Prior to the arrival of the von Hochen dynasty in Bergsburg, the small village of Bergsdorf was largely restricted to the eastern banks of the Drakwasser in the area now known as Grossplatz. But in the centuries of expansion following Roland establishing the Temple and castle, the bridge of Rolandsbrücke was constructed, and newcomers to the town began to build along the Middenweg. It was here that the Cult of Verena established a temple, which eventually grew to encompass a small monastery, school and library and provided the district with it's name. Soon the building moved southwards, and in 1611 the Church of Sigmar began to construct its cathedral here, following the lead of the Verenans. The influence of the temple and monastery shaped the character of the district, with many academics and bureaucrats taking up residence here, along with the guild offices of the non-craft guilds of the educated classes.
The district of Verenenstadt is bounded on the north by the Middenweg, beyond which can be found the affluent homes of Rolandsbrücke. To the south is the lower middle class area of Beilheim - a locality sniffed upon by the more snobbish residents of Verenenstadt as being the home of 'shallow-pated mercenaries'. The western boundary of the district is the city wall and the Tieftor - one of the watchtowers built to look over the city's hinterland. To the east Verenenstadt tapers towards the river and Roland's Bridge.
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The layout of Verenenstadt is dominated by two squares and several larger streets:
Located in the centre of the district atop a slight rise, this large paved square forms the hub of the major roads that cross Verenenstadt. It is named for the three places of worship that stand around it - the Temple of Sigmar, the Shrine of St. Urda and the Temple of Verena. The square is traditionally a meeting place for local residents, and during the day will be bustling with clerks, academics and initiates going about their business while criers shout their declarations on the hour. A number of statues and pieces of stonework stand around Kirchenplatz, including one of Magnus the Pious purchased for the city by the Adler clan and a large ornate sundial in the centre of the square.
This square is smaller than Kirchenplatz, and is dominated by the large structure of the Tiegel Theater in the centre. It is usually thronged with citizens of all classes on their way to and from the theatre and its many surrounding places of entertainment. Entertainers will often set up here, encouraged by the convivial atmosphere and large crowds. However, proceeds from street entertainment are poor here - one of the contributory factors to the Entertainer's Guild's animosity to the Theater. Around the square and in nearby streets are located a number of lively inns and taverns, which make the area a popular destination in the evening.
This broad road leads east from Kirchenplatz towards Roland's Bridge over the Drakwasser. It is a well-maintained thoroughfare, with some symbolic significance as it leads ultimately from the Temple of Verena to the Law Courts in Grossplatz. The street is lined with the offices of guilds and suppliers of paper, books and the other trappings of academic and bureaucratic life.
Weisheitstrasse descends the slight slope from Kirchenplatz to join the Middenweg. The buildings here are primarily residential apartments, many of which are owned by the Temple of Verena and let to the lay staff of the school, monastery and temple itself.
Named after Heinz Borlander, a celebrated philanthropist who lived in the 24th century, this street descends towards Beilheim, crossing Der Klein Dampf at the Feinburg crossroads.
- Der Klein Dampf
This is the road that is considered to be the southern limit of Verenenstadt. A fairly narrow passage, there is room for only one cart to pass. Watch patrols use this route towards the walls, as it is close to their homes in Beilheim and represents a short route to the city wall.
The smaller streets are winding but well-lit during the daylight hours. Many have lanterns that are illuminated during the evenings by the Watch. Unusually for an Imperial city, many of the streets are flagged - the legacy of a less-than-legal arrangement between the Town Hall and the Buyss Quarry in previous centuries.
Verenenstadt's skyline is dominated by the grandiose structures such as the Temple of Verena, the Tiegel Theater, the Wizards' Guild and the Temple of Sigmar. However, the residential and commercial buildings are impressive in their own right - the architecture is more than functional and has a uniformity of style that lends the area a certain aesthetic quality. Most are three stories high and half-timbered, with local stone from the foothills of the Middle Mountains being used in the construction of the ground floors. Roofs tend to be steeply gabled, and the vast majority of buildings have cellars. Interestingly, during the construction of some newer buildings on the Borlanderdamm last year the labourers found some gigantic bones when digging the foundations. Although some local academics expressed an interest in excavating them, the owner of the land was keen to finish construction and had them hastily re
nto the river.
The residents and workers of Verenenstadt tend to be civil servants, clerks and scribes - the day-to-day footsoldiers of the bureaucratic, religious and mercantile occupations. The importance of the Temple of Verena
has lead to Bergsburg's small academic community making its home here, including some wizards and alchemists. Likewise, senior figures in the city's non-craft guilds tend to live here to be closer to their offices. Priests and initiates also tend to dwell either within or close to their temple - consequently many can be found to have homes in Verenenstadt.
There is no local character as such, beyond the similarity of many local resident's occupations. Most keep to themselves or mix with their fellow employees and guildsmen. The taverns and inns are largely concerned with trade attracted by the presence of the Tiegel Theater, although those located by the city gate attract adventurers and tradesmen.
During the day the area is reasonably busy with scribes and errand boys running to and fro carrying manuscripts and documents. At night the area is lively around the Theaterplatz, but quiet elsewhere. Crime is relatively rare - the only buildings which harbour items worth stealing tend to be the temples and the Wizard's Guild, and these represent a near-impossible challenge for any thief. Cut-throats and pickpockets have long realised that scribes and academics earn far too little to possess much of any worth, and tend to concentrate on other areas of the city. Pickpockets do however make a point of hanging around the Theaterplatz, where the inebriated state of most carousers makes for rich pickings.
Locals' response to PCs will tend to be one of preoccupied indifference. If they start making trouble then the Watch will be called forthwith, but otherwise the district is relatively welcoming, even to scruffy adventurers.
- The Blunted Quill
Located on Rechtstrasse, this upmarket tavern caters to academics and lawyers primarily and has a more sedate atmosphere than most drinking holes. Traditionally the inn of choice for the city's intellectuals, what it lacks in drink-fuelled raucousness it more than makes up for in heated academic or legal debate. It is here that the PCs can pick up gossip and scandal amongst the city's legal and academic professions. The owner is Otto Fluss, a devout Verenan who defies the innkeeper stereotype by being extremely tall, thin and nervous. He is an responsible and devoted member of the Innkeeper's Guild.
- Temple of Sigmar & St Franz
Opposite the Temple of Verena, in the north-east corner of Kichenplatz you find the octagonal Temple of Sigmar, dedicated to the martyr St Franz.
- Shrine of St. Urda
On the southern edge of Kirchenplatz, this small building is a local shrine to Shallya. St Urda is one of the goddess' saints - a martyr who taught that the taking of life for merciful purposes is not a sin against the tenets of the faith. The priest here is Sister Agnetha who tends to the day to day needs of those Verenenstadt residents that wish to pay their respects to the Goddess of Mercy and Healing when travelling to the main temple is not possible. She is a boisterous woman, notorious for her ability to squeeze large donations from all visitors to the shrine. Consequently it is rather poorly attended.
- Temple of Verena
The temple, monastery, library and academy of learning occupy several buildings to the west of Kirchenplatz.
Built into the walls is a low watchtower at the edge of the Verenenstadt district. A section of the city guard are posted here to watch over the walls and lend support to the main garrison on the Middenweg gate. The tower's upper storey is a wooden construction jutting out from the wall complete with a slated roof in reasonable condition. The warmth and comfort offered by this mean that the Tieftor is viewed as a 'cushy number' by those soldiers in the external guard that work elsewhere. The watch patrol assigned to the tower tend to be older and closer to retirement than elsewhere.
- The Dancing Landlord
A popular tavern located on a small street between Theaterplatz and Der Klein Dampf.
- The Imperial Engineer's Guild
On a back street south of Rechtstrasse is a building bearing the coat of arms of the Imperial Engineer's Guild. Although Hochland has been a source of previous 'innovation' by the organisation, this office is rarely visited by any of The Empire's engineers. The remoteness of the city combined with the ill-feeling held by some Hochlanders towards the Guild (the Hochland Long Rifle is seen by some as plagiarised - see SN37) mean that visits to the office are infrequent. Nevertheless there is a clerk, Matthias Klugbreit - but there is a very slim (5%) chance that he will even have bothered turning up to work when the PCs call.
- The Guild of Scribes and Scriveners
Although the Bergsburg Guild Hall is located in Grossplatz, Verenenstadt hosts the offices of many non-craft guilds, of which the scribe's guild is but one. The small guildhouse is located on Geiststrasse, just around the corner from Middenweg. Above the door hangs a wooden quill and parchment, and the frontage is modest but well-tended. The head of the guild is Elsa Volker, a serious and professional woman who is polite but impatient with time wasters. The guild represents all scribes and clerks within the city.
- Monument To The Dead of Praag
One of Verenenstadt's oddest features is this black marble monument located tucked away on a minor street near to the city wall. Shaped like a tall plinth, it features a soldier in Kislevite garb holding aloft a wounded child and weeping bitterly. Around the base is an inscription in Classical bearing a tribute to those that died in the Siege of Praag during the Incursions of Chaos. The work is unremarkable artistically, but still garners interest from locals as it is unknown who commissioned the monument. Furthermore, no-one can remember when it was put in place - older residents remember a time when it was not there, but cannot pinpoint when it arrived.
- Holst Reikhof - Calligrapher
A typical resident of Verenenstadt, Holst is an elderly scribe who retired from working for a lawyer's office several years ago. He now lives in the area with his wife Helga on the first floor of a house on Rechtstrasse and earns his wages scribing ornate documents for private individuals. The work he produces is of a high standard and new employment often comes from personal recommendation by his patrons. At present he is producing a family tree for the Adler clan. Previous work of this nature has lead him to gain considerable knowledge of the local nobility's heritage.
Holst is a friendly individual who tends to see the best in most people. Unlike many scribes he has no disagreement with the relatively new printing profession. He believes that the artistry involved in scribing will allow the two professions to survive alongside each other.
- Wizards' Guild
Overlooking the river at the eastern end of Verenenstadt is the impressive building that houses the Wizard's Guild of Bergsburg.
- The Rested Pedlar
At the northernmost point of Verenenstadt is located this inn for travellers. Those coming through the western gate of the city, are often pulled into here by one of the local bawds or urchins touting for business for Dieter Mundelnn the innkeeper. Basic but comfortable, the rooms are offered at standard rates (as per the WFRP rulebook) and the clientele are a lively mix of travellers and the less skilled workers of Verenenstadt. Dieter has spent years cultivating a jolly and welcoming demeanour to reassure strangers to the city, but in truth he spends much of his time cursing them under his breath for their foolishness.
- Kilmann's Printshop
Nestled amongst the apartment houses of Weisheitstrasse is this printshop. The business is run by the Kilmanns, a husband and wife partnership. Business in the last 5 years has been good, with playbills from the Tiegel Theater printed here along with works for the Temple of Verena. The pair will not produce pamphlets or documents of a controversial nature and the backing from the temple has made them well respected by the authorities, who tend to be suspicious of printing.
- Temple of Mórr
A tall imposing building, set among the back streets of Verenenstadt, near the Monument to the Dead of Praag.
(Note: the locations described here are by no means exhaustive. It is intended that future contributors to the Bergsburg project will use this description of the area to build on what is delineated here. Although the 'major' institutions and landmarks of the area are described, there is plenty of room for expansion and further development)