WFRP: Folk and Folklore of the Reikland Part 7

Lord Ambassador Liepmund Holzkrug – Portrait by Álvaro Jiménez Hernández


Empire in Ruins, the fifth and final dramatic adventure in Cubicle 7’s Director’s Cut of The Enemy Within Campaign is coming soon. Stay tuned for more updates on its release.

Today, we have another intriguing piece from Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Developer Dave Allen. If you missed any of Dave’s previous Folk and Folklore posts you will find part six and all the previous articles linked here.

Folk and Folklore of the Reikland: The Holzkrug Dynasty

‘Good people of the Reikland, lend me your ear! There’s trouble brewing. Whether your allegiance lies with Gruber, Holzkrug, Holswig-Schliestein, or any noble house, it’s time to get indoors and lay low. ’

— Common opinion amongst good citizens of Weissbruck

Remember when it comes to nobility, it’s not all quibbles and quarrels, there’s some serious posturing, grandstanding and a smidgeon of back stabbing. The rising unrest continues on the streets and behind polished doors, with urgent whispers in the corridors and snide remarks at banqueting tables, the tension is palpable. Whether you funded a canal or your ancestor was a Graf, the past is the past and is following close at your heels to remind you of your ancestors’ failings. Dynasty or no dynasty, blood is murkier than water. This is one campaign you won’t want to sit out, so grab your grey cloak and pull up a seat.  

The Holzkrug dynasty is one of the Reikland’s most celebrated noble lines. They have held estates in the province since the reign of Dieter III, being granted hereditary tenure of their foremost domain in 1650 IC. It is reported that the family had performed significant favours for Dieter in suppressing the unrest that followed his imposition of the Missing Ear Tax. Given that this tax targeted, and was therefore opposed by, members of Altdorf’s high society, the Holzkrug’s must have been willing to face the wrath of very powerful people in supporting the Emperor. Whatever risks they took must have paid off, a rich and extensive domain around the town of Weissbruck, and the hereditary title of Graf was their due reward.

As the centuries passed whatever grievances they might have imposed on their peers were forgotten, though sporadic private wars did break out between the Holzkrugs and their neighbours in the Barony of Holswig. Heads of the family were even granted the title of Emperor in 2185 IC, though this was during the period of interregnum following the rancorous part-election of Grand Countess Magritta, the disastrous Year of Seven Emperors, and a widespread loss of trust in the electoral system. By the time a Holzkrug wore the Imperial Crown only the nobles of Reikland, Wissenland, Stirland, and Averland paid much heed, to the rest of the shattered Empire they were Emperors in name only.

Their line did produce one notable ruler. Eberhardt the Just (2232 IC – 2260 IC). A postulant priest of Shallya, Eberhardt had had the leadership of House Holzkrug thrust upon him when his father died suddenly and his elder brother’s behaviour became worryingly erratic. As Emperor, Eberhardt expended a great deal of time and money on improving public health in the Reikland’s towns and cities. He sponsored great artists such as Jacopo Tarradasch. He founded the Great Hospice in 2243 IC through a grant of land and money, devoting a small far flung family estate near Frederheim to the Cult of Shallya.

He was a much beloved Emperor, but his generosity and compassion may have contributed to the decline of his house. He bequeathed tracts of land and handed out generous stipends to worthy causes, but the Holzkrug coffers were emptied and even Altdorf’s treasury  was depleted during his time. When he died in 2260 IC his heirs declined to pursue the throne, preferring instead to concentrate on consolidating the remaining family holdings, and the crown passed to Empress Annette von Telland.

Centuries passed, and the fortunes of the Holzkrug dynasty began to improve, bolstered by the completion of the Weissbruck canal in 2462 IC. House Gruber of Weissbruck manages the canal on behalf of the three noble houses who own it in equal parts: Gruber, Holzkrug, and Holswig-Schliestein. Emperor Mattheus II of House Holswig-Schliestein had supported the Holzkrugs in the venture in the hope that it would remedy the ancient rivalry between their families. The Holzkrugs seemed to be generous in return, though locals know the Gruber family are little more than Holzkrug vassals.

Graf Liepmund is currently the head of the Holzkrug family. He is a skilled hunter, a powerful politician, and leading light of the Black Chamber, Altdorf’s spy ring. He sits on the Reikland Council in his role as Lord High Ambassador, and is trusted by luminaries such as the Grand Theogonist and the Emperor to manage tricky diplomatic situations.

In terms of his impact and influence, he is often compared to Grey Guardian Immanuel-Ferrand Holswig-Schliestein, the uncle of Emperor Karl Franz who runs a department of the Black Chamber called the Graukappen (therefore a subordinate to Liepmund) and sits on the Council of State in his position as High Chancellor of the Realm (therefore superior to Liepmund).

There has been increasing discord between the two men of late. Liepmund decries the recent takeover of Ubersreik as a rash act by Karl Franz, knowing full well that Immanuel-Ferrand encouraged, maybe even proposed, such action to be taken.

High Chancellor of the Realm and Grey Guardian Immanuel-Ferrand Holswig-Schliestein – Portrait by Álvaro Jiménez Hernández

The competing ambitions of these two men are due to clash with disastrous results. More about their conflicts, intrigues and impact can be found in Empire in Ruins, the fifth and final dramatic adventure in Cubicle 7’s Director’s Cut of The Enemy Within Campaign, coming soon. So take note and keep your ear to the ground, if it’s not too taxing! 

Find out more or order Enemy Within Campaign titles here.

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