Life in the Reich
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There are four degrees of Residency within the Reich. Around 80% of the population could be described as being of North European stock, and individuals born into this racial group are deemed to be Reich Citizens. Citizens are deemed to have come of age, and recieve their voting rights, at age 18. The next 10% is made up of Resident Aliens and Visitors, which covers all those born outside of the Reich, including representatives of the Aussenhandel der Reichsverband worlds (see trade) and visiting diplomats. To move from Visitor status to Resident Alien status, a person must live within the Greater Reich (defined as the Reich and the Sudetenland) for a minimum of six months, with the exception of diplomats, who have this status conferred on them after a month, assuming they pass the stringent security checks imposed on new diplomats.
The remaining 10% of the resident population comes from other ethnic groups, and begin life as Non-Citizens, although they can apply for citizenship later and can be awarded it, for example, for great service to the Reich. The number of representatives of other ethnic groups within the Reich has been decreasing, and is down from its original 15%, as many of these people have left the Fatherland for the disputed territories and beyond, or have been detained.
There is a system of Pass Laws controlling the rights of Citizens and Non-Citizens to residence and travel, as well as the carrying of ID papers. All Reich residents are subject to these: for example, all Citizens and Non-Citizens are issued with identity papers on their 14th birthday, and are expected to carry these with them at all times (not to do so is an offence liable to punishment with a fine for the first two infractions, and imprisonment for the third).
Citizens are required to have transit papers, signed by the local Party office, if they wish to travel more than a twenty-mile radius from their place of habitation. Travel outside of Reich-held lands is forbidden, unless the transit papers are signed by the Party chief for the applicant’s home town or city.
The residence and travel measures are more stringent for Non-Citizens, Resident Aliens and Visitors, who cannot travel more than ten miles from their place of residence without authorisation. Foreigners are expected to carry transit papers at all times, proving that they are legitimately in the Reich. This includes diplomats.
Standard of Living and Life Expectancies
The standard of living within the Reich is surprisingly high, given that it is a land constantly at war, and there is a very strong, 1940s-level infrastructure (buildings, roads, railways, sewers, telephones, etc). As in Sable, 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. The currency is the Reichsmark, and there is a fairly stable relationship of RM2 to £1. All private purchases are usually made by cash or cheque, although there is an inter-bank system of money transfers for larger transactions. The Reichsmark is the sole legal tender in the Fatherland, the Sudentenland and the Aussenhandel der Reichsverband, having replaced the native currencies of the trading Shadows when they became part of the Reich External Trade Association, although Sanguine does still have an exchange rate system with other currencies.
Employment is almost full (99%), as to be without any form of employment is strongly frowned upon: after all, there is a war on. In addition, the Reichsarbeitsdienst (National Labour Service) exists to assist with job seeking, and to run national projects which provide state employment (for example, road and rail building, construction). Poverty among the Citizenry is rare, although in the Non-Citizen population it is more common – about 30% of such people live in disadvantaged circumstances, and even those who are employed are in the lowest paying menial jobs. There are therefore a higher proportion of Non-Citizens than Citizens employed within the initiatives of the RAD.
There are those in government who believe that for the nation state to be healthy, the people should be healthy, and Reich Citizens therefore have a very high standard of healthcare. All healthcare for Citizens is also provided by the state, and is both mundane and magical in nature. Non-Citizens are entitled to a certain amount of healthcare under the state system, although they will often be expected to supplement their treatment costs. In addition, public health programmes are encouraged and there have been awareness campaigns on the dangers of smoking and drinking, although these have had mixed results. All public places have no smoking areas, and smoking is confined to specific places in many government and public buildings. There are also several Reich organisations which encourage healthy lifestyles, sports and leisure, including the Nordic Circle, which promotes health and suitable Aryan traits through sports and self-discipline, and Kraft durch Freude (KdF, literally Strength Through Joy), which provides affordable leisure activities such as concerts, day-trips and holidays for the lower and middle classes.
Despite this promotion of a healthy lifestyle, the natural life expectancy within the Reich (and on the rest of Magica Superior) is lower than that in Sable: between two and two-and-a-half times that of the human norm, or about 150-200 years. Of course, the hazards of living in a state such as the Fatherland can have a foreshortening effect, which most likely affects the average. Youth spells (which affect appearance and general health, but do not extend longevity) are available, as in Sable, but are usually restricted to mages, high Party officials and other faithful servants of the Reich. The usual age of retirement, both from government service and private concerns, is 140 for men and 130 for women.
Among the Citizenry, literacy is around 98%, with a full state education system up to the age 18, including specialised academies, the most prestigious of which are the Kaiserin Elsa academies, which have been attended by many senior political and military figures. Children can choose to leave at 14 if they can give a good reason why, for example, going into an apprenticeship or working full-time with the Reichsjugend, although they are not allowed to join the Reich armed forces until their sixteenth birthday. For Non-Citizens, literacy is a rather lower 90%, and state education is only provided up until 16, although they can pay to remain in education until 18. The academic year runs from the 1st February to the winter solstice, and there are national examinations held at the end of each term, to make sure that standards of education across the Fatherland remain consistent.
Parents are solely responsible for the behaviour of their children until they reach 14, and can be called to account if their offspring cause problems. Between 14 and 18, children are considered to be responsible for their own actions, although they aren’t considered full Citizens (Non-Citizens, etc) until their 18th birthday, when they reach the age of majority and get the vote.
As far as further education is concerned, undergraduate university courses are of four or five years, depending on the subjects studied. There is no overarching national university system in the way there is in Sable: all of the major provincial cities and many of the minor ones have their own universities, and there is considerably rivalry between them. However, below the surface, the nature of their charters, traditions and curriculum is firmly legislated by the Department of Education and Science. Potential students have a choice of going to university straight from school, or deferring until after they have done their State Service, with the potential to defer until the person is older meaning that almost 25% of Citizens will eventually attend university, with a larger overall percentage attending other forms of vocational course. For Citizens, undergraduate education is state funded as long as the student has made a commitment to undertake State Service (or indeed, has already undertaken it), or if they intend to study magic. If they have not, then the student is expected to contribute a certain amount towards their higher education. For Non-Citizens, higher education must be privately funded unless they undertake State Service, when up to 50% of their higher education costs will be met by the government.
Scientific and technological progress – both magical and mundane – are encouraged. To this end, the Kaiser Wilhelm Scientific Institute was established about forty years ago, as an umbrella organisation for academic scientific and techno-magical research at a number of locations in Berlin, and projects deemed vital to the Fatherland can receive additional funding from the Kaiser Wilhelm Fund for Trade and Industry, to which all industrial concerns pay a small annual levy.
It is not unusual for adults to return to education – both magical and non-magical – to take selected courses, a delayed first degree, a full second degree, undertake a post graduate course, or any combination thereof, at a later date. Post graduate degrees take between one and three years to complete, depending on subject. For non-magical courses, the mature student would be expected to pay their own costs. However, this can include gaining sponsorship from a duly constituted Reich company, in return for a guarantee to work for that company for two to five years after graduation; or applying to the Kaiser Wilhelm Fund for a grant. For a delayed first degree, grants will often be made available from local or regional government, especially if the potential student has done their State Service or otherwise served in the military. The government fully funds post-graduate Mage College courses.
The major mainstream religion within the Reich is a monotheistic one based on semi-Biblical principles, but with the Aryan race considered as predominant in its beliefs, known as the Universal Church. While not originally completely accepted by the Reich government, it was never suppressed, as it has always been very careful about its criticisms of Reich policy. Moreover, over the last thirty years or so, acceptance of it from the Powers that Be has grown, and it is allowed to operate openly, with all major population centres having churches or chapels dedicated to it, and many landowners building smaller chapels on their lands to enable their tenants and subjects to worship if they wish. Around fifteen percent of the population of the Fatherland and the Sudetenland attend services on a semi-regular basis, with another fifteen to twenty percent attending major festivals, including some members of the Reich upper hierarchy. The Patriarch within the Reich is Archbishop Henning Gerlach, who was appointed to the position by the Reich Council of Bishops about ten years ago. His seat is at Saint Rafael’s Cathedral, in Berlin.
However, there is also a strong pagan element to Reich life, especially within both arms of the Schutzstaffel, which harks back to the old Norse and Germanic beliefs of old, and there is strong interest in ritual and the occult among certain elements of the population.
The Reich Media
The Reich Media is overtly controlled by the Reich Department of Propaganda (RDP). As in Sable, there is no television in the Fatherland and the Sudentenland, but there is one crystal radio station. All publicly available crystal equipment leaves the factory tuned to the specific frequency, and attempting to change that frequency, or possessing a non-authorised receiver, is grounds for a fine, and imprisonment for repeated infractions.
There is also audio and visual entertainment available, in the form of rented illusion crystals: these have a play, performance or other such programme set into them by means of illusory and entertainment magic, and a magical player is available which will perfectly reproduce (either by sound, or three-dimensionally) recorded material.
There are two State-accredited newspapers commonly available across the Reich, and both of them are heavily State controlled.
Generally toes the party line, although it has been known to publish the occasional unbiased report – although it usually stops short of outright criticising the Kaiser. Its editorial bias is towards the greatness of the Kaiser and the Reich, although it is willing to give credit where credit is due. It is widely available within the Reich itself.
The more obvious propaganda mouthpiece of the Reich. Das Tag dwells on the greatness of the Reich forces and their commanders, especially Rupert Delatz and the Empress. It has never been known to criticise, or even particularly question, Reich actions, and is very vehement against left-wing, bleeding heart Sable.
In addition, each Province will have its own newspaper, which deals with issues specific to the Province, covering the national news in less detail. However, these, too, are heavily regulated and monitored by the Provincial governments.