Chicago is located in the state of Illinois, in the UCAS, on the shores of Lake Michigan. Until 2055 (at which point data became unreliable), Chicago was the second largest city in the UCAS with a population of 4,188,050. Chicago is also known as Bug City due to the Insect Spirit occupation and quarantine.
Chicago is one of the best examples of why the old contracts must be burned and a whole new set of rules needs to be written on how to run the world. This city is split between the haves and the have-nots–and the haves are winning big-time. Not only do they practically starve the working class, but they;ve fixed it so the poor are burning out their gray matter in straight simsense chips and BTLs coming from City Hall, the corporations, and the mob. These guys sit around making fragging profits off the despair of the poor.
The neo-anarchists of Chicago have gotten a few grassroots organizations going, however, and they're working hard on the Northside, which has become a hotbed for violence. They've set it up so that the workers who want to fight for change collect nuyen to hire shadowrunners. It's true the runs don't pay great, but many runners around the Chicago Megaplex are so fed up with the situation in Wind City that they do part of the job as charity. Hooding, it's celled, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. They also get dirt sometimes for the aldermen who are almost on the straight and narrow.
All the stuff people don't want to hear about and can't quite believe is happening right here. For better or for worse, this city's "abuzz," and rockin' and rollin'.
Vital Statistics (unofficial)
4,188,050 is just the City alone (including the neighborhoods beyond the former Containment Zone. The entire Chicago Sprawl (including the suburban areas) totals 20,131,016.
|Chicago (as of 2070)|
2025 saw the Southside Revitalization Project begin, including construction of a monorail. Many new businesses appeared to serve the growing simsense industry. The then inhabitants had to relocate, replaced by the mostly metahuman workforce slaving away in the chip factories and warehouses.
On February 10, 2039 the terrorist organization Alamos 20,000 bombed the Sears Tower (also known as the IBM Building) . The whole building collapsed, causing an estimated 26,000 casualties. The ruined neighbourhood became known as the Noose, and one of the worst districts in Chicago; the site of the former Tower, known as Shattergraves, became inhabited by ghouls, ghosts of those killed in the attack, and other beings drawn by the high background count caused by the catastrophe. This has made it nearly impossible to simply bulldoze and rebuild this area of Chicago, even in the 2070s.
On August 22, 2055, following a failed Ares operation to clean up the major hive, insect spirits spread in the city. On August 23, the UCAS Federal Government declares a quarantine area between Lake Michigan and Des Plaines River. Officially, the Chicago Containment Zone (also known as CZ or CeeZee) is established against an outbreak of a new strain of VITAS. The Containment Zone was created by destroying several buildings around downtown Chicago and using the debris to create make shift barriers. It is estimated that 100,000 people were trapped within the CZ at the time it was erected. The area around the CZ is known as the Corridor.
On October 1, 2055, an undercover Ares group infiltrated in to the Cermak Power Plant, near the center of the CZ, to detonate a nuclear bomb. Just before the explosion, the queen insect spirits finished erecting a powerful magical barrier. The barrier had a strange effect on the Cermak Blast, making the explosion much smaller but the radiation at the source a lot more intense. The blast knocked the insect spirits around Chicago and put them in a state of torpor.
On February 22, 2058, Ares Macrotechnology launch Operation Extermination, first spreading biological agent Strain III-beta (Fluorescing Astral Bacteria Strain III or FAB III) to weaken the insect spirits and entering the Zone with troops and drones. Acknowledging the end of the threat, the UCAS government lift the quarantine.
Integrating the Zoners (people trapped in the CZ) with the population of the Chicagolands (the area of the wider Chicago megaplex) was a daunting task. Many Chicagoans believed the Zoners to be disguised insect spirits or savage gangers. Despite the efforts to contain the Zoners in the CZ, a mass exodus occurred as they forced their way in to the wider Chicagolands and beyond. This turned the Chicago megaplex into a lawless zone overrun by gangs. By 2062 Chicago became an urban hellhole with violent gang turf wars, a large smuggling ring, a high population of SiNless and other societal outcasts.
Despite politicians running on campaigns to clean up and rebuild Chicago, very little came of it. O'Hare Airport was given to the megacorporations, who ensured the airport stayed operational under heavy military control and enforcement. In 2063 recovery of the Calumet port began. However both initiatives came to a sudden halt with Crash 2.0. After the crash, the Chicago government declared bankruptcy and most officials retired.
The Zone (CZ, CeeZee)
The Zone has been ground zero for the worst of the horror and pain in living memory, from the fall of the Sears Tower to the massive infestation of insect spirits that necessitated the detonation of a tactical nuclear weapon, the quarantine of millions of souls in a living hell, and a harrowing Operation: Extermination that was also essentially an act of genocide against Chicago's ghoul population.
The scars of these events are still visible on the cityscape and on the people - and other things - that live there. Most of the walls that enclosed the Zone remain, overgrown with weeds, with the rusty gates standing open and the guard towers (the ones that weren't overrun or destroyed over the last twelve years) mostly abandoned, now home to squatters and bat colonies.
Most of the Zone is in a mana ebb, which suggests a significantly detrimental impact on any magician of any stripe. It's not quite enough to severely affect a ghoul, unless their system is already compromised by implants, partially drained by a vampire, or damaged by FAB III, but it comes close. Adepts won't be able to access their full powers, and magicians won't be able to cast their most powerful spells or summon their spirits easily.
Some university and corporate research institutes, notably MIT&T and Aztechnology, have sponsored teams to penetrate the Zone and study the situation.
More than any part of the Zone, the former Downtown Core is a ghost town. Decrepit syscrapers still stand tall, even with floors gutted by fire and winds howling through the broken windows. The streets are effectively closed to vehicle traffic; there's simply too much trash in the streets to move. At least 40,000 were in the Zone when the walls went up, and it is believed every one of them are still there, stuck in a perpetual traffic jam. Some people still live and work in The Core - Spire Enterprises, there's a commune of drop-outs that have taken over an old high school, and a magophobic splinter of the Human Nation lives in what used to be an Eagle Security police station. Squatters who don't know better camp here for a while, but most everything worth looting is gone. Scrappers from Northside and Southside do come in to scavenge for pipes and hardware, but most of them know better than to go alone, unarmed, or after dark.
The Elevated and the Underground
The "L," Chicago's elevated train network, is a shadow of itself. Except for the L tribes that keep a couple of the lines running, most of the network is in disrepair, and the towers, the tracks, and substations are a haven for squatters and makeshift shelters. It's still a good way to get around - safer to go over gang territory than through it, in most cases - if you don't mind that one slip, though, you'll fall about three stories.
Besides the elevated train network, Chicago also once boasted a subway system - note the past tense. The ghouls used to nest there until the insect spirits took over down there. Ares didn't even try to send its men into these deathtraps, they just flooded the stations with FAB III and shot anything that crawled or flittered out. Now, the subways are no better than an artificial cave system, complete with glomoss, bats, lost dwarfs, and stalactites where water drips through the cracks in the ceiling.
A lot of people will tell you the CZ is one big bug mess, with gangs and ghouls thrown in there, too. And the whole place is under the control of Catherine the Terrible, King Vlad, Tom Nishio, and a mysterious group called The Aleph Society. Well, I'm not going to say anything different. But I am going to tell you that the Yakuza and the Mafia are still doing big biz in The Box even though they are cut off from their contacts on the outside.
And there are the horrid free bug spirits. I don't understand too much about them except the old limitations that bound a bug to the hive mind don't apply to them somehow. And they got more powers, which makes them all the more dangerous! Thankfully, there aren't too many of them, but even one's one too many if you ask me.
Thankfully, much of the Strain III drek they sprayed around here killed off many of the bugs and the ghouls. But the ones that survived are stronger than the rest. So, though we no longer have the sheer volume of creepies to battle, the ones that are left are harder to take down.
Also, what you gotta know before you even think about coming in is what's and who's where.
If you're a Human trying to do biz in Lincoln Park or Lake View (both of which are in the CZ, BTW) on the North Side along the Lake between the Irving Park Wall and The Noose, then you're going to have a real hard time! Both are an Elf-only club (the culture of the individual don't matter, you get all kinds of Elves here: German Elves, Italian Elves, Irish Elves, English Elves, Polish Elves, Russian Elves, Black Elves, Aztlaner Elves, Puerto Rican Elves, Beijing Elves, Canton Confederation Elves, Guangxi Elves, Hainan Elves, Henan Elves, Elves from the Hong Kong Free Enterprise Zone, Elves from Macao, Manchurian Elves, Shaanxi Elves, Shandong Elves, Sichuan Elves, Xinjiang Elves, Filipino Elves, Japanese Elves, Asian Indian Elves, Korean Elves, and Jewish Elves). Lincoln Park and Lake View has also become home to many Changelings, so if they freak you out, best reconsider a stay here. Also, many of the Elves here have some ties to their respective Ethnic Mafias. In many cases, they are the bridge between these Ethnic Mafias and The Ancients.
Same thing with the Austin neighborhood on the West Side (also in the CZ), but being an Elf don't cut it. You got to be an African-American Elf. And, if you're in Portage Park or any other neighborhood on the NW Side of the CZ and you're an Elf (or at least not an Ork or a Troll), then you're in for a world o' hurt! King Vlad (one of the meanest, baddest Orks around) won't kill you, but he'll make you wish he had. If you're in West Garfield Park and you're not a Black Dwarf, then you're history. In Hermosa, it's Puerto Rican Troll turf. The Ork, Dwarf, and Troll neighborhoods tend to be a bit more culturally polarized than the Elf neighborhoods. For Example, in a Polish Troll neighborhood, you're not going to find many Polish Dwarfs. And in a Filipino Ork ghetto, you're not going to find too many Filipino Trolls.
And if you're down by Chinatown and ain't hooked up with any of the Triads, the Yakuza, or Seoulpa Rings, then you can forget about doin' anything down there. They'd just as soon toss your hoop into the rad crater as deal with you.
Also, there are entire neighborhoods that don't even speak English. Up in the NW side of the CZ, Polish and Spanish is spoken more often. Down by UIC, Greek and Italian rule. Down by S. Wentworth and S. Canal St. Chinese, Korean, Japanese. Some neighborhoods on the Northside, the West Side and in the Noose are strictly Spanish-speaking, and those with the power there know the language. So, know who you're dealing with before you go in.
But with all the Strain III floating around and eating up the dual-natured beings, The Shattergraves aren't that bad of a place to stay now. They're just eerie quiet, no real ghosts or ghouls to speak of any more, thanks to Strain III.
Ghoultown's still around, but the population has dropped off dramatically, and is declining as more and more ghouls die off from the Strain III astral virus. You see, they're dual-natured and are constantly in tune with Astral Space. So they can never stop being vulnerable to Strain III.
Down in Little Earth, there's the Astral Preservation Society of Chicago. They're hard at work finding a way to neutralize Strain III and repair The Voids, damage done by Strain III, as well as to detoxify the astral space in Chicagoland. I heard rumor of people actually developing an IMMUNITY to the Strain III used here ... er, AFTER Haley's Comet passed and the whole SURGE mess came about.
The APSC is one of the strongest Policlubs around here, but they're torn. Some support groups like the Aleph Society, other members oppose it. It's rumored Catherine the Terrible is involved with the APSC, but to what extent is unknown. Her interests are also unknown.
There are still hundreds of gangs running around in the CZ. Most either pledge their loyalty to Catherine the Terrible or King Vlad. There are The Ancients who control Lincoln Park/Lake View, Englewood, Riverdale, and Austin. They also have forces in neighborhoods with large Elf populations such as: Rogers Park, Forest Glen, Albany Park (where they are at war with The Raging Horde), Kenwood in the Downtown Elevated, Little Earth, Woodlawn, Calumet Heights (where they defeated the Swamp Thangs gang), South Deering, East Side, West Pullman, Hegewisch, Brighton Park, West Englewood, Auburn Gresham, Beverly, Washington Heights, and Morgan Park. If you plan to play in either of these 'hoods, better know The Ancients rule to some degree. Oh. You don't know where they are? Grab a map chip and slot it, chummer. That's your first step to ensure your survival. Elves make up the majority in Austin on the Westside, Kenwood in the Downtown Elevated, Calumet Heights in the Downtown Elevated, Riverdale in the Downtown Elevated, Lake View on the Northside, Englewood in the Downtown Elevated, and Lincoln Park on the Northside.
The Dwarf neighborhoods (Jefferson Park - Northwest Side, Portage Park - Northwest Side (there are just as many Trolls here as there are Dwarfs and gang wars between the two races are often bloody and messy), Avondale (the conflict here lies between Orks and Dwarfs), and Gage Park - down in the Elevated Downtown, Edison Park (where the Dwarfs are at odds with BOTH the Orks and Trolls)) are scattered throughout the CZ, and there are fewer of them than the Elven neighborhoods listed above.
The Ork and Troll 'hoods (Orks: Albany Park on the Northside, Irving Park on the Northside, Avondale (or BloodTown) on the Northside, Logan Square on the Northside, West Town in the Noose, the old South Loop in the Noose, the Near North Side in the Noose, and Edison Park on the Northside. Trolls: Rogers Park on the Northside, North Park on the Northside, Portage Park on the Northside, Montclare on the Northside, Hermosa on the Northside, West Town in the Noose, Uptown on the Northside, South Loop in the Noose, North Center on the Northside, Near North Side in the Noose, and Edison Park on the Northside) are mostly on the North Side and in The Noose. Racial tension still runs high here, violence and anger are king, and to make matters worse, I hear the UCAS government in their infinite wisdom has planned to ship criminals here, especially Awakened criminals. Have fun!
Beyond the CZ Walls are innumerable neighborhoods with armed vigilante gangs. Many of these gangs took over the posts along the Walls. Others actually infiltrated the CZ to take care of the threat (as they see it) before it can spread beyond the old Walls. You better know someone in one of these gangs if you want to get in and out in one piece. They don't communicate with one another as well as they probably should.
When the government collapsed, they did not completely abandon three more-or-less definable geographic zones around the former Containment Zone, so they sufferred less than the CZ itself. Collectively these are known as the Corridor. They have plenty of relatively intact buildings and border on actual working cities from which they can leech. Also referred to as the 'sides, these rough districts comprise the Corridor, the population and traffic hub of Chicago.
The Northside District extends up from the Zone along the shore of Lake Michigan-Huron, just past North Chicago, until you hit the border of South Milwaukee. Interstate 94/294 forms a natural border with the O'Hare Subsprawl and makes Northside one of the easiest parts of the Corridor to penetrate - just take any east-bound exit. The streets coming from the highway are pretty clear, but the rule of the road in Northside is that the biggest vehicle has the right of way.
Increased traffic means more street business, especially ones catering to day-trippers in from the sub-sprawls, which means Northside has more places that take nuyen than practically anywhere else in Chicago. A lot of the businesses (which could even be some slot selling some drek out of a converted bungalow) and enclaves (either a neighborhood of blocked-off streets and guards or, deeper in, small apartment complexes) are set up near the border or along the main streets. People that operate out of the back streets are the ones you have to watch out for; either they can't afford to buy protection, or they're selling something that even the other Northtowners won't abide, like child-porn BTLs or slaves. Of course, one of the highlights of Northside in the ghoul-run pig farms set up on what used to be golf courses.
Northside is where a lot of the business of the sprawl gets done. There's less mob influence and more money and trade goods flowing through this 'side. It's no wonder Standish set up his little tourist main street for the daytrippers and his Chicago hours scam here. It also has the least number of "native Chicagoans." Most of the people that stayed here when the city government collapsed were actually old-school Skokites.
Up in the Business Village, people sit pretty in their expensive homes and sipping their lattes while they make the big biz decisions. All the while, they may have friends or family stuck in the CZ. They may be dead. They may be alive. Do they care? By their actions, I'd say, 'NO'. Folks on the West Side outside the Wall didn't have it so well, though. Many between the Harlem Avenue Wall and the Des Plaines River had their homes and businesses demolished by the UCAS Army and Illinois State National Guard. The area between the Harlem Wall and the Des Plaines River is now a ruined place where people have been destroyed economically, but also where others have prospered incredibly. West of the River, the West Side's prosperity shows in all its materialistic splendor. If you want the big-paying jobs, then this is where you need to go. But the Yaks are everywhere here behind the scenes, pulling strings and yanking chains.
And what about the Downtown Elevated beyond the 115th Street Wall? Good question. Last I heard it was a mix of megacorp and military. Some of the tallest skyrakers rise into the skies from here. Biz goes on as usually here and the northern part of Downtown is forgotten about, even feared. A lot of displaced people ended up here in shelters, hotel towers, and other such locales.
Everything from the Chicago river and the CZ down to Joliet on the southwest and Gary, Indiana on the southeast is Southside territory, and it's very different from the rest of Chicago. The principal battleground between McCaskill's crew, the Detroit Mob, and MacAvoy's bunch, Southside is a battlefield of suburban brothels and garage betameth labs run by ex-cons that can't get a job with their criminal SINs and staffed by teenage runaways. The local news is word-of-mouth at the local bar (you don't want to trust the water south of the river), and it always centers around on who blew up who-else's lab, shot his dog, and cut up the girl he was pimping.
The outermost residential neighborhoods in Southside run right up against the blue-collar worker-villages that serve Gary's docks and Joliet's industrial parks and factories, and they share space with the impromptu bars packed elbow-to-drekhole, and flesh shows that are basically unorganized grope fests. Farther in, closer to Downtown, are the abandoned factories and office buildings claimed by survivalist communities and the kind of people you normally se in the other 'sides. Lake Calumet, by contrast, is effectively a smuggler haven.
The markets around Lake Calumet see black market goods from all over North America and have a general pirate-haven feel to them. Lots of t-bird crews stop here to refuel and/or offload cargo, which means there's often an auction going on for illegal merchandise in bulk and on the cheap.
The Southside of the City lies south of the Downtown Elevated and is basically a carbon copy of the Northside: blighted by factories and chemical plants. Orks and Trolls live in cramped Metahuman Housing Projects close to the factories in which they work. Crime bosses rule the underworld. Many will pay big money for you to run some BTL to clients in the CZ. But who'd take that job? Gotta make sure you can get out hassle-free!
The O'Hare Subsprawl has been slowly getting back to business since the military left. The Red Cross is the most visible element here now, as are other disaster relief agencies. Word has it Amnesty International has something going down here, but I don't know what.
The smallest of the 'sides, a lot of what was Westside was taken over by Naperville-Bolingbrook when Chicago's government fell. The rest is squeezed in by the Chicago River to the south, the monowire-topped wall that marks the O'Hare Subsprawl's boundary, and, of course, the western wall of the Zone. As cramped as it might be, Westside is critical to Chicago's geography - it's the safest and most direct route to avoid the former CZ.
When the wall first went up, it cut straight through the highways and walled off the cloverleaf completely. The city government built connections around the wall, and since they didn't want to straight across the water, they went through Westside instead. It's a straight shot from Northside to Southside, from Gary and points beyond to South Milwaukee. Several petty toll keeper gangs dot the highway - or, more often, specific exits - and charge travelers. That usually lasts until they slot off the wrong people.
I-294 is popular with many out-of-towners and is relatively safe in stretches along Northside - Knight Errant has a special highway patrol unit under contract with O'Hare to keep it that way - but it runs through Westside and Southside.
Near the Naperville-Bolingbrook border are entrenched apartment enclaves and fortified neighborhoods. They started out when the walls first went up around the CZ, with upper-middle class and lower-upper class folks beefing up the security around their gated communities to feel "safe". They were so safe that they stayed behind their walls when most of the other people left. When the CZ opened up, they just ramped up their security another couple of notches and hunkered down, telecommuting to work and checking their investments with secured satlinks. Ironically, these "secure communities" became hot commodities once the city government collapsed. Turns out all the other rich people want to avoid paying city property taxes.
The suburbs include the communities of SE Wisconsin, Zion, Rockford, Schaumburg, DeKalb, Elgin, Naperville, Kankakee, and the NW Indiana communities. They are a patchwork of the filthy rich to the dirt poor, all living too close to each other to make life hassle-free for anyone. But, somehow, people keep from killing each other. Most communities are Human, though a small handful are Metahuman. Of the Metahuman communities, the Orks and Trolls tend to live in the poorer, more overcrowded and least funded districts, whereas Elves and Dwarfs tend to live in better communities. Orks and Trolls are found in the Low Class suburban communities. Elves are found mostly in the Middle Class and High Class Suburban communities. Humans can be found all over here, but they tend to be Middle Class High Class and Luxury suburban communities.
The Chicago Shattergraves has a background count of 4.
The site of the Cermak Blast in Chicago hosts a level 7 mana warp.
Shadowrunning runs the gammut in the ChicagoSprawl from relief work, to retrieving a loved-one or employee, to running contraband over the Wall. Us runners could also be hired to conduct surveillance, perform food drops or supply drops, run courrier missions. Anything along those lines. O'Hare is too fragged up still to operate from, the airline corps are trying to re-establish their biz there, the Red Cross is taking up people's time and space, the military STILL has a presence there. The Army Corps of Engineers is rebuilding and revamping the whole place. It's a mess. If you can manage to not get shot down, I suggest grabbing a VTOL and touching down on the tarmac at Midway International. Sure, it's in the CZ and the runways are cratered (that's why you gotta use VTOL), but once you're in, meet up with your contact, and get out. Zip-zap. It's that quick. if you gotta look for someone in there, then read the above data on neighborhoods real carefully so you can live to see your nuyen. And watch out with those drug and BTL runs. They're mostly Maf- or Yak-backed. Do your homework on who's paying you the nuyen before you take one of those jobs. Actually, that holds true for any job you take here. Some Politico in DeeCee or down in Springfield could hire you to "assess the Chicago Situation". If that's the case, you may as well move into the CZ, and who in their right mind wants to do that?
The Chicago Noose has hacker-run grid called Noose Net.
|This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Chicago. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Shadowrun Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.|
- Bug City
- Feral Cities
- The Neo-Anarchist's Guide to North America, 102-114
- Target: UCAS, 68-85
- Target: Wastelands
- Target: Awakened Lands