Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
also known as Sibiu to the Vlachs and Cibinium in official documents
Titular Ruler: Kristof die Eule Margrave von Hermannstadt
Cainite Ruler: Prince Marusca
Governmental Mix: Weak hereditary Margrave dominated by a powerful mayor and city council. The mayor and his lackeys in the trade and merchant guilds outnumber the edlers and landed knights on the council, and the parish priest is little more than an observer. The archdeacon of Hermannstadt, Karl the Fat, passed away in AD 1199, and his replacement, Johannus von Prüm, is still finding his feet.
The City Council is 25 strong, consisting of: Margrave Kristof, Mayor Anton Agnethler, Father Robert, Kapitan Wigeric ritter of the city guard, 5 landed knights, 12 guildsmasters, 4 edlers.
Military Disposition: Standing army of 240 city guards, responsible for maintaining the wall watch, keeping law and order in the city, and patrolling the outlying roads and villages. This force is commanded by Kapitan Wigeric ritter, who is ably assisted by Leutnants Frederick ritter and Mark ritter. The city guard is funded by tolls on the roads approaching the city, as well as a gate toll and land taxes.
The town militia can be turned out in times of crisis, and consists of 750 able-bodied men that are required to practice one saturday out of each month, as well as a further 104 men of the retinues of the landed knights. Hermannstadt has a total of 18 landed knights in her service, with a further 12 knights attached to their retinues. The Hermannstadt militia is funded by the guild and trade taxes.
Population: c. 5100 (74% Saxon, 21% Romanian, 4% Magyar, 1% other). Most Romanians are employed within the city as house servants or as serf farmers throughout the rest of the Margraviate. The Magyars are traders or factors for the border lords. A handful of Greeks and Jews work as scholars, scribes and tutors. Hermannstadt has lost about 500 people (through emigration or war) in the ongoing strife.
Economy: Historically strong but currently poor. A very important trade route through the southern pass between Hermannstadt and Arghes and another along the eastern road to Kronstadt have been choked by rebellious Romanian partisans and trouble with unusually aggressive wolves. The craft guilds in Hermannstadt are strong, but their fortunes are on the wane owing to the increased cost of transporting their goods the long way to markets. The inability of the Margrave to deal with the matter is also eroding what little power he could otherwise develop from their misfortune.
A note on Trade: Not quite as wealthy as Bistritz and Mediasch, Hermannstadt burghers tend to use coin for trade and luxury items and barter among themselves.
Known Cainites of Hermanstadt
From its very founding, the city was the home of the Nosferatu ancilla known as Marusca. Indeed, she had dwelt in the bowels of the castle that was built here in the 11th century, and was so deeply entrenched that the newly arrived Nova Arpad was forced to accept her presence in Hermannstadt as a fait accompli.
- Prince Marusca (8th gen Nosferatu, childe of Zelios, e. early 11th century): The mysterious ruler of Hermannstadt is almost never seen by those not of her brood, but only a fool would believe that the Nosferatu is not aware of everything that happens in her demesnes, or everyone who passes through it. She is said to have mastered the Protean arts, and has an extraordinary facility for Animalism that is matched (or perhaps even exceeded) by her enemy, the Tzimisce Marelle. Marusca was a Vlach wise woman before her Embrace, though her sympathies no longer necessarily lie with them.
- Adelard, Seneschalof Hermannstadt (10th gen Nosferatu, childe of Nicu, e. mid 12th century): a mild-mannered and affable Saxon, Adelard is the first (and likely) only Cainite that will approach visitors to the city. He informs them of the safest places for them to feed, and seems to claim Domain over several of them. Unlike many of Marusca’s brood, Adelard walks the via humanitatis, and takes a very dim view of over-feeding and ill-treatment of his people.
- Gustavus, Sheriff of Hermannstadt (9th gen Nosferatu, childe of Marusca, e. mid 12th century): responsible for guarding the approaches to the city, the Sheriff roams with a pack of wolves as his only companions. He uses his Animalism discipline to keep other packs close, and can call down a storm of the beasts upon those who would despoil his sire’s demesnes. Gustavus is formal and gruff, having no time or inclination for small talk.
- Nicu, Warmaster and Scourge of Hermannstadt (9th gen Nosferatu, childe of Marusca, e. early 12th century): this savage warrior is responsible for the integrity of the outer layers of h9is sire’s Domain. He is also the first layer of defence against the depredations of Marelle and her minions, and as such he currently spends nearly all of his time in the southern and western portions of the Margraviate. He has lost several childer and many wolves to Marelle’s pack, and despises the vengeful Tzimisce even more than Marusca.
Marusca’s Brood: No one outside her inner circle really knows how many childer Marusca has sired, or how many remain in Hermannstadt, and the prince likes it that way. It is known that at least two of her brood have moved on to Kronstadt and Weissenburg respectively, and Ruxandra, the devious imposter that ruled Mediasch for nearly a decade, is a third of her progeny.
Frequent Cainite Visitors
- Zelios, the master mason (7th gen Nosferatu, childe of Hannibal, e. late 10th century): it is said that the famed stonemason frequently visits his daughter-in-blood between planning and erecting castles all over the region.
- Ruxandra, the faux prince of Mediasch (9th gen Nosferatu, childe of Marusca, e. late 12th century): this devious actress managed to fool everyone for nearly a decade while she siphoned the wealth of Prince Nova Arpad and let the Ventrue’s strong influence over the guilds and Transylvanian nobles go to seed. In the autumn of AD 1197 she started to behave erratically, however, and her ruse was soon discovered by the Iron Covenant. Now freed, Nova has declared a Blood Hunt on Ruxandra and her co-conspirators, Marusca and Mitru of Klausenburg. While the latter two are secure in their power, Ruxandra is a fugitive. It is likely that she fled to her sire in Hermannstadt.
Prominent Mortal Residents
- Kristof die Eule, Margrave of Hermannstadt: the hereditary ruler of Hermannstadt is widely reputed to be incompetent, both politically and militarily. Indeed, it is not at all unusual for burghers in the other cities to hold him as an example of why hereditary rulers are a poor idea. He is known as ‘the owl’ not for his wisdom, but because of girth and his poor eyesight, which causes him to bump into things and generally look like a lazy, sleepy owl. Over 60 years old and suffering from very poor health, it is thought that Kristoff will either abdicate in favour of his son or shuffle off this mortal coil in short order.
- Ivachin die Fett von Hermannstadt, heir to the Margraviate: the son of Kristof is a bold, ambitious soul who strives to make up for his father’s shortcomings, serving as a city guard officer and seeking to network among the powers of the city in preparation for his inevitable ascension to his father’s role. Some say it is the blood of Ivachin’s late Rus’ mother burning hot in his veins, but the young knight has a thirst for war, and is known to be sympathetic to the plight of the Kronstadters who are beset by problems even worse than those of Hermannstadt. Ivachin is thought to have the mayor in his corner, but he and the Archdeacon do not get along, as it is thought that Ivachin has sought decidedly pagan solutions to the “wolf troubles”.
- Bruno Goldschmeid, Mayor: the incumbent since 1210, this canny craftsmen was previously the guildmaster of goldsmiths. He has proven an adept administrator with a penchant for wisely backing the sensible policies of others such Captain Sir Wigeric and his own predecessor, Karl Anton, and it has made him popular with the burghers. Unfortunately it also makes him look like he has no policies of his own, and he is unlikely to be reelected in 1218. Bruno is immensely wealthy, second in riches among the burghers only to Klaus Maurer, the guildmaster of stonemasons.
- Karl Anton von Agnethler, edler: this edler served as mayor from 1198 until 1210, and still retains considerable influence as a city councillor. In contrast to his Margrave, Anton was a dynamic and motivated force for prosperity in Hermannstadt, establishing much of the form for council proceedings and administrating the city sharply and skilfully. Before the troubles he was widely regarded as the best mayor that the city had produced thus far, but he grew old before his time with weight of stress attempting to deal with the mundane and supernatural forces besetting the city.
- Johannus von Prüm, Archdeacon of Hermannstadt: a clever and competent cleric from the Rhein region of the Holy Roman Empire, Johannus arrived in Hermannstadt in the autumn of AD 1201. He quickly made his mark with an audit of the various parishes throughout the Margraviate, which were mismanaged under the greedy eye of his predecessor, and set to the task of improving church authority in the area. As the years progressed and the “wolf troubles” grew worse, the preaching of Father Robert led to Johannus growing more and more zealous and uncompromising in his faith, and lately Cainites feel distinctly uncomfortable in his presence.
- Father Robert: the wise and politically savvy parish priest of St. Killian’s, Robert was long a force for stability on the city council, but as the “wolf troubles” worsened he became convinced that Satan stalks the forest outside the city. In recent years he has begun preaching from the pulpit that Satan now hides among the burghers themselves, claiming to have seen hideous monsters stealing about the city late at night. It is clear that Robert, although unstable, has sufficient True Faith to pierce the Obfuscate of the Nosferatu that dwell here. Moreover, his zealotry has proven infectious, firing the imagination of the increasingly superstitious burghers of Hermannstadt, and he also preaches against back-slidng into “pagan heathenry.”
- Wigeric von Borna, Knight-Captain: A highly competent knight in charge of the defence of Hermannstadt, the captain does his best to make up for the shortcomings of his cousin, the Margrave, and he has striven to give Ivachin the education and courage to rise above the weakness of his father. He works hard on trying to flush out the rebels to the south, and knows enough of the supernatural forces that beset his people to make sure that his men are indoors or otherwise in fortified camps come nightfall. Wigeric is over 50 years of age, and desires to retire in peace, but will not allow his home to fall into ruin before he sees the “the troubles” through.
- Klaus Maurer, Guildmaster of the Stonemasons: the richest man in the city, and one of the wealthiest in the entire region, Klaus is a conservative force on council. If anyone is a fence-sitter in council politics, it is Klaus, and he enjoys bargaining for further influence for its own sake. He is thought to be the only real power-broker in the city. He is well over 60, but shows no signs of retirement or even a desire to slow down.
- Berwich Gren von Kappenburg, knight: The most powerful landed knight of the Margraviate after his lord, Sir Berwich is a politician more than a warrior, and he long ago abandoned the margrave’s graces to sit firmly in the camp of his friends, the guildmasters. His daughter is married to the Margrave’s second son, Stephen, which has caused some strain in the noble circles of the city, but Berwich is unapologetic. In all likelihood, he will be the next mayor of the city.
Inns, Taverns and Alehouses of Hermannstadt
The Sleeping Bear: an inn. TBD
The Golden Lyre: an inn. TBD
The Clever Fox: a tavern. TBD
The Green Hound: a tavern. TBD
The Citadel Alehouse: drinking hole of the city guard. TBD
Other Notable Locations
The Upper Town: sitting on the hill overlooking the Zibin and the Lower Town to the north, this area is the centre of affluent living in Hermannstadt. Most of the wealthy guildmasters, merchants and nobles make their residence here, within sight of the formidable Hermannstadt Citadel and close to the most expensive markets in the city.
The Lower Town: immediately bordering the banks of the Zibin to the north, this area is the home of the poor and the working class of Hermannstadt. The streets closest to the water are dominated by warehouses, tanneries, smithies and other salt of the earth pursuits, but they also boast much of the life of the city. Even in a despressed state, the squares of the Lower Town bustle into the early evening hours, and raucous taverns, alehouses and inns dot the area.
The Zibin River: called the Cibin by the Vlachs and the Szeben by the Magyars and Szeklers, this river wends from the mountains to the south, sweeps around the west, north then east of the city before eventually joining the Ault (Olt) some 15 miles to the south-east. While it is quite narrow and gentle in its course, it serves as a convenient moat for the settlement and a natural barrier for those seeking to prey upon Hermannstadt.
The City Walls: Well-armed guards patrol the walls and guard the gates at all times, especially after sundown. Hermannstadt has 26-foot high walls, and more towers than any other city in the region, making it among the strongest bastions within the region.
Hermannstadt Citadel: designed by the extraordinary Nosferatu master architect Zelios, who also happens to be Marusca’s sire, this citadel is the largest (and quite possibly the strongest) in the entire Siebenburgen. In addition to serving as the home and stronghold of the margrave, it also the headquarters and barracks of the city guard. It is widely rumoured that the hill below the fortification is honey-combed with secret passages and rooms, and Cainite gossip has it that Marusca and her brood use it as their communal haven. If this is the case, it is likely that the mortal residents, including the Margrave and his family, serve as their Herd. The Citadel stands at the western end of the Upper Town hill, with a commanding view of the sweep of the Zibin river.
The City Square: the centre of business and social life within Hermannstadt, the square hosts market days and fetes on a regular basis. A number of guild headquarters are based on the square, as well as the Church of St. "" and several inns and taverns. The square has also has two public stocks and a well.
The Church of St. Killians: A large wooden church at the base of the hill leading to the Upper Town, this building serves as the heart of spiritual life in the city. Father Robert, a firebrand preacher, has anchored the parish since 1192, and while he has grown old in his duties the zealot is far from ready to step down.
To be Continued