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"As long as the fire of the Great Temple lasts, Middenheim and Middenland will never fall."
Boris Todbringer, Elector of Middenheim.[1a]

Middenheim, also known as the Ulricsberg, the Fauschlag, meaning "Fist-Strike", or simply the City of the White Wolf, is amongst the greatest and most fortified fortress-cities within the Old World and beyond. The City of the White Wolf, home to the Cult of Ulric and the greatest city-state of the north, Middenheim is the rock upon which the northern enemies of the Empire have broken upon. Founded before the Empire was born, the giant mountain on which Middenheim sits, called the Fauschlag or Ulricsberg, towers high above the surrounding Drakwald, like an island of defiance against a rising sea of green and corruption. Since its founding, the grand city of Middenheim has never fallen to any invader that dares to assault its towering walls.[1d]

Four great causeways lead from the ground to the city's gates, connecting Middenheim with the roads to Marienburg, Kislev, Talabheim, and Altdorf. From its ramparts cannons point in all directions, showing the willingness of the people of the White Wolf to do battle anytime, anywhere. Central to the city is its identity as the home of the chief temple of the Cult of Ulric and its High Priest, the Ar-Ulric.[1d]

The Cult's Great Temple dominates the centre of the city, itself a fortress within a fortress. Its battlements are not just for show, and the Templars of the White Wolf who live in the attached barracks are not just for parades. The eternal flame of Ulric burns bright within its sanctum, and the temple will be the last place to fall should Middenheim's walls fail.[1d]

Contents

History

"I can only roll my eyes at them. It’s as if their sole experience of Middenheim is an illustration of the city as seen from afar. Certainly it has a forbidding aspect — it is a fortress so impregnable that no enemy has ever sacked it —but behind those walls the place is as cosmopolitan as Altdorf and as cultured as Nuln. Sure, winter winds bite deep atop the Fauschlag, but all good followers of Ulric know to face such hardship with resolve. They just pull their cloaks tight and think fondly of the next festival."
Janna Eberhauer, deputy to the High Wizard[3a]

Streets of Middenheim

According to legend, Middenheim was founded by the god Ulric himself, to be the centre of his religion in the Old World. Originally, the towering, flat-topped rock upon which the city stands was the base of a high mountain sacred to Ulric's brother Taal, the God of Wild Places. Taal gave the mountain to Ulric, and he struck the top of it with his fist, shattering the top of the mountain and leaving a flat stump where the city was to be. For this reason, the rock is sometimes called the Fauschlag, from an ancient word meaning "fist-strike." It is also known as the Ulricsberg, but the city itself which stands on top of the rock was known by the Teutogens as Mitgard, oweing to its proximity to the Middle Mountains[2a]

Artur and the Teutogen

The Teutogens trace their history back nearly three thousand years, to when they were a scattered affiliation of familial bands. Many of them settled in forest villages, whilst others wandered and foraged. The Teutogens were beset by marauding Goblins and Beastmen, but traded with the Elves of Laurelorn Forest and Dwarfs of the Middle Mountains and joined them in alliance against their enemies. In times of hardship Teutogens prayed to Ulric, bravest and most resourceful of gods. His priesthood derives much of its structure and ritual from these times. The household guards of influential priests and chieftains established warrior traditions, which still endure in the form of the Order of the White Wolf and the Teutogen Guard. These warrior elites wore the pelts of wolves as ceremonial battle dress. In –200 IC Orcs and Goblins swept over the Middle Mountains and sacked the Dwarfen hold of Karak Khazarak. This disaster proved fortuitous to the Teutogens, for bands of surviving Dwarfs came to live and work among them.[3b]

In –50 IC a wandering tribe of Teutogens settled about the base of the Fauschlag. Their chief was Artur, a visionary leader and fierce fighting man. He announced his intention to construct a fortress upon the rock, and petitioned Dwarfs to help. The Dwarfs discovered that burrowing through the Fauschlag was profitable as they discovered gold and precious jewels. They came to know the Fauschlag as Grungni's Tower, and regarded it with fondness. Within a few months a route was carved up to the peak and a stone keep erected atop it. Middenheim, as the settlement became known, was a source of wonder to these pioneers. Atop the rough plateau of the Fauschlag there were pools fed by hot springs. Most bizarre of all was the great pillar of flame that issued from a rent in the rock itself. As the settlement grew, Artur sought to prove himself a worthy chief. Many times he confronted threats to his people, sallying forth from Middenheim at the head of armed riders dressed in shaggy white wolf skins.[3b]

The Age of Sigmar

The Walls of Middenheim

Towards the end of his life a change came over Artur. Where he was once gallant he grew cruel. Many claim that injuries he received in his struggle against the Liche-Thing Babrakkos ate away at him. He grew bellicose towards the Unberogen tribe to the south, blaming them for disruption caused by their efforts to rid their lands of Beastmen. He demanded reparations, and sent Teutogen warbands on cattle raids. Then Sigmar Heldenhammer of the Unberogens vowed to confederate all the tribes who dwelt between the Grey Mountains to the west and Worlds Edge Mountains to the east. Artur responded with sneering dismissal, and when Sigmar finally brought his armies to the base of the Fauschlag, Artur dispatched a proxy to defy him. Undeterred, Sigmar scaled the Fauschlag and challenged Artur to single combat before the eternal flame. In desperation Artur barged the challenger into the fire, but the flames invigorated Sigmar rather than burning him. He summarily slew Artur. The Teutogens hailed Sigmar as being favoured by Ulric and submitted to his rule. Within a few years Sigmar had forged his nation and Ar-Ulric travelled from Middenheim to Reikdorf to crown him Emperor.[3b]

In the decades following Sigmar's coronation the Cult of Ulric became more formalised. Folkloric beliefs about the provenance of the Fauschlag and the source of the eternal fire became formal doctrine of the cult. Ar-Ulric Wulcan, a descendant of Artur, organised the construction of the High Temple of Ulric around the site of the eternal flame. The military orders of the Knights of the White Wolf and the Teutogen Guard were formally recognised. Around 100 IC Sigmar became venerated as a god himself, and soon the popularity of His Cult eclipsed that of Ulric throughout much of the Empire. Only in Talabecland and the northern provinces did Ulric's cult continue to enjoy the influence it had had before the deification of Sigmar. It was inevitable that this shift would cause resentment. Ulric's priests were mindful of the increasing need to court Sigmarite approval, and generally careful about what they said in public. But Ulrican zealots complained that Sigmar was not a god of Ulric's standing — if he were even a true god at all.[3b]

The Rise of the White City

With the completion of the High Temple in 113 IC, Middenheim's fortunes took a dramatic upturn. Trade increased rapidly as the roads became safer and more reliable, and Middenheim became the centre of a great crossroads between several of the Empire's major cities. Graf Wulfgaeng began a campaign to assert the importance of the city as a separate political entity in the Empire, and in 555 IC Middenheim was granted an Imperial charter that recognised it as a province. In 1207 IC Dieter Helsnicht fled Middenheim, barely escaping with his life. He had been discovered prowling the Morrspark at night to conduct vile necromantic rites. Dieter restyled himself as the 'Doom Lord of Middenheim'. He roamed the wilds before settling in an old ruined fortress hidden in the Forest of Shadows. Safe from persecution, he raised a growing army, and within a few short years the skeleton raiders of the Doom Lord harried villagers who made their homes within the forest eaves. In 1244 IC the Necromancer's forces were cornered at the Battle of Beeckerhoven. Dieter, who had bound a monstrous winged Manticore to his will, was able to escape the carnage. More than a thousand years have passed since he was last seen, but folktales suggest that the Doom Lord still haunts the forest depths.[3b]

The Reign of the Wolf Emperors

In 1359 IC the Grand Duke of Stirland was elected Emperor, and levied a tax on the Cult of Ulric. This incensed Grand Duchess Otilia of Talabecland, and she conspired with Ar-Ulric to take revenge. The following year she declared herself Empress without election and outlawed the Cult of Sigmar, declaring that Sigmar was merely a mortal whose rule had been blessed by Ulric. Graf Heinrich of Middenheim condemned Otilia, but in a sermon given at Middenheim's High Temple, Ar-Ulric praised her tough stance. The two men argued, leading to a split between Middenheim's secular and religious leadership. Ar-Ulric, his senior priests, and a vast company of Knights of the White Wolf abandoned Middenheim for Talabheim. The Empire was divided. Whilst Graf Heinrich remained loyal to the electoral system, many of his subjects urged him to follow Otilia's example. Protracted civil war ensued, in which Middenheim often proved a moderating influence. The city remained Ulrican, but also loyal to the electoral system. It therefore found friends in both the breakaway 'Otilian' faction and the rest of the Empire. With the Knights of the White Wolf concentrated in Talabheim, the Graf sought an alternative. Following the crusades against Araby the noble Todbringer family helped open up a chapterhouse of the Order of the Knights Panther in the city. Soon Middenheim's Knights Panther came to rival the Knights of the White Wolf in size and power.[3b]

In 1547 IC an election was held in Altdorf. Graf Siegfried the Significant argued that he had the necessary support, but was met with threats when he tried to cast his vote. Violence was only narrowly avoided and the Graf fled back to Middenheim. In his anger, Siegfried declared himself the first of the Wolf-Emperors, beholden to none in command over his domain. This began the period of history that is somewhat misleadingly termed the 'Age of Three Emperors'. The Wolf-Emperors ruled over vast domains, though aside from Middenheim itself much of their territory was wild and poor. Nevertheless they commanded significant military might, bolstered as they were by two of the Empire's finest knightly orders.[3b]

The Vampire Wars

The Vampire Wars began when Vlad von Carstein of Sylvania led his armies to despoil Ostermark and Talabecland. Reports reached Middenheim that Vlad's armies included regiments of undead horrors, but even so Middenheimers dismissed it as a foreign problem. Such was the lack of comity between the former provinces of the Empire at this time that Middenheimers were willing to ignore Vlad's armies provided they didn't cross the Talabec. But Vlad considered the northern lands ripe for conquest, and he crossed the river in 2025 IC. Middenheim was quick to respond to this provocation, and its armies met Vlad at the Battle of Schwarthafen. The outcome was a decisive victory for the forces of Middenheim. Jerek Kruger, Grand Master of the Knights of the White Wolf, cut Vlad down. Vlad's living soldiery fled the field in a disastrous rout, whilst his skeletal regiments crumbled into piles of mouldering bone.[3b]

Thanks to the revitalising magic of the Carstein Ring Vlad did not stay dead. The next year Jerek vanished, only to return as part of Vlad's newly created undead army. Vlad went on to besiege Altdorf and was slain by the Grand Theogonist after being betrayed by his vampiric heir, Mannfred von Carstein. Middenheim was embroiled in the ongoing Vampire Wars until 2145 IC, when armies from many of the provinces of the former Empire put aside their quarrels to confront and destroy Mannfred.[3b]

The Wizard War's

Since ancient days the Teutogens have regarded magic-users with tolerance. Even during the time before Magnus, when Wizards were persecuted throughout much of the Empire, Middenheim had a Guild of Wizardry. Sigmarite Witch Hunters condemned Middenheim for this lax attitude, and speculated that the city was a haven for Chaos worship and Necromancy. Middenheim's Wizards knew that if they did not hunt out dark magicians, the Witch Hunters would seek to carry out persecutions there. In 1979 IC Middenheim's Wizards announced that they would prove that Middenheim was free of witches, and began to investigate rumours of unethical magical practice. To their horror, the Wizards were forced to admit that the consequences of Midenheim's open-mindedness had not been wholly positive. Necromancers and Chaos Sorcerers had indeed established themselves in the city. The resulting conflict is known as the Wizards' War. Thankfully the Wizards' War was confined to clandestine skirmishes, and most of the dark magicians who had hidden in the city chose to flee rather than fight. Nevertheless, outbreaks of undead activity and daemonic manifestation plagued alleyways and cellars in Middenheim.[3b]

The Great War against Chaos

The Empire finally disintegrated in 1979 IC and the electoral system was abandoned. The leaders of Middenheim still called themselves 'Wolf Emperors', but the little prestige that clung to the title vanished. Now every provincial ruler of the former Empire held a similar office. In 2302 IC the denizens of the Northern Chaos Wastes, tempted by the weakness of the former Empire, formed a fearsome horde and advanced on Kislev. When news reached Middenheim that Magnus the Pious was mustering a force to liberate Kislev, few took him seriously. Ar-Ulric was particularly scathing. He called Magnus vainglorious and mocked those who saw him as a Sigmarite saviour. He commissioned agents to spread rumours that Magnus was actually in thrall to the Ruinous Powers.[3b]

Magnus travelled to Middenheim in secret, and just as Ar-Ulric denounced him as a blasphemer he rose from amongst the congregation. He strode toward the eternal flame and claimed that if he really was a heretic the fires would consume him. Like Sigmar before him, Magnus stepped through the flames and emerged unscathed. Ar-Ulric muttered excuses but the people hailed Magnus a hero. Magnus marched on to Kislev and many Middenheimers joined his crusade. Together they threw back the Chaos hordes. The victory reminded people of the Empire's might when it is unified under strong leadership, and Magnus was the obvious choice for Emperor. It is a mark of Magnus's magnanimity that once he was crowned he reinstated Ar-Ulric's electoral privileges. However, Sigmarites rejoiced that similar electoral power was granted to no less than three of their senior clergy and came to refer to the drama in the High Temple as 'The Shaming of Ar-Ulric'.[3b]

Depredation of the Goblin King

It is said that Grom the Paunch had consumed the raw flesh of Trolls, and that this resulted in his uncanny resilience and bellicosity. Having brought numerous lesser Goblin warlords beneath his boot, the corpulent Grom launched a campaign of destruction against the Empire. Before long Grom's hordes came to assail Middenheim, and a massive sea of spiteful Greenskins swelled around the base of the Fauschlag. Scornful of the Goblins' ability to storm the city, the Graf merely ordered Middenheimers to pull up the drawbridges and wait for them to search for easier pickings. But he had not accounted for the Goblins’ determined efforts to infiltrate the tunnels that riddled the Fauschlag. Whilst many Goblins lost their way (and their lives) in the undercity, enough of them made their way into Middenheim to sorely press the defenders. After a hard fight the Goblin horde was repelled, and Grom led them northwards. But extensive destruction had been wrought in Middenheim. Even the Grand Temple of Ulric had had its roof destroyed. Many Middenheimers like to boast that their city has stood impregnable throughout the ages, but whilst Grom never conquered Middenheim, he came within arm's reach of shattering its defences.[3b]

The Reign of Karl Franz

In the present day Middenheim has recovered from the ravages of famine, contagion, and war, and is home to nearly 40,000 souls. In places the city is so densely inhabited that rows of buildings are layered one atop another, and where these crowded districts crowd up to the sides of the rock, the structures teeter precariously against empty space or are even worked down into the faces of the cliff sides. Middenheim's narrow alleyways are world-renowned for their labyrinthine intricacy, and in places one road crosses a lower one dug into the grey rock of the Fauschlag. The city is less crowded in the north, where the more upper-class residences nestle amongst green parks and stately monuments. Whilst these areas have none of the jostling jumble of the rest of the city, the feel of the manors is one of compact practicality compared to those found in other parts of the Empire.[3b]

Here the city guard patrol broad avenues, dressed in blue uniforms of slashed fabric and hefting broad-bladed halberds. Beneath the city streets the undercity still exists, formed from those tunnels and mines that Dwarfs have dug throughout the Fauschlag since the days of Artur. Now the tunnels are officially sealed, so the Dwarfs say, but in many places they have been breached by one agency or another. Secret boltholes of criminals and cultists are found here. Dwarf tunnel fighters regularly set out to map the undercity and confront enemies they encounter there, though the task is impossible in its complexity. Still, Middenheim retains its reputation as one of the safest and most civilised of the Empire's great cities. Graf Boris, like his Todbringer forebears, enjoys a good reputation at home and abroad. Whilst he is a proud Ulrican he stands firmly in favour of the Empire's stability and security as a whole, and distrusts those who seek to dishonour the name of Sigmar. His word is law within the city walls, and further afield lesser nobles take care to court his favour.[3b]

Government

"They’ll tell you Middenheim is a liberal place. ‘See how we’ve welcomed all kinds of folk since the distant days of Great Artur.’ Yet when Knights of the White Wolf harass poor Sigmarites, the Graf turns a blind eye. They say that this is a safe place. ‘Pay your taxes so that our valiant soldiers can face down our many enemies.’ Well! What enemy threatens us to justify such excises? Even during the Age of Wars no army stormed these ramparts, but if you’re late with those taxes they’ll pack you off to the mines. So they will tell you this is a cultured place. ‘Regard the myriad delights of our fun-packed festival season.’ Just make sure it doesn’t include anything remotely satirical, or they’ll burn down the theatre again. High time Middenheim’s common folk took a stand against their oppressors! Rise up! A new millennium is dawning!"
Overheard at a meeting of the New Millennialists[3a]

The Court of Graf Boris Todbringer

Whilst Graf Boris wields absolute power in Middenheim, contrarian revisionists might argue that he is merely the centre of a network of influencers. Graf Boris rules within a system of departmental delegation developed by his forebears. Technically the Graf enacts all laws within his ambit, but he has many advisors, and interested parties can make recommendations and representations to him through the Burgerlich Komissionen, as the City Councils are called. The Graf has little practical choice but to leave the management of Middenheim’s Guilds to their elected representatives, and is effectively powerless to prevent the rough criminal codes of the Low Kings carrying more authority than his own laws within the city’s rookeries.[3c]

Count of Middenehim

Graf Boris rules in Middenheim and none may gainsay him. Such is his power that he could refuse the orders of the Emperor himself (though it would be an unwise Emperor who blithely dictated orders to the Graf, just as it would be an unwise Graf who blithely ignored the Emperor’s wishes). His family have a most distinguished lineage. Not only have Todbringers lived in Middenheim for over a thousand years, but they are related through a tradition of marriage to the von Bildhofen family, descendants of Gunthar von Bildhofen, who was the brother of Emperor Magnus the Pious. Even before a Todbringer occupied Middenheim’s throne the family was a rich and powerful aristocratic line, feted and feared for ancient ties to the Order of the Knights Panther. The Graf does not have to worry about the consent of his people from a legal standing, but even the most absolute of monarchs has to be wary of resentful subjects. Over the years the Grafs have overseen the founding of a number of institutions in the hope of legitimising their rule in the eyes of common folk. Intrigues at court, ties with the military, cooperation with the Cult of Ulric, and sponsorship of a nascent secret service are all ways in which the Graf extends his power over Middenheim. Even the Komissions, ostensibly set up to provide citizens with a voice, can be employed to spread his influence.[3c]

Council of Middnehim

For all his power Graf Boris is not a tyrannical man. His character is reflected in his court. Favourites are not treated as temporary fashion accessories, but treasured companions whose loyalty is reciprocated. Many of the courtiers are respected for their ability to speak honestly and plainly. The Graf shows tolerance for respectful disagreement and debate. His court is austere and serious in comparison to those of other electors, but it is not joyless. Yet all is not well within the court. The Graf ’s recently deceased wife, Anika-Elise Nikse, weilded a good deal of influence while she was alive, and has left her mark upon the palace. Unknown to most, Anika-Elise had been a malign infector who secretly worshipped the Prince of Chaos and desired to foster corruption and misrule. Before her death she had seen to it that sybarites and power worshippers found a home at court. The following people are thought of as professional courtiers. There are many other people in Middenheim who regularly attend court, but have important duties elsewhere. Ar-Ulric and the High Wizard are advisors to the Graf and often seen at court, but they are better known for their roles at the High Temple and Grand Guild of Wizards respectively.[3c]

Known Members

Other Noble Houses

A number of other aristocratic lines have courts of their own at Middenheim, or at least they do sometimes. Noble households are often peripatetic bodies, moving about from manor to castle to town. They often spend the winter months in Middenheim. Depending on the temperament of the heads of the household, aristocrats either visit the city for major festivals or are conspicuous by their absence. There is overlap between different noble courts, including that of the Graf. To serve a noble is an honourable profession, and many courtiers are aristocrats themselves. Nobles often take young scions of other households on as important staff. Fostered wards, prospective fiancés, and even hostages awaiting ransom may be placed within their affinity. Positions such as falconer, librarian, master of horse, and lady at court are typically reserved for young courtiers. Nobles are raised with the expectation that should they serve another they are to execute their role with dignity even if they suspect they are being demeaned. Fortunately few lords would be so reckless as to assume that they could escape the consequences of routinely humiliating high-born servants, and pronounced cases of mistreatment can instigate feuding.[3c]

Law

Warhammer Middneheim Law.jpg

The three Law Lords are appointed by Graf Boris to advise on all legislation in Middenheim, revise existing legal documents, and draft new ones. The current Law Lords are Reiner Ehrlich, Joachim Hoflich, and Karl-Heinz Wasmeier. They dress in plain grey robes at all times, wearing golden badges of office in the shape of a set of scales. All three are dedicated professionals who remain aloof from other courtiers in order to preserve their impartiality and forestall accusations of corruption. They are sometimes seen at state functions, but are generally unapproachable to the bulk of the populace. Written petitions concerning proposed laws are received at their offices, but audiences cannot be arranged. They do have dealings with the Worshipful Guild of Legalists and may be sought by influential people for advice on legal matters. Even in these dealings they are circumspect and quick to report anything untoward to the Graf.[3d]

Burgerlich Komissionen

Middenheim has a reputation as a city in which the people have a real voice in how policy is formed. There is a long tradition in the city of ensuring that interests of various demographics are made apparent to their leaders through the Burgerlich Komissionen. The most important Komissions, as far as the government of the city is concerned, are the Komission for Commerce, Trade, and Taxation, and the Worshipful Guild of Legalists. The other three major Komissions are the Komission for Public Works; the Komission for Health, Education, and Welfare; and the Komission for Elven, Dwarven, and Halfling Interests.[3d]

Komissionen Covenors

Each Komissionen is headed by a Convenor whose main task it is to carry out a quarterly review of matters of interest to the agency, the problems they face, and ideas they have for the improvement of the city. Following this review, each Covenor meets with a Law Lord who scrutinises the reports, and then advises in regard to any upcoming policy changes that impact the Komissionen. Residents of Middenheim enjoy the right to present pertinent complaints and ideas to the Komissionens and have them considered by the Covenor, or one of their delegates. A Covenor’s role depends on a reputation for being a diligent representative. At the same time, they are mindful of putting themselves at a remove from malcontents and timewasters, so the initial experience for people wishing to bring an issue to the attention of a Covenor is of having to navigate tedious bureaucratic procedures.[3d]

Foreign Policy

The relationship between Middenheim and the Grand County of Middenland is one of fluid complexity, with Middenheim always exerting influence over the province but never wholly winning the hearts and minds of its people. Tensions between the Cults of Ulric and Sigmar have a part to play in the situation. The rural folk of Middenland may respect Ulric as an inspiration on a personal level, but the day-to-day threat of raids by Beastmen and Goblins is better met through Sigmarite values of cooperation and vigilance against Chaos. So whilst Middenland remains a very Ulrican place, enclaves of Sigmarites exist and the capital of Carroburg has as much in common with its close neighbours, the cities of the Reikland, as it does with Middenheim. The von Bildhofen rulers of Middenland also play up the obvious connections between their revered ancestor, Magnus the Pious, and Sigmar. Graf Boris Todbringer has wisely kept his hand hidden when it comes to any hint of ambition to rule Middenland like Grafs of old, but he has projected military power into the province. Companies of knights from Middenheim rove into the Drakwald under the pretence of defying the growing Beastman threat. Whilst Middenlanders are generally happy to receive them, rumours circulate that Knights of the White Wolf have persecuted isolated Sigmarite communities. Count Leopold von Bildhofen increasingly finds himself torn between the need to assert the rights of Sigmarites, and his own failure to combat the Beastmen hordes of the Drakwald without Middenheim's assistance.[3c]

Relations with Nordland

Until recently the situation regarding Middenheim's management of Nordland had been a matter of unshakable stability. Nordlanders may have moaned about being under the yoke of the Grafs, but they in turn had governed the province wisely and there was little talk of serious rebellion. Within the last decade the mood has shifted, with tensions flaring during the Battle of the Doom Lord's Ruin. This event is named for a Salzenmund tavern that had the misfortune to act as the makeshift barracks of regiments of state troopers from Middenheim and Nordland. The soldiers, bored and drunk, took to quarrelling. By the time the violence ended, 18 of the Graf's men were dead, along with 20 Nordlander soldiers and several civilians. Graf Boris was assured by his second wife, Anika-Elise of the Nikse family of Salzenmund, that Nordland would accept culpability for the event provided he only demanded a token pittance by way of reparation. So the Niskes and Todbringers swept the issue aside and considered the matter forgotten. But another noble family, the ambitious Gaussers of Salzenmund, were not satisfied to keep quiet. As a result of their decrying the injustice they have become figureheads of a growing separatist tendency within Salzenmund's political class.[3c]

Religion

"Old White Wolf will sniff you out, Old White Wolf with braided hair,
Old White Wolf will hunt you down, Old White Wolf will rip and tear!
"
Middenheimer children's rhyme.[4b]

Shrine to Ulric

Middenheim has been the most important spiritual centre of the Ulrican cult since its founding. The High Temple to Ulric is one of the most impressive structures in the city, and no other temple to the god rivals it. Worship of Ulric permeates many aspects of life in Middenheim, and aside from the High Temple each district is home to secondary chapels and shrines. Middenheim’s Grafs have been observant of Ulric’s major festivals and respectful of his cult, but they have also ruled that strictures associated with Ulric’s priesthood need not apply to them or their subjects. This has caused friction, such as when the armies of Middenheim began to include regiments armed with gunpowder weaponry around the turn of the second millennium. Ar-Ulric gave a sermon which, whilst it fell short of condemning the move, was spiked with nostalgic despair.[3d]

The structure of the cult as embodied by the staffing at the High Temple is reflected in smaller cult institutions all over the known world. Ar-Ulric is the supreme head of the cult. It is his responsibility to appoint High Priests who, in turn, appoint priests and initiates within their jurisdictions. He is also Court Cleric to the Graf. In this role, Ar-Ulric is expected to represent the communal interests of all cults and temples within the city, using his influence on their behalf. Not surprisingly, however, he advocates fervently for Ulrican interests whilst doing few favours for followers of Sigmar. Ar-Ulric is elected to the position for life by a conclave of the Order of the Howling Wolf ’s senior priests, who journey to Middenheim from places as distant as Sudenland and Kislev in order to undertake the task. Ar-Ulric wields both spiritual and secular powers; he is an Elector of the Empire, and trusted spiritual advisor to other Ulrican Electors (who typically consult with him before deciding how to cast their votes). The current Ar-Ulric, Jarrick Valgeir, is generally well regarded, though some Ulricans feel he isn’t quite strident enough and close friends have noticed that he has been distracted recently. Each High Priest of Ulric is assisted in his duties by his deputy, known as the Denfather. Claus Liebnitz is Denfather of the High Temple in Middenheim — a fierce fighting man and inductee of the Brotherhood of the Axe. Unfortunately, he has caught the eye of his brothers who worship a darker god than Ulric. They have begun to initiate him in rites that leave him vulnerable to Khorne’s influence.[3d]

Overview

"Ulric is in the wild places, in the wind, in the storm, in the snow, in the howl of the Wolf. You cannot find him in your cities or your temples of stone..."
Heikki Russ, Wanderer of Ulric[4a]

The people of Middenheim

In the present day Middenheim has recovered from the ravages of famine, contagion, and war, and is home to nearly 40,000 souls. In places the city is so densely inhabited that rows of buildings are layered one atop another, and where these crowded districts crowd up to the sides of the rock, the structures teeter precariously against empty space or are even worked down into the faces of the cliff sides. Middenheim’s narrow alleyways are world-renowned for their labyrinthine intricacy, and in places one road crosses a lower one dug into the grey rock of the Fauschlag. The city is less crowded in the north, where the more upper-class residences nestle amongst green parks and stately monuments. Whilst these areas have none of the jostling jumble of the rest of the city, the feel of the manors is one of compact practicality compared to those found in other parts of the Empire.[3c]

Here the city guard patrol broad avenues, dressed in blue uniforms of slashed fabric and hefting broad-bladed halberds. Beneath the city streets the undercity still exists, formed from those tunnels and mines that Dwarfs have dug throughout the Fauschlag since the days of Artur. Now the tunnels are officially sealed, so the Dwarfs say, but in many places they have been breached by one agency or another. Secret boltholes of criminals and cultists are found here. Dwarf tunnel fighters regularly set out to map the undercity and confront enemies they encounter there, though the task is impossible in its complexity. Still, Middenheim retains its reputation as one of the safest and most civilised of the Empire’s great cities. Graf Boris, like his Todbringer forebears, enjoys a good reputation at home and abroad. Whilst he is a proud Ulrican he stands firmly in favour of the Empire’s stability and security  as a whole, and distrusts those who seek to dishonour the name of Sigmar. His word is law within the city walls, and further afield lesser nobles take care to court his favour.[3c]

Merchant Houses

Old money talks loudest in the Empire, but the influence of merchants is significant and growing. Middenheim is an important trading hub, for whilst it lacks access to the Empire’s waterways, many trade caravans journey the roads between Talabheim, Altdorf, Salzenmund, and Marienburg. Middenheim plays host to freight magnates, merchant princes, and other wealthy traders. The city is also a busy site of production and commerce itself. Middenheim is a major supplier of raw materials: timber from the Drakwald and Forest of Shadows, and ore from the Middle Mountains. The city is also famed for the manufacture of fabrics and leather goods. Powerful merchant dynasties exist within Middenheim. The wealthier merchants have tended to corner the market in a particular kind of goods. They are ever mindful of exploiting new opportunities and heading off the successes of their rivals. The Graf, like most aristocrats, considers involving himself in the business of traders to be ever so slightly sordid. However, he is aware that the merchants enrich the city, and that swathes of his subjects are employed through their efforts, so he is careful not to be dismissive of their concerns. Merchant princes are often made guests of honour at glamorous court functions such as the Carnival Garden Party. Whilst no such arrangement is on any official document, rumours in Middenheim have it that the merchants have wrangled concessions out of Middenheim’s Chancellor. Many grumble that they ought to be taxed more heavily. Agitators such as those associated with the New Millennialist movement urge the common folk to raise complaints about the preferential treatment merchants are shown.[3c]

Guilds

Exclusive right to practise most professions in Middenheim is granted to those who have earned a licence from their respective Guild. The day-to-day work of a Guild involves keeping tabs on its members and ensuring that they meet trading standards set by the Guild within Middenheim’s legal framework. So if a Physician, for example, wants to work in Middenheim without falling foul of the law, the least they must do is prove their competence to the Physicians’ Guild, pay their membership fees, and abide by their guidelines. The Guilds perform a pro-social service in ensuring that their members stick to good and fair practices. However, there is a darker side to Guilds. They are open to corruption, and rumoured to promote members according to cronyism or bribery rather than merit. They are ruthless in prosecuting those who seek to work without first approaching them for a license and, depending on supply and demand, the fees they charge can be extortionate. City Guilds can be divided into three categories: Labour Guilds, Craft Guilds, and Professional Guilds.[3d]

Labour Guilds are relatively easy to join. There is always a demand for unskilled workers and provided Characters don’t look weak and feeble, they can join any Labour Guild on payment of 5GCs (or 10 shillings per month). The Labour Guilds are very good at ensuring their members get paid the proper rate of 7 shillings a day, but are extremely touchy about demarcation of labour. An inter-guild feud lasting six months was once instigated simply because a member of the Teamsters’ Guild replaced a wheel on his cart without consulting the Cartwrights’ Guild first.[3d]

Employment

It is not easy to pursue a career in Middenheim without first joining a Guild or mollifying one of the Low Kings. If Characters wish to undertake the Income Endeavour whilst in Middenheim, they must consider this. Academics, Burghers, Courtiers, and Peasants can arrange a meeting with a relevant Guild as an Endeavour. In doing so they must pay their dues and pass any pertinent Tests, after which they can take the Income Endeavour as normal. If a Character attempts an Income Endeavour in the city without first joining a Guild, they should make a Difficult (–10) Charm Test to represent their attempts to stop gossips informing a Guild of their misdemeanours. If the Character fails, immediately apply the effects of the Old Debts and Under Suspicion events (WFRP, page 194) to represent the Guild cracking down on the Characters. Characters from the Rogue Class may contact a Low King using the same process. Warriors, Rangers, and Burghers acting in the profession of Beggars need not join any Guild to make Income Endeavours. Riverfolk find Middenheim offers them few opportunities for work, though Smugglers may appeal to Low Kings in the same way as Rogues, and Stevedores may join the Teamsters’ Guild and turn their hand to unloading carts rather than barges.[3e]

Visitors

Middenheim stands at the junction of two busy trade routes, and a steady line of traffic arrives at the city from Altdorf, Marienburg, and Talabheim. These roads are solidly constructed, well maintained, and regularly patrolled. Some of the finest coaching inns in the Empire are found along these routes, and travellers are never far away from a safe refuge. However, the wealth moving along these roads still attracts highway robbers, as well as desperate bands of Mutants or Goblins. Despite the protection afforded by Road Wardens and coaching inns, travellers are still advised to join large groups and look to their own defence. There are numerous reasons to visit Middenheim, some of which are listed here.[3d]

  • Before the reign of Magnus the Pious, the Empire was bitterly divided. Religious differences between followers of Ulric and Sigmar had been a contributing factor to the rifts. Within the two cults there are people who work to ensure such enmity does not blight the Empire in the future, just as there are also those who wish to see hostilities renewed. A Sigmarite patron might sponsor adventurers to help promote religious harmony within the Ulrican city, but another might just as easily hire them to sow sectarian discord.[3d]
  • Sigmarite Witch Hunters are not welcome in Middenheim. Whilst members of the Order of the Silver Hammer are not prohibited from the city, they find it a cold house and the citizens of Middenheim are often hostile to them. Witch Hunters suspect that Middenheim is home to many witches, but they have struggled to gather evidence to support their suspicions. A Witch Hunter may wish to sponsor some adventurers to carry out an investigation, or lead a group themselves.[3d]
  • The provinces of Nordland and Middenland have a complicated history with Middenheim. There are nobles in both provinces who would like to either strengthen bonds between their domains and the city state, or foster a sense of independence. They seek agents to spy on Middenheim’s rulers, judge their intentions, and gather pertinent information.[3d]
  • Two large knightly orders have important bases of operation in the city: the White Wolves at the High Temple of Ulric, and the Knights Panther. These orders are always recruiting new members to replace knights lost campaigning against Goblins and Beastmen of the Drakwald. A noble Character, or devotee of Ulric with a good sword arm, might be urged to join their ranks.[3d]
  • The Elves of the Laurelorn and Dwarfs of the World’s Edge Mountains also regard Middenheim as something of a political battleground. The Laurelorn Queen seeks to ensure that the people of Nordland do not stray into Elf business, and the Dwarf King has it on his mind to see the Middle Mountains won back from raiding Orcs and Goblins. See Archives of the Empire Volume I for more on the denizens of the Laurelorn and their Queen.[3d]
  • The criminal Low Kings offer opportunities to thieves and racketeers, provided they are paid their quotas. A criminal Character that is willing to work for a Low King can benefit from the protection and training afforded by some of the greatest organised criminals in the Old World.[3d]
  • Necromancers know of the Liche-Thing Babrakkos that once haunted the lands around Middenheim. Recently icons and artefacts associated with its worship have been cropping up in the hands of people with no knowledge of its terrible power. Experts in the undead fear it may manifest once more.[3d]
  • What could be more fun than to attend Middenheim’s famous carnival? (Especially if the rumours about the Todbringers turn out to be true.) Even hardened adventurers might like to spend some time soaking in the atmosphere at some of the best outdoor performances in the Empire, whilst more practical sorts could try to earn renown in the Minotaur fights or archery tournaments.[3d]

Under-City

The Fauschlag is honeycombed with twisting tunnels and chambers that tangle in on themselves The complexity of this subterranean city is staggering, and attempts to map its intricacies have met with failure. Even Middenheim’s Dwarfs, responsible for much of the delving, could only navigate a fraction of the Undercity. For the sake of simplicity, the Undercity is spoken of as three areas, though these areas intersect in many places. The sewers have been constructed in relatively recent history. The Upper Tunnels are mostly Dwarven passages and account for the more recent excavations. The Lower Tunnels also consist mainly of Dwarven mines and passageways, though there are also a number of natural potholes and complex caverns. Deeper still — entirely unknown to Middenheim’s citizens — is the Skaven lair of Under-Middenheim.

The Sewers

Middenheim’s sewers run just below the city streets. Underlying the whole city, the system is built around a core of main sewers fed from branching minor ones. The system is designed so that the nearer you get to the centre of the plateau, the closer to the surface the sewers are. The incline is shallow, but the resulting gradient allows sewage to flow outwards to the edges of the Fauschlag, where it runs down a number of channels carved into the sides of the rock. The poorer and older areas of Middenheim, such as Ostwald, Sudtor, and the Altquartier, have open sewers due to lack of plumbing. On hot summer days the reek can be eye-watering. At the points where a sewer passes beneath the city walls, an iron gate is fitted across the tunnel. Watch patrols that pass these gates are supposed to inspect them every six hours. If there are signs of someone having entered the city, the patrol immediately sounds an alarm and carries out a systematic check of every sewer outlet and manhole, but this system is not adhered to consistently. Many people are willing to let undesirables in when the sentires have their eyes turned, and too few members of the Watch carry out careful checks. Things are different at the Middenpalaz. The sewers under the Graf ’s residence have gates like the rest of the network, but Knights Panther carry out inspections diligently.[3i]

The Upper Tunnels

Much of this area is known to and mapped by the Dwarfs, but even they do not remember every corner. The tunnels are built around the original route carved by the Dwarfs to reach the plateau of the Fauschlag, but they also include mines, well shafts, and cellars. The legacy of honeycombed rock was well known to Middenheim’s early leaders, but the tunnels were apparently sealed when the city all but fell to the besieging Middenlanders in 1750 IC. Most people think that the viaducts and chair lifts are now the only way into or out of the city, but the Dwarfs secretly keep a few tunnels in use, although Dwarf warriors often have to clear them of creatures from the surrounding wilderness. Many secret boltholes exist in isolated corners of the tunnel network where criminals have hideaways and mutants escape detection. Some of the city’s grander buildings have cavernous cellars that run deep below street level, and many include secret doors leading to the Upper Tunnels. Many noble manors include such cellars, as does Middenheim’s Grand Guild of Wizards. Low Kings and cultists are always on the lookout for such places, while others have undoubtedly already acquired one.[3i]

The Lower Tunnels

The ancient maps that exist of the abandoned Lower Tunnels are incomplete and misleading. The Lower Tunnels consist of ancient Dwarf delvings and many natural caverns. The tunnels are surprisingly dry; the Fauschlag is mostly composed of granite, and aside from the hot springs that feed the Begierbaden steam baths, there is little opportunity for underground streams to pass through. Additionally, deep well shafts run from street level to the depths of the Fauschlag and beyond. The areas where moisture does gather are susceptible to deadly cave-ins. These high-risk areas are mostly around the sewer discharge ports that are continually drenched in filth. During their excavations of the Fauschlag, Middenheim’s Dwarfs took care to avoid any intersection between their tunnels and flows of water or magical energy coursing through the rock. The Skaven of Under-Middenheim have not been so circumspect. In their haste they have delved too close to the magical Wellspring that feeds the Eternal Flame, and now monstrous elementals manifest within the tunnels.[3i]

Womb of the Wolf

There is a warren of abandoned Dwarf mines at the upper levels of the Lower Tunnels. The carved mines exit into a complex natural cave system. No map of this labyrinth exists, but those who know the way can reach a large and airy grotto, the Womb of the Wolf. Centuries before Sigmar’s rise, a Teutogen chieftain quarrelled with his daughter, Griselda. When Griselda became pregnant, the girl’s insistence that Ulric himself had impregnated her was met with outraged disbelief. Griselda fled into the wilds, and legend has it that she found her way to this cavern. There she remained, nourished by gifts of fresh meat brought to her by Ulric’s wolves and refreshed by the clear waters of a spring, until she gave birth to a boy named Blaz, first of the Sons of Ulric. The Sons of Ulric (even female members of the loosely affiliated group tend to go by this name) believe themselves descended from the god. They claim to be the mortal descendants of Blaz, or to have origins in a similar union between Ulric and a mortal. The Womb of the Wolf is a sacred site to the Sons. Prevented by law from associating together in the city above, they regularly assemble here. The cavern is bedecked in soft wolf pelts and a spring bubbles up from a crack in one of the cavern walls. The chamber is occupied throughout the year by a group of Sons of Ulric called the Bearers of the Blood. Like many of the God of Wolves’ most faithful, the Sons of Ulric are intensely competitive, but they put aside their differences and power struggles in this holy place. At any one time there are between five and ten of them here. Some of the Sons of Urlic spend the night here in the hope of having a similar fate to Griselda’s.[3i]

Wellspring of Ghur

Some academics suppose that there must be a rational explanation for the Eternal Flame. They are careful not to advance their theories publicly, for any perceived suggestion that the flame results from anything other than the divine will of Ulric is sure to displease his priests. Nevertheless, a growing body of theory and evidence suggests that a quirk of the winds of magic causes Ghur to concentrate somewhere within the Fauschlag and vent upwards to the flame, analogous to the way subterranean concentrations of water may result in a spring. The Amber Wind is a cold and primal force that is attracted to wild places and tends to blow weakly in areas of civilisation, so it is paradoxical that one of the strongest concentrations of Ghur is the Empire’s second city. The academics advancing such theories are keen to point out that they are compatible with the work of a god, but amongst themselves they suggest that it is silly to rely on a divine explanation for the phenomenon when a magical one is so much more likely. Middenheim’s academics know their ideas work in theory, but in order to advance them they must produce some evidence. Dusty scholars and inky bookworms are unsuited to the dangers of Middenheim’s Undercity, but they might be willing to sponsor brave adventurers.[3i]

Layout

Map of Middenheim

Throughout the southern provinces, Middenheim is often overlooked, dismissed as more of a fortress than a city and upstaged by the larger metropolises such as Altdorf and Nuln. Visitors exploring Middenheim soon discover hidden attractions beyond its grim facade. On first impressions, many parts of the city have a cramped and disordered look, and historically Middenheim has a reputation for fomenting civil discord and religious extremism. Even those who have respect for Middenheim’s impregnability and longevity may regard it as less of a city to be lived in and more a fortress to be manned. Yet first impressions are soon dispelled in those who stay there for even a short while. Behind its walls Middenheim is a surprisingly cultured and cosmopolitan place. The people tend to be tolerant, even trusting, and while areas of the city are dilapidated, Middenheim is a better place to live than many others in the Empire.[3e]

This openness to free thinking might seem odd for a fortress city. It surely has much to do with the fact that under their rule the Todbringers have taken care to consider the views of their people when drafting and enforcing laws. The pronounced presence of scholars, and the relatively harmonious relations between members of different species, also promotes the liberalism of Middenheim. There are two official ways of entering the fortress city: through one of the four great gates or by one of two hazardouslooking chair lifts. Of course, Characters who want to sneak into Middenheim could try to find their way in through the Undercity, but this is a hazardous and unmapped route. Citizens of Middenheim do not like unannounced visitors, and if strangers are caught trying to sneak in like this they are subjected to the rough justice of the Fusspulver Court or, worse, the Low Kings.[3e]

City Gates

Middenheim Lifts and Elevators

Entry to Middenheim is granted through one of the four great gates, studded wooden doors flanked by stone keeps. The keeps stand 40 ft high, and the surrounding city walls reach nearly as tall. There are always at least 20 armed guards at each gate. Inside the walls and adjacent to each gate are the barracks for one of the four detachments of the City Watch. Under the gatehouses are cells for troublemakers and thieves. Four mighty viaducts lead to Middenheim’s gates. Three of these rise from the surrounding lands and wend their way up to the city’s north, west, and south gates. The fourth causeway travels to the city in a level line, running from the peaks of the Middle Mountains. These incredible structures represent a unique collaboration between Dwarf engineering skill and Human magical prowess. They start well away from the Fauschlag rock, so that the gradient is not too steep for even the most heavily laden farm wagon. They are so cunningly designed that in time of war they can be destroyed by a single word of command uttered by one of Middenheim’s senior Wizards.[3e]

Tolls and Fees

There is a toll gate where each viaduct begins, but local farmers and coaches bearing the city’s coat of arms are not stopped, and neither are priests of Ulric, Knights Panther, or Knights of the White Wolf. Everyone else pays a Shilling-a-leg.[3e]

Traffic on the Viaducts

Traffic along the Middenheim roads

The roads into the city are clogged with traffic from just before dawn. Farmers bring foodstuffs to market, herdsmen drive cattle to the slaughterhouse, merchant caravans ferry spices from Araby and Ind via Marienburg, or silks from Far Cathay brought through the World's Edge Mountains. Bands of pilgrims arrive almost hourly to worship at the High Temple of Ulric. As the day wears on, the flow of traffic starts to reverse. The coaches go first, their great horses snorting impatiently. Castle Rock coaching house runs the routes to Altdorf and the south, while Wolf Runner Coaches ply the Marienburg and northern roads. Many are accompanied, at least initially, by a Road Warden patrol. In the afternoon, those with homes in the surrounding villages depart, but do so in sporadic groups so the causeways aren’t too crowded. Finally, just before sunset, coaches from Altdorf, Marienburg and beyond arrive. Horses that have just covered a 30-mile stage through dark and oppressive forest labour up the viaducts. Then, as the sun sinks behind the distant Laurelorn, the gates are closed and barred for the night. Only knights and messengers on the Graf ’s business are admitted before the next dawn.[3e]

Inspection

The guards do not have time to stop and interview everyone but spot checks are regularly carried out. Caravans are invariably stopped and their owners asked either to show evidence of Guild membership, or else pay a levy of 10% of the value of their goods. Farm wagons are rarely stopped, since these are always locals either personally known to the guards, or assumed to be renting a stall in the Altmarkt street markets. Pilgrims are often waved in without a word, as are members of the nobility. Those bearing heavy arms and armour are always stopped. A gruff sergeant at arms will demand that each visitor provide their names and explain why they are visiting the city. The guards also demand that anyone visiting the city must go about dressed and equipped so as not to cause undue alarm. This means all plate armour must be carried rather than worn, and that any weapons larger than a short sword or rapier must be properly sheathed and deposited. If the Characters have a place of residence, they can leave weapons and armour there, or they can be stored at the gatehouse (a receipt is given if Characters insist). Anyone refusing to comply with these requests is not admitted.[3e]

Chair Lift Elevators

Pedestrians who can afford the fare often enter the city by one of the chair lifts. There are stone and wood buildings clinging precariously to the rim of the plateau where the chair lift apparatus is located and fares collected. Prices are 1/– for unladen passengers, plus 4/– per backpack, 5/– to 11/– per trunk, and 12/– to 1 GC per chest (the variations in cost depending more upon rough approximations of the weight of the luggage rather than its size — generally speaking, if it can fit in the luggage compartment of a coach, it can fit in a chair lift). There are 20 guardsmen at each terminus and the reception here is much the same as that at the gates. The main difference is that the guards have more time and make even more thorough checks.[3e]

Altmarket Area

The Altmarket

Middenheim’s Altmarkt district is one of the city’s busier commercial centres, with shops and roadside stalls specialising in fresh produce and household goods. Whilst many folk make their homes here, it is not known as a residential area. Most of those who live in the district also work there. As soon as the gates open in the morning, farmers and smallholders wheel their carts here. Goods such as meat, fresh fruit and vegetables are brought into the city through the South Gate shortly after dawn, and the markets are open from an hour after dawn until dusk. Some of the more successful farmers keep their own stalls and shops within the city, but most sell their wares to a favoured stallholder and make their way back to their farmsteads. Altmarkt bustles with commerce as dawn breaks and attracts entertainers and pickpockets making what they can from the crowds. The nearby Altquartier provides the proprietors of Altmarkt with a steady supply of cheap labour, but also presents a threat — the Low Kings. Edam Gouda, the Big Cheese from Marienburg, extorts protection money from the shops and stallholders of the area whilst Bleyden, the Lowest of the Low Kings, is the proprietor of numerous vice dens to the north of the district.[3e]

The market from which the district takes its name is situated in the south-eastern corner, and is backed by a maze of tangled alleys. During the day, the streets here are lined with vendors hawking their wares from stalls and carts. Most of the city’s basic food requirements are satisfied by vendors in the district. Business is busiest early in the morning when buyers from noble households and the city’s restaurants scurry to grab the best produce. Mid-morning things begin to settle down, and for the rest of the day the bulk of the market’s customers are householders and servants. Hawkers are about at all hours of the day selling hot pies and snacks, as well as cutlery, candles, and clothes pegs. Most goods for sale in the Altmarkt are of reasonable quality, and despite the fact that this is not a wealthy area there are a number of very fine food outlets. Stallholders selling cheap and nasty items do exist, but generally competition is such that anyone who earns a reputation for poor quality goods soon feels the squeeze.[3e]

Eckzähnehaus

These extensive kennels are managed by a sturdy but elderly woman called Bertha Waldhaus. She spends most of her day running her charges through her strict training regimes. The dogs kept here are all large and muscular breeds. They are purchased or hired to help guard warehouses or act as personal protection. Whilst she is strict, if not a little harsh, in her training methods, Bertha has great affection for the dogs she trains, and she would hate to hear of any of them being mistreated or used in blood sports.[3e]

Fleischer’s Slaughterhouse

This is the main abattoir servicing the markets, and a busy place throughout the working day. Livestock comes into the city on the hoof, is slaughtered here, and prepared for sale. Butchers from all over the Altmarkt arrive to collect sides of meat and pails of fresh offal. The slaughterhouse also sells hides to tanneries in Neumarkt, as well as Middenheim’s three scriptoria, who use them in producing vellum. The slaughterhouse is owned by Bruno Fleischer, a tall and muscular man in his late 30s.[3e]

Gewürzwagen

The bustling market

Early each morning Prajit Brahm wheels his brightly coloured wagon into his preferred space on the Altmarkt streets. It is festooned with jars and bottles containing aromatic seeds and hot peppers. Prajit is famed throughout the city for the highquality spices that he sources from suppliers in Ind and the Southlands. He is known to have extensive dealings with the Arabian spice dealer Hassan of Marienburg. Whilst the folk of Araby are culturally and ethnically distinct from the people of Ind, the two men have much in common, being recent arrivals to the Empire with a deep knowledge of their trade.[3e]

Horse and Groom

Altmarkt taverns tend to be cramped and crowded, but the Horse and Groom is an exclusive and costly place. It is similar to the large fortified coaching inns that can be found along the Empire’s roads, and this is reflected in the inn’s name and decor. However, the stables and stalls are better suited to oxen than horses and the walls around the building are not intended to ward off Goblin raiders, but rather to give the clientele a sense of reprieve from the market bustle. The Horse and Groom caters mostly to those merchants who arrive in Middenheim at the head of wagon trains and trading missions. These rural magnates are too poor and rustic to fit in with the merchant lords of the Geldmund (see page 49), but still appreciate a well-appointed place within which to escape the hoi polloi. Whilst many petty criminals might consider the Horse and Groom to be a source of rich pickings, it would be a foolish thief who sought to rob the place. The Low Kings know that their profits ultimately depend on wealthy travelling merchants, and so they do what they can to make sure such people find the Altmarkt welcoming.[3e]

The Ice House

The only part of the Ice House that can be seen from the street is a gateway, shaped like a miniature red brick fortification. Inside, a narrow passageway leads downwards to a junction with several alcoves, secure behind padlocked grates. Each winter labourers are hired to carve blocks of ice from the surface of the Black Pool (see page 59) and stack them up within the alcoves. Throughout the rest of the year patrons of the Ice House store perishable goods here where they are kept cool and pest-free. The Ice House is managed by a strange pair of Elves who keep a small townhouse nearby. Eldriar is a mature Elf woman, with long silver hair and awkward, overly friendly manners. Her companion is a sullen young Elf man called Alzeraith. They claim to be visitors from the Tower of the Dawn, a far-flung High Elven settlement. They keep to themselves, saying they wish to observe Human civilisation a while, making themselves useful whilst doing so, before returning home.[3e]

In fact, Eldriar was once a citizen of the dread realm of Naggaroth, one of the hateful Druchii who plunder the world’s seas and revel in the dark side of Elven spirituality. She has fled with her son because she recognises within him a nascent potential for sorcery, and seeks to protect Alzeraith from Naggaroth’s Witch King who cruelly persecutes other male magic users. Eldriar fears that those with Second Sight may be able to uncover her son’s secret. In order to provide plausible deniability, she has hidden a shard of warpstone under a flagstone in one of the icy chambers. Should someone ever try to locate a source of dark magic here, they might credit it for the corruption, giving the Elves a chance to flee. The Dark Elves know to keep a low profile and suppress their desires, but this is wearisome. Eldriar is beginning to crave some of the more esoteric delights she once enjoyed in Naggaroth. If she became aware of a cult dedicated to Slaanesh, she would make an eager adherent and powerful ally, and would work to destroy anyone who risked exposing the cult.[3e]

Marktag Grocers’ market

For most of the week this large warehouse lies empty, patrolled by a shiftless watchman and occasionally visited by a gimleteyed and jaundiced Rat Catcher called Frau Raubkat. However, every Marktag the place becomes one of the busiest areas of the city. The Grocers’ Market is open to all local farmers and smallholders to come and sell their best and freshest produce. Whilst roadside stalls and grocer’s shops can be found all over the Altmarkt, to earn a place in the Grocers’ Market a stall owner must have a reputation for quality and upright business practice. The reputation of the traders here is therefore a good one, and the produce on sale is always seasonal and of the highest quality. The Komission for Public Works regards the Marktag Grocers’ Market as a worthy cause to promote, as it is beloved of all classes. They ensure that the city’s best buskers and festival performers are hired to perform on a small bandstand erected in the centre of the space.[3e]

Middenland Farmers’

Association The Middenland Farmers’ Association keeps a small brick building in the Altmarkt for its office. From the outside there is nothing to distinguish it from other residences in the area. However, in a small alcove to the side of the building a stag’s skull is respectfully hung, one of the few public acknowledgements of Taal’s worship in Middenheim. Unlike Guilds, the Association has no particular political clout. Most of the farmland within Middenheim’s ambit is owned by nobles, who are happy to ignore the Association as they see fit. Dietrich Hoffman is the chief representative for the farmers, a tireless advocate for the welfare of farm workers and the need to abide by best practice. However, he is a rather morose and irritable character, and those he seeks to advise find him a bore. ‘To warn of bad harvests is to be blamed for bad harvests’ has become his melancholic catchphrase. On occasion Erno Horvathy, a Jade Wizard from Middenheim’s Guild of Wizards, consults with the Farmers’ Association.[3e]

According to legend, Taal promised Ulric that the Fauschlag would be a place all of his own. Whilst other temples to other gods exist in the city, and the shrine to Taal here is discreet, there are fervent Ulricans who resent its presence and seek to have it removed, or even desecrated. 0 In response to mediocre harvests, a pamphlet is circulating accusing farmers of trying to starve the city. It argues that farmers only harvest a fraction of the crop to save themselves work and drive up prices. The pamphlet is associated with Middenheim’s New Millennialist movement, though it is not like them to target commonfolk and rhetoric like ‘to get his wheat you must punch a farmer in the face and point a handgun at his family’ is unbecoming of Verenans. The campaign could be a sign of growing militancy within the group, or an attempt by agent provocateurs to discredit them and instigate infighting. 0 The Wizard Erno Horvathy has been practising his art with a few volunteer farmers on the eastern fields outside Middenheim, and a sizable, early harvest of grain is the result. Unfortunately some Middenheimers, while tolerant of approved magical practices, are very wary of eating anything grown with even a hint of magical help. They are protesting these Ghyran matured oats by picketing the Farmer's Association, and Hoffman is quickly running out of patience. Can someone convince the crowds that the oats are safe — if they even are?[3e]

The Tardy Ass

The Tardy Ass, a spacious and clean tavern, is one of Middenheim’s best kept secrets. Jost Geller is the proprietor. He is diligent, with a keen appreciation of his limitations and how to work well within them. He concentrates on selling a small range of fair and inexpensive ales, wines, and spirits, as well as bar snacks like dried pork crackling and roasted pignuts. He encourages Middenheim’s better buskers to play in the tavern and ensures that his staff are competent and hardworking. But the real secret of his success is Festag Flytings, contests of jibes which always draw a boisterous audience. Two contenders mount the small stage at the back of the bar and trade insults. A contestant is expected to be creative, witty, cutting, and able to apply a degree of poetic skill. Scatology, vulgarity, and bigotry are by no means prohibited, but they are deemed unimaginative resorts and a skilled flyter always seeks to give such things a twist. The ability to withstand mockery is essential and a contestant who blushes, cringes, or weeps a frustrated tear loses the contest immediately.[3e]

Flyting is associated mostly with Middenheim’s lower classes. No person of importance would risk their reputation by participating as a contestant. Nevertheless, certain worthies take an interest in the events. Rallane Lafarel enjoys the flytings and derives inspiration for some of his comic skits from them. He visits the tavern incognito once every few months in the company of friends such as Dieter Schmeidehammer. Were such people to be recognised, they would look kindly on those who treated their presence with discretion. Characters who are diplomatic about such visits may earn powerful friends. 0 A humiliated flyter may seek out a Character with a reputation for wit. Whilst sore losers are not respected by the flyting community, it is not unknown for an inept competitor to secretly hire a proxy to enact revenge. This is risky, as fans of flyting ruthlessly condemn such poor sportsmanship.[3e]

Altquarter

The Altquarter

It is not clear how the Altquartier came by its name, since there is no evidence that it is older than any other area of Middenheim. The Altquartier is adjacent to the Altmarkt, and is a maze of winding streets and alleyways lined with run-down terraced houses. Buildings are constructed and demolished regularly, and newer streets have even been built over the tops of crumbling older buildings, but the Altquartier’s slum-like feel never changes. The taverns are of low quality and offer exotic, if sordid, facilities and entertainments. They are a favourite haunt of both hardened criminals and groups of young rakes out slumming. The atmosphere of the district is generally anarchic. Altquartier is the home of a large part of Middenheim's underworld: the word of the Low Kings means more here than the laws of the Graf. Watch patrols who brave the Altquartier streets are openly reviled and spat upon, and so they generally leave the inhabitants to their own devices.[3f]

Worshipful Guild of Legalists

The Worshipful Guild of Legalists is a three-storey building that fronts on to the Ost Weg. The stone-clad building is decorated with elaborately carved reliefs depicting fanciful renderings of historical Grafs receiving blessings from Ulric and Verena. The offices are open to the public between 10:00 and 4:00. A number of clerks can be seen staring blankly into space in the general office behind the enquiry counter, but visitors are always kept waiting for at least 30 minutes. This Komission has the dual function of registering all the city’s litigants (who make up many of the city’s magistrates), and of drafting all new legislation.[3f]

In carrying out the latter task, the Guild ensures that the wording of all enactments remains incomprehensible to anyone not educated in law. The Guild does not draw up new policy — this is the privilege of the Graf, though he often delegates to advisors. Middenheim’s Law Lords discuss new policy with the Graf, and then direct the Guild on how best to implement it. As well as the Guild offices, archives, and magistrates’ chambers, the building incorporates the Fusspulver Court, which deals with matters of civil law, such as running a business without having joined the appropriate Guild. The Fusspulver Court is businesslike; it is rare for cases tried here to last more than an hour. Unless it’s a case of tax-dodging, which is handled by the Law Lords in the Middenpalaz, civil misdemeanours come before this court. The cases are tried by three of Middenheim’s magistrates, and a majority verdict suffices to convict the accused. There are also a number of petty courtrooms for handling disputes between shoppers and traders. These are open during the market’s opening hours, and deal with cases on the spot.[3f]

Magistrates here deal with cases so quickly, local gossip has it that their verdicts are decided on a coin toss. In cases of dispute over contracts, historical precedence, and so on, the judgement of the Priestess of Verena is usually accepted by way of arbitration. Whilst the magistrates take the arguments of litigants seriously, complaints about arbitrary judgements are fairly common. A busy scriptorium is buried deep within the building’s bowels. Hardworking scribes (20 odd) spend their days here copying books, scrolls, and other documents either for the Graf ’s personal use, or for the city records which are kept in a huge vault beneath the building. Occasionally, a visitor catches a glimpse of one of the cobweb-covered, doddery scribes emerging from one of the various offices to deliver a dusty or mildewed tome to a bored-looking clerk. These scribes were employed 50 years ago to introduce a new, efficient filing system. Unfortunately, it was decided to return to the old system ten years ago. Now no one finds anything without a lot of luck.[3f]

The Cocky Danm

The Cocky Dame is one of the district’s nicer taverns, a large, spacious and well-lit building. Its upper storeys house a seemingly endless number of snug, small single rooms, as well as a large common room which is cleaned at least once a week. A number of different ales and good homely cooking are available here for a fair price. The inn also enjoys a good reputation for the lack of violent brawling, a notably rare quality in Middenheim’s Altquartier. However, there is an ulterior motive behind the veneer of peace, comfort, and harmony that exists in the tavern. Gottfried Vonnegut, the proprietor of the inn, is one of the leading lights in the Cult of the Red Crown. He is well funded and ensures that his bar staff are both competent and loyal. Beneath the inn the large cellar allows access to Middenheim’s Undercity. In these tunnels the more mutated members of the cult can meet safely with more recognisably Human cultists.[3f]

The Baiting Pit

The Baiting Pit is a squat stone cylinder squeezed between the lopsided tenements of a narrow Altquartier alley. From the street it almost looks as if the ramshackle structure is being pushed outwards by its jostling neighbours. Outside the building a number of large iron braziers have been set up. These send up tall bright flames, so long as Kled, the particularly surly and unlikable Dwarf who manages the Baiting Pit, remembers to keep them fuelled. The venue is aptly named, for it is one of Middenheim’s most popular sites for unsanctioned bouts. Whilst it lacks the grandeur of the Bernabau Stadium, the atmosphere is more intimate and volatile. Criminals and lowlifes who might feel out of place at the stadium are welcome here. All manner of wretched animals are led into the large circular pit in the centre of the venue where they are goaded into slaughtering each other. Most of the bouts are fought between dogs, or a dog and a pack of rats, or a pair of fighting cocks.[3f]

Bretonnian House Inn

Bretonnian House Inn is an old, small tavern; its front painted with a thick layer of pungent black pitch. It is a rather squalid place, with cracked panes of glass in the windows and a permanent smell of overly boiled vegetables seeping from the cheap eating room above. The inn never seems to close, and other than the name the only thing Bretonnian about the place is a sense of complacency in management and consistent rumours of barely hidden corruption.[3f]

The Cut Purse Tavern

The Cut Purse Tavern is another of Altquartier’s notoriously criminal taverns. There is little irony in the choice of the inn’s name, and visitors are expected to keep a close eye on their valuables. Complaints about pickpockets do not find a sympathetic ear here. Despite the open criminality of the place, it is not a particularly rowdy tavern, lacking the violent atmosphere of the nearby Last Drop. The main saloon room is large and airy, with a number of comfortable seating areas set round the large central bar. The clientele here tend to be older and at ease with one another, veteran gangsters and retired old cons who like to sit and reminisce about past capers over a tankard of ale and a puff of pipe weed. Despite the relatively relaxed air of The Cut Purse, it would be a foolish watchman who sought to throw their weight around in the tavern. A gangster does not reach retirement age without knowing a trick or two, or without earning a number of very dangerous acquaintances.[3f]

East End Pitch

Roughly in the centre of the district is a rectangle of derelict land. Most of the rubble has been cleared to the edges, and the surface is a patchy mosaic of bare rock and packed earth. This is the home venue of Altquartier’s Middenball team, The Eastenders. Full matches aren’t played here very often due to the unreasonably high death and injury rates. Nevertheless, there are usually two or three young athletes found here at any one time having a kick about. The pitch is also an important meeting place for criminal rivals, such as those who work for Bleyden and Edam Gouda. Anyone meeting there is in plain sight (so acts of violence are witnessed) but the open space makes it difficult for any uninvited guests to eavesdrop on negotiations (as they might in a tavern).[3f]

The Last Drop

The sign of The Last Drop is a small gibbet with a hangman’s noose. Visitors to Middenheim would be wise to take it as fair warning of the atmosphere inside. A notorious den of iniquity, Characters with underworld contacts hear that it is a good place to buy illicit goods of all descriptions. Werner Wutend is the proprietor, a man in his 30s, easily recognised by the very visible scar that runs down the left side of his face from forehead to throat. He chews tobacco constantly, and supplements his takings by selling Ranald’s Delight for Edam Gouda. The inn is a two-storey building. The ground floor is the bar area, a cramped and filthy place, low-ceilinged and smoky. It is best not to consider the state of the floor. Practically all the furniture has been broken and crudely repaired, and brawls are a common occurrence. The upper floor houses Werner’s rooms, as well as accommodating a drug den to which only known customers are admitted.

Sargant’s Flophouse

Sargant’s Flophouse is a former merchant’s warehouse perched precariously on a steeply sloping alleyway. It is an appalling place to stay, infested with lice, fleas, and vermin. Guests are provided with one of the dirty straw mattresses that line the bare floors of long dormitories. The whole place smells of boiled cabbage, dirt, and despondency. At any time of the day or night a small line of shapeless people in ragged clothes, sporting crutches and terrible scars, stand outside to share a skin of cheap grog. The proprietor is only known as Sargant. He is a big, bald man, whose once-powerful frame has run to cold pallid flab. He wears mock-opulent clothing, cheap copies of the latest fashions, and always displays a business-like knife on his belt. Sargant is not a cruel man, but he is dull and complacent. Should he become aware of any shady goings-on in the flophouse he moves to set things right, but it is his habit to overlook all but the most obvious abuses. During the period running up to the Middenheim Carnival, Sargant closes the flophouse for a few days. During this time he changes the straw mattresses, gets rid of some of the rats, and performs a desultory cleaning of the place. He then charges a premium price for accommodation there during the week of the Carnival, before returning to his usual cheap and nasty business standards.[3f]

Brotkopfs

Map of Brotkopfs

Brotkopfs has much in common with the neighbouring Kaufseit district in that it is home to many offices and warehouses of mercantile concerns. Brotkopfs is somewhat quieter than Kaufseit and has more residential houses. There are also a number of taverns of average quality found in the district. Most buildings are built to last, constructed from stone, or are at least stone-clad, and are one or two storeys high.[3f]

The Brotkopfs Drama Society

In Middenheim the two main theatrical bodies are the Konigsgarten Theatre and the Middenheim Mummers’ Guild, who are both known for cleaving to a conservative line when it comes to dramatic productions. Works that challenge on either political or artistic levels are rarely staged. The Brotkopfs Drama Society is an underground theatre set up by workers in an old warehouse. The drama staged here is riotous and amateurish, but has drawn a number of fans who consider the ribald comedies more lively fare than what they find elsewhere. The Drama Society are currently preparing for the performance of a controversial play titled Behind the Golden Mask which supposes that Balthazar Gelt of the Gold Order is secretly a fugitive from Imperial justice. Initially the play was condemned by Middenheim’s Wizards, and was shut down. However, the resulting backlash proved far more uncomfortable an issue for Wizards than its production, and so it has now been reopened. Now every fan of theatre in Middenheim simply has to have an opinion on the play, and Wizards are becoming very tired of being badgered for their opinion on what Balthazar Gelt might have to hide. The production of Behind the Golden Mask has caused a ruction within Volans’s Oath of Devotion Society. The junior members of this club see it as their duty to defend the good name of Wizards, and are moving to picket the Drama Society. The older members of the Volans’ sOath of Devotion Society are keen to play down the fuss, afraid that their own practice of clandestine magic may come under scrutiny.[3f]

Gotthard Wallenstein’s Residence

Gotthard and his family

Gotthard Wallenstein has managed to acquire two important public offices: he is Chairman of both of the Komission for Commerce, Trade, and Taxation and the Governing Body of the Merchants’ Guild. This is a remarkable achievement for a relative newcomer to the city. Thus, not only does he chair the council that advises the Law Lords on all mercantile matters, but he also chairs the Guild that represents the interests of the city's merchants. It is said in some quarters that he maintains both positions (which are technically elected) through a combination of bribery, bootlicking, flattery, and threats. Gotthard is a master of disguise whose real identity is Gotthard von Wittgenstein — the von Wittgensteins are a Reikland noble family very much in decline, and Gotthard was happy to leave this identitiy behind him.[3f]

He is in his early 30s, but his prematurely grey hair and trimmed beard make him look older. He is tall and of medium build, with brown eyes. He dresses rather shabbily, in blues and greys for everyday wear, but is rather better dressed for State occasions. He is heavily involved with the Cult of the Jade Sceptre, a group dedicated to Slaanesh. Whilst most of the city’s merchants aspire to live within the gated security of the Geldmund district, Gotthard keeps a modest house in Brotkopfs. It is not a welcoming place: the windows are shuttered even on sunny days and the brass knocker that once decorated the front door has been removed. After much banging, the door is eventually opened (on a very stout chain) by a hunchbacked servant, Adolphus. He tells enquirers that his master is out, even if he is in.[3f]

Wallenstein is constantly on the move, and is practically impossible to find at any time of the day or night. However, he may be encountered by accident wandering a wealthy district of the city or during the evening at one of the better hostelries or clubs. If approached, he invariably denies his identity and suggests everything is a big mistake.[3f]

Heaven’s Lament

The Heaven’s Lament is a celebrated cabaret and bar. It is owned and managed by Martina Graf, a formidable woman with a large and muscular frame. This place is expensive — membership costs 6 crowns a year, although in Carnival week visitors can be admitted for a price of 4 shillings each per night. Existing members may bring guests, and if the Characters become friendly with a suitable member, they may be invited along. The club incorporates a small gambling den with a good reputation for fairness. The den is not rigged because gamblers play each other rather than the house. The Heaven’s Lament still turns a profit through the 2 shilling admission charge. In the late evenings Elf minstrels play here. These are always class acts; even Rallane the Court Minstrel is known to perform at the Heaven’s Lament.[3f]

Dwarfs are strictly prohibited from the bar. This has not yet caused trouble, but if a Dwarf were to complain to an institution such as KEDHI (Komission for Elf, Dwarf and Halfling Interests), it could lead to protests. Whilst other places also bar Dwarfs, these tend to be run by Elves, so relief from Dwarf company is expected. Dwarfs have their own areas that are closed to Elves, so they put up with being prohibited from Elven places in turn. Martina, a Human, has no such excuse. She has been lucky to escape serious complaint so far.[3f]

Komission for Commerce, Trade, and Taxation

In 1987 IC Graf Rudolf announced his intention to ‘geld those damn merchants!’, and in order to do so he saw the construction of this imposing three-storey building to house the offices of the Komission for Commerce, Trade and Taxation. Nowadays its governing body is composed almost exclusively of successful trade magnates, so it is hardly surprising then that its activities amount to little more than rubber-stamping merchants’ requests. Members of the general committee of the Komission include representatives of many of the Guilds, however, so the building’s debating chamber provides a forum for them to discuss matters of mutual interest. Like the other Komissions, it is open to the public. There are always a number of clerks on duty whose prime task seems to be to discourage freelance traders. This is fairly easily achieved by presenting the hopeful applicant with reams of incomprehensible forms that must be completed before any bulk sales can be made, together with the winking suggestion that this bureaucracy can be avoided by joining the Guild.[3f]

The Merchants’ Guild

The Merchants’ Guild has its offices in an impressive threestorey building, decorated with elaborate stucco work in the Tilean style. All of the city’s mercantile concerns have a presence here, and it is the scene of many private deals that affect the whole of Middenheim’s economy and the surrounding area. One of the building’s prominent features is a vast meeting hall decorated with portraits of former Chairs of the Guild. The most recent painting is of Gotthard Wallenstein, the current chair. Those who know of his family connections may feel that there is something eerily familiar about the painting. Finally, the Merchants’ Guild is highly protective about its monopoly on the city’s trade. Provided that there is a vacancy, market stalls can be rented fairly easily and buying bulk goods is straightforward, though the Guild charges 10% of the price. The right to sell, however, is granted only to those who have the proper connections, such as members of the nobility, members of Merchants’ Guilds in other cities, and relatives or friends of existing members.[3f]

The Swan and Sail

The Swan and Sail is a poky residential building that has been granted a license to operate as a tavern. It is not particularly conducive as a site for a good night out. Within the small dark building every inch of spare space is crammed with barrels and vats, there is limited seating, gloomy decor, nothing in the way of entertainment, and a tiny draughty outhouse serves as the sole toilet facility. Nevertheless, the tavern enjoys a modest reputation due to the fact that the proprietor, Jurgen Hartwald, treats brewing his own fine ales as a labour of love. Jurgen’s varied range of ales is uniformly of good quality, though he constantly tinkers with his recipes and never produces more than a couple of kegs of the same brew. He does charge high prices for his wares (typically 5d for a pint), but even his less successful attempts are worth the cost. Many dedicated drinkers and dissolute students consider a pint at the Swan and Sail to be a good start to a night on the tiles, though it is too dingy and cramped to stay there for long. Every year Jurgen closes his business for the fortnight preceding the Middenheim Carnival. During this time, he stockpiles maturing brews in order to present them at the Festival of Fine Ales held in the Great Park. Jurgen is a passing friend of Dieter Schmeidehammer, Lady-at-Court Petra Liebkosen, and Rallane Lafarel, who always partake of his wares at the Festival. Hettie Greenhill has been head-hunting Jurgen. She considers that a range of varied but quality brews would add a touch of class to the otherwise pretentious fare at the Quirky Bird. However, Jurgen is happy with the arrangements he has at home. It has crossed Hettie’s mind that if appropriate pressure were applied to Jurgen, he might change his mind. She might even employ some thuggish Characters to help her win him over.[3f]

Wolf Runner Coaches

Wolf Runner Coaches is one of two coaching companies based in Middenheim, and a great rivalry exists between it and Castle Rock coaches. The company’s offices are situated on the Sudetenweg, and the yard behind them contains a small smithy, stabling for a dozen horses, and enough space to hold four coaches at a time. Wolf Runner Coaches plys the routes between Marienburg and the northern Empire, leaving Altdorf and the south to its rival. This rivalry has a friendly public face. Tomas Stoppelhardt, the owner of Wolf Runner, is careful to be seen joining Gunnar Guildenstern and Rudolf Finkelstein of Castle Rock coaches at public events, smiling and joking with the two men.[3f]

However, Tomas has ambitions for Wolf Runner to become the greatest coaching house in the Empire. One of Tomas’s big ideas for his enterprise is to sponsor the creation of the world’s first steam-powered coach. This is shaping up to be a massively expensive undertaking, and it is one he is planning in strict secrecy. He has approached the Office of the Imperial School of Engineers in Middenheim with his ideas, as he rightly reckons they will be cheaper than the Dwarf Engineers’ Guild. Even so, the initial quotes run to thousands of crowns. In order to realise his ambitions, Tomas is looking to do everything he can to cut costs and bank funds. He has told his senior coachmen he is planning something, but has not explained what. They have grudgingly accepted short-term austerity in return for promises of long-term gains. As a result of his penny-pinching many of Wolf Runner’s stagecoaches are becoming rickety and threadbare, and junior coachmen are beginning to complain about poor pay and provisioning.[3f]

Bertoldt Verräter is one of Wolf Runner‘s most experienced coachmen, and he has grown impatient with his boss. He dearly wants Tomas to get back to concentrating on providing a reliable quality service to his customers. Bertoldt is looking for some discreet investigators to find out why Tomas is paying regular visits to the Office of the Imperial School of Engineers. Were he to learn the truth of the matter he would immediately regard the creation of a steam-powered coach as a folly and boondoggle, and would pay good money to see the development of such a thing sabotaged.[3f]

Freiburg

Map of Freiburg

Freiburg is a middle-class residential district, home to many of Middenheim’s scholars, Wizards, and priests. The standard of housing is comparable to other middle-class areas, but the Freiburg has a reputation for genteel eccentricity. There are several small eateries offering good hot breakfasts, and many small bookshops and antiques emporiums. There are a number of good taverns in the district, but whilst many residents enjoy a few light ales it is considered crass to become drunk and disorderly here. During the day, the area is bustling with householders and lackeys of various sorts going about their business, and students visiting bookshops and cafes. The many street entertainers of Freiburg include buskers, artists, poets, and mimes, reflecting an appetite for eccentric novelty. After dark the Freiburg remains busy. Groups of students tour the area’s hostelries. Footpads and other rogues are few as the students rarely have enough money to make them worth robbing. On rare occasions thugs from Altquartier may stalk into Freiburg intending to start a fight, but trouble rarely lasts long.[3f]

Collegium Theologica

The Collegium was founded in 1762 IC to train young Ulrican priests and to promote the study and dissemination of the cult’s religious writings. Its activities have broadened since then, and it now covers almost every subject from the history of art to the development of safer methods for manufacturing gunpowder. Although the Collegium does not have an Imperial charter granting it the official status of a university, it considers itself the equal of the Universities of Altdorf and Nuln. The largest faculty is the Department of Holy and Scriptural Studies, generally known as the DHSS. This department receives disbursements from the Graf ’s coffers and the Temple of Ulric as well as donations from wealthy citizens; such donations are tax-deductible, and are an important source of revenue. The DHSS has the largest library in Middenheim, embracing history and law as well as the religious writings of the cult of Ulric.[3f]

This department is able to employ two full-time librarians, Hermann Grosz and Hugo Durchfall. The library is available for research but results can be slow, since both librarians are old and used to the gentle pace of college life. The Collegium employs a force of beadles who are charged with twin duties of suppressing student high jinks and maintaining the security of the buildings. Beadles are often retired watchmen with leather armour under their Collegium robes, armed with heavy staves. According to most students, their primary duty is to prevent anyone from having any fun at all; the beadles have heard every glib excuse Human ingenuity can produce. Fellowship Tests of any sort suffer from a –20 penalty when dealing with them. About fifty new students are taken on each year, for a fee of twenty crowns. Characters could feasibly learn Skills suc h as Lores and Languages here.[3f]

High Temple of Sigmar

Middenheim’s High Temple of Sigmar is an impressive and forbidding stone temple, boasting remarkable gargoyles and a fine altar. Whilst many Middenheimers revere Ulric before Sigmar, a goodly proportion of senior town functionaries and soldiers worship here. Cynics suggest that they are trying to curry Imperial favour by doing so, but Sigmar has many sincere adherents in the city. The chief priest here, who goes under the title of High Capitular of Nordland, is Werner Stolz. His current post is a delicate one; he also presides over the cult in Nordland, the area where it is least accepted by the general populace. Being based in Middenheim makes Stolz particularly vulnerable to intrigue by Ar-Ulric, and at the same time a valuable spy in Ulrican territory. Werner Stolz has very cordial relations with both the current Grand Theogonist and the two Arch Lectors of Sigmar’s Cult in Talabheim and Nuln. These three make a point of making at least one annual visit to Stolz, and the tension between the cults is clear enough below the veneer of civility. Many people believe that if Stolz acquits himself well, he has an excellent chance of being groomed to succeed Yorri XV as Grand Theogonist. The Temple of Sigmar has a large annexe devoted to an educational establishment known as the Gragh Mar School (Khazalid for ‘Stone Tablet’) which was established in 2340 IC by order of Magnus the Pious. The children of the few followers of Sigmar in Middenheim are educated here between the ages of 8 and 13; monks of the Order of Gragh Mar run the school. They are dedicated to teaching Imperial history and law as handed down in the writings of the cult. The school was founded because the Emperor had become concerned about the version of history taught by the followers of Ulric in the Collegium Theologica.[3f]

The Konigsgarten Theatre

This is an imposing and monumental building situated within sight of the royal gardens, near the High Temple of Sigmar. Unfortunately the theatre has seen better days, and the building still bears the scars and scorch marks it received a few years ago. Detlef Sierck was once the playwright in residence here, who is feted throughout the Empire for both his theatrical genius and personal heroism. However, in the early days of his career, his production of The History of Sigmar managed to offend many of Middenheim’s citizens with its profligate costs and broken promises, leading to the riots that damaged much of the theatre. These days the theatre is managed by Astrid Horst. Mindful of the cost of Sierck’s excesses, she is circumspect and conservative in her own productions. As a result, the Konigsgarten has earned a reputation for producing rather safe fare which risks offending only those groups that are unlikely to riot. Staid performances of timeworn Tarradaschian tragedies often top the bill, whilst Sierck’s works, wildly popular elsewhere, are never staged in Middenheim. As a consequence of the controversy the theatre has attracted, it is no longer considered as a suitable venue for festival entertainments.[3f]

The Kupferkanne

Otto and Hanna Kellner run the eatery, with the assistance of their daughters Else and Ursula. The business is open from dawn to dusk, providing hot and cold meals, wine of moderate quality, and a range of herbal teas. The two-storey building is not particularly old, but the decor has been designed to make it appear so. The ceiling is low and all the beams have been treated to make them appear weathered. The sign of a large copper kettle hangs outside. The ground floor is occupied by the cafe and the kitchens, and the family lives upstairs. In the summer Otto puts four tables outside in the street. The Kupferkanne is very popular with students from the Collegium Theologica, who often spend their days here drinking tea and discussing art or philosophy.[3f]

Middenheim’s Grand Guild of Wizards

This is a three-storey building in a grand but eccentric style. A huge bronze statue of Graf Erich stands in front of the main entrance, bearing a sword in his right hand and a dove in his left. Middenheim’s Wizards are quick to point out that Graf Erich offered legal protections to magic users way back in 113 IC, long before Magnus the Pious, and that the rest of the Empire should do more to acknowledge this fact. The High Wizard and the head of the Guild is Albrecht Helseher. He and his deputy have their offices and living quarters on the top floor. The other floors are occupied by offices, workrooms, and storage space. The Guild has a well-stocked library and several research laboratories, but these facilities are only available to members. Since the Wizards’ War of 1979 IC the Guild has done its utmost to ensure that no apprentice brings the Guild, or the city, into disrepute. Apprentices may be taken on, spell ingredients sold, artefacts identified, spells taught, and so on. But any Wizard seeking to advance their knowledge with the help of the Guild is thoroughly vetted before being taken on.[3f]

Because of Middenheim’s reputation for tolerance towards magic users, there is a steady stream of would-be apprentices calling at the Guild, but few are admitted. Those that do get in receive training in Wizardry that is second only to the Colleges of Altdorf. Each of the eight orders of magic are taught here, though space for new apprentices is limited: once four apprentices are studying a particular lore, extra apprentices would only be taken on in extreme circumstances.[3f]

The Amber Wind, Ghur, usually blows feebly where Human civilisation has been established. Yet Middenheim is the site of one of the strongest sources of Ghur in the world. It gushes forth as the plume of silver fire that makes up the eternal flame. Ghur does not settle easily within the confines of a city. To those with Second Sight, the amber wind blasts through the streets, boiling away as if off a hot surface and streaming over the sides of the Fauschlag into the wilderness beyond. Those able to perceive the Winds of Magic initially find Middenheim a strange experience. The profusion of Ghur and the violence with which it emanates is overwhelming at first. Whilst other winds are accessible, much as they are elsewhere, the preponderance of Ghur makes it harder to discern them.[3f]

Neugierde’s Books and Antiques

Hieronymus Neugierde is the third generation of his family to run the business. The extensive contacts that have been built up over a century of trading, along with Hieronymus’s practised eye and lifetime training, make it the place to look for rare or unusual artefacts. It is said that Neugierde has a virtual monopoly on antiques and curios coming into Middenheim, and passes lesser goods to other businesses, keeping the best for his own shop. The shop is two storeys high plus a cellar, and is distinguished by two bay windows of multicoloured stained glass and by the elegant wrought-iron sign that hangs outside, consisting of a letter ‘N’ set into fancy scrollwork. Inside, the shop seems tiny, but this is due to all the antiques and curios crammed on to the shelves. This includes ancient pottery, rare books, painted glassware, jewellery from Cathay, Ind, and the Southlands, and strange quasi-artistic peices from Lustria. The shop does a lively trade and enables Neugierde to maintain a small but well-appointed house in the Nordgarten district as well as the shop with its staff of four.[3f]

The Red Moon

The Red Moon

The Red Moon is a cabaret-bar run by Eva Dietrich, a glamorous and mysterious woman. She appears to be in her 50s, but it is whispered that she is considerably older — there are few Middenheimers who can remember a time before the Red Moon. There is a 3 Shilling admission charge, which Eva sometimes waives for regular customers. Her two bouncers, Hannes and Karl, are huge and powerfully built men, and although many are turned away at the door, no one causes trouble. The decor is plush and stylish with a hint of camp (the wife of one customer sardonically described it as ‘a bordello with ideas above its station’). Upstairs is a small casino whilst the lower floor is occupied by the bar and stage, where a three-piece band plays throughout the evening as Eva wanders grandly from table to table. The Red Moon’s clientele is a cross-section of the city’s upper and upper-middle classes, and the club begins to fill up from about ten in the evening. The cabaret is risqué, but never crude. The high point of the evening is at midnight, when Eva takes to the stage in a flame-red taffeta dress, and delivers a song to her guests in her distinctive husky voice. A reverent hush descends as she begins to sing. The Red Moon has a number of distinguished regulars. Janna Eberhauer, deputy to the High Wizard, often visits the club, and is on very friendly terms with Eva. It is rumoured in some places that Janna supplies Eva with the magical preparations which some suppose she needs to maintain her appearance, and in others that they are mother and daughter. No proof has been put forward to support either contention. A more occasional visitor is Emmanuelle Schlagen, one of the Ladies-at-Court, who visits on occasion for an evening’s gambling. She is generally accompanied by one or more ladies-in-waiting or by a high-ranking officer from the Knights Panther.[3f]

The Scholar’s

Run by Hugo and Petra Schmidt with a staff of six, the Scholar’s is an excellent hostelry, boasting 16 rooms and stables for a dozen mounts. Hugo is an avid collector of antiques and curios, which make the Scholar’s a cluttered but convivial place, full of surprises. He is friendly with Chancellor Sparsam through their mutual interest in antiques, and sometimes acts as a buyer for him in auctions. Hugo can bid on items whose price would go through the roof if it became known that the Chancellor was interested in them. The friendship between the two men is kept secret, and the Chancellor only rarely visits the hostelry. The clientele consists mainly of scholars, students, Wizards and the like, who come here to drink, debate, and play Alvatafl (a board game popular in the Empire’s north). The tavern boasts about a dozen Alvatafl sets of various sizes and styles. Hugo is an excellent player, and may often be found having a game with his customers; he plays both the Kislev and local versions.[3f]

Stiefel’s Emporium

Eberhardt Stiefel maintains a small alchemical supplies business consisting of two rooms on the ground floor, a workroom, and a shop separated by a curtained doorway. The building’s upper floor is given over to accommodation. The shop consists of a counter backed by shelves filled with bottles and jars of various alchemical and herbal preparations. The workroom is lined with benches and cupboards containing various ingredients, a small drying oven for herbs, and an iron stove to heat mixtures. Stiefel keeps an impressive stock of ingredients, and among his regular customers are many of the city’s magicians and apothecaries. All herbs and draughts are treated as being one step more common than usual when visiting his shop. An Exotic herb becomes Rare, a Scarce herb becomes Common, and so on.[3f]

Geldmund District

Geldmund District

The Geldmund district is a residential area where merchants and some of the wealthier artisans and scholars have large and impressive two- and three-storey townhouses. The streets are broad and tree-lined, but although the houses are grand, there is no room for gardens and other greenery. Geldmund rivals the Grafsmund district as a fashionable area to live, but is regarded in the higher strata of society as a place for the nouveaux riches rather than a proper high-class neighbourhood. The merchants have generally got where they are by their own efforts, with a little palm-greasing here and the odd shady deal there. So they often find it difficult to delegate for fear that their employees will fleece them at every opportunity. This is one of the behaviours that distinguish Middenheim’s merchants from its aristocrats, who are generally only too happy to have stewards manage much of their affairs. The master artisans are the smallest group in this district, but all are acknowledged artists. They are able to pick and choose their work, although commissions from the Graf are rarely turned down. They tend to own several workshops in the city, and many are the heads of their respective Guilds.[3f]

Arbernard Estate

Lammert Arbernard is a self-made magnate and one of the richest people in Middenheim. His estate consists of a large rectangular mansion. The Arbernard concern deals in a number of different goods, including wines and spirits, perfumes and cosmetics, and leather goods. The name is a mark of quality, and Lammert is highly discerning in his choice of both suppliers and clients. Some of his customers include the Templar’s Downfall, the Singing Moon, the Red Moon, the Greenhill Halfling Clan, Hausmeister Breugal, and the stewards of pretty much every major noble house in the Grafsmund. On the rare occasion that an item falls short of the high quality expected, Lammert is quick to offer full refunds and replacements. His customers know how precious his reputation is to him, but few would ever dream of blackmailing him. So trustworthy is Lammert that his contacts rarely deny him, even when his request may burden them for the time being.[3f]

Seiter Hall

The Seiters are a merchant family in peril. Once they were powerful and respected grain merchants, purchasing the rights to collect and ship the wheat harvested from a number of estates around Middenheim and sell it at markets in the city and elsewhere. In recent years, the harvests have not been as bountiful as they once were and the noble families in charge of the farmlands have reserved their rights to manage their grain harvests as they best see fit, and to prioritise its sale to local markets rather than those further afield. The Seiters have become increasingly impoverished, and have hoped to rescue their fortunes by hiring the services of one Adelbero Spengler, a Celestial Wizard with powerful prognosticative abilities. Unfortunately, all Spengler seems to be able to do is report more calamity to come for the embattled merchants.[3f]

Kislevite Embassy

The Kislevite Embassy is a fine building, though it is notably somewhat more humble in size and grandeur than the Imperial Embassy in the Grafplatz. The building is known for the elaborate sculpted frieze depicting a bear and a wolf rearing up to either side of the main entrance. Middenheim and Kislev have strong diplomatic ties. As a mark of the respect between the Graf of Middenheim and the Tsar of Kislev an odd military tradition has grown up in which a unit of Knights Panther is sent to Kislev for the campaign season, and in return a larger contingent of Kislevite cavalry is sent to Middenheim. Amongst these mounted troops are a unit of the famed Gryphon Legion, but also a number of lightly armed mounted archers. A small barracks is integral to the embassy, which houses these troops during the summer months they spend in Middenheim. There are a number of private shrines to the Kislevite gods in the building. There is also a small and homely bar, which is known as one of the few places in Middenheim that serves tumblers of fine kvas. The only downside is that those who wish to drink there must put up with the maudlin military dirges so beloved of the Kislevites. A Kislevite Ice Witch is also stationed at the embassy. This magic user proves invaluable during Middenheim’s Carnival, where she helps turn the Square of Martials into a rink for ice dancing.[3f]

Staller’s Stables

Run by Reiner Staller, these stables offer accommodation for two dozen or so horses. The stable’s regular customers are mostly moderately comfortable merchants who leave the city for their country dwellings by dusk and only need a place to keep their horses during the hours of trade. Most of the stalls are empty at night, so grooms change the straw every night. Staller does keep a small stock of horses for his own use. He hires his horses out to any customer who looks respectable and is willing to front a deposit of 2 GCs. Provided the horse is returned in fair condition, Staller will return the deposit minus his fee of 3 Shillings per day.[3f]

The Templars’ Arms

The Templars’ Arms is a two-storey hostelry of average quality, run by Uli Breitner with a staff of three. It is a plain but cheerful place, and opens from 8:00 in the morning until midnight. Although it has no stables of its own, Uli has an arrangement with Reiner Staller, the owner of Staller’s Livery Stables a few doors away, so that stabling there can be included in the accommodation charge. A shield painted with a picture of an armoured Knight of the Order of the White Wolf on a fully caparisoned horse, charging with lance levelled, hangs over the door. This theme is continued inside the inn: a suit of plate armour hangs on a stand in the bar and various weapons adorn the walls, including two-handed swords, flails, and a gaudily-painted lance. The weapons and armour are display items only, and are not intended for practical use. Uli and his staff take grave exception to anyone tampering with the decor, and will call the Watch if serious trouble develops. If the Characters insist on trying to steal any item, and actually get away with it, they find that the weapons only count as Improvised Weapons. The armour provides the same protection as leather armour, but is as encumbering as plate.[3f]

The Man O’ War

This is a restaurant and bar run by Captain Johannes Moesenleicher, known to one and all as ‘Cap’n Jan’, and his staff of four. Cap’n Jan is a strongly built man in his late 40s, with grizzled grey hair and a short beard. He is the epitome of the hearty host, with a cheerful red face, a booming voice and a hail-fellow-well-met manner. The establishment’s theme is nautical. The prow of a boat, complete with painted mermaid figurehead, hangs over the door. Paintings of ships and naval actions adorn the walls and a ship’s wheel hangs behind the bar. Cap’n Jan was at sea for 15 years, and tells many tall nautical tales of travel and adventure. Feathers, a large and malevolent-looking Southland parrot sits in a brass cage at one end of the bar. It is a vicious beast, with an extensive vocabulary of vulgar slang. Feathers attempts to sever any fingers it can reach through the bars of its cage. The Man O’ War keeps a good table and an excellent cellar, and Cap’n Jan has a small stock of Wastelander Alte Gebeerentode rum imported straight from Marienburg. This is kept for special customers, personal friends, or any seafarer who walks through the door. The Man O’ War also offers impromptu evening entertainments. Cap’n Jan has a number of friends at the Opera House who come here regularly, and Hartwig Steckel, the head barman, is a very talented violinist. It is not uncommon for the clientele to be treated to the highlights of the latest opera during the course of an evening. Whilst the Man O’ War is not as fashionable as the Templar’s Downfall, it is a colourful place to spend an evening with a cosmopolitan group of customers.[3f]

Tore Palace

The Tore family straddle the line between wealthy merchant dynasty and minor aristocracy. For many generations they have dominated the production of glassware in Middenheim. Many buildings throughout the city owe their windows to a Tore. They keep a number of furnaces in the Gerberbahn of the Neumarkt district, and a Tore always occupies the chair of the Glassworkers’ Guild. The family have been so successful that they have even purchased extensive estates to the east of the city. This is poor country, as the scrubby foothills of the Middle Mountains are not easily farmed. Nevertheless these acquisitions mark the Tores out from their peers. One thing prevents their ennoblement: the Graf refuses to confer a title upon the family due to their lack of notable gallantry upon the battlefield. Wilhelm Tore rankles under the lack of respect his family is shown, and the philanthropic gestures the Tores made to Middenheim in previous years have dried up. Nevertheless he is reluctant to encourage his beloved children to follow any military pursuits, an action that has equal parts cowardice and resentment at its core.[3f]

Valgeir Manse

The Valgeirs have been an important aristocratic family in Middenheim for generations, raised to prominence in the time of Graf Siegfried the Significant. They played an important role in brokering the truce between Middenheim’s secular leadership and then exiled Cult of Ulric. Since then it has been common for the family to induct one of their sons into the Order of Howling Wolf, and another into the Order of the White Wolf. Given that senior priests of the Order of the Howling Wolf are sworn to celibacy, and members of the Order of the White Wolf dedicate their lives to violence, it is a miracle the Valgeir line has been so fruitful over the years. The Valgeirs themselves credit their resilience and endurance to the blessing of Ulric (though they are not unappreciative of the part Rhya has had to play in their success either). Currently Emil Valgeir enjoys the positon of Grand Master of Middenheim’s chapter of the Knights of the White Wolf, whilst his younger brother Jarrick holds the position of ArUlric. Whilst both men perform their duties with diligence and honour many in Middenheim quietly wonder if Emil would not make a better High Priest. He is seen as the more forthright and forbidding of the two men, and people feel that he would do a better job of keeping fractious elements such as the Sons of Ulric in their place, whilst also excoriating any Sigmarite who dared belittle Ulrican pride.[3f]

Imperial Embassy

The Imperial Embassy is housed in a small but highly decorated chancery building on the Grafplatz. It appears from a distance like an intricate construction of gothic archways and grotesque carvings. Three great statues dominate the roof of the building, rampant depictions of a Dragon, Pegasus, and Griffon all squaring off against one another. Beyond such decorations the building is compact and utilitarian. In the time of the Wolf Emperors there were dozens of smaller diplomatic missions representing the interests of Counts and Dukes from all over the divided Empire. The embassy was opened in 2422 IC by the first Graf Bertholt Todbringer to recognise the spirit of unity that had flowered following the crowning of Emperor Magnus. However, the building’s modest size was taken by ambassadors as something of a slight, hence the overcompensation apparent in its decoration.[3f]

Whilst diplomats from 11 provinces have offices here, they tend to defer to Luitwin Bretzen, current representative for the Grand Principality of Reikland. This plenipotentiary has the full trust of Emperor Karl Franz and does much to retain it. He is a standard bearer for his view of what is best for the Empire, namely that the situation prior to the reforms of Magnus the Pious was bad, and that anything that might alter the situation following the reforms of Magnus would be equally as bad. But Luitwin is growing paranoid. He regards the withdrawal of Graf Boris from public life to be a personal slight and a sign that the Todbringers’ loyalty is questionable.[3f]

Statue of Artur

The towering Statue of Artur dominates the Grafplatz, standing tall and proud on a circular podium placed in front of the palace gates. The statue of the city’s founder is such a huge imposition on its surroundings that coaches arriving at the palace have to be very careful negotiating their way around the base. The statue is nearly a thousand years old, having been commissioned by Graf Siegfried the Significant to mark the return of the cult of Ulric to Middenheim. Artur is depicted as a towering Teutogen hero with long moustaches. He is shown wearing the pelt of the great White Wolf of Holzbeck — in his left hand he holds the jawbone that he ripped from that creature’s dead maw. In his right hand he holds aloft the magical Dragon Sword of Caledfwlch. The statue is of burnished bronze, but the sword has been cleverly encrusted with tiny quartz crystals to represent the hoarfrost that was said to magically coat the blade at all times. The statue is famed for giving a name to the conflict between Middenheim and Middenland in 1812 IC. The War of the Poses is so called because of the contrast between the warlike statue of Artur and the humble stance of the statue of Grand Duke Karl-Heinz in Carroburg.[3f]

Grafsmund

Map of Grafsmund

The Grafsmund is inhabited by exceedingly rich aristocratic families. Many of them have titles granted by either the current or earlier Grafs, or by the Emperor (though the latter are much rarer), and all have a house full of servants. The nobility have certain privileges and few responsibilities. They may be officers in the City Garrison, or serve as titular heads of Komissions, but many simply live off the income from their country estates, leaving the day-to-day management of their affairs to trusted stewards. The buildings here are grand (in appearance if not actual size) with elaborate facades and ornate stonework. Many frontages are decorated with plaster columns and heraldic figurines of exotic beasts such as Dragons and Griffons. Despite their riches, few merchants live here. The aristocrats tend to regard them as newly wealthy peasants, and make any attempts by a merchant to acquire property here exceedingly difficult.[3f]

Eisenhal Estate

Like the majority of houses in the district, the Eisenhal Estate stands on its own grounds, which is a luxury indeed in the crowded city. The building does not actually qualify as a mansion — Middenheim does not have the space for such luxuries - but the noble family live in great comfort. The Eisenhals are one of the most ancient and influential noble families in Middenheim, with a lineage to rival that of the Todbringers. Whilst they are a venerable aristocratic line, they have never sought to rule Middenheim, claiming in all humility to know their place as supporters of royalty rather than claimants to the throne. Despite their self-effacement, none can doubt their gallantry, as their estate is dotted with statues of ancestors who served bravely in the Knights Panther.[3f]

The Harvest Goose

The Harvest Goose is probably the best restaurant in the city. The bill of fare is long and impressive, although the cheapest meal is a phenomenal 10 shillings (including a bottle of the house wine). It is agreed that the quality justifies the price. Surprisingly, given its reputation, the Harvest Goose is not Halfling-run. The proprietor is Fanamis Shassaran, an Elf, which has given rise to spirited discussion of the relative merits of halfling and elven cuisine. The Harvest Goose is named after the old Middenheimer custom of eating goose at harvest-time, and the house speciality of Harvest Goose is available all year round — succulently roasted, stuffed with a delicate blend of fruits and spices. It costs 2 GC, including wine and side-dishes, but is enough to feed up to eight, and that’s before you try Fanamis’ concoctions of cooked fruits, ultra-light pastry, caramelised sugars, crystallized liqueurs, and mouth-watering sorbets. The wine list encompasses Bretonnian and Estalian vintages, as well as those from the Empire. Other than the Middenpalaz, this is the only place in Middenheim where it is possible to drink 50-year-old Echte Brandenburger, hailed as the finest brandy in the Old World. It has been said that, properly served, it is inhaled rather than drunk. The restaurant’s clientele is a cross-section through the highest reaches of city society. Nobles dine here regularly, and a curtained booth is set aside for the use of the Graf and his family. Although they seldom visit the restaurant, Fanamis is proud to be able to display the Todbringer coat of arms above the booth. Rallane Lafarel, the elven Court Minstrel, often plays here, and Gotthard Wallenstein is another regular.[3f]

Kärzburdger Manse

Prior to the rise of the Todbringer family, the von Kärzburdgers were Middenheim’s best-known noble residents. They had been Grafs for centuries preceding the Great War against Chaos and oversaw the rule of the city during the period of reform following the election of Magnus the Pious. Now their glory days are behind them, and it is a cruel twist of fate that the reason for their decline is due, in part, to mandating progressive prison reforms. Sister Hildegarde of the Tears of Pity mission is famous for having berated Graf Erich von Kärzburdger in front of his court. Whilst the Graf was humiliated he agreed to her reforms. However, he paid a price for this magnanimity. There were many in Middenheim who regarded his compliance as weak and unfitting of royalty. He might have hoped to win support from those who welcomed his reforms: Shallyans, Verenans and radicals. However, they tended to suspect, rightly enough, that the Graf ’s interest was not in improving the lives of prisoners so much as enriching himself.[3f]

His heir, another moderate ruler, dithered over whether or not to join the Great War against Chaos. During the last days of his rule a power struggle saw the Todbringers become the first family of Middenheim. Now the Kärzburdgers are diminished, having sold swathes of their former estates in the lee of the Middle Mountains. All that remains of their power is this admittedly magnificent townhouse, and a small area of mountainside territory. The penal colonies that sister Hildegarde set up in connivance with the Graf are still part of the Kärzburdgers’ domain and they make a handsome profit from the ore extracted here.[3f]

Helstein House

The Helstein Manor is one of the largest noble houses in Middenheim. Its design echoes that of the High Temple of Ulric, being a fortified structure in the main, but with upper storeys built to affect an air of grandeur and magnificence. In previous years, Count Wolfgang von Helstein often aroused the ire of the Graf. He has always been seen as rather too keen to add unremarkable followers to his already expansive retinue. Throughout the Empire aristocrats are expected to keep a number of trained soldiers in their employ, for the defence of their own land and to help support their liege lord should he decide to go to war. However, these armies are also limited and no noble is permitted to expand their military power without permission of their liege lord. Recently, Graf Boris has seemed to tire of the stressful business of keeping lesser nobles in line, and Count Wolfgang has seized upon this opportunity by swelling the size of his retinue. Whilst the Graf has not exactly permitted him to keep a private army, he has not yet censured him for doing so. Whilst many members of the Graf ’s court have been critical of Count Wolfgang, no moves have been made to strip him of his assets or subject him to punishment… yet.[3f]

The Tall Bollwerk

The walls of Middenheim are impressive fortifications in their own right: even if it wasn’t for the great rock upon which the city is built, they would intimidate anyone foolhardy enough to lay siege to the city. All of this aside, it is never a bad idea to let the wealthier residents know how well protected they are. The Tall Bollwerk is one of a number of bastions that arise from the city walls to the north and west of Middenheim, standing sentinel over the city’s richer districts. The Knight Eternal himself is occasionally seen patrolling the walls nearby. The muzzles of cannon poke from the shuttered windows of the Bollwerk. Middenheim does not boast the impressive arsenal of cities such as Altdorf and Nuln. Partly this is for religious reasons, as Ulric does not deem it fitting for his priests to wield blackpowder weapons. This stricture does not apply to Middenheim’s army, yet so integral is the worship of Ulric to Middenheim that its arsenal remains modest. The second consideration is practical in that an army laying siege to Middenheim would either gather at the base of the Fauschlag (not an easy place for a bombardier to draw a bead on) or else storm the causeways (which would be obliterated by artillery — or, if the rumours are true, collapsed by magic).[3f]

Torlichelm Manor

The Torlichelm family were raised to nobility in the 22nd century, their ancestors having won renown during the Vampire Wars. As such they are regarded with mixed feelings by their noble neighbours. On one hand, their elevation to the aristocracy occurred bare centuries ago; the other, the gallant deeds for which they were ennobled are a matter of clear historical record. The manor is a spectacular building fronted in bone-white marble and bedecked with grotesque statuary depicting the vampiric foes who suffered their final deaths at the hands of the first noble Torlichelm.[3f]

The Unity Arch

The Unity Arch is a large monument that serves to glorify the two knightly traditions that form important parts of Middenheim’s society. The arch straddles the main thoroughfare through the district and is decorated with a frieze showing a scene of a wolf and panther standing side by side, squaring off against surrounding monstrous enemies. Each leg of the arch contains an alcove occupied by a knight, tasked with standing to attention in full ceremonial dress at all times. A Knight of the White Wolf occupies one of these alcoves, and a Knight Panther the other. The guards are relieved every four hours, but manning the post is still a boring and arduous duty, and it tends to be given to junior members of the orders, or as punishment for a minor misdemeanour.[3f]

The Great Park

This is the largest of Middenheim’s parks and is open to the public around the clock. The park is criss-crossed by wide gravel walkways that wind through tree-studded lawns. It stands roughly at the centre of the city. The park is ringed by a treelined avenue known as the Garten Ring. There are wooden benches, small fountains, and statues at various points in the park. On a sunny day dozens of hawkers set up small portable stands selling food and drink, and public letter-writers can be found offering their services; many students supplement their income here.[3f]

Bernabau Stadium

The Bernabau Stadium is renowned throughout the Empire. Indeed, few cities in the Old World can boast such a facility. The fine amphitheatre is home to many sporting events. It has a capacity of 5,000, with seats for 2,000 and standing room for the rest. Originally built as a theatre for the performing arts, there hasn’t been a play here since 2412 IC when Graf Dieter had the idea of staging the first Middenball match played to his official rules.[3f]

The Black Pool

The Black Pool is the central feature of the park. This lake is the site of the spectacular finale to Middenheim’s Carnival when the Wizards of the city put on a stunning light show. The Black Pool is a mystery to many throughout the Empire. From its form and shape there is little to distinguish it from any mountain lake: its sides descend steeply towards the bottom and the waters are clear and cold even in midsummer. There is a very strange quirk of the lake, which has attracted much speculation from scholars, in that no matter how strongly the sun shines on the surface of the pool, it reflects no light. Even on a bright summer’s day a person may stand by the pool and gaze down into the depths as if through a sheet of glass. No one knows the reason for this strange phenomenon, and most residents of the city simply attribute it to the will of Ulric.[3f]

The Monument Pond

This area of the Great Park has the feel of an outdoor museum. Over the years, many of the older statues in the city have been replaced and brought here. In particular statues of longdead Grafs have been removed from the Palaz district and neighbouring precincts, replaced by those of the Todbringer dynasty. However, many of these statues are of rulers who still have the respect of people, and who may even have living descendants, so they are not lightly discarded. The Monument Pond is a large square pool, shallow and filled with an unusual species of orange carp imported from Far Cathay. The pond is surrounded by a great many statues rendered in all sorts of materials, including marble, granite, and bronze.[3f]

The Bonfire Site

Throughout most of the year this area of the Great Park is kept clear. Nothing would grow there anyway, and it is not a very attractive setting for outdoor activities, for year upon year of hosting bonfires has left the area scorched. For most of the year little goes on here aside from gaggles of children practising Middenball. In the weeks leading up to Endeder Kampagne, the celebration of Ulric and the oncoming winter thrown at Mitterbst, the area becomes a hive of activity. Various interest groups in the city vie to win the right to construct the next bonfire, each of them hoping to build a larger fire than any of their rivals could manage. A great cross-section of Middenheim society engages in this contest: Guilds, Komissions, knightly orders, and even the representatives of criminal organisations (under respectablesounding pseudonyms). Each group seeks to sponsor, or at least be seen to sponsor, the bonfire’s construction. The cult of Ulric is happy enough that so many varied institutions are eager to help celebrate its god. Even the fact that the representatives of the Low Kings put in their own bids does not unduly disturb the Ulrican clergy. The bonfire building of Endeder Kampagne can truly be said to bring all strata of society together, even if it is in a spirit of heated competition.[3f]

The Pit Fighter’s Head

The Pit Fighter’s Head is a small private tavern located under the stadium’s main stand. Admittance is for members only and costs 10 shillings a month, or 5 GCs a year. The price guarantees tickets for all main attractions, provided they are bought well in advance. Still, the place has an exclusive ambiance and there is always a long waiting list, even if it does tend to attract some of the more crushing bores among the city’s upper classes. Most notable amongst the latter is the ageing Hermann von Krumpstein, who regales anyone foolish enough to listen with a detailed account of how he once bagged three Beastmen singlehandedly back in 2487 IC.[3f]

The Showboat

Sited on the edge of the Black Pool, the Showboat is a restaurant and cabaret bar, favoured by scholars and the upper classes. There is no entrance fee, but patrons find it impossible to get a table without tipping a few pennies to Otto, the 6-foot-tall bass singer and head waiter. The place is managed by Rolf Rosencrantz and his wife Elise, on behalf of Gunnar Guildenstern who is also co-owner of Castle Rock coaches. Indeed, the coach company’s haulage division is occasionally used to smuggle in wine from the Reikland. Rolf is a sentimental old fool, and the atmosphere of the place reflects it. The food is excellent, thanks to the Halfling head chef Harrani Busuk, and the atmosphere is peaceful and intimate. A string quartet plays throughout the evening, occasionally with a singer. There are half a dozen intimate, private rooms that can be hired for 2 shillings an evening. They suit those who don’t want their romantic candlelit dinner spoiled by an audience. Elise handles all the finances and buys all the food herself, always driving a very hard bargain (many an Altmarkt stallholder groans inwardly on seeing her approach with a determined glint in her eye). While the Showboat lacks the excitement of, say, the Templar’s Downfall, it is the perfect place for a quiet liaison. It is a favourite haunt of two of the better known Ladies-at-Court, Emmanuelle Schlagen and Petra Liebkosen, who are often to be seen in the company of officers of the garrison, or other eligible bachelors. The establishment keeps a fleet of small boats moored by the Showboat’s landing-stage and lit by dim lanterns. They set off for slow trips around the Black Pool at intervals throughout the evening, and can be hired (for one shilling) by any of the restaurant’s patrons.[3f]

Royal Botanical Gardens

The Great Park sports several sheltered gardens of rare and exotic plants, and even one or two ornate hothouses replete with brightly coloured blooms and fruit-bearing trees. These trees bear sweet and succulent fruits normally found only in Far Cathay and the Southlands. The ripe fruits are intended for the Graf ’s dining table — helping oneself counts as grand larceny. The Lustrian hothouses is the prize of the Royal Botanical Gardens. The striking building is shaped like a gigantic terrarium with specially landscaped interior environments ranging from lush jungle at one end, to cactus-dotted desert at the other. A vast carnivorous plant is the star attraction. Every second Festag, the hothouse is crowded with fascinated and horrified onlookers who watch as the gardeners satisfy the bloom’s appetite with a hapless goat.[3f]

Kaufseit

The Kaufseit is one of the two districts in the city that make up the merchants’ quarter. Kaufseit is busy and noisy. Compared to the nearby Brotkopfs district, Kaufseit has more offices, workshops, and warehouses, but fewer residences. Many of the buildings in the district are built entirely out of wood, though there are a few finely built stone houses dotted about the place. Warehouses line the district’s Sudetenweg, with broad roads providing easy access to the southern gate. The warehouse district is often congested with wagons and heavily laden asses. It bustles with stevedores packing and unpacking loads, and excise workers clutching their ledgers. Most of the bulk goods entering and leaving the city spend some time in the great warehouses that flank the Sudetenweg, and there are many artisans’ workshops and mercantile concerns of all sizes in the district. Across the Zellautstrasse from Kaufseit lies the Geldmund district, where many of Middenheim’s merchants and some of the wealthier artisans and scholars live.[3f]

Brunhilde’s Warehouse

The warehouse is like most other warehouses in the merchant district: 50 ft in length and nearly as wide, constructed from stout timbers that have been waterproofed through an application of a noxious mix of pitch and daub. The warehouse is owned by Brunhilde Muller, who moved to Middenheim from the countryside a decade ago and bought the warehouse from the proceeds of her previous career milling grain. Brunhilde has dealings with a number of timber merchants in Middenheim. Whilst her warehouse is mostly assigned to storing wood, there is also a large pit to one side of the warehouse floor that is used when sawing logs into planks. Brunhilde is also not above storing contraband in her warehouse, though she usually does so as a favour to friends rather than for criminals such as the Low Kings. The back wall of her warehouse is false, containing a small windowless room, about 6 ft square, furnished with a straw mattress and set of iron manacles. On rare occasions her friend Hettie Shortcrust has to deal with an Ogre visitor to Middenheim, having smuggled one of their Greenskin servants into the city. Rather than risk a confrontation between the Ogre and the city watch, Brunhilde can keep Gnoblars here until the Ogre decides to move on.[3f]

The Vittalers’ Guild

This is a long one-storey hall with some resemblance to the timber and thatch drinking holes of the ancient Teutogen tribes. Its archaic architecture and simple construction mark it out amongst the more solid and utilitarian buildings that surround it. The Vittalers’ Guild is a motley collaboration of tavern proprietors, chefs, and restaurateurs. It is not really a Guild in the true sense, as there is such a variety of different cuisines and approaches to them that strict standards and practices are not desired either by the providers of such services or their customers. Provided a tavern does not serve outright poison it will have its defenders. Instead the Guild seeks to promote upstanding practice through spreading the good word of those venues it approves of, rather than seeking to regulate those it does not. The Cup of Cheer is the iconic mascot of the Guild, a stunning trophy wrought in gleaming bronze, festooned with moulded scenes of legendary revelry, and a number of small tin stamps, each of which bears the name of a venue and the year in which it was awarded the trophy.[3f]

The Laurelorn Luthiery

The Luthiery is a large workshop located on the Sudetenweg. The building is constructed to elven designs, and its pretty curving profile is incongruous amongst the boxlike warehouses that surround it. The workshop is owned and managed by Cerithadell, an Elf maker of stringed instruments. Cerithadell works in the luthiery with two Human apprentices. They specialise in various lute designs, though if called to they could also produce viols or hurdy-gurdies. They also sell many accessories for instruments, such as leather straps and cases, and strings of twisted sheep gut, though they do not do the odious work of producing such things on site. The court minstrel Rallane Lafarel is a regular customer here. The luthiery is always kept spectacularly clean, and any tool that isn’t being employed is neatly stored on racks on the wall. Cerithadell is one of the most accomplished carpenters in Middenheim, though work that does not involve the production of a beautiful instrument is beneath concern.[3f]

The Mercers’ Guild

The production of cloth is big business in the Empire and mercers, as those who deal in fabrics are known, number among the wealthiest of the Empire’s merchants. It is sometimes said, and not without justification, that were it not for fine weaving houses in many of the Empire’s towns, the nation’s economy would collapse. The Mercers’ Guildhouse on Grimmhagen Strasse reflects this wealth, being a veritable mansion sitting awkwardly amongst stockyards and warehouses. The lower storeys are constructed of the sort of stone blocks usually reserved for fortresses, whilst its second floor is an eccentric but impressive construction halftimbered and roofed with terracotta tiling. As a tribute to its sponsors and an advertisement of their wares, the embroidered banners of many merchant houses are draped from window ledges and flag masts. They are fashioned from dozens of different fine fabrics.[3f]

Shortcrust’s Recruitment

The offices of Hettie Shortcrust are a strange sight, a compact timber frame structure beside which has been erected a tall wooden shed with a massive barn door. This is so that Hettie, who is short even by Halfling standards, can hold meetings with her most important clients, Ogres. Hettie offers her services as an agent for any Ogres who visit Middenheim. It is well known amongst the city’s street children that if they spot an Ogre entering the city and get word of its arrival to Hettie, she may reward them with a bright shilling. Hettie’s customers include a number of Middenheim’s busiest gaffers, who are often on the lookout for Ogres to help with building projects and other hard labour. Other customers include nobles who wish to include an Ogre amongst their retinues, or bar managers who want to hire a particularly intimidating bouncer. Few Ogres visit Middenheim, and those that do rarely stay for long. They also tend to have no interest in things like contracts and service agreements, so whilst Hettie charges a premium for her services she often has to account for slow periods and unsatisfied customers. Hettie is a good judge of an Ogre’s character, but on some occasions she has made the mistake of hiring out a clumsy or short-tempered individual. She is also aware of the habit some Ogres have of employing Gnoblar servants. Whilst Ogres are (just about) tolerated in the Empire, Gnoblars are not, and Hettie has to make sure that none of her charges are smuggling them into Middenheim.[3f]

Tears of Pity Mission

In 2319 IC Emperor Magnus the Pious authored the Law of Imperial Salvation and Mercy, which encouraged nobles throughout the Empire to heed the recommendations of the Shallyan Tears of Pity Crusade. These reformers were appalled by the number of executions that took place throughout the Empire, and suggested alternatives such as penal servitude, transportation, or imprisonment. Since the reign of Magnus, the mission has become somewhat diminished and decadent, but the Tears of Pity Mission still keeps a small compact office that deals with volunteers who wish to perform practical charitable work. Most of the work arranged here is pastoral care, centring around volunteers spending their own free time checking in with elderly residents, people with long-term illnesses, and convicts.[3f]

Kleinmoot District

Kleinmoot District

The Kleinmoot is part of the Altmarkt district, but is thought of as a distinct area as this is where the bulk of the city’s Halflings live. The area has many small eating and drinking establishments, especially around the edge of the marketplace. These are mostly run by Halflings and are open all hours. The majority of shops here sell cooked or uncooked foodstuffs, and there are a few artisans’ workshops, dealing mainly in cooking utensils and tableware. The vast majority of the Halflings in Middenheim are derived from one of five extended families.[3f]

Like Halfling clans in other areas of the Old World, these families tend to be highly nepotistic and a little insular. They also tend to garner reputations for I'd remove expertise in certain trades, or possessing particular personality traits. The main clans in Middenheim are the Stilburgs, who are generally seen as a bad lot with criminal connections; the Greenhills, who tend to make their living as chefs and hostesses; the Greendales, who have garnered a reputation for their quality work as artisans and tailors; the Shortcrusts, who have demonstrated an ability to inveigle their way into Human institutions; and the Warbles, who have won a reputation for information gathering and detective work.[3f]

Gaffers’ Guild

The Gaffers’ Guild This odd building lies in the centre of the Kleinmoot. Whilst it is scaled to be suitable for Halfling use, and therefore cramped for anyone over 5 ft in height, it is nevertheless a tall and imposing structure. With its narrow footprint and four storeys, the office of the Gaffers’ Guild resembles a clock tower more than a place of business, but the strange building stands as a testament to the importance of Halflings for the building trade. Although the job of heavy lifting is peculiarly unsuited for Halflings, they nevertheless have important roles in construction, and are often sought out as construction managers. This is down in part to the cheery and encouraging nature of Halflings, and their ability to get along with anyone, even Dwarfs and Ogres. In construction this is particularly important, for important projects can involve the input of Dwarf masons, Elf designers, and teams of labourers who often include itinerant workers and the occasional Ogre. The head of the Gaffers’ Guild is a young Halfling known as Quango Bottomdown. Quango is relatively new to Middenheim, having travelled to the city from his Mootland home two years ago. However, he has an easy manner and is a brilliant networker, even by the usual high standards of Halflings, and his position at the head of the Guild finds favour even from established clan elders within the Kleinemoot.[3f]

The Blazing Hearth

This restaurant in the Kleinmoot is one of several traditional Halfling eating-places in the area. It is staffed and run by Halflings, and the Mootland dialect is used exclusively by the staff and on the menus. Other than Halflings, very few even know of its existence, but it is one of the best places outside the Moot for Halfling cuisine at its finest. The decor suggests a Mootland cottage or barn, and the clientele are almost exclusively Halflings. However, a few Human Middenheimers do come here from time to time, having discovered the place by accident. The Blazing Hearth is owned by Silas Greenhill, a rotund and hearty host, and run by himself and his large family. Out-oftown Halflings are made especially welcome, particularly if they bring news from the Moot or from other Halfling communities. If there is a Halfling in the party, this is a good place to pick up news and gossip. The Characters could be directed here by any Halfling they meet in the city.[3f]

The Quirky Bird

Hettie Greenhill is a distant cousin of Silas. She once worked as one of his sous-chefs, but has since branched out and opened a restaurant of her own. Unfortunately for Hettie, she has little of Silas’s skill, and none of his respect for the craft of cookery. As a result, the Quirky Bird has become an exercise in overcompensation, decorated in loud clashing colours and jammed full of flashy knickknacks. It boasts one of the most pretentious menus outside of Bretonnia, and residents of the Kleinmoot jest about the food there being so bizarre that the cockroaches have moved next door. Hettie spends every morning scouring the Altmarkt for exotic produce and rare meats. Back in the kitchen she spends an inordinate amount of time creating meat dishes that appear to be pieces of fruit, or puddings that look like salted joints of meat. Her more bizarre experiments involve combining dishes with table dressing that gives off juxtaposing aromas. She has even tried to interest Middenheim's Wizards into helping her prepare foods, cooking meals using magical fire or lightning. So far she has been out of luck, as Wizards tend to find working in a kitchen to be an indignity. Despite her excesses Hettie’s dishes fail to taste any better than sausages bought from a street vendor. Nevertheless, she does have a small but devoted customer base, who declare the experience ‘worth it for the weirdness alone’. However, despite all her efforts, she is rather in the shadow of her more conventionally successful relatives.[3f]

Hob’s Lost and Found

Hob Warble is an elderly Halfling with a hairless head reminiscent of a small and dented red cannonball. He runs the Lost and Found, a single-room office on the edge of the Kleinmoot. The Lost and Found is an odd building, too cramped to be comfortable for Humans, but airier and loftier than a Halfling’s notion of a cosy bolthole. Hob Warble is an unusual Halfling in that he understands the annoyance other Species feel when their belongings are taken, but also respects that within Halfling culture thievery isn’t seen as malicious. He provides a service to both his community and those who suffer from the Halfling lack of respect for personal property. If someone should mislay an item and suspect a Halfling of having taken it, they can contact Hob, who undertakes discreet but pertinent investigation into where it might have gone. Hob’s price is 15% of the value of any item he manages to locate. He is a canny investigator of unbreachable discretion. He knows many of the city’s fences, and is careful to distance his enquiries from anything that might uncover the criminal operations of the Low Kings. Provided a distinctive item hasn’t been stolen by a professional thief, he is likely to track it down.[3f]

Kognisgarten District

When Artur’s men first scaled the Fauschlag they were greeted by a bare and blasted landscape. The plateau mostly yields only lichen and etiolated rock-plants. Little soil clings here and the only greenery is supplied by moss and twisted trees with sparse, brittle needles. But there was one exception, a green refuge where soft earth had gathered away from the swirling winds and driving rains that lash the rock. Even in the days of Artur, grass and trees crowded this verdant corner. Today the clipped and mossy pathways of the Konigsgarten lie to the east of the Middenpalaz. It remains one of the few areas in Middenheim where thriving vegetation grows in abundance. The gardens are very lovely and well cared for, with lawns, rare trees, and many flowering shrubs and flower beds. They are surrounded by tall wrought-iron railings and there are always at least ten guards around, and several park-keepers. The Konigsgarten is open to the public from ten in the morning until eight in the evening, except when it is being used for one of the Graf's summer garden parties — an affair to which you must be personally invited in order to attend.[3f]

Grafina Solveig Memorial Bandstand

Grafina Solveig, a daughter of the von Bildhofen line, is one of the most celebrated figures in Middenheim’s history. Her marriage to the first Graf Boris Todbringer in 2371 IC is seen as the instigating act for a new golden age in the city. Solveig is held as a model of Imperial aristocracy, and the bandstand is topped with a statue emphasising her graceful and fashionable appearance, whilst nearby stone tablets list the many works she sponsored throughout the Empire’s northern provinces, including universities, artistic endeavours, entrepreneurial endeavours, and charitable institutions. Solveig was by no means a mediocrity, but serious historians would have to admit that her memory has been given a significant gloss.[3f]

She stands as an example of the power and influence both the Todbringers and von Bildhofens stood to gain by joining their two houses. Beyond the statue and the tablets the bandstand is a large elevated platform surrounded by tall pillars in the Tilean style. It is a popular meeting place for Middenheimers and is one of the few places in the city where it is common to see all classes of Middenheim’s citizenry mingling without undue consternation. The Artfully Condensed Tarradaschians (or ‘The ACT’, as they delight in referring to themselves) are four luminaries of Middenheim’s Konigsgarten Theatre. They specialise in putting on abridged versions of Jacopo Tarradasch’s classics that can just about be performed by the quartet (with the help of quick and cunning costume changes). During the summer months they enjoy virtual monopoly over the bandstand and their shows are effective advertisements for their parent theatre’s upcoming full-scale productions.[3f]

Graf Berholdt’s Folly

This strange structure was built upon the order of Graf Berholdt Todbringer in 2428 IC. It is a massive column of smooth black marble that sits rather awkwardly amongst the more refined décor of the gardens. The Folly is so called because the Graf planned it to honour the relationship between the Todbringers and Middenheim’s Knights Panther. Apparently he had ordered a statue of a rampant big cat to top the column, and paid a Dwarf goldsmith a small fortune to create the figure. Despite this expense, the resulting statue was so small that few onlookers could even see it upon the column - besides which it was stolen some time during the reign of Graf Dieter.[3f]

The Hohain

The Hohain is one of the few places on the plateau where a profusion of growth can be found, a spinney of tall coniferous trees swathed about their roots with a thick carpet of bracken and fungi. This is the remnant of the original green corner first discovered by Artur’s men when they explored the Fauschlag over 2,500 years ago. Not large enough to be properly thought of as a wood, it is nevertheless dense and trackless. Whilst the Hohain has a wild beauty, it is avoided by most Middenheimers, who find the ancient thicket eerie and foreboding.[3f]

The Menhirs

When the Teutogens first discovered the eternal flame they immediately recognised it as a magical wonder. A circle of eight tall standing stones was erected around the site, fashioned like the ancient oghams found all over the Empire and beyond. For over a century the stones stood sentinel around the flame, but when Ar-Ulric Wulcan ordered the construction of the High Temple, they were uprooted and moved to this site. Their long proximity to the flame has imbued the menhirs with quantities of Ghur, and the Order of Amber Wizards, who normally prefer to work in the wild, find this an important ritual site.[3f]

The Dreaming Glade

There is a small clearing in the Hohain that can be accessed by a narrow overgrown path that opens behind one of the menhirs. The glade has become an enchanted darkling place as a result of stagnating magical energies. If any Middenheimer should ever stray into the glade on a night when the Chaos Moon is full, they may notice a strange shimmering in the air and find themselves trapped within an eerie realm of prophecy and daemonic malice. Those with Second Sight know that the glade, whilst suffused with Ghur, is something unusual and eerie. Human Wizards are entirely unfamiliar with this type of manifestation of Ghur, but largely assume that it is just a consequence of the woodland here being one of the few truly wild places in the city. Certain Elves in Middenheim are aware of the glade, though they are loath to approach it. They can recognise the subtle distinctions between a wild and magical place and the more troubling nature of the glade. In private conversations, these Elves suspect that the glade has become (or maybe always was) an outcropping of the Athel Caiellin, or Dreaming Woodland. This dangerous alternate realm is a place where primal magic reigns, and whilst it is rumoured to provide prophetic visions and the fulfilment of wishes, it is also known to be haunted by Daemons of Slaanesh. The Elves have yet to confirm their suspicions, but they often visit the area around the glade to keep an eye on who might come and go, and what their business might be.[3f]

Neumarkt District

The Neumarkt is the second of Middenheim’s two main commercial areas. While the Altmarkt deals mainly in foodstuffs, the Neumarkt supplies other goods of all descriptions. There are actually several markets within the Neumarkt district, interspersed with artisans’ workshops and dwellings of various types. As well as workshops, the Guild Houses of a number of lesser craft Guilds can be found in this area.[3f]

Blessed Guild of Water Caddies

Middenheim is one of the few major settlements in the Empire that does not straddle a river. This is not to say that the city is without water, for a number of springs issue from the Fauschlag and wells have been bored down from convenient points in every district. Even so, it is not always easy to access water in the city, and the difficulty of drawing water from a well has led to the proliferation of a profession rarely seen elsewhere. Water caddies enact the back-breaking labour of wandering the city with a barrel of water strapped to their backs. Some of them ferry barrel loads to businesses and wealthy households, whilst others stand on street corners offering water at a penny a cup. The caddies lead a hard life, and are recognised by their pronounced stoops and wheezing chests. The Guildhouse is a small timber frame structure sited to the side of a small market square, at the centre of which stands the main Neumarkt well.[3f]

Castle Rock Coaches

The Castle Rock Coaches company is co-owned by Gunnar Guildenstern and Rudolf Finkelstein. The former is also the owner of the Showboat in the Great Park, and occasionally uses the company’s haulage division to smuggle in wines for that establishment. The company’s offices and terminus are situated on the Burgenbahn. There is a large coaching inn, simply called the Castle Rock, and a coach yard with stabling and a small smithy. The yard can accommodate up to four coaches at a time, and there is sufficient stabling for a dozen or so horses. Guildenstern and Finkelstein are aware that Wolf Runner coaches are experiencing hardship, but they have not guessed that their troubles are self-imposed for the purposes of amassing funds to expand their operations.[3f]

Greendale’s Leather Goods

This workshop can be found on the edge of the district, near the fringes of the Kleinmoot. The building is split into working and living areas by a curtained doorway, and the workroom doubles as a shop. Dunno Greendale, a Halfling, shares the house with his wife and seven children and any of his relatives and neighbours who drop by. It is a bustling and cheerful place. Belts, bags, sword-harnesses, and backpacks hang in rows from pegs around the workroom. In the middle of the room is a large table where Dunno works; underneath are stacks of cured hides. The goods on display are plain but well made, and Dunno undertakes fancy work to order, generally at 125% of the normal cost. Halflings, personal friends, and regular customers are normally given a 10% discount.[3f]

Like most of the city’s artisans, Dunno works a 12-hour day. His bright personality and high standards make fitting sessions more of a pleasure than a trial, and he keeps a supply of herbal tea, spiced ale, and fruit biscuits on hand for customers. Dunno’s speciality is leather tankards, lined with hard pitch and decorated with leather-embossed fancy designs. He believes they bring out the flavour of good ale, and are cheaper too. His leather tankards range in price from 1 to 4 shillings, the cost of a fairly plain pewter version. He also makes leather bowls and platters, which are favoured by Halflings for certain dishes. Dunno points out that leather items won’t break like pottery, tarnish like metal, or need care like wood. As well as working on his own account, Dunno receives regular orders for scabbards and harnesses from a number of the city’s armourers, and occasionally makes fancy binding for books.[3f]

Hans Rustung’s Armoury

Rustung’s is a typical residence and workshop on two storeys. The lower storey is built entirely of stone, to minimise the risk of fire, and is given over to the workshop. A set of double doors, which can be barred and locked from the inside, allows entry for carts delivering metal and coal. These supplies are stored in the back corners of the workshop. Set into one wall is a stonebuilt forge, with a stone chimney that runs up the outside of the building, ending several feet above the height of the roof. As well as the forge itself, the main workroom contains several stone quenching-troughs filled with oil, and a small annealing furnace where finished items cool slowly. Buckets of sand stand ready to be used in linishing the metalwork, giving it a bright, smooth surface. All armourers have a strong room in which they keep finished weapons and armour prior to sale, collection, or delivery. In Rustung’s workshop, this is a cellar beneath a concealed trapdoor in the floor. The upper storey is of timber, and contains accommodations for Rustung and his family. His apprentice, Fritz Lehrling, also has a room upstairs. Rustung is a generous teacher: most artisans make their apprentices sleep in a corner of the workshop.[3f]

Klaus Kerzer’s Candlemakers

Kerzer’s is two storeys in height, built of brick and timber. The upper floor is given over to living quarters, and the lower floor is his workshop, divided by a curtain into work and selling areas. A storeroom at the back contains blocks of wax and reels of string for wicks. The workroom itself is dominated by a metal trough of molten wax. Poles hang over the trough and can be raised or lowered from pulleys set into the ceiling. String is cut into lengths, hung over the poles, and dipped repeatedly until sufficient wax has built up and one candle hangs on either end of the string. Finished candles hang from poles on racks lining the walls of the workroom and the shop. As well as the main dippingtrough, there are several smaller cauldrons used in making coloured and scented candles. Special ingredients required for these, such as bundles of dried lavender, are kept in a locked strongbox in the storeroom.

Neumarkt Quarters

When people in Middenheim speak of the Neumarkt as a commercial centre they are talking mainly about three particular areas of the district and the industries that can be found there. Middenheim’s odoriferous businesses are largely confined to the Gerberbahn, found in Neumarkt’s south-east corner, close to the Altquartier. This wretched and noisome area is occupied by the city’s tanners, dyers, and fullers. Every morning Gong Farmers ferry barrows brimming with urine and ordure to this area, selling the swill to tanneries and fulling yards. For a small fee they also collect the waste products, which are even more noxious, to be tipped over the edge of the Fauschlag. A little further north and west is the Schmiedstrasse, where metalworkers are the majority. Middenheim is a good place for metalworkers to do business. Gangs of convicts dig ore from mines in the Middle Mountains. This ore is brought into the city and smelted in one of a dozen bloomeries found on the Gerberbahn. They sell bars and plates of iron to Schmiedstrasse armourers and blacksmiths who work them into metal objects. The Topferplatz is the potters’ quarter. Here are a great many workshops producing all manner of stoneware. The Potters’ Guildhouse can also be found in this area, though it is a modest guild that does little to regulate the practices of the city’s potters beyond proscribing a few ingredients known to be poisonous, and chasing down unlicensed freelancers.

The Split Veil

The taverns in the Neumarkt district are often rather utilitarian affairs, neat but soulless stop-offs for traders and shoppers who fancy a quiet pint or two before heading home. The Split Veil is rather more characterful, a huge sprawling tavern with a number of different bars, snugs, and private rooms. In particular, the upper storey is a labyrinth of corridors and small conference rooms and bedrooms. Even long-serving tavern staff have got lost and confused in the tangled passageways. Wulfilde Sudenfeld runs the tavern. The fact that she is of Norse extraction can attract unwanted attention from local louts who presume she harbours sympathies for the dark powers. She is dismissive of such slanders, but is mindful enough to ensure that she is regularly seen worshipping at the High Temple of Ulric. She has also bedecked the tavern in regalia such as wolf ’s head motifs. The same cannot be said of all her regulars. Members of the Volans’ Oath of Devotion Society meet here, as the seclusion offered by the small, hard-to-find rooms suits their purposes. The tavern is also a meeting place for Neumarkt’s organised criminal gang, under the leadership of the Low Queen Herla Heiwardt. Both Herla’s criminal gang and the Volans’ Oath of Devotion Society are careful to ensure that they never meet in the same room or snug twice in a row, and so the complexities of the tavern afford them much protection from prying eyes.

Topfer’s Stoneware

This potter’s workshop is two storeys high, with an apartment located on the first floor. The ground floor is a workroom, with a kiln built into one wall and a pair of large stone settling-tanks full of water built into the floor. Raw clay is refined and settled in these tanks, before being shaped on the potter’s wheel. The workshop has two wheels. One fast, operated by a footturned stone flywheel, and one slow, turned by hand. Topfer tends to operate the fast wheel whilst his apprentice son works the slow wheel. There are also a number of stone and metal moulds for making objects that cannot be made on the wheel, such as clay pipes. Beside the kiln are a number of drying-racks around the walls. These are simple sets of shelves where the unbaked pottery is allowed to harden before firing in the kiln. There is also a workbench where colours and glazes are mixed. The ingredients for these are kept in a cupboard near the bench.

The Vermillion Pawn

A massive and windowless stone vault of a building, resembling a military blockhouse more than a pawn shop, the Vermillion Pawn is the sort of strange establishment that could only do business in a large city like Middenheim. It provides a highly specialised service: the identification of magical items. Master Lukas, an eccentric middle-aged Dwarf, runs the Pawn. Quite how he came to be an expert in magical items is a secret he keeps to himself, but that he is an expert is indisputable. Master Lukas employs his son and apprentice Josef Lukasson, and six Dwarf bodyguards.

Nordgarten District

The Nordgarten district is so called because of its proximity to the Morrspark. It is a wealthy area of the city, and many of Middenheim’s most successful merchants keep a home here. The district lacks the extreme grandeur of the Grafsmund, and the thriving new money of the Geldmund, but it is an opulent area nevertheless. Whilst much of the district is residential there are a number of shops and businesses catering to the wealthy here. It is a place to be seen as much as to live within. On sunny days the district is thronging with elegant folk showing off their new clothes. Gaggles of these fashionistas juxtapose awkwardly with the occasional black-clad funeral train making its way to the Morrspark.

The Graf’s Repose

Run by Rolf and Ulrike Steinmeyer, the Graf's Repose is a high-class hostelry, comparable with The Prospect in terms of quality of facilities. By virtue of its position, in a quieter corner of Nordgarten, it is less popular with young rakes out for a night on the town. This suits the Steinmeyers. They are a mealy-mouthed couple, who act like abject bootlickers in the presence of their noble customers. They concentrate on projecting a genteel, homely atmosphere, where they claim ‘gentlefolk can come and have a quiet drink and meet their friends, and noble visitors can rest their heads without running into the rowdy element that you see so much of these days’. The Graf ’s Repose is an excellent place to come for a quiet drink in a relaxed and refined atmosphere, but any rowdy behaviour, singing, loud talking, falling over and so on meets with a polite but firm response from the staff. People who look as if they might cause trouble, people from the lower classes, and anyone the proprietors don’t like the look of, are politely turned away at the door. Boris, the towering, glowering, mute doorkeeper is not to be argued with.

Klump’s Clothing

Middenheim’s fashionable ladies are currently abuzz about the fabulous stylings of the city’s foremost seamstress, Heidi Klump. About a decade ago she opened her first clothing emporium in the relative poverty of the Wynd district. Her bold designs were an instant hit. She was further bolstered through her association with Gregaro Lojek, one of the best milliners ever to come out of Kislev. Middenheim is not known for its fashions; Nuln and Altdorf are regarded as the Empire’s trend setters and talented designers seek employment with the great mercers of such places. Heidi dreams of challenging the assumption that Middenheim is without flair. Her designs incorporate many shades of blue, associated with the uniforms of Middenland’s military, offset with slashes of Nordland yellow. She also accessorises her clothing with brooches shaped like running wolves, or ice crystals, or magnificent renderings of Ulric’s axe, Blitzbeil. Heidi also loves to work wolf fur into her designs. This not only has a practical function, for the winds atop the Fauschlag are chilly even in high summer, but she claims that in doing so she honours Middenheim’s links to Ulric. However, such a move does not always meet with the approval of hard-line Ulricans.

According to the strictures of the cult, a wolf skin is only to be worn by those who have hunted and killed the wolf themselves. Whilst Ulrican clergy do not deign to condemn trade in wolf fur, fanatical Ulricans are not so restrained. On occasion the shop can be the sight of angry protests, and it is not unknown for a society lady to step from Klump’s Clothing in a brand new wolf fur stole only to have a hairy and frothing zealot tear it from her shoulders and rip it into shreds. Whilst such activities are rare, they can be the cause of awkwardness between the cult of Ulric and Middenheim’s wealthier citizens. Merchants and nobles are eager to see such miscreants sent to the mines for assault and vandalism. The cult, however, maintains that whilst these crimes are to be castigated, they would not have occurred at all had Ulric been shown proper respect. Ever mindful of an opportunity to turn a profit, Heidi Klump has not wasted time bemoaning the events, but has hit upon the notion of sponsoring hunting expeditions in which Middenheim’s grandees are shown how to track, kill, and skin their very own wolf.

Luigi and Salvatore

This branch of Luigi and Salvatore is the largest shop in Middenheim. Gilbertus and Michael, two trusted representatives of the Tilean retail magnates, manage the store. The pair are a source of much gossip in the city. Many people believe that they are brothers, or half-brothers, or lovers. Gilbertus and Michael do nothing to either dispel or confirm such rumours, realising that cultivating an air of mystery does much to enhance their considerable mystique. They are both possessed of a typically Tilean look, their complexions remaining tanned and healthy even in the cold climate of the Empire’s north. They are both somewhat short, with long aquiline noses and curled darkbrown hair. They are also both famously stinking rich. The secret of the store’s success is that it stocks a wide selection of goods that are of a quality acceptable to the wealthier members of Middenheim’s society, but not so expensive as to be completely unaffordable for all but the richest of Middenheimers. The store is mostly given over to the sale of clothing, but there are smaller departments devoted to small pieces of furniture, bags and containers, tools, children’s toys, printed books, and even an inside market selling fresh bread, fruit, and vegetables.

Imperial School of Engineers Offices

The profession of engineering in Middenheim is dominated by Dwarfs. Whilst Human engineers live in the city, they rarely produce work of significance. The Dwarven Engineers’ Guild ensures that its members win all the contracts for prestigious projects. In 2445 IC the Imperial School of Engineers in Altdorf announced plans to open an office in Middenheim with the twin aims of promoting the genius of Human engineering, and taking note of the techniques employed by the Dwarfs. Middenheim’s Dwarfs immediately complained of industrial espionage, which the Imperial School of Engineers could not plausibly deny. A small office was opened, but it remains a modest, unobtrusive affair that dedicates itself to quiet promotion of its members and assisting in the maintenance of Middenheim’s arsenal. Horst Klepper is the current director of the office. He is an experienced engineer who follows the fashion amongst his peers for eccentric dress and facial hair. In an effort to promote their innovations, the Imperial School of Engineers have bequeathed Horst with a mechanical marvel: Red Rust, a clockwork automaton shaped like a great stallion. However, the blasted thing keeps breaking down and it is beyond Horst’s skill to properly fix it. He spends far more time tinkering with the contraption than he does riding it, and when he does finally get it to trot about Middenheim’s streets, it invariably develops an amusing reversed walk or spins in circles.

The Prospect

The Prospect is one of the city’s finest hostelries catering to upper-class customers and well-heeled visitors. Owned and run by Rudolf and Sigrid Buffler, the inn is superbly luxurious. All rooms are tastefully furnished, the firm mattresses are of the finest down, guests are entitled to a hot bath every day. This inn is also a favourite starting point for young blades out for a night on the town, but they generally avoid causing trouble so close to home. The Bufflers are well known to most of the city’s upper classes, and their complaints are always taken seriously. This is ironic, given the little-known fact that Rudolf and Sigrid are two of Middenheim’s most daring catburglars. They both conceal their true natures behind masks of genteel respectability. They dress well, but not flashily, and are always suitably deferential to their titled customers, whom they invariably pump for information on personal security before robbing at a later date.

Shrine to Handrich

The cult of Handrich in Middenheim is small and obscure, consisting mostly of merchants observing the worship of the god in small private vestibules they keep in their own homes. The one public shrine to Handrich is kept by a congregation of lay worshippers and consists of a large marble plinth topped with a sturdy wooden model of a warehouse. The doors of the model are opened in the morning to reveal a statue of the god, posing with a cane in his left hand whilst proffering a coin in his right. During the day merchants passing the shrine toss a shilling inside for luck, and at the end of the day one of the faithful collects the coins and puts them towards a fund for an enterprise agreed upon by the congregation.

Nordtor District

The Nordtor district is an area in transition. Middenheimers generally consider those living in the north of the city to be well off. Less than a century ago Nordtor was one of the more desirable districts. Now it is becoming run down and looks neglected; the once-proud terraces have been sectioned up into smaller apartments housing many families. Whilst the area does not have the lawless and impoverished feel of Altquartier or Ostwald, it is by no means respectable. Now with each passing year it sinks further into disrepair and disrepute.

Geist Haus

This large two-storey house once belonged to one of the district’s wealthier residents. It is situated within a large garden surrounded by a tall brick wall topped with spiked railings. For as long as anyone can remember, the house has been deserted. In Middenheim it is not normal for an abandoned house to remain empty for long — there is so little free space on top of the Fauschlag, and by local law city authorities have the right to requisition properties that are not being put to good use. Yet no one seems eager to claim this house. The grounds have become overgrown with weeds and the windows have long had their shutters closed and nailed tightly shut. People do not even like to look at the house as they walk past, for rumour has it that the place is haunted. The locals claim that if you pass by late at night you can see eerie lights, hear strange noises, and reel at noxious smells. Popular opinion has it that it is unlucky to even talk about the place. The house is used by agents of ‘The Man’. It sits on top of a secret entranceway that is known to his criminal associates. The reason for the strange lights, noises, and smells is that the house is used as a laboratory for the manufacture of Laughing Powder and other intoxicants sold by the Low King’s racketeers.

Royal College of Music

Dominating the Nordtor skyline is the noble grey dome of the Royal College of Music. This magnificent vaulted building is home to the Middenheim Orchestra, and a centre of the city’s cultural life. Concerts and other events take place here throughout the year, especially during festivals. The College of Music is sponsored by the Graf, and numbers many dignitaries among its patrons. Eberhardt Geiger is the Director, a retired merchant who handles all the financial aspects of running the College and its orchestra. Subordinate to him are the Hall Manager, Axel Buhnleiter, and Amadeus Tonkunst, the Musical Director. Buhnleiter’s responsibilities include maintenance of the 250 capacity concert hall and managing the cleaning and frontof-house staff. Tonkunst is in charge of all performers and has the responsibility of arranging the annual concert programme. He has frequent and often violent arguments with Geiger over the contents of concert programmes, and constantly tries to introduce new and avant-garde works to broaden the audience’s horizons. Geiger prefers to stick safely with time-worn and well-loved classics. There is generally a concert or some other event during the last week of every month. Additional concerts are staged on notable occasions such as the Graf ’s birthday, and there is a three-day festival of religious music at midwinter celebrating the main feast-day of the cult of Ulric. During Carnival Week the Royal College of Music is host to many events and attractions.

Sentinel Press

The Sentinel Press is a privately managed printworks run from a small, neat, single-storey house. Karl Zimmern is the proprietor, a short, neat single-minded man in his late thirties. The print works is not a particularly professional outfit, and whilst Karl’s business practices and prices are similar to those of Drucker’s Press in Freiburg, the results are sloppier and rushed. Karl’s passion is not to run a successful business, but to disseminate his own rather extreme political beliefs. Karl is a particularly enthusiastic and hard-headed member of the Teutogen Brotherhood. He even believes that it was a mistake for Middenheim to become part of a reunified Empire following the Great War against Chaos. He harks back to the days of the Wolf Emperors, and suggests that the best thing for Middenheimers would be to secure Middenland, expel all residents who aren’t of demonstrable Teutogen heritage, and secede from the Empire. To support his cause he produces a number of pamphlets detailing the histories of the Wolf Emperors (as seen through very rose-tinted spectacles), the importance of the cult of Ulric, and the purported crimes of groups such as Halflings, Sigmarites, Unberogens, and Strigany. Karl is not widely respected in Middenheim but he does have a fervently loyal following, including a number of members of Middenheim’s military and Ulrican zealots. On occasion his supporters picket institutions that Karl deems unpatriotic. Gangs of his younger supporters occasionally engage in street skirmishes with members of the reformist New Millennialists.

The Sword and Flail

The Sword and Flail stands on Schwanger Alley, one of a few seedy backstreets that nestle between the Nordtor and Neumarkt districts. Gerhard Heller, a scarred veteran of the Middenland State Army, is the proprietor. A fighting man who enjoys the company of other fighting men, Gerhard’s tavern has a marked reputation for violence. Most of the clientele are fighters of one sort or other — off-duty watchmen, state troopers, and mercenaries often congregate here. The ground floor of the tavern is taken up by a cavernous taproom, which is largely unfurnished. Fights here are so common that Gerhard has decided that new tables and chairs would just be an expensive liability. The bar is simple: a heavy plank of wood laid over barrels. The fare here is simple too. The tavern is well stocked with strong ale bought in bulk from the Dragon Ales Brewery, and nothing else. Gerhard is a heavy-set man in his late 30s whose oily black hair is beginning to thin. He is genial enough in manner, and offers generous discounts to regulars, Dwarfs, and warriors. Visitors to the tavern are usually treated with boisterous good cheer on first arrival, but the mood can turn ugly if the regulars perceive anyone to be pushing their weight around or putting on airs.

Winter’s Haven Orphanage

The main orphanage in Middenheim is run by members of the cult of Ulric. It has close ties to the High Temple, as members of the Brothers of the Book and the Keepers of the Lore Haus often visit the orphanage to tutor the children here. There is room for a dozen children in the orphanage, and the upbringing they receive there is in line with Ulrican values. To say that this means they are short on luxuries would be an understatement: thin gruel and rough-spun clothing are the order of the day. Whilst the orphans receive good schooling, the focus is on outdoor pursuits and physical training. The children are taught to practise in mock combat and wilderness survival from an early age. Middenheim’s cult of Shallya occasionally points out that the austere life offered at Winter’s Haven is not conducive for all temperaments, though many children raised there do go on to join the cult of Ulric as clergy or the Knights of the White Wolf, so the institution has many powerful advocates.

Osstor District

The area between the east and north gates is given over mainly to middle-class homes. A few are semi-detached, but most are terraced. All these homes are comfortable and well-appointed, if not overly spacious. There are a few shops, and rather more average and good quality taverns and hostelries. The district’s streets are slightly narrower than those in comparable districts such as Westor or Sudgarten. The houses are a little smaller, but not by much. Osttor has a lower-middle-class reputation, which seems to arise solely from the fact that it is not in the fashionable north-west part of the city. The bulk of the population consists of junior- and middle-ranking clerks who work for the various Komissions and mercantile concerns. Moderately successful artisans also like to live in the area, finding it convenient enough to travel to their businesses in the Neumarkt.

Bleistift’s Scriptorium

Bleistift’s Scriptorium is a large and impressive two-storey building. It was once described as a heavily ornate warehouse, which is a little unkind but gives a good impression of its general shape. There are three scriptoria in Middenheim: one at the Collegium Theologica; another at the department of the Worshipful Guild of Legalists, and Bleistift’s. The craft of printing is a fairly recent invention, and has yet to become widespread and generally accepted. While a few small presses have sprung up in the city, reproduction of the written word is still done largely by scribes. The scriptoria produce all the books and documents in the city that are not printed. The lower floor is a huge hall, with pillars supporting the ceiling. The chamber is filled with writing desks, arranged in rows of five and columns of ten, at which the scribes sit to copy manuscripts. The upper floor is taken up by offices, record stores, and equipment stores. The scriptorium has an arrangement with Fleischer’s Slaughterhouse for a supply of cowhides. Vellum is only used for the most expensive documents and the most lavish books, since the material alone costs 1 GC per sheet.

Irinka’s Cutlers

For many years Irinka trudged the roads of the Empire, selling her wares first from a sack, then from a laden ass, then from a small cart. She was a pedlar, and delivered pots, pans, knives, forks, and needles to far-flung villages. Now in her 40s, Irinka has saved enough money to open up a small shop in Middenheim. She still deals in the same wares: cutlery and kitchen utensils. Her profits are modest, but consistent. She employs a young man named Gormann Jost who scours the the city’s street rubbish for broken pots and pans, and returns with them to the shop to fix and sell on. Middenheim is not home to many Strigany, and Irinka often finds herself harangued by street urchins and thugs who believe her people to be inextricably linked to Vampires. Of course, Irinka has no connection to undead fiends, but nothing she can say will allay the suspicions of bigots. She rarely leaves the confines of her shop as a result, and sends Gormann to collect supplies. Life in Middenheim is not easy for her, but it is better than life on the road.

Karbunkel’s Pharmacy

This small but well-stocked pharmacy is run by a Halfling named Velma Karbunkel. The shop is stocked with bundles of herbs and shelves crammed with bottles and jars of poultices and draughts. Velma is a moderately successful apothecary, but she keeps a terrible secret: her brother Poppin is a mutant. She had kept him hidden in her cellar for years. All was well until Gluckstein of the Windhund Haulage Company, a senior member of the Cult of the Purple Hand, found out. The blackmail started soon after. At first, Gluckstein just asked for herbs and draughts, but soon he exhorted the Halfling to produce herbs and poisons. Velma has so far refused these latest demands, and even threatened to go to the authorities. Gluckstein has given her one last chance: if she doesn’t come up with the goods within the week, he will send a group of cutthroats to end her life.

Military

"Ulric give me the fangs of the wolf,"
"Ulric give me the claws of the wolf,"
"Ulric give me the coat of the wolf,"
"And I will show your enemies the mercy of the wolf."
Ulrican Prayer.

The Might of Middenheim

The standing army, although quartered in the city, is responsible for the defence of the entire area. In practice, it simply patrols the city walls, and the approach roads. It consists of over 700 full-time soldiers and a force of nearly 3,500 reservist militia. The militia have been levied from amongst the Graf ’s subjects ever since the days of Graf Siegfried the Significant. In 1555 IC he issued the following edict in order to ensure he would be able to meet his responsibilities to the Emperor, whilst avoiding the cost of maintaining a huge standing army;[3d]

‘Be it known to all citizens of Middenheim, that all Humans of between the ages of 16 and 50 shall be required to own a longbow, a crossbow, or a sword. Once each week they shall report to their local sergeant-at-arms for two hours of military training.’ [3d]

This edict ensures that the Graf has a large body of relatively skilled troops on which to draw in times of crisis. However, these levies are only normally raised between the months of Sigmarzeit and Nachgeheim, after crops have been sown but before they need harvesting. All levies would have to be disbanded for the harvest anyway, otherwise there would be no grain for either the army or the civilian populace. No one would seriously consider trying to fight a campaign during the winter months. The Graf is Commander-in-Chief of Middenheim’s armed forces. Like all provincial rulers, his primary allegiance is to the Emperor — one of his main duties is to ensure that he can provide an army to aid his liege-lord in times of war. Additionally, he is charged with maintaining the Emperor’s peace and protecting the servants of the gods. Since time immemorial, the Grafs of Middenheim have been aided in these duties by the appointment of three military commanders, the Midden Marshalls. The Marshalls take their offices seriously. They keep their political opinions to themselves and are only seen in public at major events and state ceremonies, where they sometimes take the soldiers’ salute on behalf of Graf Boris. They do have some influence with the Graf, but all three are somewhat oldfashioned men of integrity who are determined not to abuse their privileged positions.[3d]

State Army Barracks

A replica of Middenheim’s battle flag flies high above the barracks. The banner depicts a White Wolf standing guard over the fortress walls and gates of the city, a sign of Ulric protecting his own. The barracks building is built on a similar design to the city’s massive fortified gatehouses. The barracks is under the management of General Johann Schwermutt who can be found here whenever more important business doesn’t press upon his time (though it often does). The city watch also has its headquarters here, and shares many resources with the state soldiers. The officers of the regiment are full-time soldiers whilst the troopers largely consist of levied reservists who serve according to a rota system. Despite this fact, many of the regiments of Middenheim’s army have proud histories and regimental traditions. The Swords of Ulric can be identified by their yellow shields decorated with a red wolf ’s head. The regiment is paid for by the Temple of Ulric and dates its history back to the time of Emperor Mandred Ratslayer. Rather than drilling and training within the confines of the city, the regiment trains by sallying forth from Middenheim to hunt down Beastmen and Greenskins in the Drakwald. The Grimmhagen Swordsmen can be recognised by their blue shields decorated with a white wolf ’s head over a red castle gatehouse. The regiment is sponsored by Middenheim’s Mercers’ Guild and named for the Kaufseit street where the Guild house is found. The von Strumpet regiment is named for its inspirational captain, a minor aristocrat with a small mansion in the Grafsmund district. He has benevolently placed his own private retinue under the effective control of the Midden Marshals. His soldiers are equipped with crossbows and fitted out in stylish blue-leather jerkins designed by Heidi Klump.

Square of Martials

This impressive open space is used for drills and reviews of the city garrison, for military parades at festivals, and occasionally for heraldic exhibitions and the like. The square has a central fountain and statue of Graf Gunthar Todbringer, and there are many wooden benches along the north side, before the palace railings. Rather unusually, all the streets that lead here are separated from the square by a short flight of stairs. This allows the square to be turned into an ice rink during the great carnival. The Kislevite Embassy traditionally appoints an Ice Witch who summons a storm of hail. This hail is then raked over and has water poured on it. The Ice Witch then casts spells to further freeze the hail to produce a smooth, icy surface, making the square a perfect venue for an ice dance pageant and competition. Overnight, the ice melts, the water is topped up, and a water-polo tourney is held in the newly formed pool. An impressive 20 guardsmen and a Sergeant from the Todbringer’s Own regiment are always here in addition to a detail of Knights Panther who stand sentry at the palace gates.


Older Editions

The following are text and information concerning Middenheim in older editions.

Government

Everyone knows that Graf Boris Todbringer rules Middenheim, but of course there are a great many other individuals without whom the city could not function. Unlike many nobles in the Old World, Graf Boris Todbringer has not surrounded himself with an extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins and the like. His wife is long dead, and his immediate family consists only of his daughter Katarina. He did have a son, Stefan, who was troubled by illness and died a few years ago—according to some, as a result of some plot by cultists.

His only other offspring is illegitimate, a son called Heinrich whom he has formally recognized as his own and permitted to use the family name. However, Heinrich's birth prevents him from succeeding his father as an Imperial Elector and ruler of Middenheim. Because of this, a great deal of diplomatic activity is focused on winning the hand of his daughter—called "the Princess" by Middenheimers, even though she is not officially permitted that title—on behalf of young nobles from across the Old World. So far, no suitors have been found suitable.[2b]

Midden Marshals

As a powerful city-state, Middenheim maintains considerable military forces, and the bulk of these fall under the command of the three Midden Marshals. The Midden Marshals are Maximilian von Genscher, Johann Schwermutt, and Ulrich Schutzmann. Von Genscher commands Middenheim's walls and gates, along with the city garrison (but not the Watch), fixed artillery pieces, the city militia, and all other defensive forces. Schwermutt commands the standing army of Middenheim, while Schutzmann commands the City Watch and is responsible for keeping the peace within the walls.[2b]

Law Lords

Much of the civil government of Middenheim is in the hands of a small group of men: the three Law Lords, Eberhard Richter, Erich Kalzbad, and Hannes Snicker. The Law Lords traditionally dress in grey robes, adorned by gold brooches in the shape of a balance. The Law Lords are still in the city, supervising the civil government and advising Commander Schutzmann on matters of law. They generally keep themselves distant from the city's population, avoiding personal entanglements that could lay them open to charges of bias or corruption. Since a scandal several years ago led to the replacement of all three Law Lords under circumstances that are still not clear, the current incumbents are extremely careful to make a show of integrity and impartiality.[2b]Bold

Religion

As might be expected, the most influential priest in Middenheim is the High Priest of Ulric, who goes by the traditional title Ar-Ulric ("Son of Ulric" in the ancient Teutogen dialect). With the combination of his spiritual authority as high priest and his military power as supreme commander of the Knights of the White Wolf, he is second only to the Graf in importance, and there are many devout followers who would rate him at least as the Graf's equal.[2b]

The Cult of Sigmar has taken great pains to maintain a strong presence in Middenheim, despite—or perhaps because of—the deep rivalry between the more devout followers of the two deities. As the patron deity of the Empire, the presence of Sigmar's temple—the second largest in the Old World—reminds Middenheimers of their ties to Altdorf and the Emperor. They do not always appreciate this reminder. The chief priest of the temple of Sigmar enjoys the resounding title of High Capitular, and in the cult hierarchy is second only to the Grand Theogonist in Altdorf. Next in importance is the high priestess of Verena, who is sometimes called upon to consult with the Law Lords in matters of justice. The priests and priestesses of other cults have prestige according to their rank, but are not politically powerful.[2b]

Layout

A layout of the City.

The flattened top of the Fauschlag, where Middenheim stands, is about a mile across. The city's walls extend the nearly vertical cliffs upward, and completely enclose the city. Middenheim at present is something of a paradox. It is both more crowded and less busy than usual. The crowding is because of the large numbers of refugees who sought refuge behind its walls as the forces of Chaos approached. Those who can are staying with relatives: the others crowd into the city's inns if they have the means, or sleep rough or in makeshift shanties if they do not. And yet, despite this increase in population, Middenheim moves more slowly than it did before the siege. The main reason for this is that the Graf, along with most of the male nobility and the standing army, is away scouring the remnants of Archaon's forces from the land. Along with him have gone the Knights Panther, High Priest Ar-Ulric along with the Knights of the White Wolf and the elite Teutogen Guard, and many of the city's most powerful wizards. The Graf has appointed the Commander of the City Watch to keep the peace and rule in his absence, and the others have handed their business over to deputies, but little is being done in their absence, apart from efforts to repair the damage wrought by the siege. There is a definite feeling that life is not yet back to normal, and will only be so once the Graf and the army return.[2c]

Fresh food is scarce with so many farmers still in the city, and their farms devastated by Archaon and his followers. No one knows what kind of harvest—if any—will be brought in from the farms and fields of Middenland this year. or how the people will survive the winter with no food stored up. Perhaps Lord Ulric will be merciful this year, holding back his frost from the crops and his wolves from the flocks. He surely knows what his people have suffered.[2c]

Causeways and Gates

Four great causeways approach Middenheim, each leading to a fortified city gate. All are enchanted so that they can be collapsed to prevent attackers from reaching the gates. All four causeways are intact, although the eastern causeway is heavily damaged and has been closed until repairs can be made. On the second day of the siege. Archaon's forces attacked along the eastern causeway, and the magic was triggered to collapse it. However, the sorcerers accompanying the Lord of the End Times responded quickly with spells of their own: Unearthly vines of metal. barbed with stone thorns, erupted from the ground. binding the shattered causeway together. These unnatural bonds still support the causeway, and the city's priests are working together with Dwarfen architects and masons to remove them and repair the causeway.[2c]

Palast District

Palast District.

The great Middenpalaz stands against the north wall of the city. To the east of the palace complex lies the Konigsgarten, which was once a private park attached to the palace but is now opened to the public. South of the palace lies the Square of Martials, which is used as a parade ground by the city's military forces as well as being the site of great public events during the city's carnival season.[2c]

Middenpalaz

The Middenpalaz is a complex of buildings arranged around the Graf's palace. These include the city's main law court, the headquarters of the Knights Panther, and the offices and residences of various city nobles and functionaries. Fifteen-foot-high, spike-topped iron railings surround the palace complex; the gates are guarded around the clock, and admission is by invitation only. The Inner Palace—containing the Graf's residence, the ducal mausoleum, and the city's mint and treasury—is surrounded by similar railings, and is also heavily guarded. The walls to the north of the palace were heavily defended during the siege, and despite some superficial damage they are still strong. The palace complex escaped serious damage.[2c]

Konigsgarten

This formal garden suffered greatly during the siege, but not at the hands of the attackers. As the closest open space to the North Gate, it was used as a staging area and supply depot for the defenders in that part of the city, and parts of it were torn up and planted with crops in case of a prolonged siege. According to the ducal arborist, the manicured lawns and carefully trimmed bushes will take years, if not decades, to recover their former glory. The stretch of city wall that runs along the northern edge of the park collapsed in a landslide triggered by tunnelling attackers. Whether this was intentional or accidental is not known. Normally open to the public during the day, the gardens have been closed while the damaged stretch of wall is rebuilt.[2c]

Square of Martials

This great square stands a few feet below the level of the surrounding city streets, and is entered by short flights of steps on all sides. During the city's carnival, it is flooded, and acts as the venue for spectacular water-shows; it is also magically frozen over and used for skating. For most of the year, though, it is a stone-flagged area where the city's elite troops—the Knights Panther and the Knights of the White Wolf—conduct drills, and other public events take place. At the centre of the square stands a statue of Graf Gunther Todbringer, an illustrious ancestor of the current Graf, wooden benches are arranged along the north side, beneath the palace railings.[2c]

The Great Park

The Great Park.

The largest of Middenheim's parks stands roughly at the centre of the city, surrounded by a broad-tree-lined avenue known as the Garten Ring. Open around the clock, the park is home to the Show Boat—one of Middenheim's most fashionable nightspots—and the great Bernabau Stadium. In the middle of the park stands an ornamental lake, and the park is dotted with fountains and statues. Among the grassy expanses and broad gravel paths are several hothouses and orangeries were rare and exotic plants are grown, some for the "instruction and delight" of Middenheim's inhabitants and others for herbal and magical research. Like the Kognigsgarten, the Great Park falls under the domain of the ducal arborist and his force of groundskeepers.[2d]

Being at the centre of the city, the Great Park suffered less in the siege than the Konigsgarten, but none the less it shows the marks of the recent crisis. Most noticeable are the improvised shacks ands tents housing almost a thousand refugees from outlying districts who flocked to Middenheim for safety as the forces of Chaos advanced. With no sanitation and running water provided only by the lake and the various fountains, the smell here is getting worse by the day, and it is surely only a matter of time before a major epidemic breaks out. Like the Konigsgarten, some areas of the park were dug up and planted with crops, which have not yet had the opportunity to sprout. A few enterprising locals—known euphemistically as the Honeydippers—have set up in business transporting waste from the refugee camp to the makeshift fields, to be used as fertiliser.[2d]

Military

While the army's task is to take the field against Middenheim's enemies, the garrison is charged with the defence of the city itself. Like the army, it includes a wide range of troop types, with a heavier emphasis on artillery and missile-armed troops—crossbowmen, handgunners, and the like—to decimate attackers from behind the safety of the city walls. The militia is a more ad hoc force, recruited from among Middenheim's citizens and serving only when needed. Many Middenheimers who have previous military experience join the militia, which is organised by city districts. Each militia troop is charged with the defence of its own home district, in the event that the city walls should be breached. In addition, the militia can be called upon to assist the City Watch in an emergency.[2b]

City Watch

The City Watch is the main armed force left in Middenheim at present. While the army is charged with fighting in the field and the garrison with defending the city (although for now most of the garrison is in the field alongside the army and the knights), the task of the City Watch is to maintain order and apprehend criminals.[2b]

The Knights Panther

The Knights Panther form the personal bodyguard of the Graf, and acknowledge him as their sole commander. In practice, this causes few problems, since the Midden Marshals act on the Graf's commands as well, and he is a gifted military commander who is well able to co-ordinate his various forces to good effect. Knights Panther are usually mounted on warhorses, and arc distinguished by their tall helmet-crests topped by the image of a Beastman head, and by the saddlecloths from which they draw the name of their order. According to tradition, each squire must hunt down and kill a great forest cat single-handed, placing its skin beneath his saddle when he is knighted.[2b]

Knights of the White Wolf

The Knights of the White Wolf are templars of Ulric. According to ancient Teutogen tradition, the High Priest Ar-Ulric is expected to raise and maintain his own force for the defence of the temple and the faith, and to honour the wolf-god in battle with their valiant deeds. The Grand Master of the Order of the White Wolf answers to the High Priest rather than the Graf, but the Palace and the Temple have traditionally worked well together. The Knights of the White Wolf are armoured when they ride into battle, but do nor wear helmets. Many of them wear wolf-skin cloaks around their shoulders. Their favoured weapon is a great warhammer.[2b]

Teutogen Guard

The Teutogen Guard is an elite unit within the Knights of the White Wolf, and forms the personal bodyguard of the High Priest. They normally fight on foot, but are otherwise equipped identically to the other knights of their order.[2b]

War Wizards

The head of the Guild of Wizards and Alchemists is titled High Wizard of Middenheim, and in addition to his duties as guild master he advises the Graf on magical affairs and assists the Midden Marshals in maintaining the city's magical defences. In times of war, the High Wizard liaises with the Midden Marshals to provide magical support for the city's military forces.[2b]

Sources

  • 1: Sigmar's Heir (2nd Edition Fantasy Roleplay)
    • 1a: pg. 53
    • 1b: pg. 54
    • 1c: pg. 55
    • 1d: pg. 57
  • 2: Ashes of Middenheim (2nd Edition Fantasy Roleplay)
    • 2a: pg. 5 - 6
    • 2b: pg. 7 - 9
    • 2c: pg. 12 - 13
    • 2d: pg. 14 - 16
    • 2e: pg. 17 - 20
  • 3: Middenheim: City of the White Wolf (4th Edition Fantasy Roleplay)
    • 3a: "Prologue"
    • 3b: pg. 6 - 11
    • 3c: pg. 16 - 20
    • 3d: pg. 21 - 29
    • 3e: pg. 30 - 39
    • 3f: pg. 40 - 60 (Layout)
    • 3g: pg. 61 - 90 (Layout)
    • 3h: pg. 91 - 106
    • 3i: pg. 107 - 108
  • 4: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 3rd ED -- Tome of Blessings
    • 4a: pg. 6
    • 4b: pg. 17
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