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"Gausser is nothing but a pawn of the Laurelorn Elves."
A political observer in Ostland[3c]
"What kind of ruler is he that controls less than half his province?"
A Reiklander noble[3c]
Gaussar Theodoric

Count Theoderic Gausser.

Theoderic Gausser, Grand Baron of Nordland, Prince of Salzenmund, Lord of Laurelorn, Duke of Marienburg and Terror of the Norscans[3b], is the Elector Count and autocratic ruler of the Grand Province of Nordland, where his power knows no check save tradition and the opinions of his lower nobles and notable advisors, informally expressed[3a], and also the nominal lord of the independent city of Marienburg, from which the ruling Burgomeisters have forbidden him to return upon pain of an excruciatingly hideous death since its secession. Gausser is truly the embodiment of his people's warlike nature to its very core.[1a][2a][5a]

History

"As we are aware of Emperor Karl Franz's antagonistic position regarding Marienburg, it should be no surprise to note he ordered Reikland's most recent naval build-up. It seems likely he is looking to build upon his legacy for future generations, and is buoyed up by his victories in the recent incursions from the north. Further, Nordland is a clear threat, for if the reports from Dietershafen and Salzenmund are to be believed, Grand Baron Gausser may be planning nothing less than a full-scale invasion."
Pepijn Maijer, Steward of the Palace of Marienburg[4a]

Not much is known of Theoderic Gausser's rise to power in Nordland. His accession to the position of Elector Count is said to have been controversial, probably due to a dynastic conflict with the Nikses, which has forced him to make frequent attempts to consolidate his position. In Salzenmund, he owes a great deal of money to the local Burgomeisters, and the rival Nikse dynasty is constantly working against him. To the south, the Todbringers of Middenland look to their formal vassal province of Nordland with greedy eyes, and make repeated forays across the Nordland border, all to "hunt Beastmen". Indeed, across the Empire, Nordland is barely seen as a Grand Province at all, and many see little difference between a Nordlander and a Norseman. Gausser has always intended to change this.[4d]

Theoderic was present to fulfill his duties as Elector after the death of Emperor Luitpold I in 2502 IC.[7b] Initially he supported Boris Todbringer of Middenland, [8] who had allied with Nordland before Gausser came to power by marrying Anika-Elise Nikse, daughter of then-Baron Werner Nikse of Nordland.[10] Todbringer got eight votes at the first round, two votes shy of becoming Emperor, with Luitpold's son Karl Franz getting four. Franz relied on politicking and ploys to tilt Boris' supporters to his favor. He met Theoderic just hours before the second round, but no ploy was needed, as the Grand Baron only asked that his first edict be to repel Norscan raiders from Nordland's coast. In the meantime, Todbringer had not bothered to campaign after the first round, and in the end Karl Franz was crowned unanimously, with even Boris voting for him.[8]

Shortly after his coronation, the new Emperor decided his first act would be to march northwards at the head of a mighty host to reinforce the army of Nordland. Gausser's armies could not know where the Norse would strike in time to defend their people, but the Emperor had brought with him some of the most powerful wizards of the Celestial College, whose members are gifted with the ability to read the future in the heavens. The next time the Norse raiders attacked, they were met with fusillades of fire from concealed handgunners and crossbowmen, and their ships were sunk by unerringly accurate cannon fire, Helstorm Rocket Batteries and the powerful storms summoned by the Celestial College's arcane war altars. Hundreds of Norse died without a fight as their heavy hauberks dragged them to the bottom of the sea, and those that survived to reach the shore were met by disciplined ranks of swordsmen, spearmen and halberdiers marching onto the beach. The berserk Norsemen were slaughtered without quarter, and the Emperor himself led the charge against the final Norse shieldwall.[5b][7a][7b]

His need to enlarge his feudal holdings in order to reinforce his position at home seems to have been a constant thorn on his side, pushing him to cause many a border conflict with his neighbours - the nobles around Laurelorn Forest have pressured him to demand a renegotiation of the Grand Barony's pact with the local Wood Elves[3c], at some point before the Slaughter at Volganof in 2515 IC[7b] he struck an unscrupulous border agreement with Vassily von Raukov, heir to the Elector Count of Ostland, whose disastrous consequences were only averted by the military intervention of Oleg von Raukov, younger son of Valmir von Raukov[6a], and in 2516, he almost caused a civil war as he hired an army of mercenaries to enact his territorial ambitions against neighbouring Hochland. The conflict was averted when the Emperor requested the Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic, Balthasar Gelt, to intervene on his behalf. Though ostensibly at Salzenmund as the Emperor's ambassador, Gelt secretly transmuted the gold earmarked for Theoderic's armies and mercenaries into worthless bars of lead before. The hired swords refused to fight without payment and the looming threat of civil war was averted. As soon as he discovered what had happened, the enraged Elector Count drew his Runefang and swore he would have Gelt's head, but his murderous ambitions were thwarted, as the Supreme Patriarch had wisely left Nordland in a hurry on the back of his Pegasus.[5c][7c] He has also recently revived an old claim to the area of the Northern March of Ostland that lies around Salkalten.[3d]

However, his most ambitious plan to change his fortune was to invade and annex Marienburg and the Wasteland back into the Empire's fold.[4d] His plans began to take shape in 2512, when the Emperor decided to hold discussions with him and Baron Köhler of Dietershafen, which bore fruits more than a decade later - now Nordland has its own navy, the new Imperial Second Fleet. This new, modern fleet is operating out of Dietershafen, and while it is not the largest in the Old World, it is well trained and experienced.[4b] Furthermore, this navy swears to Grand Baron Gausser, not to Karl Franz.[4c]

Gausser's plan involved drawing Middenlander and Marienburger eyes to Carroburg and its new fleet, and to fan the flames of war between all the parties involved. Then, when they were all blinded by the smoke, he would sweep down into Marienburg with the well-trained Dietershafen fleet and his State Army, and take the city.[4d]

Success would resolve all of his problems in one fell swoop. Firstly, he would be rich from the spoils of war, so his debts would be as nothing. Next, he would formally take the title of Prince of Marienburg and transfer the Princedom of Salzenmund back to the Nikses, consolidating his power in Nordland by creating a strong ally. Lastly, he would be the saviour of the Empire, a hero for retaking the errant Wasteland, so Middenland's ambitions would be curtailed, and the Emperor would be forced to support his conquest.[4d]

The End Times

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Unfortunately for him, the arrival of the End Times was to disrupt all these preparations. In early 2525 IC, the Nurglite Plague Fleet battered through the Asur fleets patrolling south of Norsca and split into three parts - the largest sailed with the Glottkin along the coast and towards Marienburg, the second, led by Gutrot Spume, headed straight towards the shoreline of Nordland, there to take the Old Dwarf Road south, and the third, at the orders of Orghotts Daemonspew, would sail towards the Gulf of Kislev and smash their way through Erengrad and head towards the city of Talabheim.[9a]

As the Glottkin sacked Marienburg, the second Plague Fleet made landfall upon the shores of Nordland. In the past, this war-torn stretch of beach was fiercely defended by the valiant warriors of Elector Count Theoderic Gausser, but now all of these people had either died defending their lands or fled south towards the heartlands. As such, the landing was unopposed.[9b]

Gausser had taken his forces south to seek refuge in Altdorf, where after Karl Franz's disappearance at the northern border he demanded an audience with Reikmarshal Kurt Helborg and bickered every day with the Elector Counts Alberich Haupt-Anderssen of Talabecland and Emmanuelle von Liebwitz of Wissenland for the position of steward in the Emperor's absence.[9c] His final fate is unknown.

Wargear

As the Elector Count of Nordland, he had the right to wield the Runefang known as Crow Feeder.[11a]

Gallery

  • Elector Count Theoderic Gausser in combat

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (4th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 16
  • 2: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Ed.: Manual
    • 2a: pg. 214
  • 3: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Ed.: Sigmar's Heirs
    • 3a: pg. 30
    • 3b: pg. 63
    • 3c: pg. 64
    • 3d: pg. 73
  • 4: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Ed.: Shades of Empire
    • 4a: pg. 72
    • 4b: pg. 76
    • 4c: pp. 80-81
    • 4d: pg. 83
  • 5: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (7th Edition)
    • 5a: pg. 21
    • 5b: pg. 22
    • 5c: pp. 23-24
  • 6: Warhammer: Core Rulebook (8th Edition)
    • 6a: pg. 458
  • 7: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (8th Edition)
    • 7a: pg. 14
    • 7b: pg. 16
    • 7c: pg. 33
  • 8: The Prince of Altdorf (Short Story) by Andy Hall
  • 9: The End Times vol. II: Glottkin
    • 9a: pp. 13-14
    • 9b: pg. 38
    • 9c: pg. 39
  • 10 Warhammer RPG 1st Edition: The Enemy Within IV - Power behind the Throne
  • 11: White Dwarf #325 (UK Edition)

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