Gangs of Dunwall
Dunwall, the capital of Gristol and the Empire of the Isles, is an industrial whaling city situated on the Wrenhaven River. Its strategic importance has made it the target of numerous events throughout recorded history.
Dunwall is one of the largest cities in the Empire, spanning an area of 19.65 sq mi, and sitting at an elevation of 125 ft. It is divided in two by the Wrenhaven, a vast river which serves as the main thoroughfare for whaling trawlers and other commercial traffic. Kingsparrow Island, located where the river meets the sea, is the only island known to exist off the city. Dunwall is dominated by rocky outcroppings and numerous cliffs, which are in turn topped by multiple factories and manors.
Dunwall is an expansive city comprised of numerous districts and locations: industrial, commercial and residential. The districts north of the Wrenhaven are generally wealthier than those located on its southern shores. The Estate District, home of the aristocracy, but also Dunwall Tower, seat of the Empire, are located on the North side, dominated by the Clocktower of Dunwall, the tallest building in the city, save for Dunwall Tower itself. Industrial districts such as Slaughterhouse Row and Drapers Ward are mostly located near the river, facilitating transport by trade vessels. Transport of goods and people is also assured by rails circulating all over the city. Lastly, Kaldwin's Bridge joins each side of the river while still allowing access to large vessels inland.
- Wrenhaven River: The main river flowing through Dunwall. Used mainly by whaling trawlers to access the slaughterhouses alongside the river.
- Dunwall Sewers: The city's waterworks used to evacuate wastewater directly into the Wrenhaven. They cover most of Dunwall's underground.
- Distillery District: A district named after the old Dunwall Whiskey Distillery, which is located there.
- Holger Square: Location of the Office of the High Overseer. It serves as headquarters for the Overseers of the Abbey of the Everyman in Dunwall.
- Estate District: A wealthy, upper class district housing the estates of Dunwall's most prestigious families, such as the Boyles and the Morays.
- Rudshore Financial District: Dunwall's financial heart, flooded during the plague crisis. What was known back then as the Flooded District was also used to round up plague victims, both dead and alive.
- Old Port District: A harbor quarantined during the rat plague of 1835-1837. It housed the Hound Pits Pub, headquarters of the Loyalist Conspiracy.
- Slaughterhouse Row: An industrial whaling district with the most active slaughterhouses in Dunwall in its heyday, including the Rothwild Slaughterhouse.
- Legal District: Home to several major law offices in Dunwall, such as the estate of the City Barrister Arnold Timsh.
- Drapers Ward: A major textile production area reconverted into a high-class clothing center. It declined during the plague crisis and was violently disputed between the Hatters and the Dead Eels. The district regained its prestige in later years.
- Mutcherhaven District: An area outside Dunwall's old walls. Home to several large estates, such as the abandoned Brigmore Manor.
- Civil Services District: An unseen district where emergency grain rationing was set to help Dunwall's citizens survive through the plague crisis.
- Tailors' District: An unseen district where a protest for more food, elixir rations and better treatment was severely repressed by the City Watch in the times of the Rat Plague.
- Dunwall Water District: An unseen district mentioned only on signs in the city's Sewers.
- Rust District: An industrial district on the riverside where the Berrington Ironworks are located.
- New Mercantile District: A large residential village north from Dunwall past the old walls, emptied during the Plague crisis and incorporated into the city's new expansion plans circa 1851.
Monuments And Other Important Landmarks
- Dunwall Tower: Home and central seat of the Empire's rulers.
- Coldridge Prison: Main prison in Gristol holding Dunwall's criminals.
- The Golden Cat: An upscale bathhouse renowned for its essential part in Dunwall history, famous for theater and burlesque. Also known as Dunwall's most famous brothel.
- Kaldwin's Bridge: A large bridge spanning across the Wrenhaven. It holds several warehouses, apartments and estates, such as Anton Sokolov's Safehouse.
- Kingsparrow Island: A small island off the coast of Dunwall. It serves as a military fortress and holds a luxury penthouse atop the monumental lighthouse.
- The Academy of Natural Philosophy: Home to the intellectual elite of Dunwall and the chief authority of science across the Empire.
- Clocktower: A mechanical clock towering the Estate District and the rest of Dunwall.
- Gristol Parliament: The seat of Dunwall's government, where Gristol's aristocracy gathers to vote on issues and make decisions regarding the island.
- Wyrmwood Way: A street where fringe alchemists, Bone Charm crafters and anyone dabbling into the occult and the superstitious gather, despite the occasional raids by Overseers. The surrounding area is referred to as Wyrmwood, and is part of Dunwall's arcane district.
Dunwall is known for extreme class division and xenophobia. The poor form the lowest stratum of society, and are encouraged to join the Navy or, in the case of children, the Abbey in return for protection from the plague.
The aristocracy continued to thrive even during the prevalence of the plague, many of them belonging to influential families such as the Carmines, Inchmouths, Boyles and Pendletons. Individuals from other nations within the Empire are not highly regarded, and are not often seen among the privileged classes; Corvo Attano and Anton Sokolov are the only known exceptions, both of whom experience degradation due to their nationality. Further, it is common belief that marriage between members of Gristol's aristocracy and people of other nations "dirties the blood.
Adherence to the Abbey of the Everyman is widespread, yet cultists of the Outsider prevail in the city's many dark corners. Cuisine is also divided – for the downtrodden, there are cheap canned goods and rations, and for Dunwall's upper classes, expensive foods, whiskeys and ciders are imported from across the Isles.
By 1837, Dunwall had a total population of 202,900 persons, with an average density of 10,620 per square mile. The total county population totaled 682,500.
Law and Order
The Dunwall City Watch is the primary law enforcement agency for the entire city, with three different tiers: the Lower Watch, the Guards, the Officers and a specialized rank, the Tallboys. The Wrenhaven River Patrol enforces Dunwall's laws across the River and its tributaries. The Soldiers of the Combined Armies of the Empire work with the Watch. During the reign of Hiram Burrows, the Abbey of the Everyman's Warfare Overseers work alongside the Watch, given all the powers of a civil police, though they largely deal with crimes of heresy. Some of Dunwall's largest criminal organizations include the Bottle Street Gang, Dead Eels, the Hatters, and Parliament Street Cutters.
During the Rat Plague, Arnold Timsh served in the newly-created position of City Barrister, and was responsible for confiscating properties left abandoned during the plague crisis, and to incorporate those holdings into state hands if no owner came forwards. The Responsible Citizens Group reported directly to the Royal Spymaster, and were tasked with reporting on suspicious activities.
The City Planning Department is one of the civil-oriented departments of Dunwall's administration, and oversaw the reinforcement of the Dunwall Sewers during the reign of Emperor Euhorn Kaldwin the First.
Much of Dunwall's architecture is determined by wealth and status. Areas of affluence such as the Estate District exhibit the city's most elaborate architectural influences, with tall columns, marble staircases, large gardens and ornamental guilding. Poorer districts are comprised of simpler, more utilitarian structures. The latter also experience the heaviest deterioration during the plague, due to lack of civil maintenance; the Rudshore Financial District and Drapers Ward act as major exceptions following the breaking of the river barriers and the rise of gang warfare, respectively.
Technology and Transportation
Dunwall, being one of the most industrialized cities of the Isles, possesses numerous advanced technologies from the mundane to the sophisticated. Electric lighting and heaters are common in almost every home, while for security purposes, walls of light and arc pylons are utilized to control movement. The most infamous of these technologies is the Tallboy, a heavily armored soldier armed with explosive arrows, walking on motorized stilts. Almost all of these technologies are powered by whale oil.
Due to Dunwall's port environment, boats from small motor boats to massive, hulking whaling trawlers form the bulk of transportation in and out of Dunwall. On the ground, railway tracks provide transport for the City Watch and smaller rail cars are used by the aristocracy as a means of personal transport. Elevated rail lines provide fast and easy transport for people, cargo and even corpses.