Saturday, October 16, 2021

Garden District- Waffle City

This district is not named after the food (though Shepard's Waffle-House is highly recommended by everybody around here) it is named for the look. When this part of the city was built, the city council members in charge were filled with brutalists and order-focused city planners. This section of the city was built in a perfect grid, with every building being a thin wall connecting to each other building. The top of this mega structure would act as its roadway system, with each opening being an inner courtyard granting ambient light from the windows and fostering a sense of community among the residents.

This place is a real hive. And yet, somehow, it's still not the poorest place in this shithole city.

The top of the city is a constant traffic jam. Every road being identical in length and every road being a 4 way intersection means there is no easy flow of traffic. Accidents can cause hover-cars to fly down into the square holes around every turn and intersection, causing a minor fender-bender into a deadly crash and crushing innocents below. The topmost suites are supposed to be the fanciest, getting the most light and fresh air from the choking fumes of the undercity below, but are constantly rocked by the noises of cars above- not to mention the security risk of someone stepping down from the road onto your balcony. Nobody wealthy lives here. Down each repeating square-shaped hole are more apartments and floors with more darkness and filth all around. Many of the apartments; once perfectly ordered and identical, have had their walls and floors knocked out to lead to large factories or storage areas- identical housing solutions don't fit everybody.

The courtyards themselves are varied. Most are filled with trash thrown from the windows, while many have had an artificial roof installed for a walled garden- some community run, others privately owned. Some enterprising residents built catwalks across the inner courtyards- a trip that would take an hour because of requiring to go the longest distance around a square through the very crowded passage hallways becomes a fraction of the time if one is to brave the open air.

Waffle City-ites are insular. It's its own community, mostly self sufficient and isolated from the outside world. They do things differently. With vertical distance being nearly as important as horizontal, messengers and foot-delivery men who climb stairs are favored over cars and trucks. Most consumer goods, packages, and all facets of life are shrunk down to fit in the cramped, interior space. Most live in a one or two room apartment, exactly identical to its neighbors in every way except whatever utilities don't work and where the leaks are. With everything so cramped, there is a great sense of community despite the fact you can go a very long time without seeing an other person in the dim hallways and the numerous blind corners- mixed with impossibly long straight lines.

For these reasons; the residents here are scrappy, thin, focusing on superficial visual arts. With little room to show wealth or hoard physical objects; painting and decorating your apartment door becomes a primary means of showing status. Some members have created tiny dioramas; hollowing out a tiny space of wall between the hallway and their personal room to make a "front lawn" of a few inches of astroturf and a single pink flamingo, nailed to the door. Some even install windows. People adorn their bodies even moreso; punk styles and flamboyant clothes are the look of the day, with piercings being the primary method of hoarding and storing wealth- too easy for someone to break into your apartment if they think you're worth the trouble. At the same time, every spoken word and interaction probably has at least a dozen pairs of ears listening in, and the walls here are paper thin. News and disease travels very fast in the Waffle City, making it a real maze of intrigue and petty-politics that further pushes away outsiders. And they can tell who you are with one look at your feet; every shop, friend, and home they've visited is covered in carpet. You're wearing shoes.

Everybody here works three jobs; not full careers with an office, or workshop but side hustles. Delivery jobs are a convenient time to pick up your ink for your tiny tattoo booth that's a single shower-curtain's away from your bed and library, where you study to compete in the well paying puzzle and poetry competitions. Specialization and diversifying are both absolutely key. In a place where they are heard by so many, music of any quality is the greatest boon one can have, and musicians are even more highly prized as those who try to learn the craft rarely survive the first few rough years from all the ears they offend.

Notable Characters - Roll 1d4
[1] Lance Turtle - 6 HP, 3 Armor, 1d6 vintage spreadgun
He's a bipedal turtle man; not all that weird for Garden. He wears a tophat that is squished after a big fat monster dude sat on it, who the turtle later went to the trouble to kill, but preferred the new style. Lance is an old man, and was around for the building of the Waffle City; once it was known as "Griddle city", and was supposed to be the opposite- huge skyscrapers with roads low the ground, a much superior design that was scrapped in favor of this crammed reality.

Lance is one of the wealthier inhabitants of Waffle City. He runs the largest courier service with secure packages and discrete packaging- though they aren't the fastest, they will always arrive at their destination eventually. This courier service isn't really a gang, but has gang like mechanics and could muster up to 3 HD worth of Manpower in a pinch.

[2] Blase Lawrence - 8 HP, 1 Armor, 1d8 repeating shotgun
Looks like a giant, bone-white ogre dude with a frog face. His race isn't very common around garden, and communicate through gurgling noises, making his real name unpronounceable and culture totally foreign. Blase just took the last name of the first man he killed, and has continued to work in the debt collection business ever since.

If you borrow money in Waffle city in amounts greater then $500, you're probably getting it from Blase's employers. Blase is quite the bastard and is resistant to most psychic attacks too; he's known for using any method for extracting payments from his debtors.

[3] Johnny - 3 HP, no armor, 1d4 pinnose pocket pistol
Young, vaguely human-ish boy who never seems to get any older every time you see him. He's always getting other people into trouble; those his intentions are always good. He's the type to paint the outside of your apartment blue after hearing that's your favorite color- not realizing you live in red gang territory. Has a habit of getting out of trouble and disappearing as soon as nobody is looking at him.

Johnny's main talent is boyish antics of playing pranks, tricking dumber kids and playing a harmonica, as well as being good with animals. He seems strangely attracted to situations involving the more spooky parts of Garden life, like the Strange Objects or psychic manifestations. Most people think he's some kind of reality warper; though if his intentions are benevolent or malign are yet to be determined.

[4] Merlinda Shepard - 2 HP, no armor, 2d2 pepperbox
She's an old lady who is very attached to her apartment and the residents. The master of spying and gossip. She has the body of an old frail human woman with the head of a porcupine and quills going up and down her arms and back. Beyond tricking her visitors to do chores for her; her hobbies include sudoku and murder mystery pulp novels.

Merlinda is a sweet old woman; but has to pay the bills somehow. She will trade dirt on some of the more unsavory residents of Waffle city- though she naively wants people to just shape up and act nicer instead of being killed or being forced from the nieghborhood. She has a serious problem with Blase and Lance- who she views as being the main causes of disharmony in this borough of Garden. 

Also; the apartment next to her is hollowed out and used as her restaurant. It's pretty good.

Notable Gang - Skate & Die
Holdings- Outside Connections (+1), Punk Energy (+1)

This gang of young punks rule the never ending hallways of the Waffle. They all wear rollerblades with specially designed wheels to glide over the cheap, industrial carpet and to move at high speeds. They tend to use melee weapons and small arms with low recoil which better fit their hit and run fighting style. Even a capricious gang has to be mindful of the paper thin walls- a "driveby" down a hotel hallway could end up breaking through five apartments with strong enough guns; small calibers and careful consideration is a way to keep the general public fearful instead of enraged and sending vigilantes after you.

But with that being said; the Skate & Die gang is filled with tremendous punk energy. Their entire gang is very young, with bright hair and bold styles. Their youthful energy makes them popular and less cynical. They also have strong outside connections- different shipments and retailers to the waffle tend to go through the gang first, meaning they have eyes on everything that comes in and can sometimes steal anything that would give any up and coming rivals too much power. The few crime families that existed once in the waffle were suffocated by this supply line. This gang's holdings could be eroded through simple competition and time- more retailers and ways into the waffle city for products would reduce their grip, and simply waiting a few years means the gang members and leaders will get older, slower, and less filled with that reckless youth that makes them so formidable.

The leader of the gang is Alto Thrash, a rodent-man with a lime green mohawk. He's shorter then everyone else in the gang, and rules it through sheer intimidation and grit, along with his trusty switchblade. He is known to use his small size to his advantage; like hiding in the walls in the gang hideout to spy on anyone who may want to move against him. He has a long standing vendetta against Blase the debt collector and wants to cut his eyes out, but is waiting for the perfect opportunity to do so. Anything that would distance Blase from his employer would act as a vehicle for Alto to get his long awaited revenge.

Notable Location - The Convention Center
The entire city within a city is meant to be a symmetrical, ever-repeating pattern. If you took a vertical slice of the waffle out, it should be identical to any other slice structurally. But a few compromises had to be made to build it; the bottom level of Waffle City is a little different from the others. The walls must be thicker, with columns in the hallways to keep up the weight of the large structure. This perfect sameness was also ruined by one other factor; the convention city.

Near the heart of the waffle is a spot which, from the sky, looks as though the "holes" of which the windows of the various apartments face inwards is filled in. It just flat top. This is hidden by a stop on the roads that criss cross the top of the waffle where there is a little parking and elevator area- but this is the top of the only anomaly in the city. Beneath this spot is a great hollowed area; the convention center.

Huge empty rooms stretching onwards, shifting hallways to lead to these cavernous carpeted nothing places. Dark and unused. Heavy curtains that could stretch across a mountain pass. Nobody goes near the convention center anymore; the few conventions and events it once held were soon cancelled and given a bad reputation when people fell to their death from the few offices suspended on the catwalks above; the vibe of the place being evil and unnatural. Even now, stories of this place circulate around the Waffle, which is thought to be a pretty normal, "safe" place in Garden, without the monsters and entities and the evil- but not here. People warn of giant monsters, moving as silently as an old film, cramming into shadowy corners to stalk whoever dares walk through these black voids.

Random Encounters in Waffle City - 1d10

[1] Fire? Fire! Somebody started a fire here- the indoor city isn't exactly designed with fire safety in mind. Make a saving throw or be trampled. If you fail that one, roll again to see if you get trapped in by the fire. The fire authorities will be here in twenty minutes.

[2] Gang of actual children harass, bully, sling food at your face, and pick your pockets. They steal 1d6 bullets, cigarettes, candies, or dollar bills from you. If you're friends with Johnny they'll leave you alone.

[3] You come across an empty space. The floor is carpeted as all the others and the walls are the same color; but a large space is just open in a hallway where an apartment should be. The door number of the nearby apartments skips a number. If you spend too long in that open spot, you take 1d6 psychic damage. Researching that number leads to tales of insanity, murder, and reality warping in the old newspaper clippings.

[4] Trashguy! A big alien pushing a giant cart through the hallways is running at top speed. Save or get slapped aside by the big plastic bin and take 1d4 nonlethal damage. The nearby residents open their doors to throw bags into it as he passes- they've gotten quite good at this. He doesn't have the patience to stop at each door, so you'd better make it on the first throw.

[5] Trapped apartment. This place is hinted at be haunted, filled with treasure, hideout of a criminal, etc. While a tiny space, every single thing is boobytrapped- blades behind each doorframe, poison gas comes out of opened faucets, and a mold monster in the fridge.

Mold Monster (2+2 HD, 2 Armor, 1d8 goo bite attack)
Morale- 11 (if loses morale- tries to cram itself in the nearest fridge or cooler to stay cool)

[6] You find hundreds of scraps of paper plastered along every inch of this hallway. The papers are hand drawn posters for a concert for a band nobody has ever heard of.

When you arrive, 1d6 Skate & Die members, as well as one random notable resident arrive at the concert as well, along with some random people. The concert is by a band that plays really sad and depressing songs, and at the end they tell you all you have three days to live if you don't hand out flyers and get people to come to the next showing. 

Strangely, the band members seem like normal people but if a psychic probes their mind they find they have a psychic resistance of 4 and retaliate with an instant 1d6 psychic stress damage blowback for attempts to read their minds.

[7] Somebody's pet ferret keeps slinking away with valuable stuff. It's cute and very mischievous. If you manage to follow it to its lair you'll find $300 worth of stolen stuff.

[8] The Scintor Peeper is an infamous psychic that lives in the Waffle- said to be able to see through walls and doors using his psychic dowsing. Claims to use his power to case people's places and find things to steal, usually just pervs and watches girls shower. Of course, anyone who can see through paper thin walls, floors, and ceilings in this part of the city will be highly prized.

Currently owes Blase $95 and is getting awfully close to the "go over $100 and I'll break your legs" threshold with his failed interest payments.

[9] Roll on General Gang Table.

[10] Roll on General Encounters Table.

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