The Kingdom of Sable is located on the Primary Realm in the Middle Lands of the Terra Magica/Luxor system – equivalent to Amber in a more standard ADRPG-based game. It is believed that the whole world was originally also known as “Sable”, rather than just the area now within the borders of the Kingdom. However, as the Reich gained dominance, they chose a name more to their liking, and the world is now usually referred to as Magica Superior. Magica Superior is a roughly spherical planet with a single moon. The Northern Hemisphere is split into two continents, separated by 2,000 miles of water. The Eastern Continent is roughly the size of Europe and Russia, while the Western Continent is equivalent to Northern America, including Canada and Alaska. The Southern Hemisphere has little land, most of it chains of ininhabited volcanic islands. There is a southern polar continent, but it has pretty much been left to the wildlife, with the only visitors being the occasional scientific or anthropological missions.
The Eastern Continent is the home of the Reich, which has its capital in Berlin, roughly in the centre of the land mass. The Fatherland is surrounded by a protective zone, known as the Sudetenland. The Reich is by far the dominant power on the continent, although the Kingdom of Sable is protected from its advances by the disputed territories of Schweiz and Franca, and the Sable Mountains. The Sable Mountains are a range approximately 2,500 x 3,000 miles in area, reaching over 20,000ft at the peaks: the highest point is Mount Anglia (referred to as Mount Vanaheim in the Reich), at 20,320ft. However, it is remarkably difficult to try to get into the mountains from the rest of Magica Superior, and interlopers usually find themselves going back the way they came, although on the bright side there doesn’t appear to be a problem with altitude sickness in the mountains up to about 10,000ft. Within the mountains there is a central plateau approximately 375 miles by 275 miles averaging 5,000ft above sea level, with a number of rivers crossing the plateau, but only one – the Sable River – flowing off the plateau, through a gorge in the mountains to the north. In the centre of the plateau, an extinct volcano with a lake in the caldera rises (surprisingly gradually for a volcano on its southern slope, though more steeply on the other faces) to about 1,000ft above the surrounding area, making it the highest point on the plateau.
The Western Continent is weaker, immersed in both internal wars among the three countries there, and hostilities with the Reich. The Reich has achieved a foothold in the West, but still has to take full control. However, in the meantime it wages a bloody campaign of conquest, helping its own cause by having Reich agents foment the struggles between the three countries, to make sure they never ally against the Fatherland. In the final run-up to the signing of the Peace Treaty, Sable managed to push the Reich forces back to some degree in Franca, on the Eastern Continent, but the Reich pushed out Eastwards and also managed to take firm control of more territory on the Western Continent.
There is something of an oddity regarding time zones on the Eastern Continent: despite geographical distance and the fact that the world is spherical, Sable and the Reich share a time zone, although Espanero is one hour behind Sable, the Western continent is between six and ten hours behind, and the countries to the east of the Sudentenland are forward of the Reich.
The Kingdom of Sable
The Kingdom of Sable (total population 40m) is located to the north-west of the Eastern Continent of the Shadow, on the central plateau of the Sable Mountains. While small compared to the continent on which it is located – at roughly the area of the United Kingdom – it is the seat of power for a cross-Shadow Empire that is almost three times larger than that of the Reich. Despite its location and altitude, the Kingdom of Sable is surprisingly temperate, with limited snowfall compared with the high peaks surrounding the plateau, and the plateau itself is criss-crossed with rivers and rolling hills. Sable City (population 4.5m) is built on the southern slope of the extinct volcano at the heart of the plateau. The Sable River enters the Kingdom from the mountains roughly 125 miles south-east of Sable City
The second largest population centre is Riversend (pop. 4m), where the Sable River leaves the boundaries of the Kingdom, about 175 miles north of Sable City. It is something of an oddity, however, as it located around a coastal harbour, and yet geographically it should still be within the Sable Mountains. Due to its importance to the economy of Sable, there is a significant military presence in Riversend and the 50 mile radius surrounding it (the Riversend Militarised Zone), with a full naval base and shipyard, as well as ground forces.
There are five other main industrial cities with populations of over 2m: Avonbridge, Corbridge, Harrington, Manston and Willsburgh, located on or near the Sable River. In addition, elsewhere on the plateau are another six cities with populations of between 0.5m and 1m souls. Apart from the cities, linked by a mixture of road, rail and some river and canal communications, are numerous other towns and villages, many of which are involved in farming and agriculture. The currency is the Sable Pound, aka the Pound Sterling, which has a fixed exchange rate of 1:2 with the Reichsmark.
Sable is governed as a Constitutional Monarchy, with King Robert happy to leave the day-to-day running of the City State to its elected government, except in times of dire emergency (of which there have been pleasently few during his reign).
The Caldera and Sable City
The caldera is a six mile in diameter crater set towards the centre of the Sable plateau, sloping sharply on three sides, but with a much more gentle slope to the south face, on which much of Sable City is built. The lake within the crater, with water so deep as to always be blue, makes the area particularly impressive. The crater is honeycombed with old lava tubes: there is even a large cave mouth not too far along the ridge from Sable City. For some reason, it always has members of the Royal Guard posted on it, although people who have been inside just report that there is a maze of passages there.
Sable City skirts the caldera, especially down the southern slopes of the volcano, where the gradient is sufficiently gentle that building is practical. It is known as a centre of learning, both magical and mundane, and culture. The city is mainly built of white stone, in stark contrast to the grey of the volcanic rock, which is still visible in places. Most of the buildings are only two to three storeys high, outside of the town centre, and three to five in the the central area. There are also some buildings with tall spires and towers, including Saint Michael’s Cathedral, seat of the Archbishop of Sable; Saint Peter’s Cathedral, seat of the Church of Vincenza in Sable; and Sable Mage College.
There is trade to the caldera, aided by the mages and the Sable Guild of Pilots, both from the rest of Magica Superior and also from the Shadows surrounding the Sable Shadow. This mainly comes up the Sable River, which seems to have resisted falling under Reich control, although some trade does come in via rail and road and Pilot. The circle of trading Shadows is known as the Commonwealth.
At the point the Sable River crosses the Shadow boundaries as it leaves the Kingdom of Sable, there is a ocean-facing port city, known as Riversend. The actual location of Riversend is unclear from the point of view of Magica Superior, but its purpose is as the main gateway out into the Commonwealth, and all the trading paths – both land and sea- which lead to Sable terminate here. A railway station and cargo terminal has recently been established here. The railway then follows the route of the Sable River up to the city itself. This has proved popular for both cargo and passengers, as it reduces the time taken to get from the port to the city.
The naval base is commanded by Rear-Admiral Jansen Caldwell, a career naval officer; while the land forces are under the command of Brigadier Marion Collins, daughter of Aldous Collins, Duke of Farview, who has a reputation as a combat mage, as well as a competent leader of men.
The King’s Isle
Slightly to the southern side of the lake is the King’s Isle. It is reached by a light bridge from the rim of the caldera, and the bridge can be turned off for security. The island is about a mile in diameter, and reaches a double peak on the east side, the higher about 700 feet above the level of the rest of the island, and the lower about 300 feet up. The light bridge lands at the top of the smaller peak, and a set of stairs leads down to the King’s Palace, on a more level area of ground about 100 feet above water level.
There are two other staircases. One leads to the summit of the higher peak…and from there it is possible to climb to the air realm, Argent. The other leads down the slope to the beach of the island, where there is a small jetty. If you walk around to the very northern tip of the island, a cairn marks the steps heading down to the water realm, Azure.
The King’s Palace is set in extensive gardens, which include formal areas, a rose garden and a hedge maze. The palace itself is designed after a European villa…three storeys, centred around a large courtyard with a fountain and pool, and lawns edged with box hedges in the centre. The palace is of white stone, roofed in red, and inside it feels pleasantly cool and airy. The formal receiving areas are in the east wing, facing the staircase from the bridge. There is a throne room, and a number of state rooms, including a formal dining room and a great ballroom. The rooms are well appointed, with painted walls and ceilings, set off with gilt.
The other three wings are the private areas of the palace…offices for the King and his ministers, and living accommodations. In the private quarters of the King and his family, the decor is a little different, picking up from traditional English, as well as European.
Transport Around the Kingdom
The primary methods of mundane transportation around the Kingdom are by road and rail. The railway network is very extensive, and has become more so in the last fifty years or so. The road network is decent and kept in good repair, but the largest roads are trunk roads. It does not have a motorway system.
Another major artery for trade and commerce is the Sable River, which rises in the mountains to the south-east of the Kingdom, is navigable within the borders of Sable, and is the only river which flows off the plateau, as well as onto it, meeting the sea at Riversend. The distance from the river where it enters Sable to Riversend is about 300 miles.
In addition, there used to be an airship cargo service, which was faster than the river, for more perishable goods. However, with the expansion of the railways, and the building of a railway line parallel to the river, transporting cargo by airship became uneconomic, and this service was suspended.
In recent years, a new method of transport has also been introduced, namely the Aurellis Transport System. This provides virtually instantaneous travel to the major cities in Sable, although it is not particularly cheap. As far as cargo is concerned, perishables are often taken through the ATS, but heavier, bulk or less urgent products go by road, rail.
A luxury airship service was established in around SY 150, using brand new vessels, for those who have the money and time to spend travelling Sable in a very civilised manner. Since the Treaty was signed with the Reich, operations have been extended over the Sable Mountains to the rest of Magica Superior (now they aren’t afraid of being shot down), and out into the Commonwealth. As these are lifted by safe, helium gas, and driven by magic, the service is considered one of the safest means of travel.