The Imperial Capital of Altdorf

An Overview


By  Arne Dam, Roderic d’Arcon and Alfred Nuñez Jr.

Additional Background by Timothy Eccles and Anthony Ragan



Although no single source of information on Altdorf has been published by either Games Workshop or (in their brief time as WFRP licensee) Hogshead Publishing, many Warhammer publications provide a source of information on the Imperial capital.  Unfortunately, the information is scattered throughout the various sources and are sometimes contradictory.


The intent of this article is to provide an overview of Altdorf which not only encompasses the information that has been published in WFRP sourcebooks and the various Warhammer novels, but also the various works of the authors listed above.


While we have no delusions that our efforts will represent the definitive GW view of Altdorf, we certainly hope that it will be well received by WFRP Games Masters looking for a concise and detailed view of the political centre of the Empire.



Arrival at Altdorf


Those who brave the roads leading to Altdorf enter the Imperial capital through two of its three gates: the West Gate and North Gate.  The lines are typically long as each person or wagon entering the city is assessed a gate tax of 1 GC per leg.  A fair number of travellers actually have papers or medallions that exempt them from the gate tax, including priests and agents of recognised cults (Sigmar, Verena, Mórr, and Shallya), members of several certain Altdorf guilds (such as the Merchants’), nobility, licensed coaching lines including their passengers, and any person granted special privilege in the name of the Emperor.  Not only do the scribes and excisemen assigned to this duty have to verify the status of the exempt individuals and the manifests of the coaches, but they must also record and collect the taxes from those who must pay.  A team of four to six guards enforce the law as well as collect any illegal weapons and armour.  Generally, visitors are only allowed one hand weapon and dagger, everything else is confiscated (unless the individual has specific authorization given by the proper city authority).  Those who possess such are given a receipt for their weapons, which they can collect once they leave the city.


The third entryway, known as the South or Meadows Gate is the entrance used by those who reside in the immediate south of the Imperial city.  Like the other gates, traffic through the South Gate is controlled by the guardsmen and scribes who are stationed here.  Traffic through this gate is the lightest of Altdorf’s three as there is no proper road passing beyond the city walls.


Most arrivals come by river boat and enter the city via its harbour.  Scribes and excisemen are accompanied by Marines from the River Patrol so that they can go about their business registering newly arrived ships, recording passengers, assessing cargo and levying taxes.  Generally the Docks are a busy place so it is relatively easy for the undistinguished to slip through the cracks.  In contrast, anyone (say, so-called adventurer types) wearing armour and carrying weapons other than a hand weapon and dagger would most likely not be able to slip through.  Armour and prohibited weapons are confiscated here as they are at the gates.  Owners of such can retrieve their possessions once they leave the Imperial capital.




Western Districts of Altdorf


Obereik (Upper Reik) District


The Obereik district is an affluent residential district situated on the high ground along the northern end of the western bank of the River Reik.  Many minor nobles from across the Empire, including those who have achieved substantial success as merchants, make their homes here.  Some of the ambassadors to the Imperial Court have also found the Obereik district to their liking.


Baron Frederich von Reichenhall, minor noble from Auerswald and financier, makes his home in the splendid Reichenhall Mansion [1].  The Baron is ambitious and his constantly searching for ways to improve his status and expand his power.  He is one of the richest men in the Empire, a patron of the arts and has great influence at the Imperial Court.  Still, the Baron is driven. One of his goals is get his daughter Elise, a vixen in her own right, married into one of the ruling noble houses.  Some think that the Baron may not be above using extortion or some other underhanded means to accomplish this goal.


The Estalian Mansion [2] is  the official residence of the Ambassador of the Estalian Kingdom of Astarios, Doña Eleonora Álvarez de Calma.  A raven-haired beauty known for her lavish parties and exquisite gowns of Arabian silk, Doña Eleonora is the centre of gossip and speculation.  There are some who whisper about the Estalian’s unquenchable appetites and boundless energies, while others say that her Verenan upbringing has made her bold and assertive to the point of arrogance.  The ambassador has shown no inclination towards marriage despite her many well-connected and powerful suitors.



Palast (Palace) District


The area to the west and south of Imperial Palace constitutes the richest district in Altdorf.  Many of the Electors maintain their Altdorf residence in this district where their servants and retainers can also perform duties as their master’s or mistress’ spies.  The more important ministries have their offices as close to the Emperor as possible.


The Imperial Palace (Kaiserliche Palast) [3] is the most dominant structure in Altdorf and residence to His Imperial Majesty and Protector of Sigmar’s Empire, Emperor Karl-Franz I von Holswig-Schliestein.  Within the Palace is the Volkshalle [3a], the assembly hall where the Electors gather to conduct the business of the Empire whenever the need for such a gathering arises, which is fairly rare.  Most of the time, the Volkshalle is used by the Prime Estates to carefully study all Imperial edicts, determine the impact on the respective provinces, and issue a recommendation to their respective Elector.  For more details about the Prime Estates, refer to Shadows over Bögenhafen (Hogshead version), page 17.


The Heldenplatz [a] is situated at the northern end of the Palace near the border of the Obereik and Palast districts.  The Sigmar Monument, a great case bronze statue of the patron god and founder of the Empire, dominates the square.


The Kaiserplatz [b] stands at the opposite end of the Palace complex.  The grounds here are generally used whenever the Emperor wishes to inspect his personal guards and elite knights.  The large square is also the place where public executions of treasonous criminals take place for the entertainment of the rabble.  Noble criminals are given the dignity of being executed within the Palace grounds in front of their peers.  In addition, tournaments and jousts are occasionally held here to entertain the nobility of the city as well as any visiting dignitaries.  Generally, such events are held in the village of Walfen, northwest of Altdorf on the banks of the Reik.


Bordering the western side of the Kaiserplatz, the Imperial Guard Barracks & Armoury (Hofgarde) [4] is the quarters of the Emperor’s elite troops and the scene of some tension.  Recently, Emperor Karl-Franz I created the Order of the High Helms, a unit of Knights whose members major requirement was that they must be over 6 feet tall.  The Emperor then ordered the Imperial Guards to set aside a portion of their barracks for this new Order.  The Imperial Guards reluctantly complied and situated the High Helms to the section closest to the latrines.  The Imperial Guard are rather anxious to see the Emperor’s new pets prove their worth on the battlefield.


On the opposite side of the enormous edifice housing the Imperial Guard Barracks, the Imperial Chancellery (Kaiserliches Kanzleiamt) [5] is the both the Imperial Counting House and Mint.  Few people are allowed admittance to the Treasury and any loiters are quickly chased off by the guards or one of the frequent Watch patrols.  The Chancellor and Keeper of the Imperial Counting House, Mornan Tybalt, makes his offices here.  Herr Tybalt is also a member of the Council of State.


To the west of the Palace stands a short and squat tower with beast-faced gargoyles glaring down at any who approach.  Surrounded by a walled courtyard the Tower of the Amber College [6] is generally left abandoned by its masters as it is only the symbolic centre of this sorcerous discipline.  For more information on the Amber College, see Realms of Sorcery, pages 49-50.




Amtsbezirk (Civic District)


The Amtsbezirk runs along west bank of Reik from the Obereik District and north of the Emperor’s Bridge to the Three Toll Bridge.  A large number of governmental ministries and other bodies have their offices in this district.   A number of influential nobles also make their residence among the few enclaves of townhouses found in this district.


Tower Prison (Schuldturm) [7] is one of several prisons in Altdorf and generally houses those who are debt-ridden, but well-connected enough to ensure that they have some comforts during their incarceration.  Such considerations are rather costly and may, in the end, put off the inevitable.  Those prisoners who can no longer arrange to pay for their stay in this prison may find themselves transferred to Mundsen Keep (see below).


The Emperor Karl-Franz Bridge [c] is the northernmost of the Altdorf bridges on the Reik and connects Amtsbezirk to the University district.  Heads of those executed for treason decorate the bridge as a warning to others of like mind.


The well-guarded and fortified building east of the Imperial Palace is the Bitterhof [8], the residence of the Emperor’s current Lord Chamberlain, the old and still powerful Graf Otto von Bitternach.  Known as the Iron Graf, von Bitternach is the Emperor’s chief diplomat and a member of the Council of State. According to rumours he has a whole net of spies across The Empire going by the name the Schattenaugen (Shadow Eyes) whose chief task is to gather “sensitive” information.  It is said that the real business of the Empire is conducted in his offices in the Imperial Palace.  Many emissaries from the other Imperial provinces and foreign lands spend a good portion of their day at the von Bitternach’s offices,  the centre of Imperial diplomatic corps, pressing their respective master’s issues and concerns.


The Judiciary Scriptorium and Secretarium (Magistratsamt) [9] stands between the Imperial Counting House and the Reik.  All legal records concerning Reikland and Imperial matters are kept under lock and key here as are those whose duty it is to copy the large volumes of case law for use by the Magistrates, their clerks, and certain license lawyers.  As with other government institutions, the Secretarium would rather maintain the “old ways” of doing things rather than using the much cheaper and more efficient printing presses that can be found in other parts of Altdorf.


The Imperial Courts of Justice (Kaiserlicher Gerichshof) [10] are located in a large building near Three Toll Bridge along the banks of the Reik.  The court here is usually the site for cases involving the Nobility where the accused is judged by a jury of their noble peers.  Court cases that have to do with charges of treason against the Emperor or the murder (assassination) of a noble are assigned to these courts.  Imperial justice is said to be swift and many a criminal end their days in either one of the Altdorf prisons or at the business end of a gallows.  The latter are usually erected in either the Kaiserplatz (see above) or Königplatz (see below).  Trials that concern commoners and their petty grievances against a noble are first tried at the Altdorf Courthouse (see below) where many are dismissed for lack of “proper” evidence.  The five Supreme Magistrates of Altdorf have their offices within the Imperial Courts.  The most senior, Magistrate Leopold von Waldersee, is also a member of the Council of State.


Judicial Square (Richten Platz) [d] lies at the northwest corner of the Imperial Courts.  Agitators and demagogues are banned by law from practicing their nuisance craft here upon pain of imprisonment and fine.


Sometimes referred to as the Ostlander Bridge, Three Toll Bridge [e] connects Temple Street (Tempelstrasse) to Luitpoldstrasse and Street of a Hundred Taverns (see below).  It is the widest bridge in Altdorf and one of the more heavily patrolled by the City Watch.  The Hangman’s Tavern [11] is one of the establishments on Three Toll Bridge.  Many of the legal establishment frequent the tavern which gets it name from the old practice of hanging river pirates and smugglers from the bridge.



Domplatz (Cathedral) District


The Domplatz encompasses the area surrounding Cathedral of Sigmar.  Most of the priesthood have their residences in this neighbourhood in order to be as close to the internal politics of the cult as possible.


The Great Cathedral of Sigmar [12] is the largest temple in the Empire.  Its octagonal shape is typical of Sigmarite temples, with each side representing the united eight tribes at the time of the Goblin Wars and the founding of the Empire.  The Grand Theogonist makes his home within the temple as does the Lector of Altdorf.  There are a number of cells beneath the temple where lesser members of the clergy live.  The Great Library of the Cathedral is located in a massive underground vault, inaccessible to all but the highest echelon of the cult and their authorised agents.  Services are held daily and the Cathedral remains open for the pious throughout the day and night.


The Chapter House of the Order of the Fiery Heart (Tempel Haus) [13] stands to the north of the Cathedral and is the residence and hall of Sigmar’s Knights.  The Grandmaster generally only spends six months in Altdorf and the rest of the year at the Order’s Fischadler Castle on the outskirts of the Imperial Capital.  Typically, there are no more than 10 knights in Altdorf along with the Order’s men-at-arms and support staff.


Tempelstrasse [f] runs from Three Toll Bridge around the southern end of the Cathedral to the Templeplatz (see below) and Kaiserplatz (see above).  It is one of the busier streets on this side of the Reik.


To the southeast of the Cathedral stands Tempelgarten [g], a place of tranquillity for those who find such among the trees and plants.  Within the park is the Priest’s Rest [14], a tavern frequented by the Sigmarite clergy.  A small shrine to Taal and Rhya on the south side of the tavern is maintained by those who honour the two gods.  There is a belief that the park is all that remains of an ancient rove sacred to Taal.  The area around the shrine is said to be haunted by a young woman whose ghost appears just before the rising of the Altdorf fog.  Some rumours have it that she was an innocent burnt at the stake by zealous witch-hunters during the Wizards’ War.  Some believe that the spirit is far older and may be the manifestation of Dyrath, the ancient goddess of fertility (who some theologians speculate is just a representation of Rhya).


Along Tempelstrasse, near Three Toll Bridge stands the Vagr Breughel Memorial Playhouse [15] where many of the playwright Detlef Sierck’s productions are performed.  The theatre is said to be haunted, but there hasn’t been any reported incidences in the past few years.  The rival Geheimnisstrasse Theatre [16] is located nearby and features plays by the incomparable Tarradasch.


The Pious Pilgrim's Boarding House [17] is located between the two theatrical rivals and is the residence of many visiting Sigmarite priests and scholars.  Most of these individuals spend their time either attending or teaching at the nearby Collegium Sigismundae [18].  The school caters exclusive to those individuals who aspire to the Sigmarite priesthood.  Initiates and newly ordained priests from all over the country attend this school provided they have obtained sufficient funds from their sponsors.





One of the smallest districts in the city, the Reiksmarkt is nestled on the west bank of the Reik between Domplatz and Süderich districts.  The district is also the site of the Reikmarkt [h], the largest market in Altdorf west of the Reik, near the terminus of the Sigmar Bridge [i].  Many of the stewards of the noble households purchase the majority of their masters’ provisions at the Reikmarkt.


Located on the bank of the Reik, the Celestial College [19] is one of the oddest and tallest structures in the city.  Its tall, thin dome-topped towers rise up into Altdorf’s skyline before they branch into many smaller towers.  Rumours abound that should Taal get tired of the offensive structure, he might give Altdorf one good shake just to see the college come tumbling down.  For more information on the Celestial College, see Realms of Sorcery, pages 39-40.


The Imperial Opera House [20] is largest building in the district and has been recently renovated.  The opera is a relatively new arrival to Altdorf.  It was introduced from Tilea by way of Nuln during the last years of Emperor Luitpold’s reign.  The building’s new construction reflects the importance its wealthy patrons place on their personal entertainment.  Performances are quite expensive, which increases the appeal of attending as the prices keep the low-born (and low incomed) people out.





The Oberhausen district is one of southern districts on the west bank and stretches from the Reikmarkt in the east to the west wall.  It borders the Domplatz in the north and the smaller Süderich to the south.  Many affluent families, including a number of non-noble government officials, have townhouses in this district.


The Templeplatz Watch Station [21] is the main Barracks of the Altdorf Watch and located in the western section of the Oberhausen overlooking the Templeplatz [j].  This is where the Watch Marshal has his office and what passes as the elite Watch is quartered when not on patrol pushing around the less well-off and licking the boots of their superiors.  People accused of serious or capital crimes are held here until arrangements for their stay at one of the Altdorf prisons can be finalized.  The Elite Watch escorts the cart carrying these alleged criminals to their more permanent imprisonment.


The Temple of Morr [22] is the centre of worship for the God of the Dead in Altdorf. The jet-black building contains dormitories, cells, and a refectory for the novices, acolytes and priests in addition to a temple, a chapel, and Temple Father Knock’s apartments, all of which are built around a central cloister. The clergy mainly consists of initiates training to become priests in Reikland and the neighbouring provinces. Burials of the rich and the mighty take place from here, while all the rest are buried directly from the chapels, usually the one in Morr Town further east.


The College of Heraldry [23] has recently been relocated to more spacious quarters from its old, dilapidated site just a few streets away.  Klaus von Rotterfach, noble and former Imperial Herald, is a stern master who brooks no interference from officials in other governmental ministries.  The records contained herein are impeccably maintained and no one is allowed to peruse these other than Baron von Rotterfach or one of his more senior (and trusted) assistants.  Anyone who wishes information must have the appropriate authorisations or a great deal of gold crowns.  Should they lack either, the petitioner will be turned away.


The Imperial [24] is considered one of the higher class hostelries and is often used by the entourage of the northern Provincial Electors whenever their master personally attends the Imperial Court.


The Royal Conservatory (Hof Konservatorium) [25] is located near the approach to Sigmar Bridge.  Some of the younger children of the city’s elite attend this school of music where they learn from some of the Empire’s must gifted masters.  Performances are held once a week to help pay the instructors’ wages.  Admission is priced so that only the elite can afford to attend.


The Ulthuan Embassy [26] is situated close to the Royal Conservatory.  Established after the Great War Against Chaos, the relations between the Empire and Ulthuan have been fairly cordial, except for the years during and shortly after Marienburg’s independence.  Officially, the Empire recognises Ulthuan’s suzerainty over the Wood Elves of the Laurelorn to the north, though no one has seem to bother telling the “rustic cousins” of this development.  This official recognition is a sore point with Middenland and Nordland as both see Ulthuan as little more than interlopers in their region.  When not at official functions requiring his attendance, Ambassador Tymalier Eskeladel is usually found within the embassy.  There are times when the High Elf emissary departs with several Ulthuan guards through the south gate to wander in the nearby forest in order to escape the stench of the Imperial capital and its uncouth human inhabitants.





The Süderich is the southernmost district on the Westside and rivals the Reikmarkt in size.  Some affluent merchants and scholars, mostly middle-class, make their residence in the few townhouses that can be found in this district.


The Marketplatz [k] is another of the many markets in Altdorf and specialises in the selling of fish.  Servants from the households on this side of the Reik would rather come to this market rather than brave the other such market in the Docks area (see below).


The Physicians’ Guild has given its guildhall the rather lofty name of the Collegium Medicinae [27].  As expected, the Guild takes full responsibility to train would-be applicants in order to ensure the quality and character of those admitted.  In other words, the Guild will ensure that any they take in will place the welfare of the Guild and its leaders above all else and, secondarily, ensuring that they will serve their wealthy clientele to the best of their abilities.  Characters who wish to apply to the Collegium Medicinae had better make sure that their references are impeccable and funding secured.


The largest building in the Süderich is Graustein Keep [28], which is used as a prison housing those accused or convicted of serious (though not capital) crimes.  Some of those who leave after serving their time are broken men who refuse to speak of their experiences as a prisoner in the keep.


The Hospice Priory of Shallya [29] provides shelter as well as a place to pray for Shallyans in the city as well as their fellows on pilgrimage from other parts of the Empire.  Priestess Natascha de Beaumont is the ranking cleric of the Temple of Shallya (see below) who spends a great deal of time at the Hospice.  The Priestess is a kind soul who has seen enough of the world to be wary of certain transients (i.e. self-styled adventurers) who seek assistance, usually medical, without giving anything of substance in return.  Priestess de Beaumont generally prefers service from these petitioners rather than monetary contributions.


Mourners’ Bridge [l] stretches across the Reik and connects Süderich to the southern edges of the Reikerbahn district and Mórr’s Town (see below).  It’s the southernmost of Altdorf’s bridges.



North of the Talabec





This district is a rather small one located in the nothernmost portion on east bank of Reik, west of University district.  The houses here are old compared to other parts of the city and rather expensive.


There are a number of cemeteries on the east bank of the Reik.  Ruhstatt Cemetery (Burgher's Cemetery) [30] is an older, now mostly unused, cemetery with many tombstones and crypts to mark the graves of the privileged from centuries before.  As with all graveyards, there is a Chapel of Mórr on the premises.  There are also rumours of secret tunnels connecting a number of the older crypts, but these are dismissed by Friedhelm Ahnwacht, the Priest of Mórr  from the temple across the Reik who is in charge of the chapel.





Another small district, the Friedwang is located between the Northern gate and University district.  A number of scholars from the University and successful merchants make their home in this quaint district.


The Temple of Verena [31] stands out with its Tilean-style architecture and marble columns.  Justus Veltins is the ranking priest of Verena in Altdorf and prefers to avoid the politics of the Imperial Court whenever possible.  Justus spends some of his time teaching law at the University, though he knows that justice under the Sigmarite law courts are more influenced by Sigmarite dogma than Verenan enlightenment.


The nearby Public Library [32] is administered by the Temple of Verena and is opened to the public for a small fee (roughly 5 shillings a visit).  The Librarian, Adalbert Buchhalter, is a minor priest who is very protective (to the point of obsession) of the books in his care.  All books are chained to their proper place for general viewing.  Should anyone linger too long out of his sight, Adalbert will send one of his assistants to investigate.  If need be, Adalbert is willing to use the club he keeps nearby to chase off any who seek to damage the books.  Should any books of a dubious nature come to his possession, Adalbert will send these to the vault at the Temple where they are with limited access.


A cluster of buildings near the northern gate of Altdorf with a large pyramid at its centre marks the Light College [33].  The surrounding buildings themselves house the wizards, acolytes, and servants of the college.  The smooth-faced, white-marble pyramid has only one entrance and only the foolish seek to enter it.  For more information on the Light College, see Realms of Sorcery, pages 47-49.



University District


The University district follows the east bank of Reik from Karl-Franz Bridge to Three Toll Bridge.  It lies to the north of Street of a Hundred Taverns (see below) to Königplatz.  Many minor nobles make their homes near the riverfront, while students of wealthy parents make their residences closer to the University.  The district gets a bit more unsettled closer to the Docks.


Anyone arriving to Altdorf from the north, especially if they travel by coach, will first experience the sights and sounds of Altdorf when they arrive at the Königplatz [m].  By law, the coaching lines must deposit their passengers at this square where they can be assaulted by hawkers who seek to direct the newly-arrived towards certain inns.  Entertainers – and other unsavoury fellows – also wander the square seeking to separate visitors from the coins in their purse.  In addition, one can find town criers ringing their bells whilst announcing the Emperor’s latest edicts and spreading general news and gossip.  If one is really lucky, a public execution might well be taking place.  This form of entertainment could be as simple as a heretic burning to something more extravagant as the drawing and quartering of a felon.  If no such is taking place, visitors to the square can still take heart, there are always people in the stocks at whom one can hurl rotten fruit and vegetables.


Though on the Königplatz, the Temple of Shallya [34] does not have windows or portals facing the square.  Clearly, the cult has no wish to witness the public display of capital or other punishments that take place in the Königplatz.  It also seems that they do not have the political clout to have such relocated elsewhere in the city much less abolished.


The University of Altdorf [35] dominates the district and is the centre of Reiklander scholarship.  The University ranks high as a place of learning alongside similar institutions in Middenheim, Nuln, and rebellious Marienburg.  Many prominent Imperial scholars have their offices at the University and its various schools and colleges have a number of restricted libraries.  One of the most well-known colleges at the University is the Collegium Historica.  Led by the esteemed Aleistus Schliemann – Historian and Chief Curator – the Collegium Historica oversees the Royal Imperial Museum and is a chief sponsor of the Imperial Geographic Society, both of which are located at the University.  The University is also home to the Guild of Explorers.


Within the University is a place known as Ruckusplatz or Commotion Square.  It’s also referred to as Speaker’s Corner and is traditionally used by Agitators to whip up impressionable students, especially those with generous access to the parents’ wealth.


The charter of the Altdorf Wizards’ and Alchemists’ Guild [36] – formerly known as the Guild of Apothecaries – was revised by Emperor Wilhelm II when he realised that the Colour Colleges of Magic recruited most of their apprentices from the Magical Guilds and colleges of Middenheim, Nuln, and even Talabheim.  Wilhelm was determined that the great Imperial capital should have its own Guild for the training and development of native Reiklander wizards, as well as any who wish to someday serve in the Emperor’s armies.  The Altdorf Guild is still relatively small and not quite up to par with its rivals from the other Imperial cities, but it is growing in prestige.


For those individuals eager to learn Surgery, the nearby Barbers’ Guild [37] is constantly seeking qualified applicants.  A number of its members are employed by the Reikland army as the Surgeons from the Guild are less judgmental about the necessity of war than any healer affiliated with the cult of Shallya.


The College of Noble Sorcery [38] is spread among several townhouses located on Westenstrasse.  Its students are more noted for their affluent connections – especially to their parents’ purse – than their abilities in the mystic arts.  Many can be found drinking and carousing in the local taverns.  For more information on the College of Noble Sorcery, see Realms of Sorcery, pages 88-89.


The current site of the Gold College [39] is not the one where it was originally founded by Teclis.  As the college has grown wealthier, the higher echelon decided that a move to a

For more information on the Gold College, see Realms of Sorcery, pages 44-46.


Nothing of the Jade College [40] can be seen from the street other than its high unornamented walls.  Its narrow gates are generally closed, though the guards inside will answer (through a shuttered slit in the gate) to any inquiries from those who either are curious or seek admittance.  In the case of the latter, several visits with responses to questions may be required before being allowed within.  For more information on the Jade College, see Realms of Sorcery, pages 46-47.


At first glance, one would mistake the Grey College [41] for an old, crumbling stone building in desperate need of destruction.  Its ivy-covered walls hide some of the missing stones and its dilapidated tower looks as if it is an accident waiting to happen.  For more information on the Grey College, see Realms of Sorcery, pages 40-43.



Bankbezirk (Bankers’ District)


The Bankbezirk is the centre of Altdorf’s commerce and lies east of the Middenheim Road and the Königplatz.  Not surprisingly, many merchants and traders make their homes in this mercantile district.  Banking companies are also situated in the Bankbezirk.


Located near the North Gate, the Fuhrmarkt [n] is a traditional farmers’ and livestock market that is held during the morning hours.  Servants from the districts north of the Talabec flock here to obtain provisions and goods for the household of their masters.  Many traders operate booths and selling their merchandise from mid-morning onwards.  Anyone seeking gossip, news, and rumours can do worse than mingle with the crowds at this market.


The Association of Coachmen [42] is little more than the building that houses the offices of the coaching companies – Four Seasons, Cartak Lines, and Ratchett Lines – that serve Altdorf and their maintenance yards and stables.  The companies are bitter competitors.  Their offices were once located in different parts of the Altdorf, but city officials had enough of the “raids” each waged against the others (humorously called the “Coaching Wars”) that an ordinance was passed forcing the three to cohabitate.  The Four Seasons is the newest of the coaching lines and is slowly bleeding the other two of their business.


The Imperial Mercantile Bank [43] provides its customers with banking services and as functions as a stock exchange.  There are some who consider depositing their money at the bank as being little different than throwing it away in a game of dice, but for most people it’s safer than keeping coins in the mattress – or pile of bug-infested straw – at one’s home.


The Altdorf Council Hall [44] is the centre of the city’s administration. It contains offices for the three Burgomeisters and their secretaries as well as the City Records which is constantly quarrelling with the Judiciary Secretarium over jurisdiction. It is also the home of the Altdorf Courthouse where most of the legal cases in Altdorf are tried.  The majority are presided over by a tribunal of three magistrates, though there are cases of misdemeanour where one magistrate is often enough to render judgement.   In circumstances where the proper jurisdiction is in question in other parts of the Reikland, the court case will be referred to here.  Reiklander justice is said to be final and only in extreme situations will an appeal of a ruling from this courthouse be accepted by the Imperial Courts.  As with the Imperial Courts, many a criminal found guilty will end their days in either one of the Altdorf prisons or at the business end of a gallows.  Those convicted here of capital crimes are executed in the Königplatz (see above) to the delight of the crowd.


The Association of Financiers & Moneylenders [45] is located in a different part of the district from the Bank. By statute, this is an obvious attempt to create some separation between the moneygrubbers and all that money.  Members of this association include Baron Frederich von Reichenhall and the Steinhäger brothers, Franz and Heinrich, (Shadows over Bögenhafen, Hogshead version, page 64), as well as representatives of the Marienburg Merchant Houses such as van der Kuypers, Fooger, and van Haagan (Marienburg: Sold down the River, pages 30-32).


In order to keep an eye on the financiers and moneylenders, the Merchants’ Guild [46] is located in the same building with the Association.  Gossip on the street is that there is no love lost between the Guild and Association.  Still, many of the Merchant families from both Reikland and Marienburg have representatives in this Guild as well.  To further complicate matters, the Merchant Guild is rumoured to be divided into two camps.  One faction is led by Guildmaster Gustavus Seidehandler, who is said to believe that a new era in the Empire is soon coming where the rising merchant classes eclipse the declining nobility in both financial power and political prestige.  The other, more conservative faction is led by the influential Baron Manfred von Klaus and looks towards a more constructive relationship between the merchants and nobility.  So far, the differences have remained in the backrooms of the Guild.  It’s anyone’s guess as to how long such manoeuvring will remain there.


Located on Münzestrasse [o], Foogerhaus [47] is the Altdorf office of Marienburger Director Arkat Fooger (Marienburg:Sold down the River, pages 87-88).  His representative in the City is Karstin Largsdottir (Dwarfs: Stone & Steel, page 97-98). Karstin is a member of the Altdorf Merchant Guild, but she has resisted any attempt to place her in any of the two factions that threaten to split the Guild.  As with any other influential and affluent individual in Altdorf, Karstin is not above hiring agents to look after Herr Fooger’s many interests.



The Docks


The Docks is officially known as the Niederhafen district and a place where many visitors to Altdorf lose their wealth, their way, and sometimes their life.  The neighbourhood is rather impoverished from the perspective of the locals, but through it passes much of the trade that is Altdorf’s lifeblood.  The Docks is also the centre of Altdorf’s more notorious forms of entertainment and its dark and narrow alleys the scene of many crimes.


The major attraction in the district is the Street of a Hundred Taverns [p] - sometimes even called the Street of a Thousand Taverns by boasting locals.  There are a number of places along the street where one can get himself roaring drunk.  The more commonly known taverns are The Three Emperors, Drunken Bastard, Knight’s Hovel, Seven Stars, and Griffon’s Pothole.  Should a visitor seek a place of lodging, they could do worse than the Cat and Fiddle, Wayfarer’s Rest, and Sailor and the Lady.  For the affluent, there are the private clubs such as Hart’s Lodge and the Crescent Moon. The exact location of the latter is a secret, which is probably for the better, since rumour has it that the members have been blessed by the Dark Kiss.


Some establishments specialise in special forms of entertainment of services.  Should a patron wish to attend a cabaret, they could drop by The Gamesman or Black Velvet during one of their respective shows.  The Ruddy Wench and Crown and Two Chairmen are two establishments which cater to those seeking companionship for the night, though the Crooked Spear provides the same service to a different clientele.  Gamblers who wish to try their luck at cards or dice tend to visit the Von Neuwald Arms or Tumbling Bones.  Individuals who prefer diversions such as bear-baiting or pit fighting tend to congregate at establishments like Gladiators or Fangs and Claws.  Fanciers of weirdroot and similar mind-altering substances tend to make their way to Bruno’s Brewhouse or the Breasts of Myrmidia.  Those who are foolish enough to desire contact with the less savoury elements in Altdorf will generally be drawn to the Holy Hammer of Sigmar or A Cut Above.


The Freudenhaus [48] is a bordello located behind some of the taverns on the Street of a Hundred Taverns.  It is well known as a place where every whim and desire can be found.


Volker Weg [q], which many have nick-named the Street of Many Taverns, intersects the Street of a Hundred Taverns at the Königplatz.  It is not the centre of Altdorf’s entertainment as the Hundred Taverns, but it does have its share of tavern and inns where the more discreet frequent.  The Parrot and Pig and Cowardly Tilean are two locations of the many establishments where traders in information meet to exchange rumours and news.  The situation on this street is more appealing as patrols from the Luiptoldstrasse Watch station are considerably less frequent here than on the Streets of a Hundred Taverns.


The Luitpoldstrasse [r] runs along the docks and connects the southern ends of the Street of a Hundred Taverns and Street of Many Taverns.  Along this stretch, one can find a number of other points of interest.


One particular point of interest is the new Dock Watch Station [49].  The old station was burnt down a few years ago in one of Altdorf’s recent riots.  Instead of rebuilding on that spot, the Watch was allowed to relocate a few doors to the west.  Holding cells are located below the facility and tend to get a bit damp and mouldy whenever the river rises a few feet.  Prisoners stay only as long as it takes to arrange an escort to one of Altdorf’s prisons.


The Harbourmaster (Hafenmeisterei) [50] is located nearby.  In the upper floor of this two-storied building, records of the arrivals and departures of ships – as well as any taxes collected – are maintained by clerks and excisemen.  Given the grand way the Harbourmaster Norbert Brüggen lives in his townhouse in the University district, one might conclude that the books shown the Chancellor of the Exchequer are not quite the same as Lord Brüggen keeps in the secured vaults in his office. The River Patrol Barracks are located on the first floor, which provides some security for the Lord Harbourmaster.  Another part of the building is used for the offices of Minister Count Siegfried von Walfen, cousin to Emperor Karl-Franz I and a member of the Council of State.  As one of his duties as Minister, Count von Walfen is the head of the Imperial River Patrol, which in reality only covers the rivers within the Reikland.  Other chapters of the Imperial River Patrol are licensed for a fee to act as agents for the Empire.


The centre of the district is dominated by the Fischmarkt [s].  This large square not only hosts the daily fish market, but also has a number of buildings bordering it.  Within the middle of the square, the Chapel of Manaan [51] is a place where those who work the Reik – boatmen, fishermen, and the like – can pay homage to the God of the Reik.  Within the Chapel, there is also a small shrine to the God of Rivers, Karog.


Several other notable places can be found on the periphery of the Fischmarkt.  The Fischbrat Haus is a restaurant which specialises in baked and fried fish.  The Boatman Inn and Unke’s Spelunke are places patronised by those who make their living on the rivers as well as those working the docks.  Brawls are a regular event at these establishments and form a sort of interactive entertainment.  At the north end, those in desperate straits conducted business with Pfandleih Haus, a pawnbroker of some (mostly ill) repute in the Docks.


The Rivermen’s Association [52] is located on eastern side of the Fischmarkt.  Anyone plying their livelihood on the Rivers Reik and Talabec are well-advise to join this association. Guildmaster Bruno Dönitz and his cronies patrol the Docks looking for any unfamiliar face.  Any who are not familiar are pressed to join the Guild.  Those who look like rivermen, but refuse to join may well be beaten by Herr Dönitz and his men or have their ship vandalized.  Some have even been known to disappear for a time before their bodies resurface somewhere downriver.


The Stevedores’ and Teamsters’ Guild [53] is located near the Street of Many Taverns at the northern terminus of the Old Emperor Bridge (sometimes called the Ostlander Bridge) [t], which connects the Niederhafen district to the Reikerbahn.  Like the Rivermen, the Stevedores and Teamsters don’t look very kindly on any non-member doing work along the Docks.  It is said that Guildmaster Karl Heilmann has a third (if not half) of the Dock Watch under his control.  Many of these are used to identify non-Guild members who are undertaking Guild work so that Herr Heilmann’s thugs can pay a visit to these people in the dead of the night for “frank discussions.”


Numerous trading companies have their offices in the Docks, one of the more notable and comparatively successful being the Reik-Talabec Trading Company [54].  This company is located near the warehouses that line the River Talabec.



Werksviertel (Niederwind)


The Werksviertel district lies south of the Bankbezirk district and between Metallschlack and Niederhafen districts on the north bank of the River Talabec.  This district is the heart of the manufacturing district of Altdorf and contains a number of working class tenements.


Located on Schrägkruez Strasse [u], Starr’s Funeral Parlour [55] is one of many funeral parlours scattered throughout the city.  Its proprietor, Johann Starr, is a member of the Mourners’ Guild and certified to prepare the deceased for their final rest.  A cold storage room below is used to store the bodies until a Priest of Mórr can retrieve them for their final rest.  A protective glyph of Mórr is placed on the lintel of the doorway to keep out those who seek to disturb the dead.


Though looking a bit dingy and rundown in a nearby alley, Hengt's Book Shoppe [56] is a goldmine for those who investigate the unusual.  Many rare and strange books can be found in the untidy shelves and unkempt piles throughout the shop, if one has the time and determination to search.   The owner, Adolf Hengt, has a good deal of obscure knowledge that he’s willing to impart for a price.  Unknown to most, Adolf traffics in forbidden texts which he keeps in very safe and secret hiding places in his shop.


The intersection of Schrägkruez Strasse and Schwarzwasser Strasse [v] is called Talabecplatz [w] by the locals.  Many of the clothiers along Schwarzwasser participate in the market that operate in the square as do many of the artisans in the district.  The market is usually opened on Wellentag, Aubentag, and Festag.


The Altdorf Press [57] is one of the older printer establishments in the Imperial capital having been founded during the reign of Emperor Mattheus II, grandfather of Karl-Franz.  The Altdorf Press was given tax-exempt status by Mattheus II in exchange for launching a daily news-letter called the Altdorf Spieler for those citizens who were able to read.  This was one of the few successful acts that the late Emperor was able to institute in his failed bid to bring more “democracy” to the Empire.  The Altdorf Press is also famous for a series of books depicting the obviously fictional adventures of a self-styled adventure named Felix Jaeger and his rather odd companion Gotrek Gurnisson. 


The Masons’ Guild [58] is one of the more influential guilds in Altdorf and, given the current work improving the city walls of Altdorf, one of the busiest.  Dwarfs are well represented in the Guild’s membership.  In fact, the Mason Guildmaster, Turbruk Greyhammer, is rumoured to be over 250 years old and a veteran of the Great War Against Chaos.


Kürten’s Leatherworks and Tannery (Lederei) [59] has moved most of its tanning operations out of the city in accordance to the “Stench” Act of 2506, which ordered all such operations out of Altdorf.  The various tanneries and slaughterhouses have set up their operations north of the city on the banks of the Reik.  Alois Kürten moved his tanning operations as well, and expanded his leatherworks operations in the city.


Located near the border with the Metallschlack district on Hammerstrasse [x], the Reik Steel and Iron Foundry (Reiksstahl Giesserei) [60] is the largest of its kind in Altdorf and processes iron ore from the Grey Mountains into iron bars and other products for use by those who work such into finished products.  The Dwarf and Imperial Engineer Guilds, see below, are among the largest buyers.  Helmut Tegelmann is the crusty overseer who doesn’t take kindly to slackers.


The neighbouring Faltzer Metalworks [61] is a large facility which specialises in taking the ore from other types of metal and blending them into alloys, such as pewter and bronze, for use by those who work these into more finished products.


The Eastender Bridge [y] is the easternmost bridge in Altdorf and the bridge that more workers in the Werksviertal cross to return to their residences in the Sindelfingen district (see below)





The Metallschlack district is the easternmost north of the Talabec and borders the Bankbezirk district (north) and the Werksviertal (or Niederwind) district (west).  The district is also referred to as the Dwarf Quarter for the number of Dwarfs living there.  It is by no means an exclusive Dwarf district, though many of the taverns in the district are run by the Dwarfs.  In fact, some of the best ale in all of Altdorf can be found in the Metallschlack district.


The Dwarf Engineer Guildhouse [62] is a large building located on Eisenschlacke Weg [z].  It is rumoured that a good portion of the Guild has been built below ground by the secretive – and rather paranoid – Dwarfs.  The sounds of work generally carry on until late in the night.  For more information on the Dwarf Engineer Guild in Altdorf (and the Empire), see Dwarfs: Stone & Steel, pages 17-18 and Warpstone #20.


The Karaz Ankor Embassy [63] is located near the Dwarf Engineers guild.  The Guild isn’t pleased with this as they believe the location was chosen so that some influential elements of Karaz-a-Karak (namely the Dwarf Engineer Guildmaster and his cronies) could keep an eye on the Expatriate Dwarf Guild.  Matters are not helped by the fact that Ambassador Prince Montrak Ironhelm, a clansman of the High King, treats the Expatriates with little respect as if they aren’t proper Dwarfs.  From the perspective of the Embassy, the Expatriates are Dwarfs who do not understand their obligations to the High King and who benefit immeasurably from the sacrifice of their kin in the Worlds Edge Mountains.  Of course, the Embassy has the same view regarding the ungrateful Dwarfholds outside Karaz Ankor.  For more information on Karaz Ankor and the Dwarfholds of the Dwarf Empire, see Dwarfs: Stone & Steel, pages 26-34.


The Imperial Engineer Guildhouse [64] is located across from the Reik Steel and Iron Foundry (see above).  It is the place where many of the experimental weapons of war in the Imperial arsenal are built.  As expected, it is also the scene of many explosions as the engineers here are not quite as careful as they are innovative.  The Imperial Guild, in fact, likes to point out that they are far more daring and experimental than their Dwarf counterparts.  The Imperials do not point out that they also have more fatalities.  For more information on the Imperial Engineer Guild of Altdorf (and the Empire), see Warpstone #20.





Sidebar: Flooding and the culverts under Altdorf


Until the reign of Emperor Sigismund the Conqueror, the people of Reikdorf (as Altdorf was known before its renaming) experienced periodic bouts of flooding.  Emperor Sigismund was determined to solve that problem for all time.


Using the skills of the Dwarf Engineers under his command, Sigismund had the Dwarfs build two large culverts to channel the excess waters from the Reik and Talabec safely under the city to the portion of the Reik north of the city.  The project was ambitious and the Dwarfs did not complete their work until the reign of Sigismund’s son, Siegfried the Lawgiver.


From the grated opening outside the eastern wall, the Talabec culvert is believed to flow beneath the Metallschlack and Werksviertal districts before winding its way under the University and Friedwang districts.  The Reik culvert starts outside the south wall and passes under the Cathedral and Palace.  It returns to the Reik near the Weissbrück Canal.


Under the reign of Emperor Wilhelm II, the Imperial Engineer Guild was given the task of constructing a sewer system for Altdorf.  Wilhelm believed that the effort to channel sewage underneath the streets – rather than on them – might well improve the sanitation of the city.  The Imperial Engineer Guild used the Dwarf-built culverts as the main sewer lines and constructed extensions from these.


During their efforts, portions of some tunnels collapsed and the Imperial engineers were forced to re-route some sewer lines.  Dwarf engineers who have seen the efforts of the Imperials comment that the whole of Altdorf is riddled with these warrens and it might well be the next tunnel that will cause a monumental collapse of the city.


There are rumours that some of the tunnels have breached long buried chambers and other ruins of historical Altdorf, possibly as far back as when the settlement was known as Reikdorf.


Unfortunately for the districts south of the Talabec, the funding for the sewer project ran out before the Imperial engineers could do more than construct a few tunnels.


*****End Sidebar*****



East End Districts





The Reikerbahn is the westernmost of the East End districts and one that has an ill-favoured reputation.  The harbour on this side of Altdorf is in poorer repair than the one in Niederhafen.  Most of the smuggled goods coming into and going out of Altdorf comes from this district.  When night falls, the Reikerbahn becomes a very dangerous place to wander alone.  One of the smaller streets in this district is Geblenz Strasse, which is unkindly referred to by the locals as the Street of the Assassins.


The reputation of the Altdorf Sanitarium [65] is not a wholesome one.  This “Home for the Mentally Deficient” was once run by the cult of Shallya.  Unfortunately, the kind-hearted and gentle touch of the cult resulted in to many accidents and fatalities.  The cult of Sigmar took over the governance of the Sanitarium and appointed a Commissioner, Doktor Dietrich Holzfäller, to oversee its administration and the care of its “guests.”


Up a small hill from the Sanitarium is the Necropolis [66].  This graveyard is old with a number of ornate gravestones and mausoleums on its grounds.  The creepiness of the grounds is further accentuated whenever the Altdorf fog rolls off the Reik and Talabec.  The Necropolis sits just high enough to look over the thick mist that covers the streets of the Imperial city.  As with other graveyards, a small shrine of Mórr watches over the hallowed grounds.





Open sewers mark the Sindelfingen [A] district.  It is both here and in the neighbouring Drecksack Slums where members of the Muckrakers Guild make their living.  The Muckrakers gather up the contents of chamber pots to ferry down to the tanneries at night as well as remove other wastes from the streets.  Most of the latter are dump a distance to the east near the borders with Talabecland.


Most of Altdorf’s working poor lives within the confines of the Sindelfingen.  This is considered an improvement over the neighbourhood to the east.


Since the Great Fire of 2431, a large area of blackened glass has separated the Bright College [67] from the neighbouring slums.  The building is a large squared-shaped structure made of dark red bricks.  A tall tower rises from each corner of the College, each topped with a pillar of flame.  For more information on the Bright College, see Realms of Sorcery, pages 43-44.



Drecksack Slums


The Drecksack Slums [B] is the easternmost of the East End districts.  The people who live in the squalor of the Slums are the most wretched and desperate people in the entire city.  Many of the derelicts here have no jobs and depend heavily on the Shallyan soup kitchens.  Disease festers in this district and most people with sense shun the Slums as they would any warren filled with plague-infested vermin.





Morrwies is also known as “Mórr Town” as much for the large cemetery as for the Chapel of Mórr and the Crematorium.  Few people, other than the priests of Mórr and members of the Mourners’ Guild, make their residence in this district.


The Raven and Portal Tavern [68] is favoured by the priests of Mórr and members of the Mourners’ Guild and visiting Raven Knights.  The lively atmosphere here is a contrast to the sombre mood which seems to prevail over the district.  A popular saying in the district is “one cannot truly enjoy life unless they’ve been around the alternative.”  Not surprisingly, gallows humour is a favourite among the residents.


The Chapel of Morr & Crematorium [69] seem an odd mix for the cult of Mórr.  Generally, the cult inters the decease into the ground after the appropriate funereal rites are performed.  The wars against the Undead in the 22nd century and the lack of space in Altdorf forced the cult to revise some of their burial practices.  The wealthy and well-connected dead are still buried or interred into family crypts and mausoleums.  Paupers are buried in sections of the Morrwies (Commoner’s) Graveyard [70] for a specific amount of time.  When the remains are exhumed, they are taken to the fires of the crematorium where they are reduced to ash.  The ashes are then cast into the Reik with the proper prayer to Mórr.


Situated against the southern walls, the Amethyst College [71] is built with curved walls of dark-grey stone.  It has few windows, only two towers.  The doors of the school are always ajar, seemingly ready to trap the unwary.  The College overlooks the Commoner’s Graveyard, which causes some tension with the nearby Chapel of Mórr.  For more information on the Amethyst College, see Realms of Sorcery, pages 50-53.





Sidebar: Mundsen Keep


An old and dirty castle south of the city walls goes by the name of Mundsen Keep. It serves as the largest jail for the city of Altdorf, and is the home of all sorts of criminals serving long terms of imprisonment, from the tradesman gone broke to the worst of murderers.  Those who go to their place of execution in the Königplatz do so bounded to a pole on a small skiff which is towed by a river barge down river.  The barge is painted black so that all who see the condemned can hurriedly find their place at the square for the best viewing.  From the docks, the condemned is placed on a small cart and led to their final destination.


Mundsen Keep is a filthy and reeking place, the only decent quarters being the apartments of the infamous Governor Van Zandt way up above the filth in the top of the central tower.


*****End Sidebar*****