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PortSinclair

PORT SINCLAIR

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          Port Sinclair is unique in this game, as there is no Port Sinclair, Florida, in the real world. For this reason, a brief history of Port Sinclair, from its founding to the modern nights, is listed below. Some things have been intentionally left out, to avoid surprises. With that being said, the timeline may serve as spoilers of a sort, so keep this in mind before reading it. Where one can look up the history of Alexandria, Egypt, in a library and/or on the internet, and then add in a few World of Darkness (and possibly setting-specific) details, and then have a good idea of what to expect, that’s simply not the case here.
          For this reason, I’ve included the following brief history (a whopping 5 paragraphs) and timeline. I have also taken care to leave a lot open for system-specific Storytellers to embellish as they see fit for their games. In this, there’s cohesion for the setting of the game, without My position as Head Storyteller serving an unnecessary role closer to that of a dictator. Enjoy what follows, and if you have any questions, please feel free to direct them toward staff.

HISTORY

          Port Sinclair was first established on Tuesday, 15-August-1567, on a then-nameless island 30 miles east by northeast of what would in modern nights be known as Jacksonville, Florida. The city began as a humble pier and fishing town, which soon became a trading port. Frederic Sinclair, the founder of Port Sinclair, was the runaway son of a minor aristocrat, who had in his travels become pirate and merchant prince by the age of twenty-six. He purchased the island from natives at the cost of two barrels of rum and some exotic jewelry from Egypt. His workers built the pier and the nearby fishing town, and it was those in his employment who would later build the original buildings beyond the handful that encompassed the fishing village. Today, Fisherman’s Village remains in its original location; it has the distinction of being the city’s oldest suburb.
          By the time of Frederic Sinclair’s death on 3-September-1600, the fifty-four year-old merchant prince had established a powerful family, of which he was the patriarch. Port Sinclair had become a wealthy, bustling community. Its main export was fish, followed by game and exports, much of which was gained from trade with the Seminole. Although Frederic Sinclair had been English, the French operating in Florida didn’t associate Frederic with the English crown; trade relations with the French were favourable. Alternatively, he was disliked by nearly half of the English at the time, as he’d been seen as a traitor to the crown and a criminal. No one operating under the authority of the crown ever attempted to arrest him; many speculate that he was a “useful criminal”.
          More than a century later, when the English had a greater presence, in part due to increased trade with the newly-established Charles Towne (SC), the Sinclair family’s trade empire had grown beyond the dreams of their ambitious founder. Port Sinclair was a bustling trading port, flourishing with business both legal and otherwise. Pirates found plenty of fences, farmers and fishermen had buyers lined up, and craftsmen were rarely without work.
          During the American Revolution, Port Sinclair remained independent. Attempts by the British, to establish a presence in Florida, never extended to the island. This was largely due to a mix of reliable intelligence and skillful misinformation, which caused the English to decide that they were better off avoiding the island all together. There was, at the same time, and understanding that anyone with the funds, regardless of their national allegiance, could get repairs and resupply in Port Sinclair. As a result, during their attempts to establish a presence in Florida, the English patrolled the waters east of the island, to discourage enemy ships from approaching the port. When locals saw a significant loss of business due to the English ships east of Port Sinclair, they hired privateers to drive away the British, who at the time couldn’t afford to divert resources to maintain their presence. Neither was Port Sinclair a hub of rebel sentiment. Locals preferred their neutrality, and that fierce independence would continue, even after Port Sinclair would formally become part of the newly-established State of Florida, in 1845.
          Port Sinclair has always maintained a degree of separation from the mainland of Florida. On two occasions, Jacksonville-based initiatives to construct a bridge, linking the peninsula to the island, failed to gain enough support to make the construction a reality. Individuals interested in travelling to Port Sinclair must either travel by ferry or use their own boat. The cost of the toll is included with the price of the ferry ride; individuals arriving on their own boats are responsible for payment of the toll upon docking. (The toll has been set at $5.00 since June of 1995.) During prohibition, Port Sinclair saw a tremendous boost in its economy thanks to bootlegging. On the books, this was an increase in revenue, thanks to tourism. Following prohibition, and into modern nights, moonshine production is commonplace on the island, if not the city itself.
          The city has also had its more unexpected source of wealth. One of the hills on the northwest side of the island has veins of quartz crystal. Soon after its discovery in 1812, a mine was established. Special pumps were brought in to ensure that miners could tunnel into the hill and attempt to mine quartz. For the first couple of months, this worked out well for the miners and Port Sinclair’s economy. After that, people started to disappear. Soon, no one was willing to work the mines, and there were reports of people getting sick, soon after coming into contact with quartz from the mine. Within a year of opening, no one was willing to work at the mine, until the city council had the idea to re-purpose the mine into a tourist trap. Today, Port Sinclair is a thriving community and a powerful center of trade, yet that is simply the Port Sinclair with which mortals are familiar…

TIMELINE

SETTING

          Even before it was known as Port Sinclair, the island has been a hotbed of supernatural activity. The original, native inhabitants of the island had legends, dating back through their entire history, of strange disappearances. They spoke of people occasionally returning long after they disappeared, and how these people were always changed. It was never for the better. The Hidden Darkness was something that they did their best to avoid. When they sold the island to Frederic Siinclair, they left behind writings for any capable of reading their language, which spoke in detail of all that they had learned about the strange disappearances and the Hidden Darkness behind them. Sadly, most of these writings were destroyed, and some wound up in a museum. If any remain on the island, waiting to be found, no one has discovered them to date.
          The Hidden Darkness aside, the island has been a hotbed of supernatural activity, first with werewolves and other shapeshifters on land, and the savage Rokea weresharks in the waters beyond the island, followed by the arrival of vampires, mages, even mummies, and if some rumours are right, other strange beings as well. Despite all of this, most of the island's inhabitants are mortals, who still remain unaware of the presence of the extranormal around them.
          Although Port Sinclair is relatively clean where cities are concerned, it would be foolish to say that Port Sinclair is some sort of Gaian paradise. Were that the case, werewolves and the fera would be killing themselves and one another in overt attempts at dominance. Although it's separated from the mainland by 30 miles of ocean, with no bridges, it's attractive enough to vampires that wars have been fought over territory. Other supernatural beings have their own interest in the island, and in some places this has brought them into contact with one another, knowing and unknowingly, and to varying degrees.
          The history provided explains the past of the setting, while the game takes place in the present. As we get more players, and as more stories are told, events that have happened in play will be added to the timeline. This same approach will also be used with Alexandria, when that side of Cities of Dust opens to the public.

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Page last modified on July 31, 2018, at 04:50 PM