Interactive fiction in the Old World
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Some notes on Nuln:
Nuln was sacked by Grom the Paunch 37 years ago (collectively referred to by the commons as 'the fire') and grand plans to rebuild it were left in a shambles by the Marienburg secession and the resulting deposition of Dieter IV. The population was probably around two hundred thousand at the time, but the firestorms, slaughter and resulting exodus reduced this to less than half that. Those who didn't die, starve in the famine that followed or otherwise leave the city in the aftermath were probably the professional and wealthier classes: academics, priestly sorts, burghers, foreign nationals etc.
When Wilhelm III came to the throne he transferred the Imperial Capitol to Altdorf, leaving the ruined city, largely, to the organized criminal elements that had swooped on the lucrative river trade and various monopolies of goods and commerce. A great chunk of the aristocracy followed Wilhem's court to Altdorf, pulling the plug from the service economy and whole districts were left derelict or (in the case of wealthier areas) mothballed or rented out for reduced fees to artisans and scholars and the like.
There's been a boom in private construction which has been fed by cheap imported materials and (slave) labour gangs resulting in several competing elements taking root and squabbling viciously over the contracts. The ordinary citizenry that remain, if not directly employed, tend to be born and bred sorts with strong ties to the criminal gangs, the river trade, alum cartel, university, religious orders, Imperial army (and foundry) or the outlying settlements. As of about a decade ago, the city has slowly begun to see an influx of economic migrants and a resurgence in the service industries as the University and foundries regain something of their former prestige. This has bred a great deal of resentment among the long suffering natives who are already struggling to make ends meet in a highly competitive labour market.
All in all though, Nuln is a shell of its former self, and until recently there has been significantly more real estate than people.
The largely unlit, un-tended and un-patrolled Old City and sewers, graveyards and fortifications along the southern Faulestadt and north-western Neustadt are a haven for social and religious subversives, radicals of every creed and other far more unsavoury sorts. This has lead to a number of high profile purges by Sigmarite and other Imperial agents over the years.
The Faulestadt proper is barely patrolled and the old slums are run entirely by passionately partisan native Nulner elements. Foreign organized crime gangs dominate elsewhere in the city, mainly over the Reik in the Neustadt. The maze of derelict buildings known colloquially as the 'Asylum' and associated dockland 'Shanty Town' exist in a largely self regulated state of anarchy, and are ruled by ruthless crime lords, who are in turn ruled by a shadowy mercantile nouveau riche elite that occupy the vacuum left by the old Imperial aristocracy and Burghers.
The Altestadt is almost a separate city comprising several walled (and heavily patrolled) districts where the moneyed folks reside. It contains extravagant landscaped private estates and the famously eccentric town houses and coffee shops favoured by residents of the gentrified Kaufman and Turmhugel districts. The private banks even more private banker's of the Scholssfels district control the city mint and change, daily, tonnes of coin and tender in to bills of exchange of every kind; necessitating vast warehouses and vaults heavily fortified and policed by private armies of strong arms. The Temple district remains an important cultural and spiritual center. The ultra-exclusive Aldig Quarter is home to the regional aristocracy, Imperial mercantile concerns, wealthy elites domestic and foreign and other well-to-do's.
There is no Elector Count of Nuln, the city is ruled by a Mercantile Council. A perilous and disfunctional political model that seems entirely in the pockets of the various criminal enterprises. The most notable resident is the Countess Emmanuelle von Liebewitz of the County of Wissenland who is based in the city and maintains a palace in the Aldig. Despite being barely out of puberty she is nominal Chancellor of the University and is known for her extravagant parties, romantic intrigues and apparently desiring to surpass the Imperial Court in Altdorf through sheer decadence. She is one of the most eligible heiresses in the Empire but has so far resisted all suitors for her hand in marriage. Nobody is entirely sure if she's the vacuous airhead socialite she seems or a very determined and intelligent young woman.
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