Sable: Life in the Kingdom-1
Life in the Kingdom of Sable
- Daily Life
- Life Expectancies
- Transport Around the Kingdom
- Media and Communications
Despite Sable forces being involved in an inter-Shadow war until relatively recently, the Kingdom of Sable, and Sable City itself have remained relatively untouched by the rigours of the battles going on outside the Commonwealth Shadows. For a long time, the Kingdom itself was at c1890-1900 technology levels, with steam-powered machinery fired by magical heat sources, industrial development, and the beginnings of mass production. This has begun moving forward in recent years, with mass production more common and the overall tech level nowadays, closer to mid-1940s, albeit still magically powered. This is likely to rise further as the years pass, as technology, metallurgy, etc up to to early-190s levels is functional, if not common in day-to-day life as yet (with certain limits as described below).
The currency is the Sable Pound, and there is a fairly stable relationship of £1 to RM2. Private purchases are usually made by cash or cheque, and many individuals within Sable have bank accounts. There is also an inter-bank system of money transfers for larger and commercial transactions. The Pound is the sole currency in the Kingdom of Sable, although many locations exist for converting other currencies to Sable Pounds. It is also a commonly accepted currency in the Commonwealth, where it usually exists in parallel with the native currencies. It is also used in the non-Commonwealth Shadows in the Commonwealth Veils, but only for inter-bank or large industrial and commercial transactions, not smaller and over-the-counter business.
The standard of living for the population is quite high, with clean and relatively safe streets (in part due to a standing police force), running water and sewers and good air quality (to the main heat source for steam being magical, not fossil fuels). Employment is at around 95%. There is some poverty, but it is minimised as far as these things can be. As long as there is a willingness to work, welfare provision is decent; and there is a national public health service and hospital network for primary, non-specialist and dental care, as well as magical healers who can deal with more serious problems for a small fee which is subsidised by the government.
Sable’s tech level is somewhat…interesting, due to the high ambient magic level, which is very much part of the everyday landscape and is therefore the primary source of power. For example, instead of going to a light switch to turn on an electric current, in Sable, you flick a switch and either a light spell activates, or electricity is supplied from magic-powered steam turbines and distributed (depending on your location), and there is a semi-traditional telephony system. The main form of power is the steam engine…there is neither an internal combustion engine, nor any form of petrochemical or atomic industry…and while the social system is closest to pre-Great War, in a lot of areas things the tech is far above that: certain areas which would suggest a high level of technology are very advanced – especially area such as medicine and genetic engineering – due to the nature of the magic that pervades everything.
The fact that Sable has strong trading links with higher-tech Shadows out in the Commonwealth (Sable’s preferred trading partners) means that there are more modern conveniences available (decent suspension on vehicles, for example), as long as they are compatible with steam as the primary power source. However, the more high-tech items such as computers do not work in Sable , and plastics are not commonly available. As far as firearms are concerned, the highest level of weapons available are revolvers, shotguns and bolt-action rifles. There are no automatic or semi-automatic weapons in the Kingdom of Sable.
Sable City itself is largely non-industrial, although it does have cottage industries, some light industrial areas, and an extensive dockyard facility – both for unloading and repairing ships. Most of the industrial production attached to Sable City itself is situated down the Sable River, which flows to the border of the Kingdom at Riversend before transport along it moves into the Commonwealth worlds. Within the last few years a railway has been built paralleling the route of the Sable River down into the industrial towns of Corbridge and Hutchison, about fifty and one-hundred miles away, respectively.
Magic is fundamental to the everyday life of Sable, and therefore it is taught and encouraged both in Sable itself and at certain locations within the Commonwealth. The Sable Mage College is second to none in the rest of the system, and King Robert’s agents travel Shadow, and bring in the brightest and best of the Talented. In addition, all forms of art and learning are encouraged, as well as scientific development and invention, within the restriction of steam power and a lack of petrochemicals.
Sable is a partial adopter of the Aurellis ID system. ID bracelets are obligatory for serving members of the Sable Armed Forces and Security Forces when on duty, and it is preferred (but not required) that such people wear these off duty. They are also required for members of the Sable Government, Civil Service and Diplomatic Service, while in the office or out on government business. The option to have an ID bracelet is available to everyone else in Sable Territory on a voluntary basis, as it is a quick and convenient means of ID. Sable-issued ID bracelets are also compatible with the systems in the Reich and Aurellis, but unlike Aurellis and Reich ones, Sable ID bracelets can be removed if wished. It has been noted that the Royal Family all wear such bracelets.
Within Sable, the life expectancy is about two-and-a-half to three times longer than the human norm – so ages of 200-250 years, are not unheard of and, indeed, are becoming more usual. Often, a Sable citizen will age normally until they are in their late-20s or early-30s and then frequently remain roughly unchanged in health and potentially appearance for the next 100 years or so – unless they wish it to be otherwise, or end up suffering from particularly harsh conditions or deprivations. Thereafter they begin to age at between a a third and a half the speed of a normal human, although that begins to speed up as the years pass. In addition, the proliferation of youth spells (which affect appearance and general health, but do not extend longevity), especially among the mages but also available to the man on the street for a price, means that people remain looking young for longer, even beyond the natural appearance of youth. The usual ages of retirement are 175 for men and women in public service, and 200 for employees of private concerns, although these are not set in stone. Of course, because people live longer, generations of families are also wider – more 35-45 years than the standard 25 years, and because of magic and other matters, women have been known to have children up to their first century, maybe even century and a quarter.
Shapeshifters are present in Sable. About 10% of the population have the genetic marker which, if activated, could allow them to become a shape shifter. Of these, in approximately 1 in 10 (1% of the population) the gene is active to the extent that they will rarely get sick, they will heal quickly from injury and they can survive wounds which would kill a normal person (aka inherent crisis management, or ICM). Of these, 1 in 10 again (0.1% or 1 in a 1,000) have some measure of active control, be it merely the ability to take another form, or the full suite of basic shape shift abilities.
Out in the Commonwealth, life expectancy is about one-and-a-half to two times human norm: 125-150 years on average. Youth spells are less common, and the proportion of shape shifters is lower: 2% have the marker, of which 1 in 10 (0.2%) have ICM, but only 1 in 20 of shifters (0.1% or 1 in 10,000) have active control.
Sable’s tolerance of shape shifters is one of the ongoing areas of disagreement in its relations with the Reich, especially given the number of Reich-born shifters who have defected to Sable over the years through the highly-efficient Underground Railway which exists for just that purpose. While the Sable government does not openly condone the work of the Railroad, it is very rare than a shifter who has come to the Kingdom to seek sanctuary is not given asylum.
In the earlier days of Sable, the tech level was roughly pre-WWI UK equivalent, albeit based on magic, rather than actual technology. As the years have passed, this has moved forward so that at the current time, the native tech level of the Kingdom of Sable is mid-1940s equivalent. It also has good infrastructure (buildings, roads, railways, sewers, telephones, etc). The primary source of power is magic, and electricity is supplied either through magical means, or from magic-powered steam turbines. There is also a telephone system which works on more traditional industrial lines. Gunpowder works. Nukes do not. There are handguns, be they are revolvers rather than automatics. Also, shotguns and bolt-action rifles work. Basic TNT/dynamite are functional, but not any of the more modern explosives.