Vornheiming Middenheim Part XII: The Last of the District Write-Ups


As a reminder, I'm running the Dungeon Dozen Adventure Contest through Friday, January 24th.  Post your submissions or links to them on the contest description entry, or get in touch with me via Google+.

Logan Knight has pointed out that these posts (especially the district write-ups) probably have more in common with his Corpathium than with Vornheim, but a) I loves me some 'heims, and b) he hasn't been kind enough to publish his sweet material in an awesome book yet.  When that happens we can talk about "Corpathisizing" or "Corpathiating" stuff until the cows come home.

Terminology aside, this post wraps up the district write-ups, finishing out with Neumarkt-Osttor, the Freiburg, the Wynd, Westor-Sudgarten, and the Geldmund-Kaufseit-Brotkopfs district.  Things I have learned from the district write ups: middle class residential neighborhoods are necessary for verisimilitude, but are boring from a game stand point; rumors are a totally awesome way to convey tone and adventure hooks in a succinct way while still leaving the referee maximum flexibility; twelve is a lot of districts; a lot of the stuff was clearly "we made this up for our game and had fun with it, so we want to share it with you", which is nice and all, but not as fun as making up your own fun thing.

So, with district write-ups finished, looking back at my proposed outline, it looks like I have left a "normal" NPC generator, an NPC relationship tool, and a quick inn and tavern generator.  I'm considering revisiting the watch section to provide a watch patrol generator based off of the awesome encounter stuff Zak S has been doing with the different cults of Tiamat and rolling 1 of each die d4-d20.  I also want to include some alley/roof/sewer-crawling stuff, but I'm afraid that might be me succumbing to feeping creaturism and getting beyond the scope of a book on Middenheim, especially since at this point my main idea would be to write a few different tables for Logan Knight's stuff here.

Speaking of rules from other places, even though my re-write of Middenheim remains system neutral, I have discovered that I am extremely late (by about two and a half years) to the party on the perfect rules for making use of what I've been putting up here: Small But Vicious Dog (SBVD).  I was starting to think of some ways to modify D&D or a D&D-like (probably LotFP) to be more "Warhammer", but then I realized "I can't be the first person to have this idea", so I asked Google+, and sure enough, Chris Hogan had made exactly what I was hoping for.  It's a modification of B/X D&D to incorporate the best parts of WFRP, and a few small additions to get the feel right (like penalties for attacking your social betters and lots of stuff on disease and psychology). Probably the only rules change I would make if running it would be to change the skills from attribute based to X-in-6 a la LotFP.  It skews towards the grotty, beshitten end of the Warhammer spectrum, which suits me wonderfully, but I know some people protest that interpretation of the Old World, so it may not be to their taste.  Anyway, if you're at all interested in D&D and Warhammer (and if you're reading this, I'm guessing you are) and you somehow haven't heard of this, check it out.

Another pretty decent approach I saw recently was to just run LotFP "by the book", but set in the Old World.  With the addition of the firearm rules in the latest rulebook, I think that'd be a pretty damn solid approach as well.  You'd miss out on the fun of random careers, and without tweaking the magic rules, you'd get a pretty different feel, but it's hard to beat for ease of approach.

At any rate, following the break are the district write ups:





8. Neumarkt-Osttor
Activity
Day
  • In the Neumarkt, shoppers, tradesmen, apprentices, and servants hurry about on errands to stalls and shops to purchase goods of all descriptions
  • Beggars, entertainers, and charlatans ply their trade on the crowds while the occasional pickpocket or thief go about their own business more quietly
Night
  • Groups of flamboyantly dressed young people making far more noise than their size would suggest head to the popular taverns while goons from Ostwald or Altquartier pass them on their way to ask some pointed questions of tradesmen late on their protection payments
Locations
  • The Royal College of Music
  • The Singing Moon Cabaret
  • The Templar’s Downfall Bar and Restaurant
  • Offices of the Komission for Health, Education, and Welfare
  • Offices of Castle Rock Coaches
Rumors
Roll
Rumor
1
Members of the watch trade shifts in the Neumarkt for favors so they can browse the wares and hit on housewives
2
The Director of the Royal College of Music and the Conductor have a history of frequent and occasionally violent arguments over what pieces to play, and now the Director has been found murdered in the orchestra pit
3
The two elves in the Graf’s court have a mostly-friendly rivalry for the affections of the beautiful elven owner of the Singing Moon
4
The Templar’s downfall is where rich, fashionable young people go for ridiculous cocktails and other, stronger diversions
5
The Komission for Health, Education, and Welfare has been using the watch to round up vagrants and beggars for “public health reasons”
6
Castle Rock Coaches smuggles wine for the Showboat, and the owner of both establishments is considering moving into even more lucrative cargo
7
The dealers at the Templar’s Downfall aren’t getting their drugs from any of the major crime rings, and they want to find out who the source is
8
Some of the local tradesmen are tired of the protection rackets out of Altquartier and Ostwald and are banding together to run off goon squads
9
The Singing Moon’s members only policy is part of the security for a secret elf supremacist organization
10
The human musicians of the Royal College of Music and the elven musicians of the Singing Moon got into a vicious brawl in the streets
11
One of the tanners in the Gerberbahn is willing to work on any sort of leather, no questions asked
12
A foreign merchant already furious at the ridiculous taxes and guild fees required to set up shop in the Neumarkt will not stand for paying a protection racket and is looking for some muscle to fight off any goons



9. The Freiburg
Activity
Day
  • Students, scholars, and artists discuss important topics over cups of coffee in the numerous cafes, while poets, mimes, and street artists compete for meager tips
Night
  • The scene is much the same as in the day, except the coffee is traded for ale, and there is a higher proportion of students to academics
Locations
  • Temple of Sigmar
  • The Scholar’s Hostelry
  • The Red Moon
  • The Wizards’ & Alchemists’ Guild
  • Collegium Theologica
Rumors
Roll
Rumor
1
Footpads, thieves, and the like aren’t common because the students are too poor to be worth the trouble, but there is the occasional ransom attempt
2
The watch rarely bothers paying much attention to the Frieburg except in the most egregious cases of drunk and disorderly brawling
3
The Chief Priest of Sigmar for the region based here has ambitions to succeed the Grand Theogonist
4
The Gragh Mar school attached to the Temple of Sigmar trains children in the faith of Sigmar and inculcates a deep distrust of Ulric and his followers
5
The priests of Sigmar have powerful political ties to the wider Empire, but are distrusted and shunned by followers of Ulric in Middenheim
6
The owner of The Scholar’s occasionally acts as an agent for the Chancellor in the purchase of antiques at auction in order to keep the price reasonable
7
The owner of the Scholar unknowingly has something dangerous and magical in his antique collection that is sought by unsavory elements
8
The proprietor of The Red Moon is a beautiful sultry woman who keeps her appearance young through magical preparations she receives from the deputy high wizard
9
The libraries and training available to members of the Wizard’s Guild are second to none, and trusted members have access to truly rare and dangerous materials
10
Though founded for training priests of Ulric, the Collegium Theologica is now a full University in all respects except a charter, and its libraries contain many lost secrets available to the patient and scholarly
11
Magical enforcers from the Wizards’ Guild crack down with extreme prejudice on any illegal magical use, leaving nothing but smoking piles of ash for the watch
12
Certain high ranking monks at the Gragh Mar school believe the cult of Ulric to have been infiltrated by Chaos cultists and distrust everything put out by their temple


10. The Wynd
Activity
Day
  • Artisans, workmen, apprentices, and buyers and sellers of all sorts move through the plain but neat buildings with crates of merchandise or leading teams of horses
Night
  • The streets are only slightly less busy at night, with a slightly greater concentration of footpads and racketeers
Locations
  • Chapel of Grungni
  • The Guild of Stonemasons and Architects
  • Offices of the Komission for Public Works
  • Offices of the Dwarven Engineers’ Guild
  • The Windhund Haulage Company
Rumors
Roll
Rumor
1
The dwarves in the Temple of Grungni have been fighting off threats from the tunnels of the undercity for years
2
The statue of Grungni is solid gold and set with enormous gems
3
The Guild of Stonemasons and Architects is jealous of the premium appointments received by the Dwarven Engineers’ Guild
4
Plans of public and private buildings and their connections to the sewers are available from the Komission for Public works with the right introduction letter or bribe money
5
The Dwarven Engineers’ Guild has access to plans for the defensive works of the city
6
The Windhund Haulage company is really a front for a smuggling and message carrying service
7
The Windhund Haulage company makes use of zombie labor after hours
8
Recently, a mysterious Arab has directed the day to day business of the Windhund Haulage Company
9
The priests of the Chapel of Grungni no longer see the benefit in cooperating with humans, and encourage their followers to wreck Human civilization
10
The cult of Grungni has been encouraging Dwarves to demand more from their human hosts and, if necssary, to throw off the shackles of human slavery
11
One of the tradesmen in the district is selling high quality original works for far less money than they’re worth (selling for about d100 less than book value)
12
The first visible statue of Grungni is a cheap fake, and the actually valuable statue is deeper in the temple


11. Westor-Sudgarten
Activity
Day
  • Tradesmen and other middle class folks go about their own business, and unlike the richer areas of the city, there are more beggars and buskers than pickpockets, as the marks are less well off, but more generous
Night
  • The streets are mostly quiet, but for the occasional dinner party guests or under-ambitious footpads
Locations
  • Morrspark Cemetary
  • The Grunpark
  • Temple of Shallya
  • Temple of Myrmidia
  • Shrine of Morr
  • The Laughing Jackass Restaurant
Rumors
Roll
Rumor
1
At night, the Grunpark is overrun by Ostwald street gangs too young to work their home streets
2
Only the very wealthy can afford to be buried in the Morrspark cemetery and various dark groups seek the bodies or the treasure buried with them
3
The priests and priestesses of Shallya enjoy a special protection from criminals due to their beloved status among the city’s poor, and can go many places other well to do citizens could not even dream of
4
The newly arrived Tilean doctor to the Graf’s son has not made so much as a courtesy call to the Temple of Shallya, patron of physicians, perhaps because of his strange beliefs
5
Considering how long paupers have been “buried” by being flung from the Cliff of Sighs, there are surprisingly few bones at its base
6
The Laughing Jackass is where the young and fashionable go for a drink when they want a more relaxed atmosphere than the Templar’s Downfall
7
Students, scholars, and pseudo-intellectuals of all sorts hold court at the Laughing Jackass
8
The Laughing Jackass is best known for its cruel satires of public figures, but pressures from the watch, the guilds, and even underworld enforcers suggest that there is truth in some of the barbs
9
Some otherworldly being posing as a child has taken up residence in the orphanage at the Temple of Shallya
10
A renowned miser with means well above the norm for Westor-Sudgarten hasn’t been seen for weeks, his house looks untouched
11
The priests of Morr have been hiring people to watch the Cemetery at night because of a recent spike in graverobbing
12
The Temple of Myrmidia regularly passes military and political information on to a famous Tilean mercenary captain


12. Geldmund-Kaufseit-Brotkopfs (The Merchant Quarter)
Activity
Day
  • Carts and mule trains laden with goods flow in and out of the southgate, laborers load and unload massive warehouses, and fat merchants scream at their lackeys over mistakes in the ledger
Night
  • Practically only footpads and the watch are to be found around the warehouses, while in the residential areas, merchants strive to outdo each other with the opulence and audacity of their nighttime gatherings
Locations
  • The Heavens Lament Cabaret
  • The Templars’ Arms Hostelry
  • The Man O’ War Restaurant
  • The Merchants’ Guild
  • Offices of the Komission for Commerce, Trade and Taxation
  • Staller’s Stables
  • Offices of Wolf Runner Coaches
Rumors

Roll
Rumor
1
The elite watch patrols in the Geldmund neighborhood are practically a private force paid for with Merchant gold
2
The Gambling at The Heavens Lament is honest, but the stakes set by the merchant patrons are astonishing and sometimes exotic
3
The arms and armor in the common room of the Templars’ Arms are genuine relics blessed by Ulric for smiting chaotic beings
4
The arms and armor in the common room of the Templar’s Arms are cheap decorative replicas barely suitable for smiting rats
5
The owner of the Man o’ War acquired the wealth to buy his restaurant through trade, smuggling, and piracy, and he maintains contact with his friends in Marienburg
6
The chairman of the Merchants’ Guild was completely unknown until recently, and now he is also the Convenor for the Komission on Commerce, Trade, and Taxation
7
The merchants of Middenheim are negotiating massively valuable exclusive contracts with merchants in Marienburg, shutting out all other Imperial cities
8
Wolf Runner coaches has an uneasy agreement with rival Castle Rock coaches, taking Marienburg and the north of the empire and leaving the south to Castle Rock, but has received a lucrative offer in Altdorf and is gearing up for a trade war
9
Covered coaches have been seen going in and out of one of the warehouses only after dark, and strange sounds have been heard from the warehouse and the coaches
10
Gotthard Goebbels is living a double life, and is really the only remaining son from a noble family on the Reik purged for Chaotic taint
11
One of the crime lords from the slums is attempting to move up from petty protection rackets to large scale extortion of major merchants
12
A merchant is organizing an expedition to a distant land to acquire exotic merchandise and needs capable caravan guards