The Kingdom of Sable


Daily Life in the Kingdom

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 late-1920s, albeit still magically powered. This is likely to rise further as the years pass, as technology, metallurgy, etc up to to late-1930s/early-1940s 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.

The age of majority in the Kingdom of Sable is 21.

Life Expectancy

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.

Shape Shifting

Shape shifters 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.


Literacy within Sable is around 96-97%. There is a comprehensive state education system which is free and available for all children up to the age of 18, although they can leave at 16 if they wish to go into an apprenticeship. Public examinations are usually held at 16 ('Ordinary' level qualifications) and 18 ('Advanced' level qualifications), although particularly gifted students may be able to take these early. There is also a parallel private school system for those who would prefer it for their children, either because they believe that private education is better than the public system, or they feel that the 'Old School Tie' is important for the future, or because they want their children to go to a religious school denominated to a faith other than the Church of Sable. The academic year runs from early-September to mid-July.

About 15% of Sable teenagers go to university, usually at 18 or 19, although there is the potential to go up early in exceptional cases. With the exception of Sable Mage College, which has a different charter and structure to the rest of the Sable higher-education system, the university system is organised under the banner of the University of Sable. The UofS has campuses in most towns and cities with a population of over about 50,000 people. The campuses in the main cities generally cover a wide range of courses and are considerably larger than those in the smaller population centres, where the campuses more often cover specialist areas, for example the prestigious Lacey School of Art in Avonbridge. A further 20-25% of teenagers will undertake some other form of vocational higher education, often at local colleges or occasionally on day release to the smaller university campuses. Non-magical undergraduate university courses are of three to five years, depending on the subjects studied, with graduate courses (Masters, Doctorate) ranging between one and three years.

Grants are available to potential students, but on a means-tested basis, which means that those children whose parents are in less well off circumstances have proportionally more of their university funding paid for by the state, while the wealthier families are expected to contribute more towards their children's education. In many cases, scholarships are available, both from the individual colleges and universities, and from the Government. All academic fees, and grants for a reasonable standard of living, are funded by the Government or the Local Authorities for all students going to Mage College, regardless of background.

Additionally, given the extended life expectancies within Sable, 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 any time, and often some years after they originally graduated. For the majority of non-magical courses, the mature student would be expected to pay their own costs, although for a delayed first degree or later other courses, grants are occasionally made available. For post-graduate Mage College courses, government grants can be made available for up to 50% of the cost of the course, with employers often contributing the remainder in return for the student agreeing to work for them for a set period of time after graduation (usually between two and five years).


The Church of Sable is the state religion of the Kingdom and certain of the nearer Commonwealth States, with approximately forty percent of the Sable population (including many of the Royal Family) attending services on at least a semi-regular basis, and another twenty percent observing the major festivals. It is a monotheistic religion founded on Judeo-Christian principles, but is a strange mixture of  the Church of England and some of the older Protestant faiths in beliefs and attitude. The faith is Trinitarian, and believes that God sent his son into the world to try to redeem it. The crucifix is probably the main religious symbol of the CoS, although sometimes a tawny panther is also found in CoS churchs. The Patriarch of the CoS is Archbishop Dennis Dessain, who has his seat at the Cathedral of St Michael and All Angels, in Sable City.

While the Church of Sable is the state religion, religious freedom does exist within the Kingdom. The second largest faith is the Church of Vicenza, an organisation with similar beliefs to the Church of Sable, but with very different rubric and ceremony. The Church of Vicenza originates in the Commonwealth, but also has slight links with the Universal Church, which dominates in the Reich lands. The senior cleric of the Church of Vicenza in Sable is Bishop Giovanni Branco, who is based at the smaller and slightly newer Cathedral of St Peter.

There are also a number of smaller religions within the Kingdom of Sable, with a diversity of beliefs and ritual.


Within Sable City, the main method of private transport is horses or horse-drawn vehicles. However, these are relatively comfortable by the standards of these things, due to suspension, sprung upholstery and rubber tyres.

As far as public transport is concerned, there are both horse-drawn and steam-powered omnibuses on the streets of Sable City and other major towns and cities (if rather more of the former than the latter). In addition, there is a major recent development in Sable City itself: an underground steam railway which was opened about twenty-five years ago. This has five lines: one running approximately north-south, one roughly east-west, and three others with more intricate routes. All five lines meet at Central Station, near the central square.

Sable Grand Pilot InsigniaOutside of Sable City, in the rest of the Kingdom, the primary method of transport is the railways, although there are also coaching routes to the major areas of settlement around the country, as well as river taxis for those who prefer a more sedate method of travel. A network of canals exists, although this has started falling into relative disuse in the thirty years since the railway gained prominence.

In addition, Sable has access to the Aurellis Transportation System, controlled by the Sable Guild of Pilots, under Jennifer Carruthers. The ATS system has stations in the major cities in Sable and around the Commonwealth, although the cost of fares is high.


The Sable Police Force is split into two main bodies: the Metropolitan Police, and the Royal Sable Mounted Police. The Metropolitan Police operate within the city limits of all the major population centres of Sable (population of 20,000+), while the RSMP covers the remainder of the country. The combined force deals with all general policing within the Kingdom of Sable, and occasionally co-ordinates with the security forces and the Royal Guard in matters of State and diplomatic security.

The Met operations in each city are run by their own branch hierarchies, each reporting to a local Police Commander, and therefore a Met officer from one city will need to check in with the central police station of a city he may need to visit, to establish his credentials. However, this is very much a matter of courtesy, as the individual Met branches are ultimately part of the same overall force, and know they are working to the same goal.

The RSMP is a more homogenous unit, with a single Commissioner based in Wickstone, in the centre of the country.

For the most part, the Met and the RSMP are run as two separate forces. However, they have been known to co-operate on cross-jurisdictional cases. To expedite this, there is a central office - the Office of the Chief of Police - based in Sable City, which comprises representatives of both of the forces, reporting to the Sable Commissioner of Police, John de Lyon, the highest ranking officer within the police force.

Media and Communications

There is no television within the Kingdom of Sable, as the means to broadcast pictures does not exist. However, there is an audio broadcasting system using crystals and communications magics. This has only developed withinin the last twenty years, and is based on the foundations of the point-to-point comms-crystal system which has been available in Sable for many years (effectively the Sable equivalent of walkie-talkies/mobile phones). Telephony is also available.

Crystal broadcasting involves a central station transmitting on set frequencies. Crystal receivers can be purchased within Sable City, the major industrial towns and cities, and the Commonwealth, and at the flick of switch, the channel being received is magically changed. Receiving crystals are tuned to receive broadcasts from the four stations in Sable City, which specialise in News and Current Affairs, Light Entertainment, classical music, and jazz and folk music. The stations are nominally State run, à la the BBC, but there is little government control of what can be broadcast

The is also recorded audio and some visual entertainment available, in the form of rented sound and illusion crystals: these have a play, performance or other such programme set into them by means of illusory and entertainment magic. Magical players for both audio and video are available (albeit that the former are more common) which will effectively give a perfect reproduction - and in the case of video, three-dimensional - of the recorded material.

There are also five main newspapers commonly available in Sable, plus a number of other, smaller circulation publications, often with a local bias. Freedom of the press is enshrined in Sable Law, although a Thirty-Year Rule applies to the release of sensitive information, and the government also reserves the right to apply a D-Notice in certain circumstances, which restricts reporting on a specific subject while the Notice is in force (for example, military operations currently being undertaken, if real-time reporting is deemed to be hazardous to the forces involved).

Commonwealth Correspondent

Published on weekdays only, in broadsheet format. This paper mainly reports what is happening in the Commonwealth, although there are sections on important events in the Kingdom, and has a Commonwealth-wide distribution. It has a particularly strong Commonwealth arts and media section.

Morning Post

Published weekdays in tabloid format, and very much the mouthpiece for the opposition. It is largely Sable focused, although it does have offices in the main Commonwealth Shadows, including the four Defence-pact worlds, and has a representative in Berlin. Some of the writing is relatively intelligent, although it has a tendency of trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator in the newsreading public.

The Starburst

Published daily in tabloid format. It tends towards sensationalist journalism rather than unbiased reporting of the news.

Sable Examiner

Published daily in broadsheet format, this publication is known for good, unbiased reporting of both Sable and Commonwealth news, as well as having a very highly regarded correspondent in Berlin. The paper is widely available throughout the Commonwealth

The Daily Telegraph

This is the main government paper, published daily in broadsheet format. Its focus is mainly on reporting events in the Kingdom and on Magica Superior as a whole, although it does have journalists reporting from the Commonwealth. Its reporting is relatively well respected, although in recent years it has become something of a government mouthpiece. Its daily circulation is around Sable and the First Veil Commonwealth Shadows.