THIEF Concept Art9

Concept art showing an overview of the City

City Gates

Concept art for the main gate of the City

"History lasts day to day in the city, and it keeps its secrets close."-Garrett[1]

The City (aka The Eternal City) is the primary setting of Thief.

Geography Edit

The City stretches across a area of land referred to as 'The Island,' as well as the surrounding coastline, referred to as 'The Mainland.' The Great River flows between these two landmasses, which are connected by a number of bridges. An autonomous city-state, the City is composed of six districts alongside a large port.

The City's docks are located in the southern area of the main island, and importing/exporting represents much of the City’s economy. The City was even once a maritime power, serving as the staging ground for several conflicts and wars in the past, both civil and otherwise. Its merchant fleet dominated the South Seas for many years, but in recent times, its power has waned considerably.[2]

The City is not the first of its kind; previous incarnations have endured countless disasters, from rioting to wars to plagues, but the City has always risen from the ashes time and time again. Over the years, each new iteration has been built upon the structural bones of its predecessors. This has ultimately resulted in a total of seven different layers spanning hundreds of miles underground, creating a vast network of subterranean passages and antechambers known as The Hidden City. Located beneath the Old Cathedral, the ruins represent what remains of the current City's ancient past.[2][3]

Areas like the House of Blossoms, as well as Our Lady of the Iron Litany, have been built upon such ruins, and remnants of the vanished quarters from the time of the Bresling dynasty can still be found beneath their foundations.[2]

Most of the current City's new architecture is the work of Theodore Eastwick, built on top of the older Cities. This construction began in NRy830, during the Age of Industry brought about by the reign of Baron Elias Northcrest.


The origins of The City are a common source of speculation, which circulates throughout the many streets and alehouses. Several theories suggest that The City was created by the Old Gods who were aided by magical forces and mysterious energies controlled by a secret organization known as The Keepers.[2]

While there appear to be no surviving historical records of the the City's origins, available evidence has led several scholars to theorize that the founders originated from the South Seas, with the First Landing Marker positioned in the initial City’s docks  at the original landing site.[4] It is believed that the colony’s initial goal was to establish a simple trading outpost, before discovering the surrounding area, which provided them with great agriculture and a variety of natural resources. This ultimately transformed the small outpost into an expansive city built on trade.[2]

Over the years, subsequent lords, leaders and kings imposed various political and ruling systems, ranging from monarchy to feudalism to theocracy to merchant conglomerates. Eventually, Lord Laurence of House Black, the second of his generation, became the first Baron to rule over the City, and ushered in an age of stabilization. For over 800 years since, the City has always been ruled by a Baron elected from one of the Great Family Houses.[2]



  • The City in Thief has more of a Charles Dickens-esque Victorian or Edwardian feel to it (mid-1800s to early 1900s) compared to the more medieval/renaissance & mechanist art deco influence of the older games . The technology is less fantastic, but is based on how the old City might look after three or four hundred years of progress.
    • Electric fans (c. 1920-1930's in style), lighting, and other such technology are a common sight within the City, as one might expect from the industrial revolution taking place just before and during the early 20th Century.
    • Many citizens wear top hats and bowlers, along with general Victorian-era clothing, compared the attire of the old City, in which citizens tended to wear clothing better suited to the Medieval or Renaissance eras.
    • The mechanical security cameras seen in the Stonemarket First Bank look like 1890s box cameras.
    • The Baron's government is decidedly 20th-Century fascist in styling, with red and black being the predominant colors of the City Watch .
      • Despite the period, guards still lean toward the medieval in terms of weaponry, with the more elite guards wearing something closer to the Puritan Solomon Kane. There are no firearms in the City; instead, guards utilize heavy iron crossbows as long-range weapons.
    • Buildings lean to a mix of late 1800s-1930s wooden/plaster/brick architecture, with a mix of old medieval stone fortresses here and there.
      • Many of these latter buildings look more like the foundations of the older City, upon which the current City was constructed.
    • Opium and related byproducts are popular within the City, much like they were shortly before the turn of the 20th Century.
  • The time period of the current City is set after 842 of the NRy calendar, existing in a time of a newfound Industrial Revolution. Certain elements from the original Thief games  still exist as part of the City's ancient history:


  1. Dirty Secrets
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Thief Companion App
  3. The Hidden City
  4. First Landing Marker
  5. Lockdown
  7. Lockdown
  8. Ancient Figurine
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