The Empire of Isles is a political and geographical collection of the islands of Tyvia, Morley, Gristol, and Serkonos, in the north-west reaches of the world of Dishonored, inhabited by most of the known civilization of the world. It is a Constitutional monarchy ruled by an Emperor or Empress with a parliamentary government as the legislature. In absence of a royal head of state, a Lord Regent rules the Empire until a new Emperor or Empress is crowned. While each island has its own monarchy and is fairly autonomous, the Isles as a whole are overseen by an imperial government, which has as its seat the city of Dunwall. Each island contributes towards the military, economy and government of the Empire, whilst it’s capital of Dunwall deals with the politics and Royal Family, led by the Empress.
The Empire controls over four large islands and several small ones. The four main islands are Tyvia, Morley, Gristol, and Serkonos, Gristol being the heart of the Empire.
The Empire conquered the islands around Gristol and Morley being the last. Years after the annexation of Morley, the Morley Insurrection was fought where the first publicly known Royal Spymaster help win the war, while the people of Morley still continued pro-separatist ideals. The Empire would try once in a few generations would try to colonize the Pandyssian Continent, and attempts to build a port city that would rival Dunwall. But all colonization efforts failed.
The Morley Insurrection was a violent uprising in the Isle of Morley, who wished to secede from the Empire. Despite this, the Empire was able to forcefully pull back the Isle of Morley back into its control. During the revolt, the Empire fortified Kingsparrow Island, though Morley rebels used the underground sewer systems of Dunwall to strike the Empire. After the revolt ended in the Empire's favor, the Morley people would still continue to harbour pro-Independence feelings.
While the Gristol is the heart of the Empire, the remaining islands are autonomous with their own heads of state.
Culture and Religion
Culture in the Empire is dictated by three different groups, the government, the aristocrats and the Abbey of the Everyman. The Emperor/Empress has the final say in all laws passed and the class system is remarkably present, with the upper classes living in comfort and safety, whilst the poor are left to rot in filth and danger. However, order is maintained by the City Watch and most lower class people are well fed.
The state religion was the Abbey of the Everyman which was based off The Seven Strictures. The head of the Abbey was the High Overseer who was supported by the zealots the Overseers. The Overseer had the judicial right to arrest and prosecuted any citizen accurse of worshiping the The Outsider or violating one of the seven Strictures. Both common folk and members of the Abbey can be prosecuted and given the mark of heresy.
The Fugue Feast is an indeterminate period of sanctioned free anarchy, which follows after the end of the set calendar year, and before the High Overseer of the Abbey of the Everyman resets the astrological clock. Since it is considered to exist "out of time", people can do as they wish during this period without consequences. Kill a rival. Sleep with a friend's spouse. Perform unspeakable acts. Anything is allowed during the Fugue Feast. Once the High Overseer resets the astrological clock, things return to normal.
The Sayings of the Overseer is most likely a holy book or tract, and the basis of doctrine of the Abbey of the Everyman. Given its design, it appears to be based of real-world holy books such as the Bible or the Koran.
The Seven Strictures are the core principles which the Overseers teach and reinforce. From these principles stem all manner of rules, social codes and beliefs about the cosmos.
The Abbey of the Everyman, or Abbey, is a religious order in the world of Dishonored, which is headed by the High Overseer. Currently, the High Overseer is Thaddeus Campbell, who remains in command until Corvo Attano assassinates or otherwise neutralizes him , and the site of the Office of the High Overseer is in Holger Square. The religion was founded in Gristol during the Littany on the White Cliff, on the belief that "the universe is unknowably vast and swarming with all manner of dangerous spirits and forces, most of which are hostile to man's existence." The primary goal of the Abbey was to "stand against... the Outsider." Among other things, the Abbey regulated such things as the Isles' calendar, and the Fugue Feast. Militant worshippers of the Abbey were known as Overseers.
The Assassins are a group of killers in Dishonored, led by Daud, and are also known as the Whalers, according to the people of Dunwall. As their appearance implies, they wear a gas mask and an outfit that resembles a hazmat suit, presumably to protect themselves from the rat plague. Their base of operations is in the Flooded District. They appear at times to attack Corvo Attano, and were involved in the attack on the the Empress, Jessamine Kaldwin. They seem possess some supernatural abilities, which include dragging objects and people towards them, as well as holding them in the air. They are also capable of teleportation, similar to Corvo's own power, but with much greater range.
The Bottle Street Gang is a group that commits crimes in the "seedy underbelly" of Dunwall. Corvo Attano can put himself on friendly terms with the gang, by doing the side activities in the first few assignments he receives. They are led by a man called Slackjaw.
The Royal Interrogator, or simply the Torturer, is a secondary target during Corvo Attano's assassination of the Lord Regent, Hiram Burrows, in the mission Return to the Tower. He is a sadistic mute who secretly worships the Outsider in the basement of Dunwall Tower with his pet wolfhound, where he can be seen repeatedly beating a corpse. His faith makes him immune to most of Corvo's supernatural abilities, and his thick skin makes the crossbow and spring razor less effective, so stealth is advised. He is revealed to be affiliated with Granny Rags in a letter from her. When examined with the heart, it is found out that his name is Morgan Sullivan, born from a rich family who married cousins for generations.
Weepers are sufferers of the Rat Plague. They have discolored skin, and subconjunctival haemorrhages, which cause blood to drip from their eyes in a tear-like fashion, hence their title. They are very gaunt, and often experience hair loss. Rats will not attack weepers.
The law of the Empire has both secular rule, as well as being subject to the religious law of the Abbey of the Everyman. The City Watch of the Empire will arrest citizens accused of religious crimes, such as the collection of runes or whalebone charms, to which they send them to be dealt with by the Overseers.
The pride of the Empire is its Navy. The Imperial Navy has been used to protect the port cities of the Empire during the Morley Insurrection, as well as to ward pirates away from seafaring vessels. The Empire also maintains an army, which is commanded by a general, and its soldiers patrol the streets as the City Watch. The Overseers of the Abbey of the Everyman also serve in a military capacity, but are a separate group, and neither the army nor the Overseers care for one another professionally.
The City Watch Lower Guard are the most basic soldiers of the City Watch, and as such, the weakest. They are new recruits and as such are only issued a standard sword and uniform, not even with a helmet. They have no ranged attack, but will pick up debris (rocks, bricks, etc.) and throw it at Corvo. With such meager equipment and training, it is no surprise that they are cowards; if one of them dies in front of others, they will flee to safety and sound an alarm. They are almost always accompanied by one of the City Watch Officers.
City Watch Guards are guards that patrol the city of Dunwall, who would kill anyone who posed a threat, or attempted to harm them or the people they protected. It was said that the only thing separating them from criminals was their uniform, and they came equipped with swords. They would react to alerts aired via loudspeakers if they were close enough to hear them, and were able to pass through walls of light unharmed. They share similar sadistic viewpoints on the afflicted citizens as the Lord Regent, Hiram Burrows, and are eager to cleanse Dunwall of them. The more brutal the means of cleaning the city, the happier they are to see it through. Accompanying this, it is said that the only thing separating them from criminals is their uniform, and that they also come equipped with swords. Guardsmen can be overheard attempting to barter for one another's Elixir ration, and have been known to purchase the bootleg elixir from Slackjaw and his Bottle Street Gang for fear of contracting the plague.Watchmen react to alerts broadcast over loudspeakers if they are close enough to hear them, and are able to pass through walls of light unharmed, though their understanding of this technology appears to be limited. When trans batteries are removed from ark pylons or other devices, they will not replace them. Being the most common enemies in the early events of Dishonored, their fighting capability is somewhat poor, neither as agile and tactical as officers, nor do they possess special abilities like the Bottle Street Gang and weepers. They can still perform crouching attacks, sometimes bypassing Corvo's block, and being able to throw objects when they can't reach Corvo. However, they have the tendency to hit each other when they are in their fellow guards' line of fire.
City Watch Officers are protectors of the Lord Regent and other important aristocrats. They carry a sword and a pistol with them, and act as leaders to the rest of the City Watch, being slightly tougher by comparison. They prefer to fight with their pistol than with their sword, but they are still competent melee fighters, being able to block and kick Corvo away. Accompanying this, they can occasionally dodge his strikes, even after a successful block on his part.
The Warfare Overseers, or simply Overseers, are a militant faction within the Abbey of the Everyman, sworn to combat those who associate themselves with The Outsider. They are chosen through a system in which veteran Overseers carefully observe and study those with the proper inclination to become future Overseers. Once the cycle ends, they are then taken from their homes to an outpost, where they are further assessed and evaluated. At the last night of the month of rain, they begin the pilgrimage to Whitecliff, where, during an elaborate ceremony, it is determined which of the children will become Overseers and those that would be "put down." Overseers wear white masks with a symbol that resembles a crescent with a trident passing through it horizontally. Overseers can use ancient music that can negate supernatural gifts.
Tallboys are an elite guard unit who use a suit that is an amalgamation of spindle-legged armatures, which keeps them out of reach of the rats that swarm Dunwall. Accompanying this, each Tallboy has heavy armour plating, which protects them during confrontations. Although their offensive power is significant, their movement capacity is limited; a circle-strafe is an effective way to create an opening that allows a few shots to be undertaken. Each Tallboy uses a longbow and flamethrowers, and has a light attached to its suit, which it can use to peer into shadows. Tallboys will also react to alerts aired via a loudspeaker if they are near enough to hear them, and they can pass through walls of light unharmed. Due to their leg armatures, Tallboys are unaffected by the Devouring Swarm power.
Wolfhounds are dogs which are used as guard animals, but they can also be found prowling the city of Dunwall, and are capable of being possessed by Corvo Attano. In general, their appearance seems to be adapted to Dunwall's industrial environment, with the wolfhound's slender build and an irregular shaped head of most canines. During the time that Corvo possesses a wolfhound, he is granted the extra ability of sprinting.
There are many different trans-powered technologies found throughout Dunwall. Some are benign and helpful, like the buoy, streetlight and motorised vehicle; while others, like the tall boy and floodlight, are a response to the rats and their Rat Plague; and yet others are militaristic, used by Lord Regent's government to control and oppress the populace.
Watchtowers are metal towers fitted with two floodlights that sweep important areas. Guards can safely observe the area from a platform behind the lights, or from behind the bulletproof glass of the base of the watchtower. Watchtowers are powered, as is all other technology in the Isles, by trans. When an enemy is spotted, the Watchtower fires incendiary bolts towards the target that explode upon impact.
Buoys dot the harbor of Dunwall. They both delineate the safer waters of the harbour and guide water-borne vehicles along established thoroughfares. Lights, powered by trans, sit atop each buoy, illuminating possible hazards and allowing easy night-time travel.
Ark Pylons are a government-utilized technology in Dishonored. They work similarly to walls of light, but unlike them are effective at a range, eletrocuting anything within range that is not a government ally. They can be hacked by Corvo to electrocute government allies instead of innocents.
Floodlights are bright, intense lights used by Dunwall authorities to deter the rats that have infested, and infected, the city. They are powered by trans.
Loudspeakers, also known as klaxons, are electric horns hung above the streets of Dunwall, waiting to be rung in the event of trouble. When activated, they broadcast a sound of pealing bells, which alerts nearby guards and tallboys to possible threats. Loudspeakers are powered by the energy produced from trans.
The Overseer Mechanism is a device worn on the front of the torso by Warfare Overseers. It can prevent the use of supernatural abilities, which, if within range, renders all of Corvo's supernatural abilities useless.
The euphemistically named Wall of Light is an electrified entranceway powered by trans. Normally, only guards and tall boys are able to pass through unharmed; it deactivates upon their approach. Anyone else attempting passage will be vaporised. However, Corvo, with the help of blueprints, can reverse a wall of light's polarity, preventing guards' and tall boys' passage but allowing all others through. The device can also be disabled, either by directly removing the trans battery that powers it or by severing its power line.
Boats, powered by trans, are a viable mode of travel for those going to and fro among Dunwall's districts.
The Rail Car is a trans-powered car, which is one of several types of vehicles used in Dunwall. As do all other land-faring vehicles, cars run on rails. Based on their appearance and utilization in the trailer, rail cars are likely reserved for the affluent elite of Dunwall.
Trains are a source of transportation in Dunwall. They are trans-powered and, like all other land-faring vehicles, run on rails. Other than ferrying cargo, trains are also utilized to dump the bodies of victims of the rat plague.
Whaling Trawlers are large waterfaring vessels that are used to capture whales. They are the backbone of Dunwall's economy. The craft has a prow that extends and contracts from the ship, which allows kills to be brought aboard. A hook pulls the dead whale up through a chute onto the deck of the ship. It is then strung from an H-frame crane, and harvested, primarily for its trans. The ships also have defense systems like mounted guns.