The Fall of 300SD
Before the fall of 300 much of what is today Eastsector DownTown made up the Central Outskirts, i.e. the suburban region of Central; living areas interspersed with vast industrial complexes. Central took up almost the same space as nowadays, since the fall of 300 forced SLA to build the Perimeter Walls – and the wall built around Central forced it to stay roughly the same shape horizontally. West of Central the Uptown region stretched forth in a roughly crescent shape. It connected Central with the lower income housing area, called Suburbia, that had developed as a buffer and living zone between the corporate areas of Central, the entertainment areas of Uptown and the industrialized Rustbelt and Harbour Zones in the western parts of the city. Thus before 300SD maps of Mort City had an hourglass-shape.
With the fall of Salvation Tower, the five sectors of the Central Outskirts were devastated. After the disaster, SLA Industries refloored the innermost parts of these sectors, which became today’s Eastsector DownTown, and cordoned off the remaining parts of the Central Outskirts behind thick Perimeter Walls. Soon these areas would become known under the name Cannibal Sectors.
The areas of Central Outskirts that were hit least hard – the areas closest to the core of the city – were rebuilt so that they could take up all the surviving inhabitants of the original Central Outskirts who still had the funds to afford living that close to Central. The bulk of this new zone was built on top of old factory and production zones that were refloored prior to the renewal. Finally the new Central Suburban Zone in the east spread from the original area until it completely surrounded Central and connected to the original Industrial Suburbia zone in the west and became officially known as Suburbia.
To this day it consists of a monotonous suburban plex area, that hides the old industrial factory and processing zones as well as the refloored, almost intact remainders of the original Central Outskirts (that today function as it’s basement) underneath it’s streets. The typical street in Suburbia consists of a two-lane street, flanked on both sided by a narrow sidewalk and an endless row of 6 to 10 story houses, completely identical in layout and façade. The house numbers and the window decorations as well as the presence or absence of curtains are the only distinguishing features on these houses.
There are countless shopping centres inside Suburbia, most within driving distance from home and easily reachable by public transportation. All standard equipment as well as basic daily needs can be bought in these centres, although special products, like i.e. weapons, armour, clothing and furniture must be obtained through the relevant shops in the Suburban Centres.
The Suburban Centres are full shopping and recreation zones in Suburbia. It is not possible to rent or buy property there unless for business purpose. Here every shop (although not as exclusive as in Uptown or Central) can be found and everything can be bought (usually at a lower quality, but also lower price than in Uptown or Central).
Suburbia is dotted with Bullet Train and subway stations and cluttered with fast-lane motorways, most of them built on concrete or iron bridges, that can be accessed via vast circular ramps. These fastways run some meters above and directly across the Suburbian houses connecting the different neighbourhoods and exits to other zones of the city like a intertwined mass of spaghetti (hence the nicknames Spaghetti Lane for the fastways and Spaghetti Knot for a cluster of access ramps connected to a single fastway). Most of these motorways are toll-free, but the fastest usually cost 1 Credit per use or a special exemption permit (issued when necessary through the Department responsible for the Operative). These small cards are fitted into the vehicle of the Operative and send out a special signal to the tollbooths, that automatically opens the barrier on approach.
Crime in all forms, ranging from juvenile crime, over shoplifting, vandalism as well as serious crimes like serial killer slaughter, copycat killings, random shootings and mass-murder to revolutionary/subversive crimes like spreading DarkNight propaganda and bombings, is one of the biggest problems in Suburbia and the zone is flooded with Shiver patrols who are always busy. Suburbia acts as a fertile recruiting ground for DarkNight Corruptors and thus Internal Affairs has taken an active interest in this zone of Mort in their endless quest to rout out subversion. When their investigations fail another series of bombings and assassinations is sure to hit the streets of Suburbia.
The outskirts of Suburbia consist mainly of factory and RustBelt zones, where the majority of the population of Suburbia works 6 till 9. Unfortunately most of these zones have access to the ancient factory levels below Suburbia and through them access to DownTown is possible; routes of ingress for the true DownTown horrors to add their share to violence of Suburbia.
In an attempt to offer increased protection from DownTown, SLA has completely sealed off the Suburbia, Uptown and Central Zones behind another set of Perimeters, the DownTown Perimeter, dividing Suburbia from DownTown and its horrors. Sadly they overlooked the underground.
Needing living space for Operatives as well as entertainment and shopping centres, SLA started a grand urban renewal and limited reflooring process in the parts of Suburbia closest to Central and expanded the crescent Uptown Zone until it completely surrounded Central. This zone – in some parts built atop and in other parts reaching down onto the original street level of Suburbia – became known as Uptown.
Today Uptown consists mainly of towering concrete housing blocks, built close together in the time-honoured FourCorners™ layout with four housing towers forming the corners of a square. The inside of this square is usually a small plaza, sometimes with a shopping centre and other infrastructure necessary to fill basic daily needs, like a bar, pizza or sushi restaurant, hairdresser, Shiver station, video shop and the like, or one of the few biogenetic Karma Recreation Parks. These Parks consist of grass, trees and plants, biogenineered to withstand Mort’s polluted air and acid rain. Although designed to resemble real plants, the biogenineered KarmaFlora obviously betrays its origin. Most of the creations share the muscle-fibre look so popular amongst Karma products, or are easily distinguishable from real plants through the unnaturally grey shade that inevitably makes the plant look very, very ill. Thus the Karma Parks only add to the oppressive feel of the Uptown Housing Zone.
The apartment blocks in Uptown are usually a minimum of 20 stories high, with an average height of 40 to 50 stories. All, but the most expensive, follow the same basic layout; the ground floor consists of a lobby/entrance hall with the janitor’s apartment and (if available) a booth or counter for the watchman. This is usually a retired Shiver, although some Operatives are known to have retired without the funds to support their living, an unable to continue Operative duty (for whatever reasons) seeking employment as a watchman in Uptown Apartment Blocks.
From the lobby/entrance a flight of stairs and several elevators lead to the different stories; the corridors and the stairway is usually free from graffiti, although in some apartment blocks, especially without a watchful janitor or watchman, graffiti can become a plague. Each floor is built around the central stairway and elevator shaft and a rectangular floor leads to the individual flats. The more luxury apartment blocks have penthouses reminiscent of the luxury penthouses of Central; some of these penthouses even have real, glass-protected roof gardens.
The streets in Uptown usually consist of four or six lanes flanked by immense and oppressive skyscrapers. The maximum allowable speed is 75km/h, although there are high-speed motorways to enable fast transfer to other parts of the city. These fastways are usually on ground level, although some are built on bridges (just like in Suburbia) running parallel or across the streets on the ground. The use of the Fastways for corporate climbers and Operatives is completely free; civilians and SCL 11 personnel have to pay the 1 credit road tax per tollbooth.
Uptown has a few areas entirely devoted to entertainment and recreation, called PleasureZones, with cinemas, theaters, arcades and clubs. The PleasureZones are the most colourful areas in Uptown, with neon signs, loudspeaker systems and video screens several meters high and wide showing anything from advertisements over 3ird Eye News live streams to SIC Network GoreZone and Slaughterhouse Six transmissions. The PleasureZones are frequently used by Operatives living in Uptown who cannot afford the time and money to spend their evenings in the Pit regularly. They are expensive, but usually not as luxurious like their Central equivalents. A few of them are open to visiting civilians from DownTown or Suburbia, but most require at least an SCL of 11 for entry into the establishements.
The most prominent of these PleasureZones is the LightHouse, the biggest entertainment district in Uptown, sponsored by 3ird Eye News and the epitome of a top-notch PleasureZone. It consists of several plush restaurants, cinemas, arcades and clubs built around a vast, glass-pyramid-roofed square. With nightfall the plaza errupts with light; all buildings are spotlighted with differently coloured light, cleverly exploiting the natural shadows. With the lighting, the laser show starts, too, and a complicated web of laser light is woven from the roofs of the buildings over the plaza using a complicated array of lasers and mirrors. At the same time the video screens that show the 3ird Eye News channel during the day errupt with live-streams from the most prominent clubs all over Mort while the ridiculouly amplified loudspeaker system begins to explode with anything from high-pitched, pulsating techno-beats to aggressive ConcreteMetal, depending on the club currently live-fed into the LightHouse. This usually sends the crowd on the LightHouse Plaza into a dancing frenzy and the whole area becomes one outdoors dancing party with an assortment of indoors clubs and restaurants available for drinks, food or a change of music and mood.
Almost every PleasureZone has brothels and at least one or two special clubs opened only to a select audience, offering everything from kinky sex to hardcore BDSM. While the standard brothels are free for everybody, although some cater only for a single race, admittance to the special clubs is only through personal reference. Possessing the right SCL and whispering the right right name into the right ear is the only way to open the door. Despite their underground flair, these clubs are anything but illegal; they are funded and sponsored by the various sex-industry channels of SLA Industries, Alien Sex Channel, Deep Throat 3000, BowDown!, Inc. and the like. Both standard brothels and special clubs are the only places that offer legal prostitution and the employees are trained to satiate every desire, although the services of the special clubs are needed for the more bizarre cravings .
Shiver Unit Patrols abound and security usually is very tight in Uptown. Nevertheless the amount of violence in Uptown has grown over the last years and the streets of Uptown are no longer as safe as they used to be, despite the efforts of Shivers, Dark Finders and Internal Affairs.
There is another set of Perimeters between the sprawling and intermixed zones of both Uptown and Suburbia and Central. This is the Central Perimeter and everybody coming from the outer city needs a permit to enter Central and pass the Perimeter. An SCL 11 automatically acts as such a permit, so company employees and Operatives should have no problem entering Central, although civilians need to obtain a Civilian Visitor Pass from the Department of Tourism to be allowed into Central.
Usually the Central Perimeter is manned by standard Shiver Units, who only control ground traffic, but in cases of emergency, it is not uncommon to see Enforcer Shivers handle the Perimeter Wall. All traffic, including air traffic (unless explicitly Shiver Unit travel or cleared from Shiver HQ previously) is meticulously controlled and only a high SCL paired with an affiliation with the right departments (Internal Affairs, Black Chapter and Cloak Division) will speed up the procedure. It is interesting to note that during Enforcer Perimeter Control, Blue Cab Taxis usually have to spend less time being controlled than other vehicles.
Uptown has two rings of Bullet Train routes; the Uptown Ring, that circles Uptown close to the border to Suburbia and the Central ring, that runs close to the Central Perimeter. The Uptown Ring has five major bullet train stations (Northgate, East Junction, Southbridge, Harbour and Rustbelt) that connect this zone with Suburbia. Connection is half-redundant; each station in Uptown connects to three stations in Suburbia. The Central Ring has four stations (Central North, East, South and West) each one is connected to one (an in the case of Central East two) Uptown Ring station(s). All bullet train traffic to Central has to pass through these four stations and security is extremely tight.
While SLA built close to its centre it completely forgot about DownTown. Left unchecked the civilian sprawl area expanded along the DownTown (and Cannibal Sector) Perimeter Walls until it surrounded the Central, Uptown and Suburbia areas of Mort City like a claw. Needing space and limited both in vertical (due to the maximum height of houses – around 50 floors – allowed by SLA Industries to be built through civilian contractors) and horizontal directions (through the Perimeter Walls) the inhabitants of DownTown began first to expand the DownTown areas into several layers built atop of each other, strengthened by immense reinforced concrete pillars that run the entire length of these levels, before they began to build downwards towards the core of the planet and towards regions of former SLA eras, regions of long forgotten industrial zones and lost, abandoned cities.
Northern and Southern DownTown began to grow like tears – with each new subterranean level burrowing deeper and deeper towards the core, all the while expanding in both vertical directions. Soon these regions had grown into and beneath the factory zones along the DownTown Perimeter and even beyond – into regions below the streets of Suburbia.
Over the years the ground floor had been removed almost completely so that today the differentiation between the levels of DownTown and the original “ground” has become almost completely superficial. The subterranean levels of DownTown have expanded horizontally so that today they stretch forth even underneath a major part of the inner city (with the exception of eastern Suburbia – here the HellPit phenomenon (see later) has prevented widespread “downtownisation”) – areas of given-up industrial plants, derelict ancient subway tunnels, sewage and storage areas as well as the (now useless) underearth water reservoir tanks.
All of the levels underneath the inner city as well as the deeper regions of Northern and Southern DownTown make up the bulk of the Lower DownTown levels; usually it is not until level 20 that they are completely subterranean, consisting mainly of tunnels and hollowed out underearth domes filled with a multi-layered labyrinth of structurally unsafe and derelict houses, cardboard shelters – slums of the worst kind. The houses, streets and plazas of the various levels built into such underearth domes are connected with a spider web maze of rusting iron walkways, crumbling steps, ladders and free-swinging lifts.
Lower DownTown is sheltered from rain, but still it is far from being a dry place. Rainwater and sewage leaks through each an every crack in the ceiling, sometimes the holes in the ceiling of these domes are big enough that a stream of brown sludge-like water crashes down onto the walkways like a waterfall and true rivers of dirty water rush down walkways, streets and steps until they disappear into one of the makeshift sewer canals or rain drains. Getting clean water is a feat in these areas and most citizens use a system of cisterns that catch the rainwater and hold it for later storage. Some of the upper levels of Lower DownTown even have access to the SLA-built sanitation system – here it is possible to get running water, although never hot. Hygiene is another problem in the lower levels, without running water there is no real sanitation system and the refuse is commonly dumped onto the street to be washed away by the rain or the next flash-flood.
The areas of Lower DownTown underneath the Inner City are somewhat different; they are completely underearth, better shielded from the rain and structurally safer, as the buildings are built into areas designed by proper SLA architects ages ago, albeit given up and not maintained since then. Yet there are still many possibilities for disaster: as these levels are built around the main sewage system of the inner city, whole areas can be (and usually are) flooded with sewage and waste when one of these sewage tunnels collapses. The same goes for drainage; it is not uncommon that the canals are filled beyond their capacity with water, bursting and instead of sinking into the ground – which has been replaced by Lower DownTown – spilling over into the next of these regions, flash-flooding it. Another common disaster in these Lower DownTown levels is the subway crash, mostly due to DarkNight sabotage – not seldom the wrecked subway train bursts through the tunnel right into a Lower DownTown sector, resulting in even more death and destruction.
Eastsector DownTown differs in that it only has a limited amount of Underground; it consists mainly of a labyrinth of tall apartment houses (that become smaller close to the Cannibal Sector Perimeter Walls), built on several levels, all interconnected with walkways and metal girders to prevent collapse, reminiscent of the original DownTown drive to build upwards. The Cannibal Sector Perimeter Wall is usually 30 meters high and 10 meters wide, although the actual strength and height varies from sector to sector: higher and wider around the Sectors One and Three and lower around the other sectors. It is manned mostly by Shiver Units, although the Perimeters around Sector One and Three have a regiment of Black Chapter troops in case of an emergency. These troops have been called into action a few times over the years and what both Shivers as well as Black Chapter fear most is the regular appearance of Digger who then claws away huge chunks of concrete from the Sector Perimeter .
All of the buildings built directly adjacent to the Perimeter Walls have been given over to the Perimeter Wall Section Command, acting as barracks, armoury, storage and planning facilities and as a second line of defence should the Perimeter Walls be breached – although everybody knows that if the Walls are breached this second line of defence will only slow, not stop the enemy.
There are a few true underground areas in Eastsector DownTown; they are called HellPits due to their – even for DownTown – high amounts of Carrien, Pig and Cognate Infestations; it is not uncommon for the entire population of a HellPit to vanish overnight. Rumours abound that the Perimeter Wall has indeed been breeched, but the truth is even more unsettling: as Eastsector DownTown was built over the top-most remains of the Central Outskirts right after the fall of Salvation Tower, underneath this top layer the old structure of the Central Outskirts still exists – although seriously destroyed in some places through the fall, but still possible to navigate for someone experienced in the underground ways. Thus there are passages that lead from the Cannibal Sectors right underneath the streets of Eastsector DownTown, so that when the “ground shield” is breached, a gate is opened wide for all incursions and infestations from the Cannibal Sectors.
Even more alarming is the fact that the Old Central Outskirts ran up almost to Central, so that it is possible to follow the old passageways from the Cannibal Sectors all the way right up underneath the streets of Suburbia and probably beyond, into Uptown. Thus only the industrial zone underneath Suburbia, a thin layer of streets, concrete sewers, gauss train and subway tunnels shields these inner sectors from suffering the same incursions that the Eastsector HellPits have to bear.
There are several modes of transport throughout Mort. The fastest of these is the Bullet (or Gauss) Train Tube. Depending on region these trains can reach speeds in excess of 1000km/h; the overland lines that connect the various cities and production facilities on the planet even travel with an average speed of 4000km/h.
The fastest bullet train line within the city is the Black Line, the DownTown Express. The Express travels with an average velocity of 2000km/h and it runs the entire length of its DownTown route (approx. 6600 km) in 3 hours 30 minutes (including stops).
Then there are the White Lines, the DownTown transfer routes, a redundant connection between the major DownTown bullet train stations and the Suburbia Transfer Stations. The DownTown Transfer Lines travel with an average speed of 1000km/h, depending on distance travelled. Each DownTown station is connected with at least two but usually three different Suburbia Transfer Stations so that traffic is still possible even when one line is temporarily damaged or down. As all BulletTrain lines exit to level 0 (Ground) in DownTown, so another means of transportation (like bus, taxi or sometimes subway) is needed to get to the lower levels or other areas far away from the BulletTrain stations in DownTown.
Suburbia has more BulletTrain stations and lines than Downtown. This is to ensure a good connection to all the parts of the city. The most well travelled line of Suburbia probably is the Suburbia Ring (Blue Line), a BulletTrain line that follows the DownTown Perimeter on the Suburbia side and thus runs through a periphery of the zone. There are 15 stations on the Suburbia Ring, three stations for each general direction of travel. These stations are all connected to corresponding Uptown Ring stations (so the South-1 to 3 stations are all connected to the Uptown Ring Southbridge station). The trains on the Suburbia Ring reach speeds of 600km/h, while the trains that travel on the lines connecting the Suburbia Ring with the Uptown Ring (these lines are colour coded BlueRed) travel with an average speed of 700km/h.
Uptown has a ring line, just like Suburbia does. This is the Uptown Ring Bullet Train line (Red Line) and it has five stations. These stations are Northgate, East Junction, Southbridge, Harbour and Rustbelt. The names correspond to the general travel directions a traveller might take (thus all travel to and from the northern region of the city flows through the Northgate station, while all travel to or from the harbour region comes through the Harbour station). The average speed of the trains on the Uptown Ring is 500km/h; it is possible to travel the entire distance of the Ring in 3 hours 45 minutes (stops included). Each of the stations on the Uptown Ring is connected to one station on the Central Ring, which runs on the Uptown side of the Central Perimeter around the centre of the city. Due to the varying length of the transfer lines (colour coded RedGreen) from the Uptown to the Central Ring travel speeds vary, but the average is around 500km/h.
The Central Ring (Green Line) has four stations, Central North, East, South and West, directly built in the shadow of the Central Perimeter Wall. It is not possible to travel by BulletTrain into Central and every traveller heading towards Central has to change into one of the Central Shuttle subway lines in one of the Central Ring stations. Needless to say, these four stations are heavily fortified and monitored rigorously by Shiver Units and it is not uncommon to see Enforcer Shiver Units patrolling the Central Ring stations during night.
The Central Shuttles are a luxurious version of high-speed subway that can only be found in Central. They are only open for company employees or Operatives and an SCL is required to enter them. They travel with 200km/h so swift transfer to all parts of Central is guaranteed. Nevertheless, the preferred mode of transportation in Central is either by car (preferably being driven by a departmental-employed driver), Blue Cab taxi. Bus lines exist, but they are usually frowned upon, and are only used by DownTown civilians on holiday in Central who are not allowed to use the Central Shuttles and cannot afford a car or taxi.
Taxis are the travel mode of choice for those who want to arrive relatively safely at their destination and can pay the price. The usual fare is 1u per kilometer travelled. Only taxis in DownTown accept Unis, taxis in Suburbia, Uptown and Central can only be paid by Finance Card; their cost is 0.1 Credit per kilometer.
For short distance travel, the bus is a choice for those who want a cheap ride. There are countless bus lines throughout the individual zones and each travels only in a limited area, but usually it is possible to drive the whole tour (max. 20 kilometers) for 1 Uni. Like with taxis bus drivers in Suburbia, Uptown and Central won’t accept Unis; the far on these lines is 0.1 Credits for the 20km tour.
The subway is the least popular means of mass travel, probably due to its insecurity. The subways travel fast (75 to 100km/h average depending upon line), but it is not certain that the passengers will survive the ride. The dangers to subway travel are myriad – they range from flash floods over collapsing subway tunnels to hunting Carrien packs. The maximum distance that can be travelled with a subway ticket is 10 kilometers. Such a ticket costs 1 uni, although it is possible to buy long distance tickets for a price of 1 uni per 10 kilometers. For subway lines in Suburbia and Uptown the cost is 0.1 Credits per 10 kilometers. As noted above, Central has no subway lines, but the Central Shuttles. Their travel speed is an average 200km/h and it costs 1 Credit per ride.
Bullet Train travel all over Mort costs the same, regardless of region: 1 Credit per station travelled; by finding the right connection it is possible to travel fast and relatively cheap from Central to DownTown.
Cost of Living
There are various lifestyles within SLA Industry. The most important choice in determining your lifestyle, though, is where you live. The closer an Operative lives to Central, the higher are his cost of living. Rent explodes into astronomical heights with proximity to Central; 5000 Credits for a 1 room apartment in one of the few Central housing blocks is the starting price.
The opposite is then the DownTown squatter existence. This unlucky Operative has somehow blown his chance for Operative housing upon entry into the company or he has been evicted from his flat for various reasons. The result stays the same: he ended up homeless. The DownTown Squatter existence is not an easy one, paranoia and violence are uneasy bedfellows and both are necessary to survive down there. Most often a DownTown squatter existence means living in a run-down area of DownTown or even on the lower levels or in on of the Eastsector HellPits, but sometimes there a lucky Operative might find an empty building in DownTown that nobody cares for or asks for rent and decides to stay there. The question then only is why that building is empty .
Between these two extremes there exists a myriade of possible lifestyles, each associated with a different monthly cost. These costs are given as a span, depending how luxurious the Operative lives.
|Central (Luxury)||5000c +||22||incl. basic rent (2500c+)|
|Central (High)||600-3000c||18||incl. basic rent (500-2000c)|
|Uptown (Luxury)||300-1000c||14||incl. basic rent (160-500c)|
|Uptown (High)||100-250c||12||incl. basic rent (90-150c)|
|Uptown (Middle)||50-150c||10||incl. basic rent (40-80c)|
|Suburbia (High)||45-50c||8||incl. basic rent (30-40c)|
|Suburbia (Middle)||25-40c||6||incl. basic rent (20-30c)|
|Suburbia (Low)||15-25c||4||incl. basic rent (10-20c)|
|DownTown (Upper Middle)||100-200u||2||incl. basic rent (80-150u)|
|DownTown (Upper Low)||75-100u||1||incl. basic rent (50-100u)|
|DownTown (Lower Middle)||50-75u||1||incl. basic rent (30-50u)|
|DownTown (Lower Low)||25-50u||1||incl. basic rent (10-25u)|
|DownTown (Squatter)||10-20u||1||no basic rent|
RN: Resources level (for Modern Age rules)
Other costs of living are possible, apart from these guidelines; how expensive life on Mort is, is completely up to the GM.