The Seattle Underground
The Ork Underground has roots dating back to Seattle’s ancient history. After the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, they decreed that new buildings must be made of fire-resistant material rather than wood. Since the city was built on a floodplain, which often, you know, flooded, they decided to lift everything by two stories as well. The lower levels of older buildings were used mostly for storage, and eventually they were just sealed off and ignored.
In the late twentieth century, there was some interest in exploring them again, revealing that in the years between the undercity had been expanded by bootleggers and red-light workers, then expanded again by the city for underground transit. Some areas were refurbished and cleaned up for tourism, while most were left untouched.
When Mt. Rainier shook Seattle in 2011, the underground was closed off again for fear of collapse and poison gas pockets (poison is far more dangerous than lava in an eruption, but lava gets all the airtime). Desperate people gradually opened small pathways down below, first the homeless, then the goblinized, as society turned a blind eye.
In 2039, Governor Victor Allenson rounded up every metahuman in Seattle and concentrated them into camps in the warehouse districts of Tacoma and downtown. On February 7, those warehouses all went up in flame. Thankfully, the goblins down below had already opened some passages for smuggling supplies up; those passages were then used to get thousands of people to safety. Not everyone, but a great many.
The city woke up from the madness and most of the metahumans were brought back into society, but many couldn’t overcome the betrayal. They stayed below. Goblins and dwarfs worked together to expand the underground tunnels, shore them up, and establish places both large enough for a community to thrive and small enough to provide hiding places should they ever be needed again.
In the mid ’40s, there was a big falling out between the ork and dwarf communities. There’d been many arguments in the past, but the trolls had always managed to keep the peace, but this time? It was too much. The dwarfs, who’d had the majority of engineering lore and college education, gathered up for a mass exodus, turning the Seattle Underground into the Ork Underground. Details are sketchy about what caused it, but the dwarfs have carried a grudge about it ever since.
The Seattle Underground, rebranded in 2075, is the hottest property in the ’plex. Young artists and risk-taking investors are flocking to the area, marveling at the low cost of living and thriving local culture. Gentrification is a growing concern, but with it comes a massive overhaul of city services, with legitimate power and water lines instead of spotty, and illegal, taps. There was also work to improve improve schools, and Renraku will soon break ground on the first hospital in the Underground’s history. Sanitation, police protection, and badly needed nuyen are flooding in.