Dominion World

General Backdrop

The Cypher server and Usurper chip in combo make a portal from our world to a parallel dimension the two dimensions overlap in random places with random tears - and have done so throughout time
when they do, matter is "displaced" from one to the other these "displacements" were discovered by the Brothers Grimm and in their research they collected the stories these later became the fairy tales
near the end of their lives, they did something no one really knows what but it caused the overlaps to decrease dramatically
and that's why there are no new fairy tales and why people stopped believing in them

What the Cypher Server Does

To Reality - the Cypher Server is a gaming platform that put Cheshire Software Ltd on map. It's this company's games the BEST EVER and why EA is looking to buy them out. The Grimms work on fantasy RPGs and have just gotten their first big commission just prior to the pilot beginning.

The Cypher Server isn't just a gaming platform.dominiongame When Gamers trigger and "instance" in the game - they are ACTUALLY interacting with the Dominion and if they are kill Residents in the game, they are kill the real villagers. The Gamers are possessing actual Residents as Avatars (called Avvies). And the more levels and games Chester creates, the more states, cities, castles, etc are affected - hence the hhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate.

But up until the pilot, the only thing the Cypher did was create a one way link from Reality to Dominion. As each Instance closed, the Avvie left the Resident. No one crossed back and forth physically until Once Upon A Time.

What the Usurper Chip Does

Chester found bits of washed up magic left in our world - the final bit was a sliver of a magic mirror lost on the Titanic. He gets it all forged and merged into the Usurper Chip. The word "Chip" is a complete misnomer. It looks like a USB stick fashioned into the Cheshire Software Ltd logo.

What the Usurper does is create a rift - just like the ones the Brothers Grimm spent centuries closing. There's a physics to it, but it's interwoven with magic. No one - not even Chester - understands how it works or where it comes from.

The magic was closed by Grimms so when a Grimm used it, the portal opened and sucked Ryan and Rebecca through. Chester gets through because the Grimms inadvertantly wish him through. (Both at the same time have a random thought about how they wished he was close enough to strangle.)

The physics involved is the basic - every action has a equal and opposite reaction. Every portal is one way. From Reality to Dominion causes a reverse from Dominion to Reality portal.

The Grimms can control the Usurper (although I don't know that I'll ever have them figure that out). They can program the Cypher Server - which is hosting the gaming platform. But they cannot control it or shut it down.


The dominion dimension is a classic RPG Realm. It doesn't have "kingdoms" per se that we ever see. It's a collection of towns nestled into the Vancouver Dominion Forrest. Each town is it's own unique state, but there is a collective sense of national identity. People from the Dominion call themselves Dominion Residents just as I would call myself an American Citizen.

Certain universal rights follow that concept. All Residents are free to move from town to town. There is no concept of slavery.

Currency and Trade
There is currency, but it is only a secondary system, used by travelers.

For example: Farmer John needs feed and harvesting supplies. He trades with the local store with part of his harvest. If a traveler wanted to buy a meal from him, he'd accept their money and would either save it for travels to other towns, or use it at the store to pick up a new shirt. He would not use it to alter the standing arrangement for the feed and tools.

Travelers would use money OR trade services.

For example: A Resident moving from A to C, stops at B on the way. Rather than use money to pay for the inn, the Resident cooks his own food from the kitchen and works in the bar serving the locals that night.
Conversely: A Resident on vacation wants to see the sights and doesn't particularly want to work for his keep. He pays money for the night. The inn might also accept jewels.

The currency itself is coin only. Steel, copper, iron and silver - no gold, which only attracts Dragons, dammit. Everyone knows that! Tradesmen will periodically gather money, melt it down and make things of it.

There is very little money left in circulation. Residents tend to be productive members of society or are killed, quite frankly. There is no idle rich class. (There are possibly exceptions to this as we go, but Dante will be just as shocked by them as the Grimms.) It is actually borderline ideal communism (the actual concept - not the soviet twisting thereof).

Elders are considered a resource. Most townships have an Elder group where anyone over 60 goes daily. They are called on to help with problems, tell stories, or whatever. They are the highest regard knowledge source and their knowledge is considered just as much a "trade" as manual labor.

Senility is a rare disease and it's viewed with the same horror we have for AIDS. The idea of an Elder's knowledge being stripped from them by inches is a horrifying proposition for Residents. It is feared and misunderstood when it occurs. Victims are often locked in asylums and not spoken of in mixed society.

Local Government
Most towns have minimal elected government. There is a sheriff responsible for law enforcement. They are WITHOUT FAIL blond, good looking men. There is usually a mayor who serves as the judicial branch. There is diversity in this role. The Mayor will make laws as needed and assign punishments.

If a sheriff catches you breaking the law, there is no trial because a sheriff would not lie. If the sheriff investigates a crime and arrests you, there is a trial to determine that no one lied to the sheriff and caused him to make a mistake.

A trial in the Dominion is setup much like our jury based system. However, there is no appointed jury. Anyone over 17 may attend the trial, and having done so, has a vote in the verdict. An Elder's vote counts twice. A poll is taken at the end of the trial and the verdict determined.

If a Mayor thinks there is a need for a new law - a Town Hall/Trial/Open Debate is held - usually during some sort of festival/town day off so that everyone interested can attend. The issue is argued until the Mayor decides it's time to vote. The "intent of the law" is not a concept familiar to Dominion. It's largely determined by the personality of the sheriffs and the mayors.

Long Forgotten History
When the Brothers Grimm first arrived, the Dominion was part of a larger dimension. That dimension DID have money, classes, kingdoms, wars for land, etc. Something happened that broke that dimension - shattered it into pieces (of which only the Dominion survives). This catastrophe is what sparked the Brothers Grimm to seal the rifts in the first place.

This will probably never be explicitly stated in the show. It would possibly come out in interviews (ala Samuel Colt)

The Avatar Instances

aka the Avvie Plague, the Great Burden, etc.

  • To the Gamer - They are playing an online RPG and come across a portal to an instance where they can go collect swag. They enter the instance.
  • To the Dominion - when the Avatar hits that instance - they are actually linking through dimensions. So whoever that Gamer thinks they are? That Resident teleports to the point of entry and promptly begins rampaging.
      • a wall usually appears around the town. The instance is sealed to only the gamer or the gamer's troupe. So other gamers can't get in, but the Residents can't get out
      • the number of gamers in the instance controls the number of Avvies that teleport.
      • the town will usually have an alarm set up so people know to get things out of the way
      • The Avvies usually go through town and smash crates looking for swag
      • and randomly walk up and STARE at people (waiting for interaction to start)
          • Dante has made himself useful by realizing this and makes shit up. "Greetings, Fearless Warrior, welcome to our humble town. Our village elders would be here to welcome you except for the *Inserts Random Bullshit - Dragon threatens, festival in other town*. He's become a MASTER at figuring out what the hell the gamer wants and "helps" them through the town.
          • This controls the havoc and is why Bremen's Mayor and Elders tolerate him.
      • or start killing people if they think they're in "hostile country"
  • Dante isn't liked AT ALL because Chesires are BAD and can teleport but he figured out what the hell the gamers wanted - to win. So they all gather round - put up the fight and then DIE - in a dramatic fashion and the Gamer thinks he's won and stops So you're sitting there and suddenly the Mayor goes apeshit and produces a BFG and starts shooting up the place and everyone is all GODDAMMIT NOT AGAIN IT WAS THE MIDDLE OF THE HARVEST FESTIVAL

Effects on Resident Life
Townships would turn against each other fairly quickly -

  • Why aren't you hit as bad as we are? What deals have you made? Maybe they're doing this to us!
  • Why are you always hit? Maybe they're a bad town - bad things happen for a reason - they deserve it. Why do we always have to help them/share our food? We weren't hit, why should we suffer for them?

Elders and Mayors should RARELY are effected by this type of hysteria. Ten years on, most are just looking for pragmatic ways to DEAL WITH THIS SHIT.

This should be vary for individual Dominion residents and it affects the way the Grimms are treated. Yes, some of them have been waiting for a HERO to save them, but the Mayor and Elders and others have been dealing with this for over 10 years. There is a social structure for a reason and the Grimms are smashing it.

The Grimms trial in 110 and the Chesire trial in 111 should be A REAL TRIAL - they are NOT being prejudged. The society is genuinely debating a very real issue. The Grimms cannot counter ever point and the towns are not saying it was a deliberate act, but that it had consequences that they might be held responsible for.
World Building

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