The Empire's People

Noble Houses

Black death picture by pat nicolle

The nobility of the empire ranges from the mighty Imperial family of the Holswig-Schliesteins to the many lowly baronets and knights who are found on every estate. The importance given to titles varies greatly- for example, the Countess of Averland riles a vast area lying between the river Aver, the Upper Reik, and the Black Mountains, while the Countess of Sylvania rules an area that would barely support a poor baronet of the western Empire. This diversity is noticeable in the wealth of the more important families- particularly those who hold Electoral positions. The members of the wealthy families are always apparent by their rich robes and glittering jewels. It is a popular saying that, on a moonless night, the Imperial Court at Altdorf can be seen as far away as Nuln. In contrast, those nobles who live in the eastern Empire often have difficulty convincing visitors that they are in fact the wealthiest persons in the area.

Ordinary People

You should not get the impression that the Empire is teeming with plate-clad aristocrats. The vast majority of the populace are poor, simple folk. While towns and cities have a growing ‘middle’ class of artisans and merchants, those who bear the brunt of the taxation laws and who die in droves in times of war are the peasants.

A Day in the life of the ordinary folk

Altdorf: You have heard it said that Altdorf is the capital city, the principal city of The Empire. The Emperor lives there in a huge palace and they say that the streets are paved with gold. It is also rumouredthat there are lots of people living there, even more than in your home town or village!

Magick: To say that you are somewhat wary of magick is a bit of an understatement. You have been brought up to believe that, unless it comes from the gods, magick is an evil thing and does more harm than good. You have met no sorcerers to date and that, you suppose, is a good thing.
Throughout your childhood, you were told of an evil sorcerer who lived in a tower in the forest near your home who used to eat children who were bad.

The Gods: The Gods are to be given the proper respect, including those of other cities, cultures and even those gods that are proscribed within The Empire, such as Khaíne – the Dread Lord of Murder. All gods, no matter how foul and evil, are powerful forces and to show disrespect to them is to court disaster, not only for yourself, but for everyone around you. Everything that happens and everything that exists is seen as divine activity or subject to divine intervention. Nothing happens just by coincidence.

Aristocracy: You have been brought up to believe that your people (the common folkof The Empire) and the Aristocracy (the noble born folk of The Empire) dwell in different worlds. Those of noble birth have little – if any – idea of how hard life is for those of lower status than themselves. However, that said, you have also been told that you should give the proper respect to those of noble birth, giving way to your betters and/or doffing your hat to
them.

Dwarfs: Other races exist in your world. Of those that you have encountered, the Dwarfs are on the whole a grim, humourless folk, well-renowned for being greedy, unfriendly, short-tempered, and more than a little unsociable. Their love of the drink – the stronger, the better, it would seem – is as legendary as their ability to produce items of excellent craftsmanship. They are short, burly and generally very hair and very ugly beings.

Halflings: On the other hand, the Halflings are an extremely friendly and easy-going folk who love food and making merry and enjoy the company of others immensely. Easily recognisable, they are small and slight of frame, but with rather rotund features and pot bellies. Their feet tend
to be large and hairy, and they prefer to go about barefoot.

Elves: You have heard that Elves are a strange and mysterious folk who dwell in the depths of the forests of The Empire. It is said that they dislike Humankind and loathe Dwarfkind; that they can disappear from sight at a whim, being more likely ghosts and spirits than living beings; and that they are terribly fair to look upon, their looks able to charm the sense from a person. Altogether, they are a folk to be avoided.

Daemons: Daemons are the stuff of nightmares and stories told to naughty children. They do not exist in the Real World and anyone who thinks they do is a fool and should be locked away in the nearest Watch-house!

Great Lords of Chaos: Their names are whispered in the darker places of the world – if ever mentioned at all – and only the deranged would even consider offeringup worship to them. You
know very little – if anything – about them and would prefer to live out the rest of your life in complete and utter ignorance of such matters.

Mutants and Beastmen: These creatures are something you have heard travellers speak of with a hint of fear in their voices. They are said to be evil creatures, perversions of that which is natural and good, oftimes frightening to behold and wholly inhuman. You are somewhat skeptical
about their actual existence – after all, everyone knows what tall tales travellers and adventurers can tell!

Gods of Law: To counter the effects of the Great Lords of Chaos, there are the Gods ofLaw, who count Alluminas, Arianka, and Solkan amongst their numbers. The Gods of Law desire permanence and stability, an end to all change and development. They are worshipped by only a few individuals and though worshipping the Gods of Law is not proscribed, it is not popular either. Again, you know very little – if anything – about any of them and would prefer to live out the rest of your life in complete and utter ignorance of such matters.

The Empire's People

The Enemy Within Andrew_Hart