Once Upon A Time In The Empire
“In all my travels about the empire, I have stayed in numerous towns, villages, cities, hamlets, thorps, settlements and whatever other word people can come up with to descibe a place where people live together. Indeed ubersreik has been among them. And in all honesty, I can tell you that of all the places I have visited, Ubersreik is not the worst place I have set foot in.
As Verena teaches, you can always find a truth to speak about any subject, but truth need not be kind."
-Adele Lehmann, Disciple of Verena
Ubersreik’s Place in the Empire
Ubersreik is a free town of medium size, situated on the River Teufel a little downstream from the Grey Mountains. The town sits astride an important bridge where the road from Bögenhafen to Dunkelburg crosses the river, and trade flows along the road as well as downriver to Auerswald, Grünburg, Kemperbad, and Altdorf. In the mountains to the south-west of the town sits the infamous Castle Drachenfels, and to the south-east is the recently founded small dwarf hold of Karak Azgaraz.
The town is strategically positioned to be a base to protect the Grey Lady Pass, just as Helmgart, further west, protects Axe Bite Pass. Its proximity to the Grey Mountains means that it has a thriving dwarf community, which has grown in recent years because of trade with Karak Azgaraz.
Human prospectors, hunters, and adventurers use the town as a base of operations for expeditions into the Grey Mountains, and the weekly market brings in livestock and produce from half a dozen surrounding villages. Luxury goods such as Bretonnian wine and brandy flow in through the Grey Lady Pass. The town watch is augmented by a small garrison based in Magnus’s Tower, a spectacular structure reputedly commissioned by the Emperor Magnus the Pious more than two hundred years ago.
A Town in Turmoil?
A few years ago, the ruling von Jungfreud family had their authority tempered by the Emperor, and Ubersreik, previously under von Jungfreud control, became a freistadt or free city. Tensions had been growing between Ubersreik and the town of Auerswald downstream, and Graf Sigismund von Jungfreud was accused of fomenting civil war, shortly after Auerswald was almost completely burnt to the ground.
Another scandal hit Ubersreik recently when a Chaos cult was discovered operating out of a remote hunting lodge owned by one of the town’s noble families. The cult was wiped out, but the von Bruner family has lost most of its prestige as a result…
Rumours & Suspicions
Partly because of this scandal – and partly because of a resurgence of greenskin activity around the Grey Lady Pass – a rumour is circulating that the “Powers That Be” are thinking of revoking the town’s free status and reimposing a liege lord over the area.
In one version of the rumour, this move comes from the Emperor himself as Elector Count of the Reikland. A different rumour notes that the nobility of Grünburg is planning to annex Ubersreik and its surrounding villages to their own territory. A third whisper states that the upstart von Saponatheim family of Bögenhafen has its eye on Ubersreik, the family’s ambitions growing since a strategic marriage to the powerful von Liebwitz family of Nuln.
Whatever the truth may be, a number of nobles are jockeying for position and trying to gain favour with the town council and the people of Ubersreik. The council and guilds are doing their best to present a friendly face to their prospective liege lords, while many work behind the scenes to preserve Ubersreik’s status as a freistadt.
For more on Ubersreik, see: A Condensed History of Ubersreik
Ubersreik is surrounded by a crenellated stone wall featuring battlements and archer platforms at regular intevals. The wall was built during the time of Magnus the Pious and is manned by troops from the town Garrison. Towers defend the two gates and sit on either side of the river as it enters and leaves the town.
The docks are lined with wharves and warehouses interspersed with boatbuilders’s workshops. The streets behind the docks consist of lower-class housing, cheap inns and taverns, and a few shoppes. The neighbourhoods to either side of the bridge are somewhat more salubrious than the rest, as are the establishments along Böganhafen and Dunkelburg roads.
- The Bridge
- The Customs House
- Red Moon Inn
- Rugger’s Boarding House
- The Boatmens Guild
- The Dockers’ Arms
- The Guild of Boatbuilders and Chandlers
- A Billion Hens Inn
- Butchers Guild
The Artisan Quater
The town’s artisan quater occupies the north side of Böganhafen Road between the docks and the bridge. Because of the steady flow of ore from the grey mountains, metalworking is often seen as Ubersreik’s primary craft, although carpenters, tanners, dyers and stonemasons all ply their trades in the town.
The Dwarf Quater
Ubersreik has been home to a small community of dwarfs since the days of Magnus the Pious, when the Emperor appealed to the dwarfs of the Grey Mountains to help rebuild the town after the Great War Against Chaos. There has always been a good downriver trade in metal ores and high-quality stone from the Grey Mountains, and a shared interest in protecting the trade route through the Grey Lady Pass to the south of the town. With the recent founding of Karak Azgaraz close to the pass, relations between the dwarfs and the Reiklanders of Ubersreik are as close as they have ever been.
The Market Square
The market square stands at the heart of the town, and every Marktag, farmers bring their livestock and produce from the surrounding villages. In the middle of the square is a large statue of Magnus the Pious, commemorating his role in rebuilding Ubersreik after The Great War Against Chaos.
On the north side stands the town hall, while the south side of the market square is dominated by the temple of Sigmar.
The Merchant Quater
The Merchant Quater extends for several streets from the eastern side of market square. In addition to the Merchants’ Guild and the offices of the Major Trading families, there are several small traders dealing in a wide variety of goods from coal to horses.
The Precinct, as it universally known, is Ubersreik’s military district. Centred on Magnus’s Tower, it includes a number of buildings associated with the towns garrison and watch, as well as a staging post for roadwardens passing through the town. A number of surrounding businesses manufacture or repair uniforms, flags, weapons, and armour, although the most presitious armourers and weaponsmiths are to be found in the Metalworkers’ Quarter.
The homes of Ubersreik’s great and good stand on a river terrace known as ‘the Hill’ on the eastern side of town. The Mansions of two of the town’s noble familys, the von Bruners and the Aschaffenbergs, stand above those of four families and other wealthy citizens. Lower down on fashionable Osterstrasse are the shoppes of high-class tailors, dressmakers, jewellers, and other suppliers of luxury goods, as well as fine banqueting halls and taverns.
The Hill is patrolled enthusiastically by the town watch, and the chances of arrest have more to do with a persons appearance and standard of dress than with any wrongdoing. Those who cooperate are generally let fo with a caution to stay away from area they visibly do not belong, while arrestees who cause trouble are likely to spend a night in the cells for breach of the peace.
Beyond The Walls
Ubersreik is not simply the city, but also the roads, farms, mines, small towns and principalities just outside the walls. The town’s graveyard, like most Empire cities, is also seperate from the city itself, and many families, both wealthy and poor have homes in the surrounding land aswell.