Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
also known as Meideborg in the Low Saxon dialect of the region
(The following material is modified from the wikipedia article and an expansion of the material presented in Dark Ages Europe, pp.63-64)
Magdeburg, perhaps the greatest city among the settlements of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, lies on the River Elbe. It is some fifty miles west of the capital, Bradenburg an der Havel, a like distance east of Brunswick, perhaps 130 miles south and east of Hamburg and a good two hundred miles northeast of Frankfurt am Main.
The land to the south and west is known as the Magdeburg Börde, a very fertile land of low undulating hills largely devoid of trees. The börde lies in the rain shadow of the Harz mountains, and is quite dry despite its good, black soil. North and west of Magdeburg’s purview is the Ohře river valley and the rugged, densely wooded Flechtingen Hills. Across the river stands the tentative gains of the belligerent Ascanian dynasty, which currently reach perhaps two score miles past the eastern branch of the Havel.
Founded by Charlemagne in AD 805 as Magadoburg, the town was fortified in 919 by King Henry I the Fowler against the Magyars and Slavs. In 929 the city went to Edward the Elder’s daughter Edith, through her marriage to Henry’s son Otto I, as a Morgengabe — a Germanic customary gift received by the new bride from the groom and his family after the wedding night. Edith loved the town and often lived there; at her death she was buried in the crypt of the Benedictine abbey of Saint Maurice, later rebuilt a a few decades later as the cathedral of St. Maurice. In 937, Magdeburg was the seat of a royal assembly. Otto I repeatedly visited Magdeburg and was also buried in the cathedral. He granted the abbey the right to income from various tithes and to corvée labour from the surrounding countryside.
The Archbishopric of Magdeburg was founded in 968 at the synod of Ravenna; Adalbert of Magdeburg (968–981) was consecrated as its first archbishop. The archbishopric under Adalbert included the bishoprics of Havelberg, Brandenburg, Merseburg, Meissen and Naumburg-Zeitz. These archbishops played a prominent role in the German colonisation of the Slavic lands east of the Elbe river.
Some of the more prominent of the archbishop’s who would follow Adalbert are the scholastic Othrich (981), who was considered the most learned man of his times; Gisiler of Merseburg (981-1004), who was noted for his prodigious penchant for bribery and fraud; the zealous Gero (1012–23), who feuded and warred with Bernhard, the Margrave of the Nordmark, Werner (1063–78), who was killed in battle with Emperor Henry IV; and Norbert von Xanten (1126–34), the founder of the Premonstratensian order who would go on to find the Lasombra Embrace in 1131.
In 1035 Magdeburg received a patent giving the city the right to hold trade exhibitions and conventions, which form the basis of the later family of city laws known as the Magdeburg rights. These laws were adopted and modified throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Visitors from many countries began to trade with Magdeburg, bringing the city tremendous wealth. Over the centuries, its strategic position has made it a nexus of trading opportunities between the goods of the Christian Germanic peoples west of the Elbe and those of the pagan Slavic peoples to the east.
Archbishop Wichmann (1152–92) was more important as a sovereign and prince of the Holy Roman Empire than as a bishop. He sided with the emperor in the troubles with Henry the Lion and was rewarded by recognising the archepiscopal and the cathedral capitular temporalities as a state of imperial immediacy within the Holy Roman Empire, thus Wichmann was the first to add the title secular prince to his ecclesiastical archbishop. From that time on, Magdeburg would be free of the authority of the Margrave of Brandenburg and answerable only to the Holy Roman Emperor himself.
For much of its existence, the Cainite prince of Magdeburg was a Brujah elder known as Cedric, an English Saxon who accompanied Edith to the city in AD 929. Battened on the wars between Wessex and Mercia as well as the conflicts with the Viking invaders, Cedric was a skilled warrior and a noted scholar of Cainite history in the best traditions of his clan. He was also unusually formidable in the use of Presence and his mastery of the physical Disciplines was well known. Cedric made his haven in the small city when no one else had any interest in the frontier settlement, and he was the only Cainite resident of note for nearly two centuries.
This all changed in AD 1131, when an unknown Lasombra Embraced Norbert von Xanten, the Archbishop of Magdeburg. In life, Norbert was a dangerous man, possessed of both deep ambition and great, perhaps even True, faith. His attempts to reform the clergy of the city incensed the Brujah, and Cedric attempted on several occasions to have the ascetic meet with an unfortunate accident. It was perhaps this that prompted Norbert’s mysterious undead benefactor to grant the archbishop eternal life. Whatever the case, the Archbishop managed to maintain his mortal identity for a number of years before retreating into the shadows and continuing his mission through his successors. His influence soon rivalled that of the prince, and Cedric was unable to remove Norbert from the Bishop’s citadel without risking the SIlence of the Blood. For much of the 12th century, the elder and the prodigiously powerful neonate existed in an uneasy stalemate, with Norbert formally recognising Cedric’s authority but taking every opportunity to subtly undermine it.
In the mid-1160’s Cedric would find another formidable stranger at his door. Lord Jürgen von Verden arrived at Magdeburg to make it his own, but after meeting the formidable Cedric he was sufficiently impressed to merely petition the prince to grant him domain in the city. The Ventrue was fascinated by the Brujah’s skill at politics, proficiency of the reins of influence, and obvious mastery of the Disciplines. Besides, he had only recently earned the title of “Lord of Brandenburg”, and he had far more pressing challenges to his own authority farther afield. Unusual for a Brujah, Cedric was also quite willing to cooperate with the Patrician Ventrue insofar as pushing German influence into the pagan lands.
The common lore concerning the unusual alliance holds that both men utterly despised the Lasombra “Archbishop”, which in turn united them in their efforts to dispel his intrigues long enough that a mutual respect and comraderie developed. Indeed Prince Cedric and Lord Jürgen, who became his de facto advisor, even became allies of a sort. The expected speculation among the courts of the empire of whether Jürgen’s friendship was a ploy, and whether he would attempt to displace the elder prince, were quite premature. Rumours began to circulate in the mid-1180’s of the forthcoming announcement of the Third Crusade against the Muslim infidels of Outremer, and once more the Ventrue’s attentions were directed elsewhere. Determined to not miss yet another opportunity at glory in the East, Lord Jürgen and his chief aide-de-camp, Lucretia von Harz, threw themselves into preparations for a campaign in the Holy Land.
Unfortunately, in the spring of the AD 1188, a terrible conflagration devastated Magdeburg, claiming the unlives of Prince Cedric and nearly all of the other Cainites of the city, including Jürgen’s beloved childe and representative Erik Ritter von Baruth. In the wake of the fire, an enormous rebuilding programme was begun by Archbishop Ludolf von Koppenstedt. Jürgen moved quickly to assume control of the city, claiming the coup of organising the granting of full city rights for Madgeburg as justification for claiming Domain.Norbert von Xanten was quickly driven out and Lord Jürgen finally claimed the title of Prince of Magdeburg. The Lasombra, swearing vengeance, established himself in Brunswick, where he now rules as prince himself.
With but one exception, the years since have been good ones for Lord Jürgen and Magdeburg, the jewel in his crown as Lord of Saxony and Brandenburg and Protector of the Burzenland. Yet another fire broke out just five days after the new archbishop arrived on Palm Sunday of 1207. Once more, much of the city was reduced to ashes, including the Cathedral of St. Maurice.and the Imperial Palace across the square. The Archbishop (assisted by his undead benefactor) has reconstructed much of the city in an astonishingly short period of time. As of 1211, Magdeburg is already free of the scars wrought in 1207. Only the grand construction projects of an ambitious new cathedral and a new palace for the rare visitations of the Holy Roman Emperor remain to tell the tale.
Titular Ruler: Prince-Archbishop Albrecht I von Käfernburg, an eminently talented bureaucrat with a taste for indulging in imperial politics. He is currently embroiled in a lengthy quarrel with Albrecht II, the Margrave of Brandenburg. The root of this conflict lies in the archbishop’s loyalty to the pope; he pronounced the pope’s excommunication against Emperor Otto IV in 1219, and the margrave (whose loyalty lay with his liege) subsequently raided the temporal demesnes of the archbishopric, causing significant damage. Prince-Archbishop Albrecht is almost certainly a pawn of Jürgen von Verden, but he is unlikely to be a ghoul.
Cainite Ruler: Jürgen von Verden, Prince of Magdeburg, Lord of Saxony and Brandenburg and Protector of the Burzenland. The great warlord is infrequently an absentee ruler, trusting his seneschal, Erasmus, and his chamberlain, Heinrich, to rule when he is gone.
Governmental Mix: Strong Prince-Archbishop ruling over the territory and city. Albrecht has a body of advisors consisting of prominent merchants, leaders of the several monastic houses within and without the walls, and a representative of the Teutonic Order, but he is under no constraints to listen to them. In happier times, a representative of the Holy Roman Emperor’s imperial residence also sits on the council, but this envoy was withdrawn when Otto IV was excommunicated in 1210.
Military Disposition: The town guard is funded by tolls on the river traffic, taxes on the merchant guilds and the revenues of the bishopric. It consists of a standing army of 525 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 Alois Ritter von Wellen, who is ably assisted by Leutnants Benjamin Ritter, Clemens Ritter, Emmerich Ritter, Karl Ritter and Ingo Ritter. All of these officers are noble Ministerials sworn directly to the office of the Archbishop. A further 20 knights of lesser Ministerial rank serve in the guard, ostensibly under the command of either the captain or one of his 5 lieutenants. When performing watch duties, most of the guards are equipped with kettle helms, gambeson, kite shields, daggers and clubs. When they must be turned out for war, they are equipped with mail hauberks and either spears, swords or handaxes. Perhaps 140 of the city guard are skilled in the use of the crossbow, and another 100 (most of whom are the sons of prominent merchants) can function as medium cavalry.
The town militia can be turned out in times of crisis, and consists of 2100 able-bodied men, funded by the guild and trade taxes. Militia men are required to practice one saturday out of each month. They are provided a gambeson, a kite shield and a spear at the city’s expense, but many of the more wealthy militiamen are at least as well armed as the city guard or even its knightly officers.
Lastly, the komturei (commandery) of the Order of Teutonic Knights in Magdeburg boasts 12 elite ritterbrüder (brother-knights), each of whom is also served by his knecht (squire), often a hard-bitten soldier of many years experience. In addition, 35 lay sergeants of the order are garrisoned at the commandery as well. The komtur (commander) of the Teutonic Order has offered the services of his veteran soldiers to the Archbishop should emergency require that they take up arms in defence of the city.
Population: c. 12100 (72% Saxon German, 10% Germanised Slavs, 7% Germans of other states (primarily Franconia and Bavaria), 6% Bohemians, 4% Jewish, 3% other including Hungarians, Poles, Silesians and a handful of Greeks and Italians). About 7500 live within the walls and another 800 immediately beyond it, while the rest either live in the fertile Börde lands south-west of the city or to the northwest towards the Ohře valley.
Economy: Strong, reliant on the import of raw materials passing through the city from the Margraviate of Brandenburg, and the export of manufactured goods which are exported up the Elbe towards Bohemian lands or down it towards Hamburg. There are also more time-consuming land roads, the largest of which wends its way south-westward through a variety of settlements before entering Franconia. Another enters the forested hills north-west of the city, before eventually turning west and terminating at Brunswick some 60 miles away. A third road, rather smaller but no less travelled, enters the Börde and arrives at Bernburg, some 30 miles to the south. Across the river, beyond the ferry, a fourth road begins the long march east to the relatively newly establish lands of Brandenburg. This last path is seeing increasing traffic, and economic pressure is building to patrol and fortify the eastern bank of the Elbe.
Cainites affairs of Magdeburg
The vampire residents of Magdeburg pride themselves on “doing things differently” to other cities. The Traditions of Caine are enforced with great fervour and alacrity within the bounds of the city, and Lord Jürgen has taken a number of them to a rather extreme level, at least by the standards of those who hold court in the more lax lands of the east.
Most notably, the Cainites of the city intentionally keep their numbers below the stipulations set forth in the “Law of One Thousand Nights”. Only eight vampires make the city their home, and a number of them (including the prince) are frequently absent. This is because Lord Jürgen is one of the most potent Cainites in the political firmament of the Holy Roman Empire; as such there is no shortage of others who travel to his city, either to seek his assistance or bring word from a distant ally or enemy. Thus, the city is often over-crowded with vampire visitors, and Jürgen’s court have no desire to tax the already overburdened Silence of the Blood any further.
Secondly, as the Silence of the Blood is already strained much of the time, Lord Jürgen punishes any transgression against the Sixth Tradition with unusual harshness. Indeed, he is far more likely to call a Blood Hunt for a breach than seeking a more lenient (or appropriate) punishment. To minimise the chance of discovery and subsequent harm, those planning to visit the city are often encouraged to bring their own herds with them. It is also typical for a visiting Cainite to be given pro-tem domain over one of Magdeburg’s many inns, the better to restrict feeding to the transient population of merchants and caravan guards rather than risk damage to herds of the city’s Ventrue.
This ties into Jürgen’s great respect for the Second Tradition. A good number of the mortals of Magdeburg belong to his vassals, especially his brother-knights in the Order of the Black Cross, so by restricting hunting within the city at large, he protects the herd’s and domains of his absentee supporters and also ensures their health for when they do visit. A good number of his brother-knights have their own protected hunting grounds and Domain in his city, and Lord Jürgen both protects and projects his power in this way.
Lastly, Lord Jürgen is frequently an absentee prince as he spends as much as seven months of each year (and sometimes several years at a time) either expanding his demesnes through conquest or touring the territories of his vassal prince’s, counts and barons. In his absence, his chamberlain Wilhelm rules as de facto prince, and upon his return Wilhelm is often sent on tour himself. Quite frequently, Jürgen will take much of his court with him on tour, and at such times a number of his vassal Cainites of the Order of the Black Cross make their way to the city to enjoy their liberty and watch over their capital. In this way, Lord Jürgen simultaneously keeps a watchful eye on his extensive domain, and also ensures his praxis over his capital.
The current known residents include:
- Jürgen von Verden, the Sword-Bearer, Overlord of Saxony and Brandenburg, Protector of the Burzenland and Grandmaster of the Order of the Black Cross (6th gen. Ventrue, Childe of Hardestadt, e. late 10th century); although he is not the oldest of Hardestadt’s progeny, the Hochmeister (grandmaster) is without a doubt the most successful and ambitious of the lot. Not yet an elder, in the strictest sense of the defintion, he nonetheless lays claim to almost one-fifth of the territories comprising the Holy Roman Empire. This staggering accomplishment makes him more influential, and dangerous, than elders more than one thousand years his senior. Indeed, only his sire surpasses him in power and even he seems to have adopted the black cross as his device since the first decade of the thirteenth century. Stymied by the bulwark of elder power to the west, Jürgen looks to the east to enlarge his domain, and he sees the divided territories of Clan Tzimisce as weak, and ripe for the taking. (Note: Lord Jürgen is currently on campaign in the Burzenland)
- Wilhelm Ritter von Walschleben, Chamberlain of Saxony and Brandenburg (7th gen. Ventrue, Childe of Jürgen von Verden, e, mid 12th century); although he is but a youthful ancilla, Wilhelm enjoys a great deal of power and trust as his lord’s second in matters of rulership. A charismatic and talented leader, he also has a flair for administration and politics (both subjects that his sire finds distasteful at best) and has dutifully insinuated himself both into local church politics and the dynastic intrigues of Saxony and Brandenburg. Wilhelm is one of the few who can speak to his sire plainly and even criticise his actions (albeit in private). He is absent from the city some four months out of each year, touring the near demesnes of Jürgen’s vassals. When in the city, he takes care to husband the city’s greater trade profile.
- Lucretia von Hartz, sister of the Teutonic Order and Deputy Grandmaster of the Order of the Black Cross (9th gen. Childe of Kuritz of Luneburg, e. late 11th century); this ancilla has served her lord since the 1130’s, having offered her services shortly after Prince Kuritz of Lüneburg swore allegiance to Jürgen. While Wilhelm is his pet politician, Lucretia serves her lord by organising and leading the Order of the Black Cross when his attention is elsewhere. She masquerades as a simple infirmarian nun of the Teutonic Order, and rarely arms herself these nights, but many remember that Lucretia was once dangerous with a sword, and quite ready to use it on those who insult her lord, her sire or her clan. (Note: Sister Lucretia is currently on campaign in the Burzenland)
- Akuji, Tale-weaver, Keeper of Knowledge and Spymaster (11th gen. Nosferatu, Childe of Kristoff, e. turn of the 11th century); a clever, careful Moor who has served Jürgen even longer than Lucretia, Akuji sits in the middle of an immense web of informants who keep her apprised of events within her lord’s domains. She often accompanies him on his tours, but only rarely on campaign. Her rich voice is capable of spinning tales of distant lands and obscure folklore, and she sometimes swathes herself in bandages or robes and entertains Lord Jürgen’s more erudite or well-travelled guests with her knowledge. However, she prefers to be an unseen presence at court, and her disembodied voice has unnerved more than one visitor who thought themselves unattended. (Note: Akuji is currently on campaign in the Burzenland)
- Father Erasmus, Confessor to the Faithful and Seneschal of Magdeburg (8th gen. Toreador, Childe of Brother Alban, e. early 12th century); this pompous and stern priest busies himself with the task of governing the city’s night-to-night Cainite affairs; he has not left Magdeburg in many years and he knows more about its workings than any other. In addition to his role as seneschal, Erasmus is also a noted Ashen Priest of the via Caeli and not a few of his lord’s followers take the opportunity to visit the priest in the confessional while visiting the city. It is known that Lord Jürgen himself also sometimes avails himself of Father Erasmus’ role of Confessor, despite their different roads.
- Friedrich von Köthen, brother-knight of the Teutonic Order and Sheriff of Magdeburg (10th gen. Ventrue, Childe of Lucretia von Hartz, e. late 12th century); a large, cheerful warrior monk who sees to the security and good order of the city. Brother Friedrich is one of the few members of Lord Jürgen’s court who almost never leaves the city, and as a result his knowledge of its walls, its warriors and its more seamy elements is profound. Unlike his sire, he does not easily take offence and rarely chooses to give insult even when provoked. However, he is most diligent in the execution of his duties and those who mistake his pleasant manner for weakness are in for a nasty surprise.
- Wiftet, the Fool of Magdeburg (11th gen. Malkavian, Childe of Sister Irmingarda, e. late 12th century); the newest permanent addition to the court is also the most glaring. A small, round cheeked peasant dressed in motley and a belled cap, he is a dramatic counterpoint to the stuffy and dignified airs of his betters. Wiftet has served as court fool since 1206, entertaining Lord Jürgen and his followers with feats of jugglng and tumbling, and indeed he has elevated the pratfall to an art form. Seemingly a simpleton much of the time, he occasionally dazzles the court with his keen insights and skill at riddles.
Fallen Cainites of Magdeburg
- Albin, the Ghost of Magdeburg (9th gen. Caitiff, Childe of an unknown sire, e. late 12th century, d. 1211); a bastard, wretched Cainite who served his lord as errand boy and personal spy, Albin wasbut a neonate who was despised by the rest of the vampires of the city. And yet, he had a gift for the arts of Obfuscate and a talent for being overlooked, so he served his lord well. Jürgen condescended the boy, never failing to remind Albin that he existed at his prince’s sufferance, and it is thought that the Caitiff had been subjected to the Blood Oath in return for his continued survival and a modicum of comfort. Apparently, the vampires of Jürgen’s demesnes say, the wretch was also an ingrate. He colluded against his master’s interests with the Tremere known as Alexia of Nicosia and the Toreador Sir Lucien of Troyes during the Magdeburg Affair, and chose to meet the dawn rather than suffer just punishment for his crime.
Frequent Cainites Visitors to Magdeburg
- Heinrich von Achern, half-brother-knight of the Teutonic Order, Marshall for the Order of the Black Cross and envoy to the Arpad Ventrue (7th gen. Ventrue, Childe of Jurgen von Verden, late 11th century); this ancilla is notorious for his hatred of pagans, the clan of Shapers, and Tzimisce pagans in particular. Heinrich is the general of the Order of the Order of the Black Cross. It is an apt station, for he has long been considered the most militant of Jürgen’s progeny, and in the first decade of the 13th century he took that zeal to the court of the Hungarian king in Esztergom. There, he succeeded in earning the friendship and confidence of Andras II, and his efforts were chiefly responsible for securing the Burzenland for the Teutonic Order. He is a noted enemy of the Tzimisce diplomat Kara Lupescu, who is also active among the high nobility of Hungary.
- Rudiger von Goslar, brother-knight of the Teutonic Order and bailiwick commander of the Order of the Black Cross for Saxony (8th gen. Ventrue, Childe of Prince Frederick the Bold of Brunswick [d], e. early 12th century); a veteran knight of the 2nd and 3rd Crusades, this pious and honourable Saxon is the progeny of the late prince of Brunswick. His sire was slain by furores in 1192, but Rudiger places just as much blame at the feet of the Lasombra Norbert von Xanten, who now rules in Frederick’s place. One of Lord Jürgen’s most seasoned captains, Brother Rudiger is often sent to the farthest flung corners of the Teutonic Order’s nascent empire because he can be trusted to hold the line, dig in, and build a domain for the coming of the Grandmaster. In times of relative peace, he takes command of his Black Cross brothers and sisters in Saxony at the commanderie at Dresden,
- Christoff von Plauen, brother-knight of the Teutonic Order and bailiwick commander for Thuringia (8th gen. Ventrue, Childe of Erik von Baruth [d], e. mid 12th century); the elusive brother Christoff is nominally in charge of the Order of the Black Cross in the Landgraviate of Thuringia from the order’s castle at Zwätzen, outside the city of Jena, which he also watches over in Lord Jürgen’s name. However, he usually leaves his childe, Father Hugo, to watch over his domain while he ranges back and forth on the secret business of the Order and his lord. Such duties often bring him to Magdeburg, so that he may make reports to Lord Jürgen and make plans for the future. Christoff is thought to be the best swordsman in the Order of the Black Cross, if not the entire Teutonic Order. Together with Sister Lucretia and Baron Heinrich, he is also one of the architects behind the creation of both orders.
- Ernst von Rathenow, brother-knight of the Teutonic Order and bailiwick commander for Brandenburg (8th gen. Ventrue, Childe of Baron Eckhard of Brandenburg, e. mid 12th century); something of a political appointment, Brother Ernst is responsible for the activities of the Order of the Black Cross in the the Margraviate of Brandenburg. He has the position because Lord Jürgen and Baron Eckhard need each other to keep down Ilse Reinegger’s influence in the city and Margrave’s court, and the presence of a loyal Teutonic Order garrison serves as considerable insurance. While his position is a nod to the obvious authority that his sire holds in the area, Ernst is a masterful lancer and a competent soldier, more than able to lead his brothers in a fight. He often visits the city to make reports on behalf of his sire, and to carry news back to him.
- Miklós Arpad, ambassador of the Arpad Ventrue (8th gen. Ventrue, Childe of Zombar Arpad, e. mid 11th century); as eldest surviving childe and heir to the late Zombar, first son, childe and heir of “King” Bulscu of Hungary, Miklós holds much status in his own country. However, he has always been much more interested in serving as an intermediary with the German Ventrue than seeking to parley his status into a princedom of his own. He is a close ally and confidant to Bulscu’s consanguinous brother, Gregor of Pressburg, and together they seem very interested in seeking closer ties with the Eastern Lords. Miklós has been a more-or-less permanent fixture at Lord Jürgen’s court since AD 1205, to the point where he often joins the warlord when he tours the domains of his vassals. When the Arpad ambassador is absent, his childe Istvan represents the Hungarian Ventrue in his stead.
- István Arpad, his childe and second (9th gen. Ventrue, Childe of Miklos Arpad, e. mid 12th century); a pleasure-seeking, ruthless nobleman very much in the vein of his more treacherous kin, István finds his diplomatic duties in Magdeburg to be mind-numbingly boring. He longs to return to the underbelly of Pressburg, Buda-Pest or even Esztergom, far from the watchful eyes of Lord Jürgen’s pet Nosferatu and his moralistic court. Many years ago, he was a boon companion to Guy d’Arles, the mortal enemy of Bernhard von Billung, and the arrogant Arpad displayed poorly disguised glee to be told of the Gangrel’s untimely demise during the Fourth Crusade.
Prominent Mortal Residents
- Albrecht I von Käfernburg, Prince-Archbishop of Magdeburg; as both a prince of the Holy Roman Empire and a prominent archbishop of the Catholic Church, Albrecht has the enviable task of pleasing two highly demanding masters. At present, he leans much closer to the latter, and his unwillingness to toe the imperial line has led to considerable acrimony with not just the emperor but also the Margrave of Brandenburg. Even though he is known to be a vicious politician, the archbishop takes pains to present a pious front for the burghers of Magdeburg, but rumour has it that Albrecht keeps a mistress in his palace on the island of Werder. Lord Jürgen is thought to have the archbishop under his thumb via skillful use of Dominate and Presence, but he has chosen not to make a ghoul of him.
- Stefan von Haldensleben; Teutonic Order Commander for Magdeburg; a descendant of the family that once ruled the Northern March in centuries past, Stefan is the public face of the Teutonic Order in the city. He is also a ghoul of the Order of the Black Cross who has sworn the Blood Oath to Lord Jürgen himself. A strict disciplinarian (even for a Teutonic knight), Stefan long ago managed to convince the archbishop to rely on the brothers for enforcing law, order and security over Magdeburg during times of crisis. In recent years, the threats of the Margrave of Brandenburg and the Holy Roman Emperor have led to the near constant presence of the Teutons on the streets of the city.
- Alois Ritter von Wellen; Captain of the Guard; lord of a small estate some 10 miles west of the city, Sir Alois cares little for watching crops grow and long ago entrusted his lands to a capable seneschal so that he might seek adventure. A veteran of the Crusade of 1197 and numerous border wars within the empire, he joined the city guard in 1204 and swiftly rose through its ranks by virtue of his intelligence, charisma and knowledge of anti-siegecraft. He has been captain of the guard since 1209. It is unknown if he is a ghoul, but Sir Alois is known to associate with Heinrich von Waldensleben, so he is probably the Ventrue’s thrall in some manner.
- Father Humbert, of St. Paul’s Priory; master of a community of Canons Regular attached to the Cathedral, Father Humbert is well known for his wisdom and piety. In addition to ministering to the burghers of the city, he and his brethren humbly see to the spiritual needs of may of the surrounding villages, thorps and homesteads. The good father Humbert has the honour of being the archbishop’s confessor, and also the host of Lord Jürgen, who chooses to make his haven on the holy ground of the priory in order to strengthen his will.
Inns, Taverns & Alehouses of Kronstadt
Magdeburg is a busy city, grown fat on the trade between the resource rich lands to the east of the Elbe and the equally rich manufacturing cities to the west of it. As such, the settlement hosts no less than 18 inns to accommodate the many travellers who pass through it in the spring and summer seasons. Some of the more notable establishments are:
The Red Hare- This three story inn and tavern is the largest and most prosperous establishment in Magdeburg, It stands but a stone’s throw each from the river and the north gate, dominating the small square. It is owned and operated by Gunther der Grosse. The Hare has a reputation for monied and cosmopolitan clientele, hearty Saxon food and warm hospitality. It is popular with visiting merchants, particularly those that hail from the west.
The Emperor’s Rest- this inn and tavern is owned and operated by Adam der Eber, a large man with an appetite for boar and a wife (Hette) with great skill at preparing numerous dishes of containing pork. The Rest is a landmark, being the first inn encountered by caravans arriving through the Citadel gate. It is named after the occasion of Frederick Barbarossa staying at the inn in 1160.
The Star and the Eagle- Yet another inn and tavern, perched on the northern end of the Cathedral Square, opposite the cathedral and a long stone’s throw from the new imperial palace. It is a high quality establishment, with a reputation for catering to wealthy travellers and well-heeled clerics and students attached to the cathedral school. It’s owner and proprietor, Johann der Fromme, can number both the archbishop and Father Humbert as his friends.
The Sleepy Owl- A solid establishment close to the waterfront and the warehouses in the northern end of the city, the Owl caters to riverboat merchants who wish to stay close to their cargo and also enjoy the comforts of a good inn. It is a quiet inn, with a small tap room, and the burly owner of the establishment, Otto der Wütende, doesn’t tolerate riffraff crewmen interested only in fighting, whoring and drinking.
The Foaming Mug- A cheap inn and alehouse near the citadel gate, the Mug was destroyed in the fire of 1207, and has since been rebuilt on a grand scale. Only the Hare draws a larger clientele, but the Mug has the added honour of hosting many of the city guards, who enjoy the generous discounts provided by its owner, Christian der Schlau, who also happens to be the ghoul seneschal of Heinrich von Waldensleben.
The Three Eels- A large, ramshackle inn on the eastern bank of the Elbe, where the Brandenburg road terminates at the ferry station. The place has a bad reputation among the burghers of Magdeburg, who claim it is frequented by river pirates, bandits, thieves, gamblers and other ne’erdowells. Its proprietor, Albrecht der Aal, also has a decidedly slimy, unsavoury reputation, but in truth he is a scrupulously honest man who brooks no shady dealings under his roof.
Other Notable Locations
The City Walls: Well-armed guards patrol the 18 foot high walls and guard the 3 city gates at all times, especially after sundown. The walls and towers in the south and west of the city were terribly damaged by the fire of 1207, requiring heavy repair and even demolition and rebuilding in some places. The archbishop wisely elected to keep his people happy by dedicating funds to rebuild their homes first. As a result, the western walls south of the citadel and those south of the cathedral were reinforced by a wooden palisade, which still stood in 1211. Repairs on the stone walls would not be completed until 1214. The walls are reinforced by a total of 22 towers, and anchored by the Magdeburg Citadel, which also serves as the western gate.
The Archbishop’s Citadel: this small but magnificent walled palace sits on a small motte on Werder island, in the middle of the Elbe. The island is marshy and lightly wooded, subject to flooding in places during the spring. The walls of the citadel have a commanding view of the city, the river and the eastern bank. An impressive 280 foot long bridge, wide enough for a small wagon to cross, connects the citadel and island to the city proper.
The Cathedral Square: the centre of Magdeburg’s considerable civic pride, this large square was gutted by the fire of 1207. The Archbishop has invested huge funds to rebuild and beautify the square, and it now hosts a massive cathedral (under construction), a large town hall, as many as a dozen guildhalls and no fewer than 3 inns. The imperial palace, which formerly took up much of the current site, was rebuilt further to the south to make more room for the city’s burgeoning markets. At any given time of the day, and as late as 7 o’clock in the evening, hundreds of mortals can be found here meeting, trading or simply enjoying the grand sights and bustling atmosphere.
The Cathedral of St. Maurice: Magdeburg’s centre of worship was first completed in AD 937, and has long been the hub of the city. Since the beginning, a Benedictine abbey dedicated to St. Maurice has been attached to the church. Both were heavily damaged by the fire of 1207, and Archbishop Albrecht has taken it upon himself to begin an ambitious building programme aimed at building a grand new cathedral. The project started in 1209 and is expected to take many decades to reach fruition. The abbey behind the cathedral is taking shape rather more quickly, and the brethren of St. Maurice are hard at work restoring their library and scriptorium. Both cathedral and abbey exude ambient True Faith.
The Cathedral School: Albrecht’s efficient administration benefits from a continuing legacy of education, interrupted only by the need to rebuild the school after the fire of 1207. Magdeburg’s cathedral school was established by its first archbishop, Adalbert, in AD 960, and it has long enjoyed a reputation across Saxony, Thuringia and Brandenburg for producing intelligent, competent bureaucrats. The school is attached to, but separate from, the Abbey of St. Maurice. A number of the brothers teach there, and the young men who study the liberal arts under them can expect a fruitful career working for the archbishop’s burgeoning bureaucracy.
The Priory of St. Paul: a small monastery of Canons Regular adhering to the Augustinian Rule was here in AD 1200, but the priory of St. Paul rests atop the foundations of an even older building dedicated to St. Peter. Ambient True Faith is strong here, and the priory was miraculously spared from the conflagration that destroyed almost all of the neighbouring buildings in 1207. Father Humbert and his lay brothers have a reputation for serious minds and charitable works, and they are welcome not just throughout the city, but many of the settlements a few days travel around it. Lord Jürgen chooses to make the priory his primary haven, the better to strengthen his will against the perils of the Truly Faithful, and a number of his brothers in the Order of the Black Cross have followed his lead. Father Humbert appears to be unaware of the Cainites in his midst, and he welcomes the pious Teutons as brothers in faith.
Teutonic Knight Komturei: a fortified building that shares a wall with the Priory of St. Paul, the Teuton Commandery exists close to the south gate of the city. It is large enough to house perhaps 150 men, although perhaps only one-third of that number is stationed at the commandery.
The Church of Our Lady: dedicated to St. Mary the Magdelene and established in the early years of the 12th century, this church was first established by Norbert von Xanten when he was the mortal archbishop of the city, and later served as his primary haven. Since 1206, by decree of the Archbishop of Magdeburg, it also houses the female sisters of the Teutonic Order and their hospice and is now the domain of Sister Lucretia von Hartz. The grounds are very close to the Priory of St. Paul, and they too exude an aura of ambient True Faith, albeit rather weaker than that endured by Lord Jürgen.
The Emperor’s Palace: the city of Magdeburg was once beloved of the Holy Roman Emperor’s, and a royal palace existed opposite the Church of St. Maurice as early as AD 950. The antiquated building had lost favour with the emperors by the time of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, and when the building was destroyed by the fire of 1207, and while he was obligated to fund its reconstruction, Archbishop Albrecht saw an opening to expand the markets. The palace reconstruction is taking place a couple of hundred yards south of its former location, and while it will be a smaller building than its predecessor, it will no doubt be a grand affair.
Judendorf (the Jewish Quarter):. sitting in the southern district of the city, under the archbishop’s protection, the Jewish community of Magdeburg is one of the oldest in the empire. As early as 965 there were Jews living in the town, and they were placed under the jurisdiction of the archbishop by Otto the Great. They are the premiere cloth merchants in the city, and indeed much of this part of the empire, and the archbishop enjoys his revenues from them. The wealth they bring to the city stokes the envy of his political opponents in the grand tapestry of Holy Roman Imperial affaits.
(Addendum: In AD 1213, a punitive raid by the soldiers of Emperor Otto IV will burn much of the the Judendorf, and many of the Jews will relocate to nearby Sudenburg, where numerous other Jews already lived. Demanding jurisdiction over the Jews in 1260, the canons of the cathedral laid claim to the fines they paid in silver, while those paid in gold were to remain the property of the archbishop).
Merchants Quarter a hive of activity immediately to the north of the Cathedral Square, in the very centre of the Aldstadt. Much of the city’s wealth is concentrated in these shops, and the homes above them. The Archbishop was quick to assist in rebuilding this part of the city after AD 1207, and indeed it was here that the fury of the conflagration was halted.
The Small Square: the centre of business and social life in the northern quarter of Magdeburg, the square hosts market days and church fetes on a regular basis. A number of guild headquarters are based on the square, as well as the Church of St. John and the three Inns: the Red Hare, the Star and the Emperor’s Rest. The square also has two public stocks and a large well, from which each citizen may draw 3 buckets of water each day free of charge.
The Church of St. John: a modest affair compared to even the destroyed Church of St. Maurice, let alone the cathedral that is taking shape over its grave, the Church of St. John is currently the epicentre of worship in the city. Of course, this is for lack of an alternative but even so, Father Gerhard is pleased to see the attentions of the congregation (and their donations) flood over his house of worship.
Neustadt: Established beyond the northern walls since 1208, the “new city” is little more than a series of inns, taverns, alehouses and camp sites that service the excess of merchants, craftsmen and traders that have spilled beyond the walls of the Altstadt. Interspersed with these are the homes of perhaps 800 enterprising souls that have moved to Magdeburg in recent years to take advantage of its growth and prosperity.
Sudenburg: After the fire of 1207, several hundred Jews elected to move their workshops and homes some 2 miles south, outside the walls, rather than rebuild in the Judendorf and submit once more to the Archbishop’s dubious “protection”, Still nominally a part of Magdeburg, this small colony has begun to thrive.
The Elbe River: Approximately 750 feet across and as much as 50 feet deep in the environs of Magdeburg, the river effectively moats the city on its eastern flank. A good deal of river traffic keeps the inns full of merchants, the taverns and alehouses full of merriment, and the markets full of goods year round. The eastern bank is largely undeveloped, save for a ferry station, a large inn known as the Three Eels, a guard post, and perhaps a dozen houses.
The Eastern Forest: across the river, the land is considerably less developed and settled. The forest there is thick, dark and full of nameless terrors, at least so far as the good burghers of the city are concerned. In truth, there are plenty of folk who make their living as trappers, hunters and woodland homesteaders in the green expanse, and much of their produce makes its way to Magdeburg’s markets. The Cainites of the city avoid the area, for great grey werwolfen stalk the unspoiled eastern forest.
The Western Forest: rather safer, slightly better peopled and more easily traversed, the western wood is mildly less forbidding than the forest across the river. However, it is still the subject of dark rumours about bandits, werwolfen and vampire. The western wood is readily patrolled by the city guard garrisoned at the keep of Finsterbach, which lies within assarted lands in its midst.
The Keep of Finsterbach: cut from the forest in the 1160’s, this keep was built to cleanse the western forest of the bandits that were disrupting trade along the Harz-Franconian road. Finsterbach is not a large keep, but it well-constructed and easily defensible, garrisoned by thirty soldiers of the city guard. Lord Jürgen adopted it as one of his demesnes decades ago, and has been known to gift it to valued, ambitious vassals from time to time, usually to gain an idea of their skill at administrating conquests.
The Old Northern Road: little more than an animal track at this point, the disused northern road has suffered from the increased proficiency of river trade in the 12th and 13th centuries. It stretches north into the rough eastern borderlands of old march of Saxony-Brandenburg before winding up at the small crossroads town of Stendal, near the great castle of Tangermünde.
The Brandenburg Road: a well-travelled but poorly patrolled trail stretching east beyond the banks of the Elbe. This road is plagued by bandits (or soldiers of the Margrave pretending to be bandits), but merchants willing to take the risk, and willing to spend the silver on good guards, can make their fortunes many times over.
The Brunswick-Saxony Road: a brisk trade moves along this north-west bearing route. The road is well-maintained and strongly patrolled by both Magdeburg and Brunswick.
The Harz-Franconian Road: strongly patrolled to discourage banditry, this trade route is one of the more prosperous in the empire. It eventually terminates in Frankfurt, several hundred miles to the south-west.
The Bernburg-Thuringian Road: a good trail, small but brisk in its business, this southern road enters the Börde and continues on to Bernburg, then the salt rich lands to the south. It is a vital link to the Thuringian Eastern Lord Ventrue.
To be Continued