Battle of El Infierno (Shadowrun Sourcebook, California Free State)

Battle of El Infierno

El Infierno was a huge ghetto in the city of Los Angeles.


The hell hole that came to be known as "El Infierno" had it's origins in the panic caused the deadly VITAS II virus. In 2023, as the virus was killing many, rumors spread across Los Angeles that VITAS II was actually a government-sponsored genocide against the poor. Citywide riots erupted and as things got out of control, the governor declared martial law in the areas that would become El Infierno and sent in the National Guard to suppress the riots.

Once it was all over, large parts of Central Los Angeles had been turned into rubble and over 619 civilians, 89 policemen, and 23 soldiers had lost their lives. In the aftermath the corporations took advantage of the situation and bought the land in burned out Watts at ridiculously low prices, forcing its former residents to move south and east to Compton and Gardena. Those cities became full of the poor, unemployable, and homeless.[1]

The Birth of El InfiernoEdit

In 2028, the city government walled off the area, creating "El Infierno". In 2036, the city of Los Angeles passed laws that limited whatever welfare benefits there were to residents who lived only in designated housing projects which were all located in El Infierno. Which forced the poorest of the poor in Los Angeles to relocate to El Infierno, where they were now isolated and walled away from the rest of Los Angeles. The police were pulled from those communities and became a sort of border patrol around the walls.

By 2038, all the roads that led to El Infierno had checkpoints and a curfew was established from 11 pm to 5 am. Checkpoints came equipped with chem-sniffers and metal detectors. Mounted on the pedestrian ways under the wall were smart gun ports and gas vents to be used against the residents in El Infierno.[1] It was for all intents a prison, that consisted of the former cities of Hawthorne, Gardena, and Compton.[2]

Freeways that passed through the ruined areas were fortified and rebuilt to rise above El Infierno. The city cut off most of it's services to those areas. The Los Angeles fence consisted of high walls, razor wire, and a smattering of guard towers. The Orange County fence consisted of autonomous sentry guns which would fire on anything that moved and some of its residents considered it fun to shoot at the poor who lived on the other side of the fence.[3]

The Battle of El InfiernoEdit

In 2045, an offshore nuclear plant exploded, sending a radioactive tidal wave full of toxic sludge into El Infierno. The initial flood killed thousands, and thousands more died in the following days. No help was sent into El Infierno either by the government or corporations. Later in 2046, a gang of hackers wiped the election databanks creating the incident known as the "Lost Election". It was rumored that a gang located in El Infierno seeking payback for the radioactive flood and the lack of outside help was either responsible or had helped the culprits. The state government in Sacramento then declared war on El Infierno based on the rumors. The California State Guard (Rangers) backed by officers on loan from Lone Star and thousands of corporate mercenaries was sent to El Infierno. They were authorized to use deadly force to purge the area of its gangs and the "criminality" of metahumans (though humans made up half of the gang members).

Prior to the invasion, leaflets had been dropped advising the residents that anyone who was on the streets would be shot and anyone who resisted orders would be shot. The invaders bombed, smashed, and burned all in their path. After fighting for hours, the Guard and some of the corporate mercs had enough of killing civilian. In disgust they began deserting, first in a trickle and then in multitudes. After days of fighting a losing battle, Sacramento ordered its forces to pullout of the city and declared Los Angeles a "Free City".[1] By the time it was over, a total of 20,000 civilians had lost their lives.[3]

The GhettoEdit

Since 2046, the government of Los Angeles ignored El Infierno. Filling the power vacuum were the gangs, who often provided the only law and order. Wherever a gang had undisputed control, a kind of normality settled in, where as long as you didn't challenge the gang's authority you were left alone. Residents in those blocks could rely on the gang protecting their neighborhood from other gangs. If you lived in an area which was under dispute between gangs, you were out of luck since you lived in a war zone with a high death rate for innocent bystanders.[4]

The inhabitants of El Infierno survived on the welfare provided by the corporations which sponsored local housing projects. They provided the locals with shelter, food, and basic health care for free. In exchange the residents of the cinderblock warehouses became a captive test market for whatever new products the corporations wanted to test on them before marketing to the rest of the world. So if any product turned out to be unsafe during its "trial run" in El Infierno, they would fix the issues before putting in on the open market.

In most of the housing blocks the corporations used local gangs as guards, and provided them with tasers, armor, and binders. Many of these gangs practiced martial arts (sometimes without the corporation's knowledge or approval). Likewise many of the "guards" carried their own personal weapons (e.g. firearms) and use them freely whenever they are threatened.[5]

The End of El InfiernoEdit

In 2061, an earthquake brought down the walls of El Infierno. Surging from the ghetto was a wave of desperate, enraged people who unleashed all the anger and hate they had built up during all those years of discrimination, neglect, and brutality by the government and corporations on the rest of Los Angeles. They burned, looted, and smashed everything they could in an orgy of violence and destruction. The city government appealed to the Pueblo Corporate Council for help after the government of CalFree had ignored their appeals. Pueblo rapidly mobilized and sent a military expeditionary force to Los Angeles. Within a few days they had restored order to the city. El Infierno was once again contained, this time with Pueblo troops not a wall.[2][6]

The final blow came in 2069, during the earthquake caused by the "Twins" (the San Pedro Shelf Fault and the San Andres Fault) which shook the entire world. In Los Angeles which was at the center of the quake, entire blocks were swallowed by great sinkholes which opened up. Then a tsunami struck the city, flooding most of Los Angeles. Some parts of the city that were 100 meters above sea level were now submerged. Over 100,000 people died from the earthquakes and its aftermath, not including the SINless. El Infierno for all intents and purposes ceased to exist, and all that remains are clusters of islands.[7]


Due to all the deaths, suffering, bitterness, and despair caused by the tragedies, poverty, racism, and atrocities that happened throughout its four decades in existence, what used to be "El Infierno" has an astral space that is extremely corrupted and toxic.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 o20709502California Free State p.104
  2. 2.0 2.1 o38715534Shadows of North America p.99
  3. 3.0 3.1 o07914318Corporate Enclaves p.9
  4. o20709502California Free State p.104-105
  5. o20709502California Free State p.105-106
  6. o07914318Corporate Enclaves p.9-10
  7. o07914318Corporate Enclaves p.9-10
  8. o07914318Corporate Enclaves p.25


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