4. OOC: Common Knowledge (things you all know)   Posted by Game Master.Group: 0
Game Master
 GM, 15 posts
Sat 20 Mar 2021
at 13:55
4. OOC: Common Knowledge (things you all know)
The Empire



The Empire is the largest and most powerful state in the Old World but with each of the provinces fiercely jealous of their autonomy it is as much a collection of states as a single country. Many a man or woman would think of themselves as a Middenlander or a Reiklander first and an Imperial citizen second. There are ten provinces (or eleven if one counts the Halfling Mootland which most humans deliberately don't!) Several of the largest cities including Altdorf, Middenheim, Nuln and Talabheim are also quasi-independent 'free cities' in their own right.

The current Emperor is Karl Franz I, the Elector Count of Reikland and Prince of Altdorf who took the throne twenty years years ago in I.C 2502.

Humans, Dwarfs, Halflings and Elves

Humans make up the overwhelming majority of the Empire's population but they are not the only inhabitants. Many tens of thousands of dwarfs also call the Empire home. Some are recent expatriates from the mountains, others are from families that have lived in Sigmar's land for generations. Dwarfs are stereotyped as hard workers, doughty soldiers and superb craftsmen, but also as greedy, miserly aggressive alcoholics.

Halflings are also a common sight in the Empire. Unlike the dwarfs they do have a homeland inside the Empire - the Mootland in Stirland. Halflings are, depending on who you ask, either charming, simple rustics or viciously cunning con-men and thieves who will rob you blind. Their appetite for food rivals the dwarf appetite for drink and gold.

Eves are very rare, very distrusted and few Imperials have even seen one in person. There are small but established elf communities in the major cities and it is rumoured an entire kingdom of them in the Laurelorn Forest of Nordland. All sorts of rumours swirl around these strange beings!

Foreigners

The Kingdom of Bretonnia to the South and West of the Empire is known for it's excellent wine, horrendous beer and food that is either divine or hideous depending on who one asks (expect to hear dark mutterings about frog legs and snails to come up whenever the topic is raised.) It is ruled by an aristocracy that is at once the most chivalrous in the world and so arrogant they make the average Imperial baron look like a Shallyan novice.

The Tzardom of Kislev to the East and North of the Empire is a perpetually frozen kingdom of bear worshipping warriors who regularly drink spirits of such strength they would give a dwarf pause. The Kislevites are famous for their excellent horsemen and are said to be ruled by a beautiful ice witch with strange and terrible powers.

Marienburg and the Wasteland to the West of the Empire was once part of Sigmar's realm proper but declared indepence a century ago. The great city port is famously rich and famously decadent where anything that can be bought or sold is and men from around the world and even (whisper it!) Elves walk the streets.

There are other more distant lands but few Imperials know much of them.

The Gods

Sigmar Heldenhammer was the founder of the Empire and is now worshipped as it's patron deity having ascended to godhood. He is followed through out the Empire but his cult is most popular in the South and in Reikland.

Ulric, the god of Winter and wolves was the original main god of the pre-Sigmar tribes and is still more widely worshipped than Sigmar in the northern parts of the Empire with the city of Middenheim being the centre of his cult. Ulricans and Sigmarites have a fierce and occasionally violent rivalry.

Taal & Rhya the god of nature and the goddess of the harvest are generally worshipped together as husband and wife. Taal is sometimes seen as the 'king of the gods', and though widespread his cult is less powerful and far less politically active than either Sigmar or Ulric. The centre of the cult is in Talabecland.

Shallya is the goddess of healing and mercy. Though not particularly powerful and pacifist by nature her cult is perhaps the widely loved in the Empire.

Morr is the god of the dead and dreams. He is an enigmatic figure, but not a malevolent one and his cult are firm foes of the undead. The prime focus of Morr's priests and priestesses is overseeing the last rites of the deceased so that they enter the afterlife.

Verena is the goddess of law and learning and justice, the wife of Morr and mother of Shallya. She is very much a goddess of the educated and urban classes, popular in the major cities but outside them she is quite obscure except for her relationship with her husband and daughter.

Mannan the god of the sea and patron of mariniers, is known throughout the Empire but only has widespread worship along the lonely coasts of Nordland and Ostland and along the Reik as far up as Altdorf. The centre of his cult was and still is in the former Imperial province of the Wasteland and the great city of Marienburg.

Ranald is easily the most controversial of the legal deities. He is a trickster god and according to legend he was a mortal man who bamboozled his way into immortality by tricking a gullible Shallya into letting him sup from her chalice. Ranald is the god of luck, thievery and mischief beloved by all sorts of dubious characters. While his worship is not actually illegal it is frowned upon by many officials and while few of his priests end up on the stake more than one has ended his days on the hangman's rope.

Myrmidia is a foreign deity whose worship is spreading through the southern Empire. Like Sigmar and Ulric she is a martial deity, the goddess of strategy and warfare, depicted as a beautiful yet powerful warrioress. The heartland of her cult lies beyond the Empire in Tilea and Estalia where she is venerated as the most important of the gods.

There are many other gods across the Empire, some very local to a single town or village. Most humans in the Empire will probably at least know the names of the Dwarf god Grungni or the Halfling goddess Esmerelda even if they know nothing else about them.

There are also the illegal gods like the foul Ruinous Powers - a subject most people don't wish to find out more about!
Game Master
 GM, 16 posts
Sat 20 Mar 2021
at 16:56
4. OOC: Common Knowledge (things you all know)
Magic

Magic is a very real, very dangerous force. Everyone has heard stories about the witchcraft employed by the crazed devotees of the Ruinous Powers. It is not something to be trifle with by the sane!

Then there are the liscensed wizards of the Empire, graduates of the Colleges of Magic in Altdorf. These mysterious beings of great power and skill are the stuff of gossip and rumor, almost as feared by many as the renegade witches. There are some things beyond the ken of ordinary folk.

Beyond these two stark forces things grow murkier and there is much disagreement to where sensible superstition ends and sorcery begins. The witch hunters have their own views on such matters...

Mutants

Mutants, also known as 'Altered' are a subject everyone knows but few like to talk about. None can say how common these unfortunates are between those who haunt the dark forests like bandits and those who try to hide their mutations from their neighbours but everyone knows a friend of a friend who has a story about a third eyes or a glistening tentacle in place of an arm.
Game Master
 GM, 18 posts
Sun 21 Mar 2021
at 11:05
4. OOC: Common Knowledge (things you all know)
Untergard




Untergard was founded roughly 100 years ago. Villagers from the Grimminhagen area, fed up with the oppressive taxes of Graf Sternhauer, packed up their belongings and headed south. The Graf was furious, but he was also certain these malcontents would be swallowed up the Drakwald Forest. The villagers followed the river south until they found a suitable spot for a settlement. They built a village on the west side of the river and managed to scrabble out an existence against all odds. More than that, the village began to grow. The small settlement turned into a town, eventually expanding to the eastern side of the river. With supreme effort, the people of Untergard dragged enough stone south to build a wide bridge to connect the two halves of town. Within two generations the village of exiles had turned into a centre of local trade. The bridge was the only crossing south of Grimminhagen and the town became a natural stopping point for trade barges coming up the river.

This success had a price, however. When Archaon’s forces invaded Middenland, Untergard and its bridge became critically important. Khazrak, the most powerful Beastman warlord of the Drakwald and the arch nemesis of Count Todbringer, led a surprise night time attack against Untergard. Khazrak’s Beastmen assailed the walls, broke inside, and completely overran the eastern half of town. The defenders rallied at the bridge, however, and a nine-day battle for Untergard ensued. Thousands of Imperial troops and Dwarf allies reinforced the town and the bridge became a scene of unbelievable carnage. Stymied, Khazrak destroyed the eastern half of town and took his forces north. The focus of the campaign soon shifted to Middenheim itself and

The survivors began to rebuild. The eastern half of town was so thoroughly destroyed that it had to be temporarily abandoned. Untergard natives, plus many refugees from even less fortunate settlements, went to work in the ruins. The task of burying the dead took weeks and the rotting corpses caused a contagion that further reduced the survivors’ numbers.

The population of Untergard is currently around 75 people. All able-bodied residents are expected to contribute to the town’s defence, standing guard duty on the town walls and the river-front palisade for a few hours a day in addition to their normal activities. The town is effectively under martial law, run by Gerhard Schiller, the Captain of the Watch.

Prominent Citizens

Gerhard Schiller
A grizzled veteran of about 50, Schiller is the highest-ranking survivor in Untergard. It was he who organized the townsfolk to defend themselves, and oversaw the repairs to the town walls. He rules the town largely because the other residents have come to look to him for leadership, and is doing his best to keep maintain order to make sure the remaining inhabitants are ready to defend themselves from further attack.

Granny Moescher
Granny is the oldest living inhabitant of Untergard and serves as a healer and general wise-woman for the town. She appears about 60 years old, though no one in town can remember a time when Granny wasn't around.
Despite her title, Granny is a vigorous woman with a no-nonsense manner and an eye for practicalities. She is one of only few people who live outside the town walls. Captain Schiller has tried several times to get her to move to the centre of the town, but she refuses to leave her home.
Among other things, Granny has been instrumental in seeing that the orphans left by the attack are looked after; she has farmed several of them out to surviving families, and there are currently four orphans living in her house and helping out with chores.

Father Dietrich
Father Dietrich was sent from Altdorf to guide the masses when Untergard’s town priest was killed during the big battle. As the only non-local, he has yet to make a place for himself among the townsfolk, but as a Priest of Sigmar, he is treated with respect, if not warmth. Most people prefer to go to Granny Moescher with their problems.
Untergard’s temple was destroyed along with the rest of eastern half of town, but Father Dietrich has established a makeshift shrine close to the western end of the bridge, where he conducts services.

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:33, Fri 09 Apr 2021.

Game Master
 GM, 210 posts
Tue 20 Sep 2022
at 13:42
Re: 4. OOC: Common Knowledge (things you all know)
Middenheim, the City of the White Wolf




Middenheim is one of the greatest cities of the Old World and traditionally the second city of the Empire, though Nuln is fighting hard for that honour. A great, thriving city state perched on a rocky outcrop known as the Fauschlag or the Ulricsberg it is a heavily fortified settlement and according to legends - legends that the natives will relate at great length - it has never fallen to an invader.

As well as being the most important and richest city in the North of the Empire Middenheim is the centre of the Cult of Ulric and it is often called the City of the White Wolf in his honour. Many devout of the Winter God make a pilgrimage to the great temples of the Ulricsberg at least once in their lives.

Two great knightly orders (and numerous lesser ones) call Middenheim home. The ferocious Knights of the White Wolf are templars devoted Ulric who fight with heavy warhammers, maces and mauls. The Knights Panther are a secular order with a venerable history stretching back to the Crusades. They are famous for their blue painted armour and the pelts of great cats they don over them.

While Middenheim is currently the capital of Middenland that hasn't always been the case and until a couple of generations ago the province and city state were ruled by different people more often than not and were frequently at war (which hasn't helped the reputation Middenlanders and Middenheimers have elsewhere in the empire of being a stubborn and hot headed lot.) Legally speaking the Grand Duchy of Middenland and the Imperial City of Middenheim are still separate, but both are ruled by the same man Graf Boris Todbringer.

Foreigners (which to a Middenheimer includes such exotic individuals as Reiklanders and Hochlanders) often can't tell the difference between a Middenlander and a Middenheimer but then foreigners are all either fools or charlatans as everyone on the Ulricsberg well knows.
Game Master
 GM, 313 posts
Sat 10 Dec 2022
at 12:10
Re: 4. OOC: Common Knowledge (things you all know)
Drinks

Ale: Brewed from wheat, barley, yeast and other mysterious ingredients, ale is one of the staple drinks of the Empire, and indeed, most of the Old World. In a grim and perilous life, where each sip of water could kill you, a warm alcoholic haze and a deep nutty flavour are deemed deeply desirable qualities in a drink.

Beer: Similar to ale, yet brewed with hops for added flavour and longevity, beer is the travellers friend. Most far flung inns will only stock beer, as it is less likely to go “off head” than ale.

Dwarfs are renowned for their beers and ales, both in terms of brewing and consumption. Most humans enjoy dwarf alcohol for their superb quality but do find to their cost that they tend to be rather strong...

Conversely Bretonnian beers are considered legendarily awful though the Bretonnians themselves claim to like them.

Cider: Alcoholic cider made from fermented apples and with an amber or red hue is quite common in the south of the Empire and is the favoured tipple of many halflings. It is not well known in the north of the Empire or in the cities and is generally mocked by beer and ale devotees as a children's drink - undeservedly so as some Mootland varieties can easily flatten an ogre.

Mead: A golden to red drink with a sweet edge to it's strong flavour made from honey mead is most associated with Norsca. It is a fairly rare drink in the Empire but is still popular in parts of Nordland where Norscan influence is strong.

Elven Mead: A very rare and delicate golden beverage fermented from honey by the Wood Elves of the Laurelorn Forest in Nordland. According to the few humans who have actually tasted it is excellent (most dwarfs refuse to drink it on principle.)

Wine: The traditional drink of the nobility and those desperate to appear noble wine comes in red, white and rosé. Tilea and Estalia favour red wines and drier palates while the preference in the Empire is towards lighter and sweeter vintages. Bretonnia is the capital of the wine world though Elvish rosé from distant Ulthuan is also much favoured.

Kvass: A low alcoholic amber beverage made from cereal and hailing from Kislev though local varieties are available in Ostland and Ostermark.

Vodka: A very strong clear spirit distilled in Kislev, Ostland and Ostermark. Widely favoured by Kislevite emigres but it has also found many customers in the Empire.

Uisce: Also known as whiskey this rare spirit hails from Albion. It is relatively easily available in the great port city of Marienburg but rare elsewhere.
Game Master
 GM, 316 posts
Sat 10 Dec 2022
at 14:08
Re: 4. OOC: Common Knowledge (things you all know)
Food

Sausages: The universal meat dish of the Empire, mostly made from pork (generously stiffened by sawdust and other dubious ingredients in the cheaper versions) though beef, venison and horse varieties are not unknown. Every province and town claims to make the best sausages in the Empire.

Pies: Hot pies are a very common food in the Empire's cities and a a Halfling specialty. Quality varies widely with many a vendor hoping the pie will be consumed quickly enough before the customer realises quite what they are eating. The filling is generally meat (or 'meat') based though fish pies are also common in the more water logged regions of the Empire.

Stews and Soups: As with the pies and the sausages it is often safest not to ask goes into a cheap stew. Stews are a staple of inns and taverns of all kinds and come in hundreds of regional variations.

Fish & Shellfish: Varies very widely by geography - a peasant in a hovel by the Reik might eat fresh fish daily while a wealthy merchant in landlocked Middenheim might enjoy a fish dish as an expensive and rare luxury. Most fish eaten comes from the rivers though actual seafood is eaten in Nordland and Marienburg.

Delicacies: Chocolate originally hails from distant Lustria and in it's purest form is very expensive, though cheaper varieties are becoming popular in Altdorf and Nuln.

Truly exotic food like Cathayan, Indic or Elvish food is beloved by a small elite of gourmands and dismissed by everyone else as expensive and suspiciously foreign.