Citizens of the Empire
The Bankbezirk is the centre of Altdorf’s commerce and lies east of the Middenheim Road and the Königplatz. Not surprisingly, many merchants and traders make their homes in this mercantile district. Banking companies are also situated in the Bankbezirk.
Located near the North Gate, the Fuhrmarkt is a traditional farmers’ and livestock market that is held during the morning hours. Servants from the districts north of the Talabec flock here to obtain provisions and goods for the household of their masters. Many traders operate booths and selling their merchandise from mid-morning onwards. Anyone seeking gossip, news, and rumours can do worse than mingle with the crowds at this market.
The Association of Coachmen is little more than the building that houses the offices of the coaching companies – Four Seasons, Cartak Lines, and Ratchett Lines – that serve Altdorf and their maintenance yards and stables. The companies are bitter competitors. Their offices were once located in different parts of the Altdorf, but city officials had enough of the “raids” each waged against the others (humorously called the “Coaching Wars”) that an ordinance was passed forcing the three to cohabitate. The Four Seasons is the newest of the coaching lines and is slowly bleeding the other two of their business.
The Imperial Mercantile Bank provides its customers with banking services and as functions as a stock exchange. There are some who consider depositing their money at the bank as being little different than throwing it away in a game of dice, but for most people it’s safer than keeping coins in the mattress – or pile of bug-infested straw – at one’s home.
The Altdorf Council Hall is the centre of the city’s administration. It contains offices for the three Burgomeisters and their secretaries as well as the City Records which is constantly quarrelling with the Judiciary Secretarium over jurisdiction. It is also the home of the Altdorf Courthouse where most of the legal cases in Altdorf are tried. The majority are presided over by a tribunal of three magistrates, though there are cases of misdemeanour where one magistrate is often enough to render judgement. In circumstances where the proper jurisdiction is in question in other parts of the Reikland, the court case will be referred to here. Reiklander justice is said to be final and only in extreme situations will an appeal of a ruling from this courthouse be accepted by the Imperial Courts. As with the Imperial Courts, many a criminal found guilty will end their days in either one of the Altdorf prisons or at the business end of a gallows. Those convicted here of capital crimes are executed in the Königplatz (see above) to the delight of the crowd.
The Association of Financiers & Moneylenders is located in a different part of the district from the Bank. By statute, this is an obvious attempt to create some separation between the moneygrubbers and all that money. Members of this association include Baron Frederich von Reichenhall and the Steinhäger brothers, Franz and Heinrich, (Shadows over Bögenhafen, Hogshead version, page 64), as well as representatives of the Marienburg Merchant Houses such as van der Kuypers, Fooger, and van Haagan (Marienburg: Sold down the River, pages 30-32).
In order to keep an eye on the financiers and moneylenders, the Merchants’ Guild is located in the same building with the Association. Gossip on the street is that there is no love lost between the Guild and Association. Still, many of the Merchant families from both Reikland and Marienburg have representatives in this Guild as well. To further complicate matters, the Merchant Guild is rumoured to be divided into two camps. One faction is led by Guildmaster Gustavus Seidehandler, who is said to believe that a new era in the Empire is soon coming where the rising merchant classes eclipse the declining nobility in both financial power and political prestige. The other, more conservative faction is led by the influential Baron Manfred von Klaus and looks towards a more constructive relationship between the merchants and nobility. So far, the differences have remained in the backrooms of the Guild. It’s anyone’s guess as to how long such manoeuvring will remain there.
Located on Münzestrasse, Foogerhaus is the Altdorf office of Marienburger Director Arkat Fooger (Marienburg:Sold down the River, pages 87-88). His representative in the City is Karstin Largsdottir (Dwarfs: Stone & Steel, page 97-98). Karstin is a member of the Altdorf Merchant Guild, but she has resisted any attempt to place her in any of the two factions that threaten to split the Guild. As with any other influential and affluent individual in Altdorf, Karstin is not above hiring agents to look after Herr Fooger’s many interests.