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"When one is tired of Altdorf, one is tired of life."
Siegfried Johanson, noted rake-about-town[22a]
"The stench betrays our city's true nature. It rots from within, and as it decays, so too does our mighty land!"
Seiger Rohr, Street Preacher[32a]

As the seat of Emperor Karl Franz, Altdorf is the de facto capital of the Empire,[7p] and it has been the Imperial capital since the accession of Wilhelm III, Prince of Altdorf, almost a hundred years ago. As the current seat of the Imperial Court, Altdorf supports a flourishing economy, which attracts all kinds of people. It is a bustling city with a substantial community of merchants, adventurers, mercenaries and fortune seekers from all across the Old World. The wealth passing through Altdorf's gates and the political intrigues that unfold within its courts also support a rotten underbelly, a den for thieves, corrupt city officials and assassins.[9e][9f] Cultists gather by night, ever hunted by prowling Witch Hunters.[35e] There are certain streets that even the city watch avoids at night for fear of finding a dagger stuck between their shoulder blades.[9e][9f]

Aside from the Imperial Court, Altdorf houses many of the nation's other preeminent institutions. The city is renowned as a centre of learning and the University of Altdorf is the most highly respected academic institution in the Empire, where lords and princes from many lands come to sit at the feet of Mankind's foremost thinkers. Altdorf is also home to some of the most important organisations in the Old World such as the Colleges of Magic — the centres of magical lore and learning that are justly famous throughout the Empire and beyond. It is here that the Old World's finest mages learn their art, and where the Empire's deadly Battle Wizards are trained, making it the magical capital of the Old World. Another great institution is the Imperial Engineers School, founded by the Tilean genius Leonardo da Miragliano, where some of the greatest inventions have been made.[3b][9e][9f][35e][40c][40d]

Altdorf stands astride the confluence of the rivers Reik and Talabec, and is renowned for the numerous bridges that traverse these waterways. Many of these bridges were designed by the Imperial Engineers School, and are equipped with hissing steam-driven pistons that raise and lower them in all manner of unusual ways, allowing the many trade ships to travel further up the Reik. The Reiksport, home of the Imperial Navy, is a deep-water harbour built on the shores of Altdorf, where ocean-going ships can unload their cargos.[9e][9f] However, if the merchants want to continue shipping their goods upriver must transfer them to riverboats, and thus pay relevant taxes and duties to the city.[18e]

The city also boasts the famous Imperial Zoo, which houses all manner of large and fearsome monsters, some of which are trained and harnessed as beasts of war. These creatures have been captured from every corner of the Empire, as well as a few more curious specimens from the Northern Wastes.[3b][9e][9e]

Between merchants, pilgrims to the Cathedral of Sigmar, and visitors to the city's numerous government buildings, libraries, and university, Altdorf sees a huge number of visitors. These visitors, in turn, are served by a large sector of inns, taverns, and breweries.[20a]

Altdorf is very well defended. It is enveloped by strong white walls with red slate roofs. It has a large garrison and is home to several knightly orders, including the famous Reiksguard.[41a]

History

Prehistory

The confluence of the Reik and Talabec rivers was first settled by the High Elves during the reign of the Phoenix King Bel Shanaar the Explorer. The town there was called Kor Vanaeth and was a only a minor part of the Elven settlement of the Old World, though Dwarf sources indicate that some suspicious magical activities occurred in the town. Around -1850 IC, during the War of Vengeance, the Dwarfs attacked Kor Vanaeth,[74d] and in a battle possibly fought where the Celestial College now stands,[36a] defeated the Elves. They stormed the city and demolished its monuments.[74d]

Following their victory, the Dwarfs occupied the site for some time, but abandoned it during the Goblin Wars. Later, some primitive, agrarian tribes of humans lived in the region. They followed the Old Faith and traded with the Dwarfs in the Grey Mountains. They are mostly remebered by the Ogham stones which they raised.[74d]

Reikdorf

"In Reikdorf Town did Sigmar stand
and great Empire of Man found he.
There Reik, the bless'ed river, swell'd.
Upon whose banks all great men dwell'd
and would for etern'ty.
"
Sighardt Schneider-Koller, from Sigmar, Emperor!, 1797 IC[27a]

Banner and heraldry of Altdorf

Around -1000 IC, warlike human tribes who worshipped the Northern Gods migrated into the Reik Basin and subjugated the Ogham-raisers. Among these tribes were the Unberogens, who settled what is now Reikland. By -600 IC, their chief settlement was located at the confluence of the the Reik and Talabec. It was called "Reikdorf", which meant "town of the river."[74d][Note 10]

The islands at the confluence of the rivers were strategically important.[74d] The town had access to good fisheries, fertile farmlands,[61] productive clay deposits, and fine pastures in the alluvial plain. It included a small Dwarf population, who helped fortify the town. Their quarter soon became known as "Metallschlacke." The Unberogen chieftain live in a palace which was thought to sit where the Königplatz, while the hill on which the Imperial Palace is built then housed a fortress and watchtower.[74d]

Reikdorf did not come to prominence until the year that Sigmar, chieftain of the Unberogens, united the twelve of the largest tribes in the Reik Basin and defeated an orc host at the First Battle of Black Fire Pass, the year commonly referred to as 1 IC (Imperial Calendar). It was here that the High Priest of Ulric crowned Sigmar Emperor, and from here that Sigmar ruled his newly formed Empire. [21b][9a][7a] Altdorfers claim that Sigmar was born there, but so do burghers in towns all across Reikland.[41f]

During the reign of Sigmar, two roads were built to Reikdorf: one connecting it to Middenheim, and the other to Nuln. [21b] By the end of Sigmar’s reign, Reikdorf was said to be the largest city ruled by men. [61]

However, due to the electoral nature of the Empire, the capital did not always stay in Reikdorf [21c] after the disappearance of Sigmar in 50 IC. [7k]

73 years after the uniting of the Empire, a friar named Johan Helstrum came to Reikdorf, preaching the new Sigmarite faith. He claimed to have had a vision of Sigmar being anointed and deified by Ulric himself, the favored god of Sigmar. Here, Helstrum spread his growing faith, becoming its first Grand Theogonist, and eventually building a temple to Sigmar in Reikdorf. [21c][21g]

During the early years of the Empire, Reikdorf experienced a golden age of trade. Wool, leather, timber, metalwork, and ales were exported out of Reikland, bringing money and trade to her capital city.[22a][74e] Meanwhile, scholars translated many Elven works, such as the Book of Gaelen, and compiled them in Altdorf at the first great library in the Empire.[27c] Construction of the High Temple of Sigmar was completed in 246.[74i]

Decline and Poverty

Starting around 300 IC, however, Reikdorf suffered an economic downturn brought about by internal infighting, poor harvest, and goblin raids. In response, walls were built around the city. The walls, in turn, brought large groups of new citizens to the city. [22a]

It was in 522[74i] that Sigismund the Conqueror renamed Reikdorf as Altdorf, meaning the “old city.”[Note 8] Sigismund also refortified the city walls with stone and made a law ordering that all buildings in the city be made of stone so as to prevent fire. This law, however, was ignored. [22a][74e]

In 557 IC, Sigismund’s son Siegfried the Lawgiver left Altdorf due to its horrible smell, and moved his capital to Nuln. Altdorf gained the nickname “The Great Reek” following a comment from Siegfried. [22a][74e][74i] Altdorf, however, remained significant due to its status as heart of the Cult of Sigmar, a status which became increasingly important as the cult expanded throughout the latter half of the first millenium.[74e]

In 924 IC, a Nurglite cult called the Order of the Septic Claw precipitated an infamous disaster. First, the city was tricken by an epidemic of Crumbling Ague. When the Shallyans were on the cusp of finding a cure, the cult ritually summoned a never-ending horde of Nurglings. The tiny daemons piled on top of the Temple of Shallya until it collapsed, crushing all those within. Then the daemons simply popped out of existence.[42a][74i]

Around the turn of the first millennium, Grand Theogonist Zigmund II gave Emperor Ludwig II a palace in Altdorf, successfully luring from his old capital in Carroburg. Around the same time, Ludwig granted the Grand Theogonist an electoral vote. [21d][22a][74e] This was during an era of increased power for the Cult of Sigmar, which also saw the completion of the Cathedral of Sigmar and the eight-volume illuminated manuscript The Life of Sigmar. [21d][22a][Note 1]

Boris Goldgather, last and most debauched of the Drakwald Emperors, began his rule in 1053 in Altdorf. [21e] He was known to be corrupt, tyrannical [22a], easily bribed, and greedy in the extreme. [21e] During his reign, he moved his court back to the cleaner city of Carroburg.[74e] His reign was marked by many urban riots in Altdorf. Not only was the Emperor plagued by scandal, but several high-ranking Sigmarite clergymen were discovered to be adulterers. [22a] The riots only ended in 1111 with the onset of the Black Plague [22a], the worst plague to hit the Empire. [7b] Goldgather died in 1115, but only after years of casualties from the plague.[22a] It was then the Skaven struck, the Empire's population having been decimated by plague. Altdorf was one of the few cities to hold out against the hordes of ratmen.[25a]

All this led to a major drop in trade. This downturn was solidified in 1124, when Mandred Ratslayer of Middenheim was elected Emperor. The Imperial court moved away from Altdorf, and merchants and nobles left Altdorf in its wake. [22a]

Following this economic collapse, the common folk of Altdorf rioted once more, this time against the Cult of Sigmar, who were attempting to take control of the city. The Cult attempted to bribe the citizens with bread, a scheme that turned out to be a major waste of resources. Around the same time, the first guilds in Altdorf were formed. [22b][74f]

During this era, an exodus of peasants from the countryside and a series of poor harvests impoverished the Count of Reikland. In a desperate move, he adopted the Prince of Altdorf as his heir and ceded his electoral vote to him. Thereafter, the rulers of both Reikland and Altdorf were known as the Grand Princes. [22b]

By the 1200’s, the economic fortunes of Altdorf had not improved, and the Grand Princes of Altdorf were called the "Poor Princes" during this time. But as the power of the princes waned, the power of the guilds waxed. In an attempt to lure nobility back to the city, the guilds gave them sumptuous gifts including estates, money, and peacocks. [22b]

In 1489, Altdorf built several low bridges in order to curb the influence of fleets from other provinces.[45q]

Altdorf Besieged

By the time the Age of Three Emperors began, in 1547, Altdorf's fortunes had improved. It profited off the war between the Elected Emperors and the Ottilian Emperors.[22b]

In 1645, Emperor Dieter III imposed a tax on the then-fashionable practice of ear trimming. This engenders a riot among Altdorf's modish upper class.[74j]

In 1707, orc warboss Gorbad Ironclaw invaded the Empire.[Note 2] While Gorbad's army was laying waste to Averland, Solland, and the Moot, Emperor Sigismund, the imperial claimant in Altdorf was preparing for a siege.[2a][7c][7l] He fortified the city walls, brought in the harvest, then desolated the land in a fifty-mile radius around the city. Thus, when Gorbad's army marched north to Altdorf, they could not pillage the countryside, and headed straight to the waiting city.[2a] The orcs trying all the tactics they could, but weren't successful. A frontal assault dashed itself against the city walls and Gorbad's Rock Lobbers were quickly eliminated by the cannons of Altdorf. When four wyverns descended on the city, they managed to kill Sigismund, but didn't make any serious progress taking the city.[2a] During the siege, the citizens made it a point of pride to ignore the death and starvation around them.[22b] As time went on, the Waaagh! lost its momentum and more and more greenskins deserted.[2a] When the cold of winter set in, Gorbad’s army scattered.[2a][7c][7l][39a][39b]

The First Siege of Altdorf, as it was later called, led to an increase in religiosity in the city. This, in turn, was ended by a series of scandals in the Cult of Sigmar relating to chaos cults and (in one case) a wolfhound ordained as a priest. [22b]

In 1786, the Red Plague decimated Altdorf leaving thousands of unmarked graves in what is now called The Haunted Cemetery of Altdorf.[37b]

In 1979, the Grand Theogonist refused to recognize the accession of Empress Magritta, and the Empire devolved into chaos. Because Altdorf had previously been the site of an Imperial court, it maintained a degree of stability not seen in other provinces. A line of Imperial claimants ruled from the city, though they had little to rule over.[74f]

In 2012, Leonardo of Miragliano founded the Imperial Engineers School in Altdorf.[53d][74j]

In 2051 [7l], Altdorf was besieged once more in the aptly named Second Siege of Altdorf.[45r] Coming from the eastern province of Sylvania, the Vampire Count Vlad von Carstein marched across the Empire at the head of a host of undead.[7c] By the time he reached Altdorf, the city was filled to bursting with refugees.[33c] After a multiple month-long siege, Vlad was physically seized by Grand Theogonist Wilhelm III and driven into a stake, simultaneously impaling both.[7c][39b] As Vlad died, much of his army crumbled, leaving only the vampiric contingent of the army. Ludwig, the Prince of Altdorf, attempted to pursue the fleeing vampires, but was stopped by his Imperial rivals, who feared a victory for him might make his claim to the Imperial throne more legitimate. [7c]

After the siege, many of the refugees from the Vampire War remained in Altdorf, settling in the docklands. The Guild of Stevedores, which until then had monopolized dock work in the city, refused to take on such a quantity of new workers. However, there was plenty of stevedoring to be done, and thus the unofficial dock gangs, the Hooks and the Fish, were born.[33c][74f]

Less than 100 years after Vlad von Carstein's siege, an undead army again attacked Altdorf. Mannfred von Carstein, the last Vampire Count of Sylvania, led his horde to Altdorf in the late winter. The city was poorly defended, but Mannfred was defeated when Grand Theogonist Kurt III recited the Great Spell of Unbinding, causing many of the vampire’s undead soldiers to crumble. Mannfred retreated from Altdorf, and was eventually defeated at the Battle of Hel Fenn by Martin, the Prince of Stirland. [7d] The event became known as the Third Siege of Altdorf.[45r]

The von Carstein sieges were crippling to Altdorf, which had been experiencing prosperity since the First Siege. The walls were breached, and the von Carstein tactic of catapulting diseased zombies over the city walls led to many plagues. During the sieges, Altdorf adopted the Shade of Death as the city standard, mocking their undead enemies. [22b]

However, following the sieges, an era called The Great Reconstruction occurred. All able-bodied citizens were required to contribution to rebuildling efforts, on the penalty of loss of citizenship.[74g] The city walls were rebuilt, the citizenry increased, and money and power gradually returned to the city. Even news of the Great War Against Chaos only troubled the Altdorfers a little, for they assumed their city would never fall. [22b]

The Colleges of Magic

After the defeat of the forces of Chaos at the Gates of Kislev, Emperor Magnus the Pious requested that the High Elven archmage Teclis found an institute where human wizards could be trained. Understanding that the survival of the Empire was important to the survival of the Old World, Teclis agreed.[7e] During the Summer of 2304, the Colleges of Magic were established in Altdorf under the protection of the Prince of the city.[7e][23a] Magnus chose Altdorf rather than his capital Nuln because he didn't want his political fortunes to be too closely tied to those of the Colleges, but did want them to be close enough for him to keep tabs on.[23a] In an apparent coincidence, Altdorf turned out to be a prime magical location for several of the orders.[36a] The citizens of Altdorf, however, had no desire to be the site of the Colleges and rioted in an event later called the Altdorf Indignation. In response, martial law was put in place.[22b][33d] During this period of unrest, the waterfront gangs organized the inhabitants of the docklands into militias and attempted to spread their influence beyond their riverside ghetto. However, their momentum was halted by a mysterious event known as the "Night of the Black Waltz."[33d]

In order for the colleges to be built in Altdorf, the elves performed a ritual which warped the fabric of space. This had the side-effect of making the city essentially unmappable. Shortly before the High Elves performed the rituals to do this, many citizens left Altdorf. However, most returned later.[22b][22c][23a][74g]

Almost immediately after settling down in Altdorf, the Colleges of Magic attempted to gain political clout in Altdorf, at first by ingratiating themselves with guild leaders. The Grand Prince of Altdorf, hoping to curb their power, created laws defining magisters as a separate class, and creating restrictions on their rights to trade, own land, and vote. [22c][23b] But this did not put an end to the political amibitions of the colleges—magisters and nobles have been political rivals in Altdorf ever since.[23b]

Around that time, the School of Engineers in Altdorf was given a formal charter by Emperor Magnus I, though it had existed before that time. The word ‘Imperial’ was added at the beginning of its name. [7e]

In 2324, Altdorf's sewer system, long strained by a swelling population, finally gave way and spilled sewage into wells and streams under the city. Emperor Magnus commanded a group of guilds to repair the sewers.[74j]

In 2415, rivalries within the Colleges of Magic erupted in the Night of a Thousand Arcane Duels. Under pressure from the Cult of Sigmar, Emperor Dieter IV disestablished the Colleges.[45s][74j]

Imperial Capital

In 2429, the imperial crown passed to Altdorf once more. Emperor Dieter IV of Stirland had sold Westerland its independence for a large sum of money. The elector counts found this unacceptable, and deposed him in favor of Wilhelm, Grand Prince of Reikland, who became Emperor Wilhelm III.[3a][7e][21f][41s]

One of Wilhelm's first actions was to attempt to reconquer Marienburg. His army failed miserably at the Battle of Grootscher Marsh. Because he felt that the Empire's lack of mages contributed to its loss, he reestablished the Colleges of Magic in 2430. This is quickly followed by the Great Fire of Altdorf, caused by the Bright College. Public opinion turns against the colleges once again, but Wilhelm opts to keep them open, albeit with more oversight from the Sigmarites.[45s]

Over the course of four days in 2431, more than four fifths of the city was destroyed by the Great Fire of Altdorf. Although many commoners blame the conflagration on wizards, Emperor Wilhelm III resists the pressure to close the colleges again. Around the same time, Halfling pies become a popular street food and Pie Week a major holiday.[74k]

In 2453, Arkhan the Black attacked the city in the Fourth Siege of Altdorf. His siege, however, was a mere distraction. His true purpose was to sneak into the vaults of the Holy Temple of Sigmar and steal Liber Mortis. Once this was accomplished, his army crumbled to dust, much to the relief of the Altdorf army.[45s]

In the late 2400's, tensions between the Hooks and Fish broke out into an outright gang war.[33d][74h] The Waterfront War lasted for five years,[33d] and died down only when watchman Harald Kleindeinst killed the war chiefs of both gangs[64d] (though to most Altdorfs their fate remains a mystery).[33d][64d] However, it did not end completely, and continues on a smaller scale to this day.[33d][74h]

In 2502, the current emperor, Karl Franz I, ascended the throne. He ruled, and continues to rule, from Altdorf.[21f] He institutes a set of new taxes which cause the Window Tax Riots. The Reiksguard are deployed against the rioters.[74k]

In 2503, following a combined Empire-Asrai victory at the Massacre Along the Weiss, an emissary from Athel Loren arrived in Altdorf. He brought a griffon egg collected from the Grey Mountains and a simple message: "We will be watching."[10a]

In 2506, the guilds of Altdorf were convinced to sign the Stench Act. This piece of legislation subjected the guilds to large fines, presumably as punishment for producing bad smells. The guilds were convinced by Karl Franz to sign because they were under the impression that the fees levied would cripple rival guilds. [21f]

The Great Fog Riots, Altdorf's most recent major event of civil unrest,[41b][64h] occurred just a few years after the Window Tax Riots.[74h][Note 9] The dual causes of the riots were Chancellor Mornan Tybalt's two-crown tax on all able-bodied Imperial citizens, nicknamed the "Thumb Tax," and the vicious Beast Murders.[41b][64h][74h] The riots were destructive but short-lived, as leading agitator Yevgeny Yefimovich was quickly revealed to be a disciple of Tzeentch.[74h]

In 2518, Emperor Karl Franz was dunked into the river when the raising and lowering mechanism of the bridge he was on malfunctioned. [7f][41b]

Law, Government, and Politics

"A government? You call that a government? Looks like the invention of a deranged Snotling!"
Count Claude Villecroix of Parravon, Bretonnian ambassador to the court of the Emperor Karl Franz[21h]

The Imperial Palace

The supreme ruler of Altdorf is Karl Franz, the Prince of Altdorf and the Elector Count of Reikland, who is also the Emperor of the Empire. His rule over his city is almost undisputed, not only because of his statesmenship but also because he commands the adoration of his people.[21h] Nevertheless, Karl Franz must balance numerous interests to keep Altdorf stable. The Colleges of Magic, University of Altdorf, School of Engineers, and great merchant houses all wield significant power, and if too many concessions are made to one institution, its rivals will undoubtedly demand the same.[40a]

Yet despite his best efforts, the day-to-day demands of governance are too much for one man or woman to keep track of. Dozens of decisions each day demand the Emperor’s attention, from policy on grain taxes to the final appeal of a prisoner condemned for treason to officially opening the Grand Altdorf Fair.[21h] Because of this, much of the detail of Altdorf governance is carried out by a de facto oligarchy of wealthy merchants and powerful aristocrats who mainly have their own interests at heart.[41g]

Among the powerful are the members of prominent families whom successive emperors appointed to advise them on matters of law, finance, diplomacy, and military matters, among others. Over time, this group of advisors grew into a formal body, the Council of State, the membership of which almost always includes the current Grand Theogonist.[21h]

Altdorf also has a City Council,[32b] and, at least somewhat recently, a Burgomaster.[1a]

Council of States

The Council has no formal power, although Emperor Mattheus II, grandfather of Karl-Franz, tried to write a constitution for the Empire built around the Council. This was quietly quashed by the Electors, who oppose anything that would limit their authority. The Council, however, does control access to the Emperor and thus what information he receives. Their power is, therefore, quite strong—when they can make a united stand. When this happens, it is usually due to the Grand Theogonist’s behind-the-scenes machinations on crucial issues.[21h]

  • Count Siegfried von Walfen - Chancellor of the Reikland (Imperial spymaster)[21h]
  • Amadeus Mencken - Baron of Stirgau Chamberlain of the Seal (Foreign Relations)[21h]
  • Lotte Hochsvoll - Chancellor of the Imperial Fisc[21h]
  • Arne Damstadt - Chamberlain of the Imperial Household[21h]

Prime Estates

The Prime Estates is an Imperial organization which was created to help administrate the actions and well-beings of the Emperor in person. At the end of the 11th century, when Boris the Incompetent tried to confer the title of Duke to his favorite race horse, the Electors unanimously decided that they had to administrate the emperor's actions so as to keep face with the Empire's people. So they assigned one representative each to form a watchdog body that would take the name of Prime Estates.[21h]

This institution is located within a beautiful building in the confines of the capital, ostensibly open to any person of recognized nobility, although the "lackeys" of the Emperor are carefully kept away. In fact, the Prime Estates has now become the Supreme Court. All Imperial Edicts are carefully examined "in the interest of the state", with documented reports being immediately sent to the Electors who would choose either to support or veto the edict. This organization has the powerful ability to refuse any edict that does not suit them or the Empire's interest, allowing the Prime States to have a near-complete control over what the Emperor is logically placed to decide.[21h]

Each Elector Count has ensured an established representation in the capital, embassies directed by a loyal family member or close acquaintance. These ambassadors would discuss new imperial decrees or legislation, as well as send these reports back to the Electors that had elevated them to such a position. As they have the power to reject decisions that do not suit them, it is important for the Emperor to obtain the approval of the Prime Estates if he hopes to accomplish anything. In theory, the Emperor also has a veto over the choice, but in practice, it would be very difficult for him to exercise it. Indeed, without a real majority support amongst the Electors, the Emperor has no chance to assert his right of veto. The latest attempt to do so was Emperor Mattheus II who wised to institute the first ever democracy, but the threat of civil war by the other Elector Counts was so pressing that he was forced to give it up.[21h]

Guilds

The Guild of Butchers

Guilds in Altdorf first appeared in the early 2nd century. They were originally formed to protect the tradesmen, rather than regulate the trade. [22b]

Today, hundreds of various guilds exist in Altdorf. All guilds offer some sort of apprenticeship process and demand some kind of fee or service, but beyond that there are very few unifying characteristics. Many guilds are very old and have evolved complex bylaws. In a few cases, guilds have even reserved the right to try their members outside the Imperial justice system. In order to officially have guild status, an organization must be on the Civic List of Altdorf, but many informal guilds operate outside of this law. [22d]

  • Ale and Wine Guild: The Ale and Wine Guild has a wealthy owner.[33k]
  • Blackpowder Men: Members of this guild are commonly made fun of due to their perceived fear of Bright Wizards. [22d]
  • Butchers’ Guild: The Butchers’ Guild is currently attempting to survive an incident known as the Dead Body Scandal. [22d]
  • Guild of Leather Workers: Pieter Donaltun is this guild's master.[34i]
  • Guild of Stevedores: Colloquially known as the Wharf Rats, the Guild of Stevedores is known for its physically imposing members. [22d]
  • Honourable Guild of Physicks: Members of this guild include doktors from smaller towns in the Reikland.[42b][Note 6]
  • Imperial Guild of Arms and Armourers: Nicknamed the A&A, this guild generally has a good reputation. [22d]
  • Lawyers’ Guild: The Lawyers’ Guild is not well-liked, but considered unavoidable. [22d] In the past they influenced the city’s citizenship laws so as to make them impossible to navigate without their guidance. [22e]
  • Masons’ and Carpenters’ Guild: This guild of builders are considered to be slow, expensive, and pretentious. [22d]
  • Mercantile Society: This guild of grocers is currently sponsoring a weights and measures law. [22d]
  • Mercers’ Association: The guild of mercers has a reputation for merely being pretentious tailors. [22d]
  • Otto's Flats: This corrupt collective of nine greedy ferrymen is one of the larger passenger ferry guilds in the Altdorf area.[34c]
  • Physicians to the Crown: The official Altdorf guild for Physicians has an agreement with the Emperor by which it is protected against claims of malpractice from plebians, but can only use cures and practices allowed by the crown.[27d][Note 6]

Citizenship

Citizenship law in Altdorf dates back to the time of Sigmar. Today it is an extremely complex system that can only be navigated with help from a lawyer. There are now a variety of legal statuses within the city, including full, half, and quarter citizens, and laws governing what activities they may carry out. [22e]

The most common way of acquiring Altdorf citizenship is inheriting it from a parent. Membership in an official guild also bestows citizenship. In some cases, citizenship may be a reward. For anyone else, gaining citizenship requires a sponsor and a large sum of money. The applicant is then vetted by the Lawyers’ Guild. Successful applicants’ names are then placed on the venerable Civic List of Altdorf. [22e]

However, citizenship law today is largely irrelevant. Since there is no way to check one’s citizenship status on the spot, it is very difficult to enforce laws dealing with citizenship. Citizenship law only applies in a few cases, such as property or trade law. [22e]

Taxes

There are many ways in which a citizen of Altdorf may be taxed. The city levies excises on goods; tolls on gates, wharves, and bridges; and a business tax on shops. Dues may also be payed to guilds and Colleges of Magic. Between these and the many protection rackets, cons, and burglaries in Altdorf, ordinary citizens only keep between half and two-thirds of their income, and outsiders often lose all of their money before they realize it. Because of these high rates, taxation is something Altdorfers care a lot about, and new taxes are often announced on public holidays, so that a workday is not lost to the inevitable riots.[22e]

Altdorf has the dubious distinction of being the first city in the Empire to collect road tolls.[20c]

Role of the Colleges

The Imperial Colleges of Magic.

The Colleges of Magic jumped into Altdorf politics almost as soon as they were founded. Since then they have competed with the city's aristocracy for political power. Although the Grand Prince initially curbed their ambitions by instituting the special status of "Magister," they have managed to gradually acquire more and more influence since then.[23b] Most believe that the colleges keep tabs on important personages throughout the Empire. This is true, though their eyes and ears are keener in Altdorf and Reikland than the rest of the Empire. It remains to be seen what they will use this intelligence network for.[23b][36f] In the end, however, the colleges are loyal to the Emperor. They are bound not only by law, but also by the fact that the Emperor is the single most generous patron of the colleges.[23d]

For those not in the highest echelons of society, the colleges' economic impact is far more important than its political position. Magisters, after all, are still humans who need food and drink, and the activities of the colleges require plenty of other items. Many merchants and tradesmen who supply the colleges don't really know to whom they sell—magisters wear disguises when dealing with them, or the suppliers are instructed to drop their goods off at other locations.[36a] In other cases, though, the colleges wish to make their economic largesse known, and make sure their suppliers know exactly who is providing them with such good business.[36a][36b]

Magisters are a social class unto themselves, mostly operating outside the rest of the Empire's social structure. Internally, the colleges are a rare example of a meritocracy in the Empire.[40b] Still, they rank higher than the hoi polloi, and they act the part in public. They behave in a civilized manner, and the people around them respect them.[38b]

The Watch

"Sorry, sir, I’ve got a Halfling killer, a Weirdroot smuggling ring, a gang war, and a noble threatening to have me arrested by my own Station. Your missing cat will have to wait until tomorrow."
Sergeant Harri Makkenpieser, Altdorf City Watch[45h]

Although they're better organized than most other civic watches,[41c] the priorities of the Altdorf Watch are mainly preventing riots and protecting the rich and powerful. They have little regard for petty thieves, routine gang activities, and, in poor districts, even serious crimes such as murder.[22u] The competence and corruption of the watch varies greatly from district to district, from the efficient Palast District watch[41g] to the infamously crooked Dock Watch.[41c]

The Watch is headquartered in the Empire House[22m][41c] and maintains fortified posts throughout the city.[41c] It is one of the few city watches in the Empire large enough to employ specialized detectives.[34j]

A typical patrol consists of four watchmen. Watchmen are typically equipped with a breastplate,[41g] a tabard bearing the arms of House Holswig-Schliestein,[41c] a bell with which to ring for help, and either a spear or halberd.[41g]

Defence

Altdorf's large standing army[41g] is the best equipped on any in the Empire.[7q] Their uniforms are red and blue.[41g][53a] Many units' insignia includes the symbols on the Altdorf flag: the crown, Sigmar's hammer, or a griffon's head. The city's detractors imply that Altdorf's troops care more for smart uniforms and parades than fighting, but the city's long history of military success speaks for itself. Indeed, many Altdorf units commemorate their victories with seals or medals.[53a] The cream of the city's army join the formation known as the Altdorf Company of Honour.[53c] Altdorf's wealth also means it has an impressive array of war machines.[53b]

If necessary, many of the nobles who reside in Altdorf could call on their own troops to defend the city. Altdorf is also the home of the Reiksguard, the Emperor's personal knightly order.[41g]

Inhabitants

"ALTDORF FOR ALTDORFERS! MIDDENLANDERS OUT!"
Pamphlet, Street of a Hundred Taverns[45f]

The varied peoples of Altdorf

Altdorf has three main social classes, and it's hard to imagine them being less equal. In the slums, unfortunate souls regularly starve to death and die by murder. For the rich, absurd luxuries are commonplace. The middle class of burghers and merchants exist between the two, and their numbers are growing everyday. Although they live lives of toil, they're surpisingly cosmopolitan, and many even manage to send their children to the University of Altdorf for at least a couple of terms.[41g] A few groups, such as magisters, exist outside this caste system.[40b]

Altdorfers are a proud lot. Even the lowest citizen takes pleasure in their status as a part of the great city. They may not understand the arcane system of rights and vassalage, but that doesn’t prevent them from telling folk about it. Outsiders from the provinces are treated with a measure of disdain and pity. Whatever they say, nothing compares to the heritage of each and every citizen of Altdorf; at least, that’s what they believe. Dating from the feudal times of Sigmar, the citizenry laws originally dictated who worked where, what tax they owed, and who they served.[22d]

Complex even then, these dubious laws have grown into a bewildering variety of legal statuses that serve mostly to ensure the hegemony of the Lawyers’ Guild. Famously described as “a carbuncle upon the rump of justice,” these laws govern all sorts of activities, including who one may marry, which city gate one can use, and even what type of hat one can wear. Whilst citizenship is usually inherited from parents or granted by a guild, it can sometimes be granted as a reward. Generally speaking, advancement requires a sponsor and a great deal of money. The individual’s status must be vetted by the Lawyers’ Guild and then added to the great Civic List of Altdorf. Folk can be recognised as full, half, or even quarter citizens— temporary men of Altdorf, traders, vagabonds, and outlaws.[22d]

One might attain the status of freeman, friend, or even the infamous dastard. Wizards of course, attain the position of magister once they complete their apprenticeship. This strange status means wizards are technically vassals of their Order, each having a form of baronial status but only within the bounds of their College. In practice, the citizenry laws are seldom enforced, for they harken back to an earlier age. When it comes to tax, the collectors have a difficult enough time collecting a flat rate from people, let alone trying to apply different rates. Unless buying property or dealing in complex trade, ordinary folk ignore these laws and get by on common sense. Those involved in high finance and the like simply pay the lawyers until they receive the desired result.[22d]

Massive inequality combined with a well-educated middle class make Altdorf a hotbed of revolution and liberal rhetoric. Riots and attempted revolutions are commonplace here, far more so than any other city in the Empire.[41h] In particular, riots often follow episodes of deep fog. Fog is fairly common in Altdorf (possibly because of the Grey College), so riots are fairly common also.[45f]

When Altdorfers speak, they speak quickly and use many demonstrative gestures. To outsiders, they seem to have an undue and short-sighted focus on wealth and status in their daily lives.[41g]

Very few Altdorfers are literate—certainly fewer than 20 percent of the population. Despite this, the population are avid consumers of broadsheets. Illiterate Altdorfers crowd around as their literate friends read broadsheets aloud, listen to buskers reading them on street corners, or hear them any other way they can. One broadsheet, the Griffon's Tail, has become especially popular with the unlearned as of late, particularly through its novel use of etched cartoons.[33i] Other newssheets include the Altdorf Spieler, Bizzarre!, Hammerzungen, the Wolf's Call, the Reik Report, Schlag!, The Truth,[33r] The Veracitor,[34f] and the Altdorf Celestial Body.[34g]

Altdorf is knkown for its many taverns, which are found throughout the city, but especially concentrated near the docklands. The combination of alcohol and conversations which often turn towards divise political topics are a recipe for violence, so most taverns have their patrons check any weapons at the door. The only exceptions are those which serve the very poor, who are expected to fend for themselves, and the very rich, whose rules of decorum prevent them engaging in tavern brawls.[74b]

Because Altdorf is the location of the Colleges of Magic, the average Altdorfer has probably seen more sorcery than those from anywhere else in the Empire. Altdorfers try to keep a blasé and dismissive attitude towards magic, but in reality almost all are at least a little bit frightened by it.[23c] Despite their physical proximity, common Altdorfers see the Colleges of Magic as aloof and otherworldly.[38a] Wizards are not the only unusual site an Altdorfer might see: the city is one the few to be visited by Arabyan merchants or Ulthuani diplomats.[41g]

Non-humans

"On my first visit to Altdorf, I was surprised by the number of races rubbing shoulders with each other in the narrow streets: men of every nation, intractable dwarfs and portly halflings. I even met a few of my own kind, as well as a curious representative of those elves who remained in these parts after the exodus. What surprised me more was how they all seemed to get along…well, most of the time."
Suriel Lianllach, High Elf envoy[35f]

According to the census of 2510, there were 1,100 taxpaying Dwarf households in Altdorf.[16a] Many are metalsmiths or stoneworkers—humans often assume any dwarf they meet is one of the two. There are also rumours of exiled dwarf engineers joining the School of Engineers.[41h] But no matter how long a dwarf has been residing in Altdorf, he or she is far too stubborn to every call it home.[45t]

Halflings are common in the city,[41h] as it is home to one of the largest Halfling populations outside of The Moot.[33q] Anti-halfling discrimation is still commonplace, although less so than in other cities such as Middenheim and Averheim. If one were to observe halflings, they might think the folk were trying to live up to their stereotypes. As always, skilled halfing chefs are in high demand.[41h]

Elven presence in Altdorf began in 2150, when a group from Saphery set up a consolate.[74j] Today, the city's small Elven population consists mainly of Envoys of the merchant houses.[18a][18c] Sometimes Asur visit Altdorf as diplomats from the Phoenix Court, or to oversee the Colleges of Magic.[35a] It's even rumoured that the High Elves maintain a permanent embassy in Altdorf, but nobody seems to know where it is or who the ambassadors are.[41h] There are also Asur spies in the city. A significant portion of the Empire's High Elves report to these agents.[45m] Once rare, elven merchant ships from Ulthuan have become a regular sight during the reign of Karl Franz.[35g]

Wood Elves are also occassionally seen in the city, and they're usually mistaken for dirty High Elves, much to their annoyance.[41h]

Some Ogres also live in the city. Typical ogre occupations include bodyguard, criminal enforcer, and dockworker. Most other Altdorfers are wary of ogres.[41h]

As with wizards, Altdorfers make it a point of pride to act nonchalant about nonhumans—except for halflings, whom they treat like scum.[41h]

Physical Description

"Once you've spent a few years wadin' through the rivers o' human filth, fightin' Goblins under the mountains starts to sound pretty attractive."
Heinrich, Altdorf Rat Catcher[18b]

The teeming city of Altdorf (dock view)

When the Colleges of Magic were built in Altdorf, the area became slightly warped. This had the effect of making the city essentially unmappable[22b][22c], although it is rumoured that the Emperor and the Celestial College possess accurate maps. Instead, Altdorfers usually navigate using landmarks.[22i]

The streets of Altdorf are furnished with a rarity in the Old World: streetlamps.[22f]

Since space is at a premium within Altdorf’s city walls, houses are typically four to seven storeys[57]—taller than houses in most Imperial cities.[27f] They are built up next to each other, so there are no side windows. Typical houses will contain a shop on the ground floor, a yard in the back, and a residential area in the storeys above. The quality of the houses varies.[22g] Some are old and crumbling, others newly constructed.[41f] There are dozens of Sigmarite shrines and chapels thorughout the city.[41g]

There were defensive walls in Altdorf even before the time of Sigmar.[21a] Later, between 300 and 500 IC, a new set of walls were built. During Sigismund the Conqueror’s reign, work was started on making new stone walls. However, he died before this project was completed.[61] The walls were breached when the von Carsteins besieged the city, but were rebuilt by the able-bodied men of the city shortly afterward.[22b] The current walls are dwarf-built.[41f] Today, Altdorf's walls are famously strong.[31c][33a] They're fortified with cannons and mortars.[41h] They're high and up to fifteen feet thick. They are also painted white.[33a]

The city gates of Altdorf are guarded,[61] and a toll is levied,[22e] although certain groups, such as members of the Reiksguard, have an exemption.[61] The gates close at night.[32c] There are gaps in the city walls through which the rivers Reik and Talabec flow. However, if necessary, giant chains can be strung across the river to prevent waterborne invasion.[57]

The River Reik runs through Altdorf. It is an important trade route in and out of the city[6a] and is often crammed with boats.[41h][57] However, it also smells very bad.[61] In Altdorf, multiple bridges cross the Reik, some of which are equipped with steam powered drawing mechanisms designed by the college of engineers. [7f]

Altdorf has some underground sewers, to remove the smell of human waste.[22h] The sewer system is convoluted, having been built over many generations.[44d] The sewers are generally tall enough for a dwarf or halfling to walk through without bending over. Some of these are effective, but others have been blocked. Of course, operational sewers are more likely to be located in wealthy neighborhoods.[22h]

Altdorf Fog

Altdorf is known for its episodes of deep fog. Fog usually either rises from the Reik or descends from the Grey Mountains[41l] and settles in the bowl of the city.[64e] Fog's prevalence may also have to do with the presence of the Grey College.[45f] Most mornings at least a little foggy, but the fog is especially severe in the spring and autumn.[74c]

Fog greatly alters the character of the city. Riots are particularly common following fog.[45f] Crime and intrigue become even more prevalent. Typical measures taken during a fog include the placement of lanterns along the riverfront and augmenting the city watch with a plotoon of Imperial Militia. Watchmen light a fog fire in the Konigsplatz, and the Cult of Sigmar opens the refectory of the Holy Temple to those who have been stranded away from home.[64e]

Layout

Altdorfers usually divide the city into three sections: the City North, which lies north of the Reik and Talabec, the Southbank, on the south side of the Reik, and the East End, nestled between the two rivers above their confluence.[74a]

City North

The City North is probably the most diverse area in Altdorf, including the University, many Colleges of Magic, and a wide array of businesses.[74a]

  • Empire Gate:[32b] Large and well-fortified, the Empire Gate is the largest gate on the north side of the city.[32b]
  • Golden College:[7g][9c][23f] The Golden College is located near the edge of Altdorf on the River Reik. It has the appearance of a large forge, with many furnaces and chimneys. The river waters cool the forges in the college. It would not be uncommon for an Altdorfer to see multicolored smoke coming from the chimneys of the college, or bright substances polluting the river. [7g][9c][23f] It's not too far from the Konigplatz.[41d]
  • Jade College:[7h][9d][23g][23h] Located near the city's north gate,[22i] the Jade College consists of carefully cultivated gardens and halls formed by the boughs of trees, arranged in a spiral shape, and set behind a high wall.[22o][23g][23h][38h]

The Docklands

"You can have Königplatz next week — I need you loud and dirty on Luitpoldstrasse today. For why? Best not ask, all you need to know is the Cutters want the Watch distracted. I make it my business not to offend the Cutters, and if you want a prosperous career you’ll follow my example."
‘The Kaiser’, Altdorf Beggar-King[45g]

The Docklands are located on the northern bank of the Reik River.[22i] Their downstream boundary is the Three Toll Bridge,[33b] and their upstream boundary is the confluence of the Reik and Talabec.[22i] The district is something of a ghetto, inhabited mainly by the city’s dockers. Rival gangs, most notably the Hooks and Fish are constantly fighting for control over the district,[33b][41a] and the local watch division is notoriously corrupt.[33e] Although the gangs do not tolerate unaligned criminals in the docks, so petty crime is actually fairly low.[41c]

  • Adolphus Junk's Smithy:[41k] Adolphus Junk is a bronzesmith whose shop is on Luitpoldstrasse near the watch station. He is an older man with grey hair and spectacles.[41k]
  • Beloved of Manann Dock:[64e] This dock and quay was run by an ex-Hook named Schygulla.[64e]
  • Fork Wharf:[33g] It's traditional for members of the Dock Watch caught stealing to be hung in chains from Fork Wharf for a day and a night. These days, however, the watch is so corrupt that the only watchmen chained here are the ones who stole from the Watch itself.[33g]
  • Luitpoldstrasse Watch Post:[41c] The Luitpoldstrasse Watch Post is the headquarters of the notoriously corrupt Dock Watch. It is also the closest watch post to the Street of a Hundred Taverns.[41c] There are jail cells under the watch station.[41d] There's rumoured to be a storeroom in the back of the building full of pilfered goods which are split between watchmen every week.[41c]
  • The Mermaid:[33g] This tavern is cheaper than those on the Street of a Thousand Taverns, and is a favourite haunt with members of the Elm Street Mob.[33g] It is located where the Street of a Thousand Taverns intersects the docks.[41b]
  • Reik and Talabec Trading Company Warehouse[64b]

Mercantile Area

Altdorf’s mercantile area is located north of the Talabec River at the eastern end of Altdorf.[22i]

Old Altdorf

The Amethyst College is located on the north bank of the Reik, at the western end of the city.[22i][Note 3] As the district is home to both the college and Altdorf's main Temple of Morr, its few inhabitants generally have a profession related to death and burial, such as that of the undertaker, coffin-maker, stonemason, or lawyer, and are considered somewhat eccentric.[22i][23m] The district's architecture is tall but ramshackle, and it's sometimes described as a "slum."[37b]

  • Cemetery of Old Altdorf:[7i][37b] During an epidemic known as the Red Plague, thousands of victims were buried in mass graves at this cemetery. Today it is reputed to be haunted and is generally avoided by Altdorfers, though this may be because it is overlooked by the Amethyst College.[7i][37b]
  • Silver House[36e] The employees of the Silver House exchange dead bodies for silver coins. It is a front fo the Amethyst Order, who use the bodies for research, teaching, and spells.[36e]
  • Temple of Morr:[22i] The main Temple of Morr in Altdorf is located in northwest Altdorf just a few blocks away from the Amethyst College and Cemetery of Old Altdorf.[22i] It is nearly as impressive as the Cathedral of Sigmar.[41g]

Schlafstadt

The Schalfstadt area is adjacent to the University District.[32d] Located behind the Colleges of Law, it is full of decrepit grey brick buildings that house impoverished students and poor workers. Many stores in Schlafstadt sell antiques, books, and secondhand goods.[32e]

  • Estlemann's:[32d][32e] Janus Estlemann is a seller of antique books. He is able to procure volumes that none of his competitors can, but is a bit of a shady character. Witch Hunters and priests are convinced that he deals in heretical tomes, but have yet to find evidence. Nobles, wizards, and scholars think of him as a useful but suspicious resource. His shop is in on Hoffbann Street.[32d][32e]
  • Hoffbann Street:[32e] Hoffbann Street is a street full of booksellers. Most sell required law and literature texts to University students, but one could also purchase all sorts of books, from rare antique tomes to lowbrow romance novels.[32e]

Street of a Thousand Taverns

Also called the Street of a Hundred Taverns, this thoroughfare runs from the Konigplatz down to the Docklands. It is arguably the social centre of the city. All day and evening it's full of revellers, musicians, prostitutes, and pickpockets, but mostly drunks. Aside from the many taverns (of which there are actually fewer than 100), many homeowners on the street put a keg in their front room to have drinks with friends.[41b] Fights, of course, a common along the street, and the Dock Watch don't have the resources to imprison every offender. Instead, they dispense the infamous "street sentence"—a swift hit with a club and a warning not to be caught again. Repeat troublemakers will be tossed into the cells under the Luitpoldstrasse Station, but most criminals are resourceful enough to buy their way out again. Because of the local watch's corruption, local vigilante groups exist.[41d]

Carulusstrasse, Sigmundstrasse, and Luitpoldstrasse are streets that intersect the Street of a Thousand Taverns.[41b]

  • The Beard of Ulric: This is a run-down, low-quality tavern frequented mostly by destitute drunkards.[41c]
  • The Black Bat: This is a typical Old World tavern.[41c]
  • The Breasts of Myrmidia: This tavern is hotly contested between the Hooks and the Fish. It's an excellent spot to pick up illicit drugs, such as dreamweed and powdered lotus.[33g]
  • Bruno's Brewhouse: This is a typical Old World tavern.[41c]
  • The Crescent Moon: This small tavern is one of the few places in the city friendly to Strigany.[41b] It is also whispered that the undead frequent the inn.[64c]
  • The Crooked Spear: This small tavern[41b] is a known meeting place for homosexual men.[64c]
  • The Crown and Two Chairmen: This is a very posh and exclusive tavern. One needs to pay an absurd fee just to enter the door, but once one does, the atmosphere, service, and fare are exemplary.[41c]
  • The Dancing Dwarf: This is a typical Old World tavern.[41c]
  • The Drunken Bastard: Located where the Street of a Thousand Taverns spills out onto the docks,[41b] this is a run-down, low-quality tavern frequented mostly by lonely drunkards.[41c][64c]
  • Heads of Traitors: Where the Sigmundstrasse and Luitpoldstrasse intersect the Street of a Hundred Taverns, there's a monument consisting of five pikes stuck in a dirt mound. On these pikes a placed the heads of those considered enemies of the Empire.[41c]
  • The Holy Hammer of Sigmar: This small tavern, located where the Street of a Thousand Taverns meets the Konigplatz,[41b] is a meeting place for hired killers. It does not have a public bar, but rather consists of several private rooms.[41j]
  • Koenigsplatz: Large crowds often gather at this major public square,[57] which features the largest market in Altdorf.[41a]
    • The Cat and Fiddle: The Cat and Fiddle is a coaching inn. The Four Seasons coach line has its main offices here.[41i]
    • Konigstrasse is another street that leads away from the Konigplatz.[41d]
  • The Mattheus II: This is a typical Old World tavern.[41c] It is apparently named for Emperor Mattheus II.
  • The One-Eyed Wolf: This is a typical Old World tavern.[41c] It is located where the Street on a Thousand Taverns meets the Konigsplatz.[41b]
  • The Seven Stars: This is a very posh and exclusive tavern. One needs to pay an absurd fee just to enter the door, but once one does, the atmosphere, service, and fare are exemplary.[41c]
  • Statue of Wilhelm III:[Note 7] Near the Konigplatz end of the street is a bronze statue of Emperor Wilhelm III. It depicts him as a armoured and bearded man, holding a warhammer in his right hand while his left rests on his sheathed Runefang.[41c]
  • The Sullen Knight: This is a run-down, low-quality tavern frequented mostly by destitute drunkards.[41c] It is known for its frequent brawls.[64a]
  • The Temple of Drama Theatre: This theatre is not for those of sophisticated taste: it shows mainly farces and melodramas.[41c]
  • Wayfarer's Rest: This is a typical Old World tavern.[41c]

University District

The University of Altdorf is located northwest of the docks.[22i] It dominates this entire district, which is crawling with students and dons.[36c]

  • Dove & Rose Building: The Dove & Rose, a society of free-thinking doktors, is based in a large townhouse near the University.[43a]
  • Great Library:[37e] This massive library—one of the largest in the Old World—is often mistaken for a component of the University, but it's really a public institution.[36c][37f]

Southbank

The Southbank is the heart of political and religious power in the city. It feastures many upper-class residences and even a few green spaces.[74a]

  • The Imperial: Located south-east of the Temple of Sigmar,[14a] this hotel is presumably very high-quality, as elector counts and even the Ar-Ulric have been known to stay here.[14b]
  • Light College: The Light College is not technically in Altdorf, as it exists in a parallel, magical, dimension to the mundane one. The building is an enormous shimmering pyramid[7g][9c] which focuses the wind of Hysh.[38i] It's located in a formerly upscale district on the left bank of the Reik. The area around the college is particularly warped, even by Altdorf standards.[23e]
    • Sigmarite Safe House: A safe house of Sigmarite Templars is located near the Light College with the purpose of making sure the area's high levels of magic do not have any ill effects on the locals.[23e]
  • Marketplatz:[64e] Fish (probably among other goods) are sold at the Marketplatz.[64e]
  • Pendersen Brewery Printing House: The Pendersen Brewery on Heidelstrasse appears to be a normal brewhouse, but hidden away in its basement is the press of the Gods edition of the Griffon's Tail,[33j] which serves the area around the Grand Temple of Sigmar and the west of the city.[33i]

Ogasse

Ogasse is the name of an unimportant working class district located in southern Altdorf, east of the Nuln Road. Most inhabitants of Ogasse are either migrants from other provinces or poorer local workers– those who work for a living, but don’t have much money left over. Deeper into the district, the housing is more rundown.[44a]

At night, gangs of thugs and footpads rule the streets, so most respectable folk stay indoors. The watch prefer to leave the district alone.[44a]

  • Schmutzplatz: Although the Schmutzplatz has seen better days, the square serves as a focal point of the Ogasse district. It’s relatively safe, and features an informal market of street vendors and a watch post staffed by a single watchman for two hours every day.[44a]
    • Clock Tower: A four-storey clock tower is located at the center of Schmutzplatz.[44b]
    • Dove of Love: The Dove of Love is a Shallyan kitchen serving Ogasse’s poor and homeless.[44b]
    • Eagle of Luccini: The Eagle of Luccini is a tavern frequented by the down-and-out of Ogasse.[44c]

Palace District

The Imperial Palace is located south of the Reik.[22i] Also called the Palast Districts[32g][33g] or simply Palast District[41d], it is one of the wealthiest areas in Altdorf.[32g] The district features many old, grand, well-kept buildings[41d] and especially ornate streetlamps.[34d] Most of the city's guild halls,[33g] knightly order chapter houses, and major temples are located here. Any private establishments cater exclusively to the wealthy.[41d] It is so exclusive that anyone not obviously a noble or their servant will attract the suspicions of the local watch division,[32g] who are well organized and successfully suppress violent crime.[41d]

  • Artoine of Leonesse's Shop: Artoine of Leonesse is a wig and mask maker catering exclusively to nobles. His shop is on the ground floor of his townhouse.[32g]
  • Celestial College:[22i] The Celestial College consists of sixteen wondrous towers surrounding a magical astrolabe used to predict the possible futures of the Empire. However, the average Altdorfer would not know this, because the college is concealed by cunning spells.[7h][9d][22l][22m][23k][23l][38e]
  • Emperor's Vault: The Emperor's Vault, where he keeps his treasures, is though to be somewhere underground in the vicinity of the Imperial Palace.[26a]
  • Empire House: The headquarters of the Altdorf City Watch, known as the Empire House, is located north of the Imperial Palace, near the River Reik.[22m][22i]
  • Karl Franz Bridge: The Karl Franz Bridge is the bridge you take to get from the Palast District to the Konigsplatz.[41d]
  • Mezzo's: Mezzo's is a banqueting hall run by Tilean chef Giovanni Mezzo. It is a favorite haunt of high-ranking wizards.[36c]
  • Old Horse Tower: This grey stone tower once housed the Bretonnian embassy, but now contains the offices of aristocrats.[41d]
  • Stevedores' Guildhall: The Guild of Stevedores is based in the Palast Districts, close to other administrative buildings, but far from the docks.[33g]

East End

The wedge of land between the Reik and Talabec Rivers, on the eastern side of Altdorf, is a lower-class area.[22i][45e][74a] The area is a mess of oddly-shaped buildings and narrow, twisting streets.[50a]

  • The Cuckolded Rooster: The Cuckolded Rooster is a tavern.[50a]
  • Bright College: An arcane mirage conceals the towers of the Bright College in a section of the East End that burned down long ago, and has not been rebuilt.[7j][9d][22i][22k][22l][38d]
  • The Scalded Cat: The Scalded Cat is a tavern in a wooden building pushed up against the city wall.[50a]

Dwarf Quarter

The Dwarf Quarter of Altdorf was founded shortly after 1000 IC. The dwarf stonemasons who built the Cathedral of Sigmar settled in the city.[22a]

Metallschlacke

A sub-district of the Dwarf Quarter, many of the inhabitants of the Metallschlacke districts work in the metallurgical and stoneworking industries.[17a][17b] It is one of Altdorf's oldest districts, dating back to before even Sigmar, when a small population of dwarfs worked in Altdorf as builders and blacksmiths.[74d]

Niederwind

This district is also home to many dwarfs employed in metallurgy and stoneworking.[16a] It may be part of the Dwarf Quarter.

Outside the City

Immediately outside of Altdorf is a large space cleared of trees and used for agriculture.[45o][57] There are many villages in this area.[57] Beyond this is the region of extensive mudflats where the Reik and Talabec rivers meet known as the Altdorf Flats. The many channels do not reunite until a twenty miles downstream from the city walls.[11b][27a][41a][45o] The mudflats are fetid and River Troll-infested. Six main causeways cross the Altdorf Flats, each one containg ancient stone bridges of dwarfen manufacture. Both the causeways and river channels are heavily patrolled by roadwardens and riverwardens respectively.[45o] In the summer, the Altdorf Flats smell so bad that many nobles flee the city to rural estates.[45t]

Directly outside the city walls there are slums, despite by-laws to the otherwise.[41f]

  • Amber Hills: The Amber Hills are just south of the city,[45d] and they're where most of the important amber wizards live.[7j] The Eonir have also established a semi-permanent camp here in order to observe and occasionally take part in Imperial politics.[45d]
  • Crackle Hill: Just outside Altdorf, this hill was established as the site where heretics and traitors were executed during the series of religious scandals following the First Siege.[22b] It is unknown if it is still used in this regard.
  • Morr’s Oak: Just outside Altdorf, this aptly named tree was where criminals were hanged during the Time of Three Emperors. [22b] It is unknown if it still used in this regard, or, in fact, whether it even still exists.
  • Susi Olfsdar's Tannery: Susi Olfsdar, a halfling's widow, is an extra-guild tanner who has gained a reputation as one of the finest leatherworkers in Altdorf. Her small tannery is located downwind of the city.[34i]

Reiksport

The waters of the River Reik are deep enough that oceangoing ships can sail as far inland as the Reiksport.[9f][33a][33l] Located where three major channels converge,[3b]The river is slow-flowing here, and a mile wide.[27a] This fortified port is used both to unload cargo of merchant vessels, and as the headquarters for Reikland Fleet of the Imperial Navy.[9f][33a][33l][41a][41f] A shantytown has grown up around the Reiksport to service the merchants and sailors.[33b]

The docks on the Reiksport are mainly controlled by Altdorf's official Guild of Stevedores.[33a][33b]

City taxes are not levied on ships docked at the Reiksport.[33a]

Beneath the City

  • Catacombs: For centuries, Altdorfers have been buried in underground catacombs.[36d][37b] These catacombs connect to several above-ground gardens on Morr.[37b] Naturally, Shyish flows heavily through these tunnels, and the Amethyst Order are said to have passages connecting their college to every corner of Altdorf's catacombs. They also make convenient hiding places for less savory characters, such as robbers and Chaos cultists.[36d] Rumour states that at the heart of the catacombs there is a subterranean temple called the Black Sepulchre tended by a secret order of Morrites.[37b]
  • Under-Altdorf:[25b] Under-Altdorf is the Skaven city below the human city of Altdorf. It is one of the largest and most prosperous Skaven settlements, mainly due to its proximity to the human city—an abundant source of slaves. Under-Altdorf's success, though, is hampered by its lack of warpstone reserves.[24b] Humans know Under-Altdorf in rumour.[41b]

Other Districts

  • Brass District: Deep in the Brass district is the Consorplatz, a small square.[46]
  • Elven Quarter: Founded over a century ago,[45t] Altdorf's Elven Quarter is one of the largest in the Old World, surpassed only by Marienburg's and possibly Erengrad's.[31a] It is home mainly to merchants who ship goods down the Reik and out to sea.[45c] It's located near the Reiksport[45t] and might be adjacent to Little Tilea.[22t][22u]
  • Goellner Hill: This district is located near the Imperial Zoo. Duke Ottokar von Siert resided primarily here as recently as 2511.[45a]
  • Little Tilea: It might be adjacent to the Elven Quarter.[22t][22u]
  • Upper Districts: The Upper Districts include posh hostels.[35b]

Kleinmoot

The Kleinmoot is the Halfling district in Altdorf.[33o][33p] Also known as Haffenstadt, it is populated by hundreds of halfling families. Taverns, restaurants, and pipeweed shops.[45b]

  • Quinsberry Lodgehouse:[33o][33q] Altdorf contains one of the most important lodges in the Quinsberry Lodge organization, one which is rivalled only by the original lodge in Nuln.[33q]

Obereik

Obereik is a wealthy district.[32g]

  • Gustaf Ziegler's Shop:[32g] Gustaf Ziegler is a bespoke tailor and costume maker with a shop on the edge of Obereik. He serves the wealthy and the aristocracy.[32g]

Reikerbahn

A very cheap and rough district, the Reikerbahn is a slum filled with smugglers, prostitutes, and other criminals.[32h][33b] The Old Docks are located on the waterfront of the Reikerbahn. They have been superseded by the newer Docklands. The Fish are the only waterfront gang present in the Old Docks.[33b]

  • Isle of Eels: The Isle of Eels is connected to the Old Docks by a single bridge. Here, an insular crew of Fish runs one of the few active wharfs in the district. Under the influence of the Popular League Against the Nobility and Taxation, the Fish have declared the island independent from the city of Altdorf. The islanders are armed and prepared to defend the isle against a siege.[33g]
  • The Ostlander Bridge: This bridge is located just off the Old Docks.[33f]
  • Theatre Grande: Theatre Grande is located on Bromelhoff Street.[32h]

Theatre District

  • Temple Street: Temple Street is lined with theatres, coffeehouses, costumers, clothes-sellers, and brothels.[32g]
    • Detlef Sierck's House: Detlef Sierck maintained quarters across the street from the Vargr Breughel Playhouse, and lived here with Genevieve Dieudonné for some time. The walls of the rooms were decorated with posters of Sierck in his various roles.[64f]
    • The Flamingo Club: The Flamingo Club is a private theatre.[64g]
    • Rickard Raush's Shop: Rickard Raush makes costumes and masks for actors, merchants, and nobles.[32g]
    • Vargr Breughel Memorial Playhouse:[64f] This theatre is held in high regard mainly because it is the home of Detlef Sierck, who is reputed to be the best playwright living in the Empire.[41c] It is probably the same as "The Breughel," one of the most famous opera houses in the Old World.[31b]

Werkstette

The Werkstette district mostly consists of workshops and manufactories.[32g]

  • Paeter Kohl's Shop: Paeter Kohl is an armourer and leatherworker who makes goods such as saddles, eyepatches, and masks. He sells mainly to tradesmen and merchants.[32g]

Other Locations

  • Amber College:[7j] The Amber Order has no buildings in Altdorf. Most of the most important Amber Wizards reside in the Amber Hills, a roughland near the city. [7j] However, the Amber Order owns one plot of land in the city of Altdorf. It is an open area with totems that is used for gatherings of Amber wizards only in unusual or important circumstances.[9c]
  • Anselmo's: Anselmo's is the largest theatre in Altdorf.[41c]
  • Austauschenstrasse: Austauschenstrasse is a busy lower-class mercantile street near the Market Gate.[32c][32d] The street is lined with shops, taverns, and pie-stands catering to those who have just arrived in the city.[32d]
  • Axe and Hammer Tavern[74k]
  • The Boatman Inn: Located along Altdorf's riverside, the Boatman is a typical inn frequented by riverfolk.[12a]
  • Bosco's Bones: Bosco's Bones is a gamblin house.[45k]
  • Breichs Brothers: Breichs Brothers, located on Schwarzwasserstrasse, sell quality coats.[64i]
  • Breichstrasse: This street is near Vermin Alley and Ragansweg.[29a]
  • The Broken Barrel: The Broken Barrel is a tavern popular with teamsters. It is located in a large room on the bottom floor of a six-storey building. Most of the furniture consists of broken barrels improvised as chairs and tables.[22af]
  • The Burning Table: The Burning Table is a good inn for newcomers to Altdorf. It's run by Matthias Tafel, a relatively permissive innkeeper.[22v]
  • The Cock Pit: The Cock Pit is a famous cockfighting ring. Although its located in a slum, the Cock Pit is prosperous and its well-maintained building stands out. The building features gambling, a bar, and a cordoned-off section for the wealthy.[22ag]
  • The Cordwainer’s Last: This inn serves a generally middle-class clientele and has a reputation for being “not too bad.” It is relatively close to the Von Eckstein Estate.[57]
  • Dieter Klemperer's Townhouse: Naturally for a celestial wizard, Dieter Klemperer's townhouse is stuffed with astronomical instruments.[22aa]
  • Echt Strasse: Echt Strasse is a street full of suspicious priests selling fake relics.[30f]
  • Elizabeth Baern's Estate: Condescending noblewoman Elizabeth Baern lives in a walled estate. She is very concerned with showing off, so the front garden is well maintained and the public rooms lavishly decorated. Meanwhile, the back garden is overgrown, and the private rooms are largely undecorated.[22w]
  • Gottri Hammerfist's Townhouse: Insane witch hunter Gottri Hammerfist lives in a fortified townhouse, with barred windows and reinforced walls. His servants are armed.[22z]
  • Grey College: The Grey College is an unremarkable, decrepit stone building located in one of Altdorf’s poorest and roughest districts. It is connected to much of the rest of the city through a multitude of underground passages. [7i][9d][13i][38g] The interior of the building is just as dilapidated as the outside.[13i] Grey Wizards, though, don't spend too much time at the college, and nobody quite knows what goes on inside it.[13j]
  • Guildhall of the Dwarf Engineers Guild: The hall of the largest such guild in the Empire is located near the campus of the Imperial College of Engineers.[16a]
  • Guillaume Deschamps' Estate: Jade Wizard Guillaume Deschamps gained his walled estate from one of his past adventures. Since then, he has encouraged plants to overrun the crumbling house. He now lives in a shelter of living trees. The walls around the estate remain sturdy.[22x]
  • Hall of Convocation: This appears to be the location of conclaves of the Patriarchs of the Colleges of Magic.[23o]
  • Hall of Duels: This octagonal building is used once every eight years for a duel to determine the next Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic. The Staff of Volans, the symbol of the Supreme Patriarch, is placed in the center, and whichever wizard can grasp it first inherits the office. [7j][9c]
  • Hammer and Bucket: The hammer and Bucket is a music and entertainment venue.[45j]
  • Jaegerstrasse: Jaegerstrasse is a street with shops where "the quality" can buy "fancy stuff."[32g]
  • The Lord's Bounty: The Lord's Bounty is a famously exclusive restaurant in an upscale Altdorf neighborhood. Only members are admitted onto its posh premises.[24a]
  • Lord Frederick's Estate: Lord Frederick lives in a walled estate in Altdorf. The buildings and gardens are well-kept, and decorated with many memorabilia of the fight against Chaos. The servants dress in green and gold livery.[22y]
  • Magnus Museum: The Magnus Museum is a museum in Altdorf that includes exhibits on ancient history and archaeology.[8a]
  • Market Gate: The Market Gate lies to the west of the Empire Gate[32c] (which is on the North side of the city[32b]). The Market Gate is smaller than the Empire Gate, but busier.[32c]
  • Marketstrasse: Marketstrasse, as its name implies, is full of merchants and pedlars selling their wares.[35c]
  • Maximilian Saer's Townhouse: Merchant and aesthete Maximilian Saer lives in a six-storey townhouse with a roof garden. As befits the man, everything in the house is aesthetically pleasing, from the paintings to the servants (all of whom are female).[22ad]
  • Merchants' Guild Complex: The offices of the Altdorf Merchants' Guild are one of the largest such structures in the Empire. It features numerous panelled conference rooms.[27b]
  • Minstrel School: Altdorf is the location of a minstrel school, actually the sister institution of a larger school in Nuln. It focuses on a variety of musical instruments.[34e]
  • Palaces of Ferdinand von Wallenstein: Ferdinand von Wallenstein, the Graf of Auerswald, owns luxurious palaces in Altdorf, and prefers to spend his time here rather than in his own lands.[45t]
  • Palaces of Reichen von Tellen: Captain Reichen von Tellen became tremendously wealthy in the early 2500's following a three-year voyage in which he captured and sold 53 ships in Bretonnian waters. He retired at the age of 26 and now owns three palaces in Altdorf (as well as some in other cities!)[33m]
  • Pinchpenny Street: This is a street with market stalls.[50a] It may be near Luitpoldstrasse.
  • Ragansweg: This street is near Vermin Alley and Breichstrasse.[29a]
  • The Red Lion Tavern[8a]
  • Reiksguard Chapter House: The Reiksguard Chapter House is a defensible fortress in and of itself, and is used as a major base of operations for the order.[61]
  • Sanatorium of Mercy: At this Shallyan Sanatorium, deep in one of Altdorf's slums, the number of inmates is strictly limited to a manageable number.[37c]
  • The Sheaf and Shears[32f]
  • Smithy of Dalbran Fellhammer: The Dwarf Dalbran Fellhammer is among the greatest armoursmiths in the Empire today. His forge in Altdorf employs 30 journeymen and almost 100 apprentices.[20b]
  • Suderich: The Suderich is a fish market.[32d]
  • Temple of Handrich: Altdorf has one of the few temples to Handrich outside of Marienburg. It's small, but some hope to build a larger temple in the future.[30d]
  • Temple of Manann: The Cult of Manann maintains a decently large temple overlooking the river.[41g]
  • Temple of Shallya: Altdorf's Temple of Shallya is the largest in the Empire. The richly-decorated temple is responsible for the health of a multitude of Altdorfers, including the Emperor himself.[18d] Its High Priestess is seen as the head of the Cult in the Empire.[30a][30b][Note 4]
    • Garden of Morr: A morbidly-placed garden of Morr is located a mere twenty steps from the Temple of Shallya.[18d]
  • Temple of Ulric: Altdorf's temple of Ulric is neither large nor wealthy, much to the chagrin of the Ulricans in this Sigmar-dominated city.[41g]
  • Temples of Borchbach: There are two temples to Borchbach in Altdorf.[45n]
  • Theodora Pferig's Townhouse: The townhouse of retired witch hunter Theodora Pferig is decorated with trophies from her years as an adventurer.[22ac]
  • Valicinian Circle: Located in a neoclassical hall in Altdorf's wealthiest district, this exclusive club for courtiers is the site of much backroom political intrigue.[34a]
  • Vermin Alley: Vermin Alley is the name of a particularly filthy street, where one can find very cheap lodging. Nearby streets include Breichstrasse and Ragansweg.[29a]
    • The Lock and Key: This tavern on Vermin Alley is run by a fellow named Holz.[29a][29b]
  • Von Eckstein Estate: Graf Von Eckstein’s estate in Altdorf is one of the largest properties in the city, about one acre in size. It includes a manor house and gardens.[57]
  • Weissbuten's Warehouse: Mr. Weissbuten runs a warehouse on an island in a very seedy district. He asks no questions about who his customers are or what they're storing, and the warehouse is presumably used regularly by criminals.[22ah][22ai]
  • Western Gate: This well-fortified gate to Altdorf has statues of griffons holding hammers on each side.[61]
  • Zeigmuller's Theatre[22y]

Notes

  • Note 1: The dates and order of these events are somewhat unclear.

"Sigmar's Heirs" places the palace gift in the "early 11th Century," and the electoral vote after that. It puts the completion of the temple before the finishing of the (unnamed) book, which took place in 1012.

"Spires of Altdorf" places the electoral vote in 990 and the palace gift shortly after that. The completion of the temple is in 1000, and the completion of The Life of Sigmar at an unspecified date.

  • Note 2: Spires of Altdorf" says the siege started in 1701.
  • Note 3: This district’s name is speculative. The locations listed are those said to be near either the Amethyst College or Temple of Morr, which in turn are located close to each other.
  • Note 4: Different sources have information on temple(s) of Shallya. The Thousand Thrones describes the "Shallyan Temple and Hospital" in the University District. The WFRP 2nd Edition Rulebook mentions that Altdorf's "Temple of Shallya" is the largest in the Empire and ministers to a large number of patients. Signs of Faith describes a "Temple Hospice of Shallya" overrun by the sick and poor. It is not clear if any or all of these are the same location. The Enemy Within (3rd Edition) states that the Temple Hospice is near the Konigplatz, evidence it may be the same as the Temple and Hospital in the university District.
  • Note 5: Uniforms and Heraldry of the Empire states that the order's primary chapterhouse is located in Essen after a series of unnatural disasters destroyed previous chapterhouses. Perhaps a similar fate befell the Essen chapterhouse during the Storm of Chaos, and their chapterhouse in Altdorf became their primary base.
  • Note 6: Different sources give different names for physicians' guilds in Altdorf The WFRP Companion (WFRP 2nd Edition) mentions the Physicians to the Crown. Liber Infectus (WFRP 3rd Edition) mentions both the Honourable Guild of Physicks and the Guild of Physicians. It is unknown whether these are all separate guilds, or different names for the same guild.
  • Note 7: The source incorrectly gives his name as Wilhelm II.
  • Note 8: The WFRP 4th Edition Rulebook states that this occurred in 1000 IC by decree of Ludwig the Fat.
  • Note 9: White Dwarf 140 states that the Fog Riots occurred in 2506, but Beasts in Velvet states they happened three years after the events of Drachenfels, placing them in 2508.
    • Note 10: The WFRP 4th Edition Rulebook states that Altdorf's original name meant "rich village."

Sources

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  • 23: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd Edition -- Realms of Sorcery
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  • 25: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd Edition -- Children of the Horned Rat
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  • 28: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd Edition -- Game Master’s Toolkit
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  • 43: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 3rd Edition -- Liber Ecstatica
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    • 64a: Part One, Chapter Four
    • 64b: Part Two, Chapter One
    • 64c: Part Two, Chapter Two
    • 64d: Part Two, Chapter Three
    • 64e: Part Three, Chapter One
    • 64f: Part Three, Chapter Two
    • 64g: Part Three, Chapter Five
    • 64h: Part Four, Chapter One
    • 64i: Part Four, Chapter Seven
  • 65: Silver Nails (Novel) by Jack Yeovil
  • 66: Elfslayer (Novel) by Nathan Long
  • 67: Dead Winter (Novel) by C.L. Werner
  • 68: Blighted Empire (Novel) by C.L. Werner
  • 69: Wolf of Sigmar (Novel) by C.L. Werner
  • 70: Grey Seer (Novel) by C.L. Werner
  • 71: Witch Killer (Novel) by C.L. Werner
  • 72: Zavant (Novel) by Gordon Rennie
  • 73: Swords of the Empire (Anthology)
  • 74: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 4th Edition -- Altdorf: Crown of the Empire
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