WFRP: Fractious Nobles and their Stances


Today we have another blog post from WFRP Developer Dave Allen on the Enemy Within!

Trouble and Turmoil – Fractious Nobles and their Stances circa 2512 IC

There’s nothing quite like rousing rhetoric to stir up a crowd, especially when things are already heated. With notorious nobles vying for power and gathering troops at a rapid pace, rumours abound adding more fuel to the growing civil unrest. With resentment and discord spreading rapidly through the Empire, time appears to be running out (even if you count slowly to nine). When things are just about to reach boiling point, a touch of nepotism, a sprinkle of jingoism and a large dollop of separatism are sure to make matters explosive, to say the least.

Whether you are new to the campaign or a seasoned traveller, it’s time to buy a hat and roll up your sleeves, you might not catch a bouquet, but you are sure to be hooked, just don’t forget that appearances can be deceptive and some folk really are too good to be true! 

‘The civil strife that rocked the Empire in 2512 was notable for two things: power and time! A repositioning of power unprecedented since the reunification following the Great War Against Chaos achieved within a timeframe of a few intense summer months. 

I’ll propose that the following phenomena led to the hostilities and outcome: the architects of the Turmoil had decided long before it occurred how it would play out, they were less interested in the destruction of the Empire than its reformation under their guidance! They were assisted in their operations by rogue spies and magicians, and they ultimately succeeded in sparking war but failed to capitalise on their success.’

  • Opening remarks from Quintus Fassbinder’s 2514 study into the causes and overall impact of the Turmoil

The Empire’s noble families  are fundamental to the power it can project both politically and militarily. The standing armies of State Troops usually comprised armed folk from the retinues of nobles. Ensuring that a noble does not swell the ranks of their armed retainers to such a degree so as to make their neighbours nervous is a fine balancing act for provincial rulers and electors. On one hand, noble lords want their vassals to raise retinues of soldiers for their own ability to project force relies on these armies. On the other hand, the fact that a subordinate noble raises a powerful personal army is sometimes a sign that they no longer wish to remain subordinate.

In the Reikland rumours that the Jungfreuds were swelling the ranks of their armed retinues were widespread.hen Karl-Franz ordered the takeover of Ubersreik, he tasked his uncle, Grey Guardian Immanuel-Ferrand, with ensuring that evidence be gathered and produced to demonstrate that Graf Sigismund had been taking on armed retainers to an unprecedented degree. Such evidence is elusive, and whilst it is fair to say that the Jungfreuds are adopting a siege mentality now, and dealing with hardened mercenaries now, this would seem to be a reaction to the seizure of Ubersreik rather than ambitions of conquest.

Karl-Franz seems unsure how to react in turn. He is sure that the intelligence provided to him accurately illustrates that the Jungfreuds were preparing to expand their ambit through military force, but without evidence it looks as if he unjustly deposed them. This act provokes minor nobles across the Reikland and beyond to swell their own retinues for fear the same thing will happen to them. In Altdorf, gossip suggests that the Emperor has retreated from public life to avoid the tension and opprobrium resulting from his takeover of Ubersreik. 

Grand Countess Emmanuelle, portrait by Sam Manley

To the south, Emmanuelle von Liebwitz the Grand Countess of Nuln is less worried that Karl-Franz wishes to make moves on her suzerain. They are old friends and the astute Grand Countess realises that the business of Ubersreik is an aberration, an out-of-character decision by the normally even-handed Karl-Franz. She does see that it sets a certain precedent, however, and believes with the right combination of confrontational postures and defensive manoeuvres she could do much to expand her dominion. She just needs her neighbour, Etelka Toppenheimer the Grand Baroness of Sudenland, to respond to Nuln’s provocations with a rash move of her own.

On the other side of the Reik is the Grand County of Averland. Here too instability is spreading. Iron Countess Ludmilla is aged, and intemperate actions she took in the past are coming back to haunt her. The coming harvest looks to be a poor one, and in the town of Streissen the citizens recall that the last time they suffered food shortages it led to the 2502 Bread Riots that were brutally suppressed on Ludmilla’s orders. The folk of the town are looking for someone to spare them from the misrule of the Alptraums. Someone. Anyone…

Count Marius portrait by Sam Manley

With the spectre of Nordland Independence haunting the corridors of power in Middenheim and the growing violence between Ostland and Talabecland, observers are left wondering if an outside force, some guiding hand, is working its influence to ensure that these grievances come to a head at the same time.

Empire in Ruins, the concluding adventure in the director’s cut of The Enemy Within Campaign, is currently in the final stages of production. The plans of servants of the Great Architect and the ambitions of the Empire’s most powerful rulers come to a dramatic and terrible climax. Can the Characters prevent disaster, or will events conclude in a right royal mess? Remember: Hold on to your hat, this is one adventure you won’t want to miss. 

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