Setting and Theme

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System

Dark Spires is based on the Dresden Files RPG, which uses the FATE die system. Dark Spires is a MUX, Internet shorthand for "Multi-User Experience," meaning that multiple people are interacting at the same time. It is not a graphical system, only ASCII text.

We strongly encourage you to purchase the books Your Story and Our World to support the authors and further development of the game universe. Public domain information regarding the RPG is available here and a quick reference sheet may be found here. This will also greatly assist you in establishing your own presence on the MUX and and its world.

There are a number of Flowcharts and an Example Scene on the wiki.

There are further links to help new players understand the theme, and a brief list of Moratorium for creating player characters at this time.

Overall Theme

This MUX is a mix of fantasy and mystery based on the world designed by Jim Butcher. His universe has been brought to life in multiple books and a TV series. It is a world where another being simply having your Name can have dangerous consequences. Those who live in the world of the supernatural - a world upon a world - live their lives under the Unseelie Accords and the and the White Council rules.

The MUX is based loosely on Jim Butcher's series and therefore House Rules will be handed down as the grid and player base develops.

As this MUX takes place in Oxford, England, the official language is British English. Words such as colour and theatre will be the norm. However, we don't expect players to hit the grid and change the way they've been speaking for the last (X) number of years.

The overall themes for the game include:

  • Town and Gown: Oxford is a city divided along many lines--supernatural, geographic, economic. That divide might cause trouble or be exploited. (Theme)
  • The War in Oxford: The Vampire War is heating up, and has finally spilled into Oxford; various factions are battling. (Threat)
  • City of Dreaming Spires: Oxford has a strange relationship to the spirit world. It's easier to summon demons and spirits here, easier for things to manifest. Not many people are aware of this, however. (Theme)

The Dresdenverse

A Newbie's Guide to the Dresdenverse:

Jim Butcher has created a certain sort of universe that we play in. Many of our players have not read the books, and so it seems best to give an overview of things you need to know as a new player in this universe. While one can go a long way by using standard urban fantasy tropes, some things bear mentioning as being particular or important to the Dresdenverse:

  • Thou shalt not talk about magic club, or there is no Masquerade. While the White Council would rather random people didn't know of its existence, there is no Law of Magic that states "thou shalt not tell about magic." Normal people might often ignore and dismiss the supernatural happening right in front of them, however--think Harry Potter, more than World of Darkness.
  • Many factions *are* jealous of their secrets, because secrets have power. If a wizard tells everyone how to do a spell, the spell loses power. If someone tells everyone about a kind of vampire's weaknesses, those vampires will die out quickly (in-universe this is what Dracula actually was: a guide to killing Black Court vampires). Mortals can be in-the-know. A too in-the-know mortal might be a liability.
  • At the same time, some creatures might spread word of their existence. Faith and belief also have power in the Dresdenverse. This is a world where Mab, Queen of the Winter Faeries, worked with the Brothers Grimm to make sure people still believe in faerie tales, a world where an ancient god takes on the mantle of Santa Claus because, c'mon, who do more Western children have faith in these days?
  • Everything has a basis in folklore, and there is quite often more than one "type" of a thing. There are at least four different kinds of vampires, three kinds of werewolves, a whole gamut of faeries. If you want to create something not in the books or the RPG books, you'll need at least a minor backing in folklore for it. This doesn't have to be much--a were-panther based off ideas of UK cryptid cats, a True Shapeshifter who was infused with drops from Ceridwen's cauldron of Awen.
  • We *do not* accept ideas from other role-playing games unless you can show us the backing in folklore. Shapeshifters in this world tend to become animal and human, not in-between (the in-between types are typically loup-garou and cannot control it). Changelings are born to it and must have a template parent. When in doubt, ask.
  • Magic has Laws--things one cannot do without a stain on one's soul. Wizards have a lot of power in this world, and worry more about mental and physical strain than the world somehow "not wanting what they do to work." However, some things leave a mark, a stain, and violating those laws can get you killed. The Seven Laws of Magic are important to know, for any magical type.
  • Crossover is not just a thing, it's the *point.* Changelings hang out with werewolves, wizards have vampire brothers and faerie minions. The Unseelie Accords keep everyone working smoothly, and govern supernatural politics, diplomacy, and even war.
  • When in doubt, ask! We're glad to help you find something that will fit into our version of the Dresdenverse.
  • Many supernatural creatures are contemptuous of mortals, individually, but they recognize the power of mortals as a whole. Nobody wants the Army called in, and a knowledgable, savvy mortal can wreak havoc on the supernatural world. Pure Mortals are not just viable characters in this world, they are some of the most kickass and important characters in the books. Don't be afraid to play one.

Setting

Our Theme Song: Professor Elemental - I'm British

Dark Spires takes place in Oxford as described by Jim Butcher's novels. The setting has been lain out in the format from the RPG, to follow properly with the theme. Our game begins in 2001, before the Summer Knight novel. We have our own history and timeline of the grid, in addition to an interactive map. You may expect the grid to grow in size and complexity over time.

Note that for RP which takes place in areas not on the official grid, we have separate and easily-accessible RP rooms for these purposes. Do you have a business and need to conduct a transaction? Or perhaps a home where you want to hold a meeting? Put in a building request, make it exist on the grid!


A Newbie/Foreigner's Guide to Oxford (and England):

In the interest of making sure people understand our particular bit of Britain and how we want to portray it, the following things are important to know. This is written from the perspective of someone, like you may be, who is a foreigner and thus has found these things to be particular to our Oxford:

  • Oxford is, essentially, the world's oldest college town. The city is centered on the University, but as with all college towns there is a divide--car manufacturing plants to the east, creating a "car town" of a different nature and class. Still, as a place that's been university-focused for years, it's mostly a nice, quiet-ish place.
  • You're not going to find a ton of gang activity in Oxford, or criminal underworld. It exists--this is the Dresdenverse, after all--but it's not a big, central thing. This is not London. Oxford University is one of the premier institutes of higher learning in the world, and even though college kids will be college kids, they've got to have money or smarts to attend. This is an ancient city, full of history and beauty, and much of our plot and RP focuses on the middle-to-upper classes.
  • Guns. Guns are not a thing in England the way they are in, say, the US. This is not negotiable. Unless you have a *good* excuse to have one or training with them, we're likely to suggest you shuffle Guns down or off your sheet. In the same way, visible weapons: a bad idea, unless you're a Warden (maybe even then). Hide that knife or bike chain.
  • Tea, toffs, and other stereotypes: feel free to play into these (some of our non-Brits are doing it quite well!) but please don't try unless you're sure you know how. That goes *double* for typing dialects. Not everyone in England drinks tea (as of 2013 coffee is actually overtaking tea there, gasp!), not everyone is upper-crust and speaks like the BBC World Service. At the same time, not everyone who *isn't* is a hoodlum with an East London accent. There are plenty of normal people trying to get by in their normal lives, and if you ignore the accent they might not sound so different from you. Please, please, for the love of all that's holy, don't do cockney rhyming slang. Just don't.
  • Weather: Oxford has a mild climate, with not a ton of snow in the winters. It's slightly colder, wetter, and grayer than London. Basically, standard southern England. Opening RP with a comment on the weather is perfectly acceptable.
  • The British people: this is especially relevant if you're *not* playing one. The British are for the most part polite, self-deprecating yet proud, and accepting of other's oddities. They might make ironic remarks about the brash American, but they will accept his right to be brash and foolish (up to the point that it endangers others). Americans are, actually, far less tolerant and accepting people than the British. If you are a non-local you'll probably be tolerated with a smile, at worst.
  • As always, when in doubt, ask for help. Look it up--there are plenty of UK travel sites, places with information for prospective exchange students, and so on. If you aren't from Britain (or the Commonwealth) and you want to play a local, try watching some modern shows on BBC America or Netflix, reading some UK-based writers, listening to the music. Get a sense of place.
  • Accent help: The UK has millions of accents that can be identified by locals as much as ten miles apart. For broad strokes, this page is an excellent resource.
  • Our head staffer is from England, and has lived in Oxford. If we've made a ruling, don't argue--Magdalen knows what she's talking about, and however much research you've done, she's a native.

Threats

As said, the setting is Oxford, England.

On the surface and to the vast majority of people, it is a delightful city; civilized and calm apart from the occasional biking bump. Yet it is rife with politics and political maneuvering between the university and the town, with a deeply entrenched network of spies lurking just below the surface. Below that - or invisibly on top - is the supernatural world which bubbles and broils enough to make spies and politics seem like a comfortable petting zoo.

Current threats include:

  • The Vampire War - not just the Red Court and the White Council, but those caught in between
  • The spirits that seem to flock to Oxford
  • Corruption in various factions
  • Mysterious levels of power in youthful wizards
  • Some dangerous hand at work, pushing forth several stranger issues
  • The Sins of Man
  • The Devil?
  • Personal threats - everyone has their own demons.

Factions

NPC-only Factions:

These factions have clear agendas, as they are NPC-only and subject to staff whims.

  • The Red Court vampires are in a war with the White Council, and currently their leader in Oxford is injured.
  • The Black Court vampires are quiet, but could be up to anything.
  • The Faerie Courts of Summer and Winter are up to no good, but seem to have other concerns right now.
  • The spirits and other denizens of the Nevernever are getting more active.
  • Demons? Demons are always a problem. Do they have their eye on Oxford? Hard to say.

NPC-run Factions with PC members:

These are harder to pin down. Their leaders may want one thing while the PCs want another. It is our hope to have many of these "run" by PCs, at least within Oxford, in time.

  • The White Council is trying to police corruption in their own ranks while dealing with a war they didn't want.
  • The White Court vampires are as cagey as ever, probably playing both sides. Who can say?
  • Law enforcement is, as always, trying to keep the streets safe.
  • The criminal types are possibly being manipulated by other powers.
  • There may be spy organizations lurking around the edges.
  • The University may be digging too deep.


Current TP Themes

This covers the main themes going on right now. Feel free to play to these ideas or come up with your own:

  • Political strife between factions
  • Spies and intrigue
  • The Vampire War and its fallout
  • Spirits, ghosts, demons
  • Smaller personal plots

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