Citizens of the Empire
The Docks is officially known as the Niederhafen district and a place where many visitors to Altdorf lose their wealth, their way, and sometimes their life. The neighbourhood is rather impoverished from the perspective of the locals, but through it passes much of the trade that is Altdorf’s lifeblood. The Docks is also the centre of Altdorf’s more notorious forms of entertainment and its dark and narrow alleys the scene of many crimes.
The major attraction in the district is the Street of a Hundred Taverns [p] – sometimes even called the Street of a Thousand Taverns by boasting locals. There are a number of places along the street where one can get himself roaring drunk. The more commonly known taverns are The Three Emperors, Drunken Bastard, Knight’s Hovel, Seven Stars, and Griffon’s Pothole. Should a visitor seek a place of lodging, they could do worse than the Cat and Fiddle, Wayfarer’s Rest, and Sailor and the Lady. For the affluent, there are the private clubs such as Hart’s Lodge and the Crescent Moon. The exact location of the latter is a secret, which is probably for the better, since rumour has it that the members have been blessed by the Dark Kiss.
Some establishments specialise in special forms of entertainment of services. Should a patron wish to attend a cabaret, they could drop by The Gamesman or Black Velvet during one of their respective shows. The Ruddy Wench and Crown and Two Chairmen are two establishments which cater to those seeking companionship for the night, though the Crooked Spear provides the same service to a different clientele. Gamblers who wish to try their luck at cards or dice tend to visit the Von Neuwald Arms or Tumbling Bones. Individuals who prefer diversions such as bear-baiting or pit fighting tend to congregate at establishments like Gladiators or Fangs and Claws. Fanciers of weirdroot and similar mind-altering substances tend to make their way to Bruno’s Brewhouse or the Breasts of Myrmidia. Those who are foolish enough to desire contact with the less savoury elements in Altdorf will generally be drawn to the Holy Hammer of Sigmar or A Cut Above.
The Freudenhaus 48 is a bordello located behind some of the taverns on the Street of a Hundred Taverns. It is well known as a place where every whim and desire can be found.
Volker Weg [q], which many have nick-named the Street of Many Taverns, intersects the Street of a Hundred Taverns at the Königplatz. It is not the centre of Altdorf’s entertainment as the Hundred Taverns, but it does have its share of tavern and inns where the more discreet frequent. The Parrot and Pig and Cowardly Tilean are two locations of the many establishments where traders in information meet to exchange rumours and news. The situation on this street is more appealing as patrols from the Luiptoldstrasse Watch station are considerably less frequent here than on the Streets of a Hundred Taverns.
The Luitpoldstrasse® runs along the docks and connects the southern ends of the Street of a Hundred Taverns and Street of Many Taverns. Along this stretch, one can find a number of other points of interest.
One particular point of interest is the new Dock Watch Station 49. The old station was burnt down a few years ago in one of Altdorf’s recent riots. Instead of rebuilding on that spot, the Watch was allowed to relocate a few doors to the west. Holding cells are located below the facility and tend to get a bit damp and mouldy whenever the river rises a few feet. Prisoners stay only as long as it takes to arrange an escort to one of Altdorf’s prisons.
The Harbourmaster (Hafenmeisterei) 50 is located nearby. In the upper floor of this two-storied building, records of the arrivals and departures of ships – as well as any taxes collected – are maintained by clerks and excisemen. Given the grand way the Harbourmaster Norbert Brüggen lives in his townhouse in the University district, one might conclude that the books shown the Chancellor of the Exchequer are not quite the same as Lord Brüggen keeps in the secured vaults in his office. The River Patrol Barracks are located on the first floor, which provides some security for the Lord Harbourmaster. Another part of the building is used for the offices of Minister Count Siegfried von Walfen, cousin to Emperor Karl-Franz I and a member of the Council of State. As one of his duties as Minister, Count von Walfen is the head of the Imperial River Patrol, which in reality only covers the rivers within the Reikland. Other chapters of the Imperial River Patrol are licensed for a fee to act as agents for the Empire.
The centre of the district is dominated by the Fischmarkt [s]. This large square not only hosts the daily fish market, but also has a number of buildings bordering it. Within the middle of the square, the Chapel of Manaan 51 is a place where those who work the Reik – boatmen, fishermen, and the like – can pay homage to the God of the Reik. Within the Chapel, there is also a small shrine to the God of Rivers, Karog.
Several other notable places can be found on the periphery of the Fischmarkt. The Fischbrat Haus is a restaurant which specialises in baked and fried fish. The Boatman Inn and Unke’s Spelunke are places patronised by those who make their living on the rivers as well as those working the docks. Brawls are a regular event at these establishments and form a sort of interactive entertainment. At the north end, those in desperate straits conducted business with Pfandleih Haus, a pawnbroker of some (mostly ill) repute in the Docks.
The Rivermen’s Association 52 is located on eastern side of the Fischmarkt. Anyone plying their livelihood on the Rivers Reik and Talabec are well-advise to join this association. Guildmaster Bruno Dönitz and his cronies patrol the Docks looking for any unfamiliar face. Any who are not familiar are pressed to join the Guild. Those who look like rivermen, but refuse to join may well be beaten by Herr Dönitz and his men or have their ship vandalized. Some have even been known to disappear for a time before their bodies resurface somewhere downriver.
The Stevedores’ and Teamsters’ Guild 53 is located near the Street of Many Taverns at the northern terminus of the Old Emperor Bridge (sometimes called the Ostlander Bridge) [t], which connects the Niederhafen district to the Reikerbahn. Like the Rivermen, the Stevedores and Teamsters don’t look very kindly on any non-member doing work along the Docks. It is said that Guildmaster Karl Heilmann has a third (if not half) of the Dock Watch under his control. Many of these are used to identify non-Guild members who are undertaking Guild work so that Herr Heilmann’s thugs can pay a visit to these people in the dead of the night for “frank discussions.”
Numerous trading companies have their offices in the Docks, one of the more notable and comparatively successful being The Heye Shipping Co . This company is located near the warehouses that line the River Talabec.