Wednesday, 8 January 2014

"Please Don't Sell Me!" Or, Why Marienburg is a Great Place to Play...

"Please Don't Sell Me!" Or, Why Marienburg is a Great Place to Play...


Whenever I have RPG downtime, I face a situation which is both boon and curse - I come up with a million and one ideas for RPGs. This is great, because it means I have lots of ideas to share with my group, and lots of inspiration for future campaigns, but it sucks because it means I want to do something other than was planned.

This tends to mean one of two things: I go with the old campaign idea, and let the new one simmer in my frustration, or I go with the new idea and leave behind all the work put into the old one.

Neither is a good path, but generally the first is better. I will enjoy anything I run, and the newer idea just seems more exciting because it is new. That being said, I don't want to give up on the new idea, so I guess it means I will be planning two campaigns at once!

So, therefore, I am writing this post. This one is more tooled towards my RPG group, M.O.R.T.E., though it is useful for anyone interested in RPGs, specifically WFRP. I'm going to talk about the great port city of Marienburg. Please note that a lot of what I am talking about is not officially canon, though, so take it as you will. This is my Marienburg. I like it, and hopefully you will too.
Technically Lake Town, but basically Marienburg.

Marienburg, City of Gold

Marienburg is considered the "City of Gold" by many, as it is the greatest and largest port in the world, and the third over all biggest city in the world (behind Altdorf and ultimately Praag). It is, however, a free city, unshackled by the Empire nor any other foreign power. It is the closest thing to a democracy that WFRP has (and, in fact, the term "democracy" was invented for Marienburg in setting).
Minds on their money, and their money on their minds.

Marienburg is Cosmopolitan

Marienburg is a true free-city. It doesn't just have a charter stating its freedom - it has a Directorate who have basically made everything legal. That is, so long as you pay the tax. If something can be taxed, or bribed, it is legal. 

You want to murder someone? To the stocks with you! That is, unless you have papers from the Guild Which Doesn't Exist, otherwise known as the Guild Who Shall Not Be Named. Sure, it wont be "legal", but there is an understanding there...

You're a Chaos Worshipper? To the Star Chamber with you! That is, unless you have paid your donations to the Tempelwijk. You have, have you? Well, surely that new statue to Manann makes up for your debauchery. Just, keep it on the down-low, ok?

PCs can find themselves in hot water for killing the bad guys simply because they didn't have the proper permits. Adventurers have new hurdles to cross. Sure, you can stab the smuggler stevedore in the face, but then you have to contend with the Stevedores and Teamsters Guild. And they're the sponsors for your own benefactors who have been paying your way!
Really nice to see everyone getting along...

Marienburg is a Mixing Pot

Every culture of the Old World and the New is visible in Marienburg. Albionese merchants hawk on the same street corner as Nipponese, Cathayan, and Elves from Ulthuan. You can stumble upon Indish spice merchants, haggling with Arabyan slavers, who are being funded by highly robed but not so disguised Lizardmen from Lustria.

Marienburg is the one city in Warhammer where people wont look at you funny because of your skin colour, texture, or make up. Well, so long as the gold is flowing, they wont look unkindly. Short change them, or take their jobs, and words will be had.

In addition to the peoples are the cultures, gods and foods. You can sample a bit of everything, and get lost in philosophical debates fought with fists over the doctrines of Sigmar, versus Dazh, versus Solkan.
Cool. All I got to say.

Marienburg boasts Bloodbowl

Whilst not as insane as the tabletop games, nor video games suggest, Marienburg is one of the few cities in the Old World that actually has a Bloodbowl league. Elves, Lizardmen, (some) Goblins, Dwarves, Ogres, and of course, Humans, all brain each other whilst throwing around a spiked metal ball for the amusement of roaring crowds.

This league is ripe for adventure, both in playing it, watching it, and rigging it. Bloodbowl is a game where cheating is expected, and playing by the rules is in itself a form of cheating. How dare you suck up to the referee by NOT killing the other team?! You cheating bastard!
If you like funny Dutch words, Marienburg is for you!

Marienburg is Central

Finally, Marienburg is in the middle of everything. Close to all the big players, it is the one spot in the Old World where a PC can feasibly get to anywhere else.

Every day, ships leave for Ulthuan, Lustria, Ind, Cathay, Nippon, Araby, Nehekhara, Albion, Norsca, Kislev, the Southlands, Bretonnia, the Border Princes, Tilea, Estalia and even Naggaroth (when the Sea Elves aren't looking). That is, not to mention the fact that it sits at the mouth of the River Reik, so feeds down to Altdorf, Nuln, Talabheim, and every part of the Empire and beyond.

Further, the city sits in the middle of a Chaos infested swamp filled with the believed-extinct Fimir. It is the object of desire for the Empire, who throw unsuccessful invasion after invasion, and Bretonnia, who threaten raids constantly, but are held at bay by crossbow armed mercenaries and the fleets of the Sea Elves.

The city sits in the shadows of the Laurenlorn Forest, home of the Wood Elves, and the Grey Mountains, on the other side of which is the magical glade of Athel Loren, the religious centre of Wood Elf affairs.

Everyone wants a bit of Marienburg. And they can get it, too, at the right price. Unfortunately, as they say, after shaking hands with a Marienburgher, you should always count your fingers. Who knows what kinds of deals will be struck?