While the Civil War is ostensibly about slavery, the real impetus was taxes:
Cotton was America's greatest export at the time. The ports were in the North and the plantations in the South. See where this is going? Northerners did not want to trade with England because of the taxes and tariffs the British wanted to levy on them. Suffrage was literally an afterthought to the Civil War, forwarded by historical revisionists; it had everything to do with destroying the plantation system and crippling the South - freeing the slaves was just a good cover-story!
Obviously slavery is bad (mm-kay?) and The Weirding does not condone it, nor is this subversive material (our only agenda is gaming!), but the Plantation System was literally the Feudal System in America. The North had no (or few) plantations because their climate did not allow them to grow tobacco, cotton, et.al.; the Union controlled the shipping, but not the product(s) they shipped.
For these - and other - reasons, the divided populations (on either side of Olde and "New" Vincent) were racially mixed (as they are today), but Olde Vincent - where the docks are - backed the Confederacy, because they would have rather paid taxes and made money than be at war and make none! Remember, Olde Vincent backed England during the Revolutionary War for the same reasons.
Like any metropolis, Vincent is ethnically diverse and racially mixed. Only History Teachers would know this about the War and no one alive harbors a grudge over a 150-year old war.
With that out of the way, some revisionist history is necessary on our part, as America developed from East to West, yet Vincent is considered to be in the general Northwest and nearly as old as the country. For the most part, just gloss-over this inconsistency.
My research failed to educate me as to the differences between ports, bays, harbors, etc. Vincent Bay is a natural harbor and Vincent's east side (Eastgate) consists basically of the docks.
Vincent is one of the older port towns in all of America. Established in the 1700s, Vincent can be located on any coast in the country. This set is written with the idea that Vincent is set somewhere in the North, most likely the Northwest. Geographically speaking, the precise location should not matter, but it must be far enough away from other large and established port towns for it to have been necessary to settlers and early residents, and successful enough that it continues to be a vibrant and growing metropolis to this day. [sidebar]
Vincent's history is actually closely tied to both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. In short, those who ran the ports during the Revolutionary War did not agree with the Revolutionaries and wanted to keep the ports open for trading with the British. This obviously caused a schism amongst residents. However, Vincent took it one step further: they literally divided the city down the middle and Revolutionary sympathizers relocated (or were forced-out, depending) to the "new city" - the other side of town. That area was christened Oceanside, but derided as "New Vincent" and the name stuck.
It was at this time that the first eyewitness accounts of the "Vincent Bay Frogman" were recorded.
While the boundaries were not closely regarded socially during this time (the British supporters - the affluent port owners of Eastgate - reconsidered their position when the "Lobsterbacks" made it clear that both control of the ports and the ships anchored there belonged to them as "property of the King"), but construction following the War did consider them, as did much of the populace. Within a few years, it became obvious - and accepted - that the port side of the city (Eastgate) was to remain the same and expansion would be from the "new" area. The original settlement came to be known as "Olde Vincent."
The Civil War reinforced the city's dividing lines and this time, they were closely attended by both sides. As before, the wealthy port owners sided with the Confederacy [see sidebar]. Union forces secured the port and its holdings at the start of the Civil War, but it was soon "liberated" by Confederate troops (thanks in no small part to sympathizers amongst the Eastgate gentility) and remained under their control throughout. Because of its location, the city was never considered an important target and Vincent survived the Civil War largely unscathed (physically) - but the socio-political divisions were lasting.
When Vincent moved to incorporate Oceanside in 1986 - against most of the district's wishes - Senator Kale Andrews responded aggressively by officially renaming the town "New Vincent," though the pejorative connotation had lost much of its potency by this time. Whether due to lethargy or defiance, the name remains. New Vincent, née Oceanside, was officially incorporated in 1988. The urban sprawl of today is officially designated The City of Vincent. All of this in-fighting had an unintentional effect: Vincent became thought of as an underground mecca for free-thinking individuals interested in alternate religion and (sometimes radical) political activism - a city tolerant of alternate views and unconventional pursuits. This attracted a flood of artists, provocateurs, and religious "pilgrims" throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. One reporter dubbed it the "Deluge of Dissidents."
Perhaps due of this population influx, reports of the "Vincent Frogman" exploded! From 1985 to 1993, one writer says there were no fewer than 407 reported encounters with the beast - several of which produced photographic and motion picture evidence. This includes the world-famous "Vincent Bay Frogman Film" of 1991. Historians say the number was much lower, but do not dispute the boom in sightings. In fact, 1990 became known as "The Summer of Frogman" throughout both the city and the tabloids.
Technically speaking, Vincent is a city-state. And while Karnak Corporate Park is located within city limits, the arcology is an independent, chartered city in its own right. (Karnak Park was not established until 2010, when its doors first "opened" - so to speak).
Vincent Harbor played a huge role in the distribution of spirits during Prohibition. In fact, the entire harbor was temporarily (and famously) locked-down by the federal government at one point, pending investigation! Given the port owners' history of greed, the harbor's involvement in alcohol distribution throughout the Prohibition Era, and the continued presence of known organized crime figures, Vincent's reputation as a dangerous, crime-ridden city which often backed the wrong horse stuck. The comparison of Olde Vincent to "Chicago during Prohibition" has been used so often (even today), it's considered clichéd. And, despite city officials' insistence to the contrary, the proliferation of nightclubs (particularly of the topless variety) and the omnipresent drug culture are, to many, representative of the city.
However, Vincent also has a long and storied history in the Arts. In addition to such literary luminaries as gonzo-author, Thomas Hunter, and visionary artists like the late Margaret Simpson - both full-time residents - the Museum of Vincent is renowned for its holdings, and hosts the largest, most popular exhibits. Vincent also boasts two famous dance troupes; the Nikolai Performing Arts Center; several smaller theaters and auditoriums, supported by a spirited community theater scene; and a vibrant Arts community composed of artists, writers, and performers of all stripe. Vincent also has a lost of "street performers," which has spurred the ongoing social debate as to whether or not these buskers are pan-handlers or an acceptable nuisance. There are no mimes. I repeat: there are no mimes. Stadium sports draw healthy crowds and Vincent hosts several professional athletic clubs and outlets.
As for the separation between Olde Vincent and New Vincent, it is more a matter of history (and geography) than anything else. Architects marvel over Olde Vincent's Gothic buildings and design - which clearly divide the city from the Modern, glass and steel buildings of Oceanside - but no one alive in either sector harbors resentment toward the other for the reasons which led to their division. (Of course, if stories are to be believed, there are some in various states of dead who do).
Of course, the Harbor, docks (Eastgate), and Animal Island are here, surrounded by warehouses and industrial parks. Yet Olde Vincent's residential properties are among the most expensive in the city, thanks to their Gothic architecture and historical significance, and the care with which the district has been maintained (mostly through private funding and community effort). Excepting Karnak Park, Olde Vincent is the wealthiest sector of the city and it's almost entirely "old money." Some of the residents here are direct descendants of the city's founders. The artistic district and community thrives amidst the historical backdrop. Opponents of Olde Vincent have branded the residents socially backward and resistant to change - obstinate, out-of-touch, and unjustly entitled.
Meanwhile, New Vincent has become a mecca of the business set and the playground of the rich and famous. Karnak Park is literally a microcosm - a cloistered arcology where business is the official religion and literally everything there exists to facilitate its efficiency and productivity. Outside Karnak Park, New Vincent is a bustling, forward-thinking sector of the metropolis, dominated by gleaming high-rises of Modern architecture. Critics have branded New Vincent radically "liberal" and accepting of all manner of vice and debauchery, especially in the pursuit of money. The entire city's fashion, culture, and nightlife seem hopelessly stuck in the 1990s. All-night dance parties and topless bars constitute the nightlife. Technotronica blasts through the darkened alleyways of all-night dance clubs which sell bottled water at bottled alcohol prices. Strip clubs of all kind litter Eastgate and the borders surrounding the industrial parks, where cops regularly disperse lavish and often impromptu raves (rarely with many arrests). These "shake junts" cater to all variety of sexual interest and range from the high-end "gentlemen's clubs" to the seedy grottos featuring "live sex acts," and "jack-shacks."
There is an active and quite visible drug culture. Drug use is generally romanticized and widely tolerated, and there is an ongoing social discussion over "responsible partying" and "addiction," with an emphasis on separating the two. Alcohol remains the drug of choice. Sex is promoted as a hobby, marketed as a lifestyle, and eventually treated as an addiction. Vincent has a bustling, and largely unorganized, criminal sub-culture of drug addicts and prostitutes.
Fashions tend to be loud, flashy, sexually provocative, and gender ambiguous, with a lot of 1960's counter-culture references (flared and faded jeans, open blouses, tie-dyed prints), too much skin, and too many piercings and tattoos. Along with the metropolis' architecture, this lends Vincent a retro - hopelessly dated, yet slightly timeless - atmosphere and ambience.
In recent years, many celebrities and luminaries have made Vincent their home. Once considered a crime-ridden hotbed of radical politics, religious tolerance, and unexplained activity, Vincent is now a mainstream party destination dubbed "Rave City" by the tabloid press, and a popular Hollywood filming location.
Like the division between Vincent and Olde Vincent, the city runs in "circles." It is quite possible for someone to be so deeply ensconced in his own set that he never encounters elements and individuals from another. Much as any other city, the rich and the poor do not associate anymore than the bohemians and businessmen. These worlds rarely collide for the right reasons, and it is possible for someone from one of these circles to live his entire life without ever learning anything about the others. Of course, there is some overlap - particularly where it concerns artists and the rich, and business.
The Frogman hasn't been sighted much in recent years, though every so often, an eyewitness speaks-out or some photographic evidence emerges, to be quickly dismissed by the skeptics and embraced by the paranormal community. Most are dismissed as drug-induced hallucinations or Hollywood trickery, but the legend remains.
Vincent is a rich, fascinating city full of dark corners, human depravities, and robust personalities, designed over many years of playing. This impelling world is now yours!