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Welcome to Kenilworth (intro for season 2 of my ongoing campaign)

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penllawen

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« on: <02-11-20/0840:12> »
This is the intro text I just sent to my players. It’s supposed to set the scene where I’ll be basing my campaign - a run-down area of north-east Bellevue, adjacent to the Barrens, very different to downtown. It also has a little SR lore background for my newer players. Hope you enjoy it! NB: Project Heartbreak is one of my PCs.

We open on a drone taking off from the Lakewood industrial area on the southern edge of the Seattle downtown zone. At 4:03am, it emerges from a Saeder-Krupp make-on-demand nanofacility. It is a small, battered quadcopter; perhaps half a meter across, with a carrying capacity of a few kilos. It has a delivery to make. Project Heartbreak has ordered a new type of nanopaste mascara, unwisely purchased after falling for an enthusiastic pitch from a late-night shopping trid show.

Registering commands from GridGuide ATC, the drone's dog-brain gains altitude, settles into an air corridor, and flies north for 7.5 kilometres, flying over the city centre, past gleaming towers, looping around the massive kilometre-high bulk of the truncated pyramid that is the ACHE. It's a cold night, the dog-brain notes, and it monitors power consumption carefully in case the chill starts to drain its reserve batteries.

Even at this late – or early – hour, the skies over Seattle are crowded, and the drone jostles with dozens of other drones of different sizes and speeds. It notes without curiosity when they come close enough to trigger the early warning proximity alarm; decides it doesn't need to flag the incident for possible manual override by a remote rigger; makes small course corrections.

Turning east now, the drone skims over Lake Washington, skirting the restricted airspace over Council Island. Ahead lie the fashionable towerblocks and brownstones of West Bellevue's most desirable neighbourhoods. Already there are lights on in many windows where the most ambitious wageslaves – powered by soykaf and sleep regulators -- are getting ready for the day ahead.

The drone passes over the 405, distant autotrucks speeding larger freight to destination, keeping the wheels of commerce turning. It starts to shed altitude as it nears its destination, and signals the delivery recipient of its imminent arrival.

Still dropping, it comes down over the Crossroads area of Bellevue. Off to the drone's left, the southernmost part of the Redmond Barrens is a black hole on its GridGuide uplink, tagged with ominous machine-readable warnings of utterly disclaimed liability should the dog-brain lose what little sense it has and decide to fly into it. Ahead is its final destination – Kenilworth, a forgotten corner of Bellevue, nestled on the shore of Lake Sammamish and bordering the Redmond barrens.

Pause. Rewind forty years. Kenilworth is a prosperous and pleasant suburb housing tech works who want to live by the water and have an easy commute to the campuses of Microsoft, Apple, Google. Kids ride bikes in broad streets. People washing cars. Picket fences. Good coffee. Relentless gentrification.

2013: the Trojan-Satsop nuclear power plant, over the other side of Lake Sammamish, suffers catastrophic meltdown. The local government reassures everyone that the fallout is under control and is not being blown over into Kenilworth. People are not reassured. They leave, in droves. The area slips into decline. Gentrification backpedals.

2029: the Crash happens, Echo Mirage happens, SimSense happens. The old guard of high-tech corporations become obsolete in an instant. Dethroned, declawed, irrelevant, they vanish; first gradually, then suddenly. The economy of southern Redmond goes with them. Kenilworth's last remaining well-off citizens no longer have a reason to live there, and they leave. In their place come a wave of lower-class wageslaves.

2039: the Night of Rage. Anti-metahuman simmering resentment boils over into fury which boils over into riots. Hundreds die across Seattle, mostly orks and trolls. The Redmund barrens slides further into lawlessness, dragging Kenilworth down with it. The wealthier of the wageslaves leave, seeking safer homes, where Lone Star's response time is less than an hour. A criminal element replaces them.

2052: Kenilworth has settled into a state of lower-class torpor. Having barely escaped the total lawlessness of Redmund, just to the north, it still failed to rise any higher than that; the nice suburbs were mostly torn down long ago and replaced by densely packed medium-rise apartments.

Over the water in downtown Seattle, the kilometer-high Renraku Arcology nears completion. Megabuildings are very much in fashion. A group of smaller construction companies pool their resources to form a consortium, Kenilworth Construction, and announce their plans to build an arcology in Kenilworth. They bribe the right people the right amount. Lone Star moves in, cracks down, the thieves and pimps drift away. Kenilworth is partially depopulated, a ghost town. Construction begins on The Viewpoint: three elegant, narrowing towers that will support a crowning structure, home to up to 25,000 people.

2061: the truth behind the Renraku Arcology shutdown gradually leaks out. The fashion for megabuildings shifts, rapidly. Already overextended with debt, Kenilworth Construction collapses, leaving only three partially built towers as its legacy. Lone Star down-prioritise the area for enforcement activities. The area becomes popular with a class of well-to-do criminal who wants to escape the utter chaos of the Barrens without being under the watchful eye of the law. They rub shoulders with working-class SINner families still holding on, eking out whatever employment they can find in the service industry in glittering downtown Bellevue.

Back to the present day. The drone loops past the jagged, incomplete towers of The Viewpoint...

BANG

The shotgun blast splits the quiet pre-dawn air and shreds two of the drone's rotor assemblies. Its limited understanding of the world is filled with warning sirens and flashing lights, but it barely has time to signal its impending doom to its control network before it smears itself over the ground.

Behind it, an ork with a shotgun whoops. "Got it in one! Pay up!" he yells, and collects the 20 nuyen stake from his grumbling companion. Project Heartbreak's credit account is charged for the mascara anyway.

Welcome to Kenilworth. Welcome home.

Horsemen

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« Reply #1 on: <02-12-20/0051:09> »
Sounds like an interesting place. Well done!
Agent #191 Catalyst Demo Team