Saturday, 21 January 2012

Fantastic Locations: Mega City One

This month's RPG Blog Carnival, kindly hosted by Keith J Davies, is entitled Fantastic Locations, and whilst it is tempting to write up one of my own Fantasy campaign locations (like the home plane of the Djinn Caliph), I decided to look again at the origin of the word fantastic. 

According to merriam-webster the definition of fantastic  is:
  • a : based on fantasy : not real  
  • b : conceived or seemingly conceived by unrestrained fancy 
  • c : so extreme as to challenge belief : unbelievable; broadly : exceedingly large or great
    When balancing all three definitions it occurred to me that the only location which truly met the criteria was...

    Mega City One

    Mega City One Map
    First appearing in Prog 2 of 2000AD (on 5th March 1977), Mega City One it is arguably the real star of the long running Judge Dredd comic book series.

    Originally stretching across the entire Eastern seaboard of the once proud nation of the United States it was largely destroyed during the Apocalypse War and now is home to some 400 million citizens.  It's western edge is bordered by a gigantic wall which protects it from the mutant inhabitants of the irradiated wasteland known as the Cursed Earth.

    Architecture of Mega City One

    The majority of Mega City One's citizens live in gigantic 1000 storey high Post Atomic Tower Blocks dominating the skyline.  Nestled amongst these are smaller 500 storey blocks and puny 100 storey Pre-Atomic Blocks.  The proximity of the blocks means that daylight cannot reach the lowest (and consequently) poorest levels of some blocks leaving them in permanent darkness and giving rise to the nickname "City Bottom".  Much of what were once the shining corporate edifices of cities like New York has long ago been concreted over to form the foundations of these mega blocks and has created a subterranean "undercity" inhabited by a degenerate subhuman species of troglodytes. 

    Winding around and through all of these structures are a spaghetti like network of megways (roads), slidewalks (moving walkways) and pedways (pedestrian only) which allow citizens to move between blocks and other locations.  Some of the citizens live in computer controlled mobile homes known as mo-pads which perpetually drive around cities megways.

    Comparative Scales of
    Contemporary Buildings
    and a Mega City Block
    The larger blocks house upto 60,000 citizens and contain everything that a person may need from schools, shops and recreation facilities to hospitals, offices and greenhouses.  Each block is a self contained town and it has been known for some citizens to live out their entire lives in the same block until they die and are carted off to Resyk for disposal.

    Life in Mega City One

    Robot labour has largely replaced that of humans and unemployment runs at a staggering 87%.  Most citizens try to find ways of aleviating boredom inevitably leading them to commit some sort of criminal activity which is dealt with swiftly by the city's law enforcers the judges.

    This constant search for new ways to entertain oneself creates a steady stream of new crazes which sweep through Mega City like a plague (and are often just as deadly) and disappear just as rapidly leaving a swathe of destruction in their wake.  The crazes which have graced the pages of Judge Dredd strips over the years are often influenced by contemporary fashions or pastimes, but taken to an extreme level  For example body modification becomes crazes like fatties or uglies, extreme sports becomes crazes like boinging and skysurfing, even something as simple as being a pigeon fancier can be taken to the extreme when a "pigeon" is a giant prehistoric pterodactyl.

    Living cheek by jowl can be stressful and there is always the chance that local rivalries will errupt into a full scale Block War between neighbouring blocks.  Each block is equipped with its own militia (aka Citi Defence) in order to prevent large scale conflict from ensuing but they are sometimes as much of a problem as a solution.  However, there are those citizens who just can't take living in such a crazy city are diagnosed as suffering from Future Shock Syndrome and end up taking their own lives and as many bystanders as they can.

    Locations, Locations, Locations

    The beauty of Mega City One is that it operates on a scale so vast that anything you can imagine might exist on an entire planet can exist within the walls of the city.  Want a zoo stocked with terrifying alien creatures? have one.  Want a 10 mile long ski slope with death defying jumps over a 10 lane motorway? have one.  What ever your imagination can conjure up, Mega City One can accomodate it.

    Mega City One as envisioned by artist Dave Taylor
    Judge Dredd © 2012 Rebellion Developments/2000AD
    Judge Dredd created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra

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