The city of Gothopolus is the main setting of this campaign.
Gothopolis is a large metropolitan island city located in Lake Michigan, technically part of the state of Michigan. It is located on a large island roughly 20 miles north of Michigan City. The island, Goth Island, has an area of 147 square miles, and the city has a population of roughly 9.4 million people. To accommodate it’s expanding population, Gothopolis is a tiered city, with three levels. The top level houses the financial and government districts, the middle level has a downtown area surrounded by residential areas and is where most of the population lives. The ground level is mostly industrial areas on the outside. The center most area of the ground level, often called The Core, has become a large slum which never sees daylight.
Goth Island was named after it’s first European resident, Nathaniel Goth, who settled there in 1743. For most of it’s history since then Goth Island remained sparsely populated and largely ignored until the late 1800s when industrialists and the other wealthy began establishing homes and businesses there, having been drawn by it’s seclusion. By the end of WWII the various towns on Goth Island merged into a single city named Gothopolis. By the late 50s Gothopolis became a very popular place for high end technology companies and other prestigious corporations. By the early 70s the city began facing an overpopulation crisis. Engineers from many of the city’s technology companies, chief among them being Aperture Science Labs, came up with the tiered city design which began being implemented at the end of the decade and was completed in the mid 90s. The designs include schemes to “redirect” sunlight to the lower levels to allow normal night and day conditions. The ground level was mostly abandoned by 2005 and the maintenance on these systems on the ground level was deprioritized to the point of negligence. As a result, only the uncovered and mostly industrial outer most areas of the ground level see daylight.
Due to the many science and engineering firms that call Gothopolis home, most of which contributed to the design and construction of the city, Gothopolis is more technologically advanced than the rest of the country; the people of Gothopolis have better access to cutting edge technology than anyone else. This has made the city attractive to superheroes, villains, and the like. Crazy shit tends to happen here.
City Breakdown and Places of Interest
The top level of Gothopolus has buses and trolleys. Both the top and middle level of the city have plenty of taxis. The bottom level has trains to take workers to and from their jobs safely. The unique composition of the city makes a subway system impractical, and therefore there isn’t one. The city does, however, have Mega-lifts.
The multilevel structure of the city is supported by six massive pillars. These pillars contain very large elevators called Mega-lifts which transport people and vehicles between the levels. On all three levels the pillars and Mega-lift entrances are guarded by giant robots called Sentinels. Sentinels have one and only one purpose; to prevent the city from collapsing. When the multilevel structure was being developed it was identified early on that these pillars are a kind of Achilles’s hill. If even one is severely damaged the entire city will collapse. Unlike the GPD Police-bots, Sentinels have standing authorization to use deadly force if necessary to protect the pillars (although they have several safeguards in their program to make sure there are no unnecessary deaths), and they are not networked together or connected to the GPD mainframe in order to prevent hacking. To date, no one has been crazy enough to try anything, and as a result the Sentinels rarely move around. By this time most people don’t even really notice them. There are three Sentinels guarding each pillar on each level.
The top level is mainly comprised of government installations (mainly clustered in the center) and financial institutions (which more or less form a large ring around the government area). The outer edge is also an attractive location for the rich and powerful to call home due to it’s stunning view, so there are a fair number of mansions and other large estates. In addition to the kinds of locations most cities have (City Hall, Police Department, large banks etc) the top level has some unique places of interest.
Base of operations for The Justice Coalition as well as some other super hero groups, the JCHQ is a very large facility, almost entirely filling the northeast corner of the top level, which offers services to all (registered) super heroes; in fact the Justice Coalition has been tasked with handling the super hero registration process, making them the super hero organization of the city. Additionally, the HQ contains the largest and most secure super villain prison in the country – one of the best in the world! The JCHQ and it’s operations are overseen by the original Jenny Justice. Her namesake, the current Jenny Justice, leads the actual team.
The Arcadian Embassy, located in the center of the top level near City Hall, serves as a safe haven for visitors to Earth from Arcadia (a pocket dimension also known as the Realm of the Fey). Many of Gothopolus’s Fey immigrants call the Embassy home. The Embassy contains a portal to Arcadia, and like any Embassy is legally considered foreign soil. The Embassy has several officials who represent Arcadian interest in our universe. While not the only Arcadian Embassy in the world, Gothopolus’s Embassy is the most well known.
The Center for Mutant Studies and Activism
Despite the progress of the last several decades, Mutants, like many minorities, still face a fair amount of prejudice and unfair treatment. The Center is mainly a reference center offering resources for people interested in learning about mutants. The Center also coordinates many pro-mutant activism activities throughout the city.
Since the downfall of Aperture Science Labs in the early nineties, one of the largest and most successful technology firms in Gothopolus has been Stark Industries. (It was Stark Industries that designed and built the Sentinels.) Though most of it’s facilities are located in the financial ring of the top level and the industrial sections of the ground level, the central office for the executive leadership team and R&D departments, as well as the home of the company’s CEO Tony Stark, is Stark Tower, located on the west rim of the top level. Stark Tower is the tallest building on the top level, though atmospheric limitations to building height on the top being what they are, that isn’t saying all that much. The top of the tower is about a third as high as the tallest building on the ground level, and a lot of people still say Tony Stark is crazy for living up there.
The middle level of Gothopolus is surrounded by residential areas, mostly the kind of neighborhoods one might call “suburban”. The center of the middle level is the downtown area of Gothopolus, containing bars, nightclubs, restaurants, etc. The middle level also contains most, though not all, of the city’s hospitals. The “ceiling” of the middle level is almost entirely covered with a kind of tubing that basically redirects natural sunlight. As a result, even the center-most part of the middle level has normal day and night conditions, and the low number of very tall buildings means they even get that pain is the ass sun glare in the early morning and late evening that people in other cities have to put up with. Places of interest include:
The Meta Lounge
A nightclub by superheros for superheros, the Meta Lounge is a place for the city’s heroes to unwind and mingle. Though the Lounge doesn’t have a written policy of banning regular people (mainly because such a policy could be called discriminatory and thus possibly illegal) it is common knowledge that you don’t go there if you don’t have powers. The Lounge does not, however, hesitate to report suspected non-registered heroes (or villains) to the authorities, and it’s not uncommon for Police-bots to show up and haul someone away for non-compliance with the Superhero Registration Act. Patrons of The Meta Lounge are expected to follow some common sense rules, such as not using real names of heroes who wish to keep their identity secret, not using offensive powers in the club, etc.
The World’s Greatest Tailors
This rather humbly titled clothing store advertise themselves as experts in making superheros costumes. They have access to special materials to allow you to fight crime without worrying about damaging your threads. Standard features of their products include self repair and resistance to the owner’s powers. The Worlds Greatest Tailors also sell normal clothing too, thus catering to the non-super powered as well. And unlike The Meta Lounge, they aren’t narcs.
The Ground Level
Also called “The Island” or “Old Gothopolus” (mainly by city officials trying to put lipstick on a pig), the ground level is surrounded by docks and other industrial businesses. Inward from this industrial section is an area known as The Outskirts containing low income housing and smaller businesses, including most of the city’s dive bars. The center-most area of the ground level is known as The Core. The Core was the downtown area of the city before the levels were built. To deal with the city’s huge population The Core had many skyscrapers; high rise apartments, office buildings with several stories, things like that. The Core, along with most of the the middle level, was quickly abandoned by all but the poorest residents and dock workers after the levels were built. As a result, The Core looks like a post-apocalyptic Manhattan in perpetual nighttime. The sunlight tubing was installed here, but due to severe (some might say criminal) negligence by the city, most of The Core’s infrastructure has fallen apart. There are very few places in The Core with adequate power. It’s very dark and very dangerous here. The Core is mainly populated by the homeless. Crime is abundant throughout the middle level, especially The Core. There are more Police-bots in operation down here that the rest of the city combined. Those who go where angels fear to tread can find:
There are several Gothopolus police stations operating on The Island which serve mainly as storage/maintenance stations for police bots and temporary holding places for arrested suspects. These stations have minimal human staffing, but are among the highest paid posting within the police department (it’s rumored that only the Commissioner is better paid). Fatality and turn over rates are high.
The main testing facility for the now defunct Aperture Science Laboratories research company was located in The Outskirts. In the early 90s the company was shut down from the combined effects of going bankrupt on the (then not quite complete) tiered city project and several criminal investigations into unethical testing practices. While the details of these investigations and the legal proceeding which followed have been kept classified, it is widely rumored that the allegations included (but were not limited to) reckless endangerment of test subjects, forced imprisonment and involuntary participation in experiments. What is known is that the company was eventually shut down, and the doors to the Enrichment Center sealed forever. At least, that’s the official and most widely accepted version of events, but talk to any of the homeless people in The Core and they’ll tell you that many of them have gone missing for months only to come back… different somehow. Some will even tell you that they hear sounds of machinery emanating from the Enrichment Center sometimes.