Union City, New Jersey – 2028

Well, the Super Solo 2 Campaign is behind us, and our group is moving on to our next project.  The campaign is being built around a specific player character, although there is a backup plan in case he gets himself ‘perished’.  This is Lars MacGregor, a Scottish solo, introduced in our New York City Campaign, whose player is one of the founders of our gaming group. In that adventure Lars ended up married to Trini, a (now) seventeen year old zip from the Combat Zone in Manhattan and a member of the Brass Monkeys, which is ‘sort of a gang’ and employees of a weapons shop in the zone. With the wall moved up to Union Square they are still in the ‘Zone’, but now close to the Wall. With her marriage to a British subject Trini is no longer a ‘zip’, but is NOT a United States citizen either.  This is no problem in New York City or in Union City unless the authorities want to make it one.  Lars and his bride have spent the past year and a half in the Caribbean being groomed for this assignment. He is working for a benefactor, whom he knows, but this person has never actually given him any instructions ‘in person’ for this assignment or at any time during the preparation in the islands.  If he is caught, he cannot incriminate this person since they haven’t seen each other in a couple of years.  All communications has been done via the NET.  This arrangement also protects his cover story since he will be taking on one of the Five Families of New York & New Jersey.

Lars’ initial instructions are to learn as much as he can about the Lacono Crime Family (formally the Genovese Crime Family) that controls Union City and attempt to infiltrate at least the lower levels of it. He is to gather as much information about its members, how it operates and controls the city, and collect as much incriminating evidence as possible. To accomplish this, a strip club, the Post Orifice, in the Cemetery District of the city has been bought for him.

I have based the Post Orifice on the Temptation Strip Club by Gary Astleford as it appears on Mockery’s Cyberpunk 2020 site: http://www.verminary.com/cyberpunk/ which is an excellent resource for both GMs and players alike.  I highly recommend visiting this if you haven’t as it is full of very useful material!  Of course I have changed some of the names and most of the back stories of the various NPCs to suit this adventure still I wish to give credit to the superb work that the author of the original Temptation Strip Club put into this great location!

Anyone checking on how he could afford to buy the club will find that he financed it using the money he earned over that past year and a half doing jobs down in the islands.  He does in fact own the club free and clear as his employer trusts him or rather trusts that Lars knows there is nowhere on earth (or in space) that he can hide if the solo betrays this ‘employer’; and besides the two actually like each other.

A Team has been put together to assist him.  They are, for the most part, totally unaware of whom is behind this group.  One has an inkling of the true nature of this “employer”, but that is it.  The rest haven’t a clue, well, at least at the beginning.  They are all aware of Lars’ initial instructions listed in the previous paragraph. Each member will have a job in the club and be paid openly for that job, which is often much less than a working Edgerunner would make on a mission. Since all are really part of an Edgerunner Team, the balance of their payments will be paid to off shore numbered accounts to maintain the illusion of their employment.  Since most don’t have such an account, one will be set up for them.  This alone gave most a hint of the level of power of their true ‘employer’.

This campaign takes place against the backdrop of an election year, and the first Interplanetary War in the Sol system (The Martian Rebellion). The country has been in an uproar since the Nomad/Texas Border War with Mexico and its result (see the Timeline further on in this thread). A revitalized Federal government is flexing its muscles against both its own states (and Free States) and its enemies in the world. Just how far and in which direction this will proceed is the great “question” of the day.

The Team

Akemi is a female Japanese/Hispanic solo, who was recruited for not only her combat skills, but for the fact she is an accomplished dancer. Her exotic looks and Hispanic origins will serve the Team well in a city that is 70% of Spanish descent. Her only drawback is that her primary language is Japanese, and while her Spanish is OK, her English is very weak (3). Still she has potential.

Cliff is a black Rasta man from Jamaica. He is an experienced solo from the Fourth Corporate War, and as such is highly skilled. His familiarity with the ‘Street’ and experience in the drug trade brings two other important skill sets to the group besides his combat abilities. His only drawback is his explosive temper and his illegal wolvers, which limits where he can go without them being detected.

Lars MacGregor is a Scottish solo and a veteran of the British Army. He claims he served in the SAS, but that is not true.  The man’s skills are certainly on par with a veteran of that group, but his abysmal TECH abilities (3) kept him from entering that specialized branch of the Army.  The man is a danger junkie, and often takes unnecessary risks just for the thrill. His employer (also a bit of a danger junkie) is aware of all of this, but feels that this job is not for a person who ‘plays it safe’.  Lars is married to Trini, a seventeen-year girl (former zip) from the Manhattan Combat Zone. She is young, but tough, smart and streetwise. His wife is the perfect grounding for him.

Mario Schamal is a Netrunner and ELINT expert. He appeared in the recently completed Super Solo 2 Campaign where he joined Doyle’s Team after the death of his brother Dr. Schamal out in the Pacific Ocean. While the United States government crushed that group, he had not been there long enough to accrue any felonies that the authorities could put him away for. He came out of the debacle with a pocketful of cash and an enhanced reputation.

Max (real name: Thomas Rifkin), is an experienced world-class covert operative. He is one of the Butchers of Malagay, and a member of one of the assault teams that took down Arasaka Towers in our version of the Fourth Corporate War.  The man is a ghost as well as a veritable chameleon.  His jobs are well known, but he is not; except to the rich and powerful, who value a man that gets the job done and leaves no evidence of his passing.

Tyrone is a 16-year-old black man and thief from the combat zone in Manhattan.  While he is rather young, Tyrone is very skilled. He got this job because he is a friend of Trini, and he needed to get out of Manhattan.  You see, he is good, but not as good as he thought.  One should always be careful when picking the pocket of a high level solo!

Vera Zelinke is a doctor from the Czech Republic, and a porn star who is known under the name Stela Cervena.  Her ‘blue’ career helped pay for medical school, but has continued to haunt her. She is also a veteran of the Super Solo 2 Campaign, and, along with Mario Schamal, escaped major retribution from the Federal Government by cooperating with authorities and the fact that she didn’t really know anything of value. She has found her applications for a license to practice medicine in this country mysteriously blocked at every turn.

Vesposer” is one of the founding members of the Vesparo Poser Gang.  Vesparo was a PC solo (played by this same player), who was the first to achieve a (posthumous) Reputation 10 since we started with campaign a number of years ago.  This character is a 48 (character) point creation that was made as somewhat of a parody.  The character’s real name is Marshal Mathers (another joke), but has taken on a life of his own.  Vesposer (nobody calls him that) has become a competent solo actually now that he has managed to survive this long.

Timeline Between the “Super Solo 2 Campaign” and Now

2027November: The United States attacks the small country of Malagay just north of the Philippines. The attack is repulsed by mercenary troops, both ground and navel, backed by ‘volunteers’ from the Red Air Force of the People’s Republic of China. International outrage forces the Americans to back down as the country is humiliated. Without evidence of biogenetic infiltration of the government of Malagay, the pretext for invasion is discredited.

December: The annual stockholder’s meeting of Schmidt Corp. in Melbourne, Australia is attacked by the Genesis Project backed by Thor.  Adolph Schmidt is killed and the subsequent investigation starts to unravel Schmidt Corp.’s complicity in the ‘Biogenetic Crisis’.  Later in the month, with his base in the Australian outback under siege by the Knight’s Templar (now the military arm of the Vatican), Dr. Kimura attempted to escape in a space vessel, the Botany Bay. The church’s forces shot it down killing all aboard.

2028January: Senatorial Hearings in the United States over the Malagay Disaster reach a fevered pitch. President Kress had bypassed the normal chain of command and directed the operation from the White House. Although no charges are brought against the President, the Senate officially censures President Kress. Three days later she has a stroke and is declared incapacitated. Vice President Hargrove assumes her official duties.

Mexico lodges formal protests over supposed ‘incursions’ by Nomad groups across the border in Texas and moves troops both National and mercenary to the Rio Grande. Acting President Hargrove orders Texas to suppress certain of the Nomad packs and deport them to Mexico for trial (and execution). Texas launches an investigation. February: The Free State of Texas finds that there is no basis for Mexico’s charges. Any fighting that has occurred is based on old grudges from the ‘Long March’ after the last South Am War.  It finds Mexican forces have crossed the border more often than the accused Nomad packs and committed atrocities against them. They promise to provide tighter security to restrain the Nomads and to repel any attempt by the Mexican military to cross the border.

The Mexican government replies that the solution offered by Texas is unacceptable, and prepares to invade.  The Free State of Texas calls on the Federal government to defend it against a ‘foreign’ invader.  To everyone’s surprise Acting President Hargrove demands that Texas turn over the Nomad groups to Mexican authorities.  If they do not then Texas is on its own.  The Free State of Texas calls Hargrove’s bluff and refuses. March: The Texas – Nomad Boarder War – Mexican forces backed by ex-Militech mercenaries launch an attack across the border.  Many people assumed that the Tejanos would welcome the Mexican forces.  Everyone is surprised (especially the Mexicans) to find that they are among the fiercest fighters for the independence of Texas.  Still the Mexican forces are armed with up to date intelligence and first class weaponry.  They overwhelm the Texan defenders both Anglo and Tejano alike.  United States forces move to help Petrochem defend the oil fields, which the Mexican troops keep away from.  Acting President Hargrove orders the United States military NOT to intervene.  Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Eddington resigns in protest.

The Mexican/mercenary forces close in on Dallas/Fort Worth. Houston is besieged. The Free State of Texas is barely hanging on. Finally, after a series of secret negotiations, the legislature of Texas passes a bill dissolving its Free State status and asks to rejoin the Union as a normal state.  The ‘President’ of Texas signs the bill and immediately resigns.  His ‘Vice President’ is sworn in as Governor.  Within the hour the Unites States military strikes back at the invaders with all its (non-nuclear) power.  Seventy-two hours later, Mexican forces are shattered and in a wild chaotic retreat back to the Rio Grande.  By Day four, Mexico asks for an armistice and withdraws all of it forces.

Some pundits claim that it was Hargrove’s plan all along to use this crisis to force Texas completely back into the Union.  Whatever the truth of the matter is, the Federal government’s hand with its component states ends up greatly strengthened.  This action polarizes public opinion about the man, but still his popularity soars.  At the end of the month, Acting President Hargrove officially declares his candidacy for his own term as President under the Democratic banner. April: Although there is widespread resentment about the manner in which Texas was brought back into the Union, Hargrove is riding a political high for his victory against Mexico.  Finally, the discontent generated by this action finds a focal point when retired General Eddington declares his candidacy for President under the old Republican Party.  Perennial candidate, Gerald Hastings drops out of the race and endorses Eddington, which virtually guarantees him the nomination. May: The Team gathers in Union City, NJ.


Player Briefing for the Union City, NJ Campaign – 2028

The Team was not sent into this hellhole of a city without some intelligence.  The following is the briefing (minus the front cover, a couple of city maps {Google} and table of contents) that each player got.  Note – Any resemblance between any NPC listed here and any real person or place is merely a coincidence.  This is all a work of fiction!


Introduction This is a Campaign for mid-level characters that will push the Meta Plot of the New York City area ahead.  While what is going on does have major political significance, but your part in it does not.  The pay levels here are very modest compared to the danger you will be facing.  The main reward for most of the players will be the recognition that you are no longer merely faceless Edgerunners in the rather large pool of that group, but people ready to step on to a larger stage.  Your actions (one way or another) will get you noticed by the power players who dominate this world.  Success will put you on that exclusive list of operatives that are called upon to do the really important (and well paying) missions.  Failure will probably result in death.

Union City, New Jersey is one of the most corrupt cities in the country, if not the world. The Lacono Crime Family, who are the successors to the Genovese Crime Family, run it. These people are smart, well financed, and ruthless.  They own the city and the police. In fact, the police can be considered the most dangerous gang here.  There are no booster gangs in the city, but there are quite a few other gangs that are well armed and organized.  The booster gangs lurk in the ruins of the communities to the north, and in the combat zones of Jersey City just to the south.  The west has various ‘Road Warrior’ type gangs, who have all the charm of the Raffin Shiv.  In many cases these groups are actually Raffin Shiv.

The job will run from six to eight months.  Your cover is being part of the staff of a strip club, the Post Orifice, in what is known as the Cemetery District in the northwest corner of the Bergen Precinct.  Part of your pay will be given to you as employees of the club, and the rest will be deposited into numbered accounts in the Cayman Islands. If you already have an account you may use that.  Otherwise your employers will set one up for you.  There will be authorized missions above and beyond the normal risk. Your employers will decide which missions these are. Your Team has NO support.  No one cannot afford being detected helping you.

Lars MacGregor, the owner of the Post Orifice, is the party leader.  You will be informed of the overall mission objectives as you go along.  Your initial instructions are simple.  The Team is to insinuate itself in the fabric of Union City as employees of the strip club.  You are to identify the members of the Lacono Crime Family, their associates, and allies.  These people will be placed in a table of organization to better understand the relationships between them.  You are to also document any criminal activity with recordings both visual and audio.  Of course, don’t incriminate yourselves too much in these.  Any crime you commit short of a Priority One or Two might get ‘forgiven’ depending on your success.  Priority Five and Six crimes have a better chance of being forgiven in any case.  No promises!

The Lacono Crime Family consists of ‘made men’, who are all of almost pure Italian descent.  These people may do whatever they want in this city.  As an outsider, crossing them will earn you a quick death. They are always right and you are always wrong in the eyes of the authorities. There are also ‘associates’.  If you are not a member of the Family, the same rules apply for outsiders as they do for crossing a ‘made man’.  Associates are sometimes of Italian descent, but most are not.  If you are not Italian, this is as high as you can rise in the Family.  All of these people have ‘friends’, who garner some protection from their Mob connections.  Crossing these people can sometimes be dangerous.  It is hard to tell who is who and which is which, but that is part of your job to find out.

In your investigation and climb up in the ranks of organized crime here, you may NOT kill any ‘made man’ or ‘associate’, city official (listed in this briefing), their families, mistresses, or girl (or boy) friends.  Also, any businessperson that seems to have importance you might not want to kill or hurt.  Any of faceless masses are fair game, but even a bum has friends.  As time progresses these restrictions will be loosened, and you will be informed by Lars.

The weapons laws here are draconian. This is the help keep the Hispanic masses (primarily Cuban) down. There is an insurgent movement called the Jose Marti Brigade that is waging a bombing campaign against the Lacono Crime Family. The group is small but well organized. The Union City police have a large task force dedicated to hunting it down. The Brigade is active mostly in the Southside Precinct.

The Briefing

The Lacono Crime Family (Genovese)

This family is the successor to the Genovese Family of old New York. They settled here after the nuking of Rockefeller Center and the collapse of that city. They have become divided and degenerate during their stay in Union City. (See Union City history)  There are currently two major factions and no official ‘Don’.

Matthew Lacono Jr. was the underboss to his father, and should have easily succeeded him except for the machinations of Carlo Gigantino.  “Junior” was a classmate and friend of the late “SonnyCacciolo, the acting boss of that Las Vegas crime family, and had suggested his father go to the Rochester meeting.  Suspicion among the old guard is that maybe “Junior” knew about the hit beforehand and used it to try to succeed to the head of the Family.  Bad blood had been building between father and son, and some thought the elder Lacono might remove his son and namesake from succession, and name Gigantino instead.  The young Lacono hates Hispanics, and views any attempt to compromise the purity of ‘his’ Family.

Carlo Gigantino is the Consigliere of the Lacono Crime Family.  Although in his late 60s, Carlo is hearty and hale, and wishes to reinvigorate the shrinking organization with fresh blood.  Expansion from their decaying base is the only way to turn around the fortunes of the family that has shrunk in size and importance over the years.  He sees in “Junior” just a continuation of the past mistakes.

Michael Rotelli is the Capo in charge of the Bergen Precinct, which includes the Cemetery District.  He and his crew control a six-story building at about 4812 Bergenline Avenue between 48th and 49th Street across from the subway station. He holds court in the Palermo Restaurant on the first floor, but is more often in an office off the Smoke Shop, which shares the ground floor with the eatery.  Rotelli is a happy, rotund little man. His pleasant exterior masks a ruthless and intelligent mind.  He is considered to be neutral in the Lacono – Gigantino conflict and has good relations with both sides.

Salvatore Marcello is the lieutenant of Michael Rotelli and he controls the Cemetery District.  He runs Sal’s Delicatessen, Wine & Liquors, which does both wholesale and retail. The place looks run down, but it is actually extremely sturdy. The building is reinforced and fireproof.

Frankie Fingers de Salvo is Salvatore Marcello’s chief enforcer.  He is a ruthless man and is heavily modified.  He operates out of Frank’s Pizzeria down the block from Sal’s.  The shop actually delivers in the area, but sometimes the delivery man is there to ‘straighten out’ anyone who Sal feels is not respectful or giving his fair cut to the Boss.

Benito Casalla is the capo of the Central Precinct. He is an old friend of Mathew Lacono Sr. and is the godfather of Junior. The man is old guard and loyal to his godson. Benito is getting old and his allergy to cyberware keeps him from using the new technology from prolonging his life.

Mario Bartoli is the Capo in charge of the Southside Precinct. He is young and extremely violent. The man is a strong partisan of Mathew Jr. and shares his hatred of Hispanics (especially Cubans). This is the most dangerous area of the city. The Jose Marti Brigade is very active here in the area, and abuts the wild combat zone north of Jersey City.

Luca Favazzi runs the Weehawken Precinct, which is the smallest in the city. He is the first cousin of Carlo Gigantino and his strongest supporter. Luca married a beautiful intelligent Cuban woman, Maria. Matthew Lacono Jr. has consistently insulted her and never invites her to any Family functions. This has made Luca a bit of an outcast since he will not come to the Pyramid because his wife is unwelcome. He will only come if there is a meeting that he must attend.

Marco Rinaldo is the Capo of the Pyramid. His control is limited effectively to the middle and upper levels as Ramón Diaz and his Dominican Crew control the lower levels. This puts Marco in Junior’s camp as the mobster resents the Dominican’s control of what he deems his rightful territory.

Ramón Diaz is leader of the Dominican crew that helps impose the Lacono’s will on the population of Union City. He is an ally and supporter of Carlo Gigantino, and does what he can to make the lives of the Dominicans in the city better. Ramon has been consistently denied the status of a ‘made man’ due to Mathew Jr. He despises “Junior”, but hates the Cubans even more.

The Police

The police of Union City have a typical command structure. It does have a lot of supervisor officers many of whom are incompetent and corrupt. They owe their jobs to nepotism. The department has a Chief (4 stars), a Deputy Chief (3 stars), five Inspectors, who runs a precincts (1 or 2 stars), four Commanders, who run the overall divisions: patrol, detective, training and SWAT (silver eagle), Deputy Inspectors, who command one of the three shifts in each precinct (silver or gold oak leaf), Captains, who run various divisions in each precinct (“double silver bars), Lieutenants, who run the shifts in each division at a precinct (silver of gold bars), Sergeants, who supervise a group of officers (3 inverted chevrons), Detectives, who investigate in plain clothes, and officers who do the grunt work. There is a large air arm that uses heavily armed AVs and helicopters.

Chief Peter Barone is a longtime friend of Mayor Carmine D’Amato and has run the department since before the collapse. He is getting old (63).  Corpulent and corrupt he is not a man to be trifled with.  He hates Junior and believes that the young Lacono set the elder Lacono up to be killed.

Deputy Chief Peter Barone Jr., yes, is the chief’s son.  His police experience before his meteoric rise in the department here was one term in the United States Army’s military police.  He is energetic and believes he is a lot smarter than he actually is.  The man believes himself to be an honest cop, but has made so many compromises to keep the city from falling to anarchy that he is just fooling himself.

Inspector Vincenza Alfano (1 star) is the head of the Bergen Precinct.  This man is so corrupt he is actually a made man in the Lacono Crime Family.  He and Michael Rotelli, the Capo in charge of the area, are old friends and can often be found together at the Palermo Restaurant or the Smoke Shop.

Captain Roberto Carbone is in charge of Vice in the Bergen Precinct. The man is a ‘fox in charge of the henhouse’.  He is also a made man in the Mob, who uses his cops to enforce his control of the vice rackets in the area.  Roberto is not above personally executing anyone who crosses him, but is essentially a businessman.  You pay and you get to play.  You don’t and ……. well, you know.

Captain Liam O’Neill is in charge of SWAT for the Bergen Precinct.  It is reported he is ex-IRA, but was expelled for excessive brutality.  His teams are all almost completely cyberpsycho, and consists of most of the full conversion borg population of the Precinct.  Liam himself is heavily modified.  This SWAT team would be more of a threat to the local community except they get to take out their aggressions against the booster gangs that inhabit the crumbling combat zone to the north and the road raiders to the west.

The City Government

Mayor Carmine D’Amato is the figurehead leader of the corrupt and brutal administration that rules Union City.  The tactics used by his city government would make many a third world dictator proud.  The mayor is getting older (58), and has taken to drink.  He is a functioning alcoholic, and uses the booze to quiet the dying voice of what is left of his conscience.  His wife passed away seven years ago.  His only daughter, Maria, is a lawyer with a prestigious firm in San Francisco, and they rarely talk.  Maria loves her father, but cannot stand what he has become or the company he keeps.  This leaves the mayor alone with his alcohol and his Viagra to sustain him through his endless procession of mistresses and prostitutes.

Cybill Greene is the Mayor’s current mistress.  She was a ‘hostess’ at last year’s National Mayor’s Conference in Las Vegas, NV.  Mayor D’Amato brought her back with him and installed her in an apartment next to his in the main arcology building.  Cybill is a professional courtesan, who has reportedly been at the side of a number of powerful men.  It is rumored that she may be involved with a number of other men in the city including the ‘wanna be’ Don, Mathew Lacono Jr.

Michael Rotelli is the city councilor for the Bergen Precinct.  He is up for re-election this year. (See the Lacono Crime Family write up for details).

Lawrence Williams is the city councilor for the Central Precinct.  He has held his seat for close to forty years.  Lawrence is a close friend of the mayor and backed him when the Mob came into the city and stabilized the economic situation.  He knows his place and doesn’t make waves.

Ivan Rachenko is the city councilor for the lower level of the Pyramid. He is a compromise candidate that satisfies the Dominican population of that area. His wife, Catherine, is half Dominican, half Italian, and the illegitimate daughter of Carlo Gigantino.  This makes her barely acceptable to Mathew Lacono Jr., who cannot, as of yet, take any action against her.  Ivan is corrupt as the day is long, and is motivated only by greed.  He is a strong partisan of his father in law.

Matthew Lacono Jr. is the city councilor for the upper level of the Pyramid.  (See the Lacono Crime Family write up for details).

Anthony Ippolito is the city councilor for the Southside Precinct.  He is also a ‘made man’ in the Mob.  Anthony is the father in law of the Capo Mario Bartoli, and loathes the Cuban population of his district.  The elections here are a joke even in comparison to the normal corruption of Union City, and he up for re-election this year also.

Victor Mercanti is the city councilor for the Weehawken Precinct.  He is only a Mob associate, and is held in ill regard by both factions of the Mob.

Judge Gavin Van Renke is the senior judge of the city court system. He is from one of the oldest families in the city and is the father in law of Mayor Carmine D’Amato. The man is eighty-two years old and physically frail. His mind is still very sharp. While basically an honest man, he too has had to make many “compromises” to keep his city from collapsing. He is not assigned any case that the Mob has an interest in, as he is considered unreliable, and prone to “fits of honesty”.

Judge Lorenzo Barone handles most of the cases that make it to court. He is the brother of the Chief of Police, Peter Barone. This judge is so corrupt; most judges in the other functioning cities in New Jersey avoid even being photographed with him.

Judge Maria Gigantino is the probate and family court judge.  She is the niece of Carlo Gigantino, which is how she got the job.  She has nothing to do with the criminal enterprises of the city.  The woman is not a brilliant legal scholar, but tries her best to address the family issues that cross her court in a fair and equitable manner.

A Cyberpunk History of Union City

The Union City Arcology with its large Art Deco central building was the last to start construction and the first to have its construction suspended.  The plan was to have the main building that was modeled after the Two Suns Design sited on the Palisades above the Lincoln Tunnel with Route 495 going right through the center structure.  The Palisades beneath it would be hollowed out with manufacturing located deep within along with housing for the working populace built around giant “wells” going down to just above the water table.  At the water table level would be underground lakes to provide water for the city.  The face of the Palisades would be remade with buildings built into the cliffs overlooking the Hudson and New York City.  On the surface surrounding the main structure would be a Green Park System with public recreation and entertainment facilities built over the access to the living spaces below.  Just below the ground level would be a public transportation net to link all the surface facilities, and give equal access to all citizens.  This project was not popular with the citizens of Union City.  Most did not like the idea of having their houses seized and then being confined to underground “cells” no matter how luxurious they were billed to be.  Still, the project forged ahead over the growing objects of the Union City citizenry.

The central building of the arcology rose on the Palisades, but further studies of the cost of the underground portions increased the projected cost by 300%.  As the New East Investors Group pondered what to do Columbian drug lords detonated their nuclear device in Rockefeller Center.  Panicked New Yorkers jammed the Lincoln Tunnel to escape.  Cars broke down and a logjam occurred.  Workers from the arcology project came down the Palisades at the behest of the management and began clearing the mess and helping the fleeing refugees.  Then the unthinkable happened.  The shockwave from the blast had weakened the old structure of the tunnel.  The cascading failure was sudden and unannounced except for low rumbling screech that preceded it.  The waters of the Hudson poured into the tunnel and picked up speed as it raced for the Jersey end.  The tsunami-like torrent that came out flooded Weehawken and washed away the refugee camps below the Palisades.  It also killed almost 70% of the workers of the arcology project.  It is estimated that almost as people died as did in the nuclear blast itself.  Cynics claim that this was one of the reasons the State of New Jersey suddenly reversed itself and blocked all exits from New York City.  The loss of life of New Jersey residents was staggering.

The New East Investors Group needed to keep the project moving, but suffered from an extreme manpower shortage.  Enter young Mayor Carmine D’Amato, who had a friend.  Desperate to keep construction going, they turned to the mayor’s ‘friends’ without sufficient vetting.  The Genovese Crime Family ran these construction companies.  Not only did they get the construction companies and their workers, but also almost the entire Family moved here to escape the spiraling chaos of New York City.

The city council was not pleased with this turn of events, and started to raise all sorts of objections to their new citizens and the entire New East Investors Group Project.  The Economic Collapse of 1994 brought together a strange alliance.  The Investors were now suffering cash flow issues, and needed to scale back. The city council now opposed the project and its Mobbed up contractors.  Over the objections of Mayor D’Amato construction on all but the main Art Deco building was suspended indefinitely.  The contracts for the remaining work would go to the companies that had been on the project the longest.  The Mob contractors were cut out.  Well, not for long as a series of ‘accidents’ befell the remaining companies over the next few years.  Also, the 1996 municipal elections brought the city council down.  The people blamed them for the economic malaise that gripped the city.  Mob money poured into coffers of candidates who were in the pocket of the Mob.  The citizens of Union City themselves gave the reins of control to La Cosa Nostra.

The Wasting Plague and collapse of the New Jersey State government gave the Mob free rein over the city.  The Genovese Family paid lip service to democratic institutions, but their word was law.  In fact the police, now a large para-military organization dispensed their own brand of justice on the street level.  This blatant criminal activity attracted the ire of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  An inevitable confrontation was avoided as Mob boss, Matthew Lacono Sr., became a party to the unofficial ‘Concordat of 2007’.  All Genovese rackets were withdraw from areas designated as under the protection of the Port Authority, the Union City police cut back their numbers and armaments (they did not honor this part), and the Authority cancelled their upcoming ‘scorched earth’ cleansing of the Mob in Union City.

Since then the Genovese Family, now renamed the Lacono Family, has occupied the top floors of the main arcology building hanging on like a bloated tick sucking dry what is left of Union City.  With Route 495 no longer a main traffic artery Union City is cut off from legitimate economic enterprise.  It is the archetypical festering hellhole of drug addicts and crime that most people think about when they talk about the Jersey Arcos.  Don Matthew Lacono Sr. was killed at the Rosemont Hall Massacre in 2023 up in Rochester, New York.  Since then a committee has been ruling the Lacono Family.  So far no clear leader has emerged.


Union City is an extremely socially stratified town.  It has a population of maybe 32,000 people. The surrounding towns of Weehawken, North Bergen and West New York no longer have any functioning government or industries, and have fallen under the political sway of Union City.  Only Hoboken stubbornly refuses to allow the influence of the Lacono Crime Family into their city.

By examining the ethnic make-up of the levels of the main arcology structure you can tell which group is on top.  The Italians occupy the top levels of the building and control the reins of government, but more importantly, the police.  Other people of European descent (except the Spanish or Portuguese) are allowed to live on the favored upper levels as long as they support the ruling Family.  Seventy percent of the population of the city is of Hispanic descent.  The favored Dominicans occupy the lower levels of the arcology and act as enforcers for the Mob.  The rest make do living in the ruins of the rest of Union City.  The Cuban-Americans, who make up the largest block of the Hispanic population, are held down by terror.  The Jose Marti Brigade is a very small group of freedom fighters (or terrorists depending on your point of view), and is waging a war against the Lacono Family.  For this reason, city weapons laws are very strict.  No handgun over 9mm (2d6+1) and no long guns except shotguns of no greater than 12 gauge are allowed without a special permit.  New York City and Port Authority permits are accepted grudgingly, but sometimes the police have been know just to shoot the permit holders and have done with it if they get any ‘crap’ from them.

This is the most authoritarian and oppressive regime that rules any of the Arcologies.  Surprisingly, Hoboken does not let the rebels operate out of their city. Hoboken prides itself on being a law-abiding community, so overt support of freedom fighter/terrorists is not in keeping with their self-image.  There is, however, a great deal of sympathy for the Marti Brigade in Hoboken.  Perth Amboy does support the rebels in a big way.  The Jose Marti Friendship Society in Perth Amboy is a thinly disguised front for the group’s activities.  The group has the full support of both the Perth Amboy city government and MS 13, the organized crime group that controls the rackets in that city.  Perth Amboy’s overwhelmingly Hispanic population sympathizes with the plight of the citizens of Union City.  What weapons and explosives that the rebels get usually come through Perth Amboy.  This has led to an increase in bombings in Perth Amboy itself that is believed to be the responsibility of the Lacono Crime Family.

The Economy

There is really no legitimate industry in Union City.  Illegal drug manufacture is the principle source of income, but unlike Jersey City’s labs, the bulk of the output goes to the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island much to the displeasure of New York City.  The Lacono Family also operates a sexual slavery ring.  Many attractive young Hispanic girls disappear, never to be seen again. It is also rumored that there is an underground film and brain dance industry that specializes in bondage, torture and the occasional snuff piece.  Most of the remaining Five Families feel that this Family here has gone too far.  The city is held down by keeping the bulk of the populace drugged senseless, and terrorizing the rest with a brutal police force that makes the Fort Lee Police seem like sterling protectors of the people.  As long as the powers in control can play off the Dominicans, the Cubans, Mexican and others against themselves, they will continue to dominate the economic and political life of Union City.

A Cyberpunk Timeline of Union City, NJ

1992: Clearing and construction commences on the main building of the Union City Arcology.  There is immediate resistance from the people whose homes are being taken.

1993: The nuclear attack on New York City sends thousands of people through the Lincoln Tunnel causing a major bottleneck.  Crews from the Arco project come down the Palisades to Weehawken.  The rupturing of the tunnel kills most of the refugees and many of the Arco construction crews.

1994: The Economic Collapse hits and the New East Investor Group are sent reeling.  Publicly, however, they put on a positive face.  To stop the creeping Mob infiltration of Union City, the city council agrees to let New East Investors Group suspend work on the Union City project. It is hoped that this will make the Mob leave.  They are ‘dead’ wrong.

1995: The New East Investor Group tries to hold on, but lawsuits brought by the various municipalities where the projects are being built continue to drain precious capital.

1996: With the declaration of Martial Law the Federal Government becomes very busy with other issues.  The New Jersey State government is weakened and is unable to provide the security guarantees.  The municipal elections of the fall sweeps pro-Mob councilors into office as the people blame the council for the loss of jobs brought about the suspension of the work on the arcology.

1997: With state bond money, the finishing touches are put on the main building of the Union City Arcology.  It is the Genovese Family contractors that get the work, but they are smart and hire locals.  This brings a short-lived mini-prosperity to the area.

2000: The Wasting Plague hits Union City, and city services are overwhelmed.

2001: The collapse of the state government in Trenton deals a fatal blow to the New East Investor Group.  All construction ceases on the remaining projects.

2023: At a meeting of six Mafia leaders at Rosemont Hall outside Rochester, NY, Matthew Lacono Sr., head of now Lacono Crime Family, is assassinated along with the heads of the Gambino Crime Family, and the Detroit Mafia.  Only Joseph Calapari representing the Cacciolo Family of Las Vegas, who escaped virtually unscathed, and the leader of the Windsor Locks Family, who was critically injured as he tried to escape in an AV that was shot down by the assassins survived.  Suspicion fell on the Cacciolo Family of Las Vegas, as the meeting was being held to hold that “SonnyCacciolo, acting head of that organization, accountable for the deteriorating situation in the Las Vegas Mob War.  Some in the Lacono Family suspect Jr. may have been working with “Sonny”.

2024 – 2025: The Fourth Corporate War has almost no effect on Union City except to bring money in from the Edgerunners who call it their home.

2028: This is now.

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