You hate being outside. No matter where you stand, your skin burns just beneath the surface - like you were embarrassed about something - no matter what you wear, you always have the chills. It's the UV rays from the sunlight that beams through the holes in the geodesic tiling overhead. The rain sears the flesh. Tens of thousands of bats roost in the dome's skeleton above. All attempts to remove them have failed. While their number has been curtailed on occasion through massive, collective efforts, within a year or two, their ranks swell again.
The streets are buried beneath guano and unchecked refuse. Block after burned-out block appears abandoned and uninhabitable, but are actually home to scores of tribal gangs and other factions, all scrambling to survive, all vying for control. Poorly-armed, barely-trained police do what they can, but their job is less to "protect and serve" than "fight to maintain." Streetlights are covered in graffiti, their bulbs long ago stolen or destroyed; the city is lit by trashcan fires and junked autos, set ablaze.
But in the richer areas - Rushian Hills, Chandler - streetlamps illuminate storefronts, providing light for the sharply-dressed enforcers working to keep the streets clean of all trash. Occasionally, a wheeled vehicle slides silently past, on its way to Dreamland or one of the sprawling megacorps on the edges of the Dome. Surrounding this, and laying between the established zones, are the places no one talks about and everyone avoids - where direful clouds roil over dark and twisted trees and strange sounds pierce the shadows.
This is Metrodome. This is the largest, darkest, and most dangerous megalopolis to be found - and the perfect setting for your Dark Conspiracy campaign.
Metrodome is one of the largest domes in existence. An historical landmark (when that meant something), it was one of the first of its kind. Many of the domes learned from its failures, as well as its successes. A true mecca of the dark future, Metrodome's culture is imitated, its elite celebrated, and the corporations which make it their home are among the largest and most powerful in the world. While you could always downgrade it to just another domed city with few systematic problems, it was designed to be a singular campaign setting; why have several cities like Metrodome when you can instead shift the focus to neighborhoods within Metrodome? It is a microcosm in which all of your adventures can be set without worrying too much about upsetting the greater balance. All of the research has been done for you, the groundwork laid - all that is left is for you to put your stamp on it: introduce your characters and let them interact with the established elements, change them, erase them, and add new ones along the way. In time, Metrodome will truly become yourDark Conspiracycampaign world.
Metrodome is a single - and extremely large - dome (there are no partitions) and domes have unique physics. Sounds, smells, lights - even reflected images - can be conveyed throughout the dome. Screams, whispers, and voices drift from one end to the other and the flames and neon lights flicker in even the darkest places. Were it not for all the fires, Metrodome would be quite temperate (domes regulate temperature as a function of their design); as it is, the Dome is almost always oppressively hot and smoky. In fact, Metrodome is never completely dark, as lights are reflected off the tiling, resulting in a constant haze that makes it hard to tell day from night until one becomes acclimated to the unique environment.
It is not unusual to experience stimuli (sounds, images, etc.) without apparent source or cause. These environmental factors are the reason the sociological mindset of Metrodome's population is one of paranoia, xenophobia, and turgid agitation - even without the omnipresent Minion activity, Metrodome can be a spooky place!
While the construction logistics and so forth are largely superfluous to gameplay, certain points are pertinent - after all, Metrodome is a dynamic and unusual environment! Metrodome was built with metal, concrete, plastics, and experimental construction techniques and materials unknown to us in the real world today. One cannot say for certain that no DarkTek was involved; those who are Aware know for certain that alien knowledge was employed in developing and building the first, and arguably largest, domed city in the world - to others, Metrodome is simply a construction miracle.
City planners intended to gutter rainwater in attempts to purify it. While BioDyne still does this for irrigation purposes, the rain's acidity makes drinking it infeasible. Portions of these, largely unused, gutters sometimes fall into the crowds below, along with tiling, baked in the sun and torn loose by tornadic winds. Just one more hazard of living in Metrodome.
At no time was Metrodome ever airtight; this was the original plan, and technology for interior atmosphere control is present (in various stages of completion) throughout, but the concept never worked-out for several reasons (primarily financial) and was abandoned before completion. Interestingly, some of this climate-control technology is operational - and is in operation, in various sectors. BioDyne, in particular, uses it in its interior holdings (much of the agricorp actually lay outside the Dome), and BioMed boasts of its climate-controlled conditions in its ever-growing campaign to persuade proles to move into its projects.
Due to delays in construction, parts of the dome began deteriorating before the structure was even completed - in fact, construction was never actually finished - so some sections are in better condition than others. While repairs are made infrequently, only those areas housing Dreamland are in good condition; the rest of the dome is fair and operational, but in an obvious state of disrepair.
Parts of the geodesic dome move to allow aircraft to enter and exit. There are several of these throughout the city and they are operational. Every corporation has at least one and they are accessible by helicopter from anywhere in Metrodome. Yes, helicopters can be flown inside the Dome, but it is a Difficult Task, a major fire hazard, and reserved strictly for emergencies; no guided air tours or transportation companies exist and it is illegal to fly aircraft within Metrodome without authorization - this includes corporations (no matter how powerful, no CEO simply takes a copter to avoid the traffic). Due to dome acoustics, it isn't as though one could do so clandestinely; the thumping whoosh of the rotors are heard by everyone. The airport lay outside the Dome and the only authorized public access lay over Brody Smalls' garage.
To the best of anyone's knowledge, there are no weapons (cannons, rocket launchers, etc.) installed in the dome, as in many science-fiction stories. That is not to say the city is without security or unarmed, but Metrodome has no active army or even reserve, nor does it expect an attack. The days of world wars are largely behind us at this point; no country can finance such a massive undertaking, nor do any command the patriotism to muster troops.
Corporations, however, are an entirely different matter. But should one or more decide Metrodome and its holdings are worth taking over, its first line of "attack" would be to sway enough of the city's proles to "vote" its paid politicos into office. The politicos pass laws against the faction(s) and individual(s) to be driven out, making it more difficult for them to do business. A negative PR campaign is then launched against the victim(s), putting a public face on the politico's sudden "interest" in how they do business, etc. After a time, the target is so damaged, the "attacking" corporation can buy them out at a drastically reduced price. But it is never this simple and all of the populace feels the fallout. However, Metrodome is fairly stable at this time - at least politically - so a massive corporate takeover (a takeover of any kind, really) is unlikely.
Metrodome's culture also consists of violent, aggressive sports - the most popular of which are rollerderby and pro-wrestling. The jukeboxes in the bars in Mike-Town are filled mainly with classic rock CDs, as well as a more modern sound - Folk/Techno fusion - called Sorrow Rock; the uptown nightclubs of Dreamland and Chandler invariably contain some form of pop - whether 80's electronica and Billboard, 90's techno, or the more modern form (which sounds pretty much the same). Gangs are a prominent threat throughout Metrodome, though the most feared gang preys on what's left of the highway connecting Metrodome to Birdston and on out, to the rest of the world: The Blood Red Razors.
The neighborhoods and sectors within Metrodome vary dramatically in atmosphere and appearance, as described in the rulesbook (p. 67-69, 142-147). Each is described in-depth according to a format, including a location Descriptor, which gives you a general indication of the layout of the city. Other Descriptors include Wealth, Crime, and Minion Activity. Obviously, this meta-knowledge is not available to PCs, so players should read through the neighborhood descriptions only once - to get a feel for the area and Metrodome, as a whole. Referees should be intimately famliar with the sector(s) in which their campaign is set, as well its immediate neighbors, and have at least a passing knowledge of the entire dome.
Also absent are prisons. Metrodome has a number of jailhouses for detaining minor criminals, and one corporate-owned jailing facility, but Metrodome is not a Prisondome; in this dark future, entire cities, islands, and stretches of the countryside are prisons, like New York. There is no "war on drugs" - which constitutes a mind-boggling percentage of the prison population in our real world and bankrolls the world's economy - in fact, E-Z Living, Inc. (a BioDyne subsidiary) is the world's most popular brand of cigarettes and is almost 100% marijuana. The legal system is in such a shambles that the litigious nonsense which clogs our present-day courts is no longer tolerated - private citizens don't have the means to afford such things anyway, and the government is so weakened that "small claims court" exists only in reruns.
Remember that Metrodome is covered by a geodesic dome (hence its name), so adverse weather is rarely a problem (though it can cause structural damage to the dome itself). In fact, those within the structurally sound areas of Metrodome have absolutely no idea what the weather outside is! Occasionally, someone might be caught in the Summerlands or similar - where the tiling is not intact - and suffer the consequences, but this is rare enough if you have even semi-intelligent players.
Remember too that Metrodome is impossibly huge (a megalopolis), so the weather patterns within do not necessarily correspond with those outside the dome. As noted above, hazy conditions are the norm, and the temperature is hot unless it's winter, when the city is actually pretty cozy. Of course, much of this has to do with the fires and goings-on within the dome; internal temperatures are still very tied to those outside.
And weather outside Metrodome is tumultuous, to say the very least. Due to the agricorps, global warming, widespread disregard and lack of concern for the environment, chemical spills, nuclear fallout in Europe, and so much more, the weather has become "stuck" in a holding pattern of volatility. The sun is rarely visible, hidden behind a bank of thunderheads, and the weather ranges from "drizzling" to "severe thunderstorm." The volatility comes in when one accounts for just how quickly it can go from one to the other!
4 - 5
The following is a generic randoms table for anywhere in Metrodome that can be checked every 2 hours or as needed. This is not meant to act as a replacement for more specific charts given for each locale and adventure, but can be used in conjunction with them. A roll of 1 (d10) indicates an encounter.
Police may be flatfoots, cruiser patrols, or mounted on bike or horse (depending on location). Typical policemen are Unaware, though Chandler police are said to be acutely Aware - even trained to deal with the Dark.
Technically speaking, any non-patrolled area is potentially a prison; the Outlands are actual demilitarized zones (DMZ), so to speak. Metrodome also hosts the Starr Drive-Inn, a drive-in theater that has been renovated into a prison with vehicles used as unlocked cells. Though care is taken to ensure the cars do not, and cannot, run as-is, there have been some exceptional and scandalous break-outs. The Starr Drive-Inn is a commercial jail and its prisoners are largely non-violent, though it does house some felonious violent offenders. Prisoners are basically free to mill-about during the day between meals and headcounts, but are confined to their "cells" (cars) after nightfall. They are treated to some truly awful drive-in movies that run all night long - a feature (so to speak) that some consider a luxury, but others consider cruel and unusual punishment.