IPB

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

 
Reply to this topicStart new topic
> The Seattle Ork Underground, Help me fill the gaps in the description.
Semerkhet
post Nov 2 2009, 05:08 PM
Post #1


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 489
Joined: 14-April 09
From: Madison, WI
Member No.: 17,079



I've run games in every edition of Shadowrun and they've all been set in Seattle. I have never, in all that time, done anything more than mention the Ork Underground in passing. Perhaps this is a failure of imagination on my part, but I've always had a hard time picturing what the Ork Underground is like.

Recently I've done a bit of research online and found out how the RL historical Seattle Underground was created. I now have a slightly firmer foundation for my speculation, but I'd like to tap into the Dumpshock creativity to add to the description.

Here's a little summary from the wikipedia article on the Underground:
In brief, the Seattle Underground was created by building retaining walls along the edges of the old streets and filling the space in between with rubble from the fire-destroyed buildings. For some time the sidewalk area was not yet covered over and pedestrian traffic still used the (up to six meters) lower sidewalk level, having to cross by climbing ladders at intersections. Eventually the sidewalks were covered over, with small glass skylights installed in the sidewalks to let light down into the now-covered areas still being used for commerce until being closed in 1907 over fears of plague.

What I now picture for the Ork Underground is that most, if not all, of the original street level frontage has been recovered and refurbished. Most of the skylights would have been removed over the century worth of sidewalk replacement, but new ones could have been installed. That means 25 to 30 city blocks of narrow alleyways in a grid pattern mirroring the surface street pattern. My impression is that there were very few larger spaces kept in the underground, so if the orks and dwarves who first reclaimed the the Underground wanted to have more than a maze-like warren of tunnels that they'd have to do a fair amount of new excavation. This means tunneling into the areas of rubble fill under the streets and building new supports to hold up the streets themselves, or tunneling deeper. Either way, I don't picture a lot of wide open spaces. Perhaps the Goblin Market is one of the few.

Questions still to answer:
-The extent to which additional excavation has been done.

-The zoning; i.e. how is the Underground split between commercial, municipal, residential, and industrial spaces? Don't need anything super-specific, but a general idea would be nice. Does everyone live in the converted basements that line the alleys?

-How do these seemingly small spaces accommodate trolls?

-Has the Underground spread beyond the original 25 city blocks devastated by the fire of 1889?

-Seattle 2072 describes the Ork Underground as having a burgeoning population and a newly thriving economy. How does the Underground provide the services, like power, water, and sanitation, to support this expansion while still being described as operating under a "gentleman's agreement" with the Metroplex government? This "gentleman's agreement" implies the Ork Underground is not taxed or regulated by the Metroplex Gov't and in turn is not provided with any city services. The kind of private investment it would take to provide these utilities and services to enable a large population to survive, much less thrive economically, is totally at odds with past depictions of the economic and social status of the residents of the Underground. How do we explain it?

I think that'll do as a starting point. Please feel free to answer these questions and add more of your own. Hopefully we can get a brainstorming session going that will provide a resource for GMs looking to add detail to their descriptions of the Ork Underground.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
ShadowPavement
post Nov 2 2009, 05:45 PM
Post #2


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 211
Joined: 11-April 03
From: Maine
Member No.: 4,431



Remember that most of the cities utilities are provided by private corporations (Shaiwase, Eta Engineering, etc). Even though the Underground isn't considered part of the city it could still contract with the corps to get those things taken care of.

A long time ago I found a nice write up of some locations in the underground. I'll see if I can dig up the file and give a link for it.

Here it is: http://www.mediafire.com/?1dfzen0qnnn
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Semerkhet
post Nov 2 2009, 05:57 PM
Post #3


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 489
Joined: 14-April 09
From: Madison, WI
Member No.: 17,079



QUOTE (ShadowPavement @ Nov 2 2009, 11:45 AM) *
Remember that most of the cities utilities are provided by private corporations (Shaiwase, Eta Engineering, etc). Even though the Underground isn't considered part of the city it could still contract with the corps to get those things taken care of.

I had considered that, but it strikes me as somewhat at odds with the "go it alone" vibe that's been presented for the Ork Underground over the years. Still, you're absolutely right on to suggest that the only way for the Underground to provide many, but perhaps not all, of these services is to contract with external companies. I can see this as an evolution from the early days of refugees scraping by in the abandoned basements of the city. I still wonder where the capital comes from. Is there a governing council in the Underground that taxes commerce and resident's income to provide the funding for these services?

An additional wrinkle with the new Brackhaven administration could be that companies that provide services for the Metroplex government could be subtly discouraged from doing business with the Ork Underground. Another way for Brackhaven and co. to try to destabilize the Underground and provide grounds for an "intervention."
QUOTE (ShadowPavement @ Nov 2 2009, 11:45 AM) *
A long time ago I found a nice write up of some locations in the underground. I'll see if I can dig up the file and give a link for it.

Thanks.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
DigitalOYABUN
post Nov 2 2009, 06:08 PM
Post #4


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 248
Joined: 12-September 09
Member No.: 17,630



I dont see how any corporate entity would disclose with Brackhaven their business dealings, its a benefit an extraterritorial power has, and who's to say they dont steal a portion of it? I mean yeah the mega's would get pissed, but what megacorp wants the PR mess of a planned 'genocide on the poor helpless Orks in the Seattle Underground'.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Semerkhet
post Nov 2 2009, 06:32 PM
Post #5


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 489
Joined: 14-April 09
From: Madison, WI
Member No.: 17,079



QUOTE (DigitalOYABUN @ Nov 2 2009, 12:08 PM) *
I dont see how any corporate entity would disclose with Brackhaven their business dealings, its a benefit an extraterritorial power has, and who's to say they dont steal a portion of it? I mean yeah the mega's would get pissed, but what megacorp wants the PR mess of a planned 'genocide on the poor helpless Orks in the Seattle Underground'.

I don't think it would be that hard to find out if the Underground is contracting with a particular company for a service. I would think it would be kind of hard to keep secret. If that company also does business with the metroplex government, and not all of them are AAA megacorps, then I can imagine that the government would be able to exert some leverage over the company in question, ranging up to veiled threats to change service providers. Doesn't have to be anything overt. Certain subtle actions by the Brackhaven administration could have a chilling effect on businesses contemplating working with the Ork Underground.

As for stealing power, water, etc; I would think that would work only up to a point. You can't evolve the fluff about the Underground to the point where Seattle 2072 says,
QUOTE
they’ve got not only a thriving economy but also a potent and growing sense of pride and identity, to say nothing of a burgeoning population, right under the streets.
and maintain that they're relying on pilfered power and water to grow that "thriving economy."
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
OneTrikPony
post Nov 2 2009, 06:36 PM
Post #6


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 500
Joined: 4-September 06
From: Salt Lake UT
Member No.: 9,299



Why would the underground have much of any services besides what they could pirate or steal?
Outside the mall I doubt there's any power or watter supplied. Meta's can see in the dark and haul their own water. Sanitation would be a serious issue but that's pretty much the point. It really is a serious issue.

As for the expance of the underground. I'm pretty sure I've read about entrances as far north as the Queen Ann district and as far south as Takoma. There's never been any reference as to wether these are separate undergound systems or if they somehow make a subsurface connection. Also, when the underground was completed by installing suspended side walks many of the first floors (now basements) in the original area were abandoned. It's pretty much cannon that these have been occupied by the citezens of the underground.

There are plenty of other areas that might be occupied by the Orks. There are fairly extencive sub surface streets today that are used by the public transit busses one of these is under Lordstrungs (nordstroms). I've always believed that this is the actual mall area with the entrance from the Big Rino. I figgure that the bus system was abandoned when they completed the MagLev train loop that runs all around down town seattle.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Semerkhet
post Nov 2 2009, 06:52 PM
Post #7


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 489
Joined: 14-April 09
From: Madison, WI
Member No.: 17,079



QUOTE (OneTrikPony @ Nov 2 2009, 12:36 PM) *
Why would the underground have much of any services besides what they could pirate or steal?
Outside the mall I doubt there's any power or watter supplied. Meta's can see in the dark and haul their own water. Sanitation would be a serious issue but that's pretty much the point. It really is a serious issue.

I would agree with you in the early days of the Ork Underground when a smallish number of metas was scraping by, but that idea seems to me to be totally at odds with the way the devs are developing the fluff for the Ork Underground as being both prosperous and numerous. If you're right, then that brings up more questions: Are there only pockets of prosperity in the Underground, surrounded by orks and trolls living in extreme poverty with no running water, power, or sanitation?

QUOTE (OneTrikPony @ Nov 2 2009, 12:36 PM) *
As for the expance of the underground. I'm pretty sure I've read about entrances as far north as the Queen Ann district and as far south as Takoma. There's never been any reference as to wether these are separate undergound systems or if they somehow make a subsurface connection. Also, when the underground was completed by installing suspended side walks many of the first floors (now basements) in the original area were abandoned. It's pretty much cannon that these have been occupied by the citezens of the underground.

There are plenty of other areas that might be occupied by the Orks. There are fairly extencive sub surface streets today that are used by the public transit busses one of these is under Lordstrungs (nordstroms). I've always believed that this is the actual mall area with the entrance from the Big Rino. I figgure that the bus system was abandoned when they completed the MagLev train loop that runs all around down town seattle.


I totally agree that there could be underground enclaves all over the 'plex that could be collectively referred to as the Ork Underground. However, I think that most of the fluff is directed at the part that's under downtown in the historical Underground area. I also think it would be more trouble than it was worth to try to connect the Underground in the downtown core with one forty kilometers away in Tacoma.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
OneTrikPony
post Nov 2 2009, 09:10 PM
Post #8


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 500
Joined: 4-September 06
From: Salt Lake UT
Member No.: 9,299



QUOTE (Semerkhet @ Nov 2 2009, 01:52 PM) *
... Are there only pockets of prosperity in the Underground, surrounded by orks and trolls living in extreme poverty with no running water, power, or sanitation?
... I also think it would be more trouble than it was worth to try to connect the Underground in the downtown core with one forty kilometers away in Tacoma.

That's the way I used to play it. I took most of my cues for the underground from the novels, primarily "Never Trust an Elf" in that situation King Harry Kam's Grandpa was the leader of the underground but even he was a pretty poor guy by Sararieman standards. The point of the underground is not a Trog utopia. It's ecconomicaly no better off than the Barens but they don't have to deal with racism on their streets.

I did run one adventure back in SR3 where the team was hired to steal several Huge pumps that would be used to drain and keep dry a large natural cave under the city. This was predicated on the idea that where Renraku was providing power to the Seattle grid from their Archology powerplants there were easy opertunities to install illegal taps.

One thing you have to consider when thinking about Seattle is that water is not hard to come by. The portion underground that I toured when I was there was fairly dry but in several places we were walking on suspended boardwalks that were ment to keep our feet dry. IMHO water isn't the comodity, treatment and filtration is. [edit] It's also important to note that electricity doesn't have the value to orks and trolls that it does to humans. Where light is unnecessary and wireless capabilities are extremely limited and transportation is provided by shoe leather, the only uses for power are heating food and cycleing air.[/edit]

Just a note for interest: the Seattle underground has always been about terrible slums with robbers, murderers, underage slave whores, crazy deluded doctors, the disposesed the diseased and the disposed literally right under the feet of the upper class. It's a RL flavor that translates easily to shadowrun and probably should be retained. If you take the tour with a good guide you'll here stories about RL people who've actually seen the ghosts. When they raised the streets the 'underworld' moved into the underground. It was not a nice place to be.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Ayeohx
post Nov 3 2009, 01:20 AM
Post #9


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 346
Joined: 17-September 06
From: Utah USA
Member No.: 9,402



Hey OP,

Do a Google search for "Seattle Underground". It's a real place and some of the pics will get you into the mood. Some excellent pics out there. Portland has an underground also, check it out.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Nexushound
post Nov 3 2009, 01:51 AM
Post #10


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 118
Joined: 9-February 09
From: F.R.F.Z. C.A.S. Sector
Member No.: 16,861



Oi Chummers,

A quick scan of runner havens gives some good data on the Underground. They mention that it runs all over the city Downtown, Tacoma, Everett and even parts of the Barrens but it is not all interconnetced. Also there is some corporate presence, specifically Fungitek, who probably does quite a bit of reinvestment into the undergound.
In my games I run litle chunks of the Underground wherever I see fit and adapt the lifestyle to the one located top side. If it's an Underground spot in the Barrens then yeah the power is probably ilegally tapped, there are Devil Rats the size of your dog and the air circulation system gets shut off by the local thugs if you don't pay up your monthly Yen. If it's located more twoards some civilized areas of the city then there are strip malls, apartment blocks and the like. Whats to stop a few Trolls and Orks with some engineering know how and some tools from really making something livable, even nice? After alll those trogs have been down there a long time.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
The Jake
post Nov 3 2009, 02:32 AM
Post #11


Shooting Target
****

Group: Members
Posts: 1,847
Joined: 26-February 02
From: Melbourne, Australia
Member No.: 872



QUOTE (Semerkhet @ Nov 2 2009, 05:57 PM) *
I had considered that, but it strikes me as somewhat at odds with the "go it alone" vibe that's been presented for the Ork Underground over the years. Still, you're absolutely right on to suggest that the only way for the Underground to provide many, but perhaps not all, of these services is to contract with external companies. I can see this as an evolution from the early days of refugees scraping by in the abandoned basements of the city. I still wonder where the capital comes from. Is there a governing council in the Underground that taxes commerce and resident's income to provide the funding for these services?


Have you ever been to a country with a massive slum development?

If you go to any of the favelas in Brazil, these are basically massive slums that the city has "officially" cut off. Yet these people have managed to cobble together running water, electricity, sewerage, all by tapping into the underlying infrastructure without a single piece of corporate sponsorship. Heck you can find banks and ATMs in the favelas! Basically your favelas are typically filled with a lot of your blue collar workers. These are the people that build, maintain and install all these systems. Houses that are stacked ontop of one another, build by professional tradesmen. Seriously. They are an ecosystem onto themselves and amazing to see firsthand. I would never have imagined something like this could happen naturally unless I had seen it myself (call me naive I guess) but yes, this is how I see the Ork Underground. It is just another ecosystem that is able to thrive based on the indigenous population.

Don't forget too that the Ork Underground was originally built by dwarves. So don't assume that the Underground is housing unskilled, homeless, SINless orks. It's full of people of all metatypes (although humans and elves would tend to stick out a bit I'm sure). A good chunk of them would be people who are more comfortable living amount their own, saving money to move into a better place or living there because the alternatives are worse or are even just perfectly happy there.

- J.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
The Jake
post Nov 3 2009, 02:45 AM
Post #12


Shooting Target
****

Group: Members
Posts: 1,847
Joined: 26-February 02
From: Melbourne, Australia
Member No.: 872



QUOTE (ShadowPavement @ Nov 2 2009, 05:45 PM) *
Remember that most of the cities utilities are provided by private corporations (Shaiwase, Eta Engineering, etc). Even though the Underground isn't considered part of the city it could still contract with the corps to get those things taken care of.

A long time ago I found a nice write up of some locations in the underground. I'll see if I can dig up the file and give a link for it.

Here it is: http://www.mediafire.com/?1dfzen0qnnn


This link doesn't work for me. Do you have another source? Can you please put the file up on Rapidshare or something?

- J.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
ShadowPavement
post Nov 3 2009, 02:55 AM
Post #13


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 211
Joined: 11-April 03
From: Maine
Member No.: 4,431



QUOTE (The Jake @ Nov 3 2009, 03:45 AM) *
This link doesn't work for me. Do you have another source? Can you please put the file up on Rapidshare or something?

- J.


Huh. Here, try this one: http://www.mediafire.com/file/1dfzen0qnnn/A Guide to the Ork Underground.pdf://http://www.mediafire.com/file/1dfze...Underground.pdf://http://www.mediafire.com/file/1dfze...Underground.pdf

The link looks like it's working. Media fire seems to have done an update to their site between now and the time this afternoon when I originally posted it. That might have been the problem.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
The Jake
post Nov 3 2009, 04:53 AM
Post #14


Shooting Target
****

Group: Members
Posts: 1,847
Joined: 26-February 02
From: Melbourne, Australia
Member No.: 872



Thank you kindly. That one worked. Its good to see the doco refers to pre-existing material.

- J.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Semerkhet
post Nov 3 2009, 05:23 PM
Post #15


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 489
Joined: 14-April 09
From: Madison, WI
Member No.: 17,079



QUOTE (The Jake @ Nov 2 2009, 08:32 PM) *
Have you ever been to a country with a massive slum development?

If you go to any of the favelas in Brazil, these are basically massive slums that the city has "officially" cut off. Yet these people have managed to cobble together running water, electricity, sewerage, all by tapping into the underlying infrastructure without a single piece of corporate sponsorship. Heck you can find banks and ATMs in the favelas! Basically your favelas are typically filled with a lot of your blue collar workers. These are the people that build, maintain and install all these systems. Houses that are stacked ontop of one another, build by professional tradesmen. Seriously. They are an ecosystem onto themselves and amazing to see firsthand. I would never have imagined something like this could happen naturally unless I had seen it myself (call me naive I guess) but yes, this is how I see the Ork Underground. It is just another ecosystem that is able to thrive based on the indigenous population.

Don't forget too that the Ork Underground was originally built by dwarves. So don't assume that the Underground is housing unskilled, homeless, SINless orks. It's full of people of all metatypes (although humans and elves would tend to stick out a bit I'm sure). A good chunk of them would be people who are more comfortable living amount their own, saving money to move into a better place or living there because the alternatives are worse or are even just perfectly happy there.

- J.

Thanks for the advice. I am aware of places like the favelas in Brazil, but having never been there myself, it's impossible for me to really grok them. So it didn't even occur to me as a parallel when I was thinking about the Ork Underground. I think you're likely right, though. Plenty of power and water flowing under Downtown Seattle if you've got the filtration equipment and the technical know-how. I was very skeptical of a large community subsisting off of illegally tapped resources, but your example of the favelas makes it clear that such a thing can happen. I prefer to keep it this way because it keeps the Ork Underground from becoming just another lower class neighborhood that happens to be underground. Caverns with fungus farms, the constant background hum of water pumps everywhere you go, the cobbled together sewage treatment plant. It's all starting to come together in my head.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

Reply to this topicStart new topic

 



RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 23rd October 2020 - 11:11 AM

Topps, Inc has sole ownership of the names, logo, artwork, marks, photographs, sounds, audio, video and/or any proprietary material used in connection with the game Shadowrun. Topps, Inc has granted permission to the Dumpshock Forums to use such names, logos, artwork, marks and/or any proprietary materials for promotional and informational purposes on its website but does not endorse, and is not affiliated with the Dumpshock Forums in any official capacity whatsoever.