Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Welcome to Dixton, Torcher!

The Fate Core Kickstarter ended on an enormous high note. So high, I think I might fail a drug test. I'm honored and humbled to be part of such an auspicious event...I actually think this is roleplaying history in the making.

In honor of the Kickstarter ending, I offer a brief write-up of the setting I intend on using for a Thief/Dishonored inspired game. I've actually been working on it for over a week, but it wound up being too in-depth and very dry, so I backtracked and trimmed it down.

Dixton

Modern Dixton is a city of contrasts. The twin rivers of Eastfork and Westfork split the city into quarters and highlight the divisions between its people. The cramped, dirty, violent alleys of The Commons. The clean, safe manors of Highvault. The sweat and labor of Dockside. The parties and festivals of the Old Quarter. The genteel land-owners and the scheming merchants. Commoners whisper in the streets of secretive cults and conspiracies, of dark rituals and shrines to a shadowy trickster god, while the Deacons in Highvault proselytize their vision of a world of pristine order, bereft of chaos.

Dixton was also where torchpalm was discovered, a plant that transformed a whole Empire. Growing in the subtropical forests around the small trading outpost, the pods of the palm-like trees held the secret to creating a form of high-powered fuel. It helped usher in a technological revolution...powering factories and machinery, light sources, ships, and even weaponry. The sleepy trading town boomed into a sprawling metropolis virtually over night.

This expansion was not without its growing pains. Prior to the discovery of the torchpalm, Dixton was filled with all manner of criminals, pirates, smugglers and con men. The Empire installed a Governor and began granting land to wealthy nobles for plantations, and drove the criminal elements underground where they formed criminal families and syndicates. Dixton's rise in prominence as a transportation hub meant powerful merchant houses formed, vying with the landowners for more say over the city's affairs. The Governor's rule keeps the peace, but doesn't extend into every dark corner of the city. It is in these shadows were the battles are still fought using sabotage, theft and assassination.

Beyond Dixton and its vast plantations lies a continent that has been barely explored. Naturalists continually discover new plants and minerals with unheard of properties. Ancient ruins are covered by the forest and undergrowth, the artifacts and treasures to be found there coveted by wealthy collectors and scholars alike. The builders of these ruined cities are a mystery. The only natives to the area, the human-like Si who were set free two decades ago when the Empire abolished slavery, have no written language and only primitive technology. Yet they have unexplained knowledge of many things, from faraway lands to astronomy to scientific principles Their knowledge of the torchpalm is yet to be surpassed, and the strange tattoos inked with the tree's juice are said to have magical properties. Whether they are the true heirs of this lost civilization has yet to be seen.

Interwoven through all of these elements are those who aren't afraid of the shadows. They're the ones the wealthy turn to for their plots, the crime families for their operations, the relic collectors for their artifacts. They're the ones who don't concern themselves with the reasons they're needed or the origin of the coin purse they walk away with. They go by various names: torchers, thieves, sneaks, burglars, taffers, assassins, choffers, rogues.  And you're one of them.

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