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"Though all the Old World should fall, Talabheim will resist to the last."
—Countess Elise Krieglitz of Talabheim[3a]
Talabheim
Warhammer Talabheim
Vital statistics
Inhabitants Humans
Type Provincial Capital, City-State
Location Old World, Empire of Man, Talabecland
Population 72,000
Allegiance Elector Count Helmut Feuerbach
Industry Trade, Government, Agriculture

Talabheim, known in ancient times as Taalheim, which means Taal's Victory, is the capital city of the Grand Duchy of Talabecland. Talabheim lies deep within the Great Forest of the Empire of Man, and as such earned its name as the Eye of the Forest, like the eye of a mighty storm, the crater being an island of calm amidst the surrounding danger. The city itself is built within a huge shallow crater called the Taalbaston, which is many miles across, whose outer edge formed a large rocky rim and a natural wall. This wall has been built up and fortified with many tall gun towers and effectively marks the boundary of the city itself. The land inside is extensive and includes fertile farmlands as well as the grand city itself. The River Talabec flows around the outside of the crater, and where it flows past the north-eastern edge of the wall, there is a fortified Imperial town known as Taalagrad and a deep harbor from which lies the river fleets.[1a]

From the fortress of Talagraad, a narrow road climbs the ridge of the crater and enters the city via a tunnel carved through the rock of the ruined wall. This tunnel is the only entrance to the city, and a massive, fortified gatweay at each end of the passage makes Talabheim one of the strongest and most fortified city within the Empire, perhaps second-only to the great fortress-city of Middenheim itself. However, this proteciton is bought at a high cost, for the city's civilian populace lives in grim poverty to support Talabheim's demanding military and an unforgiving martial law is in force at all times. Despite this, Talabheim as served as the greatest bastion of light within the dark forest of the Empire.[1a]

HistoryEdit

After Taal gifted his brother Ulric with the flat-topped mountain that would one day become Middenheim, he ventured deep into the woodlands to the east in search of a place where his own worship could flourish and thrive. The legends say Taal encountered a gigantic Wyrm as he searched, and the enraged creature attacked him. The two fought for several weeks, their battle shaking the foundations of the world. At the very last, Taal grabbed the beast by its tail and lashed it against the ground again and again, carving out the western reaches of the Talabec River as he did so.[2a]

With a mighty heave, he flung the dragon high into the air and watched its fiery corpse plummet to the ground. When it struck the earth, it formed a great crater several miles across. Taal came to see what had become of his enemy, but he found little remained. The Wyrm’s flesh had spread across the crater bottom, mixing with the earth and making it incredibly fertile. In addition, the scales of the creature found their way into the soil and rock of the crater. Pieces of this magical material are occasionally found by Talabheim’s farmers as they plough their fields, and it is much prized by blacksmiths in the creation of weapons and tools.[2a]

Taal saw the crater and was pleased with his work. He called it Taalahim, “Taal’s Victory,” and proclaimed that, in time, his faithful would come and make the land their own. He bore a great tunnel through the crater wall to allow his people access to the fertile bowl within. After hundreds of years, Taal’s prophecy came true. The Taleuten tribe happened upon the crater and the tunnel that led within. Kruger, chief of the Taleutens ordered his folk to venture within the crater and construct a great city to honour Taal. The city of Talabheim was not realized within Kruger’s lifetime. Instead, in 40 IC, Kruger’s son, Talgris, founded the city his father had demanded built. It would carry the name Taalahim for centuries, but over the years, the place came to be called Talabheim, and it is now known as one of the most defensible cities in the Old World.[2a]

Sigmar and the TaleutensEdit

As is well known, Sigmar left the throne and travelled into the east. Before he reached his final destination and dismissed what remained of his retinue, Sigmar chose to pass through Talabheim. It is said he rode through the Wizard’s Way upon his white stallion and looked out upon the budding city below him in wonder. In a loud voice, Sigmar proclaimed, although it would weather many storms, Talabheim would never fall so long as it remained true to its patron deity, Taal. Sigmar and his men only remained in Talabheim for a day, but they left their mark on the city’s founder. Sigmar dined with Talgris, son of Kruger, and the two shared tales of their youth. Talgris was impressed with Sigmar, who had known and fought alongside his father. Though he asked Sigmar to remain for a few days longer, Sigmar declined.[2a]

Instead, the Emperor granted Talgris his white horse in exchange for his hospitality. With a fraternal nod, Sigmar left Talabheim behind, leaving Talgris’ lands, never to return. About 20 years later, a new religion bloomed in the Empire. A mad preacher in Nuln proclaimed he had a vision of Sigmar being crowned by Ulric himself, thus implying Sigmar had risen to join the Gods. Whilst the new Sigmarite faith spread north into the Reikland, the people of Talabheim remained staunch adherents to Taal. But Sigmar’s Cult caught fire, gaining legitimacy and attention from the new Emperor, and Sigmar’s proclamation—or as some said prophecy—that Talabheim would not fall began to carry more weight, and the people feared this upstart new religion. The Talabheimers largely held to the worship of Taal, and though the Sigmarites founded a temple in their city, Taal remained the dominant religion.[2a]

The Ottilian DynastyEdit

Though the Cult of Sigmar would grow unchecked for centuries, with it came an increasing resentment from those in the Empire who believed and followed the older Gods. Those who followed Ulric and Taal saw the burgeoning Sigmarite movement as a threat to their way of life. The situation only worsened when the question of religion entered into the political arena. In I.C. 1359, the Grand Duke of Stirland, a staunch apologist and puppet for the Cult of Sigmar, was elected Emperor. This was the final straw, and the Grand Duchess Ottilia of Talabecland refused to recognize his title. To make matters worse, The Elector Count of Stirland imposed a series of taxes upon the Cult of Ulric. In response, Ottilia crowned herself Empress in I.C. 1360 and banned the Cult of Sigmar from Talabecland.[2a]

Religion, now used as a political tool, had come to be central to the wars of the Empire. The Cult of Ulric in Talabecland, supported by the worshippers of Taal, took up arms against their Sigmarite enemies. For two hundred years, the squabbling continued, one Emperor in Talabecland and the other in Stirland. In 1547 IC, Grand Duke Heinrich of Middenland sought to garner enough votes to legally establish himself as Emperor. He took his case to Frederik V of Talabheim, the so-called “Ottilian Emperor,” who soundly rejected Heinrich’s claim. Heinrich returned to Middenheim in a rage and pronounced himself Emperor nonetheless. He then declared war on Frederik V, as well as the whole of Talabecland, in I.C. 1550. Frederik, not one to be undone, declared his own war against the self-proclaimed Emperor in Nuln, while simultaneously defending his own province from Middenheim’s armies. In I.C. 1557, Middenheim sent an army to destroy the city of Talabheim, but the crater wall was never breeched by the invaders. However, the port of Taalagad was razed and subsequently occupied by the invading army. An abysmally unsuccessful siege of Talabheim, which lasted almost twenty years, followed.[2a]

Talabheim felt few repercussions from these incidents. Because of the verdant interior of the Taalbaston, the city was able to support itself almost indefinitely. Whilst times were often tight for the citizens of Talabheim, they rarely suffered. The results of these wars were to have a lasting effect on Talabheim, especially in regards to its complex series of laws and edicts. As the rest of the Empire seemed to slide ever deeper into confusion, the Lords of Talabecland rejected the growing anarchy by implementing an overabundance of stringent regulations and rules. Talabheim came to show its own penchant for independence during the Age of Wars. In 1750 IC, the Emperor of Talabecland, Horst the Cautious, was asked to help repel an invading army that was approaching Talabheim. When Horst refused to send his troops to the city’s aid, the city revolted, seceding from Talabecland entirely. Talabheim went so far as to crown its own Emperor, Helmut II. Unable to assail Talabheim’s walls, Horst could do little but issue idle threats. The estrangement of Talabecland and Talabheim would continue for several hundred years, until Emperor Magnus of Nuln acceded to their formal reunification in 2304 IC.[2a]

The Great War against ChaosEdit

When the Kislevite Tsar sent requests for help to the provinces of the Empire in I.C. 2302, none returned to him with the aid he had requested. Talabheim’s response was no different than any of the other provinces or city-states. It had managed to gain a great many enemies since the Age of Wars, and the city parliament was more concerned with the city’s own defence than with that of Kislev. Chaos Cults surfaced in Taalagad, revelling in the imminent arrival of their twisted masters, but these were quickly and fiercely rooted out and destroyed.[2a]

It took the actions of Magnus of Nuln to reunite the Empire after centuries of distrust and war. As Praag fell to Chaos in the north, Magnus came to Talabheim to request the city’s aid. Just as an apparent miracle had earned Magnus the loyalty of the Ar-Ulric of Middenheim, so too did Magnus convince the leaders of Talabheim to join his cause against Chaos. Upon Magnus’ arrival in the city, it is said the wolves of the Sacred Forest loosed a howl that echoed between the crater walls like thunder, and that a single stag with a hammer-shaped mark on its forehead appeared at Taal’s temple in Talabheim. It seemed the God of the city had spoken in support of Magnus.[2a]

Talabheim mobilized its troops and joined Magnus’ formations. They marched to the north, and the armies of Chaos fell before them. The Talabheimers, at home in the forests, proved to be invaluable to the war effort, using their woodland skills as trackers and scouts to maintain the security within their own ranks, as well as to harass the Warherds of Beastmen roaming the countryside. Following the war in the north, Magnus was unanimously declared Emperor in 2304 IC. Talabheim’s Elector Count surrendered his own Imperial crown, and the line of Ottilian Emperors came to and end. Plague and pestilence descended upon Talabheim. Brought by Skaven in the wake of the war, the diseases decimated the people of Talabheim. Taalagad was especially hard hit by the virulent epidemics that spread through its poorest neighbourhoods. Plague-ridden refugees from the north did not help matters, and many were turned away from the city at the business end of a crossbow or pike.[2a]

GovernmentEdit

Warhammer Talabheim Map

A detailed map of Talabheim

As an independent city-state, Talabheim possesses a unique method of ruling and a style of politics that can bewilder outsiders. It’s a huge city, and many different factions vie for power or simply struggle to keep it slowly moving forward on a day-to-day basis. The most prominent and obivious ruler of the city is Count Halmut Feuerbach, Lord of Talabecland and Talabheim.[2b] Alongside Count Halmut is a governing body known as the Parliament. The Parliament consists of the most powerful and influential nobles in Talabheim. New members are nominated by those already with seats in this esteemed assembly. As a result, most Talabheimers sneer that this institution is fraught with rampant cronyism and corruption.[2c]

The nobles represent a wide swath of the rich and wealthy—powerful landowners and merchant lords. Certain high-ranking members of the churches of Sigmar, Ulric, and Taal are allowed to make their arguments and sway the policies of the Parliament, but they are not allowed to vote. The Parliament meets in a separate wing of the Grand Courthouse of Edicts. Sessions are supposed to occur twice per month, though Talabheim’s numerous festivals, holy days, and secular holidays regularly interrupt this schedule. “Keeping a noble’s hours” is a common joke among the lower class about being lazy or absent from duty. One of the most prominent families is the Krieglitz-Untern family, whose leader, Countess Elise is most well known and loved by the people, and some say is second only in power to Count Halmut himself.[2c]

The nobles and statesmen of Talabheim want to keep their coffers full, regardless of the state of things in the world outside the Taalbaston. One way they keep the Shillings flowing is by taxing almost every conceivable thing. In a city famous for its adherence to law, the overabundance of taxes is not particularly surprising. Most common transactions see some manner of taxation, much as they do in other cities throughout the Empire; yet, that is where the similarities between the tax codes of the rest of the Empire and Talabheim end. A good many of the city’s taxes seem frivolous to outsiders, and they make trade and travel within Talabheim especially expensive for merchants.[2d]

Despite this, the Talabheimers have grown used to the way things are done, and they rarely make a fuss—even when their precious alcohol is taxed. The majority of the most expensive taxes affect outsiders, or such is the general consensus in the city. This, of course, is untrue; the manner and mode of taxation on imported trade goods means they are likely to be much more expensive than they would be otherwise. The Talabheimers, especially the wealthiest burghers, have grown adept at exploiting loopholes in the local tax code. Even the lowliest farmer knows the ins and outs of some of the city’s more esoteric fees, and so they are paid less often than would normally be the case. Outright tax evasion, though uncommon, is still known to happen. Those caught depriving the city of its coin, however, are subject to brutal penalties. To the lords of Talabheim, failing to pay taxes is akin to sedition.[2d]

Hunter's CouncilEdit

Beneath the ruling government, a small body of military officials called the Hunters’ Council controls Talabheim’s militia, City Watch, and even its levies for the army. The Hunter Lords, all of the ranks of General, include Mannfred Schultz, Christoph Stallmaier, Detlef Kienholtz, and Joerg Hafner. Schultz commands Talabheim’s army and was severely wounded during the recent struggles. Still recovering from his grievous injuries, he leaves the day-to-day affairs to his various commanders. Stallmaier commands the Taalbaston Guard, and Kienhotlz commands the City Watch. Joerg Hafner is in charge of the Militia and serves as the commanding officer of Taal’s Chosen. To become a Hunter Lord, one must not only prove martial prowess and political savvy but also prove skill as a hunter by tracking down and killing a dangerous creature of the forest. Targets include bears, lynxes, or wild boars. The animal skin is worn as a drape and is a symbol of honour once blessed by the Priests of Taal.[2c]

Boatmen's LeagueEdit

Merchantism is very strong within Talabheim, and as such a small body of merchants and ship captains have band together and formed a powerful entity within Talabheim. The Talabec River is a vital part of Talabheim. The broad, slow streams of this mighty river bring pilgrims, trade, and food in and out of the city. The Boatsmen’s League is a powerful lobbying group that represents various captains, ship owners, and businesses that ply the waters of the Talabec. They fight for the reduction of tariffs and taxes imposed on cargo. They establish new sources of trade with settlements up and down river and settle disputes between boat captains and land-based middlemen. Most merchants, however, consider the League to be nothing more than a front for criminals. The League has been accused of everything from piracy to extortion—a League strike could bring traffic and the flow of goods into the city to a near grinding halt. The current leader of the Boatsmen’s League, an enormous Ostlander named Jens Leonhard, is known to rule his organisation with an iron fist. Lieutenants and business rivals that displease him are often found roped to the bottom of a random flatboat.[2d]

ReligionEdit

The Priests of Taal are easily the largest contingent in Talabheim. Indeed, the city boasts a higher number of Priests per capita than most other cities. The clergy claims this is because of the large number of faithful present—critics claim it’s because the Priests are exempt from paying the exorbitant taxes on alcoholic beverages that form an important part of their rites. The Priests of Taal split their time between the city and the Taalwelt to the east, where the true Temple of Taal sits. Their rites are conducted in secret, except for the occasional practitioner of Taal’s creed. The Temple of Verena, located in the heart of the Law Quarter, is the second largest in the city. They help manage Talabheim’s immense legal bureaucracy and ensure the laws are just. So far, they are fighting an uphill battle. Much to the dismay of the Emperor, the Cult of Sigmar does not have a strong hold within Talabheim. Its temple is relatively small and tucked away in an obscure corner within the God’s Row. However, those that follow its tenants are known for their utter devotion and fervent behaviour. In order to bolster their numbers, the Priests of Sigmar from Middenheim and Altdorf send more proselytisers to gain more converts.[2c]

The God’s Row, Talabheim’s temple district, rests to the northeast of the Law Quarter. The two districts are often seen as siblings: one representing the laws of man and the other representing the laws of the Gods. The district is built amidst a series of man-made ponds and reflecting pools. Intricate hedgerows and topiaries mark the boundaries between the various temples established here. The roads are laid at right angles to one another, and the lines of these avenues are impeccably straight. Every feature of the district, from the grass to the cobblestones, has been deliberately placed. There is no disorder here, except that which people bring into the district with them. Traffic in the God’s Row is restricted to folk travelling on foot.[2h]

Neither draft nor riding animals are permitted inside the district’s borders. Likewise, dogs and other pets that might cause damage to the landscape or leave droppings upon the district’s lanes are forbidden. An atmosphere of peace pervades the City of Gods, punctuated only by the sounds of prayer, the singing of hymns, and the chirping of songbirds. The faithful of Talabheim, of which there are many, flock to the district in large numbers to give the Gods their due. Even at night, worshippers come to pray and make offerings to their Gods. Holy days are especially eventful. With the exception of Verena, whose temple sits in the Law District, nearly all the Gods of the Empire are represented here. Even Taal, whose primary area of worship is the sacred forest itself, has a satellite church to serve those worshippers who cannot make the trip outside the city.[2i]

It is little surprise that the worship of Ranald is scorned in Talabheim, the so-called city of laws, so there is no publicly accessible temple for the trickster God’s adherents. Those folk who choose to worship Ranald are doubtless accustomed to this and privately revere him in their own unique way. Next to the Merchant District, the God’s Row is probably the most heavily patrolled of Talabheim’s districts. Not only do the local authorities keep a tight reign on the streets that tie the district together, but the guards and Priests of the various cults also pose a substantial risk to anyone who might consider plundering the temples. Even minor crimes are prosecuted vigorously, and pity the fool who is caught by a temple’s guards rather than the more forgiving Dogfaces. Indeed, religious fervour has led to the deaths of more than one would-be vandal at the hands of enraged Priests.[2i]

Reliquary RoadEdit

The eastern end of the City of Gods is home to a wide footpath of crushed stone referred to as Reliquary Road. Reliquary Road butts up against the western edge of the Taalgarten, near the rise that becomes the Knoll of Doctrines, and there is little but the road itself to distinguish it from its neighbouring district. The sides of the street are lined with a number of permanent and semi-permanent structures, which are crafted from wood, brick, and stone. It is the shops that occupy these structures that give the road its name, for the majority of them sell religious artefacts and paraphernalia of one sort or another. Even though the majority of the businesses on Reliquary Road are not expressly sponsored by the various temples, its existence is tolerated for the significant tax revenues that it generates.[2h]

Even so, the temples are keen to profit from the presence of this divine flea market. All but the smallest of temples keep a small emporium on Reliquary Road, where religious items are sold at discount prices. Holy symbols, religious texts, idols, and vestments are available. The Priests will even bless items in exchange for a modest donation. The rest of the shops are staffed by secular folk, many no better than antique dealers. The stalls are rented from the city on a weekly basis, the sturdiest structures being the most expensive. The length of the waiting list for Reliquary Road’s shops is constantly in a state of flux. Unsuccessful merchants rarely maintain a good location on the Road for very long.[2h]

Merchants who do commerce here range from devout worshippers who seek to use their business in order to proselytize, to shifty conmen and charlatans who are looking to make a quick Schilling off naïve devotees. Of those few merchants who have managed to remain in business for a long period of time, Jakob Steinschiller is probably the most well known. He keeps a respectable stock of genuine (or so he claims) relics, as well as all manner of good luck charms, holy unguents, and spiritual paraphernalia. Once a Priest of Morr, Jakob turned away from the faith for reasons that he has never been compelled to make clear. Jakob is a font of religious knowledge, which he also provides to customers for a reasonable fee. From time to time, he has also been known to hire adventurers to investigate rumours and legends that pertain to the locations of relics.[2h]

The Shallyan SanatoriumEdit

Though attached to the Temple of Shallya via an elevated walkway, the Shallyan Sanatorium is a separate structure. Constructed of white marble that seems to glow in the rays of the rising run, the Sanatorium is a place of healing and convalescence. The best physicians in Talabheim, aided by the Priestesses of Shallya, practice the medical arts within. Those people who seek to cure their ills once and for all are often admitted for weeks or months at a time. Such care is not cheap, however, and only the wealthy or influential can afford the fees that the physicians demand in exchange for their seemingly divine curative skills. The central wing of the Sanatorium is five stories high.[2h]

It is adjoined to the east by a clinic catering to the poorest of Talabheim’s citizens. Most of the folk who staff the charity wing are Priests and initiates of Shallya, as well as students from the Royal Academy who seek to learn more about the medical arts. Free treatment of minor ailments is offered free of charge to anyone who appears to be impoverished. Destitute citizens who require extended treatment of major injuries and maladies are  admitted to the charity ward, which consists of an overcrowded chamber at the centre of the wing. The atmosphere in the charity ward is unpleasant. Half of the patients who are admitted for serious conditions rarely survive longer than a week, despite the prayers of Shallya’s Priests.[2h]

The Sanatorium’s administrator is Heinrich Saltzman, an imposing nobleman from Middenheim who was originally hired by the Shallyan temple to see to the workings of the Sanatorium. Despite his cool demeanour and seeming lack of empathy, Saltzman has done an excellent job of keeping the entire operation running smoothly. There are disturbing rumours that Saltzman and his colleagues participate in illicit dissections on the cadavers of terminally ill patients, but all investigations into these allegations have failed to reveal evidence of such ghastly behaviour. Such rumours have resulted in Saltzman initiating duels against his accusers, and he has yet to lose in the defence of his honour.[2h]

The Shrine of ManannEdit

Manann’s shrine in Talabheim is far too small to claim the moniker of “temple.” In fact, it consists entirely of a series of interconnected waterways and pools that swirl around a central elevated platform. Large numbers of colourful fish swim languidly within the depths of these channels. The platform, where services are held, rises above the water, providing a breathtaking view of the shrine below. Constructed of polished wood and furnished with canvas streamers that flutter in the wind like the sails of a ship, the platform’s apex seems to be gifted with a perpetual breeze. Marine motifs are carved into the stone and wood that make up the shrine, each one in honour to the God of the sea. Foremost amongst these is a likeness of Manann himself, and it is said to be the finest representation of the God east of the Talabec River. River-born merchants and sailors are the most common folk to worship Manann in Talabheim. Local farmers also come to pray for rains in times of drought, and fishermen and their families seek the sea God’s favour by offering him the largest of their catch.[2h]

The Temple of MorrEdit

Morr’s Temple in Talabheim is laid out like a cemetery, with the God’s traditional black roses growing thickly around the high iron fences that surround what is known as the Todespark. No bodies are buried in the Todespark, yet markers and statues of skeletal figures with scythes and raven-like wings stand in perfect rows around a central mausoleum. The mausoleum appears smaller than it should be from outside and for good reason: much of the temple complex is underground. Morr’s Priests live within their underground temple, spending their days in prayer and silent contemplation. Though bodies are never interred on the grounds of Morr’s temple, the Priests of the Lord of Dreams prepare the dead for burial in their subterranean vaults. Viewings and services for the dead are traditionally held in the Todespark after the sun has gone down. On the morning following this service, the dead are taken in a procession to the Garden of Morr, where final arrangements are made prior to their burial.[2h]

The Temple of MyrmidiaEdit

Myrmidia’s Temple is a place of valour and glory. Tales of heroes are told at length within the stone halls of the temple, and soldiers and warriors come from all corners of the Taalbaston to pray for victory in battle. The temple’s edifice is carved from granite blocks and features half a dozen statues of the warrior Goddess in various states of readiness. The rear area of the complex is dedicated to training warriors and Priests, and it features a confidence course that tests the mettle of any warrior that attempts to complete it. The temple is protected by the Knights of the Verdant Field, an offshoot of the Knights of the Order of the Blazing Sun that founded the shrine many centuries ago (more about the Knights of the Blazing Sun can be found in Sigmar’s Heirs). These Templar Knights are sworn to protect Talabheim unto death, and they spend their lives training in anticipation of the day when Chaos will once again threaten the welfare of their city. Their number is small, however, and, unlike their itinerant parent Order, they rarely journey forth from the confines of the Taalbaston. Those that do venture from their temple are often on missions of great importance or have been sent to atone for sins or perceived cowardice.[2h]

The Temple of Shallya Edit

The temple dedicated to Shallya adjoins the Shallyan Sanatorium and is connected to its sister building by an elevated walkway. Though both buildings are constructed from the same white marble, the architecture of the two is dissimilar in many ways. The most notable is with the temple. Only two stories high, it is far smaller than the Sanatorium. Frescos capturing the healing powers of the Mother of Mothers decorates the temple’s exterior, and countless bed of bountiful flowers reinforce the Goddess’s life-giving character. The interior is serene, immaculate and maintained by a score of acolytes. The central gallery is circular and surrounds a raised dais, which is said to contain a fragment of granite from Heiligerberg. A flock of white doves resides in an open aviary built upon the temple’s roof. These holy birds are treated with reverence by Shallya’s Priesthood, who see them as reminders of their Goddess’ mercy.[2h]

As with most of her temples throughout the Empire, Shallya’s temple in Talabheim is staffed almost entirely by women. Those that do not work directly within the Sanatorium venture out into the city, seeking to aid the ill and infirm as best as they can. The few men who take up the cause of the Goddess of Mercy are looked upon with much favour by their sisters since they are such a rare breed. Against the advice of many of the city-state’s legislators, a contingent of Shallyan Priestesses venture into the Tallows on a weekly basis to bring succour to anyone who wishes to accept their aid. The people there are only too happy to have the healing hands of these brave women at their disposal. The leader of the Shallyan Missionaries, as they have come to be called, is an older Priestess named Karin Weber. Karin was once one of the Tallows’s consorts, but she threw off the shackles of her former life when Shallya came to her in a vision. Since, she has risen high in the Shallyan Order, and there are whispers that she may eventually be ordained as the High Priestess of Talabheim’s Shallyan temple.[2h]

The Temple of SigmarEdit

After Taal and Verena, the Temple of Sigmar is the third largest in Talabheim. Despite this, the Sigmarites still hold a great deal of sway in the politics of the city-state. The control of their temple in Talabheim has been entrusted to none other than High Priest Farador. He resides in a fine mansion in the Manor District, coming to the temple twice weekly to lead services amongst the Priests and see to his administrative duties. The remainder of the time he spends at home and abroad, living an unapologetically opulent lifestyle. The majority of Sigmar’s Priesthood in Talabheim belongs to the Order of the Torch. They act as Priests are expected to act, seeing to the needs of the city-state’s faithful and managing the day-to-day affairs of the cult.[2h]

The Order of the Silver Hammer has a small-yet-varying population within the city. Most of these warrior-Priests only come to the temple in the pursuit of their duties elsewhere in the Empire. Finally, the Order of the Cleansing Flame maintains a strong presence in Sigmar’s temple, always watching diligently for heresy within the cult’s ranks. Built from marble and steel, Sigmar’s temple is the tallest of all the churches that are present in God’s Row. The spires of the building rise so high above the ground they can be seen from nearly anywhere within the city. The Sigmarite Priests keep the time, ringing the temple’s great bells every hour to signify the passage of one more blessed minute of Sigmar’s mercy.[2h]

The Temple of Taal and RhyaEdit

The largest of Talabheim’s temples is dedicated to Taal and to a lesser extent Rhya. Even though the primary place of Taal’s worship continues to be the Sacred Forest, worshippers who live within the confines of the city value an opportunity to seek spiritual enlightenment without making a trip to the other end of the crater. Taal’s temple can easily accommodate a thousand adherents in a single, massive service, yet this happens only rarely. More often, services are staggered throughout the day, allowing folks who work at odd hours to maintain a connection with their deity and his clergy. Taal’s temple is natural in appearance. Surrounded by ancient rowan trees, the temple and all within it is formed entirely of gnarled wood.[2h]

Rumours persist the temple is built from the living trees surrounding it and that the power of Taal, which pulses up from their roots, shaped them into the likenesses of walls, doorways, and windows. Inside, the temple floors consist of fresh earth. Plants and flowers spring up, seemingly at random, and grass provides a cool, green surface no carpet can duplicate. Behind the temple, and of slightly lesser importance, is the Shrine of Rhya. Little more than a few menhirs surrounding a natural spring, it seems small and neglected. Indeed, priestesses of Rhya attend this place for special, and often sporadic, rites and ceremonies, preferring to spend their regular meetings in open fields and meadows. Despite its small size, Rhya has a sizeable following in the villages surrounding Talabheim.[2h]

The Temple of UlricEdit

Long ago, the Cult of Ulric was centred in Talabheim alongside the Cult of Taal. Thanks in part to the Talabheimers skill at warfare, Ulric has always enjoyed a strong following in the city, even after Ar-Ulric restored the seat of power back to Middenheim. The temple of Ulric is an imposing structure, dominating the end of a side-street. Its whitewashed walls and wolf imagery displayed on its stained glass windows makes the Temple a popular stop for visitors interested in architecture. Out front, a statue of the God of Winter looks towards the Taalbaston, one hand clutching a hammer and the other resting on the head of a large wolf. Though spattered with bird droppings, the white marble statue remains every bit as impressive as it was when first erected.[2h]

The Talabheim AslyumEdit

The Talabheim Asylum is a nondescript building that sits innocuously at the north-western corner of the City of Gods. If not for the high, iron fence surrounding it, or the armed guards and dogs that constantly patrol the grounds, the place would seem to be just another large building built on the edge of the God’s Row and the Merchant District. In the silence of the night, muted screams and shouts can sometimes be heard from within the asylum’s walls. People passing by quicken their pace a little, though most do not notice, nor will they admit, the extra spring in their step. The asylum was established in 2304, following the end of the Great War against Chaos. Most of the asylum’s patients at the time were men and women who had survived the nameless horrors of the war, yet were driven to madness by the things that they had seen.[2h]

In the two centuries since it was established, the asylum’s purpose has changed from one of rehabilitation to one of containment. Only the most dangerous maniacs are sent to the asylum, and most of these are confined to their cells on a permanent basis. It is rumoured that harsh critics of the current establishment have been sent to the asylum on trumped up charges of insanity, but few are willing to present such a theory lest they risk being committed themselves. Though not a religious facility, several members of Morr’s temple pay regular visits to the asylum. Much of what these Priests seek to learn involves the dreams and visions experienced by a number of the patients. It is reasoned the Lord of Dreams may attempt to communicate through the dreams of the insane. With the rise of Chaos in the Old World, it is also postulated that cases of insanity have become more and more common. Morr’s Priests seek to unravel these mysteries, and they do so with the express permission of the asylum’s administrator.[2h]


LayoutEdit

Warhammer Talabheim City Map

A more detailed map of Talabheim city

Talabheim is a distinctive city, and those who explore its streets and shops always leave impressed and a little poorer. Constructed inside a great crater formed from some ancient catastrophe, the City of Talabheim is but one settlement inside Taalbaston. Talabheim has long struggled against its city bounds, and every inch of available space is used by the people living here. Talabheim is crowded with people. There is always something going on, some activity or spectacle to lure the attention of travellers. This is true even in the more sedate districts, for there are more people here than what the living space should allow, at least in the heart of the city. The streets, rarely wide enough for people to walk side-by side let alone accommodate a cart or wagon, are always congested with merchants, beggars, labourers, and nobles all scurrying like ants to their next pressing engagement. Such traffic slows movement, and Talabheimers always give themselves extra time when they need to be somewhere.[2e]

TaalbastonEdit

Warhammer Talabheim Taalbaston

The Taalbaston

The Taalbaston is the greatest of Talabheim’s defences. Formed from the natural walls of the massive crater, the rim of the Taalbaston has been reinforced and constantly improved for centuries by the militaries of Talabheim. The perimeter of the crater is traversed by a narrow treacherous road known as the Spierrestrasse. A mixture of large and small watch posts are placed along the Spierrestrasse at regular intervals. The minor watch posts are referred to as “Lashes.” Small garrisons of thirty men man the Lashes, and each is equipped with nearly a dozen cannon and ballistae. Though capable of harassing enemy forces both outside and inside the Taalbaston, these watch posts are expected to provide early warning of an enemy’s encroachment upon Talabheim.[2e]

Signal rockets of various colours and intensities are launched from these posts, different combinations providing instant information to the soldiers and citizens living within the Taalbaston. The three major watch posts are positioned at the northern, eastern, and southern extensions of the Taalbaston. Whilst not nearly as formidable as High Watch, each is nonetheless a daunting obstacle for any enemy daring to mount an assault against them. All are equipped with signal rockets, as are their smaller brothers, but the defensive artillery available to each one consists of a combination of forty cannon and ballistae. One hundred men and support personnel occupy each of these keeps. Access can be gained by winding paths that climb the treacherous interior wall of the Taalbaston.[2e]

The Wizard's WayEdit

The only legal way to enter into Talabheim is to take the Wizard’s Way. As the Old Forest Road approaches the towering walls of the Taalbaston, it begins a winding path of switchbacks as it rises nearly two hundred feet up the side of the crater wall. The road is wide enough to allow several wagons side-by-side to traverse its length without impediment. The road is extremely busy during the day, and the lines grow long as the guards check each and every person’s pass to enter the city. At the top of the road sits a massive fortress that casts long shadows onto the shanties below it.[2e]

High TowerEdit

Known as High Watch, it is the first and best defence of the city. The gates are kept open except during times of crisis—High Watch has four separate black-iron portcullises, well greased and connected to a series of levers that can release the gates to slam shut with a single command. The walls and ceiling inside this tunnel are lined with murder holes, offering a great field of view for crossbowmen and soldiers to dump boiling oil in case an army actually makes it that far. The tunnel extends nearly 200 feet through the black walls of the Taalbaston and is illuminated by massive torches every 10 feet and huge candelabras that dangle from the ceiling.[2e]

Although street sweepers work to keep the tunnel clean, the stench from people and animals, especially in the summer, can be unbearable. A special branch of the City Watch mans High Watch at all times. The Taalbaston Guard consider themselves the elite branch, though most have grown bored and complacent due to the droll nature of their job. To keep themselves entertained, the Taalbaston Guard are notorious for the intensity of their questioning and searches of travellers as they pass through the gates. Assuming one possesses the correct paperwork to pass through High Watch, they find a breathtaking view before them—the entire city of Talabheim sprawls beneath their feet, and the interior of the Taalbaston stretches out to the horizon. The Wizard’s Way then begins another series of switchbacks down into the Merchant’s Run below.[2e]

Passing Through the TaalbastonEdit

Visitors from somewhere other than Talabheim are in for a rude surprise if they think they can waltz down the Wizard’s Way and into Talabheim. In fact, they will be stopped at the gates of the Taalagad Garrison and asked for their proof of citizenship or their letter of passage. Those without either are directed to apply for a city pass appropriate to their reason for visiting Talabheim at the Municipal Entry Office, which is a block over from the garrison. The first hurdle a prospective visitor to Talabheim faces is literacy or lack thereof, for inability to fill out the appropriate forms results in one having to join a list to apply for an “entry interview,” which can take several weeks (or forever if one’s name happens to have a foreign sound to it.)[2f]

Those who can fill out the forms have to pay a fee, depending on the type of letter they’ve requested. The cheapest letter of passage is the standard visitor’s pass, colloquially called a “Pilgrim’s Pass” as it is the one that the faithful of Taal and Rhya most often buy when on a pilgrimage to Taal’s holy city. The pass used to cost more, but pressure from the Cult of Taal has lowered the price, effectively the cost of the parchment it is written on. Truly devout followers can sometimes even get this fee waived if they are well regarded by the church. Once the papers are filed, the prospective visitor will have to wait anywhere from three days to a week for approval. This enables the clerks of the office to check the applicant’s name and appearance against various Imperial wanted lists.[2f]

It is the applicant’s responsibility to show up each day and check the lists posted on the Municipal Entry Office’s outer wall to see if his pass has been approved. Presuming there were no difficulties, and he wasn’t flagged for arrest, the applicant will be granted his pass. The standard pass gives visitors access to the city for three days, the dates of both entry and departure clearly marked. The Dogfaces regularly check the papers of any troublemakers they catch and often spot check obvious outsiders on principle. Having an expired pass results in anything from a stiff lecture or a small fee and ejection from the city if the pass recently expired, to arrest, imprisonment, and torture for long-expired passes.[2f]

There are a number of other passes, the most common being the “Itinerant Pass,” which is common with well-to-do sailors (as the poor ones stick to Taalagad) and adventuring types. The Itinerant Pass costs 10 s and is renewed yearly. It allows its bearer to come and go regularly, staying as long as they like at a stretch, though it doesn’t allow the purchase of long-term properties or businesses in Talabheim. There are Merchant’s Passes that allow property ownership, though those wealthy enough to afford it can usually afford to purchase citizenship. Imperial soldiers, Witch Hunters, and Priests that have come to take office in a Talabheim church or shrine all have to be able to prove their identities upon demand, but they aren’t required to have a pass.[2f]


The Law DistrictEdit

The Law District, known to thieves and scum as the Richter or Law Town, sits in the centre of Talabheim. It is a place bereft of humour or joy, as barristers, judges, and clerks bustle to and fro from their places of business, focused on carrying out the letter of the law without question. Licensed runners, wearing the city livery, scurry about, carrying important documents. Wealthy nobles and merchants are commonly seen striding through the district with their entourage and litigants in tow. The Law Quarter is an immense span of ancient, foreboding buildings constructed from the dull grey granite of the Taalbaston. Within its confines, numerous litigator firms, guild headquarters, temples, banks, and other vital services line the streets. The houses of the wealthiest inhabitants are tucked away behind imposing stone walls, keeping a distance between those that create the laws and those that must suffer beneath them. While the wealthiest of litigants and judges make their homes in the Manor District, most lower-level scribes, aspiring young litigants and clerks, live in or close to this quarter. Prices are inflated and demand is high for accommodations among the many boarding houses.[2f]

Grand Courthouse of EdictsEdit

“The ‘Ol Court,” as it’s known to the locals serves as the main building where the laws and rules of Talabheim are written, debated, and enacted into law. Squat and ancient beyond compare, it is said the building was one of the first in the city and crafted by Dwarfen hands. Although it’s known that at least one tunnel leads from here to the prison across the street, rumours persist of a labyrinth of additional basements, tunnels, and long-forgotten cells beneath its impressive form. The courtyard in front of the Courthouse is the notorious “Field of Absolution.” Row upon row of stockades and cages are found here, where the guilty serve out sentences for petty crimes. The Field also boasts three huge poles for whippings and a raised platform where beheadings are performed for the most egregious crimes. The infamous “Dancing Man Tree” is an enormous gallows where up to four people can hang at a time from its 40-foot-tall pillars. Horses pull ropes that hoist up criminals to their demise—it’s considered good luck for a hangman’s horse to eat an apple from your hand before a sentence is carried out.[2f]

The HollowsEdit

Directly across the street from the Grand Courthouse of Edicts sits The Hollows, Talabheim’s enormous central prison. It’s speculated that thousands of prisoners are incarcerated behind its walls and underground, though no one is certain. After the City Watch, The Hollows is the second largest employer of guards and hired muscle in the city. Warden Leopold Hadschieff is an utterly devout Sigmarite at heart and sees his job as an extension of his God’s will. He commonly exhorts his prisoners with fiery sermons from his office’s tower, proudly proclaiming Sigmar’s path to redemption. Hadschieff despises foreigners, non-believers, and non-Humans and often sticks them in the worst conditions possible, regardless of their actual sentence.[2f]

Despite his pious nature, Hadschieff is thoroughly corrupt and is more than willing to release prisoners or make their lives more comfortable with the proper bribe. The prison runs the gamut of accommodations, from utterly squalid hellholes to cellblocks that are almost akin to a decent inn. The best cells are obviously reserved for the rich and powerful who have been incarcerated for some minor crime and do not “deserve” to stay in the same sort of cells used to house common criminals. Five years ago, an intrepid prisoner managed to carve a hole through his cell wall and found himself in a warren of tunnels that had previously been uncharted. The prisoner was later found when he returned to his cell utterly insane and spouting nonsense. His hair had turned white and amongst his babble, the terms “creeping horror” were occasionally discerned. The hole was sealed off and the prisoner was sent to the Eavesdown Sanatorium where he remains to this day. Prisoners are commonly used as slave labour for the city government, such as cleaning sewers or stables, and other less savoury jobs. These work gangs are common sights throughout the city and are always under heavy guard.[2f]

Temple of VerenaEdit

Unlike the rest of the temples in the city, the Temple of Verena does not reside in the God’s Row; instead, it can be found in the Law Quarter. Easily the largest temple in the city (barring the Grove of Taal, of course), the Temple of Verena stands as a testament to the pervasive presence of law and order within Talabheim. The Priests of Verena are both pleased and dismayed at the state of legal affairs within Talabheim. They see great merit in the codified laws keeping the city prosperous, but they despise the corruption pervading the government. The head of the Temple, Mother Astrid Oehler, is extremely vocal in her displeasure, but she is relatively powerless to stop it. The Feuerbach-Untern family views her more as an annoyance than a true threat but nonetheless keeps close tabs on Mother Oehler’s words and actions.[2f]

Obelisk of LawEdit

Warhammer Talabheim Obelisk of Law

The Obelisk of Law

Located in the heart of this quarter, the Obelisk of Laws is a towering spire of veined, black marble surrounded by a wideopen courtyard. New laws, bills waiting to be passed, political dialogue, and other important civic rules are posted on the Obelisk with the stated purposes of allowing the entire populace to know what these new rulings are. In practice, however, the Obelisk has little practical effect, as no one removes the old postings (thanks to an ancient law), and a person must look long and hard to discern what is new and important. Throughout the years, madmen have attempted to rip down or burn the laws pinned to the Obelisk, but the offenders are quickly captured and torn to pieces by mobs. The Obelisk serves as a meeting point for the city’s barristers, clerks, judges, and other law professionals, where they discuss important rulings, gossip, and network in an informal setting. Food vendors wheel their carts nearby and street urchins hawk several different newspapers and periodicals to the professionals that congregate here.[2f]

Freeman's CourtEdit

While the Courthouse of Edicts holds the city and province courts, even its enormous size cannot handle the massive number of day-to-day cases that occur within Talabheim. Four hundred and fifty years ago, the Freeman’s Court was founded. It was designed to hear the grievances of the common man, handled by public litigants and judges. As one could imagine, the Freeman’s Court has become just as much a nightmare as it was supposed to prevent. Every day, mobs of common folk wait in long lines to have their cases heard. Those with enough money (but not enough to have their case heard at the Grand Courthouse) are hustled ahead of the line by their litigant. Though the lines are incredibly long, rulings are surprisingly swift as judges hand down judgment with a combination of knowledge of the law and an overwrought sense of justice. Commoners rightly fear getting an irritated judge who may hand down an extremely harsh sentence with little provocation because they are in a surly mood.[2f]

The StonehomeEdit

Although Dwarfs living in Talabheim are considered citizens, the numerous and convoluted laws sometimes run afoul of Dwarf laws. The Stonehome serves as an “embassy” for Dwarfs to advance their rights and is where grievances between two or more Dwarfs can be resolved without going through the city’s courts. Established in 2245 by Count Markus von Wagner IV to quell a potential boycott of workers, the Stonehome is a thorn in the side of the judges and litigants of the Grand Courthouse of Edicts. By law, the city government must abide by the rulings of the Stonehome Elders but only if they do not violate major edicts of Talabheim’s Code of Laws. To compensate for this lack of control, both parties must pay an additional fine, which is then passed along to the Talabheim treasury. If the Elders feel that a case lies outside their jurisdiction, they hand it over to the city court instead, which can cause great anger among Dwarfs looking to avoid Human-dominated law.[2g]

TallowsEdit

Pressed close against the towering heights of the Taalbaston and buttressed by the massive, sun-blocking towers of the Law Quarter, the Tallows is a squalid, rat-infested slum where the bulk of the city’s poor (outside Taalagad, that is) live and conduct their business. The district’s name is derived from the lack of sunlight that filters into its streets. The numerous towers of the Law District block most of the morning’s eastern sunlight, and the crater wall blocks the sun as it sets in the west, meaning that the area is only slightly illuminated at high noon. The streets are shrouded in shadows most of time, lending them a sinister quality. The Tallows consists of slums, filthy inns and taverns, slaughterhouses, tanners built into the rock of the Taalbaston itself, and other businesses that most people find disgusting and beneath them.[2g]

The streets are a twisted maze of shanties, dilapidated houses, and dead end alleys. Criminals of all stripes claim the Tallows as their home, and some band together into small gangs, claiming portions of the neighbourhood as their turf. Sometimes these gangs engage in open warfare with one another, and hundreds of combatants march down the streets screaming for blood. One such event ten years ago resulted in a portion of this district erupting in flames that threatened the rest of the city. A combined effort of the Dogfaces, city militia, and a few Magisters quashed the skirmish and put out the fire before too much damage could be done. The torched remains of these buildings still stand—no one has the means or will to rebuild on that spot. The roving judges of the city often enter the Tallows in hopes of cleaning up the streets, but so far, none have succeeded in doing much of anything. In the absence of much in the way of law enforcement within this district, the street gangs act as the de facto judge and jury, imposing rulings considered extreme to even the judges of the Grand Courthouse.[2g]

Toller's CornerEdit

Holler’s Corner is the place to go to find cheap labour and hired muscle or place ads and notices. It gets its name from the numerous criers that yell (holler) out their requests. The walls of the buildings adjacent to the corner are plastered with written notices and ads. When the crowd reaches its peak numbers at high noon, the din from the dozens of criers and the crowd screaming back their responses can be deafening. Criers stand on boxes, wagons, or anything letting them rise above the gathered crowds. Those looking for work, and substantial numbers of worthless layabouts, wander the corner during the day. River pirates and unscrupulous flatboat captains often scan the crowd for potential victims to press-gang, making the area dangerous for newcomers or the naïve.[2g]

The Black LaternEdit

Set along the imposing rise of the Taalbaston, the Black Lantern is a sprawling building that gets even less sunlight than the rest of the Tallows. A huge, ancient lantern made of black iron provides the tavern’s name. Long ago, a drunken and slightly insane Magister cast a spell on the lantern after a ludicrous bet—a perpetual flame now burns inside it, and patrons can still see the blackened mark in front of the tavern where the Magister self-immolated. The Black Lantern is a notorious haven for thugs, conmen, and scum of all kinds. Its owner, a Tilean named Lorenzo, often turns a blind eye to all but the worst offences within his business and spends a healthy portion of his profits on bribes to keep the local Watch out. He maintains several large “banquet rooms” where wealthier members of the local underworld can conduct business in private. The basement of the Black Lantern has a secret door that leads into the warrens of the Ratholds to the west. Lorenzo stores all manner of illegal contraband in this tunnel and, for a substantial fee, can be convinced to dispose of a body or two with no questions asked.[2g]

Fishmonger's Alley Edit

Fish, crayfish, and other food harvested from the Talabec River are brought to this outdoor fish market. As most of the best catch is sent to other parts of Talabheim, the selection is poor and spotty, though affordable for the poor inhabitants. In addition, some stalls sell odds and ends dredged from the river—the bulk is worthless trash, though sometimes valuables can be found, making it a common stop for antiquarians and treasure seekers. Pickpockets and petty thieves roam the stalls watching for easy marks.[2g]

The ShieldsEdit

Located on the edge of the Tallows, the Shields make their clanks by providing protection for those roaming the dangerous streets of this district. The owner, Wulfgang Blocher, is a former soldier who saw a need and brought in several of his compatriots as business partners. The Shields provide protection and act as guides for anyone willing to offer up his rather exorbitant rates. Thanks to their reputation as being ruthless and stalwart, most criminals shy away from any target protected by the Shields, though some consider it a right of passage to pick the pockets or rob a victim with such protection. Wulfgang is completely unbiased in his clientele so long as they have the coin. Even better, he keeps his patronage a secret. For an even greater fee, his bodyguards can guide a client into the mean streets of Taalagad.[2g]

The RatholdsEdit

Some of the oldest and foulest portions of Talabheim are actually located within the walls of the Taalbaston itself. Scattered throughout the massive cliff face are holes, tunnels, and warrens carved into the living rock of the crater wall. It was once said that any poor man with a pickaxe and determination could make himself a home in Talabheim. Some of these cave-homes are surprisingly large three- or four-room affairs, having wood flooring and even plaster, but these are rare. Most of these homes are little more than caves branching off from the crude tunnel-alleys that riddle the upper wall side near the Wizard’s Way. Some legitimate businesses occupy the caves, such as tanneries and dye works. These foul industries only add to the miasmic atmosphere in the caves. There are various tunnels and pathways used by criminal gangs to smuggle goods and people inside the city.[2g]

Although the City Watch makes frequent attempts to close these down, they seldom keep them shut for long. Few watchmen are comfortable going into the reeking dark of these tunnels, for not only are the maze-like warrens the home of many criminal gangs, they are also said to hold disease, Mutants, and worse in their nightmarish depths. Few trouble over wild tales of wall dwellers snatched by creatures in the dead of the night. Given the reputation of these rookery tunnels, the city has banned the further excavation of any more of these slum caves, instead extending the south-west boundary of the city to allow cheap housing to sprout up. Nevertheless, new tunnels sometimes appear. Who or what creates them, no one will admit. The inhabitants of the Ratholds are the lowest of the low. Inbreeding, disease, and poor ventilation make the average Ratholder more pathetic than even the scum that roam the streets outside. Ratholders speak a debased dialect that is difficult for even the populace of the Tallows to understand.[2g]

Merchant DistrictEdit

Talabheim’s Merchant District is the first place people enter after they pass through the massive gates guarding the Wizard’s Way, and unless they possess the proper paperwork, it is the only district they will see during their visit. The Merchant’s District is comfortable enough for short visits, but it is designed to get people in and out quickly—visitors need special papers to move to the city beyond its walls. The Merchant District comprises three neighbourhoods—Old Market, Nordgate, and Dragon’s Home. In addition to numerous merchant houses, buyers, craftsmen, and vendors, the Merchant District boasts both top-notch and affordable inns, taverns, and other services that cater to visitors. Old Market is the oldest neighbourhood and sits just past the fortress of the Wizard’s Way. It is diverse and bustling with business, even late at night.[2h]

Guides hawk their services immediately as one enters the gates—most are legitimate, though some are conmen and thieves that lead the unwary to back alleys where they are robbed. To help prevent this, the Old Market swarms with Dogfaces and private guards employed by the wealthier merchants. Nordgate is crowded but prosperous. It is home to most of the city’s Merchant Lords, and it is where they conduct their business. The wealthiest avenues, Iron Lane, Apple Row, and Street of the Emperor’s Grace, are lined with stately homes and thick with private guards that keep them safe. Fine taverns and restaurants can be found here. Dragon’s Home serves as a gateway to the rest of the city. Most of the fresh fruit and vegetables grown within the confines of the Taalbaston are bought and sold here. The area is well known for its numerous bakers making excellent fruit pies and treats and is a favourite place for street urchins to steal a quick meal.[2h]

Threeapples InnEdit

Situated immediately across from the main gate, Threeapples Inn is considered a vital first stop for any visitor wanting to quench their thirst. Threeapples Inn is a three-story building crafted from dark wood, with wide, open rooms that can fit almost a hundred people at a time. The staff is noted for being courteous, patient, and capable of speaking several languages, letting visitors feel more at home. The owner, a Halfling named Wanda Threeapples, prides herself on welcoming everyone into her business, regardless of station, ethnicity, or race. Conmen, thieves, and the like sometimes weasel their way into the Threeapples Inn, seeing it as prime territory to fleece newcomers. Wanda is extremely savvy and perceptive and spots most of these criminals before they cause too much harm. She’s known to lend helpful advice about how to get about the city to the most desperate cases. However, once someone leaves the safety of the Inn, there is little that can be done, and those criminals cast out simply lurk in the alley and streets close to the building, waiting for their opportunity.[2h]

The Merchant's GuildsEdit

Located in the heart of Dragon’s Home, Talabheim’s Merchants’ Guild more closely resembles a courthouse than a business headquarters. In addition to merchants and their representatives, throngs of litigants come and go from the Merchants’ Guild, handling trade disputes, setting prices, and the like. Talabheim was thankfully spared from the worst of the recent war, so business is brisk, as goods are sent out to other cities at inflated prices. With the Count missing in action and the Countess assuming more power, local merchants are worried about the changes that are bound to occur. They continue with business as usual, but most merchants squirrel away cash and assets to weather a potential financial storm. They are pleased, however, at the Countess’ policy of heightened trade (and inflated prices) with the other city-states in the Empire. Foreign merchants visiting Talabheim are required to register at the Merchant’s Guild and provide a manifest of their cargo as well as the names of everyone in their caravan. This commonly results in massive traffic snarls in front of the guild house during busy times.[2h]

Snorri's PawnshopEdit

The hidebound bureaucracy of Talabheim requires all citizens to carry documents allowing them passage through its streets. On the surface, Snorri’s Pawnshop is just that. However, for those in the know, Snorri can provide false documents of all kinds. Snorri is a surly, paranoid Dwarf. He prefers to deal with regular customers, and being ever fearful of being caught by the City Watch, he only deals with newcomers that are vouched for by a regular. Snorri has so far kept his record clean and is perfectly willing to employ thugs to threaten, or dispose of, troublesome customers or anyone that pries too deeply into his side business. Snorri’s forgery materials are kept in a small, dilapidated shed behind his main building, so as not to draw attention to his second business. He never performs any forgery work in front of any customer, trusted or not.[2h]

Office of the PurseEdit

Located unnervingly close to the Merchants’ Guild, the Office of the Purse sets taxes on everything from passes into the city to shoe leather. The workers in this building are a sorry, harried lot and shuffle in and out quickly so as not to draw too much attention to themselves. The Ministers of Taxation are a small band of city bureaucrats that make surprise visits to businesses to ensure the proper taxes are being collected and returned to the city. The Ministers are notoriously corrupt, and most business owners consider them nothing more than a gang of extortionists wearing the livery of Talabheim. To guarantee taxes are collected, Ministers rarely venture forth without a handful of Dogfaces accompanying them. Business owners that refuse to pay bribes, along with the normal taxes, are subject to closure, seizure, or worse.[2h]

TaalgartenEdit

Although most neighbourhoods and even individual manors sport gardens and parks, the Taalgarten is the largest and most magnificent within Talabheim. The streets are broad and lined with ancient oaks and rowan trees. Normally the gardens are clean and well tended. However, with the massive influx of refugees from other lands, some have created squatter camps within the Taalgarten’s glens and fountains. Before this occurrence, the city watch paid little heed to events that occurred in the park. They have recently stepped up patrols to stop the most egregious crimes. For the most part, they leave the refugees alone, but they have been known to crack a few skulls out of spite and for sport. A small army of workers prune trees, harvest fruit and nuts, and keep the Taalgarten in good order. Occasionally, work gangs from the Hollows can be found here under heavy guard, forced to clean up garbage, the occasional corpse, and other disgusting debris.[2i]

The Sea of RosesEdit

Considered one of the finest treasures of the city, Talabheim’s Sea of Roses is a conservatory without compare in the rest of the Old World. Established almost 500 years ago by a talented horticulturist and Priest of Taal, the Sea of Roses started out merely as a labour of love but has since blossomed into a magnificent city garden. The Sea of Roses is obviously known for its collection of roses, but it also hosts hundreds of different exotic plants from all over the world. Some of the most rare specimens include the Darksilk Lotus from Araby and the fragrant Three Kings Iris from Cathay. The current curator is a Magister Lord of the Jade Order who spends more time tending to the conservatory than getting embroiled in politics. Unknown to the common folk, the Sea of Roses has a secret hothouse that grows different strains of poisonous plants. Although ostensibly kept for the advancement of science and medicine, plants sometimes disappear, followed by reports of mysterious, poison-related deaths. It’s unknown whether these thefts are the result of outsiders breaking in, or if the conservatory’s director has some illicit business on the side, selling dangerous ingredients for virulent poisons.[2i]

Brother's LodgeEdit

The Brother’s Lodge is one of the oldest sweat lodges within the city proper. It’s technically a private lodge for Priests of Taal and followers in good standing; almost every noble worth his salt has spent time within its oaken walls. The main steam room is massive, and its low-slung beams and wooden benches are carved with exquisite artwork depicting Taal, hunters, and other aspects of simple, forest life. The cedar wood used to heat the fires is heavily dosed with purifying oils and perfumes. In addition, the Lodge has several baths—from searing hot to icy cold—the water coming from a well beneath the building. The Brother’s Lodge is exempt from the taxes and laws banning certain forms of alcohol. Many rituals to Taal are performed here, culminating in the consumption of powerful moonshine and ales. The Lodge has its own impressive still and sometimes mixes hallucinogens with the brews to heighten the experience and provoke visions in the participants of the rites.[2i]

Knoll of DoctrinesEdit

The highest portion of the Taalgarten is a small rise known as the Knoll of Doctrines. For generations, this modest hill has served as a place where religious agitators, holy men, and zealots exhort passers-by and proselytize their faith. Small altars, banners, and other religious accoutrements blanket the top of the hill, but rarely for long, since enthusiastic members of rivals faiths never pass up the chance to knock down or burn that which they detest. Most of the time, the demagogues simply try to out-yell each other, but occasionally, things turn violent, until blood spills. In particular, the Priests of Sigmar are the most outspoken and vehement in their faith, commonly bullying and abusing other speakers.[2i]

The less religious members of Talabheim consider it great entertainment to place bets on the outcome of these fights, while they watch from safety at the foot of the hill. Recently, a fiery demagogue with no known religious affiliation has shown up at the Knoll of Doctrines, spouting an even more vitriolic sermon to the masses. He believes the Storm of Chaos was actually just the precursor for an even larger incursion bound to target Talabheim. While not unusual in itself, the agitator has gone as far to accuse key members of the Parliament of harbouring Mutants and consorting with the Ruinous Powers. All attempts to question or even stop him have failed—he manages to slip off into the crowd and out into the darkness of the Taalgarten before he can be caught. Some suspect he is a Wizard, ghost, or even a minion of Chaos sent to spread confusion and discontent.[2i]

Schwartz Hold-NordgateEdit

The Schwartz Hold-Nordgate sits to the east of the Merchant District. The populace consists of hard-working folks and has a practical, no-nonsense attitude. The area possesses a high concentration of warehouses, craftsmen, blacksmiths, and other working types. Once the work is done, the food halls and taverns fill up with workers looking to relax and forget their rough lives. The area is relatively safe at night, though thugs sometimes prowl the streets, watching for drunken merchants or craftsmen.[2i]

The Schwartz Hold neighbourhood is mostly filled with large warehouses, stables, and cattle pens. Blacksmiths, stonecutters, masons, wheelwrights, and other skilled craftsmen congregate in the Nordgate neighbourhood. A friendly rivalry exists between Schwartz Hold and Nordgate, commonly expressed through games and during holidays that emphasize civic pride. However, if the district is ever under threat, the two neighbourhoods band together immediately for the common good. Unbeknownst to most inhabitants, a recent project that plumbed for a new well opened up a passageway to a Skaven warren. The Skaven, small in number, decided to remain hidden for the moment but have begun lacing the water of this new well with small quantities of Warpstone in hopes of spreading mutation and despair.[2i]

The Rusty Musket Edit

Considered “home turf” by the locals of the Nordgate neighbourhood, the Rusty Musket is a rough-and-tumble tavern that caters to warehouse workers, blacksmiths, and other people that “work for a living.” Unless vouched for by a regular, newcomers are viewed with contempt and suspicion and are asking for trouble when they order a tankard. Bar brawls are common at the Rusty Musket, which sometimes escalate to full-fledged duels. It’s not unusual to see two or more drunken combatants wielding swords or taking aim at each other with pistols in the street in front of the tavern, while the other patrons make bets and yell drunkenly. Unless things get out of hand, the City Watch typically watches these duels out of amusement, breaking things up only when one or more duelists lay unconscious or dead in the street.[2i]

Wernhauer StablesEdit

The Wernhauer Stables are the largest, and easily among the finest, in Talabheim. Horses, pack mules, and other beasts of burden are bought and sold here. If you need a reliable mount, Wernhauer Stables should be the first place to go to. The stables do the bulk of their trade with various merchants and caravan team leaders that need large numbers of horses and mules. The owner, August Wernhauer, is a quiet, thoughtful man who seems more at home with his livestock than with other people. Despite his quiet demeanour, Wernhauer is a shrewd businessman and possesses an encyclopaedic knowledge of horses. In addition to selling mules and horses to travelling merchants, Wernhauer raises and trains warhorses and fine steeds for knights and noblemen alike. The stable boasts impressive breeds from lands as far away as Araby and Tilea. Recently, however, several of the animals within the stable have contracted mysterious illnesses and died horribly. Wernhauer has secretly slain and disposed of the bodies of several foals that showed signs of mutation. If word ever got out that his horses were tainted in some way, he’d be ruined—he’s desperate to locate the source of the disease.[2i]

Yavandir’s BlacksmithingEdit

Yavandir is unusual for a blacksmith—as an Elf, his work is treated with a different set of standards among the traditionbound Humans (and Dwarfs) of Talabheim. Originally from the Laurelorn Forest, Yavandir relocated to Talabheim fifty years ago in order to learn new techniques and spread the knowledge of Elven craftsmanship to others. Yavandir lacks a great deal of the arrogance common to most Elves but has replaced it with the typically gruff attitude of a blacksmith. However, no one can dispute his craftsmanship. Yavandir’s swords are true wonders to behold, and many young nobles strive to pay the exorbitant prices to own one of his rapiers or longswords. A few years ago, armed thugs with a beef against Elves assaulted his shop—Yavandir keeps their pierced and bloodied armour hanging above his door as a warning against any similar intrusions. Yavandir excels in working with the strange meteoric iron that is occasionally dug up by farmers inside the Taalbaston. This metal produces staggeringly sharp and hard blades and is highly coveted by Magisters for its easy acceptance of enchantments. Yavandir is willing to pay handsome prices for substantial portions of this metal, but its scarcity makes it in high demand.[2i]

The Red Checker TheaterEdit

This large, dingy theatre is a favourite of the working class to see bawdy plays, watch lowbrow comedy, and knock back a tankard or three. The Red Checker towers nearly four stories, and seat prices rise the higher one goes up the stairs. The Red Checker is considered the place to go for young playwrights, comedians, and performers to try out their acts, though most try to get out once an assessment is made. The theatre is filled to capacity on most evenings, and the crowd is known to be both brutal and catty if the performance is not up to their (rather low) standards. The theatre’s house troupe has a staple of songs, thinly veiled morality plays and lewd acts it trots out in case a new act isn’t available. The drunken masses are usually lulled back into complacency with popular folk songs or raunchy jokes. The place is shunned by the upper class; although, the occasional young nobleman and his entourage will make an appearance as they slum their way through the city’s nightlife.[2i]

Taal's FountainEdit

This fountain boasts an enormous statue of Taal, wielding a titanic spear and gazing towards the Wizard’s Way. The water that flows from this fountain is crystal clear and, oddly, never freezes during the winter months. Standing a full thirty feet tall, the statue is carved from the gleaming black granite of the Taalbaston. The inhabitants of Talabheim consider it a blessed place and anoint themselves with its water before undertaking important events. Weddings are concluded with the betrothed drinking a chalice filled with water from the fountain. The fountain has a few oddities about it. Birds never alight on the statue, avoiding it completely, in fact. Plus, the soot and grime of the city never dirties the statue—it’s assumed to be just as clean today as it was when the statue was first set in place. In times of civil strife, eyewitnesses swear that the statue’s eyes drip tears of blood; although, the black stone and condensation from the fountain make this difficult to verify.[2j]

Manor DistrictEdit

The Manor District is a sprawling neighbourhood on the eastern side of the city, spreading out into the verdant fields within the crater. This district is the home of the wealthiest and most influential members of Talabheim and gains its name from the large number of manor houses with extensive gardens and well-groomed grounds. Both the homes of Countess Elise Kreiglitz-Untern and the now-missing Count Feuerbach are located here. In addition to stately homes, the Manor District also houses expensive shops, the Royal Academy of Talabecland, and the Avenue of Heroes. The architecture of these estates is noted for its beauty, having wide windows and skylights—this stands in stark contrast to most wealthy homes throughout the Empire, which are designed more like miniature castles. It’s obvious the nobles of Talabheim are less concerned about defence than their peers in other cities.[2j]

The Grand Manor Edit

The Grand Manor is actually a half dozen buildings where the ruler of Talabheim resides. The walls surrounding the Grand Manor are twenty feet high, made of rich black basalt carved from the walls of the Taalbaston, and covered in impressive friezes depicting notable moments in Talabheim’s history. The grounds also include a sizeable armoury and a small private shrine to Taal. A massive fountain adorned with a huge, bronze stag sits in the middle of the grounds and is considered one of the finest of such castings in the Old Empire. The Countess spends relatively little time at the Grand Manor—her days take her to the Grand Courthouse of Edicts most of the time, though her extended family lives inside its walls.[2j]

The Royal Academy of TalabeclandEdit

The Royal Academy of Talabecland is considered a second-rate university when compared to other schools of learning in the Old World. It covers all the basic sciences and philosophies taught at most large universities, but most scholars from other lands consider the Academy’s teachings both staid and rather backwards. The one place the Academy stands out is agronomy and other plant lore. Members of both the Jade and Amber Orders commonly teach classes at the Academy and keep an eye out for potential Acolytes. Young noblemen that aren’t in immediate line for succession and aren’t inclined towards the Priesthood are commonly admitted into the Royal Academy—typically for a substantial donation to the school. This acceptance of “lesser minds” lends more credence to the Academy’s poor standing among the other universities in the rest of the Empire.[2j]

Avenue of HeroesEdit

The Avenue of Heroes is the main thoroughfare through the Manor District. It’s so named because of the dozens of statues of Talabheim and the Empire’s heroes lining the streets. Whilst most statues are in good shape, some bear the scars of vandals who have damaged a statue of someone they deem a traitor or heretic. During the city’s celebrations and parades, the statues of the Avenue of Heroes are commonly decorated with flowers and offerings. It is a favourite place for nobles and wealthy merchants to strut their stuff in the latest fashions. Unfortunately, it’s also the location of choice for hot-headed young noblemen to start fights and test their skill with a blade. Duels are common, though they rarely result in the death of the combatants. The rules for duelling on the Avenue of Heroes are complex, especially so to outsiders. It’s not uncommon to see duellists blindfolded and spun around while reciting a hymn to the Emperor and then throwing coins at the feet of their opponents before the fight begins.[2j] 

The QuillEdit

A fancy, high-priced salon, the Quill is the current favourite of the elite scene. The owner of the Quill, a Reiklander named Albert Dorzapf, considers himself a gourmand and orders exotic food items from all across the Empire to create unique meals for his patrons. The menus lean towards the bizarre and disgusting to the common folk—fried goose brains in fish sauce and the like. The Quill also serves the finest in aquavit and other strong, yet exquisite liquors. Unlike most other establishments, Dorzapf forbids weapons of any kind within his place of business. Most accept this for what it is, but the occasional spat occurs when a visiting nobleman attempts to bring in his finely crafted sword and is expected to give it up at the door. The Quill also hosts poetry and book readings, dances, and other intellectual pursuits for the highbrow crowd. It’s considered a social coup for a noble to be a patron for some up-and-coming poet or other artist and have their work premiered at the Quill. Competition to find the next rising star is fierce, and many noblemen look far and wide throughout the Empire for talented individuals.[2j]

Darkrook DownsEdit

Located on the fringes of the Manor District, the Darkrook Downs is a large, open field where horse and dog races are conducted, as well as jousting and other knightly displays. Bleachers and boxed seating line the field, which are reserved for nobles and paying customers—the rabble are relegated to the narrow ends. During the spring and summer, the Darkrook Downs hosts events nearly every other day, and the masses throng there in the hopes of seeing blood spilt. Foreign knights are the biggest draws, invoking city pride on a grand scale. Gambling is the order of the day at the Downs, and everyone, from the High Priest of Ulric to the lowliest guttersnipe, places bets on every event. On rare occasions, exotic, dangerous animals or unusually large specimens of bears, wolves, or boar are tethered in the middle of the field where they are slain for the enjoyment of the masses. In addition, the Talabheim Cavalry commonly use the Darkrook Downs to practice maneuvers.[2k]

GuildrowEdit

The southern end of Talabheim is dominated by a low-lying residential district known as Guildrow. Largely rural in appearance, the houses and cottages of the district lack the clustered and claustrophobic feel of other cities. Trees and thick hedgerows abound here. The tops of the largest hedgerows act as elevated roads leading towards the crater’s interior, as well as the settlements and farms therein. Much of Talabheim’s artisan population has taken to living here. Much of Talabheim’s industry takes place in Guildrow. Skilled labourers, such as blacksmiths, brewers, carpenters, coopers, goldsmiths, and stoneworkers, dominate the area. More odious industries, such as tanning, are restricted to the Tallows. Most of these artisans are members of regional guilds, and membership in a guild is, in large part, one of the prerequisites for establishing a business here. Due to a series of complicated zoning laws, anyone wishing to establish a business in Guildrow must first satisfy several strict requirements.[2k]

Hargrinson’s BreweryEdit

Hargrinson’s Brewery is owned and operated by a Dwarf brewmaster named Bellok Hargrinson. Though Bellok’s cantankerous demeanour is well known, he is possibly the finest brewer of ales and beers in Talabheim. His powerful ale, made from locally grown hops and barley mixed with the blessed water of the Crater Lake, is distributed throughout Talabheim at premium prices. Occasionally, Bellok’s brew makes its way out of the city-state, where it is snatched up and sold at exorbitant prices to upscale bars and taverns across the Empire. Bellok attributes his success to a mixture of Dwarf know-how and the quality of the locally grown ingredients used in his ales and beers. Demand for his product constantly outstrips his ability to produce it, but he doesn’t seem to mind. His indifference is for good reason, and he is more than happy to set his own prices. This comes as little surprise, especially when one considers that Bellok is among the wealthiest Dwarfs in Talabheim.[2k]

Emelia’s WaxworksEdit

One of the most successful businesses in Guildrow is Emelia’s Waxworks. Emelia Waxmann, a truly industrious chandler, made her fortune selling fine candles and scented soaps to merchants all across the Empire. The methods and recipes used by Emelia have been passed down through several generations of the Waxmann clan’s chandlers, and her family fortune is said to be immense. Rumours persist that Emelia is unwilling to marry, and as the last remaining Waxmann in Talabheim, it seems certain her knowledge will die with her unless an acceptable suitor can be found to win her heart. Despite her loneliness, Emelia has yet to find a paramour who can meet her rigid expectations.[2k]

Though she is not beyond childbearing age, long years of hard work in the chandlery have given Emelia a hard and haggard look most men find unappealing. Her frame is frail, and her face is drawn to the point of being gaunt. Most of her suitors are obviously interested in her money alone, and this fact ensures Emelia keeps her distance from all but the most promising of men. In addition to her fortune, Emelia is said to be in possession of an ancient relic of Rhya known as the Candle of Love. When burned in the presence of a potential bridegroom, the candle reveals whether or not his love for Emelia is genuine or merely motivated by greed for her purported fortune. The Candle has obviously served Emelia well, since all who have attempted to court the woman failed to win her hand in marriage. As for Emelia, she sometimes wonders if the candle has cursed her to a lonely, childless life.[2k]

GeltwoldEdit

Southwest of the Law Quarter, nestled near the south-eastern border of Talabheim’s Merchant District, is the Geltwold—The Gold Forest. Claiming the ambiguous status of a low-end financial district, this quarter is rife with pawnshops, moneylenders, coin changers, and small-time financiers. The narrow, winding streets and alleyways are crowded during the daylight hours. Messengers run errands for their masters, while merchants haggle with lenders over the value of their collateral or negotiate for the best return on an unwise investment. Though small in size, the district’s economic influence, especially amongst the lower and middle classes of Talabheim (who refer to the place as Clankstreet “where the ground is cobbled with Karls!”), is beyond question. Serving much of the city’s lower- and middle-class citizens, the gears of the Geltwold are driven by desperation and greed. An undercurrent of corruption permeates the area and for good reason: a number of the so-called pawnshops are merely fronts for fencing operations that subsist on buying and selling stolen or ill-gotten merchandise. The market for stolen goods is lucrative in Talabheim, despite the harsh punishments meted out on anyone found guilty of theft or possession of stolen property.[2k]

One Man’s TreasureEdit

One Man’s Treasure may not be the largest or most successful pawn shop in Talabheim’s Geltwold, but it certainly has one of the most eclectic selections of used goods available anywhere within the Taalbaston. The shelves are stocked with all manner of items, many of which were pawned for mere pennies but now sport tags marked with prices as much as ten times higher. Though cluttered and overstocked with an abundance of junk, the shop is well organized. Loose items are held in clearly marked wooden bins. Larger items, including furniture and objets d’art are kept off to the side, where potential customers can easily see them. Ewald Beyer, the owner of One Man’s Treasure, is a one-man operation.[2l]

He is an older, stodgy, balding fellow with white hair and perpetually bloodshot, bespectacled eyes. Ewald is well versed with his stock, from the smallest hatpin to the largest wardrobe. It is his preference that people ask him for specific items, as he has little patience for window-shoppers (or “Fensterkaufers,” as he calls them) or folks who come into his shop with the intention of just browsing. Though One Man’s Treasure puts forth a legitimate front—indeed, business is good and the stock on display does on occasion move— Ewald is actually one of the premier fences in the Geltwold. After hours, his edgy demeanour is replaced by a spiderlike patience most people do not expect. His clients, whom he sees by appointment only, must be referred to him by trusted customers unless he has previously worked with them in the past. His prices for stolen goods are fair, for the most part, but he prefers to refrain from dealing in magic of any sort.[2l]

The Faithful LenderEdit

To hear Nobbler Crumbuckle tell it, he’s the richest Halfling in Talabheim. If true, this dubious honour is due in large part to his willingness to do anything to collect a debt, as well as all interest due, using any means necessary. After all, Nobbler loans money to just about anyone who can meet his exorbitant interest rates, and he’ll even hand the gold over with a smile and a firm handshake. Even though most people know of his somewhat sinister reputation, few believe that a Halfling poses much of a threat. Nobbler relies on this naïveté to ensure a steady stream of customers. As with most lenders, he appreciates customers who pay on time, yet he prefers those who don’t. Nobbler’s place of business, dubbed The Faithful Lender, is a well-appointed shop at the southeast end of the Geltwold.[2l]

Passing through the Human-sized door, one encounters the musty smell of old paper, the sweet scent of flavoured pipeweed, and the chirping of Catkins, Nobbler’s pet finch. Nobbler prefers to remain in his office, while his plump Halfling secretary, Suppia, and his Human bodyguard, Gismar, deal with potential customers. Those who pass the scrutiny of his underlings are admitted to his chambers. There, he listens to their sad tales, gives simple advice, and offers his “best” interest rate for their potential loans. The rigid and convoluted financial laws of Talabheim give Nobbler a great deal of leverage in his day-to-day dealings with debtors. Even the smallest loans are subject to these intricate rules, and few in the city are as adept at navigating them as Nobbler is. He points to obscure laws and exceptions, which are written into every contract he offers, practically providing him with permission to collect his due in whatever fashion seems most convenient at the time. Short of killing a debtor, which is still illegal in Talabheim, Nobbler will do anything to cash in on overdue payments on his loans, often with Gismar in tow.[2l]

MilitaryEdit

Warhammer Talabheim Military

The fur-covered pride of Talabheim military

The Talabheim army is notable for its sizable proportion of bowmen to regular foot soldiers and its ability to move quickly through forested regions. The bulk of its soldiers are recruited from the woods and glens both within the Taalbaston and outside its reach. Footmen prefer the axe or spear to the sword. The army has a small contingent of cavalry, which are used for fast lightning strikes rather than massed charges—they leave that task to the Knightly Orders.[2c]

Famous RegimentsEdit

  • Taalbaston Guard - The Taalbaston Guard is responsible for the defence of the Crater Wall and, most importantly, the fortress protecting the Wizard’s Way. They consider themselves superior to all the other military units, including the rest of the army, with the possible exception of the Taal’s Chosen. Taalbaston guardsmen take their jobs very seriously but are known to accept bribes from the right people. They boast a heavy emphasis on artillery and crossbowmen to protect the gate—the fortress atop the Wizard’s Way has nearly a hundred cannon, ballistae, and catapults that can be brought to bear on the enemy. The turrets of the High Watch are also lined with vats of boiling oil, lye, and other caustic substances.[2c]
  • Tunnel Bridge "The Terries" -  Within the ranks of the Taalbaston Guard is a special unit that roams the numerous tunnels and warrens within the walls of the crater itself—known as the Ratholds. Though officially known as the Taalbaston Tunnel Brigade, most (including themselves) call these guardsmen “the Terriers” for their mission is to “find and kill the rats in the walls.” The Terriers patrol the best-known tunnels and are constantly on the search for new ones. It’s not illegal to be, or even live, inside the wall, but numerous illegal acts occur within them. Their biggest concern is finding tunnels leading outside of the Taalbaston, where people can slip in and out of the city without being seen (and more importantly, not pay their entry taxes). Terriers are selected from the shortest of the Taalbaston Guard— the source of innumerable taunts and jokes by the rest of the troops—but they are fierce and capable fighters. Few are noted of having much in the way of a sense of humour. Dwarfs and Halflings are far more common in the Terriers than in the other branches of Talabheim’s military.[2c]
  • The Militia "Drunken Gangs" - The militia is a hodgepodge of trusted citizens, woodsmen, and hunters that band together in times of need. When necessary, horsemen ride out into the Taalwelt, blow a trumpet with a unique call, and hold aloft a green banner depicting an upside-down drinking horn. Ancient law dictates all able-bodied men must muster when this occurs, though how many come depends on the amount of Rotfire moonshine consumed the night before. For this reason, the army commonly refers to the militia as the “Drunken Gang”—more than a few brawls have occurred when a soldier quips with this remark to an assembled group of militiamen. Despite its malign reputation, the militia is capable, made up of rugged and dependable Talabeclanders. Most men consider it an honour to serve the militia when summoned and they take their duty seriously. However, the Hunter Lords have learned not to impose strict discipline, much less require them to wear uniforms or the like, on the independent-minded folk within the Taalbaston’s borders. A commander that imposes too many restrictions or “dandy” rules on his troops had better sleep with one eye open at night.[2c]
  • The City Watch "Dog Faces" - Talabheim’s City Watch is known as “the Dogfaces” for the rather poor wolf ’s head heraldry they sport. Should they go into battle, they are known to cry “For Taal! For Elise!” The city guard were gifted the wolf ’s head heraldry by the Cult of Ulric during a short interregnum in the second millennium, that saw Ar-Ulric uproot himself from Middenheim to Talabheim after a spat with the Graf. The Cult of Ulric has always been influential in Talabecland and is not different in Talabheim, being the second most influential Cult in the city, after Taal of course. A large Temple and a statue of the God stand in the City of the Gods. The City Watch is responsible for enforcing the city code, maintaining order, and acting as a reserve in times of siege. They are known for arresting individuals for the slightest infraction, rationalizing there must be some law buried in the massive tomes at the Grand Courthouse of Edicts that applies to the given situation. However, Talabheim is unusual in that a citizen arrested by the City Watch may attempt to charge the arresting officer with illegal incarceration if they can bring the case in front of the judges at the Grand Courthouse of Edicts—but only the wealthiest and most influential can attempt such a task.[2c]

Knightly Order ChaptersEdit

Whilst all the main Knightly Orders have a presence in Talabheim, none can rightly claim dominance over each other. With the Storm of Chaos in its death throes, and the missing Elector Count’s own personal bodyguard, the Order of the Red Shields still missing in action, and Talabheim’s defences in disarray as armies return, the various commanders of the other Knightly Orders hope to expand their strength and sphere of influence. Public sentiment to this plan runs the gamut—some welcome an increase of capable fighters, while others see it as nothing more than a power grab.[2c]

  • Knights of the White Wolf - Most of the Knights of the White Wolf remain in the field. Those that stayed behind in the city were charged with shoring up its fortifications. Unfortunately, they found themselves with little to do—something that angered such hardened warriors. Their loyalty lies with Talabheim’s current High Priest of Ulric. The order has gotten more insular and zealous over the years, as the Cult of Ulric remains lesser to that of Talabheim’s patron deity—Taal.[2c]
  • Knights Panther - The Knights Panther have long had a presence in Talabheim, though their loyalty and resources lay mostly in Middenheim. It’s said their chapterhouse in the Eye is the second largest in the Empire. The knights are viewed with a great deal of suspicion and most believed their continued presence is a means for Middenheim to expand its sphere of influence where it isn’t wanted.[2c]
  • Knights of the Stag - Proud and regal, the Knights of the Stag are a relatively new order. Shunning the open guerrilla-style of warfare best known by most Talabeclanders, the Knights of the Stag pride themselves on fighting in dense, highly disciplined units. Some accuse them of being more concerned with parade drills rather than fighting ability, though they have proven themselves time and time again when they take to the field of battle. The Knights Stag are highly disdainful of the other Knightly Orders and consider themselves the true sons of Talabheim.[2c]
  • Taal's Chosen - Taal’s Chosen are an exclusive group of elite woodsmen that patrol the interior of the Taalbaston, particularly the Taalgrunhaar. They are vigilant in protecting pilgrims from the predations of bandits and hunt down the rare Mutant or dangerous beast that finds its way inside the interior of the crater. On rare occasions, they span outside the Taalbaston and patrol the Old Dwarf Road to the south. In war, Taal’s Chosen serve as scouts and commandos for the main army, though a detachment is left behind to ensure the safety of the sacred woods. They are masters of hit-and-run tactics, trap setting, and tracking. The members of Taal’s Chosen disdain any sort of uniform but wear a stag hide draped over their shoulders to indicate their status. The current leader of Taal’s Chosen is Joerg Hafner, a fearsome warrior and tracker without peer. He prefers the trackless wilds to city living, but his duties as commander for both Taal’s Chosen and the city militia keep him embroiled in politics more than he likes. Hafner maintains good relations with the Knights Stag and considers them true brothers in arms.[2c]

Wizard OrderEdit

  • Jade Order - The Jade Order is easily the most powerful magical faction in Talabheim, and unlike most cities, it works closely with the Priesthood. An appointed Magister Lord advises the Countess and Parliament and preserves the abundant wilderness within the Taalbaston from over development. In times of war, the Magister Lord coordinates Magister reinforcements for the militia to shore up defences, though the currently appointed Magister Lord, Dieter Vogt, dislikes getting too involved in the machinations of the Hunters’ Council. The Amber Order runs a close second in representation of Magisters in Talabheim. Few spend time within the city proper, instead practicing their arts in the Taalwelt where wild beasts still run free. A tale persists of an elderly, and crazed, Amber Magister that commands the rats of the city by means of a flute.


SourcesEdit

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Empire (8th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 21
  • 2: Terror in Talabheim (2nd Edition Fantasy Roleplay)
    • 2a: pg. 4 - 5
    • 2b: pg. 6
    • 2c: pg. 7 - 9
    • 2d: pg. 10 - 11
    • 2e: pg. 12 - 13
    • 2f: pg. 14 - 15
    • 2g: pg. 16 - 17
    • 2h: pg. 18 - 21
    • 2i: pg. 22 - 23
    • 2j: pg. 24
    • 2k: pg. 25
    • 2l: pg. 26
    • 2m: pg. 27
    • 2n: pg. 28
  • 3: Sigmar's Heir (2nd Edition Fantasy Roleplay)
    • 3a: pg. 89
    • 3a: pg. 90
    • 3a: pg. 91
    • 3a: pg. 92
    • 3a: pg. 93

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