Vampire: Dark Ages
The City of Portland
Cityscape: The Crimson Rose
Portland. City of Roses… Both black and red…
There are 5 sections of the city, the North, the Northeast, the Southeast, the Southwest and the Northwest.
The West Side: (Northwest and Southwest city center convergence)
The Business Dist.
The shimmering buildings loom high overhead. Their gaudy wealth rises high with with Victorian Gothic overtones. Perhaps these intimidating excess once looked glamorous, their glory shining brightly during the day. Not so the night… Not anymore. Now they are great monoliths – monuments to their gods, wealth, greed and malicious excess.
The gargoyles atop these mired pinnacles glare about the city like silent sentries looking for the prey with whom they were intended…the wealthy and power hungry.
Near the River, The Federal Building stands tall like an intimidating, militant beacon amidst a bleak, depressed and oppressed upper social class… the top tier of the elite.
Business suits and skirts litter the business district with a distinct edge of punk thrown in for style. Within these buildings, anyone can be bought or already is. Those climbing this ladder of political backstabbing and digital swindling are not beneath doing anything for their chance to advance up the next tax bracket… Including quid-pro quo, blackmail and getting beneath a desk. Those on the top floors, the Presidents, the V.P’s and their direct lackeys fight a more clandestine battle, contending for greater positions of power. It is from this platform that corporate espionage is practically encouraged and the powerful use the media whore’s gossip to ruin lives. It is these that hire the thugs from the Northeast to do their wet work or bring the escorts and prostitutes up to their shimmering top-floor studio offices. Their corruptions and manipulations are eclipsed by their dark lust for power, and they’ll kill for that, feeding their social addictions like the parasites they emulate, before having the bodies dumped in the already polluted Willamette River. This is obviously the money and power center of the city.
Perhaps then, it’s no surprise churches are “safe havens” open to all. Sure these high pinnacled angelic buildings are the gothic archetype the city tries to emulate. One must need to have faith in the greater good to come here. If the man of God has enough clout behind his faith, perhaps people will indeed be safe and see miracles…the majority however, are places one goes to clean the conscience after a weekend of debauchery or murder or worse. You can pay someone “tithes” to hear your heinous crimes and he’s bound by God to not tell a soul…(snicker). These so called “Shepherds” are wolves in human clothes. They perform the most perverted acts behind those closed double doors, hiding their sins behind an illusion of piety. During the day they may sell you the “hope” story with some new spin, but at night, after the sun sets… real sin begins.
And if the city’s corporate corruption isn’t your thing, head on over to China Town for some drugs, murder and exotic whores, lots of whores. They’ll blow you for $50 and give full service for $100, or a spot of Chrimson. The Chink’s will let you throw away your money behind their closed doors at their exclusive tables too. Only don’t cheat or borrow, or you may find yourselves Shanghai’d out to the river without a head or hands via the haunted Shanghai Tunnells…again to the putrid Willamette River (nicknamed Stix).
The bridges are toll bridges, reminding the police and corporate big wigs to remain on their side, or face potential gang or vagrant retribution from the East. The bridges loom above the black water like some long evil, devouring serpent, bridging the gap between the West and the East-Side (sometimes referred to lovingly as NeoHades). these gateways across the river Stix (the Willamette River) seem to sag, casting their long, burdened, depression upon the unsuspecting commuter. One can only grimace when white knuckling it across Portland’s notorious and menacing suicide bridges. These East-side – West side sentinels, separate the upper class from the likes of the dark, seedy lower class, the gangs, vagrants, rebels and peddlers. Even the downtown police keep their distance from NeoHades (The Northeast), preferring to let the lower class deal out their own forms of archaic justice. Police intervention only occurs under the most dire of circumstances and usually, under the purview of SWAT, FBI, or some other ABC task force.
The Industrial Corridor.
The docks are run by two distinct groups…
The Union represents the city’s “legitimate” labor trade skills backed by powerful and political money. These laborers will do anything to get a job done. But, they’ll do more for some under-the-table cash – anything for an extra buck. Most of these know and believe that they’ll never aspire to higher positions than their low social status, and are resigned to do whatever it takes to make their lives more livable in these conditions. They are constantly squabbling and fighting one another for the scraps that fall from the table of the Elite.
The Builders are the second largest trade-skill group. These are the people who openly reject unions and all that they stand for. The Builders hire non-union laborers to make sure the job gets done right, the first time. They take the jobs that the Union turned down or were simply acquired on their own merit and bidding prowess.
Funded primarily by individuals (as opposed to being funded by organizations, as the Union prefers), the Builders have more time for social skills, and usually boast a smaller clientele with more money…Hence the constant harassment from the other group. People keep out of the North if they can avoid it, as these contending groups are known for their violent outbursts and retaliatory tactics against one another. Tempers run hot here for the almighty dollar, and grudges are not the only thing to be wary of. Aside from violent laborers, the harbor itself brings in strange people and often stranger stories and urban legends. “beware North Portland” people say with a shudder.
“Ghetto as shit!” the slogan goes, from those who have passed through. NeoHades is filled with the everything from anarchists and gangs to vagrants and drug dealers. Dealers are and pimps are the high-rollers here. You want it, you got it. You might pay premium near a bridge or the river, but head deeper and you may find some nice establishments for your lusts and addictions. The gangs, of which there are three contenders.
The alpha contender of NeoHades are called, The “Sportsmen”. An eclectic biker gang of white supremacists, the main underground arms dealers of Portland. These “gentlemen” lovingly patrol NE Portland’s freeways and highways.
The beta contenders, North-East “N.E.” are an assortment of primarily black ethnicity. They jump you in and out, and they’ll cut your throat for fun. When they’re not killing, sex and drugs are game and they know all the rules.
Finally, the Anarchs . This third group needs no agenda, save one. Bring down the established order to usher in “freedom” for the individual.
Bums and vagrants . Though they don’t count as a gang, they often band together as though they were. Highly territorial, these “vagrants” represent a large majority of the criminal populace. They have nothing to loose and everything to gain from engaging in illicit activities. For a few bucks these bums will do ANYTHING.
Housing… Dread filled housing. Dark neighborhoods and parks. If you want to hear about some ghost stories or missing persons, look no further than the Southeast. Dark streets abound, and boarded-up, vacant homes seem to begin from one intersection to the next, in a labyrinth of cul-de-sacs.
Often these vacant, eerie abodes show clear signs of squatters, and that usually means “stay the hell away”. Or you may just find yourselves on the back of a milk carton yourself.
The majority of the city’s ritzy, glamorous and glorious homes reside along the freeways of the Southwest. It is here that private security officers patrol the high walled, gated communities of the rich and spiteful.
The commuter routes into the city are lined by dark, dreary and supposedly haunted forests. As you drive along the winding freeways, the trees seem to sway, creek and close in on you. It has the feel of some haunted pine forest out of a Sleepy Hollow film. People don’t venture far in the woods and often rescue crews turn up nothing, if they even investigate anything at all.
“Keep out of the woods, dark things live in there.” the locals say.