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StrayCatalyst

Masada

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"Masada" is the nickname that the residents give this city block. Outsiders have a variety of other names - "Little Jerusalem" is probably the kindest.

 

Six fair-sized buildings with their connecting alleys walled, Masada is home to a couple of hundred people, ranging from infants to grandparents. The walls are sturdy and about 12 feet tall, with the outside decorated with graffiti, gang signs, and race-hatred slogans. Rickety bridges lead from rooftop to rooftop, allowing patrols to travel easily from roof to roof. There are motion detector lights and alarms, but Masada is a group of families, complete with children - it has no lethal defenses, unless you count the residents.

 

Security is handled by residents, mostly made up of veterans. Israel has been consistently at war with its neighbors, so there are plenty of experienced soldiers - some of them live here. The rest of the people who live there have rehearsed "raid drills" - noncombatants lock themselves into any kind of shelter (closets, rooms, basements, anywhere out of the way and with a locking door) while security goes to the site of the disturbance. Security has no uniforms, and they tend to carry a variety of weapons - pistols and rifles predominate, with no weapons (grenades, flamethrowers) that would be more harm to the buildings than the intruders. They tend to be pragmatic - if it's easier to let a group of raiders leave, they'll let them - but if security outnumbers the invaders, and no outside police have been called, they'll kill the raiders to the last person, and dispose of the bodies. On the other hand, they generally call NCPD if they have any fear that a situation could get out of hand - they maintain a good relationship with the police.

 

Masada supports itself as much as possible. Three of the roofs have large Darrieus turbines to generate electricity (and kill a few of the birds that are drawn by the farms), one's a fish farm, and the last two have garden plots, helping to provide food for the residents. Several small businesses exist within the walls, taking advantage of the relative safety and stability - two small machine shops, an advertising agency, a mechanic, and a handful of artists rent rooms in the various buildings. Some of the residents work outside the walls, doing a variety of jobs. While Masada doesn't levy taxes, they do charge rent - not much rent, but nobody moves in without approval of the council, which is similar to many nomad family councils.

 

Players could encounter Masada in a variety of ways. Edgerunners aren't really welcome there - trouble tends to follow edgerunners home, so they aren't generally going to be allowed to live there - but they could easily live outside the walls, or nearby. Friends and co-workers could be from there, or PCs might buy food or services from them. If the PCs have to raid Masada and extract anybody, they're likely to find it a difficult job... most of the people (including the targets) will immediately go into shelter, and aren't going to open the doors until security tells them it's all clear. Even if the PCs can break down a door to question a person, the greatest likelihood is that the person will at least pretend to speak no english (many residents rarely if ever go outside the walls, and may actually not speak any local languages at all!), while security will attempt to repel the raiders, with Night City police assistance if there's time for it to arrive.

 

Masada is insular, and tends to stay largely within its own walls. Most of the residents keep the majority of their friendships inside the walls - some people never leave at all, for a variety of reasons - wanted by the law or a corporation, fear of strangers, inability to speak local languages, etc. Cyberware is uncommon, though it's more common amongst the veterans, of course. Discipline is rarely needed - if a person is unwilling or unable to get along and abide by the rules, exile is the usual cure, after a series of warnings. In some cases, problems are handled informally (ie, security may beat a person up as a message), usually when they want a person to change instead of simply casting that person out.

 

Leadership, like the nomad councils, is a gathering of respected people, often elders. There is a head of security - an unpaid position that changes fairly often - who will advise the council but has no vote. Anybody can speak their piece in a council, and sometimes a passionate speech can sway the council to change their minds about a variety of things, as long as it doesn't bring risk to Masada. The council will never commit to any course of action that seems likely to bring danger, unless the only alternatives are worse.

 

Stray Catalyst

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