow-talent, provided neither side is Humanis or looking to cause trouble for the locals.
— Solo Mio
Redmond Fall City Road and 196th Avenue NE
The Skeleton is Redmond's hottest nightclub, located on the southern edge of Touristville. Redmond's best musicians trek out to the Skeleton most every night in hopes of being discovered by one of the talent scouts or media-corp people who frequent the club. It also attracts Bellevue's young and well-off, who enjoy the thrill of "slumming" in Redmond.
The Skeleton's management likes to keep the place looking good, which tends to mean orks and trolls aren't welcome. An average-size bribe usually convinces the bouncer that you'd add "color" the place.
— Goblin Boy
Great place to snatch some corporate kid and put pressure on mommy or daddy. Security is tight for that very reason, and a lot of goldenkids have their own bodyguards, but it still beats the odds of successfully breaking into a high-security condoplex.
The passion of some of those musical acts regularly attracts free spirits to the place. Must be something about the surrounding despair and that desperate urgency to escape you can hear in the songs--draws 'em like a magnet. You can spot them leaning on a pillar, looking a bit too cool, gazing unblinking up at the stage while a mosh pit is consuming itself right in front of them.
— Darth Vaper
156th Ave NE and Tosh Road
Sundowners was a struggling Scottish-themed tourist bar and restaurant up until the Brain Eaters took over the nearby former-Microsoft campus, with the original Scottish dwarf who ran it staying on as a bartender. The regular business from the gangers have improved its fortunes, as well as the business from corporate and independent deckers looking to trade data with their street counterparts, or to recruit young talent. The pub still pulls a general crowd from tourists and locals, most of whom never notice the electronic transactions taking place around them.
The Redmond Grand Hotel
While not luxurious, or even particularly pleasant, accommodations, the Grand offers twenty-two floors of capsules a few convenient blocks from the Redmond downtown. This hotel does good business providing a basic level of security and safety to residents at the lowest possible price.
Start unlocking capsules in this place and, in addition to the temporary residents, you're going to find crates of stolen goods, emergency caches of guns and other supplies, fleshworkers plying their trade, and countless other criminal acts. Word is that the hotel is owned and run behind the scenes by the Brain Eaters, who are happy to let the capsules be used for anything that brings in the nuyen so long as it doesn't cause too much commotion.
The Brain Eaters
The Brain Eaters are a mixed-race gang operating in the Touristville area. The Star lets them get away with it because they're fairly tame as thrill gangers go. The Brain Eaters are techies, interested in scavenging the remains of Redmond's technological infrastructure. Their colors are black over white and each gang member wears a distinctive red fez.
The Brain Eaters are heavily into smuggling and are the sole group of shadow-deckers operating out of the Redmond Barrens. Their headquarters has Matrix jack-points, computer hardware, and pirated software. Recent indications suggest the Brain Eaters are helping the yakuza expand their syndicate's operations in Redmond, in exchange for wiz new warez that "fell off the back of a truck."
The Eaters aren't just computer geeks. Plenty of them will bash your head in with a baseball bat if you insult their stupid hats, or if you look like you have something valuable they might want. They make some cred by selling any cyber on their victims before unloading the body parts on the organ market.
— Wraith II
Eh, they're pretty tough on their home turf, where if anyone tries to stand up to them they'll eat a few dozen rounds from an auto-turret, but they've got little ability to extend their strength outside the area they've wired with automated defenses.
The Crimson Crush
The Crimson Crush is an ork gang with turf in the Bargain Basement neighborhood east of Touristville around 228th Avenue. They wear red leathers and operate somewhat like a "neighborhood watch" to protect the local orks. The Crush regularly clashes with human gangs aligned with the Humanic Policlub and Human Nation. They make money extorting protection money from the locals, along with some small-time smuggling and dealing.
The gangers don't trust any of the syndicates, btu the Crimson Crush seems to be getting a lot of new BTLs from the Triads. "Kong-chips" are selling like mad on the streets of Bargain Basement and Touristville, much to the dismay of the Mafia and the yakuza.
The Crimson Blazers
A human gang looking to be affiliated with the Crimson Crush, but unable to join, operating north of their territory. They have a passion for flame-painted and armored hot rods.
The Squatters' Mall
Before the Crash of '29, this was a popular mall in the Redmond area. In the time since, the mall has become a black market Mecca, occupied by stores stocked with salvage from the adjacent Rat's Nest or from Glow City, contraband smuggled over the nearby border with the Salish-Shidhe territory, stolen goods taken or brought back to the Barrens, and home-grown chems, chips, and other instruments of vice. Many of the stores are temporary stalls, set up to move the goods from a recent score and then gone within a week, while others have been in business for over a decade, like The Gut Shack, Kranky's Kantina, or Barrens Boy Body Art.
The mall is maintained as a neutral ground by its self-appointed landlord, Elida "the Duke." The Duke also rules The Juice Box, the mall's premier outlet for drugs, BTLs, and other mind-altering technologies. This neutrality is generally respected by the local gangs and criminal organizations, who each benefit enough from their own access that they won't risk being shut out over a failed attempt to take over the mall.
A few years back, Lone Star tried to shut this place down. Some new commander found it just too big an affront to the legal order. Halfway through the assault, while his troops were being overwhelmed by devil rats summoned by a few local Rat shamen, the chief of police started getting calls from the governor, the Mafia don, and half a dozen major corporations, asking him what the hell he thought he was doing. Apparently it isn't just local criminals moving wares through the mall. The raid was shut down, the commander was reassigned to Alaska, and now the Star won't go near the place.
The Squatters' Mall has always been neutral, but just how independent they really are has varied. To effectively protect the place requires connections, and some of those will always be stronger than others. About fifteen years ago, when Noely Monroe was running the place, she was damn-near a sock puppet for the Mafia. Nowadays, Elida tends to work the most with the yaks, but most of that's probably because of how dominant they are in the Barrens. She thinks that taking the Mall gives her the right to call the shots when it comes to what happens inside, and she's mostly proven right.
The Body Works
A block away from the main area of the Squatter's Mall is an abandoned hospital, taken over by a group of street docs and former staff members who offer legal and not-so-legal medical services to anyone who can afford them. The hospital's four floors are the mall's medical annex, featuring a variety of illegal chop-shops, body clinics, and similar operations, all offering the best services at the lowest prices.
You can find a lot of cheap cyber-mods here, at least 10 to 20 percent less than you'd pay in a Downtown hospital or clinic. Of course, a lot of the cyber is low-grade or second-hand (so are most of the replacement organs), so you get what you pay for.
— Neon Chrome
This place does a brisk business with the yakuza and Tamanous, buying and selling illegal organs and used cyberware. If you're shopping around for your medical needs, this place or Doctor Bob's Quickstitch in the Bargain Basement neighborhood are the best in the district (though that may not be saying much).
Stoker's Coffin Motel
Located on the second floor of the mall, Stoker’s Coffin Motel has been the default place to sleep for Barrens squatters without anywhere else to go. For the price of a soyburger, you can sleep the night and if you’re lucky, you won’t even be bothered. No frills here, chummer, just a horizontal rectangle as big as you are, with what passes as a mattress and a box to put your drek in. The fact that it ain’t the street is all that it has going for it. But hey, in Redmond, that’s something.
Hollywood Simsense Entertainments
NE 145th Street & 168th Avenue
This factory in Redmond churns out cheap simsense gear and even cheaper sim-chips. The place has its own studios, which produce mostly soft porn and horror-schlock, using "actors" with all the emotional impact of wet carp. The company is in the pocket of the Seattle Mafia and cranks out low-grade BTL chips for sale to chippies all over the metroplex. In its back rooms, Hollywood films hardcore sim-porn and even worse drek, like snuff-films using "actors" recruited from the streets of the Barrens. A lot of wannabe actors and actresses end up working in one of HSE's productions after becoming addicted to BTLs, so they'll do whatever the director says for another hit.
While these guys are by far biggest players in the area, they're not the only ones. The area abounds with second-rate studios trying to cash in on both the white and black market chip trade, as well as more transient operations dedicated purely to the corners of the simsense and BTL industries sufficiently dark that even Lone Star can't ignore it. While some of these are true independents who only operate until they're eliminated or chased out of town, a number are covertly run by the larger studios to produce special-order content for wealthy customers, like where the subjects of the sim-recordings aren't the usual "Barren drek" that nobody will miss.
— Wraith II
The Red Hot Nukes
The Red Hot Nukes are a dwarf go-gang operating out of Hollywood along Route 202, though their leader – Grinder, an African-American dwarf who organized the gang after he retired from a short shadowrunning career – would prefer that they be called a neighborhood association. And he's got a point: compared to some of the Redmond gangs, the Nukes are unusually dedicated to creating a relatively safe space for the locals to live and work. So long as you pay your taxes and don't try to infringe on their business, Grinder keeps his gangers from screwing with the locals just because they can.
The gang's colors are gray and red, along with an ever-present baseball cap displaying their symbol, a mushroom cloud commemorating both their name and their skill with explosives. If it goes boom, the Nukes know how to build it, use it, and disarm it. In fact, the gang's initiation ritual involves disarming a bomb built by Grinder. No one gets a second chance.
The Nukes specialize in rackets involving demolitions: protection, insurance scams, terrorism, even wetwork if the price is right. They love any opportunity to blow something up. The one exception is doing damage to the local roads: nothing that would interfere with the Nukes ability to patrol on their lowrider motorcycles.
I used to run with Grinder when he worked the shadows. Back then, he was so rock-steady he could disarm a corporate security system in nothing flat. I went drinking with him once after he founded the gang, and he said something about starting the Nukes because of something he found out on a run. He wouldn't say anything more about it, just shivered and shook his head like someone coming out of a bad dream. Whatever he found out, it scared him bad. I didn't think anything could scare Grinder.
"Neighborhood association" is right, because they want to keep things quiet in service of the neighborhood business: producing and distributing illegal sim-chips and BTLs. They run the product out of Redmond on their hot rods, and the Mafia makes them their exclusive distributor in the Redmond Barrens. Their involvement in the production side of the business is even more direct, with gang members regularly appearing in the gruesome live-fire horror scenarios recorded by the Hollywood capture studios.
— Wraith II
The Plastic Jungle
At the turn of the century, a wealthy agriculturist built twenty of the world's largest greenhouses in north-western Redmond, not far from Echo Lake. The giant tent-like buildings, several kilometers in diameter, stand on land that was considered too polluted to grow crops. The agriculturist proved the skeptics wrong—almost. The land yielded amazing harvests of food, but most of it was too contaminated for consumption.
The huge greenhouses were used to grow tropical flowers and other decorative plants until the Crash of '29, when the backer lost his fortune and the entire project was abandoned. Primarily because no one else had ventured into the area, the lion's share of Redmond's metahuman population moved into the agri-domes to live among the wild offshoots of the original plants.
The squatters living in the Plastic Jungle are understandably paranoid about outsiders, especially humans. They're organized into urban tribes and scratch out what existence they can from the poisoned soil. Tribal shamans are working to cleanse the soil of contaminants so that the squatters can grow some of their own food. Those who succeed, of course, immediately become targeted by gangs and scavengers looking to steal the food supplies.
Ironically, the metahuman tribes of the Plastic Jungle are a shining example of racial cooperation. Elves works alongside orks, dwarfs, and trolls to protect and sustain the tribes, and most of the metahumans in the community have put aside their differences in order to survive. "Normas" are not well-liked or trusted, but the tribes don't kill visitors out of hand.
The Plastic Jungle is truly a sight to see. Dirty grayish canopies of bioplastic high over a near-tropical world that is warm and free of rain. The grounds of the old greenhouses are covered with a riot of tropical and semi-tropical vegetation, creeping vines, and exotic flowers in every color of the rainbow, filling the air with a heady scent. The metahumans built tents and shelters out of discarded bioplastic sheeting, wood, thatching, and whatever other materials they could gather. If it wasn't for the contaminated soil and the near-total lack of modern conveniences, the place would almost be pleasant.
Oddly enough, there's some awakened critters that seem to have adapted to the contamination. You'll hear flocks of birds and see all manner of fauna thriving. Now you know and I know that evolution can't happen that quickly--so what the fuck is going on in there?
The Free Jungle Project
The Free Jungle Project is a non-profit corporation that recently gained ownership of the Plastic Jungle by bequest from the late great dragon Dunkelzahn. The Free Jungle project started by running the water-distribution system that maintains the tropical environment within the jungle domes. The face of the project is a local community leader, Mama Palazzo, and the engineering team is run by a Dr. Annabella Linley, a recent graduate of UC Berkeley in environmental science. Considering the resources devoted to the project, however, it's clear that they're being financially backed by an outside group.
To the Free Jungle Project, I leave full ownership of the Plastic Jungle, including the land and structures thereon, which you’ve already claimed in spirit, on the condition that it be maintained in perpetuity as a refuge for those that need it.
— Dunkelzahn's Will
Apparently the FJP is getting money and muscle from some runners based out of barrens. Probably worse things than a few hundred square kilometers of urban jungle to hide in when a run goes bad.
— Solo Mio
Nearly without exception, this bucolic dwarf can be found in the territory she's staked out in the Plastic Jungle for her garden. Tended by her and a small number of volunteers, Mama has managed to cultivate a number of beneficial plants that she uses to brew up herbal remedies. Despite the informal relationship between the FJP and those who live in the Jungle, Mama feels a responsibility to them, and she has significant influence thanks to her control of the Project, and her history of work on behalf of her community.
The jungle lacks "any formal system of management" because it's an anarcho-communist syndicate. It doesn't need anyone in charge, as much as that may surprise whatever corp drone wrote the report this text was pulled from.
— Rude Rocker
Palazzo is just a relatively well-known gorilla in what's literally a lawless jungle. The metahumans in there aren't any more civilized than the plants or the awakened creatures, and any of them are just as likely to kill and eat you. Going in there with the hope of finding anything more than roving packs of animals, or what might as well be animals, is expecting too much.
— The Keynesian Kid
Named after its proximity to the jungle, and perhaps as a slur on its largely-metahuman occupants, the Ape House is half a dozen stories of sheet metal, plywood, and other scavenged material shakily fastened together inside an abandoned warehouse. Intended for the agricultural output of the jungle, the house now houses a horde of squatters amongst its ever-shifting architecture of refuse.
There's a pretty decent community in the a-house. You don't find your typical transients here, the residents have really made something of the place. Which is a shame as it's an inferno waiting to happen. At which point goodbye to the house and the people who live there, as there aren't exactly adequate fire exits for hundreds of people spread across a five-story-tall maze.
In 2013, the Trojan-Satsop nuclear power plant in southeast Redmond suffered a partial meltdown, contaminating Beaver Lake and the surrounding land for kilometers around. In 2028, Shiawase Atomics built a new plant next to the rusting hulk of its predecessor. That plant's been providing power to the metroplex ever since. After the Crash of '29, squatters and refugees began building hovels on the contaminated land, despite attempts by the metroplex government to remove them. Unwilling to continue to waste money protecting a segment of the population that didn't even pay taxes, the government eventually gave up and the squatters remained. Since then, the transient population has more than tripled, despite the high death rate from cancer and radiation sickness, to say nothing of the infant mortality rate and some hideous radiation-induced mutations.
Glow City is a fragging community of mutants. Some are so twisted by the radiation they seem like a hideous new metahuman race. Some magicians among the squatters have tried to treat the illness and mutations, but the few shamans living there have trouble coaxing any power from the pulluted and irradiated land, and it seems unlikely any mages live there (most Glow City residents can't even read).
This place is a terrible blight. The Great Mother cries out in pain, and the sound of her weeping often drowns out our songs. The only power to be found here is pollution and slow death.
— She Who Knows the Night
Not all shamans have trouble with Glow City. I've heard of a shaman living practically on top of the remains of the failed nuclear plant who goes by the name of Burning Bones. They say he's so irradiated that his skeleton glows in the dark through his flesh, but he's not dead of cancer or radiation poisoning because he's in tough the "spirits of the invisible fire" that aid and protect him and his followers. He can raise spirits in Glow City, something no other shaman can do.
Understanding why people live in Glow City helps you understand the Barrens. Yeah, there’s a good chance Glow City will kill you, but not immediately. It’s the same deal with WhompSnappers— we know they aren’t helping us be healthy, but we don’t really see the damage they’re doing. Add to that the fact that everything around Glow City looks like it will kill you quick, and you can see why people opt to live there. If you understand that living in a heavily irradiated area can logically be your safest decision, you know more about the Barrens than you did before.
You’ll know more, but you won’t fully understand. You’ll never fully get it if you haven’t lived here.
The Rusted Stilettos
The Rusted Stilettos claim the territory near Glow City in the southern portion of Redmond along Route 202. The gang is made up of mostly of trolls and orks, and their colors are black and rust red. Many gang members look sickly and pale—whether from make-up, tattooing, or simply life near Glow City, it's hard to say.
The gang recruits members from Glow City's squatter communities. Most of its money comes from protection rackets against the local residents, along with smuggling and dealing BTL and other mindbenders to the squatters. The syndicates don't take much notice of Glow City or Stilettos, leaving them to take care of their own, which seems to be just how the gangers want it.
The stilettos are fragging mutants, literally. They operate in an irradiated zone and look like death warmed over. A lot of the trolls in the gang have excessive dermal bone deposits that make their skins pale and lumpy, but also more toughly armored than a regular troll's. They often dye what little hair they have pale green.
— Crusher Keel
The Green 4800
The Green 4800 have been operating out of the Glow City area for a few years, claiming a piece of territory far enough from the disaster site to avoid any real radiation exposure, but close enough to keep these eco-minded gangers angry. Funding themselves with a mix of all-natural pharmaceutical production, work-for-hire (so long as the job does damage to a corp), and other ecologically-minded revenue streams, the Green 4800 funnel their profits into theatrical strikes against the environmentally-destructive corporate order.
Branded as an eco-terrorist by Lone Star, their founder, Coco Lemuel, is currently serving a life sentence at the Star's off-shore Rig Ultramax prison facility. She is rumored to still be guiding the activities of the group's acting leader, Mika One-Star.
Most of the best bud in the sprawl comes from one of the hydroponic gro-ops G48' have spread around g-city. Whenever my dealer has got some Radioactive or Cooling Tower or something with a name with that kind of glow-burg reference, I know it's going to be good.
— "Big Rick" Blazer
As I've heard it, this crew likes to take over an apartment building, power it up with a few block's worth of juice, use it to get a few crops with all-night grow-lights, then burn it all down and move before the power company notices the excessive draw.
That Coco Lemuel has got some sort of spirit connection. Gets told what targets the group should hit by a big-mana nature spirit. That's why One-Star waits to hear from Coco before making a move.
— Darth Vaper
The Rat's Nest
Officially known as the North Seattle Refuse Center, this area is a huge, open-air garbage dump several kilometers wide, just north of the Snoqualmie River near the edge of Salish-Shidhe territory. The dump is home to nearly a thousand squatters, who live in ramshackle huts and tents on mountains of garbage. Some make a living picking through the trash and salvaging anything usable for themselves or for sale. The dump is infested with rats, devil rats, and other scavengers, which frequently come to the aid of local rat shamans.
The trash-rats (or gomi-nezumi, as the yakuza call them) find the most fragging amazing things sometimes. It's incredible what people throw away–the squatters have salvaged a fair amount of tech, weapons, clothing, building materials, and other treasures from the drek. Word has it they even pieced together a couple of working vehicles from spare parts and wrecks. The rats embody the motto "waste not, want not.”
Sometimes the rats find more than they bargained for. A couple of years ago, a pocket secretary with some particularly valuable data on it ended up in a corporate exec's trash and found its way to the Rat's Nest. It took some persuading to get the trash-rats to part with the things, and the yakuza who were looking for the files nearly tore the place apart. The rats fought back so hard that the yaks were forced to give up, but not until after they'd killed a few dozen squatters. Thank Rat for the aid of his little brothers and for guiding us.
While influential in Seattle, the Mafia struggles as power is consolidated under their new leadership, the Bigio Family, and has relatively little day-to-day control of Redmond. Similarly, the Triads, while powerful in Seattle and particularly the Puyallup Barrens, hold relatively little territory in the Redmond Barrens. The Redmond district is, instead, dominated by the yakuza, with significant opposition by the Seoulpa Rings, the Korean crime syndicate created by the pogrom of the yakuza's Korean membership.
The Nishidon-gumi syndicate of the yakuza dominates smuggling operations through Puyallup and Redmond, along with some hijacking and traditional protection rackets. The gumi also runs much of the vice industry in the Barrens, particularly the chip trade, against significant competition from the Mafia and the Triads. While the oldest yakuza clan in Seattle, the yakuza in the Sprawl currently answer to the Shotozumi-rengo, whose leader, Hanzo Shotozumi, is responsible for unifying all the yakuza throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Also part of the yakuza, the Shigeda-gumi clan runs operations in the north of the metroplex, including parts of Redmond. The gumi competes with the Ciarniello Family (Mafia) in the gambling business and has considerable influence on smuggling in northern Seattle, as well as a large slice of the vice industry.
The Shigedas have been importing bunraku "flesh-puppet" brothels from San Fransisco, using prostitutes modified with personafix BTL chips to make them into whomever the client wants. The brothels are a huge cash cow, so you can bet the Mafia or some other rival will try to muscle in on the action.”
Formed from the remaining Korean members, or their families, after the assassination of the previously-Korean leadership of the Seattle yakuza, the Seoulpa Rings are a small but dedicated opposition to the yakuza. The Komun'go Ring operates in the Redmond district, running smuggling, fencing, protection, and information rackets, frequently trying to horn in on yakuza action, and equally often butting heads with local gangs. The Ring runs a lot of protection rackets near the Salish-Shidhe border, using threats of magical and physical violence to give their "suggestions" weight.
"Stinky" Joe is a particularly pungent metahuman, rumored to be infected with a relatively mild variant of the HMMV virus.
"Big Sack" Johnson is a member of the Crimson Blazers, an offshoot of the Crimson Crush, and a big fan of the Seattle Screamers.
5th Avenue and Yester Way
Club Penumbra is the shadow-club in Seattle, one of the oldest and most respected in the metroplex. The moon-surface floor and star-covered black walls haven't changed much in twenty years, though the state-of-the-art trideo and laser effects are constantly updated. The club's private booths are popular for meets between shadowrunners and prospective Johnsons. Penumbra draws a mixed crowd of Asians, Anglos, and Natives on most nights. The music is almost always canned, run along with the light show by a techno-DJ, but includes popular dance hits and hard rock, and is always loud enough to mask any conversation.
The Renraku Arcology
1 Renraku Avenue
The massive Renraku arcology, a self-sufficient city within the city, is now within only eighteen months of opening after nearly a decade of construction. With its structural work nearly completed, this enormous, truncated pyramid rises nearly one thousand meters into the sky above the waterfront and stretches more than ten huge city blocks on each side.
In the middle of Lake Washington sits Council Island, formerly Mercer Island. The Treaty of Denver ceded Mercer to the Salish-Sidhe Council for use as their embassy in Seattle. The Native American renamed the island and heavily renovated it, tearing down most of the original buildings and replacing them with Salish-style structures, as well as restoring the island's flora and fauna.
The island's three thousand inhabitants are mostly diplomats and their families from Salish-Shidhe and other Native American lands. The rest are rangers and scientists who care for the island's wildlife. The only non-natives are translators, diplomatic attachés, and others vital to the functioning of the embassy.
Bear Doctor Society
A tribal group of shamans, devoted to the healing magic at which Bear excels, located on Council Island in Seattle. Most members are trained doctors or otherwise skilled in the life sciences. The society keeps up with modern medical practice as well as traditional tribal healing methods. Salish patients receive treatment free of of charge, as do any patients who cannot pay. The society is devoted to protecting life and forbids needless killing. The requirements of Bear are viewed as moral obligations.
Located across Lake Washington from Downtown, Bellevue offers a scaled-down version of the hustle and bustle of Seattle Center, including some of the smaller corporations operating in the metroplex, complimented by plenty of upscale, white-collar neighborhoods filled with corporate up-and-comers and the well-to-do. Seattle uses Bellevue, in the same way as Downtown, to serve as an example of all that Seattle is and can be. It comes as no surprise, then, that the government and the corporate council make it a priority to keep Bellevue clean and safe—not an easy task with the Redmond Barrens so close by.
While primarily hosting the bulk of Seattle's heavy industry, Tacoma also boasts plenty of its own skyscrapers and corporate officers. Eighteen major factories in Tacoma produce everything from steel girders and paper to ocean freighters and aircraft parts. This is helped by Tacoma being one of Seattle's prime transportation centers. It's close to Sea-Tac airport, and its extensive water-front handles shipping from all over the Pacific Rim. It also has Charles Royer Station, Seattle's sole passenger-train station, which serves the bullet train to and from San Fransisco.
More recently, Tacoma has become the site of some of the most vicious fighting ever between the Mafia and the yakuza. The yakuza have dominated organized crime in Tacoma for nearly thirty years now, but the Mafia is coming on strong in the district, thanks in part to Don Maurice Bigio, the Mafia's new leader, having come up through the organization based out of Tacoma.
Everett's distance from the buzz of downtown Seattle and its sedate reputation has left it an uncommon stop for the shadowrunner, though the growth of its industrial sector has made it a potential future rival to Tacoma, offering growing potential for runner employment.
A quiet, middle-class bedroom community, not unlike Bellevue, the Renton district is dominated by a spur of hills and ridges along its northern border. Running from southeast to northwest, the ridges include Cougar Mountain and Tiger Mountain, and are popular spots for hiking and sightseeing. Away from the hills, the land becomes level farmland before giving way to housing and light industry. A chain of small lakes is scattered through the district.
Auburn is a blue-collar neighborhood between Renton and Puyallup. The district is a major manufacturing center, and environmentalists out to curp the excesses of local factories and plants are at odds with angry residents afraid their jobs will disappear.
Marching to a different beat than the rest of the Seattle metroplex, Snohomish is a farming community, the only real expanse of green land left in Seattle.
The Fort Lewis Military Reservation consists of rolling hills of evergreen forests, almost untouched by urban development, with the exception of Fort Lewis itself, the local military post for the UCAS.
These islands on the Puget Sound, still under UCAS control, are part of the Seattle Metropolitan Area and are a steadily growing suburb of Seattle, though some of the smaller islands are nature reservations or private – i.e. corporate – property, including ones owned by Yamatetsu and Mitsuhama Computer Technologies. The Mitsuhama-owned island is rumored to harbour one of MCT's infamous "Zero zones," with zero-tolerance summary-execution for all trespassers.
The Ork Underground
A city within a city, the Ork Underground is an entire world beneath the streets of the Seattle metroplex. No one knows how far the Underground extends; parts of it run under the streets of Downtown, Tacoma, Everett, and even the Puyallup Barrens. Not every part of the Underground is connected to the rest, and not every enclave or community is unified under a common cause, but the surface-dwellers tend to lump all residents of the real Seattle underworld under the Ork Underground label.
The Puyallup Barrens
|District Size||~1,008 km2|
|Population Density||502 per km2|
|Per Capita Income||6,200¥ per year|
|Below Poverty Level||81%|
|< High School||80%|
In the years since the Ghost Dance War, the Puyallup district has descended into hell. Puyallup's decline began when Mount Rainier erupted in 2017, burying fertile farmland and small towns under tons of ash. Thousands fled their homes just ahead of rivers of lava that poured into southern part of the district. A year later, the ash-choked and lava-covered district became home to thousands of refugees fleeing the NAN takeover of western North America. Then came the Night of Rage, when thousands of metahumans sought refuge in Puyallup from the flames on the Tacoma waterfront. The metahumans established their own enclaves where they could relatively safe from norms.
Today, Puyallup is a thousand square kilometers of abandoned buildings, squatter camps, metahuman ghettos, and black lava fields that stretch as far as the eye can see. In the shadow of Mount Rainer, Puyallup lives under the constant threat of new eruptions and new devastation. Industry (such as it is) has been slow to recover: only a few heavy-industrial corps have been attracted by the cheap land and scant enforcement of environmental codes., their factories adding to the gray haze that hangs over the district.
The lava fields in the southern region altered the flow of the Puyallup River. As lava poured into the river, it pushed the water up and over the riverbanks to flood the low-lying plains. A new riverbed eventually formed, but some of the water drawn beneath the lava flow still bubbles to the surface as geysers and lakes of toxic, boiling mud.
More than half a million people live in Puyallup, at least half of them metahumans. Naturally, the high percentage of metahumans in the population (higher than anywhere else in the metroplex) means Puyallup has an abundance of nasty racial tensions. In Redmond, the humans vastly outnumber the metahumans, but in Puyallup the metahuman communities are big enough to fight back. Unfortunately, armed vigilantes on both sides love to cause unnecessary trouble.
Unlike the unsightly Redmond, Puyallup's stretches of black lava fields are hauntingly beautiful, even though devoid of life. Poverty and misery may abound, yet a strange, lost beauty seems hidden under the ash, just waiting to be born again. Those who wish to visit Puyallup should do so only via an escorted Metro Transit tour, or better yet, visit the scattered tourist sites via Federated-Boeing's armored helicopters.
The syndicates, particularly the Mafia, are all too willing to use the resources of metahuman communities like Carbanado and Tarislar as foot-soldiers and expendable muscle, but niether the Mafia nor the yakuza welcome metahumans into their upper ranks.
The Seoulpa Rings, on the other hand, do recruit metahumans and offer them equal opportunities in their organizations. By taking advantage of the other syndicates' oversight, they've gained considerable positive influence in outlying areas like Carbanado, which in turn gives them an in with the Cascade Orks smuggling biz.
— Ridge Runner
Puyallup has more gangs than anyone can keep track of, though fewer than Redmond because the population is more spread out. Many of the gangs are metahuman, formed to protect their ghettos and enclaves, like the Princes in Tarislar or the Black Rain in Carbanado. The Reality Hackers, the largest human gang in Puyallup, have ties with the local yakuza.
I can sum up the Puyallup Matrix in two words: NO-thing.
— The Dead Deckers Society
Puyallup is a good place for meets, but doesn't offer much in the way of runs. The only corporate facilities in the district are heavy factories, and local government is limited almost entirely to downtown Puyallup. There are still places to do and be, tough, and most of the major hangouts and attracts are either in Puyallup proper or Loveland. The rest of the district is a complete Z-zone, lawless and abandoned. The police patrol almost exclusively Puyallup proper near the border. It would take an out-and-out war in another part of the district to draw Lone Star's attention.
Mafia and Yakuza influence in the local government makes Puyallup an ideal place to stockpile their weapons, drugs, and loot. The many abandoned buildings and boarded-up warehouses are packed with their illegal materials. Each such building is a well-protected fortress, though it may not be evident from the street. The latest security systems have been installed, and guards will not hesitate to kill anyone poking around.
The syndicates' complete control over the district gives them free reign to use the area as a training camp for their recruits. In these "crime academies," promising recruits from every corner of the metroplex learn the ways of the syndicate, then receive specialized training according to their abilities. The locations of the various academies are ever-changing, with the average recruit receiving indoctrination in one location, physical training in another, and lessons in firearms in yet another.
Donatella Bigio, niece of Seattle boss-of-bosses Maurice Bigio, is in control of the Mafia in Puyallup. With Sea-Tac in Tacoma being at the heart of the Bigio's family interests, Donatella's oversight of the key smuggling route south through Puyallup has made her one of the most powerful Mob figures in the Sprawl. A charismatic leader, Donatella is one of several proteges Don Bigio has placed in key positions.
Kim Marsau is head of Puyallup's Yakuza clan. Though young, he has earned the right to this important post because of the way he managed to corrupt the Sioux Nation's White Rock government. He is a tough, pragmatic leader known for his decisiveness and uncanny foresight.
Many Seoupla Rings operate in Puyallup. Most barely survive by preying on the already-poor citizens of the district, but two Rings are flourishing. One is the Lee Brigade run by Chun Lee, teh rare Korean to have escaped the 2043 Yakuza purge of Koreans. His gang has been responsible for hit-and-run operations against Yakuza warehouses and even against a Yakuza decker academy.
Puyallup has more than its fair share of thrill gangs. Like the Redmond Barrens, there's not a patch of ground or square meter of building space where some gang is not ready to defend it to the death. On top of this is the racial tension between Humans and Metahumans. When the terrified survivors of the Night of Rage fled to Puyallup, they forcibly removed many Humans from their homes. Fighting erupted, with high casualties on both sides. As in Redmond, these fires of mutual hatred continue to burn, often exploding into violence.
A few months ago, some Humanis racist policlubs began to form armed militia units to police the borders of their neighborhoods. In response Metahumans formed their own defense forces. At this stage, neither side is armed with anything heavier than a handgun, but the right spark could easily escalate matters into a kind of all-out war.
The most spectacular geographical feature of the district is the Mowich Lava flow, a souvenir of the rivers of burning lava that poured down after Mount Rainier erupted. Whole towns and villages were destroyed, and lava fires burned for days, obliterating nearly all the district's vegetation. When the lava finally cooled, it solidified and formed kilometer-long beds of black, featureless rock.
The lava flow also forever altered the course of the Puyallup River. As the lava poured into the river, it pushed the water up past the banks and flooded most of the low-lying plains. In time, a new river bed was formed, but some of the river water sucked beneath the flow still makes its way to the top as powerful steam geysers and lakes of toxic, bubbling mud.
What Mount Rainier did not flood and scorch with lava, it blanketed with piles of ash almost two meters thick in some places. Cutting through the heaviest air filters and choking the life out of most machine engines, a heavy layer of fine gray ash eventually covered every square kilometer of the district.
Though all of Seattle is prone to earthquakes, Puyallup suffers the most severe tremors recorded. On average, the district experience at least one major earthquake every five years.
Puyallup has the worst air pollution in the Metroplex. Hundreds of unregulated factories constantly churn toxins into the air, and the mountains to the south trap the filthy air directly over the district. What wind does blow through only serves to stir up the tons of ash, often screening out much of the sun and making midday look like the middle of the night.
The pollution of the Puyallup District is so bad that a Stage Red Smog Alert is declared an average of 189 times a year.
— Woppler the Weatherman
The city of Puyallup proper lies along the junction of Tacoma and Auburn and does its level best to counter all the negative stereotypes about the district and its people. The area is largely middle-class, and inside the city limits is clean and safe compared to the rest of the district. Puyallup's district government is headquartered here, along with much of its industry.
The real reason for Puyallup's relative prosperity is the fact that nearly every government official and plant manager is on the take from either the Mafia or the Yakuza (sometimes both). Mob money runs Puyallup, and people who cross the syndicates usually end up floating in the Puyallup River.
All the suits at Puyallup Hall answer to the don and/or the oyabun first, the United Corporate Council second, and the Metroplex Hall a distant third. The syndicates don't hesitate to assassinate any politician who doesn't toe the line. Anyone who wants to make it in Puyallup has to have mob backing, or know how to play off syndicates against each other real well.
Despite the name, Loveland is not a nice neighborhood. In fact, this area along the western border of the district, near Route 7, is one of the roughest sections of the Barrens. Loveland is packed with squatters, chip-pushers, thieves, gang members, and prostitutes. The area is split down the middle between the Mafia and the Yakuza; both syndicates rake in nuyen selling various services to the inhabitants of Puyallup and Tacoma, as well as to soldiers on leave from Fort Lewis looking for a night on the town. Fighting between the two mobs is frequency and bloody, and both sides have become more aggressive in recent years.
Almost any scandal involving Fort Lewis soldier leads backs to Loveland. The Mafia and the Yakuza also use the neighborhood as a stop on the smuggling route through Puyallup and into Tacoma, right up Route 7. Lone Star has increased patrols along the route, which has actually led to an increase in go-gang activity as both syndicates pay the gangers to run interference for the operations.
— Ridge Runner
Most of Puyallup's orks live in the eastern portion of the district, not far from the NAN border. Before the Awakening, the area was a huge strip-mine that produced tons of precious metals annually. Mining operations slowed and were later abandoned following the Rainier eruption and the Ghost Dance War. The area is dotted with deep pits, quarries, and mine tunnels. The orks live in the tunnels and the remaining intact buildings, using old mining equipment to dig new tunnels and havens underground. Nobody knows for sure how far the tunnel network extends. The orks make some money selling the small amount of metal ore they dig out of the tapped-out mines, and rumor has it they make some additional cred on the side by storing various kinds of contraband in the tunnels.
Some of the Carbanado tunnels extend under the border into NAN territory, which is how they smuggle stuff in past the border patrols. Grease the right palms, and you can use the tunnels to get into Salish-Shidhe and back again, if you're careful.
This aptly named stretch of land lies west of Carbanado, running up to the shores of the Puyallup River. It's made of black lava flats, boiling mud fields, steam geysers, and dunes of grey ash. Very little lives in this inhospitable wasteland except for some Awakened creatures and a few hardy squatters.
After the eruption of Mount Rainier, several corporations tries building geothermal power plants atop the solidified lava flows to take advantage of the steam geysers and thermal pockets. The Computer Crash put an end to further construction, and the existing power plants were left to rust. The few people living in Hell's Kitchen have taken refuse in some of the old plant buildings.
Hell's Kitchen is, ironically, one of the few places in Puyallup where astral space has not been tainted by violence, pollution, and ecological devastation. Though the lava fields and mudflats are bleak, they represent a renewal of life and the power of nature. Many of us sensitive to such things find the stark beauty of Hell's Kitchen refreshing. Some shamans in Puyallup travel into the lava fields on spirit-quests, and enchanters can often find unspoiled materials for their work here: crystals, metals, stones, and similar treasures of the Earth.
A company in Auburn called Hell's Kitchen Tours gives helicopter rides of the area for tourists, so they can see the lava fields and geysers and drek from a safe distance. Some of the chopper pilots, for an additional fee, can be persuaded to land in the more open stretches of the fields to drop off passengers, then (hopefully) return later to collect them.
— Electron Glider
Tarislar is Sperethiel for "remembrance." This neighborhood of squatter shacks and abandoned apartment buildings, condos, and strip malls lies near the southern tip of the district, between Silver Lake and Harts Lake. It is home to most of Puyallup's elves, who fled the fires of the Night of Rage vowing they would never trust humans again. True to their word, the elves of Tarislar keep their contact with outsiders – especially humans – to a minimum.
The elves never intended to stay in Tarislar for long. They planned to emigrate to the tribal lands and join the Sinsearach elves, but after Tir Tairngire seceded from the Salish-Shidhe nation, the Tribal Council refused to let the elves cross the tribal lands to reach either the Sinsearach or Tir Tairngire. To this day, the inhabitants of Tarislar harbor a bitter dislike toward the Salish-Shidhe Council and Tir Tairngire for leaving them to their sorry fate.
Seems kind of strange that Tir Tairngire, the elves "Land of Promise," would leave so many elves in the Puyallup Barrens, doesn't it? Until you consider how useful they find it to have a stable elven community along the metroplex border, especially in a lawless area like the Barrens. The Tir uses Tarislar as a dumping ground for elven exiles and as a pipeline for smuggling and espionage. Some sympathizers in Tarislar would do anything for the "motherland," either because they're Tir agents posing as exiles or because they still hope to someday escape the crushing poverty of Tarislar and live in the Tir.