A Guide to the Ork Underground

Getting There

There are 22 known public entrances to the Underground, and the number of miscellaneous ventilation shafts, private entrances, power conduits, sewer and storm drain portals, and similar such accesses are probably not known by anyone. The official tour entrances are inside the Big Rhino (in the basement of the Seattle Utilities Building at Seneca and First streets) and the basement of Lordstrung’s Department Store (at Fifth and Pine): this area is called the Mall, and is the most well-lit area (and safest for breeders, keebs, and halfers). It functions as a bazaar— one of the best black markets in the Sprawl— with a number of permanent shops working out of renovated 19th century storefronts, dating back to the old Seattle before the streets were covered over. It sports many garish murals and contorted statues for tourists to gawk at, and any number of trashy carvings, cheap trinkets, and brightly colored souvenirs are available here.

Further away from the Mall, there are ornate friezes and filigreed arches, many of which date back to the time of Dwarfs living in the Underground; some are the work of current residents showing their civic pride.

There is very little Matrix service in the Ork Underground, and few places have cellphone repeaters installed. (The Bazaar is one exception.)


In the face of a common threat— the society in the upper world— most of the residents of the Ork Underground get along fairly well. There are many thieves down there, but they don’t often steal from the poorer residents: in the surface world, there’s plenty of space to run in, and such thieves abound, but the Underground is more constrained.


The Trogs, looking dangerous in their red and black, are the gang that claims the Underground as territory, and they often serve as a de facto police force that discourages people from criminal activities they don’t profit from. They have recently instituted formal accounting procedures for customers paying protection money, and serve as a broker of jobs— targeting people who don’t pay— to thieves.

The Underground attracts many beings that are not comfortable in sunlight: ghouls, wendigos, vampires, and dzoo-noo-qua. (The creatures bearing HMHVV have to watch their steps: most Trolls have an intense dislike for the dzoo-noo-qua that they could potentially become, and of the vampires and wendigo that could render them into such beasts.) Ghouls are occasionally tolerated, though they seldom survive being caught eating residents of the Underground or their friends.

Places of Interest

The Ork Underground connects with the outside world through pedestrian entrances and ventilation shafts. (There are a number of buildings in Seattle providing discreet ventilation access, and establishing these is a way of currying favor with the folks underground.) There are very few vehicle entrances: internal combustion engines are frowned upon in the Ork Underground, and the usual transport down there is the occasional electric trolley that used to be some other sort of vehicle. (One of the entrances is in an underground parking garage on the outskirts of the downtown area, and there are folks who live in the Underground and have permanent parking passes for this garage.) The pumps— the only thing keeping the Ork Underground from flooding from the regular rains in Seattle— are almost as important as the ventilation fans. Some of the areas in the Underground actually have streams flowing through them on their way out to the Sound.

There are still tour spots in the Underground where it’s relatively safe for an unaccompanied Human, Elf, or Dwarf to wander around. Those wandering outside such trading areas have to be ready to demonstrate their own toughness. (Those who do so on a regular basis can gain a grudging acceptance— though they’ll be tested occasionally by those who won’t believe without personal experience.)


Drac’s Coffins

Coffin Hotel Archetype/Big Cavern Row/Jack “Dracula” Hilborn/Bias against real vampires/LTG #206 (51-1082)

A coffin hotel with a Transylvanian theme: the walls have been etched to look like the blocks of a stone castle, the coffins themselves are all glossy black, and a variety of black cats prowl the place to keep the vermin down. Jack “Dracula” Hilborn is an Ork who is often seen in sunlight, and has an impressive collection of horror movies ranging from the powerfully artistic to the amazingly cheesy. All the accomodations are in Ork and Troll sizes, but that doesn’t stop the other metatypes from bunking down here and living off the vending machines when the heat is on in the surface world.

>>>>>( You have no idea how many drekheads ask me if I’m a real vampire, or come at me with a wooden stake. No one seems ta clue in to the fact that HMHVV makes Orks inta wendigo, not vampires... )<<<<<

— Jack Hilborn (01:22:59/01-30-55)

Restaurants & Bars

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service

Large Restaurant Archetype/Storm Drain Way/Tasha Crane, Owner/Bias against slobs/No LTG #

A cafeteria with good food and a unique theme. The temperature in there is warm enough for employees to be comfortable without much clothing, and they are required to wear no shirts and go barefoot. (The occasional female employee usually has a halter top, tube top, or similar such gear; most are male and seem to be selected for “beefcake” potential.) Customers are encouraged to clean up after themselves; if you don’t like the cleanliness of your spot, you can grab one of the ubiquitous high-pressure garden hoses and clean it off. If someone getting sprayed doesn’t like that, they are encouraged to let you know. After the initial few weeks of uproar, the place calmed down to its present state of 98% of the customers cleaning up after themselves.

Hrothgar’s Feasting Hall

Large Restaurant Archetype/Big Cavern Row/Ranulf Erikson, Owner/Bias against non-Orks and Trolls/No LTG #

A viking-themed restaurant, complete with fake glowing torches providing enough illumination for Orkish low-light vision. Don’t start a fight in here, chummers; the employees are tough. The taxidermed arm over the door supposedly belonged to a real Dzoo-noo-qua, and was ripped off by Erikson’s cousin Beowulf, an Ork almost massive enough to be a Troll. Beowulf is the usual night shift manager.

>>>>>( I’ll bet he had a different name before pulling off that stunt... )<<<<<

— Barry (14:36:15/02-03-55)

>>>>>( Beowulf does a fair bit of independent contracting, too; an excellent debt collector. )<<<<<

— Muscles McGee (14:36:15/02-03-55)


Small Restaurant Archetype/Darkbrook Lane/Thrudd, Owner/Bias against dieters and anorexics/No LTG #

A 24-hour pancake house, named for its specialty, the Trollstack: a tower of pancakes that will satisfy the appetite of most hungry trolls. (The usual variety of breakfast foods, like syntheggs and soybacon and so on, are also available here.) The owner and primary chef, Thrudd, is a huge battle-scarred Troll with an equally huge appetite. Customers who have the sense not to be frightened by his fearsome visage find him a very friendly person, always experimenting with new dishes.

>>>>>( Thrudd started that place with money he won as a pit fighter. Who knew he was such a good cook? )<<<<<

— Jack Hilborn (01:28:22/01-30-55)


Maxine’s Bar and Grill

Nightclub Archetype/The Mall/Maxine Norton, Owner/Subtle bias against non-Orks and Trolls/LTG #206 (59-7734)

Barbecued food delivered by topless waitresses to faux-wood tables with a view of three runways of strippers in front of a mirror-backed stage. Three carved stairways lead to private rooms above. (Shows up in Headhunters, by Mel Odom.)

Other Places

Fraggin’ Big and Tall

A clothing store for people in Orkish and Trollish sizes.

Xena’s Boudoir

Small Shop Archetype/The Mall/Tanya Gordon, Owner/Subtle bias against skinny people/LTG #206 (55-2177)

Lingerie for the larger sizes; this place sees a fair number of Human customers as well, since not all Human women look like anorexic teenage elves, and the silks and satins here are designed to flatter Orkish and Trollish women.


Small Shop Archetype/The Mall/Jim Phelps, Owner/Subtle bias against people with tiny feet/LTG #206 (58-4016)

Boots, shoes, sandals, and slippers for feet in Ork and Troll sizes. This is the place to find fuzzy bunny slippers for someone whose feet are the size of skateboards.

Give Us Your Quarters

A laundromat and video game parlor; a hangout for many fixers. The tokens (good for a videogame or half an hour on one of the washers or dryers) are one of the alternative currencies down in the Ork Underground.

The Hospital

The Hospital is the only source of regular medical treatment in the Ork Underground. The main personnel are Rosie, a Trollish Bear shaman; her apprentice Rick, an Orkish follower of Snake; and Tina, an Orkish street doc (a second generation shadow cutter) capable of basic surgery and patch jobs like appendectomies. The Hospital has only a few rooms— an operating area for Tina, a medicine lodge for Rosie, and a large space subdivided by curtains for about two dozen beds.

The Cavern of Waterfalls

The Cavern of Waterfalls is a particularly interesting place: a number of storm drains in the vicinity broke during the earthquakes caused by the Great Ghost Dance, and the combination of quakes, subsidence, and erosion has opened out a large cavern underneath downtown Seattle. Shamans passing through decided that a place so rich in natural forces would be an excellent place to site medicine lodges, and the set of lodges here— all to urban totems like Dog, Rat, Raccoon, Gator, and Snake— is analogous to the similar spot on Council Island, Medicine Lodge Hollow. Unlike Medicine Lodge Hollow, some of the lodges are fully functional... and in regular use by particular shamans.

>>>>>( The Caverns are absolutely breathtaking. There are several kinds of mosses that provide some light and the area is incredibly peaceful. )<<<<<

— Windsinger (11:19:15/01-28-55)

>>>>>( Wait a minute. I know this Windsinger slag. He lives out in Redmond about four blocks away from me. How did a breeder like him get permission to visit a sacred spot like that without the shamans ripping him apart? )<<<<<

— Bruno the Bonebreaker (14:01:12/01-28-55)

>>>>>( Oh, I don’t know; maybe it has something to do with the fact that he’s a former Wildcat Combat Shaman who can take of himself? )<<<<<

— Snowpaws (15:32:58/01-28-55)

>>>>>( That helped. More importantly, two of the shamans that have Lodges there use the same Talismonger that I do. I simply asked permission to see the Cavern and brought some beer along. )<<<<<

— Windsinger (17:01:00/01-28-55)

The Church of the New Baptism

The Church of the New Baptism was founded by a former Mormon minister, Arthur Durham, who goblinized into an Ork in 2021, along with a large segment of humanity. His transformation shook his faith, and for a number of years he just tried to survive in a world transformed by magic. On the Night of Rage, he experienced a vision where he saw that goblinization was a new baptism. He spent some time thinking about this, and worked up his new religion on the following tenets:

Arthur started out preaching on street corners and in the Underground, and the Church of the New Baptism has been spreading in the Ork/Troll community ever since. They’ve had their current meeting hall in the Underground since 2049. The more faithful in the Church will accept people of any metatype as long as they have Orks and Trolls for friends; the rest will only trust a non-Ork or Troll if they are married to an Ork or Troll. Ministers are not required to be celibate, and can be of any sex and skin color.

Arthur Durham is getting quite old, and while his vision continues to lead the Church, there are a number of ministers who emphasize action against Humanis policlubbers and their ilk.

City Hall

City Hall doesn’t look much like a government building: the reinforced walls and occasional gun emplacement make it look more like an armed camp. As the de facto center of power for the Ork Underground, this is entirely appropriate, as rulership is mostly by a combination of acclaim backed by force.


The Ork Underground has a strong economy of barter, flavored with tokens from the Give Us Your Quarters laundromat. Money comes in from the outside through the shops that tourists visit in the Mall, the money of topside trogs who like to shop among their own kind, and the salaries of the few who live in the Ork Underground and work in the surface world.


Extending the Tunnel System

Your players may wish to curry favor in the Ork Underground by helping extend the tunnel system, purchase new equipment for ventilation, ...

Cavern Spirits

Individual residences of the Ork Underground have Hearth Spirits, but overall the place possesses a Cavern Spirit...

Other Sources

The Shadowrun module DNA/DOA and the novels Preying for Keeps, Never Trust an Elf, and Headhunters have some more glimpses of the Ork Underground.