York

York is a city-state of Albion, situated in the tundra spread across the southwest area of Nalbin. York is governed by the Kingdom of Albion. It is also called the Grey Sector by locals thanks to the chilly weather and expanses of taiga.

This city on the tundra was founded shortly after the conclusion of The Old War in PA 0. The Grey Sector was originally intended for no purpose, sporting wild boreal forests, winding rivers, rocky outcroppings, and thin soil. Localised terraforming attempts failed at first, as the weather proved a nuisance to machinery. Its connection to Orbital Object Null was situated just shy of the middle-point of the area, close to a large river. Around it and upon relatively solid ground, the city-state of York was built.

Shortly after building lodgings and infrastructure begun in PA 0, solutions were floated to combat the sector's infamously temperamental weather. The first, proposed shortly afterwards was the design of hulking 'brick like' buildings of stone and steel - foundations striking into the land - and each building fastening to each other; Rooted all in place, and connected by 'plug and play' infrastructure. Once 'rings' of these brick buildings were erected and layered atop each other, a logical conclusion became apparent: It involved building massive domes, capable of rendering its interior suitable for habitation, while leaving the Object Null Node out in the open. From there, it was possible to render portions of York within the rings much more pleasant, and eventually colonise the area.

Even so, you don't come to York to admire the blizzards.

People

York's demographics are mostly human, with other humanoid aliens who thrive in cold conditions present. Amongst humans, the cultural demographics are primarily Hagbloods and Greasehearts. The presence of Hagbloods goes back a long way due to magic colleges being established locally after the Old War concluded, and Greasehearts were responsible for erecting the protective domes over populated areas and creating the industry to support it. Other cultures have enclaves here and there, but deign to live outside of the domes of York.

The outlook of York's populace is a traditional-leaning, and conservative outlook amongst residents whose families have direct connections to the Old War - either affected by it, participating in it, or building a future out of it. Expatriates and travellers who come to York for the universities and rich magical culture are steadily introducing liberal ideas, but they are resisted by the traditionally inclined Governor and political establishment. The most common crimes include public nuisance, arson, infractions in the blanket of magic misuse laws, and contacting Weird Things without proper protections or qualifications.

Notable People

The following player character and non-player characters are noteworthy natives of York:

  • Politicians
    • Ulysses Vernon - The current Governor of York. A Hagblood man connected to an influential family of magicians, whose ancestors provided Gavin the Younger with their services and skills during the Old War. For their efforts, the family was awarded knighthood, and currently enjoys political office. Ulysses is the latest heir to govern, showing interest in topics such as freedom, magecraft, and making York a more attractive place to live in.
    • Erin “Emmy” Lee Pardo - A foreigner in York's parliament, Erin Lee the sister of the governor of Poyning, Amy Lee. Erin and Ulysses Vernon are working with each other to ensure the refinery technology used throughout York is working up to spec and standard. The agreed end-goal is the modernisation of York, making it a more attractive place for travellers, workers, and investors. In return, a handful of key exports to Poyning have reduced or completely eliminated tariffs. She is concerned primarily by worker's rights, union thuggery, and auditing and repealing useless or counterproductive regulation.
    • Dame Geraldine Massey - Head of the Parliament Guard, and nicknamed “Vernon's Shadow” for her unwavering loyalty to the Governor of the day, particularly the Vernon family. Dame Massey is a soldier at heart, previously holding the rank of Colonel in Albion's military, fighting with archaic weaponry, caster rifles, and wearing archaic armour empowered by magic runes. In addition to overseeing the protection of York's parliamentarians, she serves as one of York's chief defence strategists. She is commonly alleged to have fought a dragon, and bears numerous scars across her body from the fight. She neither confirms, nor denies this, and refuses to go into further detail.
    • Harald Stowe - Harald Stowe was, by even the kindest of accounts from his peers, an arsehole. He was originally a lecturer at Horrigan University who went on to try his hand at local politics for the benefit of the institution. As his lust for power rose, he found himself a thrall of a wicked thing beyond his control, and became an unnatural creature of dead flesh and hunger for the weak. The rest of the Stowe family quickly cut ties with his bloody works when they came to light, and were quick to assist authorities in outing his lairs. He was hanged from the neck in pa_66 and entombed in an unmarked grave with a brick in his mouth1). York's citizens are glad that he's gone, that his name is mud, and his legacy is buried, but allege Harald's wickedness lives on in his bloodline. They see it in the behaviour of his offspring, particularly Lady Jessica Stowe…
  • Businesspeople
    • Terrence McCann - An industrialist and a contender for York's governance. A Greaseheart man whose family was responsible for building the first countermeasures to York's harsh temperatures. The McCann family's innovations were since refined by others into the flexible domes currently used throughout, and the McCann family business became a secondary, but long-running player in York. Terrence has aspirations to go for the position of Governor, but his word as a businessman in McCann Metals is better respected.
    • Lady Jessica Stowe - The current ruler of the Stowe family, living in Stowe Citadel overlooking Packer's Row, and responsible for coordinating the grand corporate strategy of Stowe Exports Incorporated. She makes no illusions as to her predatory and aggressive business tactics, earning the derision of more ethical businesspeople, but undeniably effective. The Stowe family is currently at loggerheads with the McCanns, for being a persistent rival and a bottleneck for most of the civilian-grade materials exports from York, to the rest of Albion.
  • Celebrities
    • Crunch Fistkick and Crush Footpunch - Real names Pierre and Adrian Brewer, Crunch and Crush are a brother-pair of outlandishly manly celebrities, renowned for being typecast as the largest, muscular, and most intimidating bad guys on screen. Together revelling in the image of being huge and full on. On set, they often compete against each other playfully if they are within shouting distance. It isn't uncommon to see them get injured when they try to one up each other in front of the camera. A solution was soon found: Don't cast them together. People are unsure of whether these two are serious about being so manly, but they sure look like it!
    • Bridget Kuniklo - The local contact and reporter for Astro News Radio, responsible for collating and transmitting local news broadcasts to Astro. Bridget is a plain looking lady in her mid thirties, known for the distinctive beanie and goggles she wears on cold days. She is surprisingly deadpan on camera, despite the numerous and frequently bizzare magic-related accidents she covers for the evening news.
    • Geoffrey Magnussen - This athlete native to Manhaven has competed in dozens of amateur wrestling tournaments around York, and Albion. He became an interplanetary sensation in the Aleph Cluster, rising to fame in the Albion Wrestling Tournament by putting his enemies from far and wide away with the patented Blizzard Suplex. After winning a handful of gold and silver medals, he decided to start competing in professional wrestling shows - acting as a face who relies on his olympic pedigree and clout. He can also be downloaded for use in Fire Pro Wrestling World.
    • Maxwell Pantera - A star football player for the York Boreals, and its captain. Boys and girls alike are likely to have a picture of him somewhere in their bedroom. In addition to captaining the team, Pantera also fields as a striker or attacker. Max frequently uses the lulls in his schedule to make visits to schools, teaching kids the importance of good fitness, teamwork, and charity - as well as signing autographs and showing them his awesome kicking skills.
  • Other
    • Professor James Ulrich - A grey-haired, bearded and bespectacled lecturer at Horrigan University in his late fifties, Professor Ulrich is famous in the Thaumatology community for writing dozens of papers on the physics and properties of The Weald and Weird Things, including how to communicate with and summon them. He is also noted to have travelled into planes on the Weald in his younger days with his faithful companion - a spectral sighthound by the name of Billy. At the moment between lectures and lulls in his research, Professor Ulrich shares some of his findings with the world at large via video blogging. He's not familiar with the computer technology involved however, but Billy knows how to fill the gap.

Phenomena

As one of Albion's oldest cities and a nexus for magicians, and lots of raw resources through trade and refinery, York is a hot-spot of strange phenomena.

  • Spirit Lights - Out in Freyr's Fen, travellers and locals report seeing glowing wisps hovering over the bogs and marshes. Old wives say that these lights are the spirits of people who died traversing the swamp. Said spirits are full of hate and malice, trying to lure others to a similar fate. Modernised locals believe it could just be self-igniting swamp gas, and following them into a dark marsh is a bad idea generally.
  • Ragwood and the Guiding Larch Trees of Ragwood - As described in The Wilderness of York down below, Ragwood is a strange location, where no tree or plant appears to respect each other's personal space - often growing into and through each other, gnarling and tangling to create an unnavigable, dark mess of a forest that continually shifts each month. In addition, the forest beneath the canopy is always shrouded in a dark, sometimes purple fog.
    • Conversely, the only type of tree that does not tangle, crook, or appear 'wrong' are Larch trees, even exuding a small area of exclusion where roots do not trip, the leaves filter sunlight in. The reason for this occurrence is not known, but locals believe it is a curse of some sort upon the woods, and the forest is fighting back by placing its will in the Larch.
  • Solstice and Equinox Events - Mages, Psionics, and others with a connection to the Weald, or those interested in traditional crafts and worships find the solar events of Solstice and Equinox to be auspicious. The position of Albion in relation to Aleph Null's sun is not magical in of itself, but many spell-casters believe that such events lend power to certain rituals.
    • In addition to normal, state-hosted celebrations of these events, mages will come together to perform large rituals together, bolstered by their belief. This gives the York Constabulary and Police Department a headache - as the increased international traffic means there's more people with potentially ill intention to worry about.
  • Gremlins - Derived from Greaseheart tall tales and mythos, Gremlins are responsible for all the misplaced tools, small and annoying faults in machinery, and the one item in a batch of product being faulty. They are frequently characterised as little, foot-tall things with wicked grins and innate technical knowledge aiming to sabotage and waylay work.
    • Workers sometimes engage in inane tasks during lulls in their job to ward off Gremlins, such as leaving a cold beer and chips out to placate the creatures or dancing and singing bawdy songs to entertain the Gremlins and stop them from wrecking havoc.
    • It isn't unheard of for Gremlins to interrupt the works of magicians by causing similar annoyances. Misplacing magical reagents, spoiling ingredients, and spilling hazardous liquids. Mages are better equipped at keeping Gremlins away with wards and guards, instead of negotiating by proxy or entertaining the Gremlin's wicked sense of humour.
  • Sasquatch - A common tall tale among the lumberjacks and timber yard workers of York is a large, furred humanoid who wanders through the woods and living as a nomadic hunter-gatherer, leaving large footprints the size of a man's forearm in the forest floor. Attempts to capture pictures of the creature are bound to fail somehow - photographs are blurry, camera footage is out of focus throughout, and surveying drones experience data corruption upon return.
    • The only reliable source of information regarding the creature's movements are eyewitness accounts and word of mouth. Some huntsmen take it on themselves to track the Sasquatch down, and follow its movements. Witnesses reports come from all over York's outskirts, suggesting that there is more than one, or the Sasquatch may be a species. The Sasquatch is generally shy towards humanoids, and shuns civilisation.

Economy

York's economy is reliant on its trade of refinery and export of materials. York's forests provide lumber, which is refined into timber and shipped throughout Albion. The attraction of working with heavy machinery drew throngs of Greasehearts willing to put their back into working with foundries, mills, and getting it all moved around and sold. York also shares close trade ties with Longuyon for its raw materials. Once prepared and packed onto a train or through Null, the products are exported primarily to Regum, Iwerddon, Myrddin, and back to Longuyon.

The Boreal star of the Grey Sector is famous for hosting a handful of magic schools. They were built shortly after PA 0 as monuments to victory. Many Albionites flock to York for its magic tuition, and other magic-derived services such as divination, apothecary, and transmuting. Scores of casters meet twice-yearly in loose convention at Solstice and Equinox. In doing so, they the town a tourist and business attraction, becoming home to many jewellers and gemcutters2). However, this concentration of power also attracts attention from unwelcome influences, such as Weird Things, fiends, or malign spellcasters.

Common Occupations

The following occupations are synonymous with York's residents.

NameTypeDescriptionPay per annumNotes
Forge WorkerResourcesResponsible for smelting ore into ingots and sheets of metal, and recycling other metals for reuse.AC38000.00 to AC85000.00Hazardous, but a good way to stay warm.
Gemcutter and JewellerResources, ArtsCuts raw gems and shapes precious metal into gemstones, jewellery, arts, and crafts; Using whatever tool is suitable.AC60000.00 to AC125000.00Mages and Psions are frequent customers.
LumberjackResourcesLives away from home for extended periods to cut down trees, eat lunch, wear high heels, suspenders and a - wait a minute.AC40000.00 to AC76000.00Lives out in the woods, and expected to survive alone.
MagisterMagicResponsible for teaching a curriculum of basic magic use, rituals, and identification to students.AC35000.00 to AC80000.00Proficiency in spellcasting and people skills required.
Resource TraderCommercialSells processed materials to market for a variety of industries.AC23000.00 to AC81000.00Economics and financial acumen a must.
Sawmill OperatorResourcesCuts lumber into timber, then pre-treats it and ships it off to various industries.AC28000.00 to AC60000.00Usually in demand.
Service SpellcasterMagicSells magic spells as a service, and other magic-related items to the public.AC50000.00 to AC100000.00Requires good connections and magery.
Wilderness RangerCivicPatrols the taiga for pest species, monitors the state of the wilderness, and scouts for bandits.AC43000.00 to AC75000.00Hazardous. Arctic survival skills desired.

A far-off view of York from the north-east shore of Nalbin looking inland, capturing a nuclear halo event on Orbital Object Null in the distance.
Art by Osaka

Aesthetics

To the exterior out in the taiga, York's exterior buildings look like grey bricks of slate and concrete, shaped to interlock and lay against each other. Antennae protrude from the edges and extremities, blinking with bright red signal lights. Narrow windows look outside, made of transparent sheets of aluminium, double-paned as glass. Most of the structures stand upright, or tilt at up to a thirty degree angle. Larger structures are created by placing 'bricks' of buildings together, interlayering with each other, and covering holes. Spacecraft hangars and landing pads into York are often at the top levels of these buildings, or into holes between the bricks.

These buildings are sometimes spotted alone in the tundra, but once these 'building bricks' form a ring or some other complete circuit by using the land, it becomes possible to construct a climate control dome between them all…

Creating the Dome

Viewed from above, these buildings often look like a series of circles and other interlocking shapes, designed to keep the biting wind and rain of the tundra out, and create a controlled environment. Viewed from the side, most of the dome is covered with transparent Hellenium, while the very cap, any points which support load, and edges near the walls are opaque. Underneath this dome, artificial weather creates semi-temperate conditions, and better soil. Heat is recycled from industrial processes, in addition to providing power. The exterior domes sport solar panels, alongside fusion power for York's city-state.

Under the Dome

Buildings built under the dome are usually constructed from brick, stone, and concrete. The design cues can usually be described as soft brutalism. Integrating the shapes, brickwork, and fortress-like appearance, but using vibrant colours in the stones and bricks - concrete serving to break it up. Large buildings often cluster together, leaving walkways and streets between them, broken up by open plazas, roundabouts, and parks.

Between each series of larger building clusters, there's space for residential developments, with buildings rarely exceeding ten stories in height, and homes ranging from two-storey townhouses to bungalows. The design and aesthetics usually comes down to personal preference, but Greaseheart and Hagblood building styles are frequently seen.

Transportation and Mass Transit

Under the dome, getting around is easy on the ground, with well made roads and cars and raised light rail. The main limitation of having domes to protect from the elements is ponderously slow air traffic. Air transport is this way for safety reasons, as heavy freight can often be disrupted by an aerial collision, and cause chaos on the ground.

However, driving a wheeled vehicle out from under the dome leads to a slightly more intense experience, as snow and rain can make highway driving hazardous. If they go offroad, they have to contend with boggy soil and thick forests. Out here, its safer to use an air vehicle, and flying over the treeline is a common scenic route.

Snow Trains

“I like trains - there's ain't much that can stand in front of them and keep on rollin'. A moose will collect yer truck, and good luck with the geese if you're flying your load!” - Jabbo Tultmann, Train Engineer

These heavy, industrial, diesel and plasma fuelled trains follow tough rails. All aspects of the train, its various carriage types, and the tracks are built to prevail and plough through extreme weather. Though seemingly ponderous, outdated, and their engineering seems odd compared to contemporary models of trains, but a Snow Train's reliability is second to none. They are frequently chugging along through the forests and across bridges. Their sleepers laden with shipping crates, bins of ore, tanks of liquid, and freshly hewn logs. Some trains carry passenger carts, as the routes can provide scenic views across the valleys and rivers.

The Snow Train's reliability comes from its power sources: Plasma cells, and a heat-retaining mix of diesel fuel. The plasma serves as a means of keeping the fuel and oil throughout train's components at optimal temperature, while controlled air intake provides cooling. Cells are usually replaced after a month of use at a train station, while the diesel fuel - the primary means of combustion-fuelled locomotion - is topped up normally.

Hermes Bus Service

The main means of moving people from point A to point B and funded in part by taxpayer money, the Hermes Bus Service is public transportation for getting around York. Users can buy a day pass for AC6.00, a single trip pass for AC2.50, or buy increasing lengths of valid ticketing, as the price per day gradually discounts, up to a maximum of 28 days for AC142.80. Discounts start at 7 days with a %5 discount per day, then %10 discount for a fortnight, and %15 for three weeks or more.

Given the treacharous nature of roads in frequently icy conditions, it seemed reasonable to eliminate the problem by not interacting with it at all. Even so, the Air Busses have hazards of their own, such as snowstorms in winter, or birdstrike caused by mass migrations of geese.

York is divided into three major provinces, and a surrounding wilderness. Running through York is the River Unestam, dividing Valley run and Richard's Lake from Mt. Cranth. Each province of York contains (at minimum) a school, a supermarket, a police station, a fire station, a hospital, a community centre, and the infrastructure and opportunities to find employment. Notably, each providence of York hosts a university of spellcasting tuition: Greyvander Academy in Valley Run, Horrigan University in Richard's Lake, and Ulminster College in Mt. Cranth.

Every neighbourhood across York's provinces contain one or two points of interest. These are locations or buildings known to locals, and interesting enough to attract visitor attention, or repulsion.

:!: For GMs Each neighbourhood and their locations can serve as plot hooks for roleplaying and adventures.
Let these prompts be your starting points, and diversify from there.

Valley Run

The industrial heart of York, Valley Run is the name given to the skinny river runs deep down through an expanse of domed factories, upon raised and reinforced ground. Not far away from Valley Run's industrial centre is a ring of commercially inclined areas, springing up to trade biofuel, metal alloys, gemstones, oil, and timber for other goods from around Albion. To get to Mt. Cranth, cross the south bridge over the River Unestam. To get to Richard's Lake, there are two bridges over the Lumber's Rapids: The Southlog and Northlog Bridges.

The reason for such buzzing trade and rapid industry is the existence of the Orbital Object Null node, located at the southern end of Valley Run. The majority of York's aerospace traffic accumulates around the Node, most often flying up through Ordonlea's Trader's Run, or splitting off and heading towards other places in York. Spires and skyscrapers of bustling commerce, busy hangar complexes, and hazy water docks are common sights on the north and south banks of the River Unestam, with appropriate traffic over the river.

  • Burgeonwood - In the north-east of Valley Run and bordering Rightshore is a primordial redwood forest. The mighty trees dwarf the buildings at its edges.
    • York's mark on the forest is the Journey to the Canopy, weaving through the bark husks of fallen trees, through holes in trees, and upwards into the leaves. Then, the path reaches above the treeline, providing unforgettable views.
    • Up on the mountain is a sunny-looking dome standing out from the snow. It protects the Northstar Observatory's sensors and scopes, observing and recording Albion's space phenomena.
  • Greyvander Academy - By chance, fate, or bloodline, Greyvander ensures all of its students reach their potential, catering for spellcasters whose talents come from within.
    • Football Team: Greyvander Gorgons (Green and Silver, Scales, “We'll stand them still, and run them through! Carn the Gorgons!”)
    • Greyvander's tuition is conducted outdoors at the York Mage Range, a clearing in the woods north-east with ample space and little of value. A lot of things tend to blow up spectacularly here, and the range has hourly rates for non-university personnel to hire the place!
    • The academy is also home to the Ring of Fire, a traditional mage's arena. In some matches, obstacles are spirited into the field in a flash, demanding attention and sharp reflexes.
  • Manhaven - Known as the place named by Greasehearts, Manhaven is a gaudy, loud, and flashy place, where ego burns bright and dies hard.
    • Bodybuilders, fitness freaks, and those who must be ripped to do their job congregate at the Iron Church, a 25 hour3) fitness centre which invites all to get strong together.
    • Not far away and at odds with its surroundings is the Practical Person's Library, stocked with instructions, manuals, and guides for living well, being healthy, handy, and becoming a practical person. Knowledge is power as well, so read a book!
  • Rightshore - This lakeside neighbourhood has a rich industrial history, with a high concentration of refineries, furnaces, and tankage.
    • Floating out by the western point of Rightshore is the flotilla of Daroonga Point. Originally intended to be a dock for yachts, the space had to be utilised as a hiding place during the Old War, and became a residential dock for houseboats.
    • One of the largest smelting crucibles in Albion is located in Gladstone Foundry. Most of York's industrial population have worked with this furnace, specialising in fabricating steel and titanium alloys for spacecraft parts and hulls.

Orbital Object Null Node

A node connecting to Orbital Object Null is floating here…

Richard's Lake

The crystal clear water of this enormous lake provides stunning views across the mountain skylines of York from any of its shores, and down into its depths. Walkers and joggers around the Lake Trail are likely to spot patient fishermen at the edges, rowboats and sailboats schooning by in the distance, and the calls of birds roosting amongst the scrub and reeds. Indeed, one of the main attractions of the lake is the fishing during spring, and its ice sports during winter.

In the deeper waters on a bright day, it is possible to view the floor of the lake just by looking over the side of a boat. White sands furrowed with tufts of kelpy grass, knobbled with boulders, and awash with fish. At approximately a hundred metres deep and regardless of the light conditions, the water abruptly swallows the light, becoming pitch black. The lake has been measured at a hundred and seventy three and a half metres deep through sonar technology, but the figure remains unconfirmed: Exploration efforts usually report distressing imagery of ruins with macabre motifs and alien geometries. Horrigan University has barred people from exploring the lake's depths, and controls expeditions into it.

This providence of York connects to Valley Run via the Northlog and Southlog bridges to the east over Lumber's Rapids, and towards Mt. Cranth in the south over the River Unestam.

  • Horrigan University - Founded by a pact of warlocks who aided York for mutual survival, the castle-like grounds of Horrigan University stretch around the mountain.
    • Football Team: Horrigan Harriers (Blue and White, Lancers, “Cry havoc! Loose the Harriers! Rah rah rah!”)
    • The academic centre on campus is the Library of Others, a building containing volumes on Weird Things, entities, patrons, and other denizens - friendly or otherwise.
    • In an effort to attract scholars and cultivate contemporary sciences, Horrigan hosts a bustling Biology Dome for cultivating and studying exotic flora and fauna.
  • Packer's Row - Stretching north is the pan-like valley of Packer's Row, built atop stony outcroppings and occasionally reinforced with steel.
    • Football Team: York Boreals (Grey and Mint, Redwood Trees, “Walking tall, smashing them all, Boreals' enemies fall!”)
    • Aloof and lonely on the eastern portion of Packer's Row is Stowe Citadel, an enormous castle estate, built by the eponymous merchant family in pa_13.
    • Competing for space and income is the grand Bummaree Stadium, where York's most prominent football matches are held4), in addition to other games.
  • Rittbaster - A sleepy stretch of mountainside gently following the Rapids, Rittbaster is home to most of York's population.
    • The most prominent residential block towers through the dome built around its base: The Rustam Arms; A mixed property with apartments above the dome, and shops underneath.
    • Many residents locally and from other corners of York enjoy the comforts of Matilda's in particular, a bawdy cabaret restaurant located on the intermediate space between Rittbaster in the north, and Skinny Creek down south.
  • Skinny Creek - The cultural and commercial heart of York, Skinny Creek is a cosmopolitan stretch where traders and moguls mull over figures and data in relative comfort and ease, exchanging money, language, and ideas alike.
    • One of York's biggest non-refinery businesses headquarters is Kirin's Peak tower; the mysterious, aerie-like den of Kirin Games Manufacture. It is partially built into the mountainside, looking down at the Unestam and towards Ordonela. Down at ground level, it has a games shop5) - one of the biggest in the Aleph Cluster!
    • For traders and stockbrokers, there's nothing better than sharing data over a cup at Thicc Coffee, a purveyor of soupy and unusually thick brews of coffee, alongside normal staples. The 'Thicc' coffee, which appears to be some form of semi-liquid coffee bean mousse, comes with much more punch than normal, liquid coffee.

Mt. Cranth

Looking toward the south-east bank of the Unestam is a pair of sudden mountains, named Cranth North and Cranth South. With their lofty granite spires, they lift the surrounding area up, creating a series of plateaus safe from the marshier elements of York's landscape. At its heart, Mt. Cranth is York's frontier providence, with tall pines dominating the vista, overshadowed by the stony Cranths. Weaving through and between the mountains are tunnels and bridges - Air vehicles fly above the peaks and safely, or go down the fast way through canyons - buildings stashed into nooks and crannies.

In either case, drivers and pilots can go offroad or around the mountains on either of the bridges leading into the providence, or near turnoffs the western and north-eastern tunnels into the mountains. Both peaks of Mt. Cranth are chilly and tall enough to have a constant peak of snow, bleeding down to the neighbourhoods in winter, melting away during spring, flowing into Lake Longthaw and through windy rivers.

  • Goldmeadow - In the middle spring, the fields around this neighbourhood turn gold as they bloom into dandelions, hence the name.
    • In winter, and up Cranth North is Whitefall Slopes, a prime skiing location for intermediates and experts - while up further are death-defying trails.
    • On the opposite mountain of the valley is Resort Dacha. An enclave of mountain chalets looking over Goldmeadow, built around volcanic hot springs. The conduct of the staff, and feel of the place are … titillating.
  • Lake Longthaw - A small lake known for its freshwater fishing, the long strip of holiday houses facing the lake, and other tourist attractions.
    • With the fishing sprung the Chippy Strip, a raucous marketplace of excellent food, and prime cuts of fresh fish. The quickest and most common order is, unsurprisingly, batter fried fish and hot chips, served with lemon.
    • Another attraction are sightings of the elusive Longthaw Monsters: Large, shy, reptilian creatures not unlike plesiosaurs, capable of surviving the lake's wintery conditions. They eat kelp, fish, and frequently steal meals from fishermen.
  • Ordonlea - Along the banks of the Unestam and overshadowed by Cranth North is York's trade terminus with Regum, and anything through Null.
    • The clear approach up the river makes it the fastest air and sea route to the ports, called the Trader's Run, always bustling with activity.
    • The most common stop for affluent traders and travellers is the Cragview Inn, a combination restaurant and hotel up a winding mountain path, with a scenic overlook of York from Cranth North.
  • Ulminster College - This college seeks students who wish to learn from those before them. In a word: Wizards; Standing together on the shoulders of Albion's greatest minds.
    • Football Team: Ulminster Mindstorm (Red and Gold, Brain and Thunderbolts, “Here comes the fighting red, game to mess with your heads!”)
    • Its main attraction is the Halls of the Mighty, containing statues of great wizards in Albion's history, and leading into the college's databanks and libraries.
    • Those looking past the glitz find themselves behind the Falls of Augury, where Gavin the Younger once meditated long and deep on Albion's state during the Old War, before delivering Albion a decisive and unexpected victory.

The Wilderness

An area of unspoiled, tundra wilderness which surrounds York's civilised areas. Host to chilling winds, wild weather. Animals native to the area include deer, elk, bears, wolves, squirrels, rabbits, foxes, frogs, many birds, and the occasional tiger or moose. In the rivers and lakes, fishers are likely to find salmon, trout, eels, and whitefish. The wilderness around York is prime territory for hiking, and many trails are considered scenic walks. However, the extremities of civilisation around York are host to a variety of boreal phenomena: Snow, freezing winds, marshy trails, and dangerous wildlife.

  • Freyr's Fen - Residing just north of Greyvander Academy and over a river, Freyr's Fen is a misty, syrupy marsh, known to produce eerie lights. Authorities claim they're just incidents of self-igniting Swamp Gas, but more suspicious townsfolk believe they are malign spirits trying to lure wanderers to their doom.
    • It's not unusual to spot animals trapped and drowned at the fen's edges. It is possible to glide over the moor using a hovercraft or airbike. Hikers are urged to stay away for their safety.
  • Lumber's Rapids - Named for the frequent occurrences of trees and lumber found caught amidst the rapids, Lumber's Rapids is a fast-flowing river, flowing north-west and towards the edge of Nalbin. Later on down Lumber's Rapids, the river splits into smaller forks and tributaries, leading to a marshy delta near Albion's north pole.
    • In calmer portions of the Rapids closer to the River Unestam, Lumberjack's Logs are often floated or dragged towards sawmills by 'traditionalists'.
  • Ragwood - A skinny and crooked forest populated by birches, pines, spruces, and the occasional, strikingly upright and healthy larch tree. The other plants don't seem to respect each other's space, growing into and against each other - twisting and curling.
    • A dense and intertwined canopy chokes light, roots plunging deep for moisture. Piercing through the blanket of leaves and providing clearings are Larch Trees. After it rains, fog rolls through Ragwood without fail. Locals suspect the place is cursed6).
  • River Unestam - This large, wide river divides York. It flows from the north-east, with connections to the lake where Rightshore and Greyander reside, and into Richard's Lake. It offshoots into Lumber's Rapids, which flows north-west, while the majority of the river continues southwest.
    • Reaching through Nalbin through York's limits, the Unestam splits off into the Forks. The eastern tine of the fork reaches the ocean into Regum, while the southbound one lurches towards the inland ocean of Pendragon.
    • From either direction, it isn't uncommon to see merchant freighters sailing through the Forks and up towards York. The trip to Regum usually takes seven days, and getting to Pendragon's inland ocean takes five days maximum.
1)
It's tradition for undesirable mages to get 'bricked' after execution and superstition - as they will not be able to move their mouth to use a spell in death.
2)
Spellcasters, Psions, and anyone in between are highly lucrative clients.
3)
Because it's all about discovering your boundaries, and piercing through them to be the best!
4)
Particularly between the rivalling universities, as its considered a 'neutral' territory, being far away from each competitor's influence.
5)
Video games, board games, card games, pen/paper games; made locally or entirely alien. You name it - they got it!
6)
It's definitely cursed.