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Game Review #?? Amber Diceless (G)

Welcome readers…

So it took me a little bit to get this one out, but so be it.

The Amber Diceless RPG was written by Erick Wujcik (co founder of Palladium Books) based off of the Amber Chronicles by Roger Zelazny.

As a licensed product there are a lot of reasons for me to love this game. I was a fan of the novels, and Wujcik is responsible for some of my favorite content that came out of Palladium.

While the history of the game and the challenges of getting it published are a good story, check the wiki for that one. Also the history of Wujcik and Palladium are also good reading but I do not really want to recap that here. Try the wiki for those too. What I really want to go into is the game itself, and my experience with it.

Now then if I remember right I have played Amber seven times. And with each of those games it has been either one of the best RPG experiences I have ever had or it is one of the worst. There is a high challenge factor to this game. And it takes players and GMs that are up to the challenge to really make it work. And while the game engine could be easily used outside of the Amber setting, getting used to it in the Amber setting where you can establish some outside references makes it easier to get a handle on.

What is it that makes this game so challenging? The whole game engine. In most games you have stats that give you at the very least a general idea of what ‘specifically’ you can do. In Amber they just tell you who is the best, and where others rank. And that is all in relation to standard humans. Powers have some more specific limits on them, but they are written as guidelines to try and encourage creativity in GMs and players. Action resolution is based on who has the highest relevant stat, if they have any skills to back it up, and if they can out describe whatever challenge they are facing. This is why it is a diceless system. You have no mechanic for action resolution. And this is why it is a challenge. And why it can be great or just totally suck depending on who you play with.

See most of the time dice, cards, coins or even bidding chits act as a neutral third party that can side with the person taking the action or with the challenge they are facing. When you have a majority on one side then that side wins. In the Amber system you have to basically convince the person running the game that you have the best idea and that means you should succeed. Unless of course you are taking action against someone or some thing with a significantly higher stat. Then unless you get a lot of help you are just hosed.

The game time I have spent on this system is really just… well… mixed. My very first time playing Amber was at a Seattle Convention called Dragonflight. It was one of the most epic game sessions I have ever been in. It reinforced for me just how players and GMs adding description and flavor and ideas could put so much life in a game session that I quickly forgot my reservations about the game engine being diceless and really got into trying to figure out ways to get myself and others out of challenges. The next four sessions I spent all of my time wondering why the players and or GMs sucked so bad at playing and wondering why they were so dependent on a mechanic to make decisions for them. The sixth session was almost back to what the first was like but not quite. All of this made me think about how the game is played, and who it is played with. And while I would love to play it again, I never will unless I can find a group of players that would be just as thrilled as I am to put roleplay over mechanics and who want to do so with all the flavor they can muster.

There are a lot of elements that I can have fun with in the limited game mechanics that are present in the system, but my personal favorite is the Good Stuff, Bad Stuff, and Neutral Stuff mechanic.

The game engine is point based for character builds. And when you get to the end of building your character you may need a few points to balance things out. If you do you can take on roles for the game, do journaling, artwork, all sorts of things to help the GM run the game and track stuff… or you can take on Bad Stuff (well you can do both but why get into that now). Bad stuff acts like a combination of bad luck, bad reputation, and crap magnet. The more Bad Stuff you have the more bad stuff the GM can feel free and gleeful about tossing your way. If you have points left over you can buy up Good Stuff. It is the opposite of Bad Stuff, really. And Neutral Stuff just means you are balanced. Not so good, not so bad. Sadly the game mechanic does not allow you to have both Good and Bad Stuff, unless someone has house rules. Another way this comes into play is when characters are cashing in XP. The GM does not tell the players how much XP they have, each player submits a list of what they would like to grow, and how much if any Bad Stuff they are willing to take on to get it. So at the end of the story the GM spends all of their points for them based on the lists the players have provided. Points left over become Good Stuff. I know a lot of players that freak out about this part of the game system because it takes a lot out of their hands. But it can also make the role play more interesting by keeping the players in the dark about just how much they have developed. Again, more chance to roleplay and experience discovery with your characters.

So yeah, this game is different. It never was really unique in its mechanics, but it is something that you can really have a lot of fun with IF and only IF you are really up to the challenge.

So how do the points lay out?

Overall Fluff 3/5 – There is so much material in here that comes from the books and so many colorful examples that reading though this is almost like Cliff Notes of the novels. I cannot go to a 4 though because at least half of the art sucks, to the point that it is distracting. I do think though that if there was better, consistent art, I could go to a five easy.

Overall Crunch 2/5 – The rules are light. They are actually pretty easy to use too. And examples are plentiful. Why is that number so low you ask then? Because it is hard to get players to grasp the concept. I dont think that is really a reflection of the game but more on gaming culture. But with the mechanics as they stand it is hard to get players to know what the heck is going on.

Overall Mod 3/5 – This gets a little tricky. I have modded the engine to suit other settings, but without the Cliff Notes factor it gets a little hard to work with. I have also created new powers and abilities, but with the lack of solid standards set in the mechanics it is a challenge to know if you are over powering, under powering, or even if you happen to be totally redundant.

Overall Fun 3/5 – With the right group of players this game is mind blowingly good. And that makes it OHHH so fun. With the wrong group of players… just shoot me. So lets score it in the middle for fun.

Total Score 11/20 – Not a very high score. But a meaningful one. If you love the Amber setting, and can play with a like minded group that can really carry things off without needing a mechanic to determine success, rock this game. Otherwise I would leave it be for the time being and maybe try and recreate the Amber setting in another engine. Would not be the first time someone has pulled that move.

Sooo now you know my thoughts. Get out there and form your own opinion. Thats the one that is worth it.

Now gimme the dice… I need to see if I need the dice…

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Flashbacks and memories

Hi there readers.

I know I had mentioned in my last post that I was going to talk about Amber Diceless this week. But while I was running around with my wife yesterday we passed by the now closed Toys R Us location in Southcenter (Tukwilla)WA. And just driving past, seeing the closed sign on the doors and being able to see a whole lot of… nothing… inside the store took me back down memory lane and I wanted to share.

The image that tops this post is from their original location and was part of an article in one of the local news papers.

The flash that hit me was not all the toys that I had picked up there over the decades of knowing the chain of stores. But that Toys R Us what what gave me the chance to get into gaming fully.

1979 – 81 my family lived … well a fair ways away from the Seattle area. But being back here to visit family we went to Toys R Us… I don’t remember why… but we went. Wandering through the store I went into their books section, yeah for those who only know the more modern Toys R Us in the Seattle area… they used to have really big books and media sections all dedicated to titles for the young at heart, and I had been Jones-ing for a new Hardy Boys or something else by CS Lewis or a follow up to Charlotte’s Web. But I saw a small section with D&D books and games in it. I could not believe my luck. I had wanted more of the D&D stuff since I had played my Kryptonian Dwarf and here it was… in a place that was so cool that it had toys, and books, and now D&D too!!!

D&D_Basic_Rules_1981

And low and behold I found myself in possession of the first Basic Rules set. This pic does it no justice as mine had three hole punches in it so it could be put in a binder… oh damn so easy to carry… And dice that I had to take a crayon to so that the numbers would stand out… and it even came with an adventure module. So COOL! Next holiday I was teaching some of my cousins how to play. We really did not get all that deep into the rules. Made up a lot of crap as we went. But for me at least it was a lot of fun. I hope they enjoyed it as much. But that also got me back to Toys R Us and this time I found another box… even cooler than the first…

D&D_1981_Expert_Set_cover

And the rule book was also three hole punched… and now I had a binder so I asked my dad to three hole punch both of the adventure modules with some of his industrial tools at work. AND EVEN MORE DICE!!! Now my cousins and I could take things even further… and this adventure had DINOSAURS!!! even cooler than Dragons at the time… but not by much.

I cannot remember which one of these two it was, or if it was both… but I know that I did not have enough money for at least one of them, and offered to do more chores and work around the house to get an advance on my allowance (25 cents per week) sufficient enough to buy them. Yeah that’s right I went into debt and took on extra work just to get these.

Then more followed…

Now there was an ADVANCED version… I no longer had to have an elf who did elf things!!! I could be an elf who was a thief or a priest… or what the hell is a half elf? And why is there no half dwarf? Of half halfling… ahhh hell I can figure out how to make those myself…

And all that came from a little kid wandering into Toys R Us and choosing game books over regular books, or action figures, or other toys or balls or Hot Wheels or anything else really.

In 1982 when we were moved back into the Seattle area I found out about Walden Books and B Dalton and sure they had a few little shelves for RPG books. Eventually they became my go too source for them before I found a local book store that had even more… oh so many more… But for as long as the local Toys R Us had a books section they were the place I wanted to hit first to see if I could find anything to feed the gaming hunger.

They have not stocked things like that locally for a long… long time. I cannot speak to any other part of the US or the world where they operated, or in some cases still might… not really sure how all the international business stuff works for something like this… but once upon a time they did. And things have not been so epic since.

And now with the stores passing… with the end of that era… the memories kick up and I get that sad feeling that I will never see its like again.

Ok so flashback shared… memories passed… and so we can move on.

Thanks for understanding the need to remember something publicly and I will get that Amber posting up soon.

Now gimme the dice… I gotta scrape the paint off the numbers and find a crayon….

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Missing the review

Hi there readers…

The wife and I are working on a project in the house this weekend and it is going to be a very cool add. Much like our home made steampunk library and the desk she made me, my wife has awesome ideas that come out so bloody cool. So since this was one of those rare weeks when our mundane life jobs both got us paid at the same time we had to pickup the parts and get to work. That unfortunately is leaving me without enough time to really do a good post this week… and a few other things. And that may happen next week too, we shall see.

Hope everyone is having a blast out there in the world and I am sorry that this is not a better post.

Gimme the dice, I have to see if I can avoid wiring the puppy into the new outlets in the living room.

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Die Fighter, no, we are not backstabing the fighter… sheesh

Ok so last week I asked about posting other things that I have done. I got a couple of replies and have decided to dive in with Die Fighter.

If you are wondering about the pic, well that is the type of customizable dice that I originally created the game with. Not really required but it makes it a little easier in my opinion.

Let me jump straight into a copy of the rules so you can see more about what I mean.

Welcome to Die Fighter first edition

Die Fighter is (C) Copyright Tony Johnson 2013 2014

Permission is given to distribute freely person to person but not to be posted on the internet.

This is a game that is trying to pay tribute to the classic two d fighting games of yore. Classic Street Fighter, Street Fighter II, Fatal Fury, and so many others that many of us spent a lot of time and money on in the arcades back when such things were common.

 Tools :

To play this game you need a ball point pen and at least one of these little packets of blank dice.

dice

I would suggest picking these things up at a local gaming or hobby store as you can see if you pick them up at one of the Uncles Games stores they are only 3.99 for a package, but at Amazon online they are 7.19 plus shipping or more.

The game idea is simple really. You use the rules below to design a fighter by marking the stickers and applying them to the dice. And then you and another player (or if you make two sets up then you can play on your own), roll dice to fight and take down the health bar of the other fighter.

Designing a fighter can take a few minutes, running a fight can take seconds to a couple of minutes. Number of rounds and so on will be up to the players involved.

Rules :

Ok so the first bit of the rules is to explain why you need the multicolored dice.

Each color of die represents an area of attack and defense.

Red – Head and upper body

Yellow – Mid body

Green – Lower body

White – Ranged and charge attacks

Initially you select three dice of different colors. This will define your fighters fighting style. Samples of fighting styles would be like…

Grapplers – Red, Yellow, Green

Fire Ballers – Red, Yellow, White

Chargers – Yellow, Green, White

These are just quick ideas. You can some up with your own way to define just what you have come up with.

Now that you have your three dice, you get 50 Build Points, and 10 Health Levels

Ok so what do you do with three blank dice and some points. Well you build a full on fighting style to flesh out your fighter.

Build points can be spent on the following –

(S) Strike – 2 Build Points – 1 Health Level of damage (this can be called a kick, a punch, flashing someone topless, whatever you want)

(B) Block – 2 Build Points – Stops one Health Level of damage against that location

(P) Power Blow – 5 Build points – Does 2 Health Levels of damage +1 Health Level for each other die you have doing damage (so if you have rolled a P, a B, and an S, your S does one damage, and your P does 3)

Strike, Block and Power Blow affect the other fighter on the same color. So you compare Red dice, Yellow dice, Green, and White.

(D) Dodge – 7 Build Points – Dodge avoids ALL damage your opponent has rolled that round.

(  ) Flub – If you have only one blank space on a die this is worth zero Build Points, however if you have two or more on a single die then you get +1 Build Point. This only counts once per die. This is like messing up your joystick command and not getting a strike or a block in.

So you can fill in the stickers that come with the dice with those letters and there you go.

Now you can also do the following items to make more advanced fighters.

Add an additional die of a color you do not have yet – 6 Build Points

Add an additional die of a color you already have – 10 Build Points

Add additional Health Levels – 3 Build Points per Health Level

 

A basic die might look like this

(S) on three sides, (B) on three sides – 12 Build Points

(P) on one side, (B) on two sides, (S) on two sides, (  ) on one side – 13 Build Points

(D) on one side, (P) on one side, (S) on two sides, (B) on two sides – 20 Build Points

 

If I use those three samples to create a fighter I have used 45 build points, with the five left I could add an additional heath level, and put another (B) or (S) on the 13 point die, and push it right up to 50 points. Do not worry if you have a couple of points left over at the end. At least not at first. Get the flow down and have fun with making a fighter or three, and seeing how their style and your luck at tossing the dice go. There are a lot of other combinations past the samples above, and the dice you choose may not be the same as the ones your opponent is using, so you may want to think about the style of fighter you want to create.

Last rules – Roll dice at the same time as your opponent. Compare the dice. Subtract unblocked, or un-dodged damage from Health Levels. If needed roll again until one fighter is out of Health Levels, or both are (and that means a draw).

Closing :

Now then some folks will ask about things like Tag Matches, Taunts, or from Street Fighter Alpha the infamous two on one match, or super boss fights. These things will be brought up in the second edition of the rules. This first edition is just the basics to get things started. There is more coming. 🙂

Addendum :

Dice sets for classic fighting game characters, at least in my opinion.

Guile – (Y) (G) (W)

Ken / Ryu – (R) (Y) (G) (W)

Zangief – (R) (Y) (G) – maybe an additional (Y)

Terry Bogard – (Y) (G) (W) early on then became (R) (Y) (G) (W)

Andy Bogard – (R) (Y) (G) (W)

Mai Shirinui – (R) (Y) (W)

Joe Higashi – (R) (G) (W)

 

So that is the first edition rules of Die Fighter. I have made add ons for Boss Fights, Tag Matches, and Two on One fights. While also adding things like Throw and Taunt moves. It makes for a quick playable game and it allows players to build what they want. During play-test I have had two players set up exactly the same dice, but describe their fighters completely differently. I thought it was completely awesome and could not wait to see more from them. Oh and yes I do have a couple of fighters sitting around here in my dice box. So if you know me in person please feel free to drop a challenge.

So any way, give it some play and see what you think.

Next week I will likely do a review if I can keep the puppy distracted long enough. I have a few I have been waiting to do.

So gimme the dice… I need to see if I can deliver a power move to the puppy for bath time or can pull off a dodge. (actually I did that last night and just wanted to tie this post into a Facebook post I made HAH!)

Play hard, and peace out.

 

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Crazy $#!t I have created

So I seem to be getting a lot of hits in regards to my Random Deity Generator and I have been thinking about posting a few other things I have created to see if folks enjoy them.

Die Fighter – A dice based combat system that I created to replicate 1/1 2d fighting games. But it can have other uses.

Random Bureaucracy Generator – Originally for Paranoia but if you are ever playing a game where you have to go up against big business or any government on their terms it could be useful.

Minion Uprising Chart – Many games have given players the option to have minions, hire legions, or inspire nations. However they get a little iffy on what it takes to not just have them leave your service but totally revolt and try and destroy you. This chart fixes that option.

Sanity Converter – In Call of Cthulhu learning about the mythos costs sanity. Learning magic costs sanity. Surviving physically in tact costs sanity. This handy dandy little table can show you if that would be a cost worth paying. This started out as a joke but when I had a character start at 30 sanity in a game and go up and not down on the first couple of adventures its nature changed.

Goblin Invention Name Generator – This is still very much a work in progress as I keep finding new words that would just work too well in it. I started this when playing Iron Kingdoms as a setting for D20. I have carried it over to other games as well after.

So yeah a really short post. Trying to get the puppy to understand it does not get its way all the time and that requires frequent cleanup.

So gimme the dice, I have to figure out what he destroyed this time.

And if any of these ideas spark an interest give a note/reply and lets see what I publish next.

Peace and play hard folks.

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The power of a good GM

So I am rather certain that every gamer has run into good and bad GM’s. The person running a game has so much influence on a game being fun or not, that they cannot help but have a lasting impact on their players.

I have a few things I do to try and exercise that power in a way that helps my players get into the game that I think other should do… but that is just my opinion.

Those things are –

  • Brief your players about the world they are entering. Write ups, art, music, whatever might help them understand the world they are going to be in. Make sure they know about special rules and things that go outside of the usual for the game. House conditions and things you want to enforce. And do that all wayyyyyyyyy before the game starts. It keeps the players from feeling ambushed by your personal set up and gives them time to embrace it even before character generation.
  • Make character generation collaborative with the story you want to run. That way the players know how they will fit in with the other players. And the GM will know what kind of group is on the field and be able to modify story and encounters to get the most of the game session for themselves and for the players enjoyment.
  • Take some time to get to know the players. It does not have to be a lot of time but just enough to get a feel for them. If you can get a basic idea of the players you can have a better insight to what they would want to do in a game and if you have a group of “Arrrgh I need to blow $#!t” up players you wont be trying to force them into a series of “Gads that story was epic” games.
  • Remember there are no rails. Your game has already gone off the rails. Trying to force players into anything story wise wont help. Giving them options that lead to the story will. Being able to just run with whatever crazy $#!t they come up with would be perfect. The players are not in your head and do not know what is coming or how epic and cool you think it is. Accept that they have their own ideas and goals and you could come up with something even more epic.
  • Enforce role play every time you can. My trick is to call out “Live Table” so that players know that everything they say is what their characters say. Every action they describe are what their characters are doing. Don’t to it all the time. Give players time and space to meta game if they need it. Encourage them to step away from the table to do thinking and planning or just do some solid BSing. And remember in the end, actual role play is not for everyone, so not everyone you play with will be into it or want to handle it.

Why do I bring this up? Because quite frankly I am tired of reading posts in other social media about players who suck because they wont get into the story. Or posts about GM’s who have all sorts of hidden rules and regulations in their games that they never tell you about until it can screw you over. And even posts about GM’s who drive players relentlessly into a story that they have no interest in but would rather explore or put time into some tasty sub plots.

And before anyone gets all high and mighty and says that this is not just a GM’s responsibility, trust me I know. My rant about players needing to pull their heads out and work with the GM and the other players is longer and more detailed and quite frankly would be much more cathartic but I have a puppy that seems to be a bit of an energy vampire and needs attention like you would not believe. Unless you have run a game for 7 year olds.

So gimme the dice, I need to make a roll and the random home destruction table to see what has been blown up in the 20 minutes it took me to write this.

Peace out, game on, and have fun folks. 🙂

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Delta City part 4

Hey all… ok so I finally decided that if I am going to edit the fiction that I would need to do a total rewrite of a lot of stuff. There are so many bad grammar points and things that only seem to make sense to me that… well it is just kinda crazy. So instead of waiting for that to be done I figured I would just post a few highlights here for the moment and call it good. Then I can focus on the edits and such later and maybe build it up as I go.

Now then some of this is set up to sound tracks, some of it is not. When it is soundtracked just remember that the songs listed are what inspired me for fleshing out that section of story. Not what I think anyone should listen to while reading it.

So here they are, highlights of the fiction section…

War in Delta City

This story starts out as a triptych and moves into being one story as the three main characters come together.

This takes place in the period of the fall of 2003 in Delta City. Late October to Early November. It takes about a seven week period in total.

Opening Scene – March of Cambredth by Heather Alexander

This scene gives an over view of Delta City, drifting past points in the city like Grace’s and the docks, rolling over old down town and the international district, sweeping out past Forge Industries and then back up to the college’s after going out to the coast and coming up to the wealthy houses there.

The only time the camera/visual slows is when we see the three main characters.

Marcus a.k.a. John Doe 17 – Standing on the roof of MacGreagor Sanitarium, on the south side of town, in the buff before vanishing into the night.

Kylee Lee – One of the three drivers for Black Dragon Couriers sitting in a private booth at the Flip Side Club, alone.

Joshua Tao – Picking up a gun and checking it, holstering it, and then doing the same with a very beautiful sword before tossing on a unique looking long coat and walking out of an apartment in the College district.

Scene 1 – Riot by Disturbed

Marcus moves into the underground. Still not knowing that he has power that would dwarf a lot of small gods, he decides that to stay out of the grips of the Sanitarium and the cops that he is going to need friends in low places, the lower the better to keep him out of trouble and unnoticed.

Unfortunately he falls in with folks in the Goblin Market with connections to the Core and his organization. When the Core meets him in passing he recognizes the power in Marcus and decides to try and push to get his ideas into the city the hard way, by causing chaos.

He starts a campaign against Marcus that leaves Marcus with no choice but to hit the surface and run. Trying to make Grace’s he runs across some of the Net 7 leads in Downtown, including Chanise Taylor who’s ability to mimic the power of any being she can see flares out of control when she sees Marcus and an unintentional battle of young gods erupts in the city streets. Ending when Marcus vanishes.

Scene 2 – The City is at War by Cobra Starship

Kylee Lee is heading out of the Flip Side. Candalmas, the satyr owner, stops her and hands off a package an envelope and a kiss to the young lady and then stops short of slapping her ass when she catches his hand and reminds him of how bad he came off last time he tried that.

In the parking area she gets into a black and chrome custom vintage Cobra. The interior is about as far from vintage as you can imagine as all kinds of heads up displays pop up and with a touch she guns the engine to life and then starts to drive.

Her route takes her to two or three stops and in the background you see Marcus getting chased into the streets at one of the stops. Her trip ends at Echoes, where she goes up and meets with one of the leads from Heroes Ltd. While they talk about what may or may not be in the package, there is an explosion in the Downtown area that everyone in the restaurant gets up and runs to the windows to see what is going on.

Scene 3 – Out of Control by Hoobastank

Joshua Tao is finishing up a very big fight.

There are dozens dead or dying all around him and he is falling into a personal crisis where he meets Walker… (previous story slightly reedited)

THE START OF A JOURNEY

 This may sound strange, but to understand what I need to tell you this story needs to start with an ending.

He had lost it all. His lover, a woman he had held onto for life in the past, a woman he would have given his life and soul for, had died in his arms. She swore him to a path of vengeance. Which he had followed with wild abandon.

Throwing everything to the winds, he warred into the breach. Destroying the friends and allies of those who had killed his soul mate. Not seeing, not caring, that as he went he left behind all of the friends and family who would have stood beside him. Not hearing their cries for help as the minions of his enemy struck them down.

At last he stood before the man who had struck down his love. When he readied the killing blow the killer showed the man all he had lost, the people, the friends, the family, all in one image. Then the killer pulled the one card he thought would save his life, the soul of the mans lover.

The killer held the soul of the mans lover in all its glory in front of himself, bragging how the lovers soul would be damned to the same dark hell as his own should the man strike him down. With a tear in his eye, and the tearing of his soul, the man struck the killer down.

As the killer died, and his lover’s soul faded, the man knew that his lover forgave him, and that he could never forgive himself.

You see I had been watching all of this unfold. I knew how it would end. And I stood by and let this man damn the soul of my sister to some dark, unspeakable place. All for the sake of helping his noble soul go on. I knew this was a test. By the gods some believe in, by fate, by my design… I don’t know which. All I could be sure of was that this man was needed for something else, and it was my job to make sure he was there.

That’s how this began. That was when I met Joshua. In the flesh anyway. My name is Croyd Walker. This is the story of how I helped Joshua Tao save himself.

You could hear the thunder in the distance, like footsteps slowly walking away. The scent of fresh spilled blood heavy in the air. The storm that had been, had passed, and Joshua was on the ground in tears. Trying to decide how to end his own life. The gun to his left, or the sword to his right.

It was time to become known.

“So that’s all her life meant to you?” I hoped he could feel the sarcasm in my voice.

“I don’t know who you are, but unless you want to join the corpse on the floor, you’d best leave.”

“No can do Joshua.” He wasn’t moving. I had to take that as a good sign. “When you let Tia’s soul slip into the pits just to kill Morgan, our paths became tied.”

“I still don’t know you, and this is the only way I can join her.”

“Tia was my sister Joshua.”

“So are you going to kill me, or do I have to do it myself.”

“No time for your sorrow man.” If he could hear the tears I was choking back, he didn’t show it. “Tia and I share the sight boyo. She saw great things ahead of you. Things you need to be alive for.”

I didn’t even see him move and he was on me, sword to my throat, gun to my heart, and screaming.

“She was my life! Her soul is gone! I could have found help! Brought her back! And I destroyed her. I DESTROYED HER!”

He looked like he aged ten years before my eyes. As he dropped the weapons and dropped himself to the ground, sobbing. Letting the pain and anger that had festered inside come to the surface and die. Pooled on the ground in blood and tears, this war was almost over, and he just wanted the circle to close.

“Please kill me. I can’t do it. I need to be with her.” He begged me with the voice of a sobbing child.

“Not here, not now.”

“Please.” With almost no strength.

“You have things to do, places to be.” It was hard to say these things, I could feel his pain, but had to reject it. So I picked up his gun, and took out a bullet.

“This bullet, for one year of your life.” He looked confused. “If I can’t show you that your needed in one year, I’ll put this back in your gun and end your life.”

“A year…”

“You have been without her for half a year already. Twelve months to show you the paths you can take, the life you could have. At the end of the year give me your gun, and if you ask it of me, I’ll send you to hell to join her.”

“This is hell, being without her.”

“Then get up, and come with me.” I reached out my hand. “Let me show you it doesn’t have to be.”

With hollowness in his eyes, and his moves, he took it.

I had the sight to guide me, I knew a lot of what was going to come in the year to be. Joshua had no such vision. Nor did he have a clue as to the truth about this little town we shared. There are things that no one knows about Delta City. Even someone like me with the sight to guide them is blind to a great many things in this town. That’s why I need someone like Joshua, actually, according to the last thing my sister told me, that’s why I need Joshua specifically.

“Come on Josh, we have a long way to go.” I pulled him to his feet and lead him back to the world outside.

It was time to make a difference in the world.

Scene 4 – Iron Man by Obscure (Ozzy cover band)

Marcus is sitting alone and in shock in Angel Park. He remembers his past, how he got to Delta City, how he ended up in the Sanitarium and still not really getting how he escaped, how he does what he does, how he had a fight like that in the city streets and did not blow up or blow up the city.

He has to think about all this for a while before coming to the conclusion that he is tired of not knowing, tired of running, tired of being the victim or making himself one. He has power and he is going to do something with it.

Take on that asshole The Core and all the people who help him. He does not know what they want, but by damn he is not going to let them have it.

Scene 5 – One Fine Day by Offspring

Kylee Lee is having a drink in her apartment, her toys for the evening are letting themselves out. She watches them leave and counts herself lucky that Candalmas owed her one and sent a couple of the pretty ones over to let her have her way with for the night.

She thinks about the work she does in Delta City and the surrounding areas and thinks about how even with all the sex drugs and everything else she has access to thanks to her connections nothing gets her more inflamed or high than driving hard against impossible odds. Make the drive and the schedule impossible, and she loves it even more.

She is tuning up her car in the morning when she gets a call on a cell and not knowing who it is smiles when after saying hello she says simply, “You need it where?”

Scene 6 – Frontline by Pillar

Joshua Tao is in the Undergound fighting something that looks like a sabertooth tiger mixed with a giant albino alligator. There are lots of flashed of blade, claw and muzzle report. Walker is in the background occasionally taking shots but not seeming to have much effect. Just as Joshua seems to be taking the final blow a voice calls out for the fight to stop.

A small Asian man, you cannot really tell his background due to the fact that he looks to be about 200 years old hobbles up. Even though his body looks old his voice has such an air of power to it even kings would bow. He is the one that called the fight to stop. The Asian man compliments both Joshua and the beast on their skills, and offers them rest in China Town with the full protection that offers.

As they walk out of the underground into the streets above you see China Town in all its glory, and its grime. They sit down and have a conversation once they reach their final destination, a place that looks like a little palace in the middle of China Town. The conversation is about a coming war and how it will change the world, not just Delta City. That it can go one of two ways, millions dead, or thousands. The war is coming and it will be here soon, its just a mater of deciding on what side you will be.

Joshua takes out a phone and places a call, telling the person on the other end that they have a box that is his and he needs it in China Town.

Scene 7 – After the Flesh by My Life with the Thrill Kill Cult

The Core is talking to his people. The people in the Underground that feel that his ways will not only get them recognized in the city, but they are all under the illusion that looking not human means that they are going to be treated like lesser beings. That with his leadership they can be more, they can be the ones in charge. That the mayor is weak and instead of following the legal paths that they can take what they want.

The people in the underground ROAR and let him know that from the sewers to the Goblin Market that they are behind him. That the city will be his or that it will burn.

He smiles behind his mask and goes to the room that he has prepared away from the masses and gets ready for something, working plans and picking up a phone to make a call. Saying only, “Bring it to me in the Goblin Market.”

Scene 8 – No Reason by Sum 41

Montage scene –

Joshua training with random people in what looks like a dojo.

Marcus, with his clothing shifting as he walks, going in and out of places asking questions.

Kylee getting into a closet and pulling out a box about the size of a shoe box but old… very old. And then driving..

The Core sitting on a throne at the Goblin Market as his people fawn over him, he is holding something

Kylee’s car pulling up to a building that looks like a small palace in China Town as Marcus can be seen walking in the front door without opening it.

Scene 9 – Click Click Boom by Saliva

Marcus comes into the palace all steam and burn, the main room appears to be the training room. Yelling about how he needs to know how to find the Core and that everyone he has talked to lead him here and by gods he is not leaving until he has answers.

Joshua drawing weapons only to be held back by Walker as the old man comes out and with that voice yells back for the young pup to shut it and take a seat, he will have what he needs soon. Marcus is taken back and just sits in shock at the power in that voice.

Kylee comes in and does the classic bad time joke, walks over to Joshua and gives him a peck on the cheek and hands him the old wooden box. The old man asks her to join them in taking a seat as she will be offered a job in a moment that will test even her. Smiling she accepts an offered seat and waits while Joshua takes a seat and then Walker stays standing behind him.

The old man introduces himself as Nianling Zuida De Long, and while Walker gapes the others just sit and listen as he tells about the origin of the Core (superhuman from an alternate earth) and what he has been up to in the underground for the last thirty years. Gathering the disheartened and the disenfranchised and building them up into a force that will rock the surface of Delta City. But the problem is not that he has all these hundreds of people or the power he has always had at his command. He has figured out how to tap into the power of the Well of Worlds. A place at the heart of Delta City that is in part responsible for the miraculous things that go on here. But that it has been limited since Marcus arrived about five hundred years ago. With one last little thing the Core will be able to crack it open wide, and if the people following him are not enough to crack the city open and put it in his hands he will open the Well and try to use its power to make himself into a god and take not only the city but the world.

Once that happens the council of immortals that advises the mayor has authorized Long to offer the three seated here to take him on.

Kylee to get them there in time… Joshua to take on the Core before he can get the Well open… Marcus to protect the well or destroy the Core before he can unleash a disaster that will shatter the world.

Joshua nods and opens the box, Kylee grins, and Marcus glows… literally.

Scene 10 – Ten Thousand Fists by Disturbed

Candalmas enters the throne room of the Core and drops a bundle in his lap. Thanking the satyr the Core takes up the bundle and goes out to the people in the Goblin Market and yells out to his people “IT IS TIME… ARE YOU WITH ME?!?!” He is greeted back by a roar of several hundred if not thousands of voices… and then he yells “THEN MAKE FOR THE SURFACE, TONIGHT AND FOREVERMORE THIS CITY IS OURS!!!!!”

And on the streets it begins as hundreds if not thousands of beings of all shapes and sizes pull themselves out of the sewers and drains and move as one charging to downtown, destroying as they go and either killing or adding any other people they see to their ranks.

Long looks into the air back in the palace and sighs that they no longer have time. The war has started and everyone needs to move now.

Scene 11 – Kodo (Inside the Sun Remix) by the Yoshida Brothers & Andrew Martinez

A no words scene

Kylee drives hard and fast thru the streets of China Town moving as fast as she can while Joshua readies something in the box. Marcus looks into the streets and can see the riot moving to downtown and looks deeper until he sees the Core and notes that he is not moving with the mob, not even behind it but in a different direction. Marcus waves his hand and the HUD in the car picks a new destination, Kylee beams and nods cutting corner after corner to reach that point in old downtown before anyone can cut her off or slow them down. The riot is moving to the Mayors residence and the Core is moving to the Well.

In old downtown the Core is using some kind of weird energy to rip up the streets and to expose something old and deep below the streets.

Kylees car arrives and while Marcus moves thru the car and out Joshua dives out with the car still moving and begins to shoot from a gun  he has not been seen holding before.

The energy pulls up a chunk of asphalt to block the round and is blown to bits when it is hit knocking the Core on his ass.

Scene 12 – Rock Star by NERD / Jason Nevins remix

War in the streets as Joshua goes to town on the Core. The Core roaring about how he wont be stopped by half assed fools does not notice as Marcus fades thru the street to the Well below.

Imagine Spider-man in a long coat holding a sword and a gun fighting at full speed against some massively powerful telekinetic who also seems to be about as tough as stone. Bullets keep missing and where they hit they are blowing holes in things almost big enough for Kylee to drive thru. One of the bullets finally hits the Core and he roars and blows out a burst of power that slams Joshua in to the car before flipping the car down the street.

His energy reaches for the Well and Marcus steps in. Marcus has the edge in raw power right from the start but the Core has more experience and eventually a tendril of his energy slips in and digs into the Well, and he taps it…

BOOM

Closing – Remember the Name by Fort Minor

There are police in the streets, rounding up rioters. They are supported by all on hand members of Heroes LTD and Net 7. It looks like the Mayor has been saved.

Long is in his palace crying, Walker is trying to comfort him not knowing what is going on.

Joshua is pulling Kylee out of the wreckage of her car, she is broken and bloody but looks to be alive, she is asking if they won… Marcus pulls himself together behind them atoms forming out of the air until he is standing naked, then dressed… and he says

“No, I could not stop him. He is in the Well and I cannot close it. He is going to be back, and that’s when the real war starts.”

Roll credits

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This segment was the only character contribution that I got for Delta City. It was written by Dan over at Dan on Games, he is a great writer and once he gave me this character I had to work him in deeper into the whole Delta City framework. This character ended up becoming one of the major players in the history of the city.

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Story and Character Joseph by Dan XXXXXXXXXX (used here with permission)

Joseph always had big dreams.

Even as a kid growing up in on the south side of Chicago in the early 1920’s, he had big dreams. This was the era of Al Capone and the mafia, and he was bound and determined to become one of the big names in “the family”. His parents were too busy making ends meet to pay too much attention to what Joseph or any of his four brothers were doing. When he was introduced to an inside man by a friend of a friend of a friend at the age of 14, he knew it was his shot at the big time.

Things started out simple for Joseph, running packages, delivering messages between various middle men, acting as an enforcer. He rapidly became used to the prestige and quick money of his new career, and impressed his new bosses with his hustle, determination, and know-how. One boss in particular, Vin Deluca, was impressed by Joseph, and took him under his wing. Soon, Joseph was privy to the schemes, methods, and tricks of the trade that had been employed for many years. Joseph began to look at Vin as the true father he never had, and the gang as his real family. Every family has its problems though, and this one was no exception.

Vin and another local boss had been fighting over a particular area of the city for years. This area included many small shops, perfect choices for the classic protection racket. Just when it seemed things were going to boil over, the rival boss sent a message to Vin asking for a meeting to discuss the matter. Naturally Vin was suspicious, but he agreed to the meeting. The talk was very cordial, if unproductive, and the anticipated trap was not sprung. When Vin and the rest of the gang returned, Joseph stepped out to grab some cigarettes.

When he returned, the trap had been sprung.

The rival gang members had waited for Vin’s gang to return, when their suspicions had worn off and they would be much less on edge. They apparently had busted in as soon as everyone had returned, and killed every last man. Even more galling for Joseph, hardly any of the rival members had died in the firefight. As he wept over Vin’s riddled body, he vowed vengeance on the other gang. With his typical thoroughness and determination, not to mention smarts, he soon made it happen.

He spent weeks tracking the gang, noticing where the members liked to hang out, what hours they kept, who they associated with, when they were most vulnerable. He analyzed their security, and found a number of weaknesses to exploit. When he began to take the members out, he acted like an assassin, stalking his prey then silently and quickly taking them out. Eventually the gang members were scared to leave home; whenever they did they were never heard from again. When Joseph decided they were good and scared, he broke into the warehouse they used as a headquarters, and took out the remaining members. The last man standing was the rival boss. Joseph shot him five times in the chest, uttered “Go to hell bastard”, dropped his gun, and walked away. He had taken out the entire gang, just as he had vowed to.

Unfortunately, he hadn’t done it unnoticed.

One week later Joseph was coming home from a local pool hall when he was jumped by six men. Turns out the rival boss’s brother found out who had slaughtered the gang, and was determined to take it out on Joseph. The six men beat him until he was merely a bloody stain on the ground. They left him there to die, and he would have in mere minutes, if not for Rendolf.

Rendolf (“Ren”) was a local vampire who, unbeknownst to Joseph, had been following him during his entire vengeance spree. Ren was very impressed with Joseph’s methodology; the way he hunted his pray for weeks before he took them out, the way he allowed his victims’ terror to eat away at them, the care he took in destroying his victims. Ren thought it would be a waste for Joseph’s talents to die in a dark alley in a pool of blood. He embraced Joseph, and made him a member of the oldest family on earth, the Nosferatu.

Ren refined Joseph’s skills, making him an exquisite hunter. He taught Joseph to hone his patience and his thinking even sharper; to use his skill and his subterfuge to blend into the night, to become one with the darkness. Joseph took his new training to heart, and destroyed the gang that had tried to kill him. He killed every member of the gang when they were alone, to enhance the terror. He toyed with his victims; speaking their name then disappearing for days at a time, only to strike when they least expected it. When he was done he had wiped out two local gangs, and there was a big void to be filled. While other gangs would have eventually picked up the slack, Joseph stepped in, and became the big man he had always dreamed of being, even though he was no longer mortal man.

Joseph ran a very successful gang for many decades. There were some bumps in the road caused by his new condition, such as having to eliminate his closest lieutenants every few years so that they didn’t notice he wasn’t aging, but overall Joseph was enjoying the life he had always wanted to live, and there was no end in sight.

When you finally achieve something you’ve been looking forward to, seldom is it as good as you were hoping. Eventually, as the millennium drew to a close, Joseph grew tired of piling up money, cars, women, and power. Many of the old guard was dying out, and Joseph was tired of the game. He didn’t want to bother having to beat down yet another new generation of gangs and gang bosses. He was tired of Chicago, and wanted to try a new life. One day with no word whatsoever, he left Chicago for parts unknown. He had heard about exciting things happening on the West Coast, and wanted to check things out. California ended up being not what he had in mind, so he wandered north to the Seattle, Washington area. He was there for a few months when he “just sort of wandered into” (as many have before) Delta City. He instantly knew it was the place for him. In some ways it was just like other cities, but it had that special something that spoke to him. He immediate set up camp and resumed his former activities.

Joseph found that for a city the size of Delta, there was a surprising lack of organized crime, especially in the areas of prostitution and gambling (Joseph’s specialties). Joseph quickly set up a network of crime. He loved building an organization from the ground up rather that inheriting what someone else had made. He also liked the fact that he seemed to be the only vampire in town; that gave him certain advantages over any who would be his rival. Joseph was very content; he had a growing organization and a new city to explore, terrorize, or bask in, as his mood suited him.

But it wasn’t going to last forever.

There is a saying among the Chosen Ones that a lucky vampire is one that makes a mistake and lives. Joseph hadn’t made a mistake in Chicago, but he soon would in Delta City.

One night after a long evening of hunting down and attacking an extremely attractive young woman, Joseph found himself on the far side of town as the night drew to a close. He didn’t feel like trying to make his way clear across the city underground, so he decided to hole up. He found an abandoned warehouse in a quiet section of the city and decided to wait out the day inside. The place was covered with dust; it was obvious no one had been in there for awhile. He figured it was safe.

He was wrong.

A group of petty thieves had been staking out that warehouse for months, looking at it as a perfect spot to hold their hot merchandise until they could get it fenced. They picked that day to break in and start using it for their operations. As dusk grew near (and Joseph slumbered inside) the thieves quietly broke in. When they discovered Joseph they figured him to be a bum or drifter, and decided to just kill him and dump him outside (in that part of town, nobody would have noticed or cared). They began to pummel Joseph mercilessly. Joseph was too groggy from the slumber to offer much resistance, and eventually was beaten nearly senseless. Two of the thieves picked him up and tossed him out a second story window. As he flew through the open window into the receding sunlight, he reflected on his life and all the unexpected turns it had taken. The last thing he did was smile. And then something strange happened.

Nothing.

Joseph hit the ground with an unceremonious thump. No bursting into flame, no pain, no effects at all from the still prominent sun. Out of instinct, Joseph crawled out of the sunlight, not really realizing what was happening (or not happening). After a few minutes, he gingerly crawled back into the sunlight, and discovered a unique fact about Delta City: vampires were immune to the sun here.

After he recovered, Joseph experimented and found that this phenomenon happened only within the city limits. Take one step outside the limits, and he would immediately start to sizzle. Step back in and everything was fine. When the city limits were expanded on one side of the city, the sun immunity expanded right along with it. All the other traditional vampire weaknesses (holy water, acid, fire, crosses, etc.) worked normally, but sunlight had absolutely no effect. Since this discovery, Joseph has spent all his time trying to unravel this mystery. He handed control of his syndicate over to his top lieutenant, and looks for a physical, mystical, historical, or other explanation for what’s happening. So far he is the only being on earth who knows about this, and he intends to keep it that way. If other vampires knew about this, Delta City would be overrun in a matter of weeks. He’s got the place all to himself, and that’s how he likes it.

Since secrecy is of the utmost importance, he does all the investigating on his own. Joseph was always smart, but was never into book learning. He is now trying to soak up everything he can about the mystical arts and the history of his kind in order to explain what’s happening in Delta City. He’s also subtly trying to explore the true power structure of Delta City, in the hopes that he will discover something there. A lot is going on in Delta City, and while no one knows about all of it, there are certainly powerful people in the city who could help (or hinder) him in his quest. In the meantime, Joseph enjoys walking about in the sun, living amongst normal humans again. Being able to walk about during the day offers so many more opportunities to target and seek out prey. If Joseph can discover the cause of this unique phenomenon, perhaps he can use it to be able to walk about in the sun anywhere, not just Delta City. Or perhaps it is something that can never be replicated outside the city limits. Whatever the case, Joseph intends to find out.

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Ok so that gives you the very start of the fiction I was creating for the city and the only contribution I ever got to building it up.

I was thinking about adding more but unless I do year by year updates this would be the messiest post ever.

Ok so coming up soon, more Delta City only on request or if I get something serious going with it, a conversion for Cyber Punk 2020 and maybe a few other things.

Hope everyone is having a great time with games, and keeps life rolling.

For me, gimme the dice I need to see what comes next in the creative process.

 

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Delta City Part 4

Welcome once again to Delta City. This post is going to take a look at specific regions in the city and some of the places of interest, businesses, and individuals that are there. As you could see from part 3 there are a lot of people in the city, and so this is not like a phone book, it is more like a game supplement so that there are some set personalities but a lot of room for other people to grow their own material. If you look at the map attached to Part3 you can see how it lines up with this one. Giving you a mix of roads and regions so you can see how you can get from one area to another.

districts_map

REGIONS

 STL – SHIPPING/TRANSIT/LIGHT INDUSTRIAL

            Covering the northern half of Industrial Island in Grays Harbor. This region is the shipping Mecca of the city. There are seven docks in the harbor capable of servicing the largest of the ocean-going freighters on the planet. With no major airports any closer than SeaTac or Portland, this is the major transit area of the city too. There is an industrial and transit rail center in this district that serves everything in the area. The light rail runs out to Olympia and connects there to the light rail of Tacoma and Seattle. This allows commute to Seattle in a reasonable time of about an hour and a half, making it possible for some people to live in Delta City and work in Seattle.

            Transit is not the only thing going on in this district. This is also the center for light industrial production and small research firms. This part of the city has its own reclamation and cleaning facilities that are contributed to by all the businesses in the area. The philosophy is that if they can keep themselves clean they do not have to worry about government intervention and lawsuits.

For a little better description of the docks themselves there are seven ramps at the docks that jet out into the waters of Grey’s Harbor. The spaces between them are great enough that they can actually fit four of the largest cargo vessels that tread the ocean today. In the older days of schooners and similar craft the docks could fit a few more and the largest space was reserved for a multitude of small ships. These days however the largest birthing space is reserved for the biggest of ships, things like aircraft carriers, and the largest of submarines. Both of those styles of ships can fit comfortably in that space.

             There is a larger dock pad that juts out in to the waters that ends in a large circle. This dock is more like a column that connects to the shore. The column itself is buried deep into the earth so that any kind of air or spacecraft that lands here will be well supported. The top of the column is studded with many kinds of hookups and connectors that run into the depths of the column. All these connectors are different ways of securing a refueling for the craft as it sits there. No one really knows all the different kinds of power available there, but so far, no craft has ever left without a recharge.

            This entire area is tightly linked to the rail yard and the storage facilities on the northern side of the island. It is nearly impossible once you are off the docks themselves to go ten yards and not cross a railroad line of some kind, be it the trolley service from the bridge near the park, or the main lines that cross off the island to the shore for cargo transit.

 So far, the area has a history of only 5 minor industrial spills but nothing that they have not been able to fix within a day or two with little or no damage to the environment. Although the public is aware of only two of these, the others were handled rather quietly.

            While these businesses may be the mainstay of the district, and dominate a good portion of the shoreline they are not the only things here. There are a lot of small bars, restaurants, and all but one of the strip clubs in the city are located here. The local papers refer to this area as not only the working man’s grail for earnings, but also the working man’s grail for entertainment. Most of the blue-collar people would take offence to this but they see it as the best way for the press not to be talking about just how many businessmen and women frequent this area in the evenings, and that makes for good cannon fodder in the comedy clubs.

            The only other region out on the island is Angel Park (P1), and the businesses and people who work here on the island are grateful for it. Even on the worst of days for the light pollution this area can and does generate, the two things that the people who work in the region can count on is that the park will be just to the south of them and that the two lighthouses on the north of the island will sound off every three hours on clear days, and every fifteen minutes when the fog rolls in. Both of the lighthouses are a little bit of a tourist attraction, and even something that a few of the people native to the city enjoy visiting from time to time due to the fact that they are manned. Unlike the lighthouse in the main business district (B1), or the one along the old beach housing (OH), or the one the college claims to run (Col 1), which are all automated. People, who have some of the most interesting stories to tell about the region and the ships that come in to the docks, run the two out here in this district.

            There are a couple of standout places in the district. They seem to have influence above and beyond the call of duty.

             Grace’s

            Grace’s is a small but homey bar on the corner of 15th and Cross, just across the street from Angel Park. The bar has pictures on the wall of a great many people standing with the owner, and a number of pictures of all the bars in the past in Delta City that have had the name Grace’s. The smell of the open wood stove that is used for cooking in the back, and heating in the winter if it gets cold enough, is the first thing that hits someone coming in the bar, the second would be the appearance of Grace.

            Grace is a statuesque woman standing somewhere over six and a half feet tall. Her features are very well defined and pleasing to everyone who sees her. Most people cannot agree if she is just good looking or if there is something more. Everyone however, claims that they can see a little bit of their own racial background in her features. Her age is not something anyone can guess, and those who try, get a flash of her smile and a cute little warning not to try it again. She can go from mothering to frightening in the space of seconds. Most of the time she is the most polite and caring person you could ever hope to meet, but you try and get rough in her place, and she will have you out the door in a heartbeat with the warning that if you ever come back you will be less than welcome.

            Because of Grace’s attitude toward violence and even threatening behavior in her place, her bar is known as neutral ground all over Delta City. Many times, in-city businesses leaders and people like gang members have asked for permission to hold meetings in her back rooms, knowing that they are safe there.

            One of the most frequently asked questions revolves around the statue in Angel Park. Even though the statue was dedicated to the city in 1904 the image there has a striking resemblance to Grace, enough so that many who frequent both the park and Grace’s ask if her grandmother posed for the statue. This question gets a polite smile and usually a reply along the lines of “Something like that you dear person, something like that.”       

            Tides Research

            Tides Research is a very small but very advanced company dedicated to water purity and safety. Privately owned and operated the company staff can be seen all over the beaches and coves in Delta City, and the staff seems to have very little trouble navigating even in the worst of weather. Their distinctive crimson and navy-blue uniforms are seen as a good sign by most of the people in town, as the company has a reputation for taking no guff from companies and making sure they stick to any needed clean up in their operations to insure local water safety.

            The Tides company even though small seems to have resources enough to keep some of the best trial lawyers in the country on call, and they have been known to sue a company even at the slightest hint that they will delay changing their ways, let alone try to argue about fixing something. What is strange is that no one knows where they get their financial base from, or why in all the lawsuits they have ever filed that all of the dollar value of the suit goes to people affected by unsafe procedures, and the lawyers. Tides itself makes no money off of these suits, but that can help explain why the lawyers are so eager to be on call.

            Tides Research Company is one of the major reasons behind the districts very ‘together’ policy about environmental pursuits. It’s no wonder that these people in their blue and crimson are never without a reaction any matter what district they go to.

            The COO of Tides, Alexander Coleman, was elected Mayor of Delta City in 2005 to replace the murdered Mayor Anna Cross. His big pitch was that if his company could do things for the waters around Delta City then he could bring the same drive to the Mayor’s office and try to do even more for the city than just clean up the waters.

IND 1 – INDUSTRIAL/HEAVY PRODUCTION

This region is home to several heavy manufacturing businesses, and quite a few small trucking companies. The uphill roads heading out of this area into the foothills split off just outside the city limits and make a wide arc to the I-105 highway both on the east and west sides of town. This allows shipping to continue late into the night without disturbing the more residential neighborhoods.

            It was not easy and it was not cheap to get those roads installed, and the city council is seriously considering making them truck only or toll roads to finish paying for them.

            To look at this region of the city, well most would say that this is the dark heart of the city. Actually though, that is in another part of the city. This small part of town is dedicated to industrial manufacturing. Even more so than out on the island this is a place where work gets done. Even with the International District (ID), one of the business districts (B2), and Sandstone Park (P2) being right on the boarders, this area has a hard time staying clean.  That is not just the physical clean, but criminally, and quite a few suspect spiritually as well. Most people who go in and out of the area get the feeling that the pollution and waste in the region knows it’s not welcome in the rest of the city and does what it can to stay put. Strangely, unless there is a very strong offshore wind flowing from the hills, it really does stay in the region. On the days that the pollution does get out of the region it usually heads to the north through Sandstone Park (P2) and China Town (C). The homeless in the park and the people of Chinatown are both used to it, and in Chinatown it is sometimes said that the pollution that wafts in on them is the breath of the dragon.

            Just like any other region of the city there is more here than just the headliners. There are several small bars and quite a few truck-stop style facilities. There is little in the way of entertainment in this area, unless of course you count the number of times the security teams from any number of the manufacturing plants have, ‘escorted’ members of Tides Research out of the area. While in this area Tides has yet to win or even really start a full-on case, this area has the feel of us versus them when it comes to the men and women in Tides colors.

            There are a few players in the area, and a lot of fakers. Here is a little information on a few of them.

             Stone, Briar, & Co.

            This company holds the largest quarry in the entire western Washington area. Located south of 39th Ave South, they supply all kinds of stonework, gravel and concrete for the city and surrounding area. They stumbled onto a vein of red rock and some quarry able marble back in the 60’s and have been slowly buying land up into the hills to expand their quarry ever since.

            Strangely this company is the only one in the area that not only accepts the existence of the Tides company, they regularly welcome their staff on premises to make sure that they are not getting wash runoff into either of the nearby rivers. This stance does nothing to endear them to the other businesses in the district, but with their control over local building materials there is not much anyone is willing to try and do about it.

            The current owners are very reclusive and leave most of the day-to-day workings of the company in the hands of the men and women on site. This policy of trust to the employees along with the company’s high pay and distinctive benefits package makes it someplace that a lot of people with the proper skills want to work. The only part of the company operations that the owners regularly take a direct hand in is the choosing of new spots for mining rock. They were the ones that found the red rock and the marble back in the 60’s, and it is rumored that there are spots that are being set aside for later work that have even more valuable assets to them.

             Weavers

            Weavers is a small company that specializes in cloth textiles. Built up on the southwest corner of 35th Ave South and South Anton St, this little company is a custom workshop. Doing all their own handwork they make the base materials and then do custom designs. Even though the facility is small they are capable of making everything from silk to Kevlar with a denim chaser for fun. Leatherwork is not a problem here and it is part of the regular schedule.

            The owner, Michael Weaver, is about as hands on as you can get in a business. Driven and hardworking, he expects the same from all of his employees. His personal motto seems to be if you can’t take the heat get out of my damn shop.  Even with all that push to get things done though his company is staying small for a reason. Their work is about as poor as you can get. The working conditions are bad, the pay is worse, and the schedule is something out of a management nightmare. The only people who seem to actually enjoy working here are the security people. The people Mr. Weaver hires for security have to be able to do two things, sign their names and throw anyone from the Tides at least ten feet to the curb. Actually, there are frequent tests on both of these skills.

            It seems that the only benefit you have to working here is that when you quit or get fired, you are guaranteed the same treatment as the members of the Tides staff that try to get in the door.

             Forge, INC.

            Forge is one of the biggest things in the area. In a series of structures that run from South Ashe St. to South David St., and then between South 31st Ave and South 35th Ave, this place is grandiose. To help keep the smells of heated metals and plastics from gathering into the other nearby districts, Forge has planted several different types of trees and shrubs along the edge of their massive property. Not only does this make the place look better, and truly does cut down on the scents and sounds that reach the other areas, it also gives them the only onsite training ground for a company paintball team.  One of the strange perks working for this company gets people.

            Forge is a publicly held company that offers stock and bonuses to all the employees. That and a health plan that is totally free and truly does cover everything, makes this a very desirable company to work for, as long as you’re on the outside of those trees looking in.

            On the inside Forge is about as nasty as you can get. A lack of concern for worker safety and overall push to get things done ahead of schedule and under cost, make this place a hazard to anyone that signs up to work here. Even with conditions that bad though they are inundated by people wanting jobs to get the medical bennies and some steady work. This leads to the company hiring under qualified or completely unskilled workers to do jobs that it should take at least some training to have any hope of surviving. The only reason the company can afford to offer the medical program it does is that many of the people who could use it never actually make it to the hospital to get treatment.

            People getting product from Forge are always impressed with the quality of the product they get and the fact that it comes in on time and under budget just makes them all the happier. The practices of the Forge management team are very carefully kept far from the public eye, and only a few of the management team are fully aware of what the policy is regarding the conditions. As long as they can keep what they are doing quiet and not affect the company bottom-line, it will keep right on going.

            Some of the local rumors about Forge include ones started back during World War II. Stories about underground bunkers, futuristic weapons, and all kinds of mad scientist metal works in hidden caverns abounded. All of these started up at about the same time the company put in the trees and shrubs, and went from three shifts a day to two. All of these things happening at the same time gave people a lot to talk about.

            Now this type of industry is not the only thing that happens in this area. There is also a company that specializes in custom cars and another that makes specialty chips for computers. Also, there are things that fall outside of the realm of making things like…

             Elegance

            This little pool hall and bar is very popular with the people who work in the area. While not a specialty club or anything like that it has some of the best cheap food and free pool tables in the city as far as most in the district are concerned.

 B1 – BUISNESS DISTRICT 1

            This business district is the big money high-rise linchpin of the economy in Delta City. This region is the only one with a steady supply of buildings over twenty stories tall. But even then, it does not have many. The largest buildings belong to banking and investment companies, with the lower floors leased out to whichever corporate interests can afford to be in the company of the larger interests. These buildings are where you will find the local offices of such companies as Boeing (even thought there are no manufacturing facilities here, which can lead one to wonder), Microsoft (some very talented code users have come out of this area and the big M has this office here mainly for recruiting), AT&T, IBM, and a few other large names all have a light presence here.

The agendas of these big names are not always clear, like why are they here in the first place, but when dealing with companies of that magnitude, asking questions about what they are up to is not always going to get you an answer you would understand anyway.

            The draw of this part of town for the larger companies is easy to see though. Right next to Kymen College (Col 1), some of the newer housing (H2), just north of the Historic Old Town (HO), and the City Center (CC), it has easy access to all the other parts of town with just a little effort. The view of Angel Park (P1), and Grey’s Harbor as your working down the hillside toward the water just make the view alone worth the cost of building.

            That view and the easy access leads to all types of high priced bars and restaurants aiming for the top floors of the tallest buildings, and terraces and skywalks between buildings that can give someone on the street the feeling of truly wandering in a glass jungle. This feeling is only enhanced by the architecture of the area. As you go higher up on the hillside the buildings get taller and taller. As if they are growing better further away from the saltwater of the harbor.

            While this region is one of the largest in the city, it also has the least notable businesses and structures. At least as far as most would be concerned. Any time you get this many large business names in the same area, with banks and investment firms in the same buildings, its like having a little piece of Wall Street right on hand.

            The major notables of the region are as follows.

             Echoes

            Billed as the best view in Delta City, there are many who would be hard pressed to disagree. This is the most expensive place to eat and drink in town. Only the truly wealthy can do so on a regular basis, and being known as a regular here means that you are on the top of the social scale. The waiting list to get in is over six months long and you have to put down a minimum of three hundred dollars on a valid credit card (non-refundable of course) to hold your table and make certain you will be able to pay for your first round of drinks and the mandatory appetizer. Each table has its own wait staff and there is a minimum of four bartenders on hand at the bar each night. Not only is it the top of the food chain socially, but if you are a part of the waiter/waitress or professional cooks circles, if you’re working here your seen as nearly as high on the chain as the people who eat and play there.

            The only exception to the rules about paying in advance and needing a reservation is the mayor and his staff. There is always a table held in reserve for city functions, and visiting dignitaries. No one know when this little service was set up, but no mayor since the nineteen-seventies has been disappointed that it has been there for them to use.

            The part of Echoes that makes the place really intriguing is that no one knows who the owner is. Or who may have owned it in the past. The restaurant was put in on the top floor of the Bank of America Building (then the SeaFirst Building) in nineteen-seventy-six, and no one has yet to make out the signature of the owner or meet them, although the Maître d’ and the manager claim to have meetings with the owner every week, this may just be talk.

            Hillside Couriers

            This started out a couple years back as an alliance by a few of the less hardheaded independent cycle couriers who worked in the area delivering files and notices for all the companies that operate in this section of town. As the business caught on there have been more and more people joining the ranks of the company, and now there are very few independents left on the streets. There are no corporate colors, just a baseball cap with a bike stitched on it, this is all the identification the company wants, and for most of their customers that is enough.

            The cyclists who started up this company are diehards and love what they do more than any other job could offer. There is a real sense of brotherhood about the people who work here, and it has been said more than once that some of the clues and information about drunk drivers and street criminals come in anonymously from the teams on the street. They have also expanded to working most of the city and not just the hillside they started on. As of right now the only place they will not take a delivery to is Chinatown (C). In the early days of the company they lost two people to those shifting streets, and they are not eager to lose anyone else.

B2 – BUISNESS DISTRICT 2

            Strangely enough the city itself has nothing to say to people about this area so I guess it’s all up to me to keep people informed.

            If the other business district (B1) is the big money lynchpin of Delta City, this is the haven for fast talk. This region of the city has more small law firms, small investment companies, specialty doctors, and the like. There are a lot of sensitive people who leave this part of the city, even just driving through to another part of town that feel like they need a shower to wash off the grease.

            Where the other business district has the money to toss at just about anything that might come their way to either back it off or buy it out, the specialty around here is promises that never get kept, and promises that only seem to be made.

            When someone is in need of getting the job done in a courtroom or in financial matters, it pays to come here first. As the lawyers in this area have some of the best win rates in the nation. Even going up against the big fish they seem to win more than they lose. The law firm that the Tides works through is here, as well as several of the small private eyes that Net 7 frequently calls on when they need to outsource. There are also strong connections here to the industrial park to the east (Ind1) and the commercial interests to the west (Com2).

            Many times, in attempts to show the rest of the city just how good and useful they are, some of the small law firms and other groups that make a good amount of money here sponsor festivals and art shows in Sandstone Park (P2) to the north.

            In all reality there are too many notables in this area to go over them all, so only the top of the list will be mentioned below.

             Maddics, Crandon, & Tigue

            MCT is a law firm that boasts as to never having lost a case. In the polite sense this is the complete truth. The way they have avoided losing is that any case they feel they cannot win in court they will walk away from (even if they have been paid in full and it is the last day of the trial, they will still walk out, it’s in the contract you sign with them). The offices are located on the northeast corner of Crandon and 27th Ave East.

            What most will never know is that even though the firm sports the names of three partners, and even goes so far as to have offices for them, there is only one lawyer here. His name is Addison Maddics. On first seeing this man most would think that he is security. Large, black, and always wearing a double-breasted suit, and the apparent age of thirty-five or so, gives him a very intimidating appearance. But to look in his eyes, that is where the real intimidation comes from. He has been compared to the great hunting cats, and birds of prey. His stare seems to unnerve all but the strongest of wills. The soft, soothing, and very educated tone of his voice only gets people thinking that he must also be part snake, because to hear him in court that voice is almost hypnotic.

            Most of the time Mr. Maddics fees are outrageous, but there have been occasions where he will take a case for free, or a favor. It is said that he did some massive legal maneuvering for the owner of Echoes (and no he will not reveal who that is, or if he ever actually met with that mysterious person), and so has earned himself a reserved table in that most exclusive of restaurants right next to the mayors. 

            Black Dragon Couriers

            When it has to be there right now, and no one needs to know where it went.

            Even though that is not the company motto, it very well could be. Unlike the cycle couriers that operate in the other parts of the city, this little company is more along the lines of a very quiet UPS. The three owners also are the three operators. Their three vehicles are all tuned to racing quality, and the driving skills of the owners should not be questioned. Need sensitive information in some very particular hands in LA in the morning? Need to get a little heirloom into Canada or Mexico without questions at the boarder? Critical computer parts need to get to NY in two days? These three have a reputation for being able to do all that, and more.

            Depending on the job and the cargo the price is rather cheap, up to the point that even some companies would have to balk. But that is what you pay if you want the best on the road. Their services are on call, and to get that number from someone who knows it is not all that hard. They have no corporate headquarters, and according to the business listings in the city phone system, there is no such company. The only reason they are listed here is because in one of the older buildings, just on the boarder of the industrial park (Ind1) is where they have their garage and vehicle storage.

            People claim to have seen this group driving everything from motorcycles to cargo vans, and it is said that an interview with them is more like dealing with three Men in Black, than three people out to move something for you.

Hero’s Ltd.

            Something wrong in your little corner of the world? Under siege by the forces of darkness? Your boss is an ogre, no really an ogre? Then Hero’s Ltd. Might be able to help.

            This is the strangest temp service that you could hope to find, although finding it in Delta City seems to make it a little less strange, but not much. The people in the employ of this company are all heroes of some caliber, and they are willing to help with problems that are beyond the means of most people to handle. Need to rescue a loved one from a prison in a foreign country, it can be done. Problems with one of the local vampire clans? Just another quest for the staff. Need to get information out of the hands of people that would use it for the ill of all? Easy.

            Don’t let the list above fool you though, the heroes here are not all playing on the side of the angels. They do staff some people who handle the darker side of the streets too. If there is going to be violence and a need to keep the police out of it, then there is someone on call here that should be able to help you out. The one thing that they will not do is take on Net7, again. Someone came to them with a story that Net7 had taken personal information from them that they did not want shared with anyone else, and that Net7 was unwilling to return it. So, they came to Hero’s Ltd. to try and get the information back. Unfortunately, not only were the staffers of Hero’s conned into taking the job by someone who wanted to mess up Net7, they also had several good people put into long term medical care over the incident. So, don’t ask.

            One of the things that they are used to is that a job must start now and so they have a lot of people on call, and several that are not local. The fees are reasonable, and the service is guaranteed. The fact that the company offers insurance and cheep ammo to all employees is not something that can be easily overlooked. The turnover rate for employees is not all that high, so the number of people on call slowly grows as more and more people, beings, and entities join up to help in the fight against whatever is troubling you.

            When it comes to the staff here most of the people are not known to the city. By that there are no records of who they are and where they come from, as the city has made it very clear that there is no room for vigilante justice in the pursuit of true justice. So officially all they do is rescue lost people, hunt down escaped pets that are out of control, and do odd jobs for people in need. But that is only on the official staff. All of the other temps are on call and not really a part of the company, and if you look them up in the company records you might find them listed as ‘on call consulting staff’ but nothing more. Anyone who is part of that on call group is provided a global link cell phone and is required to check in if they are going to be out of touch for more than a day or two. This lets the staffing consultant’s call for the people who are currently active and not worry about not being able to reach a specialist they think is available.

            Even though the city’s official stand is that there is not any room for vigilante justice in Delta City, it is not uncommon for some of the street cops to call out a little help if things are beyond their control, or just too damn strange for them to handle. Word of this has reached the chief of police, and while he is not going to say so publicly he is glad to have someone available to back up his boys and girls with only a phone call.

            If someone wants to get a job with this company, then you need to go to the main office (B2), not the call center (Com2), and introduce yourself and show just what you can do to the chief of staff. After a full interview and taking a detailed list of what the applicant can do she will tell them where to pick up the phone they will have to carry and how they will get paid.

 COM1 – COMMERCIAL DISTRICT 1

            Situated in the northeast area of the city, this commercial district has the distinction of being home to one of the largest malls in North America. The Delta City Pavilion takes up almost a third of the area in this region. The main building is three stories tall and has over two hundred shops and services. If you are interested in it you can find something in this area. If not in the mall itself, then surely in the stores, restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, and gas stations that flow to the north of the mall.

            The easy access to I-105, being right across the bridges from the City Center (CC), Chinatown (C), and Angel Park (P1), give this area a great view of a number of things that just add to the flavor. And just a few streets away lies one of the major housing regions. Overall it seems like this area was made to make money. And there is no shortage of people willing to go for the gold.

            The easy access to the area and the number of shops gives this whole area a feel not unlike the bazaars that you might see pictures of in the stories about the middle ages, or the Middle East. It seems like every month there is some little festival or event happening in the mall, or on one of the side streets. And almost every week there is a convention of some kind in one of the area hotels. This whole festive air leads to a very good feeling all over the district that is hard to ignore and harder to let go of when you leave.

            The only hardships in this region come from the occasional closing of a business, or when one of the major chain stores is advertising a sale and the people in the home office seem to lose the shipment. Even though this happens with a striking regularity it does nothing to dampen the spirits of the people in the area. A business closing its doors is just as much a reason to have a little neighborhood gathering or street festival, as one just opening up. This attitude leads a lot of the businessmen and women in the region to unite rather strongly, and there is no faster reacting neighborhood watch than on these streets. Even with all the glass doors and windows this is the least vandalized and crime hit part of the city.

            Other than the mall and some of the annual events surrounding it there are very few major notables in the area.

            Delta City Pavilion

            The biggest mall in the Pac Norwest. This place is big, and full of fun. The mall itself almost has an organic look to it that takes a few trips to get used to. This has come from the way it was built up over the years. All three of the above ground floors were designed and built by three different companies at three different times. And as each level was added to the mall new reinforcements were needed at lower levels to make sure the building was totally compliant in the structural and earthquake prevention areas. The property owners were always amused by the way people would react to the look of the structure as it changed. Today it is very easy to see from the interstate and one passerby was quoted in the paper as saying ‘Damn thing stands out like a turd in a punch bowl.’ For a week after the article ran in the paper the quote was used by the mall as a banner call. Some of the people working for the mall today still remember that event a few years ago and still get a big laugh out of it.

            The malls shopping structure is about what you would expect, the big national stores dominate the ground floor, the second floor is taken up mostly by smaller chain stores and service groups like flower sellers and tux and hardware rentals. The third floor is the home of a number of specialty shops. These days the specialty stores, most of which are owned by the locals, have a bigger draw than the national chains on the first floor.

            A massive fountain dominates the center of the mall. At one time the fountain was a centerpiece all by itself, but as the years have gone by the fountain has changed into something more. It was expanded and the ground level food court was added at a distance, and after the third floor went in the owners took a cue from the West Edmonton Mall designers and added a pair of water slides that go from a single storefront on the third floor and eventually deposit the riders in the remodeled fountain.

            With a place like this and its history of expanding of course there are all the stories of secret doors behind the walls, children who have been locked in at night and never seen again, boogie men hired as the night shift guards, ghosts of the builders haunting the finished construction, and the strangest one of all, that the mall was built on ancient grounds dedicated to a dark power that feeds off the people shopping and loving life just like a vampire drinks blood.

            Tanagers Fine Meats

            Run by a woman who only responds to what most would assume is her last name. Tanager is a true mistress of the art of carving and presenting meat. While it is generally known that the woman running the show now is not the original owner/operator of the store, it was not until she took over in 1991 that the effect she has on the business first came to light.

            Her little store offers just about any kind of meat that you can think of to serve, and several that you would probably not want to serve. Then there are the few types of meat that she offers that not only do most people have a hard time pronouncing, but an even harder time figuring out how to cook.

            What makes this place worth noting is that not only is it not in the mall, but the woman who runs it is a striking beauty. Not just in her physical appearance, but also in the way she moves, speaks, and even looks at people. The thing that makes it almost disturbing is that everyone who comments on her beauty also comments that she seems to be even better looking when she is using one of her blades on the meat she sells.

            This little shop sits on the northern end of Emperion Street N. Not the largest store by any means, but the selection is second to none and you will find customers from all over the city coming by for the product and to watch the owner in action.

COM2 – COMMERCIAL DISTRICT 2

            Most of the buildings here are of the same age as the structures in Historic Old Town, but have had the interiors remade to fit the nature of the store, service, or historical interest that they serve. Security systems are top of the line, and very well hidden so as not to make the customers uncomfortable. Restaurants and cafes dot the streets, and are just as posh as the stores around them. Overall this is a very pleasant part of town, things can be a little pricey though, so if you plan on going shopping, shop frugally.

            In an area only slightly larger that the City Center (CC), this little commercial district is the Rodeo Drive of Delta City. Nestled in on the south end of the city next to a business district (B2), Delta City College (Col2), and just south of the Historic Old Town (HO), this little area has access to money, tourists, and students who want the latest of fashion. The best warning to give about the area though is not to let the streets lined with trees and older looking buildings lure you into thinking that anything here is inexpensive. The rule of thumb in this region is that if you have to ask about the price, you cannot afford it. If you do ask, you will probably be asked very politely to leave. This is the only part of town other than Echoes where you need to check your credit rating before ordering a cup of coffee.

            Even though the map does not show them, there are a large number of small one-way streets in this area. All well lined with trees and small shrubs, and well lit in the evening by recessed lamps that are mounted on every building. Most of this area has the feel of walking through a very well maintained park. With that relaxed feel it is hard to see all the security watching every move.

 Pets Plus

            While there are chain stores all over the united states that are catering to the pet market, this store, which is nearly impossible to locate as it has no listing in the city, does something that none of the chain stores would be willing to do, sell just about anything as a pet.

            They employ some of the kindest people you will ever meet and some of the nastiest behind the scenes. The staff in the store is more than willing to take orders for any kind of pet that you might be looking for, even things that might seem impossible or fantastical. The only line they draw is that they are not willing to put people up for sale. The owner claims that they are too hard to keep a line on, and to tend properly in this kind of environment. But if you are looking for a dog or a cat, no problem, birds, name your breed and the age, exotic animals, give them a week or two, mythic creatures or gators from the sewers, well that can take some time to hunt one down that is young enough to still be pliable.

            Most of the creatures that they sell are young enough not to mind being pets, but sometimes someone asks for something more than they can handle, and that is when things get out of hand. They do recommend that if you are asking for something with a long lifespan or a strange diet that you check your resources before you commit to buying the pet so you don’t have to worry about either having something that will outlive you or eat you out of house and home, or just eat you and the home.

H1 – HOUSING REGION 1

            Strangely this is another part of the city that the main city guides don’t talk about. I find that very odd due to the fact that the city would still love to have people move in, and this is an area, overall, to be proud of.

            Some of the less polite in town call this area a tribute to the fifties and sixties. With the structured layout of all the little housing communities, and the almost mirrored image of the houses, it is very easy to see where that type of identity came from. If it were not for repainting and remodeling it would still look like that in total. Fortunately the area is also on the edge of the Artists Colony (AC) and this has lead to some very interesting additions to the area.

            Overall this area follows patterns in all of the little sub sets of housing. Each little sub district has its own name and style of housing. The closer one gets to the Artists Colony district though the more unusual and free form the housing gets. Right at the edge of the Artists Colony one person has even gone so far as to tear down the old house that was on the lot and rebuild their home in the shape of a wizards tower. This is the source of a lot of jokes and strange looks from people who are very serious in the area about keeping to the old styles, and not wanting to change. It is also a source of pride for the Artists Colony, due to the fact that they feel that it is their influence on the neighborhood that has caused the structure to be built in the first place.

            Random’s Place

            This has to be one of the strangest restaurants in the city. The owner spends a lot of time trying to live up to his name with the way this place is run. There is no standing menu. He apparently decides on a few things every day that he will be cooking and lets the staff know so they can tell the people dropping in. What is strangest about it is that Random is one hell of a cook. He seems to make just about everything well and rarely gets a bad word from the guests. The only time he seems to have any planning what so ever is when he is dealing with the Kosher boards. While a great many of his cooking ideas are not Kosher, he does make them from time to time and when he does he actually has the accreditation that they will be Kosher. Following all the rules he actually has two separate kitchens in the place. And when he goes Kosher he uses number two and number two only.

H2 – HOUSING REGION 2

            One of the most popular areas in the city for raising a family, this housing region is a good collection of various housing developments, apartments and condos able to fit nearly every lifestyle. The small stores and occasional shopping centers give this part of the city a freedom that can be almost overwhelming.

            This region of the city is considered housing only in the loosest of senses. Its close nature to both of the colleges (Col1, Col2) and both Historic Old Town (HO) and the major Business District (B1) make it a region that is littered with apartment complexes, condos and a smattering of newer homes. The elevation of the region means that the taller apartment and condo structures have great views of the ocean and that all the smaller buildings have a hard time seeing much of anything due to all the trees and mini-parks that people have put up to beautify the area.

            Woven in the midst of all these various types of houses are a small number of mini-marts, gas stations and a few schools.

OH – OLD BEACH HOUSE DISTRICT

            There can be no doubt that in the entire city this is where some of the most spectacular housing is. Most of the homes here are custom built to take the best advantage of the views of the ocean. The cut through the middle of the district by Old Coast Road West divides the true beach houses from the homes that just have a good view. Even though some of the houses in the Historic Old Town (HO) region are older, these are the homes that are truly spectacular.

            If you are interested in touring the area to see some of these spectacular buildings it is recommended that you do so during the day, as local police and private security firms can get a little touchy about people being in areas without owners consent at night.

The views and the money of the owners have combined to make the houses here second to none, and the owners association strives to keep it that way. Most of the lobbying for housing reform in the city council comes from this area of town.

            Even thought this area has the best homes and the best views for each family this area is also littered with a few problems. This is the only housing region in the city without its own schools, or fire, or police groups. The housing association thought that they might impede the view or detract from the value of the local land. So if there is a problem in the region they have the longest time wait to get a response from emergency services. To compensate many of the uber-rich have paid for private security, if you think cops after an I.V. feed of forty lattes is a little twitchy go ahead and swing by at night, you might actually come back with your ass intact.

            The other major problem is a lack of innovation. Much like the cities tribute to the 50’s and 60’s (H1), the buildings here are mostly older. But if you want to make a change, you will have to go through all the hoops that the housing association can throw at you to slow you down. Tearing down a building and putting up something new is almost impossible, the people who live here like their community just the way it is and they have enough money to toss around to make sure it stays that way.

            Notables in this are quite common, this much money makes you very notable, but there are two that need a lot of attention.

            Davis and Smythe

            This is not a business, or an office; these two names are part of the longest running feud in the city.

            Doctor Alan Davis, and Professor Alistair Smythe. Both men in their late fifties that have no children, so they know this is the last chance for one or the other to finally win the feud that has been going on for several generations.

            Dr. Davis teaches at Delta City College (Col2) and Professor Smythe teaches at Kymen. Both of them have very distinct specialties and this is the core of the feud. As these specialties have been handed down from generation to generation all the way back to the ‘old country’ (neither will mention which country that is, but their accents are both something European, if a little strange even then). Dr. Davis teaches Historical Metaphysics. The applied historical look into magick and all it has done in mans world. Professor Smythe teaches Science. By Science I do not mean simply a single field, but science as a whole, how all the different schools come together as one big field of study, and how they all work together.

            This is the nature of the feud, magick versus science. These two men cause a lot of trouble no only for their students but for their neighbors, as they both are looking for the way to finally prove once and for all to the other that they have the truth. That the others opinion is nothing more than mist. Both men have had to rebuild their homes more than a couple times, and both have had long talks with more than one group of people that would be very glad to help them, or destroy what ever they are working on at the time. Fortunately most of their antics seem to be confined to their homes and their offices on their respective campuses.

C – CHINA TOWN

            A beautiful tribute to classic Chinese culture and sensibilities, Delta City’s Chinatown is a wonder to behold. Incredible buildings and art are everywhere. The seasonal festivals and New Years parties are second to none. Any serious exploration of the shops and back streets though will really require a guide, as most all of the signs and even the street signs are posted in various Chinese dialects that may seem a little obscure to someone not from the specific region that the dialects are from. Guides can be found at reasonable prices at the main entrances to the area.

            Can you imagine and M.C. Escher painting? Good, now what would it look like if you were on acid? Got it? Ok, now imagine that all the little images of people and animals were looking at you funny and most of them speak only Chinese. If you’re still with me then try to walk from one side of the painting to the other. Wondering what this is all about? I am just trying to describe what it is like for an outsider to move through this region in the city.

            Delta Cities Chinatown is just as old as the Historic Old Town on the other side of the inlet, and has even more history and intrigue. A part of this intrigue stems from the fact that Chinatown has its own in city Mayor. It is literally a city inside Delta City. The Chinatown council has cut their own deals with Puget Sound energy, with the suppliers of water, and with the garbage companies. This is allowed in the city charter because at the time of the founding of Delta City, Chinatown was working very hard at becoming a city all its own. When the State of Washington refused to acknowledge Chinatown as a city all its own, the founding fathers got together with the Delta City founders and struck a deal that would allow Chinatown to run itself no mater how big Delta City got. The deal still stands to this day, and all in all it works rather well. Chinatown makes sure it has police, power and water, and Delta City does not have to take responsibility if something goes wrong. This deal sits rather well with the mayor’s office.

            It is said by the wise in Delta City, that if you are willing to risk your self on the streets of Chinatown that any secret you can imagine is available to you for a price. The most challenging thing about Chinatown is getting around the streets. This is actually only true for people that do not live in Chinatown. The streets of Chinatown seem to have a similar quality to that of the sewer and water systems under they city. If you do not live in the region they seem to move. Just because you were on one street when you entered the little shop that caught your eye, does not mean that it will be the same street outside when you leave. It is not hard to see given this that the cycle couriers lost a couple people down here. In fact some of the stories about Chinatown include tales about people who have been lost here since the region was founded and are still trying to find their way home.

            On the lighter side there are things about Chinatown that give everyone a reason to cheer. Every Chinese New Year there is a four-day festival that seems to take in all of Chinatown and every part of the city that wants to join in the fun. Then there is the annual Dragon-boat festival. This event is said to be second only to the traditional events held on the coast of China, although some in Chinatown would argue that there festival is more traditional, more colorful, happier, better in all ways really. But that could just be local pride.

             Tea Mansion

            This is just an example of one of the large number of shops in Chinatown that you might never hear of if you do not live in the district. Tea Mansion is a small shop that looks about the size of a one bedroom apartment in the cheap areas. Floor to ceiling it is stacked with specialty teas, raw herbs, tea leaves and tea making equipment. The two people that run the store seem to know just about everything you could think to ask about tea, from mythical to medicinal.

 ID – INTERNATIONAL DISTRICT

            Many cities in the United States claim to have an international district, but in truth most of these turn out to be several small clusters of businesses and a few homes that have a population from one culture or another, in a block by block format. While this does usually give the people who come to these districts a feeling that they are in a little piece of that culture, Delta City has something truly different in their international district.

            This part of the city is not made up of little block-by-block sections ( a Little Italy here, Little Tokyo there, Little Mexico over in that block), the International District in Delta City is a real blending. Cultures from all over the world (and some would suspect other worlds as well) blending together into a myriad of influences and sights and sounds. Even though you can find and taste most everything the world has to offer here, there is usually one culture that seems to dominate the decorations and style of the district.

Some would think that having all these cultures in one area, with no separation and no lines of distinction might lead to conflict, and in the past it did. But back in the 1950’s a man from Chinatown (C) got together with some of the community leaders and they came up with a plan. Many of the Asian cultures had put up dojos in the area to help promote the skills and culture of their homelands, and the idea was to use them for something more. The community leaders accepted the idea, and they took it to the people. The idea was that every six months a contest would be held by the residents of the International District, a martial arts contest. The winner of the contest, no matter what fighting school they had attended, would have their historical heritage dominate the district, in art and public displays. The only real condition on this would be that if anyone were caught fighting outside the competition or outside of dojo sparing, then that whole culture would be out of the contest for the next six months. It took the better part of five years for the idea to get around to everyone and for the people to see the advantage of something like this in their part of town. By 1958 though the contest was at the point where it should be receiving national exposure for the system the people were using to get past the problems that heritage can bring to a city.  Today the contest is a semi annual event that draws large groups from all over the city to see the changing of the guard. The idea has not only been something that brings stability to the district, but also brought tourists from within the city to help the businesses on the blocks that the district runs through.

Even though there are a lot more notables in this area than there might seem only a couple need to have attention drawn to them.

             Shoji’s Dojo

At the very southern end of the district lies Shoji’s Dojo. Rather large and very well outfitted, this dojo is one of the few in the region that has no ties to any one culture or style of art. Shoji himself is a man who looks like a classic image of the ancient Chinese master. His short stature and obvious age should not fool you though. Shoji is a man who wants to learn everything the world of martial arts has to offer, and as far as his students can tell, he seems to have it all down already.

Shoji holds classes and teaches two days a week, the rest of the time his best students are the ones running the classes. Most of the time the classes run the gamut of all the known martial arts, so the three main practice rooms are usually being used. The classes that Shoji teaches are the ones most sought after though. He only teaches the rarest of the arts he has learned, and only to the students he thinks are worth teaching them to. If someone is attending his dojo and is made the offer to attend the classes Shoji teaches it is a good sign that the old master sees something great in that person.

There are rumors that it was Shoji that convinced the district to adopt the semi annual contest for cultural dominance, but any time he has been asked he just smiles and laughs, telling whoever asked that he may be old, but does her really look that old? The only other times that Shoji really smiles is if someone walks into his dojo with something he has never seen before. Be it a new fighting style or just a martial weapon he has never encountered. At times like this there is a spark in him that shows that age is not something that will ever slow him down.

In the last several years, due to the lack of specific culture to Shoji’s Dojo, his school has been the sight of the contest more and more often. Shutting the classes down for a week so that the contests to determine which culture has high status in the community seems to appeal to him, even if he does not smile.

            All Things Anime

            A small store to look at it from the outside, but once you are inside you would have to wonder if the name is understating just how much stuff this place has.

            The owners are a young couple from, ‘out of town’, as it were, who fell in love with the animated movies and stories that people in Japan tell. Everything from the OVA’s, to the TV series, and all the movies in between. This shop has only been open for about three years, but in Delta City it is the otaku’s choice for finding all the things for your favorite anime. They stock not only the videos and DVD’s, but soundtracks, stuffed animals, costumes, toys, models, art books, game books, computer games, and the manga that so many of them are based on. With a selection like that you can see why it is so hard to beat. When you first walk into the store you would be hard pressed to know where to find what you are looking for with the piles and piles of items all over the place, but after a short tour by one of the owners, it becomes rather easy to see what kind of a stocking system they have in place and just run with it, of course not everyone agrees with them that the hentai and bushujo are both rather romantic.

            Back to the owners though, they are a young couple it is true, but many of the people who come to the shop joke later about ‘a young couple of what?’ To look at the two of them not only is it hard to tell them apart, but also it is hard to tell if they are male or female. And the habit they have of dressing up in many of the costumes that they sell to the public only adds to the confusion. The only times that something seems to fit is when they dress up as elves or some other fantasy creatures, then their gender seems more apparent, but that could just be quality costumes. The one thing that people visiting the store can say for sure is that there is no doubting the love these two have for the product they sell, they seem to watch and listen to everything they are selling and are more than willing to talk to the customers for hours about the finer points of all the stories they have on hand.

            It would just make life easier on all their customers if they would use names that everyone could pronounce, because how do you say Krouijthanphonichx and Rhognluefurzax? Fortunately for those of us who have yet to master English, they are more than willing to let you call them Kro and Rho, but getting them to tell you which is which is a game in and of itself.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE INTERNATIONAL DISTRICTS MARTIAL CHALLENGE

            (Photocopied from a promotional registration flyer.)

            There is a record kept in the history of the International District in Delta City. This record is about the martial arts challenge that happens every six months to determine the dominant culture in the area. The history of the challenge is rather simple. Previous to World War Two there was an area of Delta City that had originally been set aside for the use of the Native Americans in the city limits. At the time that the city had grown large enough the city leaders asked for permission and gained it from the Native Americans to let other cultures into the area, and open it to all of them as equals. With the agreement struck a great number of minority groups started setting up apartments, houses and businesses in the area. There was no plan, no organization, just a rush for space. So it came about that all the cultures that drove themselves into the area looking for a place to express themselves found that they had not gained an individual space but something shared. This caused tensions to build over and over again, fights would break out between people of various backgrounds and things overall just got rather ugly.

            On September 22, 1951 there was a town meeting to discuss the future and the problems of the International District. A man from Chinatown, who introduced himself as Long, had an idea. The main problem in the International District was culture clash. There were no distinct regions that would allow each culture to express itself as a whole. Forcing people to move from their homes and businesses would not be a good thing, but if there was a way to let the District have one major culture at a time, it would let the cultures feel like they had a stake in the area, instead of just being pressed together.

            The idea was well received, but the matter of implementing it was something that no one could agree upon, what order the cultures would be dominant, how long it would last, no one means could be struck upon. So Long made his second suggestion. There were a lot of people who wanted to fight for their culture. They were willing to say that they were better than anyone else, and fight to make sure the proof was there. Why not put the problem and the solution together. Let there be a martial arts contest. School and rank would be irrelevant, the only thing of import would be the culture that the fighters came from. A weeklong tournament. Let the people who want to fight for their culture fight for it, but in a way that would actually benefit the whole of the culture not just vent their anger.

            The second idea was also well received and a plan was beginning to form. But the question came up what about the rest of the fighting, how would they keep it in check. Long then gave the condition that made it all look like a challenge. Any one caught fighting outside of training, or the contest, would loose the chance for their entire culture to have the chance of being on top. So if one person of Japanese descent was caught fighting outside the parameters, then all of Japanese culture was out of the running for the next six months.

            Overall the city council looked at this idea like a good thing but how in the world to implement it and get everyone to play along was a little beyond them. That was when the representatives from the International District stood up and told the city council that they would take the idea to the people and inform them that the contest was in just a few months, just let the contest happen, let them see how it worked and they were sure that people would jump at the chance to show what they could do. The city council agreed to the idea and put it in the books.

            Since then the contest has happened the second week of January and the second week of July every year. It took a few years to get everyone in the district to see the light, but it is accepted that the first time that the Native American culture was highlighted throughout the entire district put a shock into the district as a whole, and most people took a second look at the idea. By 1958 most of the young gangs and the like in the area had hopped onto the bandwagon giving the contest a good dose of street credibility, and the district as a whole a second, and much more streetwise, police force. The gangs wanted to abide by the rules as much as they could, because they found out that the city did not just want to respect classic cultures, but the modern ones as well. The first time a gang culture took the title was in 1961, and the fact that the city was willing to accept that the gang and not the color of the skin or where the family came from was the culture just spurred the contest on to greater heights.

            In 1993 the challenge moved permanently to the three-story building that is Shoji’s Dojo on the south end of the district. Overall the contest has never been better received. Every six months the press and the interested crowed around the dojo trying to get seats inside to see the contests, and rain or shine the final round is held in the parking lot out back from the dojo so that all the world can see who is coming out on top.

            The rules for the challenge are rather basic, but they are all there for a reason.

  • No fighting outside the dojo’s or the challenge. Doing so will result in the loss of your culture from the chance to be the reigning expression of the region for the next six months.
  • Weapons are allowed in the challenge only if both fighters agree to the use of them. If one fighter refuses to face an armed opponent then the one wishing to fight armed must either disarm or forfeit.
  • Fights end one of the following ways. One fighter is knocked out. One fighter is disabled, examples would include breaking a leg or arm. One fighter surrenders. If the fighters agree to special conditions previous to he match, such as first blood, first strike, or even a stare down, this can become the condition for victory.
  • The fights are full contact, with appropriate pads. If weapons are agreed upon then they must be non-lethal practice versions.
  • Any fight that results in the death of a fighter will be taken from the record and the survivor will be disqualified. If this happens in the final round then the fighter that died will be awarded the title and honors posthumously.

Next comes a list of the fights in the history of the challenge. This record shows the winners style of fighting that they used, also if known, and the culture that was placed as the dominant one of the district for the next six months. Sometimes there has been a little confusion as to styles and translations of their names, so the best possible efforts have been made to make sure that all names have been translated into English properly. Please forgive and mistranslations and if you are sure of one, please contact the printers, listed on the back of this pamphlet, and changes will be made in the next edition.

1951 – The Proposal.

1952 – The first contest.

            January – Native American Wrestling – Quinault Indian

            July – Boxing – Polish

1953 –

            January – Boxing – French

            July  – Te – Japanese

1954 –

            January – Kendo – Hispanic

            July – Aikido – Hispanic

1955 –

            January – Leopard Kung Fu – Korean

            July – Shattered Forest – Elvin

1956 –

            January – Capoeira – Brazilian

            July – Street Fighting – Nigerian

1957 –

            January – Pancracean – Greek

            July – Native American Wrestling – Cherokee

1958 – The contest gets into full swing as the majority of the ID gets behind the idea.

            January – Karate – French Canadian

            July – White Crane Kung Fu – Chinese

1959 –

            January – Savate – French

            July – Boxing – American

1960 –

            January – Karate – Okinawan

            July – Native American Wrestling – Columbian

1961 –

            January – Street Fighting – Gang

            July – Sambo – Siberian

1962 –

            January – Savage Suns – Elven

            July – Drunken Fist – Dwarven

1963 –

            January – Sumo – Hawaiian

            July – Sumo – Japanese

1964 –

            January – Sumo – Swedish

            July – Choy-Li-Fut – Korean

1965 –

            January – Dragon Kung Fu – Gang

            July – Gatka – German

1966 –

            January – Jujutsu – Chilian

            July – Karate – Saudi

1967 –

            January – Boxing – Pakistani

            July – Street Fighting – Swiss

1968 – Shoji’s Dojo opens to the public.

            January – Native American Wrestling – Mohawk

            July – Savate – Sudaneese

1969 –

            January – Buddha’s Palm – Indian

            July – Taoist Demon Hunter – Mongolian

1970 –

            January – Gatka – India

            July – Muay Thai – Thai

1971 –

            January – Than Vo Dao – Vietnam

            July – Yu-Sool – Korea

1972 –

            January – Kalaripayit – India

            July – Savate – Spanish

1973 –

            January – Kung Fu – Spanish

            July – Kung Fu – Lebanise

1974 –

            January – Kung Fu – Israel

            July – Boxing – American

1975 –

            January – Sambo – Russian

            July – Jeet Kun Do – Chinese

1976 –

            January – Heart of Night – Elven

            July – Aikido – Vietnamese

1977 –

            January – Aikijutsu – Japanese

            July – Krav Maga – Israeli

1978 –

            January – Drunken Eagle Kung Fu – British

            July – Burning Tiger Kung Fu – Unknown suggested painting everything purple and calling it good

1979 –

            January – Kuntao – Indonesian

            July – Pakua – Taiwan

1980 –

            January – Pakua – India

            July – Ninjutsu – Egyptian

1981 –

            January – Aikido – Iranian

            July – Storm Bear – Dwarven

1982 –

            January – Sumo – Filipino

            July – Sambo – Australian

1983 –

            January – American Pro Wrestling – American

            July – Native American Wrestling – Ananasi

1984 –

            January – Native American Wrestling – Cherokee

            July – Ninjutsu – Chinese

1985 –

            January – Yo-yo Combat – Italian

            July – Street Fighting – Italian

1986 –

            January – Karate – Gang

            July – Boxing – British

1987 –

            January – Capoeira – Brazilian

            July – Capoeira – Columbian

1988 –

            January – Pancracean – Canadian

            July – Qwan Ki Do – Japanese

1989 –

            January – The Heart of 1000 Nights – given to 2nd place (India) for a good fight

            July – Boxing – Japanese

1990 –

            January – Tae Kwon Do – Korean

            July – Shootfighting – Polish

1991 –

            January – Tai Chi – Czech

            July – Dragon Kung Fu – Laotian

1992 –

            January – Jeet Kun Do – Afgan

            July – Muay Thai – Thai

1993 – Shoji’s Dojo becomes the sight of the contest.

            January – Shotokan Karate – Japanese

            July – Goju-Ryu Karate – Japanese

1994 –

            January – Capoeira  – Chilian

            July – Bear Style Kung Fu – American

1995 –

            January – Desert Winds – none chosen given to 2nd place China

            July – Desert Winds – none chosen given to 2nd place Lithuania

1996 –

            January – Jeet Kun Do – China

            July – Leopard Kung Fu – Vietnamese

1997 –

            January – Mantis Kung Fu – French

            July – Dragon Kung Fu – French

1998 –

            January – Drunken Dragon Kung Fu – German

            July – Boxing – American

1999 –

            January – Muay Thai – Laotian

            July – Resplendent Demons – India

2000 –

            January – Ninjutsu – Japanese

            July – Aikido – Gang

2001 –

            January – Native American Wrestling – Gang

            July – Krav Maga – Israel

2002 –

            January – Street Fighting – Cherokee

            July – Jeet Kun Do – Thai

2003 –

            January – Dragons of Winter – Elven

            July – Yo-yo Combat – Dwarven

2004 –

            January –

            July –

2005 –

            January –

            July –

2006 –

            January –

            July –

2007 –

            January –

            July –

2008 –

            January –

            July –

2009 –

            January –

            Now that the history and the rules have been presented to you, the only question you have to ask is, ‘Do I have what it takes to put my culture on top?’ If you are thinking yes then come by any of the open kiosks in the International District, or any of the associated training halls, and register for the challenge.

AC – ARTISTS COLONY

            Ok, now this one the city not bragging about I can totally understand. Sadly if they were to brag about it I think the city might become an even more interesting and lively place.

            This part of the city is not a business district, not a housing region, not something that generates industrial solutions, nor is it a center of collegiate learning. It is a strange mix of all those things and more. Calling it an Artists Colony is just about the only way to describe it without insulting someone, and with all the different opinions and ideas here it is easier to insult someone without knowing than anyone might ever know.

            The Artists Colony area of Delta City was originally founded in the sixties by people who had no desire to leave Delta City but still wanted to have a place to be free and live with the growing counter culture. As time went on people managed to confound city hall with the plans for buildings and businesses that they wanted to add to the area, and they came in so fast and furious that the Delta City government was not able to do much more than make sure there would be roads into and out of the area, and that water and power would be distributed to everything that got built in the area. Not as easy a task as it might seem, so the cities unofficial policy became one of, ‘If it is going up in the Artists Colony at least it will not bother anyone else.’

            As Delta City’s home for counter culture, the experience of being in the Artists Colony is unique to say the least. There are shops that cater to just about every taste, experimental dining, homes that look like a part of the trees, a house with a large Tesla Coil in the front yard, bars, clubs, and even an experimental private school (Eldryin Academy). The fire department in the area has vehicles that get repainted on the whim of the area (last year they spent a great deal of time in a flame camouflage color combination). There is even a very well hidden brothel. The place does not look anything like it is, and in fact it has a few other little shops inside, so you may have shopped there already and not even known.

            As a whole, this part of town comes together more for each other than any other district, even Chinatown does not have the solidarity that the people who live in this part of town do.

The Last Element

            This is a little shop that is almost hidden under the other buildings in the area. It is not really a shop for the curious, but a shop for the people in Delta City who are truly into magick, the occult, and all things spiritual. The hours that it is open seem to be almost as random as the owner. But if the doors are open and you have an idea of what you are looking for, there is no better place in all of Delta City to go to find things on the topics of the unusual or supernatural.

            The owner of the shop is named Mikee, and part of what makes this person more unusual than most is that Mikee is never the same being twice. Regulars in the shop are aware of this and just go with it, people new to the shop will be taken aback until they realize that this is just the way Mikee is, or get too freaked out to cope and start going to another shop. No one but Mikee knows what Mikee is and Mikee is not talking about it. At most someone will get a sly wink, or a laugh, unless you ask too often then you will find that no matter when you come to the shop the doors are locked. The one thing that the regulars do know is that in the stores down time Mikee can be often found at Graces, and that the two of them seem to go way back.

            As of December 2005 Mikee has not been seen. Someone has been running the shops for him but they make sure to tell folks that they are simply following instructions left for them by Mikee. No word on where he is, or what he is up to.

            The Flip Side

            The Flip Side is a rather unique little place in a very unique part of town. One side of the building can be entered twenty-four hours a day. That is a little bookstore and coffee house that occasionally puts up and open mike night for poetry and small performance pieces. Given the nature and hours of this side of the building there are any number of patrons in and out at any given hour. The selection of reading material is quite good and the magazine racks are second to none in the city. The only real rule about this side of the business is that if anything is damaged you must buy it. This rule goes for everything from the fifty-cent newspaper to the several thousand dollar rare books in the glass cases behind the coffee bar.

            The other side of the building is something else entirely. It is a performance club of a darker sort, and you have to be known to the owner to get in. The darker side of the club is open to just about anything that can be done in front of others, from fighting to sex. The security is very tight, and the rules about this side of the business include that you do not talk to others about the club. If someone comes to the door asking to be let in, they had better not have heard about it from a member. More than likely if someone is going to gain membership to the darker side of the club a current member will ask the owner to look into a friend, see if they can join, and the owner will look into the person and see if they have what it takes to be another quiet, well paying member of this very exclusive little club.

            The owner is a man named Candalmas, and he gives the feeling of being a very friendly older brother to anyone around him, unless he is making an advance on a woman, and then he seems to be the most charming person anyone has ever met. Just do not ask him why he never shaves his legs if you see him on one of the rare days that it is hot enough for him to ware shorts.

COL1 – KYMEN COLLEGE

            (Taken in part from a brochure sent out to high schools across the nation.)

            Alternative education styles. That simple little phrase seems to do more to describe Kymen College than any other that you might ever hear.

            The general ideas that founded this college were that not everyone wanted to know the same thing about the same topics, that not everyone learned at the same rate through the same styles of teaching, and that in the end, not everyone wanted the same final degree on the topics that they learned. What will shock many is that the founder of the school, Richard Kymen, knew all of this back in 1903. Taking the lands his family had and all the land he could get his hands on nearby, he opened the school while most of the buildings were still in the planning stages, and many of the professors were still getting letters of invitation to teach at the school.

            Over the years the college has developed the resources and the staff to help students take any idea, and any dream and turn it into a field of study. It is possible on this campus to put together a degree program in any concept that a student can come up with. To help facilitate this there are no real departments to the college, and no separate mini-schools of specialization. This will lead many who get to the campus for the first time to look at all the people going from place to place and wonder just what kind of chaos has been unleashed here. In point of fact thought it is not chaos, just a very, very large pattern of order that is very hard to see until you become a part of it. There is a thirty person board of scheduling that puts together a list of possible connections between classes so that a person can find out if the Film Making 265 class they are looking at really will connect to the Masters of Underwater Cinematography program they have developed for themselves (even jobs with the National Geographic Society can get rather specialized).

            All in all this is something that a lot of people get behind and support. The ability to learn what you want in the pace you want is something that appeals to many students. The teacher’s ability to cover a variety of topics is key to this program working and the professorial staff is very well treated, and paid even better. The classes have such a profound mix of students that it would seem even more like chaos if you were from off campus. Seeing as there are rarely single topic majors in any given class, the teachers have to work with people from all over the spectrum of possible students in the classes they are teaching.

            Of note on the campus is one of the strangest running pranks that any campus has ever had the misfortune of seeing.

            The Old Light House

            On the northern most point of the campus, right out on the edge of the water, sits the lighthouse.

            Most of the time the college runs the lighthouse as part of the oceanic safety courses. Making sure that every student involved knows just how important, even in this day and age, a light in the dark can be.

            The rest of the time the lighthouse is falling victim to the students of the school, and sometimes it is a race to see if the next fix or the next prank will reach the lighthouse first.

            Pranks of the past have included turning the lighthouse into a Bat signal, a barbershop pole, a disco ball, and the largest speaker in the state. It is rare that anything new actually is done to the lighthouse in any of these pranks, but from time to time the students come up with something worth talking about for a year or two.

COL2 – DELTA CITY COLLEGE

            For those with a taste for a more traditional education then this is the college for you.

            Smaller than most colleges that it would like to compete with, like the University of Washington, and the other schools like it. Delta City College is a specialty school, but more that the schools that are known for being science, art, or sports minded, Delta City College is known for only one of their departments, History.

            When it comes to the basics of education DCC is not a slouch. Their math, science and liberal arts departments are good. Not at the level of national acclaim, but good enough that their graduates can get good jobs and have a list of skills gained from the school that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. But the History department in DCC is what stands out in the minds of all that remember Delta City.

            One of the breaks from tradition on the campus is the absence of the Greek System. There are no fraternities or sororities. This should seem doubly odd considering the schools strong grip on history, but that is part of the reason the school has nothing to do with that system. The safety and the education of the students on the campus are the main concern of the staff in this school and it was determined quite some time ago that the Greek System, while historical in nature, was a threat to the student body. The staff and councilors do their best to make sure that the cliques that would have formed in the Greek dorms still get their space and place in the college life, but keeping them from the hazing and the housed parties, the status symbol of Greek association, and the unofficial rank that many schools seem to give to those in the Greek houses. This has been a working system for the last fifty years, and the board of directors for the school, see no reason to change now.

HO – HISTORIC OLD DELTA CITY

            When people look for a reason to come and visit Delta City this district is usually high on the list of reasons. The Historic part of the description to this part of town is not to be taken lightly. There are more, well preserved buildings dating from before the 1920’s than in any other part of town.

            It is in part from this look that this part of the city seems to be the hub of more activity than any other part of town. Even though it is not a small district, it can have a very small feel. There are a large number of small shops, sidewalk café’s and even a daily farmers market along the waterfront. Combine that with some of the older brownstone style homes in the area, and the occasional sidewalk park, a pub-crawl that is compared very favorably to the best London has to offer, and you have a very busy, very beautiful part of town. This section of town also has the city’s largest hospital (Saunders Memorial on the corner of 13th and Alder), and some of the fastest response times from all emergency services. All in all even though it takes up a good amount of space this district maintains a small neighborhood feel for most.

            The only real force around this part of the city is the Historic Preservation Society. They act like a very mellow version of the Old Beach homeowners association. Instead of putting social pressure on people who might like to change the buildings though, they have the law to back them up. This entire area is protected by the city. If something happens to one of the buildings in this region then the owner is required to rebuild in the same style as the previous building. It does not have to be exactly the same building, even though the city planners office does have full blueprints of most of the buildings here, it is required that the style be the same.

            Some of the notables in this part of town include the following.

             Marcus a.k.a. John Doe 17

            Homeless, jobless, and wandering the streets.

            Marcus can be found at various times in just about every part of the city. Ragged and worn this man will tell his tale to anyone who will listen about how Delta City is really a fiction that he created so as not to be alone with his godlike imagination.

            Most of the time he is seen it is in this part of town though, carrying a sign that reads, “The world ended yesterday”. Walking the streets and sleeping where he can, he is known to be welcome at the Flip Side, and Graces, and that even Mikee at the Last Element will put a cot down for him if he wanders by needing a place to crash.

            No one knows but Marcus why all these different people come together for him, and he is not telling.

            The Last Element

            This is a little shop that is almost hidden under the other buildings in the area. It is not really a shop for the curious, but a shop for the people in Delta City who are truly into magick, the occult, and all things spiritual. The hours that it is open seem to be almost as random as the owner. But if the doors are open and you have an idea of what you are looking for, there is no better place in all of Delta City to go to find things on the topics of the unusual or supernatural.

            The owner of the shop is named Mikee, and part of what makes this person more unusual than most is that Mikee is never the same being twice. Regulars in the shop are aware of this and just go with it, people new to the shop will be taken aback until they realize that this is just the way Mikee is, or get too freaked out to cope and start going to another shop. No one but Mikee knows what Mikee is and Mikee is not talking about it. At most someone will get a sly wink, or a laugh, unless you ask too often then you will find that no matter when you come to the shop the doors are locked. The one thing that the regulars do know is that in the stores down time Mikee can be often found at Graces, and that the two of them seem to go way back.

            As of December 2005 this shop has been closed. Mikee has not been seen and the person that is running the shop in the Artists Colony district of town apparently has no instructions or keys to open this shop. Fortunately Mikee’s lease on the property goes on until 2010 so no one will close him out as long as all the bills keep getting paid, and the shop in the AC does good enough business to cover all that and more.

CC – CITY CENTER

            In this little district lies the main buildings for the city, City Hall, Police and Fire Central Offices, Delta City Library (main office, there are six other branches scattered about the city), The Tanner Cross Cultural Arts Museum, the offices for the city water authority, the parks department head quarters, the Puget Sound Energy offices, the city port authority, the central offices for the transportation commission, and the main offices for some of the best power and information brokers in the country if not the world. Sitting on top of the pile of information brokers, sets Net 7.

Proof that in small things there can be great power and influence.

            This is the smallest district in the entire city, but also the most powerful and influential. In this region power is the main commodity. The people who use it well, they are the ones to be watched.

            While the city offices hold most of the visible power in the city, controlling law and making decisions that will affect the day to day life of just about everyone who lives above ground, it is the power wielded by the information brokers that can shift the value of just about everything in a heartbeat. Most of the information and power brokers in this city are in competition with Net7, and that is a good thing. There are rumors about where the real power in the city lies in this district.

            With all this power in one place one might think that there was a greater chance of the usual strangeness that settles all over the city in this little area. Strangely though just the opposite is true. When it comes to the odd events that seem to characterize this city, they are absent here. Everything seems strangely mundane when in this part of town. And depending on the point of view you have that can either be a very good thing, or an even bigger reason to worry about what goes on in this part of town.

            Notables in this part of town are quite powerful and only in one case does a company merit being talked about here.

            Mayor Anna Cross

            Mom, that’s what this woman comes across like in public. Concerned about everyone and everything. If she could make it legal in the campaign she would send fresh cookies to everyone just to seal the deal. This middle aged woman of mixed ancestry does everything she can to make sure that everyone in the city knows she has their best interests at heart. Her public face is so caring and so concerned that some of her competitors in the last two elections publicly questioned if she had what it takes to stand up to anything in the city or if she would be the caring mother to everyone, even the criminals.

            People have seen no need to worry though, Mayor Cross has been elected to office three times and will soon be running for her fourth. What people do not see is that even though she comes across as a mother figure to the whole city she is one very tough, very shrewd woman who seems to not only have a mothers talent for knowing what is going on even when she is not looking at her children, but also has the mothers talent for getting even the most unruly child to do exactly what she wants.

            When she was murdered in 2004 it nearly broke the city with grief. The fact that she was murdered in her home and that the case is still unsolved is something that sits poorly with the citizens, and the fact that they elected a little cult of personality to replace her does not help.

            Chief of Police Andrew Sands

            A man of just over forty, with more than half his life in police service. The only thing he hates more than the jokes that compare his Arabic heritage and his last name is crime.

            Chief Sands is a man driven to fight crime. His history of being tough on everyone from littering to multiple murderers is known throughout the city. His stand is that if it is against the law then the offenders need to be punished to the maximum extent of the law. His views are not quite eye for an eye, but it comes as close as is publicly acceptable. He does not talk about his past, but the part of his past that is public record speaks volumes. A perfect arrest record as a police officer for over fifteen years, and over the last six years as Chief of Police he tries to spend just as much time in the field with his men and women as he does behind the desk. Not as a know it all, but as a man who wants to learn everything new that his people come up with to help the fight against crime. This attitude has endeared him to more of his people on the force than it pushes away.

            The only depressing part about his last six years in office is that there has been a slow increase in crime in Delta City since he has taken office, almost as if the city itself is against him. This gives him no end of frustration.

            Simon Tinsdale

            This quiet man in his late thirties is the city’s head librarian. Quoting from almost any book in his care and seeming to know just where every copy of a book in the system is supposed to be, his staff have tried to get him to come out of his shell for a couple of years now, but to no avail.

            Most of the time it will be the people working with him that anyone talks to, but on the rare occasions that he does talk to non-staff, his voice is clear and musical, and his knowledge of just about any topic someone would care to discuss is seemingly without flaw. No one in or out of the system of libraries is really sure why he does not have a job banking, or on Wall Street, or as an information broker, but they are glad to have someone like him in charge of the books.

            Net7

            If knowledge is power then this company, if it knows all that it seems to, must be nearly godlike.

            Founded just over ten years ago, Net7 came onto the corporate scene in a flash. Offering to help any company that could meet their rather high price find out anything they needed about competitors, and have no fingers to point back to them in the end. It took the better part of six months before anyone really heard about them again in the news, but apparently the demand was high enough for their services that they were opening up their new offices, and headquarters in the City Center.

            If you want to risk your sanity, and your safety you can still go to Chinatown to look into secrets, but is you have a big enough bankroll you can just call Net7.

            The owners of the company do nothing to hide who they are, where they go and what they do. But they still seem to have enough staff and enough resources to get into just about anything. Their offer to all the hackers in the community to break into their computer system is just another expression of how good they are at what they do.

            Publicly the company is privately held by the seven key officers in the company, even though four of them are regularly seen at major events and functions, the lower ranking staff tells that they are mainly data sifters, and it is the company officers, and a few very good private eyes that do all the legwork for the companies investigations.

            Privately it is whispered that they have deals with just about every power player in Delta City, that they have high paid moles in just about every business and corporation in the country if not the world, and that most of the key officers are masters of telepathy and other such arts so that they really never have to leave their offices to get everything they need.

P1 – ANGEL PARK

            The southern half of the island that sets in Grays Harbor. This part of the island is named for the large statue of a female angel that rests at its center. It is also the greatest labor of love for the parks department.

            Connected to the mainland by a bridge on the east side and a tunnel on the west side, there is a surprisingly light amount of traffic that is heard once someone is inside the park. There are a series of groves and open fields, all connected by surprisingly twisting paths. The parks department tells people that every tree, shrub and flower are well tended, and the park looks it. No mater what time of year someone visits the park the plants look awe inspiring. The trees are massive, the shrubs are full and lush, and the grassy fields are either well trimmed or seem to just grow up to a uniform height. A small number of the paths in the park are lit for night visitors, and there is a small camping area near the southern tip of the park, just out of sight of the public boat launch.

            Truly this park is one of those things to have on the must see list of any trip to Delta City.

            Those who know of Graces (STL) will tell you that someone in Grace’s family must have posed for that statue, because the statue was dedicated in 1904, and everyone will tell you that there has always been a Graces in Delta City. The statue does bare a striking resemblance to the owner of the bar.

            One of the things that very few people will find in the park are the little altars. In Angel Park there are a number of very well hidden paths that lead to small shrines and alters. Most are dedicated to one or more of the environmental religious philosophies. Like Wicca, Shamanism, or any of the Druidic paths. There are also shines for those who follow Shinto and Buddhism in the park. Strangely enough if you follow one of those philosophies it is very easy to find those places in the park, and the Parks Department is not only alright with the use of the park, a great many of the people in the Parks Department visit one or more of the shrines regularly.

P2 – SANDSTONE PARK

            Just as people like to brag about Angel Park, most keep rather quiet about this one, and after a trip or two into it, you can see why.

            This park sets on a jutting point just north of the southern business district (B2) and the industrial region (I1). Just to the south from Chinatown (C) across the inlet, and also just across the water from the International District (ID). This gives it a very central location to the southern part of the city, and unfortunately makes it the home of a great cultural schism.

            The Parks Department does everything it can to try and accommodate all the people who want to have some kind of expressive festival, or donate some kind of art to ‘beautify’ the park. But with all the different influences that come together in the area trying to exert a little control over the area the park has a tendency to feel more like an area that has a multiple personality disorder than something that is truly beautiful for everyone.

            The trails and service paths through the area seem to be littered with all sorts of small art projects, forgotten statues, dedications to corporations, lively expressions of cultural heritage, and any number of little abstractions that someone has found beautiful at one time or another. The thing that makes some people wonder is the fact that they are not always the same piece, so the park always seems to be in motion in some way. The truth behind this is that there have been so many pieces given to the park, added, or just dropped off in the dead of night, that the Parks Department has a large warehouse in the Industrial Region that is dedicated to storing the “art” that wanders through the park. There is also a staff that is dedicated to just moving the stuff in and out of the park as often as they can, so that no one who has added something will feel left out for very long. Changes like that continue on even if the park is covered in snow or there are storms that are stopping everything else in the city.

There is more to talk about and better quotes I am sure for the city itself, but there are a few other things that I need to mention just to make sure that my guide is really complete about Delta City and the things around it.

OUTSIDE THE CITY

             With all that going on inside the city you would have to wonder just what is left to go outside of the city proper. Just remember that all these places are still inside the city limits, and therefore still part of the city itself, this means that they are affected by the world walls and all the other services the city has to offer.

            McGregor Sanitarium

            Just south of the city proper, very near Delta City College (Col1). McGregor Sanitarium is the some of some of the best minds in the industry of psychology. The older gothic style buildings that make up the main structure remind one of the classic castles and some of the movies about vampires and monsters that have come out in the last several years. The grounds are well maintained, and it is not hard to forget the twelve-foot high electric razor wire fence that surrounds it all. Needless to say the people who run the sanitarium do not really want all those great minds getting out into the streets again.

            This of course raises the question, in a city that anything can, and frequently does, happen in, who defines sanity? This would be the sanitariums board of directors. And the less said about them the better, because they are all trying to lay blame on each other for a recent rash of disappearing patients. Not something that has made the press yet, but will given time, and a few appearances by the missing.

             Delta City Daily

            The local paper is just to the east of the International District (ID). This paper seems to suffer from a split personality. Or maybe it is just the editor in chief that does. Day to day the opinions expressed in the paper and the take on major news stories seems to shift from one side of radical to the other. No one can be sure why the paper swings the way it does, but the readership is very high. Most people seem to enjoy the way the paper shifts from one side to the other with a regular frequency, never staying on one side of a topic, but giving both sides equal time.

            Local Radio and TV

            There are a couple local stations in both radio and TV. Not the best offerings but the market is wide open for anyone to join in and add something new to the bandwidth. City laws restrict just what kind of transmission structures can be built in the city so most of the transmission towers and broadcast points come from just outside the city. Sometimes though the transmissions that can be picked up in Delta City are no only not local, but not from this world, so some of the things that can be seen from time to time as you channel surf could get very interesting.

            The earth based local channels include the two local network affiliates KLTE Channel 12 and KMBL Channel 6, the local PBS affiliate KNDL Channel 8. After that everything is considered rouge and broadcasting illegally. If there was more of a presence in the city by the FCC then these rouge stations would likely be taken down, but as most of them operate in the range that would require special equipment to pick up, the city has yet to take too big of an issue with it.

            Delta City Zoo and Wildlife Refuge

            Three miles south of Delta City proper but still in Delta City Limits is the Delta City Zoo and Wildlife Refuge. This facility actually covers over fourteen square miles of area. The smallest portion of it is given over to the public display of captive animals. Most of which are the standard kinds of life that you would see in any zoo in the United States. There are a few though that you cannot find anywhere else on earth and it is these few that keep even the most jaded locals coming back to visit year after year. The majority of the facility though is a complex that is walled in with thirty foot high stone and concrete walls that are covered with spikes and razor wire. While that may seem a little extreme once you get inside that portion of the facility there is little but open space, trees, and wild animals let to run as they will. That means that if someone gets in, they are on their own against all the predators and such that are inside. It is sort of a self contained ecosystem. While there are tram tours of the area once a month ( that are quite expensive by the way) most of the time even the park keepers do not enter the refuge save to let loose something that they feel would be able to take care of itself out there.

OUTSIDE CITY LIMITS

             What is left to see once you get outside the city limits?

            Not a lot but it is still rather important. All of these things are outside the city limits and therefore not hit from time to time by the thin world walls, but there are times when that might not be a bad thing.

            Delta City Penitentiary

            Built outside the city limits, this medium security prison is the last stop for most lawbreakers in the city.

            Not designed to hold the truly evil of this or any other world, the prison has a record of only one escape in the last fifty years. A great record given that they get to hold every criminal that warrants prison time from the city. Even if the prisoner in question is headed for maximum security, they usually stay a few days here while they are getting transferred to the next stop in prison life.

            This is not a bad place overall, but the warden has a very hard view of lawbreakers, and his views make the police commissioner look like a moderate. Luckily most of the guards do not share his bleak view otherwise most of the prisoners would be in solitary, fed once a week at most, and only allowed visitors after death. There is currently an investigation into the warden to see if he really should be in the position he is in. 

            Delta City Recycling

            About fifteen miles south of the city there is a small plant that works very hard to recycle all of the items that get sent its way from Delta City. There is no shortage of recycled paper and aluminum, but due to the nature of Delta City this place also has the ability to do the shredding and shipping of most metals, fiberglass and a few types of wood products.

            The only hitch in the system is that Delta City’s recycling program is a little bit behind. This means that there is no real support for the service and people who want to recycle are on their own for the most part to get things out to the site. The refund prices are good though and on average a few trash bags of crushed cans will get you enough to pay for the gas that it took to get you out there and a cup of blended coffee from one of the espresso stands on your way back into town. 

            Delta City Trash Stations 1 & 2

            Both of the companies that run trash for Delta City named their stations outside of town the same thing, so it makes it a little interesting to get out into the back woods and find the one you are looking for. Both companies see this as the first screening for new employees. If you can find the right one, cheers, now all you have to do is interview.

            As far as city records are concerned, station 1 is the burning facility, and station 2 buries trash in a very, very deep landfill. Neither one is very friendly to the environment, which is why both are over forty miles south of the city and then back into the side roads so that not only can no one see them, but also no one can smell them either.

And that walks you through a bit of the city.

I hope that folks are enjoying this place as much as I am enjoying sharing it.

Now gimme the dice. I gotta see how far a cat will chase the sparkly ones…

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Review #23- Central Casting (Heroes books) (A)

So while I am reediting more of the Delta City materials (you guys who had seen this stuff before could have said something about how crappy my editing and grammar was ya know, it would not have killed me) I wanted to keep posting weekly. So this review has come up.

I have a feeling I may have mentioned these three books before but to do an actual review on them is something else.

I am willing to bet that most gamers out there know people who really piss them off. When it comes to gaming. Those slick folks who can just nanoseconds after rolling the dice right in front of you have a fully detailed background for their character. Tying it into all the previous games you have ever played and putting in so much color and flavor you have to wonder just how all that crap came to life in under an eye-blink of time. I mean given time I can think up a fairly good backstory. I will likely tinker the crud out of it and revise it a few times before I give it to a GM but so it goes. And I know there are other players out there who feel like their character sheets should be enough work and that a background is not needed at all, “I am just here to roll up stuff and make fleshy things scream and bleed on the tips of pointy things.”

Well it is because of that frustration and the sad shaking of heads that they have to have a background that Task Force Games started up their Central Casting series of books. Published between 1988 and 1991 the three Heroes books (Heroes of Legend, Heroes Now, and Heroes of the Future) are all designed so that you can roll up (yeah completely at random) a time period correct character background. The level of detail in these books is so in depth that it makes every other background generator look like the creators half assed it.

Some of the things that this series of books does is to give you some bonus and penalty scores that would need to be converted into the game engine you are playing in. The write ups are mostly for a percent based system. So if you happen to be playing something like Rolemaster you should be fine right off the bat. In a mixed format like Palladium you are going to need to do more converting. And in something like Hero System or the original DC Heroes, it becomes a real challenge to convert the points in anything that represents a linear crossover. The thing is with a quick talk with a GM most of the time background details can get added, points can get swapped, things can get bent so that you can fit things in and make it work.

Now then you will notice that I mentioned that you can roll this all up randomly. And you can. But you can also use the books in a decision tree format to get the background that you want. Because two or three steps in you may find something clicks and suddenly you know where you need to go with this character, or piece by piece you may feel your way through until you come up with something part rolled, part chosen, and part just fate, yeahhhh it had to be fate.

What seems really strange to me about these books is that they seem to have fallen almost completely into the collectors market. You cannot find mention of them in Wikipedia, even in the Task Force Games page who originally published the books for Flying Buffalo who’s page does not mention them either. You cannot find PDF copies of them in any legal sales format. And when you can find them in Amazon or Ebay you are looking at paying anything from 90 – 800 dollars for a copy depending on condition and seller. What I have been able to find out about them tells me that they had a very short print run, like many things that TFG created. Also their publication happened at the same time that TFG was going out of business and selling their properties to other parties. So there may be some long standing issues with rights. It may be that they all went back to the original author Paul Jaquays (now known as Jannell) but even in her Wiki page the books only get a very brief mention. With the number of items being republished in PDF form in recent years and the fact that the prices for the originals are soaring I find it hard to believe that whomever has the rights has not brought them back to the digital world to try and make some money off it.

Next thing to bring up is why am I doing three books in a single review. Well that part of this is easy. All three books follow the same pattern. Birth on through the moment right before you start adventuring. Regardless of setting. They all use the same mechanics and styles. And THAT is a true miracle. When they were being published there were so many specialized game worlds with so many unique game engines that making materials to support them also became very diversified. But the author stuck to her form and format to try and make universal support. I think that was an awesome choice and it really did unify the books into a single whole support setup.

So lastly lets get into the numbers shall we…

Overall Fluff 5/5 – These books are pure fluff. It is all for story and all for fun and to add some depth to your own work and your own worlds. They work great for PC or NPC characters.

Overall Crunch 2/5 – These things are really rules light and can be used in a lot of ways. They are not directly tied to any specific RPG but are easier to use with some games than others.

Overall Mod 3/5 – There is need to mod versus fun to mod. Basically unless you are playing one of a few specific games you will need to mod your results if you want to bring anything more than a story into your game. The fun to mod side is using these books as a decision tree instead of as a random roll set of tables.

Overall Fun 5/5 – I have a lot of fun with things like this, and have in the past used these books to create back stories that are just so impossible to understand they can be used to create legends or insane NPCs. Sure I could do that on my own, but going this way I have an excuse so I dont get blamed directly 🙂

Total Score 15/20 – Overall a good score here. I have to say that I really wish these were more available and that some of the mechanics might be revisited so that a table of standard conversions could be created allowing the bonus’ to be read into most major game engines. But I enjoy using them and even still have my original copies. 😛

Well thats it for this week. Hopefully next week my re-editing will be done and I can continue to drop more Delta City goodness.

Hope everyone is having fun out there gaming.

Now Gimme the dice, I have to roll up random laundry and I am hoping to get something other than socks….

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Delta City part 3

So last section was a brief history of Delta City. This next part is about the layout of the city itself. If I can make it work well I will drop in the maps I drew oh so long ago so you can get an idea of the elevations and street layouts as well as what the neighborhood/district lines are like. Details on the specific regions in the city and some of the people and places in them will be in the next part published.

Ok so lets start out with the map of the city streets. This covers the major streets in the city. I was using old graph paper to set this up and there was no way by hand I could get down to the level of a super zoom on Google Maps. Considering that I set this up based on memory from an older printed map of the Grays Harbor area you can see that some things are not really to effective scale if you look at the area in Google maps. You can also see that I added a large island to the area that is not in our current reality.

major_streets_map

As you read what follows remember that this was originally written in the late 1990’s and into the early 2000’s. So some of the prices and other things may seem ridiculously cheap. They were intended to be cheap but not so much so that you would have your jaw hit the floor. I am trying to reprice stuff for the current era.

GENERAL NOTES

POPULATION

“The population of Delta City is a model of the length and breadth of humanity in the tradition that the founders of the United States would have given to us all had they the vision to dream that vast.”

Mayor Anna Cross during a speech to celebrate the International District in 1997

            The population in Delta City is not only diverse but it is truly unique as far as anyone can tell. The official breakdown is rather boring but it gives us a place to start.

Per the 2000 Census

Total Population: 523,402 people   

Economic break down:

  •              8% Wealthy
  •              9% Affluent
  •              70% Middle class
  •              11% Struggling
  •              2% In Poverty         

Unemployment: 3.1%         

Racial Breakdown:

  •             White – Non-Hispanic 44%
  •             Hispanic 8%
  •             Asian 8%
  •             African American 8%
  •             Native American 13%
  •             Pacific Islander 6%
  •             Middle Eastern 7%
  •             Other 6%

Gender Breakdown:

  •             Male 48%
  •             Female 50%
  •             Other 2%

Age Breakdown:

  •             Over 65      7%
  •             45-65          21%
  •             30-44         35%
  •             18-29         20%
  •             Under 18  17%

Education:

  •             No Highschool                               3%
  •             Highschool – Some                      12%
  •             Highschool – Graduate               18%
  •             Some College                              11%
  •             AA Degree                                  10%
  •             Bachelors Degree                       7%
  •             Masters Degree                          6%
  •             Doctorate Degree                       1%
  •             Multiple Degrees                        1%
  •             No formal Education noted      13%
  •             Other                                        18% 

Religious Affiliation:

  •             None                                            15%
  •             Catholic (Any Denomination)    19%   
  •             Muslim (Any Denomination)      11%
  •             Jewish (Any Denomination)      10%
  •             Wiccan                                       4%
  •             Native Traditional                     5%
  •             Buddhist                                    3%
  •             Shinto                                        1%
  •             Taoist                                       2%
  •             Hindu                                       2%
  •             Other                                       28%  

 City Size:

  •             Delta City Proper: 48.6 square miles
  •             Delta City Industrial Island: 7.1 square miles           

            Now then all those official numbers do nothing to mention the population in the Underground. In those vast stretches under the city there was an unofficial census that puts the population down there at roughly fifty to one hundred thousand other people. So that would be another ten to twenty percent of the population that lives on the streets above. All undocumented, untracked and for the most part uncared for. Considering that most of them live at or below the poverty level down there it could really skew the numbers if they though to add them into the official record.

            One of the strange things about the official numbers is under the Racial Breakdown, ‘Other’. Think about what that means. You see the same thing in Gender Breakdown, Education, and Religion. Makes you wonder just what there is in this city. Overall age categories seem unusually skewed toward the younger generations while the rest of the nation seems to be getting older.

 

CITY SERVICES / INFRASTRUCTURE / UTILITIES / TRANSIT

PUBLIC TRANSIT

Public transit in Delta City is a bit of a wonder. There are city buses, and on call services for the elderly and disabled. There is a light rail connection to the Olympia hub that runs north all the way to Everett. There are a large number of cycle capable paths around the city, and just as many safe-walking routes. There are also the usual assortment of taxis and vanpool set-ups. All of this makes it very easy for any resident or visitor to get to any part of the city day or night.

The wonder is not that the city has all these things, but that they work, and work very well. Not to mention that even the cabs are reasonably priced.

            One might think that with the world walls being in the condition that they are that you might have to deal with busses vanishing, or transit strikes, or cabbies that eat customers. Well even though these things do happen from time to time it is very rare, and most busses that vanish have a tendency to reappear a few blocks later, having a lot of people on board that want to go home instead of just get away seems to bring them back really fast, if they go at all. The city transit department is very proud of its record of having only one bus disappear forever, and the three that it has gained more than make up for that.

            It is also rare that any cabbie that has a taste for human flesh gets past the department of licensing, the ladies that run that place seem to have a knack for spotting potential troublemakers.

The real wonder is the cost of things. A monthly bus pass that is good all over the city will only cost someone about twenty dollars, and even this can be cut down if you can prove that your low income or unemployed. The two major cab companies got into a price war a few years ago and the public is still reaping the benefit, anywhere in the city in one of those two company’s cars will only cost you five dollars, no matter how many people you stuff into the cab, and a run from Delta City to SeaTac airport will only cost you fifteen.

            So, at that price, is it reliable? In a word, yes. The companies that run these operations are always in the black and seem to have a great desire for repeat business. This leads to the great deals, and making the systems as timely as possible and reliable beyond a shadow of a doubt just reinforces people’s opinion of a system that actually works for their benefit.

MEDICAL & FIRE

(Taken from a guide to new students at the college level. It’s amazing that they have to have this.)

Medical care in Delta City is top notch. There are a couple of large hospitals within the city limits, and a great number of small medical clinics. The clinics are both the general medical and specialist establishments. The two hospitals in Delta City are Delta City General in the south of the northern Business District just off the 105 freeway and on the boarder of the Historic Old Town district and the newer Housing District on the west side of the city, and the second is Wandering Star Memorial Hospital which sits on the boarder of both the International District and Chinatown. Both of these facilities are larger than you would normally expect of a hospital, but that is because they are the only two real hospitals in the city. The majority of other care is handled in all the various smaller offices and clinics that are in every district of the city. Many specialists work both at one of the hospitals and in one of the clinics.

Now then calling the medical care top notch may be a bit of a misnomer. There are the usual assortments of people involved in medicine in Delta City, some good, some bad, some who care, and there are those that only want to make money. The thing that makes Delta City medical care top notch is that there was a city law passed about thirty years ago that made it illegal for any insurance company that operates inside city limits to discriminate against payments for anything but truly experimental procedures. So, if your condition can be cured by an acupuncturist, or an herbal wrap, city laws make sure that your going to be covered by whatever treatment you need to get back into top health.

            The statement of care being top notch also relates to the fact that if you know who to ask and what you’re looking for, you can find doctors that specialize in just about any species that you can imagine. This is great if you’re some kind of alien blob and get a stomachache at three a.m. You don’t have to eat half the city to get relief, just ask a couple questions, and head to the right doctor. Of course, if you’re an alien blob that can get insurance you are going to want to spread that information around.

The only other thing of note is that even though Chinatown seems to be a complete maze to anyone not living in that part of town, the paramedics never seem to have a problem if they are called into the area to get someone.

“Fire response in Delta City is second to none in the nation. The teams train extensively and are constantly on the lookout for new people to enhance their already stellar teams. Do you have what it takes to be a hero like that?”

From a recruiting add in the paper.

             The fire response teams in Delta City are almost on the scale of the garbage men and women, and in fact many of the garbage men and women act as local volunteers in the fire response teams. The fact of the matter is that in a city that anything can happen in, just about anything can burn. So, the people on the fire teams need to have the ability to deal with everything from standard fires, chemical fires and even the occasional mystical conflagration. Being ready for all that all the time is no easy thing. So, the staff are usually on rotating teams, two weeks on, two weeks off, with volunteers and off duty staff on call if needed to make sure that things can be handled safely and quickly. The system seems to work.

 CRIME & POLICE

While not crime free Delta City is one of the safest places on earth to visit. Our police force is well trained to deal with any situations that might conceivably arise in a city this size. And we are proud to report that for the fifth year in a row we are still carving critical seconds off of 911 calls citywide. If anything happens to you in Delta City you can be sure that the police are right there to help you out.

In recent years there has been a slow increase in crime in Delta City, not that the press or the ads to visit here would even mention that. Mostly in the area of industrial espionage, and embezzlement, but this does not lower the slow growth. There are dozens of little gangs and a couple larger ones. There are burglaries, assaults, robberies, rapes, and murders in this town. It is a major city after all. But the public is in no way worried. You see the rates of crime in Delta City are significantly lower than in any other city it’s size or smaller. The percentage of crimes committed is so low that it makes a major piece in the news when one does happen.

            Now this is all taking into account the public face of crime. The subtle crimes and acts taken by those with enough power and or money to make them not have happened, seem to happen far more often in Delta City than just about anywhere else in the world. Also, the no victim crimes like gambling and prostitution are usually ignored in the numbers that are given to the press but not by the police and the people that commit the crimes themselves. There have been rumors in recent years that some of the seedier parts of the city have been slowly falling under the control of certain groups, be they gangs or the mafia. The people involved in these crimes don’t really talk about it, but if you are in the Industrial areas, or the commercial areas then you know it when you see it.

            Due to reports Net 7 is under contract to the police commissioner to deliver, he is aware of this tide of invisible crime, and is out to put a stop to it if he can. Unfortunately, most of those invisible crimes are just that, no evidence, no witness, and sometimes not even a scene. This is not to say that there is some secret band of ninja, making all the crimes in the city vanish. Even if there were ninja you could not be told about them.

             The police in Delta City are just as diverse as its population. Every district in Delta City has its main house for the police and most have at least three outside branches. The District House usually houses most of the department gear and staff for any given district, while the branches are more like outposts that are not always manned but can be staffed at any given time to add presence or support in a part of the district. All of the branch houses are checked in at several times a day if they are not currently occupied by staff, assuring that there is a police presence in all areas of the city.

I am sure that you are thinking that I am going to say that this is all bull and that the cops are not all over the place like this. Well actually for the most part it is true actually. There are only a couple of districts in the city that do not get the full service of the police, and that is not an all bad thing given the way some of those districts operate. Given that in those areas even if the police are all from the district they are still seen as outsiders, it makes it a little easier for the district to police itself in the loosest of terms.

            One of the challenges that the police face is that when it comes time to investigate crimes, they have to be ready to look into just about anything. The next challenge is that they have to ready to arrest anything. The last challenge is that they have to be ready to hold and take to trial anything. Now then just because they have to be ready for anything, does not mean that they really are. There are only a few specialists on the force that have the skills and the power to really take on ‘anything’, and considering that most of the things that they face off with are just average, everyday people, being ready for everything is not all that cost effective. In the end the police have the policy that they will staff one team SSC, Special Situation Control. Sort of like a cross between CSI, SWAT, and ghost busters. They operate out of the City Center, and have a SWAT style van and a custom helicopter at their disposal. No one is really sure how many people are on this team, but so far, they have a very high ratio of closed incidents that makes them look very, very good.

 CITY WATER

The most important resource for any city is the water. Some would say it is the power, but there are a lot of ways around that. Without water a city is in a lot of trouble. Some of the best minds in the city are on the city water board. That is why Delta City is not on any one single resource for their needs.

City water districts handle everything from large production wells, limited water sheds from the rivers, all the way down to desalinization plants along the coast. There are several water treatment and storage facilities outside the city limits and the whole system is redundant so many times over that several different systems can go down and there is no change in water pressure.

This reliability is something that comes up every year in the mayoral elections. Every incumbent tries to make sure that the people know that they are responsible for it being that good, and a great many that try to get into the mayor’s office try to make it seem that it is not enough. As water is not just a survival item, it is also a comfort, and the debates about the safety and security of the water supply are very heated.

As part of its deal with the city for self-sufficiency Chinatown has its own water supply. While this is independent from the main city resources, it is linked to the city just in case either side needs help for a while. No one in the main city departments knows where Chinatown gets its supply from, but the water is pure and almost of filtered and refined quality.

POWER

Power in Delta City is bought in bulk from Puget Sound Energy, and provided to residential customers at the paltry fee of ten dollars a month. This means that if you have a one-bedroom apartment, or a thirty-room mansion you’re only going to pay ten dollars. The industrial and business areas pay the usual kilowatt hour rates that most people would see, but even this is discounted slightly by the way the city raises money to pay for the electricity. The city has a slightly higher sales tax than most other areas in the Pacific North West. Setting at about 10%, the sales tax goes into lowering the cost of electric bills and into public transit to help keep those costs down as well. This makes a great boon to the people who live and work here in the city.

Chinatown (C) in the continuing quest for independence has made its own deal with PSE and has separate cables that come into the community to provide that one community with power.

            While many areas use gas, oil, and electricity to keep everything running and heated, Delta City in the fifties started a program to fade out every kind of power but electric. Trying to be ahead of the times and be more on top of the best energy in town. It took nearly ten years but, in the end, everyone was switched over. Even though the city has been totally electric since the end of the fifties, all the old pipes and lines under the city are still there, and one city planner estimated that it would only take about three months to get them all working again. Due to the mayor’s office these systems are checked every six months to make sure that no repairs are needed. Just in case.

SEWAGE

The Delta City waste system is one of the oldest and most reliable on the west coast. There has never been an undocumented spill and every drop of sewage and wastewater has been accounted for since 1861.

The world under the city. The sewer and water runoff pipes under the city make a massive and tangled network that would make the creator of the Minotaur’s labyrinth stare in awe.

            While some people will look at the industrial areas (Ind1 & STL), and cry out that they are the dark heart of the city, those who have worked in the sewers know better. The people who work and make a living down here are not always the same. There is a thriving culture that exists down under the streets. With their own laws and rules, they have as little to do with the surface as possible. The beings that live down here are the outcasts, misfits, and homeless with no place else to go. To come down to these tunnels is usually an act of final desperation for someone otherwise out of options.

            One of the things that make these tunnels dangerous is that they do not always stay in the same place. They have a tendency to move and shift, taking new paths as the whim strikes. While this makes them dangerous, as no one ever knows if they are going to wake up in the same part of town as they fell asleep in, it can also save lives. The shifting of the pipes has on more than one occasion helped someone fleeing from the police, or being chased by the predators that live in the tunnels. Some enlightened folk have tossed about the theory that the sewers are related to the world walls, but so far, no proof one way or the other has been produced.

            Out of all the people in the city that might know something it comes as no surprise to those that work in the city services that there is someone who seems to know what is going on. In spite of having no viable records or plans to refer to, there is someone in the city dispatch office that is called on any time someone needs to head into the tunnels. Ms. Lucy Carter, a woman who is proud of her eighty-three years on this earth (and if anyone tells her that I know this I am willing to bet that my friendly help will disappear), will gladly tell anyone who asks just where the pipes they need are, and if you’re going to be doing construction she can tell you just how far down they are going to be when you start digging. Then she sends you off with a smile and a ‘god bless’, and if you’re actually in her office her cookies are some of the best in town. Any questions about how she knows what she knows or where you can look that information up just get a little smile and something like ‘Youngster, you never ask a lady’s age or what she knows, it’s just not polite, besides if you need to know anything I will be right here. I am always right here.’ With that she will go back to typing whatever it is that she is working on. (Side note, Lucy is not on any of the payroll books, and quite literally does seem to be there whenever someone needs information, midnight or noon)

            There are a few interesting things about the underground and the most notable of them are as follows.

 The Core

            There are two things referred to by this name and since both are in the same area then it makes sense to put them both in the same entry in this guide. There are rumors that they might be somehow connected, but no one has the stones needed to ask one if it is somehow part of the other.

            The Core – The person known as the Core is a very strange individual. He seems to be a superhuman of some kind, and from the look of him he is either a mutant or from another world. This could explain why he stays underground and hides his face with a mask. It does not however explain his agenda. Several years ago, The Core started trying to find those people with gifts above and beyond the human average. The higher up the scale the better.

            Physically no one can be sure if The Core is male or female, all that can be said for sure is that it stands above eight feet tall, and seems to be built like a titan. The loose clothing that The Core favors and the neutral nature of its voice leave those who have me it wondering just what is under those clothes, and just what is behind the mask.

            The organization The Core is forming is called The Children of the Future. So far members of this group seem to be working around Delta City doing good deeds, there is a catch to what they do though. Every good deed they have done so far is for someone in a position of power, and every time they do something for someone they gain a promise from the person that they will do a favor in return for The Children at some point in the future.

            No one outside of The Core itself knows what the reason behind this is, but there are people who suspect that The Children of the Future are building a very subtle power base that they can expand on at a later date. All members of The Children are required to wear a mask that hides their face from the world, but other than that they are free to dress and act, as they will. When on a mission for The Core or The Children then the mask gets slipped on and they become their other identity. There are those who compare this to the classic superhero comics, but the mask is all they add, it is not a complete costume, and The Core seems to frown on that type of over blown showiness.        

            The Core – The place in Delta City known as the Core is also in the underground. In the area of Historic Old Town, somewhere around 21st and Main, there is something in the dark that the people who try and live in the underground avoid if they can, and the city workers who get sent into the area do their best to get away from as fast as they can.

This place seems to be the only feature of the underground that does not move or shift with the rest of the tunnels. It is always in the same place and always has the same effects on the people and the area around it.

            The Core on first being seen looks like a dark hole about twenty feet across, almost perfectly round, and if you get close enough to look into it, it seems to go down forever. There is a cool air that seems to seep from the hole, mixing with the warmer underground air it makes the area of the underground for about a block or two have a light ground fog year-round.

            What makes this place so fearsome to most is that when someone starts walking through the fog they will feel things that brush across their legs, like there are rats or something in the darkness that make no sound but are bold enough to tease at the legs of whoever is in the area. As someone gets closer to the Core there is a soft whispering that can be heard, and as a person gets closer and closer the whispering never gains in volume, but it does become more and more clear. By the time someone is close enough to see the Core the voices in the whispering are very clear, and to this day no one has reported anything kind, or positive in any way coming from those voices. But all who have heard them will agree that to them the whispering came from voices familiar to them, and that anyone with them did not hear the things that they did.

            No one who has tried to climb down into the Core has come back up sane, and everyone who has just keeps ranting about the faces behind the voices. Other experiments to find out the depth of the Core have met with no success. The plan to drop a line down dropped in a little over three thousand feet of cord and found no bottom to the Core. Sonar and radar have both failed to get a signal back that makes sense, even though the only time they tried a sonar scan the person manning the listening station started crying after about five minutes, and has never worked again.

            The Core has been here since before there was a Delta City, and as far as anyone can tell it will be here after everything else is gone. Any efforts to cover it, or build directly on top of it have failed. The only exception is the roadway above, which does need to be repaved about once a year to keep it stable.

 GARBAGE

There are two companies that do the trash and recycling hauling in Delta City. Both are based outside of the city off the I-105 Industrial loop to the south of the city. This is also where all the local transfer stations are. It should be noted that out of all the services in the city garbage is the most challenging. Even though it is a challenging job for the people who have it the level of service and the fact that the city is as clean, as it is should let everyone know just how well a job these people do for us every day of the year.

The things that add to the challenge include that there are no local landfills, trash has to be hauled at least forty miles before it can be buried or burned. The second thing that adds to the challenge is that the two companies that do this service are not only not on the city payroll (this service was taken off the city lists in the thirties when the first of the companies was started up) and as such there are occasional ‘Trash Wars’, as the companies try to undercut each other’s price, or just cut up each other’s trucks. If things get really heated between the companies there have been times that fights break out between gangs of drivers and servicemen. If all that were not enough then you also have to know that in a place like Delta City, since anything can happen, anything can get tossed out. With that possibility it is not so strange to think about the trucks that the garbage men have at their disposal, or the gear that they store within them, or the fact that there are a lot of ex-military and bio-hazmat certified people on the job.

CABLE T.V.

Cable T.V. and satellite services are an area of heated competition in the Delta City region. There are three primary companies that operate in the city limits. And all three offer services ranging from basic cable, to digital cable, to computer network hookups, and even satellite receivers and decoders. All three of them buy the services in bulk from the major providers and then sell at a local discount.

The competition between companies gets nowhere near as heated as the challenges facing the garbage men, but there are nights when one company or the other has to deal with a spiked signal. This is all done with a good humor and the companies actually seem to get along rather well. In the end the antics of the three companies, the pricing games and the spiked signals and the like all seem to make the heads of the companies look like siblings fighting for their parent’s approval instead of three companies trying to make a living.

 PHONE

Phone service in Delta City is clear and solid. Cell phone connections and satellite service are available city wide, and there is an initiative pending that would make local access to phone services as cheap as power.

With the only showing by local power players, the phone system is rather well wrapped up. The major provider of landlines for Delta City is Qwest Communications. They seem to have a rather solid control over the industry and only every year or two do they have some small upstart company try to take a shot at the title. Most of the time when this happens Qwest just drops their prices for a few months to make sure that no one can compete, and then moves back to normal operations when the up and comer has been bankrupted. The initiative that they are trying to get passed in the city council has been there for years, I really don’t think anyone will ever see it get thru.

            With the advent of cell phones though there is another competition going on. As with every part of the world there are dozens of not hundreds of little companies trying to get all lined up to take your money and put a phone in your hand. The big boys are out in force too, as the cities low hills and access to open water makes it a great area for reception. They found out when putting the service towers in that there was less need than they could have ever thought for them in the area as signals carry clean and clear in every part of the city save for in the sewer tunnels.

ISP

Internet service in Delta City is provided by a collection of different businesses, most of which are actually local, so they will definitely know how to handle your service questions quickly. The rates for most of them are very reasonable, but due to constant competition you are advised to shop around for the best deal for your needs.

            The power of the Internet. In Delta City there are dozens of small service providers that offer everything from basic services to web hosting. Prices are fairly standard to the market. What is interesting about the internet in Delta City is that the phone systems all seem to be up to date enough to handle the better broadband services, even in the older houses out along the coastline. This is thanks to the improvement bill passed by the city council, and ratified by public vote in the early eighties, that any significant upswing in technology would be met with an equally speedy upswing in services provided. This meant that as soon as the major upgrades to the phone system were available that the city could sue Qwest unless the city was immediately upgraded, and not only would the city tote the bill for the lawsuit, but they could name every person in the city as part of a class action suit if things did not go well on the initial suit.

            All in all, this inspires a thriving hacker community. With all the business targets, and rumors of hidden secrets in the city, there is no shortage of people trying to get to the next stage and be the best the city has ever seen. There is also the open challenge by Net 7 that anyone who can hack their database and find the file marked ‘The Truth’, will be immediately hired at an annual salary of seventy-five thousand dollars a year, and if the hacker in question is under the age of eighteen Net 7 will also pay their college tuition for up to six years at a school of their choice as long as they study something in the technology field, and agree to sign on for two years with the company after graduation. So far in the three years that this offer has been offered, no one has made it in to the file in question. But there is no sign that the attempts will stop any time soon. Due to this thriving community in Delta City, the need for talented IT people, coders, programmers, hardware specialists, and all the computer related fields in between is in higher demand here than most any other place on the planet.

EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS

            The schools in Delta City deserve a little extra mention. While there are a large number of public and private schools around the city the elementary and middle schools are very similar. They all offer the usual classes but they all also have the distinction of having advanced classes for exceptional students, mystical classes for children that are so inclined, restricted classes for youngsters with exceptional abilities that may prove hazardous to other students, and direct line communications with all police and fire departments.

            While this may seem like a series of hazards spread all over the city, it was actually put to a vote in the city in 1967 and the population decided that they would rather have their children close at hand instead of bussing them all over the city to get specialized education or protection. Surprisingly to all the people that were opposed to this it seems like this has actually worked quite well, the number of incidents and disasters at the lower numbered grade is so low that it looks more like one or two problems a year for the whole city. All in all, a very good record.

High Schools in Delta City are another story though.

            At the high school level there are a total of eight schools all over the city. Five of the schools are heavily specialized in one field or another. The other three are very general, with outsource classes at other schools that count toward graduation credits. This system was part of the 1967 vote that set the lower grade schools on the path that they are on. Strangely this also seems to have worked well as the older teens seem to get along better with the students that share their fixations and hobbies.

PHS 100 (Public High School 100) – AKA Combat High

This high school is located in the International District. It is renowned throughout the city as being the most advanced combat training institute save for Koji’s Dojo. If you can find a way to integrate fields of study with something combat relevant then this school has done so in a grand scale. The sports teams here are considered to be some of the most disciplined and some of the most dangerous.

PHS 101 (Public High school 101) – AKA Machine High

This high school focuses on mechanical and industrial education. They have auto clubs and design competitions that the entire city will turn out for. It is rumored that this school alone is the reason that Boeing has a R&D branch in Delta City. The school is located in the Industrial District to the south of the city.

PHS 102 (Public High school 102) – AKA Magus High

This high school has a focus on natural history and magical theory that is impressive to everyone. The school is located in the Historic Old Town section of the city. Surprisingly the number of strange incidents in this school is rather low. This is usually accredited to the staff and the teachers being rather good at what they teach and how they teach it. There is an outreach program from this school to Delta City College, where they have advanced classes for some of the really bright students.

PHS 103 (Public High school 103) – AKA Finance High

This high school has its main focus on business, language and management. It is said that if you are looking for a future leader in this or any other community then you need to start looking here. Located in the northern Business District, this school has the reputation of releasing some of the shrewdest graduated onto the college scene that you can imagine.

PHS 000 (Public High school 000) – AKA The Invisible School

While there are only limited rumors of this school on the books there can be no denying that this school is real. Its funding is rather impressive and part of that seems to stem from the fact that the school is never in the same place for more than a week at a time. As you may be able to tell this school has its main focus on teaching the arts of espionage, stealth, and intelligence. While this may seem to be a strange thing to teach at a high school level the kids here have been credited with solving more than a few crimes in the city since the school’s inception. The hardest part of getting classes going in this school is that someone has to find it to register the students.

PHS 104 (Public High school 104) – AKA Nerd base 1

While the nickname of the school is not all that complimentary it is hard to deny the level of education that is offered here. Most of the teachers seem like the people that you would more likely see in a college setting and they tend to treat the students as if they are on that level of education already. What is most unusual is the fact that this high school is located in the Commercial District on the south of the city. One of the most affluent areas in the city.

PHS 105 (Public High school 105) – AKA Delta Rich

This is one of the three general education high schools. With no particular focus of education its nick name comes strictly from its location. It is on the south end of the Old Beach Housing district, fairly close to Delta City College.  The raw money in the area tends to mean that this school has a lot of rather wealthy students in it.

PHS 106 (Public High school 106) – AKA Shoppers Paradise

This is one of the three general education high schools. With no particular focus of education its nick name comes strictly from its location. This school is located just across the street from the Delta City Mall. A favorite school among the ‘gotta have it’ crowd. It is also the school with the greatest problem with kids skipping classes. There have been several attempts to get the school moved but the costs of moving a whole high school are currently thought to be more than the costs to the students who are missing classes.

PHS 107 (Public High school 107) – AKA Between

This is one of the three general education high schools. With no particular focus of education its nick name comes strictly from its location. This school’s location is exactly half way between both Delta City College and Kymen College. This means that this school is the most heavily recruited from school in the city. As both colleges try to outdo each other to get the best from this school in their doors, they usually end up with some rather insulted parents.

There are also a few private schools at all levels of education in Delta City but they usually come from a religious base instead of a raw interest base. The private schools also seem to have a low enough student count that they will have all levels of primary education in them at once.

St. Agrippa SR Education Facility – AKA Holy High

There is no known religion on this earth that seems to have a St. Agrippa, and the education that is offered here would tend to reflect that. While many private schools seem to teach from a single religious bent, this school has equal representation of every religion that they can add. All of the teachers seem to not only be qualified teachers, but also venerated holy beings of one kind or another. Being located in the Artists’ Colony area of the city would seem to have had a beneficial effect on this academy.

RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS

“The diversity of Delta City is second to none in all the world, the only problem that I have with that is all the damned heathens that get into this town.” – Quote from Father Eisien from the Church of the Holy Sprocket

             ‘Delta City has a racial, social, and economic diversity that is only slightly skewed from its religious openness. In a city this large and this diverse it is interesting to note that religion is not only widespread but common. Usually in such large environs you see many people of different cultures mingling and religion gets suppressed as a way to keep people focused on the good that they can do for each other instead of focusing on their differences. Then as the environs evolves over time religion becomes a way to distinguish differences even inside a culture, and a way to hold on to yourself and your culture even if there are a lot of other thoughts and ideas around.

I know that this sounds contradictory but to understand religion in a city environ then you need to look at a picture of the area that takes not just moments, but decades if not centuries.

At the start of a social grouping religion is suppressed for the need of survival, as time goes on religion becomes the central source of self-identification. Once self-identification is seated then starts social isolationism and from that comes conflict. The “I am right you are wrong, bang, bang” effect as I call it. Now then what is unique about Delta City is that as a whole the city seems to have not gone past the point of self-identification. We have Catholics feely mixing with Wiccans, Muslims, Jews, Native Shaman and the others that spring up. Conflicts between the groups are social, not physical, and not to the point of isolating anyone. It is both beautiful and scary at the same time.

Why you ask is it scary? Because when the next step comes along in the evolution of the situation, well that is just going to make the changes bigger, harder, and potentially more violent.

Class dismissed.’ – Recorded at a class in religious diversity at Kymen College.

             So, I am taking it that you get the impression that everyone is going on happy as clams in the city when it comes to religion. While that may be the case on the surface I happen to know that there have been more than a few cases of people getting hired to make sure a certain yogi, priest, or shaman has an accident. This is part of that whole invisible crime wave that is going on in the city. While the actions are rarely successful they do happen more than a few times a year. Strangely the majority of the clergy in the city do try to stress acceptance and tolerance of all the possible faiths in the city. Then behind closed doors they go at each other like mad dogs. From what I got one of them to admit under the influence of a few good drinks, and no I won’t say what group he was from, he told me that the general thought is that the clergy are going to make the sacrifice for all the flock, last man or woman standing gets the hearts and souls of everyone in the city. Now if only we could get them out of the backrooms with this and put them into the park and just have them duke it out, might get more converts that way, and a pay per view event out of it too.

LOCAL WEATHER AND SEASONAL INFORMATION

Being a coastal city in the state of Washington there are a few things that can be taken for granted. Yearly rainfall is rather high, but not like in the Olympic Mountains to the north, winter snowfall is uncommon, the fall storms are heavy with wind and rain, and in the spring most rivers in the area reach or exceed flood level.

During the spring and summer temperatures stay rather mild, not reach over seventy-five degrees most of the time, but there are days on record of temperatures hitting has high as ninety. In the winter and fall temperatures rarely drop below freezing, but on the days that it does icy roads are the rule.

Rainfall in the spring and fall are higher than in winter and summer, but not noticeably so to people from out of town.

Winds are mostly from offshore helping to keep the temperatures moderate, and the air flow helps to keep potential airborne pollution at a minimum.

Now then all that is the official word but everyone who has lived here for any length of time will tell you that there is more to the weather than just the usual coastal phenomena and the Washington State terrain effects on the weather.

            Delta City also gets some of its weather from the World Walls, it is not always beings that slip thru to this world from others, sometimes effects from the weather will slip thru too. It is a good thing that earthquakes do not seem to move thru them too.

 GREENING THE CITY

Now then I know it is mentioned elsewhere in the guide, and most people are so used to it around here that they don’t really notice but I needed to say something again here in this overview part of the guide.

            Delta City, unlike a lot of other major metro areas has taken great care to make sure that the city is not totally overrun by concrete and steel. In addition to the preservation of the Historic Old Town region and the classic buildings in the Old Beach House district, and of course the classic works in Chinatown, the city has a very aggressive stance on building and keeping things green.

            What that aggressive stance means is that the city is a little more spread out than a city of this population would suggest. It means that there are trees, shrubs, and grassy spots all over the city, in most business parks, and even on the top of some of the city’s largest buildings. This does not mean that the city is overrun with foliage, but it is there. Even in the industrial regions there are tracts of trees between buildings. All in all, the green is a great help all over, cutting the pollution by absorption of a percentage of it, soaking up rain and snow run off to cut on flooding, shading buildings naturally and even giving those damnable ninjas a place to hide.

            On the potentially bad side this does mean that there is a large population of rodents, birds, coyotes, and the occasional wolf and deer in the city limits at all times. This is one of the reasons that having the trash under control is so monstrously important. But with the trash companies doing a good job, then comes the work of making sure that they do not spread too far too fast.

            To go along with the other creatures that wander the city from this earth that also means that there may be prey creatures from other worlds all over the city. Feeling the need to escape a predator or a situation they may find enough strength of will to escape here and to try eking out a living in the hidden places like their earthen counterparts.

            Overall it is very, very beautiful. But you will see very few open trash receptacles, and you will only usually see tourists leave the top down on convertibles, because both of them are too easy to get into otherwise. And there is no telling just what might be in that tree above you.

I think I am going to hold off on posting any more about the city in this post… posting in post… in … hmmm… ok redundancy department of redundancy.

Anyway. This should give you a little more flavor for the city circa 1990-2005.

Now gimme the dice, I have to see how hazardous it is to tickle a cat that just ate…

Keep gaming and have a blast out there folks.

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