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Basic Information

NoGo, also known as "urban red zones" and similar things are the extensive slums beloved of cyberpunk and punk-punk: wide areas of city from which the police have retreated, leaving behind an urban wasteland of violence and criminality. In most cases NoGo is contrasted against fortified enclaves of various kinds - gated communities, mallplexs and the like … it is often unclear what became of the suburbs as they rarely appear in the same narrative scope. Commuters and enclave dwellers traditionally cross NoGo either by well policed urban freeways (or turnpike, taxed to help keep the riff-raff off, by express public transport (such as monorail) that only stops in secure locations or by flying. It will be possible to get off route into the other side of things, but not easy, and coming back ought to be harder (even if it's just because you get an ID check and quarantine) - adventurers and liminal types probably have better routes and more licence, coming and going. The luckless, clueless and feckless become adventure hooks to be rescued (if lucky) or salutary lessons (if not). Legitimate entry to the enclaves probably requires movement though a layer of security checkpoints (sometimes called StopGo, especially where it comes to road traffic checks), but there may well be unofficial routes that exist to provide access to the demi-monde.

For some reason, the amenities are still on in NoGo - which puts it a step above urban prairie - but that is usually all that works unless you are in some specific neighbourhood where an ethnic or religious gang has carved out some kind of mini-state. Normally buildings and roads will be in poor repair, the gash unhauled and left to rot (or be burned) in the streets, and the residents either too well armed or too poor to rob.

Like most slums, this may be a place to track down the black market (the grey market is probably so ubiquitous as to be the majority of the legal economy) - as noted above, this may also leak into the enclaves. For those wanting to obtain illegal entry to an enclave, finding the area where a red light district in NoGo abuts an apparently secure wall is usually the first step.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • This is the PCs hunting ground - in genre, they exist to operate in this environment, whether they enter by a gate deliberately opened for them by security, drive down a ramp off the clearway or slip out through the secret roots to the red light district, their job is to walk between the worlds.
  • The retreated police may return in force from time to time, typically staging paramilitary raids against specific targets - which, all too often, will be those that threaten corporate profit rather than public wellbeing - they may be joined or replaced in this by PMCs hired by interested corporations.
    • In classic punk fashion, the police may be just an unusually well-equipped gang.
    • The raids might be the last straw that gets the gangs working together. At that point, NoGo is effectively a state, and the enclaves may consider it enough of a threat to turn off the lights.
  • NoGo is in effect an extraterritorial area ceded to the gangs, with all the potential story hooks there.
  • For a subversive take, NoGo might be a fairly nice place subject to a media blackwash. It's less an anarchy than an autarky; their main crimes are against the corps and mainly involve copyright and patent infringement; and the violence is mainly coming from attempts to smash them.
  • For Dark Conspiracy players, this comes in two layers - the first is your basic, mundane, urban hellhole, the second is urban demonground where, as the name implies, the city has been taken over by the powers of supernatural evil. And that is bad.
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