I am trying to understand what kinds of places the spam values on p 231 refer to in the 5th Edition main book for Shadowrun.

Per p 15, a sprawl is a plex, a plex is a "metropolitan complex, short for metroplex". Per Google a metroplex is " a very large metropolitan area, especially one that is an aggregation of two or more cities". A city downtown and sprawl downtown would tend to have similar densities, but for some reason the sprawl (which includes suburbs?) has a higher spam zone noise rating (p 231). Similarly, I'd think of a downtown as being more dense and noisy (e.g. Office buildings and street vendors) than a commercial district, e.g. an outdoor mall. The noise ratings make me think that I am thinking about this incorrectly. What is a better way of thinking of them?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm having trouble understanding the question. Are you talking about the difference between two similar areas in different city types, or how different the difference between two areas is, in two different city types? Some basic formatting and better references (which book?) might make this more understandable. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ardavion
    Sep 15, 2014 at 15:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ 5th edition main book. I'm trying to understand what kinds of places the spam values on p 231 refer to. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 15, 2014 at 15:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Might want to make that more clear up front in the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Smithers
    Oct 1, 2014 at 0:58

2 Answers 2


When I interpret the Spam/Static Zone noise ratings, I see it as the following:

The City spam rating is one because that is where the more affluent people live. They pay for access to the city's grid, and typically these locations are going to be other businesses or higher-end residential areas, where they don't want the advertising, given that it will have a negative effect. The sprawl downtown has the same idea, but since they aren't throwing as much nuyen around, there's a bit more leeway on what advertising will do. There are going to be more people around, of course, adding to the chatter, even more so when you consider that since more will be on the public grid, both businesses and people.

For the commercial areas, even in an open air market, you're going to have everyone with a booth throwing out AROs and such to attract others. People are going to be doing searches for best prices, checking SINs, and all sorts of things. People are there to blow their nuyen, and marketers aren't going to miss out on the chance to grab your money before you have a chance to second-guess.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The spam table is not speaking of different grids, but different sized urban collectives. A sprawl is bigger, denser, and more populous than a city, not "less affluent" or having less advertising \$\endgroup\$
    – Attackfarm
    Oct 3, 2014 at 5:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I only brought up grids in the context of who would be accessing the area. It makes sense that the higher-end areas aren't going to be as populated, and vice-versa. And while the free grid does cover all of the areas, those who would have to use it to do their marketing likely aren't allowed in the more expensive areas. Aside from that, nothing at all was mentioned about the spam table mentioning different grids. I also believe you are totally wrong about the sprawl. More people live there -because- it's cheaper. \$\endgroup\$
    – Codeacula
    Oct 3, 2014 at 19:17
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The Sprawl is a term from Neuromancer which was a massive "city" along the East Coast. In Shadowrun, the Sprawls are a little more manageable, but certainly along the same lines. The Seattle sprawl is a rather massive "city" that is a combination of multiple formerly-more-distinct cities. A city in SR-speak would be a normal city that wasn't a sprawl. Not sure where this "Cities are more expensive, Sprawls are cheaper" thing is coming from, because there are affluent people living in Seattle and poor in normal cities. \$\endgroup\$
    – Attackfarm
    Oct 4, 2014 at 7:52

It might be helpful to look into the definition of spam zone:

(p.216) spam zone: An area flooded with invasive and/or viral AR advertising, causing noise.

Because a metroplex has so many marketing targets, it seems a safe assumption that marketers would drown the plex with spam. Spam from the less dense areas would bleed into the urban cores. A smaller city with less urban/suburban territory surrounding it ostensibly wouldn't have as much spam.


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