Wednesday, June 16, 2010

City of Dimension

Creating Jack Dufresne has compelled me to describe, briefly, the City of Dimension. In trying to do so, I wrote that entire post about DJ Art.

The City of Dimension (which I perversely refuse to just call Dimension 90% of the time) was created to house DJ Art. I needed a world on this side of the supply room door to match the many and varied worlds on the other side. I suck at coming up with names for things so I somehow decided on The City of Dimension (I wanted the name to be cool but unusual and I feel that Dimension hits both those notes but it sucks that it came from DJ's name).

The City of Dimension appears completely normal and average. It is located somewhere in the middle of the US (by middle I just mean it is not a coastal city) and probably more south than north (as I grew up in Arizona and do not imagine snow very well, despite many visits to family in Buffalo, living through the President's Day Blizzard in New York City in 2003, and living in Erie, PA). It is not a very large city (like NYC or Boston or SanFran or Dallas) but it is not very small either (like Erie). The people there are happy and, while they deal with many of the same problems as the outside world, there is a feeling of continuity and isolation (a good kind of isolation, in that they need not worry too much about what happens in the outside world because it does not affect them).

The interesting thing about the City of Dimension, though, is that it is home to many unusual people. DJ Art, who finds himself transported to alternate realities through the back door of his art supply store, is a typical example. Jack Dufresne, who is not a natural person but a corporate entity of other people's consciousnesses given corporeal form, is another. Essentially, whereas Trokair is where I try to fit all of my fantasy creations in an attempt to tie them all into one cohesive whole, so Dimension is where I try to fit all my modern creations (the fantasy/modern duality comes from D&D and d20 Modern, two games using the same basic ruleset).

Dimension is home to my magical girl, a half dozen or so of my superhero characters, several of my real life friends from high school and college, my furutistic corporation, and more. The theme tying them all together is normal on the surface, weird underneath. For example, my friends work at a wine and liquor store in the city. Everything about the arrangement is perfectly normal except that no one will ever touch the mop in the corner and no one will ever mention why. And beyond the brief moment when it comes up, no one in the wider world ever acknowledges it. It is a city in which the weird and unusual happens constantly, but the world itself conspires to maintain a mundane atmosphere. It is not a city like NY in Men in Black where weird things happen and somehow you forget. Nor is it a city where a demon walking down the street does not seem unusual. It is, instead, a city where a demon walking down the street will miraculously avoid everyone's attention except that one guy who's plight it is to see demons.

I suppose I could have called it the City of Unbelievable Coincidence. No one tries to achieve widespread panic through the revelation of the supernatural forces at work in the city (there is no mad scientist who takes over the airwaves and demands ransom money or he will blow up the moon). Instead, everyone with these weird powers or occurences tries desperately to keep them under wraps and, overall, succeeds brilliantly. Most of the characters are associates and interact frequently. However, few know of each other's weirdness. For example, the girl who works in DJ's shop does not know he disappears into alternate dimensions and DJ does not know that she is a former member of the high school chess club from the year they all mysteriously gained super powers (she is Pawn and she can split into multiple copies of herself). Yet they work together every day and one or the other often has to cover for himself to avoid the other finding out about it.

I find it is best to just ignore that part. Assume that this stuff all stays hidden and focus on what each character does while exploring his own weirdness, rather than mixing weirdnesses together.

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