The following is a summary of general infrastructure and information on Yamatai. The purpose of this guide is to make RP traveling on the planet easier for players and GMs alike.
While anecdotal information about towns has been provided, this guide attempts to provide a more complete picture of scenery, common routes, transportation options and what to expect in each of the major cities on Wes' old map. However, the new map by Khasidel is considered canon.
Note that this is a work in progress. It's added to as new details are created.
Yamatai has a classic compass-rose sense of direction with a twist. East and west are far more important to them than north and south, so you hear directions such as “eastern north” and “western south,” and “westnorthern” and “eastsouthern.” Nepleslians, on the other hand, have always used the “north-south” compass.
General information is found here. The following is more travel-specific, but some parts will be repeated.
Yamatai's weather is monitored and managed by the central government, but is not directly interfered with in order to maintain the natural patterns of the planet.
Many Nepleslians mistranslate “Yamatai” to mean “rain.” The major cities of Yamatai are rained on about 250 of 315 days of the year. The cloud cover focuses on a three-prefecture area centering on Melanchol.
Yamatai is made up of several prefectures, which operate like provinces, if you're Canadian. While each prefecture benefits from some autonomy – they have governing bodies, law enforcement and provide some essential services – they are far less autonomous than a state within the United States in that they have no tax power and no justice system of their own. Each also relies heavily on the central planning that occurs on the planetary level in Kyoto.
Each prefecture is divided into five to nine districts, which are formed based on population (usually around municipalities). Prefectures with less than 500,000 citizens have five districts; up to one million citizens, seven districts; beyond that, nine districts. The principal governing body of a prefecture is a “board of supervisors,” which is comprised of elected officials representing the district of their residency. The citizens of each district vote on their supervisor, though candidates are offered from a pool of handpicked former officials chosen by the major municipal government inside each district. The Chief Supervisor has more technical power, as that position calls and runs meetings, and all communications must pass through him. Kyoto is exempt from this system, even though it is considered a prefecture and has one large municipality within it.
The primary purpose of the prefecture is to group municipalities. Cities have more political power in Yamatai's system of government than prefectures, but as a result of internal strife decades ago between colonies, central planners decided to ban cities from meddling in each other's affairs. Instead, cities must operate with one another on the prefectural level. To prevent one city from wielding all the power, all the time, the prefecture's chief supervisor position rotates each year to a new district.
These operate as landmarkers by themselves, much as a capital city would in any nation. “All roads lead to Rome” still applies on Yamatai, and there are many worth noting before we get started.
Kyoto (30 million): The capital city. Home to the central government, as well as most of the nation-planet's attractions and industry, not to mention population. It is also home to the Star Army of Yamatai's central base, making it the most heavily fortified city in the known galaxy.
Central Uesureya (10 million): Behemoth manufacturing center in Melanchol Prefecture, and most resembles a modern Earth metropolis. A self-contained unit that pierces ground and sky, it's a relatively short distance from Kyoto.
Kawakyo (750,000): A newly formed city in the center of Vela Prefecture, it was built using 48 old Horizon-class colony vessels to form three rings of 16 ships each. The ships are retrofitted to be more like neighborhoods instead of colony vessels; the starship components were torn out to make more room. The city is a test project to house retiring Nekovalkyrja, and was set up with them in mind.
Malifar (220,000): The City of Fishmongers, a portside town that hangs on the edge of the wide Jhuniata Desert. Ever since its recovery from near-destruction in the Battle of Yamatai it has made great strides as a coastal tourist attraction, and recovering shipping power. A plurality of the people who live there are fishermen or hunters who supply their exotic markets, along with a large amount of Neko retirees from the Second Mishhuvurthyar War.
Trisylvania (??,???): The forest area between Pagoda no Uesu and KnI. Tales of mages and slaves living in those areas often are heard around in the previously mentioned cities, but whether they actually exist anymore is uncertain. With the West Line shooting through the forest with ease, no reports of any suspicious activity have been made in many years. It is considered to be within Melanchol Prefecture.
Black Sands (40,000; formerly 21,000): Volcanic rock has made the beach here as dark as soot, similar to Port Xenn. On Ash Bay, this is the home of a former PNUgen test range now run by Ketsurui Fleet Yards under SARA for mecha testing. After the Battle of Yamatai, many residents from nearby Port Xenn migrated to Black Sands looking for shelter and work, forcing the town to quickly adapt its municipal services to the influx of people. It is within Melanchol Prefecture. Home of Black Sands Test Range.
Uesureyan Fields (590,000): A massive civilian starport and military facility. It resembles Kyoto's military district in many ways, with its many squat buildings, but does not go as far underground as it or KnI. It is part of Kyoto Prefecture.
Lorrheim (258,000): Largest city in Blackport Prefecture. Iconic for its “ashen” grey and black architecture, it is a popular destination for local tourists. Home of the rare Lorrfolk, who tend to occupy the northern end of the city and keep to themselves.
Ketsurui no Iori (1 million): Largest city in Koriyama Prefecture. The second-best defended city on Yamatai, it is ruled by the Ketsurui Clan. It carries several important structures to the clan, and to the whole of Yamatai. Known especially for its one major skyscraper, the former home of WickedArms industries.
Flames (54,000): A city at the southern tip of Blackport Prefecture. Purely a resort town, but of a higher class than Port Xenn, catering to elite clients. The Flaming Hotel, painted with bright reds and oranges, is the star attraction.
Vela (600,000): Plains city in Vela Prefecture, it's the only city of mention in the west subtropical area. Hidden in shadow at the foot of the Vela Mountains, the city's the last stop on the western half of the continent.
Pagoda no Uesu (60,000): The city Uesu built (inside Melanchol Prefecture). It is a circular city surrounded by enormous gardens, a symbolic (and sometimes disturbing) note to visitors of the grandeur of the former Uesureyan Empire. The gardens sometimes contain violent creations and accidents from PNUgen. Many of Yamatai's small clans and villages are within a few dozen kilometers of PnU, though most of the city's population are PNUgen employees (many left when PNUgen became defunct). The city's centerpiece is the 13-story imperial pagoda.
Winsonville (6,000; formerly 12,000): A modest trading post inside Xiuluria Prefecture, north of Lake Xiulu and south of Medigeshrin Bay and nestled at the edge of the Kinen-rin forest. Both the forest and the city are rumored to be haunted. The city was decimated by the fallout from the Battle of Yamatai in YE 33 and the subsequent toxic fumes from the fires left in the path of destruction. The Kinen-rin forest is a tourist attraction for its morbid history and its unique flora.
Tania (100,000): A “peaceful city” inside Kyoto Prefecture inhabited by Geshrin. It is a city of political conservatism, where Nekovalkyrja are generally unwelcome. It is also the only municipality within Kyoto Prefecture with its own police department.
Takekumori (1,200): An example of one of Yamatai's many clan villages, mostly found in the western north within Kyoto Prefecture. It lies about 160 kilometers north of Kyoto, and is just east of Tania. It is under the Kyoto Municipal Police's jurisdiction, but is rarely visited by officers. It is home to the Shinja Clan.
Xiuluria (3 million Elves): “A beautiful Elven city, once capital of the Republic of Xiuluria.” The city is now owned by the Elves, and only licensed businessmen and government officials can visit. Home of the legendary stealth material “Xiulurium” and Lake Xiulu, a massive lake whose water is Elf-owned.
Neta (60,000): At the edge of the rainforest east of Kyoto, this city built around a castle overlooks the Sea of Coriolis. It is a touristy city. The pagoda-style Castle Neta was constructed by colonists wanting to display a kind of architecture different from Castle Anisa's high white walls. It is within Kyoto Prefecture.
Jskita (900,000; formerly 930,000): On the northern tip of Jhuniata Prefecture, this merchant city has always acted as a gate to the Ice Coast and the eastnorthern reaches. It was surrounded by small factories and other commercial interests before the Battle of Yamatai, with several off-planet companies keeping outposts here because of the low corporate tax rates. Though much of its infrastructure was destroyed in the battle, many of its corporate interests have injected money into its reconstruction.
Mezerit (400,000, now 350,000): Frozen City of the North, the only major municipality of Easterwood Prefecture. Known as the location of the Star Army's planetary and special operations schools. Though heavily damaged by the Battle of Yamatai, its reconstruction proceeded at an accelerated pace because of the Star Army's presence. It also is the “home” of Yamatai's forestry schools, based at the edge of the Easterwood Imperial Forest.
Ralt (3,000): The main hamlet of a sprawling group of hamlets along the Starry Mountains in the eastern north, located in Star Prefecture. Buried in snow for about 10 months out of the year. Though it has no industry to speak of, it is a town of hearty and friendly people.
Ternifac (150,000; formerly 100,000): The final city inside Xiuluria Prefecture on the way to Jhuniata Prefecture. A city without a lot of soul, it remains mainly populated with Nepleslian expatriates after the Battle of Yamatai, but many refugees from Malifar and Jskita have come to the town seeking shelter and work.
Port Xenn (50,000; formerly 150,000): A hub of seafaring and interstellar commerce, it got its name from an ancient space warrior. It remains one of the most diverse cities on the planet, even after the Battle of Yamatai, hosting Nepleslian, Geshrin, Yamataians, Nekovalkyrja and even Nepleslian mutants. It is at the west southern tip of Koriyama Prefecture.
Stars (12,000): Temple of the Stars is what it is usually called; it is a sacred spiritual center on Yamatai. It is covered in thick ice. Center of Star Prefecture.
Caitel (38,000): Located at the northern tip of the Caitel mountain range, it is the only major city of Caitel Prefecture. The prefecture is comprised of two islands in the western south of the planet; the islands used to be home to AvaNet. Most of the islands are used for farming.
Frozen Maiden (11,000): The only city in Norfrost Prefecture. At its center is a 70-meter-tall ice statue of a woman wrapped in robes with her hand to the sky, carefully maintained by the city's staff.
Melami (15,000): Found west of the northern tip of the Melami mountain range. It is the only major city of Melami Prefecture, which are the two islands north of Star Prefecture's southern island. The large, main island is used for farming; the small, northern island is a desert Star Army training facility.
Natalia (900,000): The City of Portals, found in Koriyama Prefecture. Another fortress-city, with buildings made of thick grey stone, Natalia acts as one of the auxiliary training grounds for the Star Army. It is practically always snowing in Natalia, and the city thrives beneath the ground through a network of underground tunnels and catacombs — though some are abandoned.
Yumiuki (300,000): Inside the rainforests of Yumi Prefecture. A lush, green, beautiful city, it has awed tourists from every corner of the galaxy since its founding. Naturally, its only mentionable industry is tourism.
Gemis (5,000): A frozen town inside of Star Prefecture. Very few visit it, for it has little to offer anyone. Even less than Ralt. Some Nekovalkyrja have begun to populate it, carving a living out of the ice.
Kyousou (15,000): A seaside town in the Vela Prefecture. It is home to Tamahagane, a sword manufacturing company owned by the Tamahagane Clan. Approximately 15 percent of its population are Nekovalkyrja.
Mei (11,000): A small town located approximately 40km (24.86 miles) northwest of the city of Yumiuki. Some of the inhabitants work in Yumiuki, while other work in the local economy.
A relatively straightforward affair, municipalities rely less on the central and prefecture governments and more on their own economic engines. Unlike prefectures, they have the power to tax, but that power is limited in scope (can levy sales tax, but no income tax).
In times of invasion, municipalities can raise paramilitary guard forces, with the cooperation of the Star Army.
All utilities (electricity, water, sewage and trash control) on Yamatai are handled by the municipal, prefecture or central government.
Yamatai has been powered by aether since it obtained that technology. The central government funded construction of aether powerplants to power every major municipality on the planet.
Those municipalities operate their own utility districts.
Smaller towns almost universally buy their power from whatever aether-powered municipality is closest, but some use consumer-sized aether generators used to power cars to provide energy for villages or remote homes. Others use plasma generated by trash or other matter from the environment to generate electricity.
Stars Prefecture eschews aether for geothermal power.
Since Yamatai's climate is controlled by the central government, surface water (from waterways, rain or ice) is a near-infinite resource for every prefecture except Jhuniata.
Giant artificial reservoirs dot the planet, and most have distribution and treatment facilities built over them. An exception is Xiuluria, which has a natural reservoir in Lake Xiulu and has built its own aqueducts.
Water recycling is paramount on Yamatai, and the central government offered very steep discounts to municipalities, towns and other collections of people in order to get them to build water recycling plants. About 95 percent of water used in municipalities is recycled; about 75 percent is recycled in farming prefectures. Water that isn't captured by the recycling process and turned into whitewater (usually water from industries) is sold off-planet.
An underground aquifer and desalination facilities provide all of Malifar's water; other small towns and villages in Jhuniata Prefecture rely on aquifers.
Norfrost and Stars prefectures have glaciers chosen by the central government they are allowed to “mine” for water ice. The ice is melted in large, heated cylinders near the reservoirs.
Only “off-the-grid” homesteads are not serviced by centralized sewer and garbage. The central government pays to have sewer systems and municipality- or prefecture-run processing centers to turn the blackwater into whitewater again.
Yamataian law bans any consumer product or packaging that is not either biodegradable or able to be used as plasma fuel (homesteads tend to prefer the latter option), so garbage that is collected by municipalities is turned into compost and either transported to farming prefectures or sold off-world.
There are two basic modes of transportation in any government system — public and private. We'll look at public first.
All municipalities offer at least one form of transportation, offered through the central government in Kyoto, called the Flying Carrier Automatic Remote system, or FCAR. This is a system of automated, bus-like air vehicles with wings and fluid lines that carry anywhere from 30 to 100 people, are powered by a hybrid of fusion batteries and solar energy, and are maintained by the central government. The FCARs are completely environmentally neutral; they utilize fold-out props and rise high enough in the air to get above bird populations.
Advantages: Free to use, the system is sometimes the only mode of public transport that can reach the planet's farthest corners. Wait at one of a municipality's stations for an FCAR to arrive. Smaller towns only have one station; larger ones have up to 5, with Kyoto having 20. Depending on the destination, basic food is available (nutrition bars and MREs, usually, with recycled water to drink) in the pockets on the back of the seats. Also very punctual and low-maintenance.
Disadvantages: FCARs are slow, with the fastest reaching speeds of about 300 kph. The longest trip — Winstonville to Gemis — takes 21 hours. You also have to provide your own entertainment, so don't forget to bring a datapad!
Prefecture-based public transportation is rare because of the weak nature of most prefectures. Nearly all of the smaller ones have a form of the FCAR system or trains. The larger ones rely on municipally funded transports.
Norfrost: Has a fleet of 20 FCARs purchased from the central government, and flies them out of the same station in Frozen Maiden, the only city in the prefecture.
Easterwood: A fleet of 15 FCARs purchased from the central government, serviced out of Mezerit. Also has one train line that reaches into the west of the prefecture to the Special Operations School maintained by the Star Army.
Ice Coast: A fleet of 10 FCARs purchased from the central government, serviced out of Mezerit. It has one train line that stretches across the eastern tip to the western tip of the prefecture.
Caitel: A fleet of 20 FCARs purchased from the central government, serviced out of Caitel. It has two train lines that circle each island.
Gemis: A fleet of 10 FCARs purchased from Melami Prefecture, with one partially underwater train line between Gemis and the eastern island's main town, in the center of the island.
All of Yamatai's public trains are clean and comfortable to travel in, but offer very few amenities compared to private lines. The trains are six seats plus one aisle wide in the passenger cars, with generous leg room and cushy, reclining chairs, usually a Star Army blue-grey. Most have only one track.
The East Line: Runs between Mezerit, Yumiuki and Malifar. A 600-kph, two-track, anti-matter-powered train system crosses over mountains and under the sea. It's also free to use.
The West Line: Runs between Natalia, Ketsurui no Iori, through the ruins of Pagoda no Uesu's manufacturing facility, Tania, Kyoto, Uesureya Fields and Vela. It is a 600-kph, three-track, anti-matter-powered train system and is free to use.
The Cold Line: Runs between Mezerit and Stars. A 400-kph, nuclear-powered train that crosses over the water. The track splits open in one place to allow seafaring vessels to pass.
The Frozen Line: Runs between Frozen Maiden and Stars. A 400-kph, nuclear-powered train that crosses over the water. The track can split open in three places to allow seafaring vessels to pass.
The Underwater Line: Runs from Stars to Gemis. A 300-kph, nuclear-powered train that crosses under the water at a depth of 100 meters.
The Plains Line: Runs between Vela and Winsonville. A 300-kph, nuclear-powered train.
The Caitel Line: Runs around the entire island of Caitel. A 300-kph, two-tracked, nuclear-powered train.