World name: Earth... codename NeverSummer
Analogies: Mid 1800s Europe
Feel: Steampunk with magic... touches of Gothic Horror if you want them.
In this world, by the time dawn arises snow dusts the land with overnight flurries most every night of the year. And even in the warmest season, nothing ever grows save the firs, the birches, and the evergreens that shroud the valleys, snug, like a dull-green carpet. The depth of the flurries are determined by altitude. The world is rugged, filled with mountains and valley and lakes. There are a few seas, but no real oceans (by our standards... the largest sea is smaller than the Indian Ocean).
Given the rugged terrain, it is no suprise that the world is highly Balkanized. Various Kingdoms, Dukedoms, Earldoms, have come down to the present from the various Empires that have come and gone.
The world is connected by steam trains. There is some limited air travel, but weather keeps it to a minimum. The trains, laden with the coal that fuels the furnaces of lands afar. The tracks groan in their early morning passing...beset with the same biting chill that makes them a nightly necessity
Most people live in cities. Nestled snugly on the lowest slopes of the rolling mountain ranges, with quaint street-corner lanterns alight as the moon looms high in the evening sky. Large half-timbered buildings line the cobblestone avenues as snow dances delicately in the firelight. Few people mull about the streets at this hour, instead tucked snugly in their homes and apartments, with the quiet thrum of their furnaces warming each domicile, so much so their single-pane windows frost about the edges with the cool, midnight air outside...
In a world where cold is eternal, coal is essential. And in the mines that stretch deep beneath the rolling mountain ranges, slick with sooty grit, thousands upon thousands of hammers and picks strike down and chip away through all hours of the day and night. In these lightless depths, miners gather the black gold that fuels the city sprawl above...and powers the great steam engines that pull their loads through the night, across their cold, groaning rails.
And in a world where coal is a commodity, those who provide it are the Kings and the Queens. Thus while we have nobles, the real power is held by the various Barons of Business. Every region has its own "big man", but there are a few dozen who own monopolies over key industries. In a world used to the absolute power of monarchs and nobles, no one thinks to break the power of a Baron's Monopoly.
The Religion here is that of The Prophet. The Prophet claimed to be the (spiritual) Son of the Primal Diety. This primal diety created the universe and all the other lesser Gods. Upon his return to the world, he took the reigns from those lesser gods and forbade their worship. He sent his son to inform people of this change and his Avatars (Angels) to inform the lesser gods. Those lesser Gods that did not become Avatars were destroyed. People know that the lesser Gods were defeated as their clerics could no longer draw upon their power (i.e. no clerical spells). The Prophet's Church was built upon the ruins of the lesser churches. (The religion has a JudeoChristian feel, except that the Avatars are given special worship, much like Catholic Saints). The Prophet's church is the only source of healing (magical or otherwise), spiritual protection (spells vs demons, magic, and evil), and wisdom. The Paladins of the church, tend to be witch hunters- those that hunt witches those that use magic beyond mortal control.
Magic is very possible here. Once you create a mystic channel to create a spell effect, controlling it is the difficult part. Results can easily flux between more and less than you expected with the spell (every spell requires some kind of control roll to moderate results). Despite all the iron lines that disrupt the ley lines of the world, the magic level is still quite high. Spells that are miscast tend to do so spectacularly, those that are not perfectly controled tend to have side effects. This is not a high fantasy world with epic spells, but a world of moderate powers.
Note: Most practitioners are low-skilled dabblers...and since the mana level is very high, a failed spell is always interesting in its results; which makes magic fickle and dangerous to use, yet painfully easy to learn.
Every spell requires a verbal component (usually chanting or a ritual script), a symbolic component (mystic circles, pentagrams, etc), and magical tools to impliment. This ensures that control is maintained. All magic users need to have a license from the local government. It is said that no mortal magic users can cast without the three tools of control. To do so requires a witch.
Note: a spell caster of some skill can easily cast without the three components. If caught, the person is branded a witch and is normally killed soon after. (Note real witches are very powerful, having given parts of their soul avatars over to the dark spirits.. they can cast without any restraints and get better results).
As for races in the world... I see this as mostly a human world. There may be several types of Human variations, including theiothropes. There may be Dwarves/Gnomes here. The Elves have long left for the West.