Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
(modified from Dark Ages Europe, pp.68-70 and Wikipedia)
One of the fastest growing cities of eastern Europe, Vienna has the dubious distinction of being the first city in the Cainite world to have a Tremere prince. Since the middle of the 12th century, the ancilla Warlock Lotharius has ruled here, and the city is overwhelmingly Tremere in numbers and character. A number of Toreador, Lasombra and Ventrue with links to the church and the Holy Roman aristocracy are tolerated, but they are forbidden from interfering with municipal politics.
Ancient Vindobona, and the rule of Rome
There has been a settlement on the site of Vienna for at least the 2nd century BC. In pre-Roman times, a small Celtic settlement named Vindobona served as a trade outpost near the marshy banks of the Donarus. When they moved into Noricum in the first century CE, the Romans created a military camp (occupied by Legio X Gemina) at the village, and they were joined by the ancilla Valerianus, in AD 50. Embraced by Titus Venturus Camillus himself some two centuries earlier, Valerianus was eager to set up his own Domain in the north as the capital had grown overcrowded with Cainites and pickings had become lean. He oversaw the fortification of Vindobona, and soon it became the base of some 6000 legionnaires and many civilians besides.
Valerianus established a small brood of Romans and local Celts, and he became one of the strongest powers in Noricum and Pannonia. Initially, there were significant obstacles to making Vindobona great. The area around the Donarius (or the Danubius as the Romans called it) was marshy and flood prone, the southerly country of the province was mountainous, and the soil relatively poor except in the southeastern parts, but it proved rich in iron and trade soon grew to supply material for the manufacturing of arms in Pannonia, Moesia and northern Italy. Indeed, Noric steel became renowned in the empire, and Noricum also proved to be rich in gold and salt. Using the vital arterial of the Donarius (called the Danubius by the Romans), Valerianus and his pawns became quite wealthy by controlling the trade. It was not long before the town became the regional capital.
The locals were initially a problem too. Being a warlike people, who paid more attention to cattle-breeding than to agriculture and trade, but using the might of his legions and the civilising power of prosperity, Valerianus saw them pacified, and inducted programmes to increase the fertility of the soil by draining the marshes and cutting down timber. Roads were built, forests chopped down for farmland estates, and canals and aqueducts improved the viability of his city. He played his role as the Cainite puppet-master well, deflecting threats to his domain on a macro-political scale through prestation politics with his Roman contemporaries.
In AD 166, the Tzimisce Voivode Jorska manipulated the barbarian Marcomanni into marching on Noricum in response to Valerianus pushing them into his own lands in Bohemia. The Marcomanni entered into a confederation with other peoples including the Quadi, Vandals, and Sarmatians, and together they swamped the provinces of Noricum and Pannonia. Valerianus was forced to call in much of his favour to have the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, march the strength of Rome against the confederation. After a terrible 15 year conflict that the historian Eutropius compared to the Punic Wars, the Marcoman Confederation was defeated. It was Valerianus’ finest moment, and cemented his status as an elder in the faltering Eternal Senate.
In the wake of the Marcomanni Wars, the importance of Vindobona grew. The Romans erected stone houses with floor heating, and paved streets, monumental architecture and stone walls followed them. With a population of nearly 40 000 people, and his star on the rise, Valerianus used even more of his prestation capital to make sure that the settlement was raised to the status of a municipium in 212, during the reign of Caracella.
The city prospered for centuries, but like the rest of the empire it fell into decline as the borders became unstable. Many citizens moved to safer areas, and the trade routes were frequently disrupted by raids. Roman Vindobona was located in the outskirts of the empire and thus fell prey to the chaos of the Völkerwanderung. The barbarian hordes sacked and burned the city in AD 406, but Valerianus and several of his brood survived to rebuild. The Tzimisce had reasserted their ancient territorial rights, and the Ventrue wisely kept their heads down. Vindobona was still a trade nexus, but a relatively modest one, and its political climate was unstable. Both Lombards and Avars controlled its destiny between the 6th and 8th centuries.
Medieval Vienna, and the Nosferatu interlopers
The streets and houses of early medieval Vienna followed the former Roman walls, centred on what is now known as the Berghof. The walled town was still strong enough to resist the Brujah led Magyar invasion in AD 881, and the city became yet another military outpost, this time of the Carolingians. Vienna’s star, and that of her Prince’s, were on the rise once more, and Valerianus saw a chance to reclaim some of the glory of Rome. He began agitating for Vienna to be the centre of a new Eternal Senate for the Holy Roman Empire. This required him to travel in order to meet and lobby with other luminaries of the European Ventrue such as Hardestadt, Dominius, Julia Antasia and Erik Eigermann. He linked the city’s political fortunes with that of the emerging Babenberg dynasty, and in AD 804 left the city in the hands of his capable childer, some of whom were now elders in their own right.
Julia Antasia and a number of others welcomed Valerianus’ initiative, but Hardestadt, Dominius and Eigermann had grown into the new feudal structure, and did not see a need for an outmoded and altogether too democratic forum for the clan. Alas, while Valerianus was busy elsewhere, a Nosferatu brood led by the vicious elder known only as the Pawnbroker overthrew the Ventrue of Vienna, slaying them all. Valerianus, while individually quite formidable, lacked true strength in allies to reclaim his city, having only a few loyal and inexperienced neonate grandchilder. To make matters worse, his attempts to find support were frequently blocked by the intrigues of his Warlord contemporaries. Dominius, Hardestadt and Eigermann, in particular, privately crowed with delight at their rival’s misfortune. Valerianus, humiliated but determined, was forced to establish a court in exile in the town of Innsbruck, and set his mind to slowly amassing a new power base.
For nearly two centuries, the Pawnbroker ran Vienna as his own petty fief. He did not have Valerianus’ flair for manipulating the mortal institutions, but what he lacked in management skill or influence, the Pawnbroker certainly made up in meanness and low, rat cunning. Blackmail and midnight visits by unseen tormentors were the modus operandi of the Pawnbroker and his brood. The Nosferatu allowed other Cainites to exist in the city, but they insisted on extortionate tribute from whatever political and commercial success that the Ventrue, Toreador, Cappadocians and Lasombra might have. Vienna languished under Nosferatu control.
One single Cappadocian ancilla, the clever and cagey Dietrich von Steyer, aligned himself with the exiled prince in the early part of the 10th century, and soon moved to Vienna. He managed to deflect Nosferatu suspicion with his self-absorbed and miserly ways, and then began using his mastery of Auspex to spy on the city. He secretly funnelled intelligence to Valerianus for nearly a century. Among the tidbits of interesting news was that certain of the mortals of the city were skilled in the use of magics that put the Disciplines of the Cainites to shame. Indeed, Dietrich surmised that one of these mortal magi, called Etrius by his fellows, had even intervened decisively in the Battle of Lechfield to see that the Magyars were defeated. They were careful, far too careful for the unsophisticated Nosferatu to know them. Therefore the knowledge of their existence was an advantage. Could these mortals be manipulated into helping oust the Nosferatu?
Valerianus, though, was determined to retake the city without endangering the Sixth tradition, and when he finally gathered his allies and struck in AD 1025, the Nosferatu were not entirely dislodged from Vienna. A shadowy war of ambuscade and intrigue ensued, and to the surprise of both Dietrich and Valerianus, Etrius was observed to be investigating it. Not only that, but the magus had somehow become a Cainite. Valerianus, no longer worried about the Silence of the Blood, approached the warlock seeking terms. Etrius explained that he and his brethren had made themselves vampires through an alchemical ritual, but had been attacked by the Tzimisce en masse afterwards. They desired little more than a secure place to grow, knowledge of the Cainites and acceptance among them. Valerianus offered them all of these things in return for their support against the Pawnbroker.
An accord was struck, and Etrius brought his potent blood Thaumaturgy, and a coterie of skilled battle-mages, to the alliance of Ventrue knights and a small army of ghouled sergeants. The Nosferatu really didn’t have a chance, and after a two month hunt, perhaps only one or two managed to flee the city. The rest, including the Pawnbroker, were destroyed. The manpower necessary to finish the job expended the remainder of Valerianus’ favours, but he considered the expense well worth it. Vienna was his once more, and between his newly-blooded childer, his new Cappadocian seneschal, and the Tremere, he was confident that he could keep it. True to his word, Valerianus gave security and knowledge to the Tremere, easing them into the courts of the West through his many contacts.
Etrius rarely returned to Vienna, and sent his talented childe Lotharius and the diplomat Locus to handle the task of integrating the Tremere into Cainite society. Wishing only to maintain security over the chantry, Lotharius soon proved his worth by demonstrating the advantages of their blood magic, and he was not slow to recognise Valerianus’ and Dietrich’s excitement at the prospect of these tricks being at their disposal. Before long, Tremere ambassadors showed up in other Holy Roman vampire courts, quietly offering the very same secretive arrangements to other princes of the Ventrue, Cappadocian, Toreador and Lasombra clans. The place of the Tremere, albeit as a Low and minor bloodline, was eventually assured with the boons that accrued from this arrangement.
The following century was a good one for Vienna and her prince. Once again allied with the Babenberg dynasty, Valerianus propelled them into greatness first as the Margaves of Austria, and then laid the groundwork that has now seen it elevated to a duchy. Using his skill at municipal management, he also saw the town once more raised to a civitas, and it was soon the most important settlement of the margraviate. All seemed well and secure in the Domain of Vienna at last. The diablerie of Saulot by Tremere, reportedly with the assistance of Etrius, was a cause for reservation, but the prince chose to overlook it on pragmatic grounds.
Then, in AD 1155, the Tzimisce caught wind of Valerianus’ support for the Tremere. A war coterie of some eighteen Cainities, primarily Tzimisce with a few Gangrel warriors and Nosferatu scouts, descended upon the city when the Ventrue prince had called his vassals to court. The enemy displayed a profound knowledge of the city’s Cainites, and the prince and all of his vassals were destroyed except for Lotharius, who was on a rare visit to the Tremere Chantry, and Dietrich who was lucky enough to be running late to court. After a few nights mopping up, and losing nearly half of their number on attacking the Chantry, the Tzimisce and their allies left the city. They had failed to destroy Lotharius, but their point was considered well made: harbour the Usurpers at your own peril.
Within the month, two new Tremere appeared in Vienna. Hansel and Stromberg arrived with the speed and mystery that has become typical of the Tremere, and with their support Lotharius declared himself Prince. Dietrich was informed that his services were no longer required as seneschal, but that his service to, and love of, the city was recognised and that he was welcome to stay. Konrad von Babenberg also journeyed to Vienna, and endured the knowledge of the Tremere ascendancy with initial poor grace, and then bland acceptance when his claim over many of Valerianus’ properties and holdings was recognised. Another of the fallen prince’s line, Orsi, also journeyed to the city in order to retain his Domain and to offer his services as a “procurer of herds” to the Tremere. The cunning Orsi has since maneuvered himself into the good graces of both the Cainite prince and the mortal Babenburgs, earning relatively free reign from the former and a comital title from the latter. Other Cainites, always recognising a vacuum in an important Domain, soon arrived and Vienna swiftly returned to peace.
Despite the recognition of his power, Lotharius was careful about increasing Tremere numbers at first. Apparently heeding the desires of his master, Etrius, he kept his involvement with the mortal magi of Vienna incidental, and also chose not to interfere with Filaerus’ rather obvious manipulations of the Babenberg’s. Stromberg kept an eye on him, to make sure that the mortal regent was safe from Konrad, Paul and Mortimer, all of whom found it relatively easy to counter Filaerus’ attempts at intrigue. The High Clan members of the city grew to be quite confident that Lotharius’ interdiction of their mortal influence was token at best. Indeed, until the 1190s, Konrad, Orsi and their rivals, the Lasombra priest Luther Black and his consanguineous brother, Werner Schloss, dominated the Cainite political landscape with their schemes and intrigues while the prince was busy with his own projects. The geneal attitude appeared to be that the Tremere could have the city so long as they could continue to use the Babenberg’s to control the rest of Austria and Styria!
Finally and rather abruptly, between 1185 and 1190, the Tremere numbers in the city more than doubled. Filaerus and three of the senior magi of the Chantry took a trip to parts east, and returned as vampires. These new Cainites, heady with their power, quickly began insinuating themselves into mortal politics and causing considerable tensions throughout the Cainite circles throughout the entirety of the 1190’s. After considerable waves of difficulty from High Clan elders abroad,Lotharius chose to isolate Filaerus’ intrigues as they were the most disruptive to peace in the city. The Regent was reluctant to dispense with his influence over the Babenberg’s, but once more orders from above forced his acceptance of the prince’s order. The injunction between national and municipal spheres of politics has returned to a stable state of affairs, as Audax and Peter are more subtle than their Regent, and cast their nets wider and lower than Filarus’ formerly did. It has also become extremely clear to the rest of the city’s Cainites that a delineation of power also exists between the Regent and the Prince, who is called the Pontifex by his clan-mates.
Vienna continues in it’s march towards prosperity. The capture and ransom of King Richard the Lionheart after the 3rd Crusade provided untold wealth to the Babenberg’s. They used this wealth to fund the building of a city mint, new city walls and considerable renovations of city infrastructure. Lotharius finally lost patience with the intrigues of the Ventrue and Lasombra in 1199, and quietly forced the issue to a head. Luther Black and Werner Schloss were destroyed in the ensuing mayhem, and the Ventrue, who inadvertently caused a breach of the Silence of the Blood and an attack on the princes haven, were firmly put in their place. Orsi has taken to travelling more amongst his other demesnes until the dust settles, leaving his childe Kazi in charge of his affairs while he is away. Konrad has gone quiet of late also, but clearly works his influence on the Babenburg’s at the prince’s behest. Vienna now truly belongs to the Warlocks.
Many prince’s across Europe look upon the Austrian capital with jealousy and admiration, and wonder where the Usurper’s will turn their clever tricks next…
Titular Ruler: Leopold VI, of the House of Babenberg, Duke of Austria and Styria.
Cainite Ruler: Prince Lotharius
Governmental Mix: Strong Duke ruling over vast territories and the city itself, which has been the capital of Austria since 1156 CE. A city assembly composed of of 300 wealthy burghers and masters of guilds advises the Duke, and may pass regulations on city ordnances, guild by-laws and the like, but Duke Leopold retains veto rights.
Military Disposition: Standing army of 722 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 Heinrich II ritter von Durnstein, who is ably assisted by 15 lieutenants. The city guard is funded by tolls on the river trade, as well as a gate toll and land taxes.
The city militia can be turned out in times of crisis, and consists of 2840 able-bodied men that are required to practice one saturday out of each month, as well as a further 690 men of the retinues of the landed knights who hold the lands surrounding the approaches to the city. Officers of the various guilds serve as officers of the militia as well. All men of the militia are bought arms by their respective guilds, but are responsible for their own upkeep or replacement if lost irresponsibly.
Finally, the Ducal Guard of Leopold VI numbers 700 men, including 165 knights. These are professional soldiers, a standing army intended to not just protect their lord but bolster the forces of vassals at a moment’s notice.
Population: c. 29 000 (73% German Austrian, 7% Bavarian, Styrian and Saxon German, 6% Magyar, 5% Styrian Slavic, 4.5% Jewish, 2% Italian,1.5% other including Greeks, Poles, Franks and Pechenegs). Almost 21 000 live within the new walls, while the rest either live in the numerous small market towns and tiny villages that dot the lands of the knights and edlers further out. Most Bavarians, Styrians and Saxons are merchants or knights in the service of the Duke, as well as their families. The Italians are universally merchants interested in networking Vienna with their own peninsula. The Magyars are either merchants or courtiers (Leopold’s wife is an Arpad), as are the Poles and Franks. Many Greeks and Jews work as lawyers, scribes, teachers, and scholars, and the Jews are also developing a healthy sideline as medical practitioners and money-lenders. Several score Pechenegs work as caravan guards and mercenaries.
Economy: Extremely strong, reliant on the Danube river trade route and its position as a Ducal capital, a market city and a crossroads for the salt, silver and wool trades. Wine is a strong export too.
CAINITE AFFAIRS OF VIENNA
- Lotharius, Prince of Vienna and Pontifex of Austria (5th gen. Tremere, Childe of Etrius, e. early 11th century); first of the Warlock princes, an honourable ruler but considered to be quite fair compared to his High Clan counterparts elsewhere. He does not tolerate disrespect to his clan or authority, and Cainites of other clans are advised to stay out of municipal politics. He is considered a master of the mysterious Thaumaturgy of his clan, with command of many different powers and rituals.
- Hansel, the Scourge (6th gen. Tremere, Childe of Lotharius, e. mid 12th century); quite martial for a Warlock, this ex-mercenary patrols the roads quite heavily with a contingent of ghouls, Gargoyles and other arcane creatures. He specialises in directing fire and moving objects with his mind.
- Amandus Stromberg, Seneschal & Keeper of the Lore (5th gen. Tremere, Childe of Etrius, e. late 11th century); the prince’s oldest friend, adviser, and able chief aide-de-camp. He is related to the Bamberg dynasty. He specialises in communing and awakening with local elemental spirits.
- Rudolf von Erdburg, the Sheriff (7th gen. Lasombra, Childe of Werner Schloss (d), e. late 10th century); a fretful and paranoid nobleman, eager to continually prove his worth to the prince out of fears that he will be replaced by a Tremere. His sire, Werner, was Valerianus’ sheriff.
- Sister Sophia of Ardech, church manipulator (8th gen. Lasombra, Childe of Bishop Ernst of Salzburg, e. mid 11th century); a clever and cool schemer, deeply amused by Rudolf. She advises the prince on Church politics but otherwise keeps to herself, having lost her bid for control of the duchy with the death of Leopold VI’s older brother, Frederick. She has many contacts in the Austrian church, and appears to coordinate several archdeacons on her sire’s behalf.
- Mortimer Graf von Baden, Holy Roman manipulator (9th gen. Toreador, Childe of Sister Gertrude, e. late 11th century); a paragon of the ‘style over substance’ mentality that is slowly insinuating itself throughout the clan, Mortimer stands openly in mortal society like his chief rival, Paul. He is renowned in the Austrian and Styrian courts for his wit, aesthetic sensibility and skill at intrigue. Briefly, in the 1190s, he backed Agnes, Leopold VI’s sister, and her husband, in the brief struggle for power that followed the death of Leopold V. Obviously, Mortimer lost, and he has since thrown all his energies into seeing the ducal court of Vienna rise to be the brightest star in the East.
- Paul Graf von Mistelbach, Holy Roman manipulator (7th gen. Ventrue, Childe of Lady Anne of Ravensburg, e. early 11th century); a prominent Austrian count like his chief rival, Mortimer, Paul is an occasional advisor to the Duke, and he tasks his his childer and ghouls run his lands for him so he can immerse himself in Holy Roman intrigue. In the ducal power struggle of the mid to late 1190s, Paul backed Berta, the youngest sister, who was married to his own descendant, Heinrich. When the tide turned against him, he graciously slew the lad, and threw his support behind Leopold VI. His efforts forged ans alliance with the Tremere Regent, Filaerus, who has since placed a number of Warlock progeny at his disposal.
- Konrad von Babenburg, recalcitrant heir (6th gen Ventrue, Childe of Valerianus (d), e. early 12th century); the last and favoured childe of Valerianus, Konrad was in Innsbruck when the Tzimisce axe fell. He was the heir to much of his sire’s material holdings, and so maintains considerable interests in the city and is watched closely by the Tremere. Konrad is also the great-uncle of Leopold VI, and exercises considerable sway over the Duke and the Babenberg’s in general. He works closely with his consanguineous cousin, Count Orsi, to ensure that the Tzimisce do not completely overrun the last “true bastions of Western civilisation in the East.” At present, despite his distaste for the Tremere, Konrad enjoys a tentative alliance with Filaerus, the Tremere Regent, fostered on their mutual regard for Leopold VI.
- Dietrich von Steyer, the relic (6th gen. Cappadocian, Childe of Kyros of Antioch, e. 852 CE); the former seneschal of Vienna, this scholar and prominent edler landowner is possessed of a deep love of the city, and was instrumental in its growth. He is forbidden by the prince from involving himself further in the city management, and endures the political exile with ill-concealed pain. The Cappadocian now concentrates on a number of mercantile endeavours based out of Hungary and the Slavic south, but cannot bear to leave Vienna.
- Kazi, procurer (9th gen Ventrue, Childe of Count Orsi, e. 1138 CE); a sultry Carantanian beauty who is responsible for managing the interests of her sire during his frequent absences. Orsi jokes that Kazi is a “real talker”, but in truth she rarely speaks unless specifically asked for her opinion. She is a true master of finding pliable and likely vessels, as well as good slaves, and her services are in much demand by both Tremere and her fellow fellow Ventrue.
Frequent Cainite Visitors
- Count Orsi (8th gen Ventrue, Childe of Bruno von Sankt Pölten (d), e. mid 11th century) and his childer (and bodyguards), Teta and Zil (both e. 1138 CE) spend approximately 3-4 months of the year in the city. The rest is divided between Aquileia and Freisach. Orsi has associates in Bohemia, Swabia, Bavaria, Hungary and especially Croatia, all of whom contribute to his highly profitable slaving business. Despite the added burden of three extra Cainites during their visits, the Count and his bodyguards are made welcome by the Tremere, both because of his descent from Valerianus and because of the hundreds of vessels he provides for Warlock chantries in the East. In his absence, his childe Kazi sees to his interests here, and he sometimes leaves one or the other of his ‘daughters’ as company for her when he grows tired of them. The count is a favourite of Duke Leopold, who believes him to be sophisticated traveller and patron of the arts.
The Tremere Chantry
- Filaerus, Regent of the Vienna Chantry (5th gen. Tremere, Childe of Etrius, e. late 12th century); a rugged, craggy faced man who frequently advised the Babenbergs before the turn of the 13th century, he has been compelled into quietude by the prince because of dangers to the Sixth Tradition. The Regent has built many contacts amongst the Holy Roman Ventrue, and has transferred his interest to Cainite politics. Currently, he exists in an uneasy alliance with Konrad von Babenberg, prompted by their mutual admiration of Duke Leopold VI, and a more stable one with Paul von Mistelbach, who appreciates the tricks that the Tremere can perform for him.
- Audax, the ambitious politico (7th gen Tremere, Childe of Canticus, e. late 12th century); a frighteningly intelligent, powerful and willful magus trapped in the body of a 14 year old boy, Audax has engaged himself heavily in Austrian politics, picking up where his regent left off. He has developed links and rivals with Ventrue, Toreador and Lasombra in this regard.
- Ala, the Regent’s Whip (6th gen. Tremere, Childe of Filaerus, e. late 12th century); a cold, Nordic beauty who loves and supports her sire with uncharacteristically passionate fervour and devotion. She is seen outside the Chantry only on Filaerus’ business.
- Peter Schloss, the Prince’s Man (9th gen. Tremere, Childe of Curaferrum, e. late 12th century); this former soldier is a close ally of both Audax, the scourge and the prince, Peter is not typical in appearance for a magus, being of a practical bent. He advises and supplies the scourge in his duties, performs errands on behalf of the prince, and is frequently Audax’ partner in intrigue amongst the Cainite and mortal nobility. He has a particular facility for alchemy and elaborate mechanical traps.
Prominent Mortal Residents
- Leopold VI von Babenburg, Duke of Austria and Styria: the son of Leopold V, who famously quarrelled with and imprisoned Richard the Lionheart, the duke is a military ruler keenly interested in the Reconquista of Spain and the Crusades in the Holy Land. He is also a patron of the architecture and the arts. He champions the Gothic style of architecture, and also sponsors minnesang, a German analogue to the troubadour traditions of France and Italy.
- Duchess Theodora Angelina: a daughter of the houses of Comnenus, Ducas and Angelos, Theodora is the toast of the city, and her marriage to the duke in 1203 was a great state affair that brought much prestige to Vienna. She has brought the culture of Byzantium to the city, and is much renowned for her intelligence, grace and beauty.
- Reinmer von Hagenau: formerly the premier minnesinger of the East, perhaps rivalled only by his dear student, Walther von der Vogelweide, who took to the road in 1198. Reinmar der alte (‘the old’) is oft credited with bringing the chivalric tradition to Austria.
- Walther von der Vogelweide: the undisputed master of the minnesingers in the East, and perhaps throughout the entire empire, Walther is a frequent visitor to the court of the duke, where he is always most welcome. His masterpieces, the love-song, Under der Linden, and his lament to the passage of years Elegy, have long been among the most popular in the empire and beyond.
- Friedrich von Zweter: a famed armourer and master weaponsmith who keeps his forge in the outer stradt. In his youth, he served the Knights Templar in Jerusalem, and he still has contacts in the Order. Since moving to Vienna, he has become very wealthy and quite arrogant, and now only accepts personal commissions from visiting Templars, the ducal house or those that bear a letter of recommendation from Leopold.
- Orvus der Weise: a noted sage and alchemist, Orvus had kept his shop in the eastern ringstrasse for more than 50 years before an explosion destroyed it late in 1202. Despite his kindly and unassuming reputation of yore, rumour now has it that Orvus was secretly a wizard of some kind, and that he fell afoul of the infernal powers with which he trafficked. The Cainites of the city suspect that Orvus was a casualty of whatever war the Tremere are waging on their mortal hermetic brethren. Whatever the case, some say that the old man is now a ghost, and that he haunts the ruins of his shop.
Inns, Taverns & Alehouses of Vienna
- The Green Frog: located in the eastern ringstrasse, this inn serves hardy traveler’s fare and has reasonably priced, spacious rooms. Due to its high turnover of transient folk, it is a favourite hunting ground of the city’s Cainites, especially Orsi’s childer.
Other Notable Locations
The City Walls: fully 35 feet high, and anchored by over a score of towers, these impressive fortifications were built from the ransom of Richard the Lionheart, King of England, who was a prisoner of Duke Leopold V for a number of years. The most famous gates of these walls are Rotenturmtor, Stubentor, Kärntner tor, Burgtor, and Schottentor, but there are a number of other, smaller gates.
Stephansplatz (Stephan’s Square): With the extension of the city walls, this new city square was deliberately constructed with the intent of removing traffic from the Am Hof, in order to provide more quietude for the Babenbergs. It stands immediately outside the new parish cathedral. Sankt Stephan’s, and it is a constant source of business during most hours of the day. Except for sundays, markets can be found here every day of the week, and a number of inns, taverns, and alehouses have sprung up to handle the constant traffic. Unlike the Graben, however, the city guard will not tolerate rowdy or drunken behaviour in Stephan’s Square.
The Graben: Originally known for being the trench outside the old walls of Vienna (and Vindabona, for that matter), this area was filled in and turned into a street when the new walls were built. Many craftsmen and poor labourers moved to this new area, and constructed wooden houses and workshops. Many blacksmiths keep their shops here. While not quite a slum, it has become a centre for raucous late night activity and busy day-time din. Many of the resident Cainites chose to hunt the taverns, alehouses, and inns in this neighbourhood. Unusually, the northern side of the street is quite long, with almost no alleys or side steets, while the southern side is developing far more organically.
Wieden: This village (pop. 670) lies almost immediately to the south of the city walls, but too far to be incorporated within the walls. It is a farming community, but the residents there live close enough to the city proper to consider themselves a mere suburb of Vienna.
Im Schöff: Another small village (pop. 410), gathered around the old Roman road of Vindabona, west of the city. It also lies outside the walls. A number of tanneries and other base industries ply their trade here.
Gumpendorf: Slightly further west of Im Schöff, this village (pop. 180) people is situated around the ruins of an old, stone, Roman watchtower. Several prosperous vineyards stand near the village.
Erdburg: Noted as the location where Richard the Lionheart was captured by Leopold V, this is otherwise a fairly unremarkable village (pop. 521) about 3 miles south-east of the city. The king of England would be held at Dürnstein Castle, some 50 miles to the north-west of Vienna, before being handed over the the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VI. Pope Celestine excommunicated both the Duke of Austria and the Holy Roman Emperor for this perfidious act.
Niwenburg: Briefly the stronghold of the Babenbergs before they relocated to the location of Klosterneuburg to the north, and later the palace of Am Hof within the city, this small castle stands on the rugged slopes of Leopoldsberg, the steep hill 2 miles north of the city. Abandoned and decrepit by the 1160s, Konrad von Babenberg took it as his primary haven and renovated it. Clearly visible on the mostly bare southern slope of the hill. he burgers think it to be a family retreat of the Babernbergs, and they are correct, after a fashion. It is now a small, but eminently fortified, stronghold for the Ventrue heir of Valerianus.
The Tremere Chantry: Situated on the jagged eastern slopes of the westerly, neighbouring hill to Leopoldsberg, the home of the warlocks stands less than 2 miles from Niwenburg, and a like distance to Vienna. The chantry overlooks the wilds of the eastern stretches of the Wienerwald, and from its highest windows, one gains a commanding view of the city. The building out amongst the surrounding copses of beech, looking like an unusually large and well-fortified hunting lodge. Its walls are composed of massive slabs of marl, cut from the surrounding cliffs, and huge wooden beams support the structure. Most of the burgers are unaware of the chantry’s existence, and they refer to the rugged hill as Sauberg (Sow Mountain) for all the wild pigs that make their homes in the area. The Tremere dislike the name (obviously) and instead refer to their hill as Kahlenberg.
Klosterneuburg Monastery: A Benedictine abbey situated close to the banks of the Danube, some 8 miles north of the city. It was established in 1113 by Leopold III, Margrave of Austria, and his wife, Agnes of Waiblingen, both of whom are entombed within. The structure was originally a castle, the second home of the Babenbergs in the area, built upon the spot where Leopold had a vision of the Virgin Mary. Concurrently with the construction of his new home, the margrave also had a monastery built, and handed it over to a community of secular canons. Eventually, the abbey was repossessed, and given to the Benedictine Order. The castle remained a retreat for the family, however, even after they relocated to Am Hof in the city. Leopold VI was particularly fond of the place until his son, heir, and namesake fell from a tree and died in 1216. The family has not returned since.
The Church of St. Rupert of Salzburg: The oldest church in the city by a handful of years, St. Rupert’s also exists in the oldest part of the city, above the foundations of Vindabona, and overlooking the jetties of the salt merchants on the Danube. It is historically the the seat of the Salt Office (Salzamt), which distributes salt to individual buyers and ensures its quality. The church overlooks the jetty of the salt merchants on the Danube channel. Prior to the construction of St. Stephen’s, it was also the home of the Archdeacon of Vienna, who directly reports to the Bishop of Passau. It radiates a bearable amount of ambient True Faith.
The Church of St. Mary on the Strand: Situated on a terrace, not far from the Keine Donau (Little Danube), this small stone church has stood since the middle of the 12th century, but it was built upon an older, wooden chapel of the same name, which stood for some 200 years before that. It has long been favoured by the poor fishermen and boatmen of the city. Few Cainites approach the building, as it radiates considerable ambient True Faith.
The Church of St. Michael: actually just a field as of 1217, the duke has agreed to co-fund the creation of this church with the emperor. Dedicated to the Archangel Michael, it will be a parish church for visiting members of the Imperial court.
The Church of St. Peter: one of the oldest churches in the city, having been consecrated around AD 800, St. Peter’s has been a possession of the bishop of Passau since 1137, and it has been attached to the Scottish Abbey since 1200. Unusually, this church has three altars, with an apse in the south instead of the normal eastern orientation.
The Schottenstift (The Scottish Abbey): formally known as the Benedictine Abbey of Our Dear Lady of the Scots, this monastery was established 1155. In that year, Margrave (later Duke) Heinrich II invited Irish monks from the Scots Monastery in Regensburg to come to Vienna and establish a place here, for the purposes of establishing a first-class library and training centre for municipal clerks. Henry had a vision that trained professionals would be needed for his forthcoming ducal capital, and the monks would soon provide them. Initially established outside the walls, the monastery expanded the grounds to make room for a hospice, an old-aged home, and later, quarters for pilgrims and crusaders. Since 1200, the recently reconsecrated abbey stands within the new city walls, and they have taken custodianship of St. Peter’s Church for the Bishop of Passau.
The Cathedral of St. Stephan: the official parish church of the city, this edifice was consecrated in 1147. It is an impressive church of Romanesque construction, and it serves as the headquarters of Archdeacon Gebhard von Sankt Pölten, who makes his home in the adjoining rectory. Gebhard is the ghoul of the Lasombra, Sophia von Ardech, who sometimes uses the rectory as a haven. Initially, St. Stephen’s lay outside the city, but it now sits safely within the new city walls. Unbeknownst to most of the burgers, the cathedral stands above Vindabona’s graveyard, and a good number of wraiths congregate here. As yet, it is not sacred enough to radiate any True Faith.
The Astronomical Clock: the former haven of the Lasombra elder Luther Black, and once a bastion of the Cainite Heresy, this marvel of engineering and scientific ingenuity now serves as the haven of Armandus Stromberg.
The House of the Hex: known in Cainite circles as the haven of Prince Lotherius, this impressive manse is thought by Viennese mortals to be the holiday residence of a provincial noble. Das hause der hexe serves as a secondary Chantry for Vienna’s Tremere. Indeed, on any given night both Audax and Peter Schloss are more likely to be found here than under Filaerus’ roof, as it is far more convenient than leaving the city. The house was attacked by furores in 1199, during a visit by Etrius, and as a result it is heavily over-guarded by Gargoyles, ghoul men-at-arms, mortal apprentices, magical wards and other strange servitors.
The House of Orsi: perhaps the most opulent address in the western quarter of the city, this magnificent five story mansion is the home of the Ventrue slavemaster, Orsi, during his frequent visits to the city. At such times, the grand parties that he throws often serve as a favourite gathering point for the city’s Cainites and kine alike, for the count offers only the best and most exotic vessels and most decadent pleasures to his guests.
Am Hof: The opulent ducal palace, built by Heinrich II Jasomirgott and completed in 1156. It stands in the midst of the ancient settlement of Vindabona, and a large square in front of it is often used for chivalric tournaments, minnesinger competitions, and market days. Despite its beauty, the palace is a fortress, and a about one-third of the ducal guard are always in residence. Immediately to the south and east of the palace is the small Jewish quarter.
The Jewish Quarter: Despite their crusading zeal, the Babenbergs have shown remarkable religious tolerance to the Ashkenazi population of the region. Two synagogues have recently been constructed in the quarter, and it is thought that the 1000-strong population of Jews are kept close to the duke for their own protection from less tolerant citizens. A number of moneylenders from the quarter have funded both Leopold V and Leopold VI’s military adventures in the Levant, and Court Physician, Jakob ben Yehuda, is also a resident of this community.
Leopoldsinsel (Leopold’s Island): A narrow island, almost 3 miles long, bordered by the Danube to the north and the Little Danube to the south. It is informally named for the beloved late Margrave Leopold III, who reigned from 1095-1136, who was fond of hunting and fishing on the island. He maintained a lodge for that purpose, which is now a known backup haven for Konrad von Babenberg. It is currently owned by Klosterneuburg Monastery, and their tenants are mostly fishermen, hunters, farmers, and lumbermen.
Wienerwald (Vienna Woods): A large, dense forest covering many leagues west, north, and south-west of the city. Much of it is reserved strictly for the hunting of the duke and other aristocrats, but in practice the Babenbergs have set the precedent of turning a blind eye to the pursuit of small game. By custom their vassals adhere to this. Many hunting lodges dot glades here and there, close to the verge of the woods. To the west, the ground grows rugged, as the Limestone Alps slowly rise out of the woods. To the north, the forest consists of beech, oak, and hornbeam. To the south, it is dominated by pine and fir trees.
Donau (The Danube): The mighty river snakes its way past the city of Vienna, bringing bounty in the form of the food that swims within her, and the trade that floats upon her. Easy travel on the Danube river also unites the intrigues of Vienna with those of the Hungarian cities downriver and the Austrian and Bavarian cities upriver. To the east lie Pressburg (40 miles), Esztergom (136 miles), and Buda-Pest (164 miles), while to the west stand Chremis (48 miles), Linz (128 miles), and Passau (173 miles). It takes less than 4 days to travel from Passau to Buda-Pest, sailing with the current, and perhaps twice or thrice that to row back.
Kleine Donau (Little Danube): A short branch of the Danube, immediately north and east of the city. It moats the city wall briefly, opposite and south-west of Leopold’s Island.
Wienfluss (Vienna River): A small river that runs some 30 miles from the foothills of the Limestone Alps, wending its way through the Wienerwald before slipping south and east around the city to join the Kleine Donau. During heavy rains it is prone to flooding, so few people build close to it, but a lumber camp exists at the confluence of the two rivers, making use of the waterways to ship their goods elsewhere.
Alsfluss (Als River): Another small waterway that exits the Wienerwald just to the north of the city, and drains into the Kleine Donau. The land here can be quite low and marshy, and the Als floods every spring. Few people traverse the area except for hunters and trappers.