Kinfire Lore: The City of Din'Lux
Kinfire Chronicles: Night's Fall designer Kevin Wilson explores the 4 major sections of the city of light, Din'Lux: The Stumps, the Horseshoe, the Nests, and the Coping. With over 40 in-game locations to explore, Din'Lux serves as a major part of the Kinfire Chronicles adventure.
The city of Din’Lux is divided into four boroughs, segregated by wealth and status. At the bottom level of the city are the Stumps and the Horseshoe, home to its poorest inhabitants as well as the remnants of the dwarven army that was allowed into the city when the Darkness fell. Then, as you climb higher and pass through the Market Gate, you enter the Nests, which is a well-to-do section of the city designed somewhat like the infamously steep streets of San Francisco. Finally, at the top of the city is the Coping, where the most wealthy and powerful live, isolated and protected, and nestled close to the centerpiece of the city - the Great Lighthouse of Din’Lux, which is what allows the city to survive and thrive despite the Darkness.
When working from the original concept given to us by Mateusz and Jakub, my goal was to create a fantastic city that was plausible rather than realistic. Too often, realism is the enemy of fun and wonder, and I wanted to make sure that above all else, Din’Lux was an exciting place to visit.
The Stumps and the Horseshoe
Upon arriving in Din’Lux, you will only have access to the Stumps and the Horseshoe. These are the two poorest parts of town, and the first parts of the city that Darrell Hardy and I designed. I actually worked from the front gate (the Low Gate) inwards. Starting out, I placed the first military forces of Din’Lux near the gate, ready to defend the town. From there, you have a number of merchants taking advantage of the foot traffic entering and leaving the city, and then the nicer part of the Stumps, a residential area that is home to a number of craftsmen and fisherman. Since the Great Sea that Din’Lux borders is salt water, there are a number of public wells sprinkled around the Stumps to provide fresh water to anyone who needs it (created with the aid of magic). Back towards the rear of the town is where you’ll find some of the more interesting places to visit, including the Library, where you can research a number of topics about Atios (and maybe get a few in-game rewards for doing so as well), and a casino where you can do some gambling if you’re short on coin. The Seekers’ Guildhall is right next to the Library as well, inside a somewhat fortified area for the two buildings. Then, you reach the Tumbles, the poorest part of Din’Lux, and while it’s not quite a shantytown, it definitely has that vibe given all the people who’ve crowded into the city since the Darkness returned.
Finally, you have the Horseshoe, an island that was given to the invading dwarven army to settle. Not only dwarves live there, as there were a number of orcs and humans serving in the army, but the population is about 75% dwarves still. They’ve made a fairly thriving community however, starting only with the siege engines and supply wagons they brought with them for building materials. And while I don’t have time to go more in-depth here, you’ll definitely see plenty more of the Horseshoe during the campaign…
One of the features of Din’Lux is that it’s designed with multiple fallback points in the event of an invading force breaching the outer wall. And of course, the wealthier and more powerful citizens live in the better protected areas of the city.
This is the second area of Din’Lux that you’ll gain access to, and it houses most of the more successful merchants and many of the powerful but not ruling elven families who lived in the city before the Darkness returned. This segment of town is modeled somewhat after the steep neighborhoods of San Francisco. The Nests are dominated by Glory Plaza in the center, which is both a town plaza for the “middle class” of Din’Lux as well as a place for various performers to gather. Since this is kind of the ‘showcase’ view of the city as you walk up the steps to the High Gate (and therefore something visiting dignitaries might see) there’s a city ordinance that any building roofs visible from Glory Plaza must be made from a pricey blue stone that is quarried near the town. I also put a lot of thought into where the more valuable estates would be placed in this area, typically on the edges where there are fewer neighbors and better views, as well as high up. A later addition to this area is a wagon road that winds its way back and forth through the borough. I realized that there needed to be a more practical way for heavy goods to be brought to the Coping, and that led to the creation of Market Gate and its corrupt guardsmen, who collect taxes on every wagon that passes through.
This is the fourth and final area of Din’Lux, where the wealthiest and most important members of society dwell. Powerful old noble families, the main segment of the Church, and the rulers of the city all tend to live here. The Great Lighthouse naturally forms the center of the Coping, built so as to shine its light on as large an area surrounding Din’Lux as possible, to stabilize the farmlands and other supporting communities needed to support such a large city. City Hall is here, as is an elite guard force, the High Guard, who are headquartered here in the High Garrison along the northern walls. Only the finest shops can afford to operate here, so the rarest goods in the city are found for sale here. There are also a series of stone benches lining the northern wall, for sitting and enjoying the spectacular view of the countryside. Many of the city’s elite meet with each other and conduct business while sitting in these benches, while their servants stand nearby with refreshments, but a few of the more unusual inhabitants of Din’Lux can sometimes be found here as well.
There’s a lot more that has gone into the creation of the city of Din’Lux. I wanted it to be a character all its own - our Ankh-Morpork or Waterdeep, so there’s a lot to explore and uncover in the city. While Vinna clocks in at 7 locations, Din’Lux has over 40, including a library, a casino, a number of shops and inns, and even bounty offices where you can collect bounties on your defeated enemies or even have rare creature parts turned into items for your use. Hopefully by the time you play through the campaign, you’ll know it like the back of your hand.