Dunwall, the capital of Gristol and seat of the imperial government of the Isles, is an industrial fishing city-state that serves as the central setting for Dishonored. Whaling trawlers pack its harbor, bringing in a constant stream of the whale oil that powers its industrial revolution.
The present site that Dunwall occupies was once home to an ancient civilization that collapsed for unknown reasons. Having existed approximately 1000 years before the events of Dishonored, they worshiped the Outsider and were the first to inscribe whale bones with his mark. Only recently were their ruins discovered, deep under present-day Dunwall. Many trinkets and artifacts still wash up along Dunwall's shores in the present day.
Dunwall itself is divided by the Wrenhaven, a vast river that separates the city in twain and leads out into the sea. Kingsparrow Island, located where the river meets the sea, is the only island known to exist off Dunwall. Dunwall is also dominated by rocky outcroppings and numerous cliffs, which are in turn topped by multiple factories and manors.
Dunwall is comprised of numerous districts and locations, including the wealthy Estate District, home to the Boyle Mansion; Holger Square , the seat of the High Overseer who heads the dominant Abbey of the Everyman religion; the Flooded District, which once hosted the thriving Rudshore waterfront; and John Clavering Boulevard, lined with stately manors and abandoned factories.
The Rat Plague, a virulent and deadly disease originally from the distant Pandyssian Continent that arrived in Dunwall, has decimated the city's population. With the assassination of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin (who sought to curb the effects of the plague with as few casualties as possible), desperation within the city led to riots and chaos. After the acension of Hiram Burrows to Lord Regent, Dunwall's government endorsed increasingly draconian measures, becoming oppressive and obtrusive.
Now Walls of Light control the flow of movement within the city, and the City Watch patrols Dunwall's streets, with a strict curfew imposed from dusk to dawn. Thugs and bureaucrats alike take advantage of the misfortune that has befallen the city. An ever-increasing wealth gap determines secured health for those fortunate to have enough money, as the upper classes and their retinues hoard the elixirs that stave off the plague. Against this backdrop, corruption thrives.
Important Locations Edit
The distillery district is located along John Clavering Boulevard and was originally connected by a bridge to another district, however that bridge has since been destroyed. Much of the district is run down and polluted. The area alongside the boulevard is lined with mansions, yet the backstreets are lined with factories and controlled by the Bottle Street Gang. The Dunwall Whiskey Distillery is located here.
The home of the Office of the High Overseer, the headquarters of the Abbey of the Everyman. It is here where the Abbey manages itself, particularly in official meetings, the development of new tactics to combat heretics, and the training of hounds. It is also where the ashes of previous high overseers and oracles are interred.
A prominent brothel in the city, with a decadent appearance in stark contrast to the rest of Dunwall. Many of the courtesans there are brought against their will--most of them being bastard daughters and unwanted children. The brothel is run by Madame Prudence, and caters to wealthy clients.
A bridge spanning the Wrenhaven River, constructed by Emperor Kaldwin. Much of the bridge structure has houses and apartments practically built along the sides of the bridge. At the center of the bridge, a massive elevator drawbridge allows boats to pass through. Located on the bridge is the safehouse of Anton Sokolov, head of the Academy of Natural Philosophy.
A wealthy, upper class district built on the banks of an estuary. Located here is the Boyle Mansion, the home of the Boyle Family. The Boyle Family often holds luxurious balls and garden parties on the manor.
A palace that has been home to the emperor or empress of the Isles for many years. It is connected to Coldridge Prison, where the most infamous criminals of Dunwall are held. During the reign of the Lord Regent, the tower was heavily modified.
Once known as the Rudshore Waterfront, it was originally a thriving commercial and industrial district, home to the Dunwall Chamber of Commerce and the Greaves Whaling House, but when the river barrier broke due to neglect, it soon became a haven for weepers, river krusts and a mysterious group of assassins. The regency has made use of the district by exiling the infected to the area and quarantining it from the rest of the city.
Deep beneath the city lies the Dunwall Sewers, a complex maze of underground passageways, chambers and pipes, some completely flooded. Other than being a home for the poor, they are notorious for their river krusts and weepers. They are also used as a dumping ground for bodies.
A small, run down pub located in one of Dunwall's many deserted districts. It is here where the Loyalists convene. During its heyday, the pub was known for its hound matches.
The only island off the Dunwall coast. Due to the Morley Insurrection, the island was fortified as a military bastion. During the reign of the Lord Regent, it was fortified even further, with the addition of many new Sokolov technologies and a lighthouse.
An industrial district where whaling trawlers dock and their catch are sent to the many slaughterhouses that line the district, where the whales are cut up for their oil to fuel Dunwall's industrial age. Notable establishments here include the Rothwild Slaughterhouse.
Another major district of Dunwall, where many major offices of government are located. It also houses many aristocrats, such as Arnold Timsh.
Dunwall is known for extreme class divides and xenophobia. Survivors form the lowest branch of society, being those who survived the plague yet are still downtrodden and oppressed. The aristocracy are at the highest, many of them belonging to large and influential families such as the Carmines, Inchmouths, Boyles and Pendletons. 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, whiskies and ciders are imported from across the Isles
Dunwall has many examples of architecture. Much of it is derived from real-world Victorian and Classical architecture, with some belonging to the industrial revolution. Buildings like the Dunwall Tower show gothic architecture, the Office of the High Overseer vaguely resembles futurism or art deco, the Golden Cat resembles art nouveau, while the Boyle Mansion is heavily Victorian. The majority of housing is Victorian in style and is comprised of only a few different designs that can be found almost everywhere in the city.
Law and Order Edit
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 Tallboy. The Abbey of the Everyman's Overseers work alongside the Watch, mostly dealing with crimes of heresy. Despite this, criminal organizations thrive, such as the infamous Bottle Street Gang.
Due to Dunwall's port environment, boats, from small motor-powered boats to massive, hulking whaling trawlers, form the bulk of transportation in and out of Dunwall. On the ground, railway tracks are placed onto the streets to 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.
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. Most famous (or 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 one fuel source--whale oil.
- Dunwall is strongly inspired by London and Edinburgh, as well as British and American whaling towns, as they existed in the 19th century.
- The people of Dunwall are notably xenophobic, suggesting that marriage between members of Gristol's aristocracy and people of other nations "dirties the blood."
- 'Dun' is Old English for gray or drab, and is also a Scottish/Irish Gaelic term for 'fort'. Both of these definitions hint at aspects of the city.