A gang, a bank, and a charity - Who can you trust? The legendary Sophia Godfrey, who discovered magic in the Liminal Zone of Soteria City, has died. Without her keeping the peace, the mob boss Benjamin Himura, the banker Joan Carlisle, and the philanthropist Adora Espinoza are waging war to seize the power she left behind. You’ve recently become a magician, so the factions are all looking to recruit you. Yet, you barely know what you’re getting into.
The only way to save the Liminal Zone from destruction is to uncover its secrets. But has the one who started it all taken them to her grave?
Soteria was an ordinary city until an event called Godfrey’s Discovery. The center of the city was suddenly engulfed by a surge of supernatural energy, termed Original Power, coming from underground. Though this caused many deaths, there was one survivor: an urban explorer named Sophia Godfrey, who had been at the epicenter when the Original Power broke out. Soon after, she published an article detailing her findings on a previously unheard-of mine, which became known as the Godfrey Mine. There, she’d discovered the Eye of Origin, an extremely powerful source of supernatural energy. It had been dormant for a long time, but became unstable when Sophia unearthed it. To stop the disaster, she broke it into four parts called Original artifacts.
Once she’d contained the power, Sophia wanted to restore the city center. Though the disaster had ended quickly, the fear it had instilled in the public made it difficult to raise funds for the restoration. Local authorities fenced off the area, declaring it an uninhabitable “Lost Zone.” Sophia eventually sought out the mob boss Benjamin Himura and gave him one of the artifacts in exchange for his help. Since no legitimate authority or company wanted to touch the area, Himura realized that he could turn it into a safe haven for his mob. They were mostly free to do as they pleased, though Sophia was able to exert considerable influence over them thanks to the power she’d gained from the Eye of Origin.
The mob’s efforts to rebuild the Lost Zone went better than the public expected. This drew the attention of a financier named Joan Carlisle. With Sophia’s approval, she founded the Carlisle Bank. This subsequently attracted business people and investors. She started a variety of construction projects. Among them was a library that she had built just for Sophia, which impressed her so much that she gave Carlisle an artifact. However, there were tensions between Carlisle and Himura since she didn’t approve of his criminal activities. He was also envious of her vast financial resources, which made her a significant threat to his mob’s power over the Lost Zone.
Though Carlisle and Himura made this place prosperous, both were publicly criticized for not doing enough to support the well-being of Soteria’s population. Carlisle only associated with the rich and famous, while Himura lured the poor into his criminal enterprise. In response, Adora Espinoza founded a charity called the House of Iris, with the mission statement of eradicating issues such as homelessness and poverty in Soteria. She garnered many supporters, including Sophia, who gave her an artifact. Sophia also changed the Lost Zone’s name to the Liminal Zone.
For years, a fragile balance was maintained. The Liminal Zone developed into a vibrant, glamorous metropolis, attracting visitors from all over the country. The lax rules made it especially appealing to people wanting to indulge certain vices, like drinking and gambling.
The leaders all had different ideas of what they wanted the Liminal Zone to become. To summarize: Himura welcomed vices, while despising Carlisle for her efforts at bringing in legitimate businesses and Espinoza for bringing in “weaklings.” Carlisle facilitated much of the area’s economic growth, but disapproved of Himura’s activities and felt that Espinoza’s efforts were futile and potentially harmful for the economy. Espinoza has done a lot of work to help the less fortunate, and despises Carlisle and Himura for being unhelpful and dangerous influences.
With Sophia’s sudden and mysterious death, the faction leaders now have a chance to take over - if they can seize the artifacts from their rivals and reassemble the Eye of Origin. Though they all believe that what they’re doing is right, they are too blinded by their ideals and ambitions to see how their means may not be justified.
The main setting is the Liminal Zone in the city of Soteria. Though the Eye of Origin has been broken up, the Godfrey Mine still contains residual amounts of its power. This evaporates and moves above ground. Exposure to it over a prolonged period of time can cause people to develop supernatural powers. Because of this, it’s not unusual for Soteria’s residents to have powers, though they’re weaker than those who own Original artifacts.
The Liminal Zone has no real law enforcement, and is instead loosely governed by three factions: the Soteria mob, Carlisle Bank, and the House of Iris. Their leaders each own one of the four Original artifacts. The location of Sophia Godfrey’s artifact is unknown.
The Sophia Godfrey Library: This is a neutral zone. The library is run by Jalila Abdullah. This can be a save spot for the player.
The Limbo Lounge: The headquarters of Benjamin Himura’s faction. This is a hidden bar that only his followers are allowed to enter.
Carlisle Bank: The headquarters of Joan Carlisle’s faction. It does business like a regular bank, but there are underground levels that can only be accessed by Carlisle’s followers.
The House of Iris: The headquarters of Adora Espinoza’s faction. The house was designed to accommodate a large number of people since it was originally meant to be a homeless shelter. Unlike Himura and Carlisle, Espinoza doesn’t keep her factions’ activities secret, often hosting assemblies to discuss them.
The Wheel of Fortune: A shop where the player can buy items.
Player Character: A college student who recently became a magician. They have enhanced memory, allowing them to perfectly remember any information after seeing it once. This is only useful for cataloging information found by the player. By joining a faction, they can learn abilities that are relevant to gameplay.
Sophia Godfrey: Not much is known about her. There is no information of her life before Godfrey’s Discovery. She was apparently passionate about urban exploration, knew a lot about civil engineering, and liked to read. She was also highly secretive, with the other leaders being the only people she would meet in person. They remember her being kind, hardworking, and cooperative, but also felt that there was something uncanny about her.
Benjamin Himura: A ruthless criminal with a hidden soft side. He strictly adheres to his own philosophy of “survival of the fittest,” judging others by his arguably arbitrary standards of strength. He has few qualms about hurting those he deems weak. However, he becomes kind to those who prove their strength and their loyalty to his gang. He is motivated by a desire to protect those who have been cast aside by society, but still have what it takes to survive. He wants to use the Eye of Origin to create a utopia for his gang.
Joan Carlisle: Founder of the Carlisle Bank. She is known for her polite yet cold demeanor. Despite her seemingly elitist attitudes, she follows a “noblesse oblige” philosophy, seeing it as her responsibility to better society as a whole. She believes that emotions impede decision-making, so she suppresses hers and encourages her followers to do the same. She wants to use the Eye of Origin to erase her faction’s emotions, which she believes will allow them to become ideal guides and guardians for those below them.
Adora Espinoza: A charismatic and hardworking philanthropist. She came from a well-off family outside of Soteria, but used all her wealth to build the House of Iris. She seeks to promote a simple lifestyle and good morals, putting her in direct opposition to the glamour and vice that characterize the Liminal Zone. She believes that peace can only be accomplished if everyone thinks the same. Therefore, she will stop at nothing to make as many people as possible think like her, and seeks the Eye of Origin for this purpose.
Jalila Abdullah: The head librarian of the Sophia Godfrey Library. Though friendly, she generally prefers to avoid people. She doesn’t do much to interfere with the faction’s activities, even though she disapproves of them.
Fortune: The merchant who runs the Wheel of Fortune. She has an easygoing and gregarious personality.
Items of Significance
Eye of Origin: The source of Soteria’s magic, now broken up into the four Original artifacts. In its complete form, it contains Original Power. Though not well understood, Sophia claimed that this was the power of a god. According to her article, Original Power can grant any wish. She believed that it would be too dangerous for one person to have all of its power, so she split it up. The Original artifacts are listed below.
Himura’s Chalice: It infinitely generates a glowing red liquid. Himura gives it to new mobsters to grant them a part of his power.
Carlisle’s Bell: Won’t make a sound unless Carlisle is touching it. To give others her power, she rings it several times . The initiate must then count the rings correctly.
Espinoza’s Thurible: Constantly burns, emitting a sweet smell. By putting irises in it, Espinoza can give anyone exposed to the perfume a part of her power.
Godfrey’s Artifact: Its appearance and properties are unknown.
Since the discovery of magic is relatively recent, it’s not well understood. It supposedly comes from Original Power, which is contained in a source such as the Eye of Origin. When a person comes into contact with a large amount of it at once, they will usually die. However, exposure to residual amounts over an extended period will instead turn them into magicians. There are no clear rules, with the only apparent one being that the way a person’s magic manifests depends on their personality and lifestyle. Because of this, magicians from the factions tend to have similar abilities.
Soteria mob: Mobsters have exceptional physical strength, doing best in melee and hand-to-hand combat.
Carlisle Bank: Bankers are precise and cunning. They excel at ranged combat and sneak attacks.
House of Iris: Volunteers are weak in direct combat, but have support, control, and summoning abilities.
Sophia Godfrey Library: They don’t count as a faction, but librarians have the power to cancel out other magicians’ abilities.
In addition, magicians tend to have some superhuman characteristics, such as a higher pain tolerance and faster healing.
Soteria is governed like an ordinary city except for the Liminal Zone, where city authorities have no power. It is only populated by people affiliated with the factions - this includes people who have gone to the House of Iris for help. Therefore, everyone lives according to the rules of their faction. The librarians impose a few limitations, the first being that magicians are not allowed to fight on the premises of the Sophia Godfrey Library. Since tourism is central to the area’s economy, librarians also see it as their duty to prevent excessive property damage. Therefore, they will stop any fights that may cause too much damage.
The story can take different directions depending on the player’s faction. Regardless of what they choose, they should have opportunities to gather information on the Liminal Zone’s history and find out how to restore the Eye of Origin. These are just of a few of the quest lines that this game could have.
Inciting Incident: The protagonist goes to the Library to study. However, they get interrupted when a battle involving three faction members gets out of hand. They end up destroying part of the library where the protagonist is. The librarians go out to stop them. At this point, one of the faction members will notice that the protagonist is a magician and invite them to join their faction. Once the librarian has escorted everyone away, the protagonist can try to follow any of the faction members to find their headquarters.
Initiation, Part 1: After locating the headquarters, the protagonist will gain an opportunity to speak with the faction’s leader. The leader will give them an overview of the faction’s powers and responsibilities, and also ask them a series of questions to see how well they fit the faction’s values. Passing this test will allow the player to complete the initiation, and they will unlock their faction’s skill tree.
Initiation, Part 2: The player has to complete a task related to their faction’s operations. They’ll be rewarded with skill points so they can unlock their first skills.
Library Infiltration: Regardless of the chosen faction, the player will have to find a way to access a secret room in the library. The means will depend on the faction: mobsters can find a way in through brute force, bankers can look for openings to sneak in, and volunteers can manipulate staff into letting them in. Completing the mission will lead to the protagonist discovering a room with a photo of the Eye of Origin with coordinates to the Godfrey Mine. The back contains a note by Sophia describing how she broke it apart and how it could be put back together.
Final Showdown: Once the player has collected enough information about Sophia, the Eye of Origin, and the Liminal Zone’s history, there will be a final battle between all three factions. There will be different endings depending on who the player chooses to fight. The winning leader will gain the Eye of Origin. There could also be an ending where the protagonist fights and defeats all of them.
Thank you for reading all this! I made this as the type of game that I'd want to play. My goal was to create something that feels unique, with an emphasis on urban fantasy, modern aesthetics, grey morality, and a relatively small-scale conflict. I didn't want to make just another medieval-inspired fantasy, good vs. evil, saving-the-whole-world plot. I'd love a chance to flesh out this concept more, and I hope you found what I have so far interesting
P.S. I was going to make art for this entry, but the file I was working on got corrupted