Shadows over San Francisco Bay
Lifestyle and Sprawlzones
Lifestyle and Sprawlzones go hand-in-hand with one another. A meta’s Lifestyle is a description of how well she lives her life, and the Sprawlzone is the type of Lifestyle a given neighborhood can support. People being who they are tend to seek to live in places their Lifestyle can afford. (Sometimes better than they can afford, but that will become clear later on.
Lifestyle is rated on how much Nuyen it costs per month to maintain. Invest the Nuyen and the character can reap the rewards the whole month. It’s a simple way of assuming the character has paid rent, bills, food, clothes, and has kept some cred on hand for incidental expenses like eating out, and buying nice gottahaveems.
The top-end (almost) of living. This is the High-Life. Luxury living gets you the best of everything, entertainment, food, drinks, clothes, housing.. You get a view of whatever pretty skyline you want, season tickets to your favorite team in the luxury box, you don’t have to go to concerts, because you can host a party and have the entertainment come to you. It’s good to be the King, baby.
Cost: 100,000 Nuyen + (and there is a grade higher, Ultra-Luxury, but trust us, you can’t afford it. Not even for a month. It’s the type of stratospheric lifestyle enjoyed by the true elite of the world. With pleasures both gross and sublime to delight the senses.)
This is what most folks thing of when they consider someone else “Rich”. The High Lifestyle is filled with first-class travel, front-row tickets, a big house or condo, nice clothes, and a secure neighborhood to come home to at night. The kids can go to Private School, and even though you still have to drive yourself, you drive something nice.
Cost: 10,000 Nuyen
This is where most career minded Corporate Sararimen live. The apartments and condos are a little cramped, but the autokitchen has a full suite of flavors. The kids get a rounded education from the Corporate Acadamies. Once a year, you can afford to head to a nice Vacation spot for two weeks and try to forget about the grind waiting for you back in the Sprawl. If you save for it, you can even manage to go out for some natural food in a nice restaurant on special days.
Cost: 5,000 Nuyen
At this point you’re not alone. The majority of the Sprawl lives at this level. The apartment’s cramped, and you’re eating every day which is better than the ever-present reminders of what life could be sleeping in the gutter or an alley. Every so often you can score enough cred for a little Braindance, or a first-run Sim. This is also the crossroads for all sorts of interesting folks. Wageslave Service Industry, Starving Artists, Starving Students, the recently Unemployed, Freelancers, and small-time crooks live at this level. You can often find them in the same Tenement, living across the hall from each other, rubbing elbows at the local Kong Wal-Mart, and munching to go orders from Cap’n Beef.
Cost: 2,000 Nuyen
Technically, you’re homeless. At this level you have no permanent legal residence. You have a place to crash, maybe it’s couch-surfing, setting up camp inside an abandoned building with a bunch of fellow squatters, or renting a coffin-cube when you’re ready to sleep. You keep yourself fed most days, but it’s tough. Sometimes it’s low-grade nutrisoy and yeast, sometimes it’s out of the trash. People living as squatters are getting by, but barely.
Cost: 500 Nuyen
People living here have hit bottom. You own what you can carry, because if you leave anything behind, chances are you won’t own it when you get back. Food is anything edible you can beg, steal, or scrounge. Living on the Streets is better in some places than others, at least in the Bay Metro you won’t freeze to death in the Winter. So much for small miracles.
Cost: FREE! (see, it ain’t all bad!)
Sprawlzones are rated on an Alphabetical Scale first employed by Lone Star Security back in the ‘50s. Originally designed as a tool to “more efficiently employ Security Resources and gauge potential risk” (scan that as “where we should patrol, and how much to charge people to patrol there”) it has become common use to classify a neighborhood. The Ratings system very closely correspond to the Lifestyle categories mentioned above. Which is useful for scoping out where you might want to live (or in the case of Shadowrunners, what type of security you might run into while breaking and entering).
- AAA (Upper Upper Class/ Luxury and Ultra Luxury Lifestyle)
Triple A rated Zones are the high end of Luxury, layers of private security compliment and supplement any public security contractors work the Zone. Here one can find the best life has to offer, but just remember, it’s expensive, and if you have to ask how much, you can’t afford it. AAA Zones are literal islands of indulgence, the only people allowed to even set foot beyond the security gate are those who belong here.
- AA (Upper Class/ Luxury Lifestyle)
Double A rated Zones are solid Luxury, nearly identical to the AAA rated Zones, with the only differences being those petty details that the super-wealthy care so much about. It’s still a zone with super-tight security, but during the day, most people at middle lifestyle or higher can walk around and window shop, dreaming of what they’ll never afford.
- A (Upper Middle Class/ High Lifestyle)
A rated Zones are mostly Corporate enclaves. Neighborhoods where residents live in houses, or exclusive High-Rise arcologies with premium townhouses and condominiums. Security is two-layered here, with a private security contractor working with the publicly contracted Law Enforcement to ensure a nice quiet place to live and work.
- B (Middle Class/ Middle Lifestyle)
B Rated Zones are mostly corporate arcologies where residents live, work, shop, and play within the same campus. Most businesses in B Zones accept Corporate Money first, and non-corporate cred is sure to raise eyebrows. B Zones are also those places where a neighborhood has joined together to carve out their own secure little community in the sprawl.
- C (Lower Middle Class/ Low Lifestyle)
C Rated Zones are sometimes known as “Mallplexes”. Cheap apartment complexes rise over a multilevel shopping district. Whatever private security supplements the local Law Enforcement is remains little better than rent-a-stars and watchdog groups. Other C rated zones are located in dormitory arcologies near Universities or Laboratories, and “Communes” where groups pool their resources to live as their particular social organization dictates.
- D (Low Class/ Squatter Lifestyle)
D Rated Zones are dangerous, local Law Enforcement only makes a minimum effort to maintain their presence here and the resident Sprawlgangs enforce a whole different set of laws. Some buildings where people live are abandoned, others condemned. The streets are lined with endless storefronts selling cheap goods or cheaper entertainment. But it is an excellent place to lay low if you wish to avoid even routine surveillance by the Authorities.
- E (Lower Low Class/ Street Lifestyle)
E Rated Zones go by a number of “official names”. Zero-Enforcement, Combat Zone, Free-Fire Zone, No-Mans’ Land, the Barrens. Every sprawl seems to have a different way of labeling the same place where the trash is thrown. Out here, there are no services, no clubs, no storefronts, no legitimate businesses. It’s a forgotten place where you can go to forget, or be forgotten. It’s far from uninhabited though. The E-Zone is filled with Sprawlgangers, Cultists, Monsters, and the Insane.