Saturday, 30 December 2006

Drawing from the well

I had read extensively of Altdorf before I arrived. But I have yet to see a tome covering the capital and all its institutions in great and painstaking detail. I have perused pamphlets, scrolls, newspapers and what have you, but few of the authors have managed to capture the highs and the lows, the people and the places, the filth and the shining marble in such a way as to make justice to the Emperor's seat of power. I intend to remedy that situation ...

Adolphus Altdorfer
Backertag, Vorhexen 33, 2521 IC

There are many sources to draw from when trying to paint a vibrant and vivid picture of Altdorf. It's important to me that I can answer my players' questions or at least get back to them after some research. This makes the city come alive and helps the players feel for the world around them. And since it is a city, most of the background colour comes from consistency; a shop that was there yesterday should be there today unless something has happened which changes that.

The primary sources for my own writings on Altdorf are two documents; the Altdorf map found in Warhammer Campaign (the map was drawn by Chris Elliot) and the unofficial fan netbook The Imperial Capital of Altdorf (by Arne Dam, Roderic d’Arcon and Alfred Nuñez Jr. with additional Background by Timothy Eccles and Anthony Ragan. The article can be found at Alfred Nünez's site, under WFRP articles).

In addition to these two corner stones I have put together an index of various locations found in Empire in Flames (by Carl Sargent, published by Games Workshop), Spires of Altdorf (by David Chart, published by Black Industries) and from my own WFRP campaign. I also recently read The Vampire Genevieve (by Jack Yeovil, published by Black Library) which has numerous references to specific locations in Altdorf, as well as Darkness Rising (by Phil Kelly and Anthony Reynolds, published by Black Library).

Together these sources give a varied and colourful picture of the Imperial capital. This is problematic since they contradict each other at places and sometimes vary wildly in tone and flavour. Also the geographical declarations for most locations found in official sources are hazy, especially in the Black Library books.

So it falls to me to use the sources avaliable, cut out the stuff I don't want, place or replace locations where I feel they fit better, create new locations and inhabitants and that way build my own version of Altdorf. You might not recognise every single detail, but I hope that many of the places I will talk about will become familiar to you and useful in your own campaign someday.


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