Friday, 15 April 2011

M is for Marienburg

When man first settle here, this was all swamp. Everyone said it was daft to build a city on a swamp, but we built it all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So we built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So we built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that's where you live, the strongest and greatest city in all of the known world.
Situated at the mouth of the River Riek, in what is known as the Wasteland, Marienburg is the largest, and richest, city and port of the Old World. Marienburg is also a sore point of discussion in the courts of the Emperor and Elector Counts: Marienburg bought its independence from the Empire over a century ago from the rather corrupt Emperor Dieter IV.

Since the formation of the city-state, Marienburg has grown richer and richer, becoming known as the City of Gold. Its trade alliances extend to Bretonnia, Ulthuan's Sea Elves, Cathay, and the oft rumored Nippon and make Marienburg an important diplomatic player in the Old World. Its rather formidable navy make it a military power to be respected.

Marienburg's secession from the Empire found its roots in the rising cult of Sigmar and the wandering, intolerance of the Sigmar Witch Hunters. Finding corruption in corners of the Empire where often there was none, Marienburg's worship of its patron deity Mannan eclipsed Sigmar to great suspicion of the Witch Hunters, or more often the skull crushing steel of great warhammers and bonfires of heretics. Fortunately, location and the surrounding expansive marshes of the "Wasteland" offered some removal and protection. Not only from persecution, but also war.

In 2522 Marienburg's notoriety as a rich, cosmopolitan city, sent the fleeing refugees of Archaon's Chaos armies in the Empire seeking shelter or new lives the city-state. These new residents did not find gold, jobs, or hope, but found a new definition of poor in overcrowded streets and tenements. Marienburg's many canals and interconnected islands in the delta of the river, protect the merchant classes from these refugees. Many refugees often land in the Doodkanaal, a wretched, crime-ridden, and stinking ghetto on the southern wall of the city.

Game resources for Marienburg are few, though some great fiction exists in Death's City and A Murder in Marienburg by Sandy Mitchell and David Bishop, respectively. More recently Marienburg was featured in The Thousand Thrones, the WFRP 2e campaign. The streets, architecture, law, and its many denizens are described and the opening installment takes the heroes below Marienburg. This trip in the sewers of Marienburg is light, but the description of how centuries of building on a marsh seemingly swallows the ground floors of buildings is great game fodder. One can imagine a labyrinth of lost cellars (and ground floors that became cellars) filled with hidden treasure and monstrous terrors beneath the city, just as the opening tale tells us... or was that Monty Python?
Posted by caffeinated at 7:00 AM in d10


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