Mapping Grenzstadt (WIP - feedback wanted)

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Ambivalent Badger
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Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:41 am

Greetings. I am new here, and joined specifically to post this because I figured there's someone out there who could provide useful comments, suggestions, and perhaps even more...

I am about to resume a 3rd edition campaign (yes, I still play 3e - fight me!) based around some official adventures set in Black Fire Pass. And as someone who can never take anything as it comes out of the box, I wanted to get more in-depth about the local situation and setting for the sake of providing more fleshed-out custom content. Yet, I've found preciously little, both in the books and online, so I decided I had to create some stuff myself based extrapolations from what is provided.

One of the greatest deficiencies came, in my opinion, to the fortress town of Grenzstadt, which guards the entance to the Pass. Notably, it didn't even have a map, despite being such an important strategic location - so I figured I just had to make one myself. This is a rough overview of what I've made so far:
Image

It's the first such map I've made, so I don't expect it to look amazing, but I think I've got some techniques down for creating decent looking buildings for the scale and perspective. Let me know if you have any tips on how to make it better.

The basic concept is inspired by the fan-made Grenzstadt map from Total War: Warhammer, with a fortress built on and around some imposing rock formations. Walls connect these keeps and enclose an area in which the town itself is situated. Apart from the heavy military aspect, the only other section I have found expicitly mentioned was a Dwarfen district, which I located on and inside the westernmost rock. Beyond that, I tried to fill in the blanks with what little else the town was known for - trade, wine, and Sigmarite pilgrimage - then adding whatever else is proper and common to Empire towns.

I am particularly interested in the following types of feedback:
- Overlooked official (or in the absence of that, unofficial) recources and bits of imformation that can help shed some light on the town.
- Artistic and stylistic advice. As I said, I'm new and not terribly good at this kind of mapping.
- Suggestions for names. Apart from a couple of inns/taverns, I couldn't find a single name related to Grenzstadt, and had to make them up myself. If you have any ideas dor new or revised names, preferably with some sort of wordplay buried within, please let me know.
- Features: anything in particular you think could make the town more interesting. Places, of course, but perhaps also people and history.

Please tell me if there's anything you want me to explain or elaborate on.

- Thanks in advance.

Edit: I realise the embedded picture may have been of too low quality to see or read much of anything. I've attatched a full-res version below.
Grenzstadt map test1.png
Last edited by Ambivalent Badger on Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jackdays
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Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:31 pm

Is the WFRP3 adventure your playing Black Fire Pass: A Guide to Adventures on the Fringe of the Empire or Journey to Black Fire Pass ? My information is mostly based on those.

Sigmar's Heirs (WFRP2) gives Grenzstadt population of 2520. I would say most population numbers are lower than before the war (meaning SoC). So, population is probably more. Maybe 3000+. Also, it seems to be very well populated by visitors because of its location, so current population could be something like 3500+. Your map seems little compared to this population number. So, maybe more building ...

Black Fire Pass: A Guide to Adventures on the Fringe of the Empire:
"Grenzstadt is a fortress town that guards the western end of Black Fire Pass. As it is the fi rst settlement an army invading the Empire from the south would likely have to conquer or bypass, a great deal of money and eff ort has been invested in its defences. Great ramparts of stone encircle the town and soldiers in the black and yellow uniform of the state of Averland patrol the walls and peer from tower windows. Dozens of black iron cannons are also deployed along the walls."

About Inns:
"There are many inns and hostelries in the town, catering to the influx of pilgrims that visit Grenzstadt. The inns tend to be named after events told in legends about Sigmar, such as “The Skaranock”, “King Ironbeard’s Rescue”, or “The Last Rest”."

- The Eternal Watch - Temple of Grenzstadt (Sigmar Temple)
- Von Tuchtenhagen Estate (Heavily fortified townhouse, near Dwarf Quarter)
- Dawr Urbaz (Large drinking hall built in the traditional Dwarf style and dominates the Dwarf Quarter).
- Dwarf Quarter
- The Last Rest Inn (Town Square)
- Town Square
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Orin J.
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Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:47 pm

if memory serves, the pass itself is massive- far too large for even a large city to effectively blockade. it's more likely that the town is built higher up, in the hills where the high walls are supported by solid stone foundations to prevent tunneling and use the vantage point to both assail armies attempting to invade with artillery and cavalry raids and warn the empire with messengers using hidden passageways in the hills.

either way, i wouldn't presume it's directly on the pass- it'd get flattened every time the greenskins come through that way and that's suicide!
FasterThanJesus
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Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:28 am

As a stylistic point, I think the map would be better with the annotations as callouts. It will help make the map clearer and the text more readable as the font you've used clashes a bit with the lines of the map.
Karanthir
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Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:49 am

Nothing to add to the discussion really I'm afraid (other than seconding the suggestion to have a numbered key rather than writing labels directly on the map). But it's great to have another 3rd edition player around!
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Ambivalent Badger
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Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:07 am

First of all, thanks for the replies!

Jackdays:
I am using both the 3e adventures you mentioned, using stuff from Journey to flesh out the road there and to work as a secondary questline. Apart from those, I'm using what's on the unofficial Warhammer wiki (https://warhammerfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Grenzstadt).

I haven't settled on exactly when the campaign is taking place, but it needs to be 2521 or later as the third battle of Black Fire Pass and the death of Marius Leitdorf (2520) is referenced in (both?) the books, and a somewhat recent in-world gazetteer referencing those events taking place about a year ago. That means it should either begin just before the Storm of Chaos or be placed in a timeline where it occurs at a later point. I like the idea of an inevitable apocalypse looming at some undetermined point in the not too distant future, but it seems like too big of an event to deal with in the campaign.

Do you reckon the population is with or without the military garrison, though? And how large do you think that is? Maybe up to a 1000 soldiers? I will add more buildings as I make the assets (hence the blank spaces) and also some bits that make them appear taller. I could also shrink the houses down, but not by a lot (or it will look too blurry). Also, remember that the common soldiers will be housed in cramped barracks, mostly on the southeast rock (Klapphalte).

I remembered some of the info you give on locations, but not others. Found them in Journey (p. 14), thanks for reminding me. I'll make sure to put all those inns on the map.
- The Eternal Watch temple is already there, but without the name, as the temple of Sigmar. Makes sense for it to be the largest building in town and be so centrally placed tue to all the pilgrims. It just needs a tall spire in addition to the dome.
- The von Tuchtenhagen townhouse doesn't really fit on make sense to be near the Dwarfen quarter as I've drawn things (but if one insists, it could be where the temple of Shallya is). It should rather be in Hochburg (north-west rock), along with the ritzier residences and guild houses, higher up, more fortified, and further from the common rabble. I first thought I'd put him in the castle, but if it says "fortified townhouse", that's what he's getting. Other noble families should probably have a house there too, but I don't know who that would be apart from the Leitdorfs - and I imagine that house to be vacant, apart from staff, as the family itself is probably busy quarrelling around Averheim. Who else, then?
- I actually put the Dwarfen district in the right place (along the southern wall) without being fully aware of it. The rock it's built on should probably have a name in Khazalid, though.
- Dawr Urbaz would be the large building in the middle of the Dwarfen quarter. I quite liked how that one turned out.
- I'm thinking the Last Rest Inn could be on the northern tip of Sigmarplatz, by the garden of Morr. Makes the name extra appropriate.

A town as large as Grenzstadt should probably have more than one square, but the main one is Sigmarplatz, with the temples of Sigmar and Shallya, a couple of inns, the town hall, and probably a whole bunch of stalls and shops. I've also put in Pilgrim's Market nearby, which sells cheap consumer goods, trinkets, low-grade equipment and souveniers. Leitdorfer Platz in Hochburg is mostly surrounded by fancy townhouses and maybe some shops, and should probably have a large fountain and an equestrian statue of Marius Leitdorf in the centre. Weinkellerplatz in Traubenhof is, as the name suggests, where the wineries that produce the famous Grenzstadter White are located. It also has several finer drinking and eating establishments, as well as shrines to Taal and Rhya. Ostschanze has Heldenplatz (in Mesinghöhe) and Kassernenplatz (in Klapphalte) which are mostly used for minor drills and military rituals.
Then, the wiki tells me, there's a "large guild market", which I figure I'd put in the empty space between Traubenhof and Kasierstrasse. I'm just wondering what "guild market" means - is it a market where only guild members are allowed?
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Orin J.
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Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:07 pm

a guild market is i believe a market run by the guild(s)- essentially a shopping mall, rather than them jockying for stall space they have established shops all combined for convienance's sake. a useful way to get your products in line so wealthy customers will buy from you and your allied guild buddies.

garrisons are not counted in population censuses. most of them are gonna leave when their tour's up and all.

my general assessment of the map is it could stand to be more crowded- it's both a mountain town and an example of imperial design after all. too late for that though.
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Ambivalent Badger
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Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:17 am

Orin: The pass is "massive" in one sense, but also very narrow in some places - enough so that a moderate force can hold off a much larger army. But Grenzstadt isn't in the pass itself, but near the western mouth of it, more or less where the Old Dwarf Road meets an officially nameless tributary of the Upper Reik that I have chosen to call the river Krebs. From what I can reckon it's about 35 miles from the town to the beginning of the pass proper, but the hills and forests would probably work as a bit of a funnel, so that no army of size could get past without suffering at least a serious bombardment from the fortress town's many cannons - otherwise, all that artillery wouldn't really have much of a function. See this map for reference: http://www.gitzmansgallery.com/maps/Map ... -Color.jpg

I can and will make the map denser with buildings, but as I said I haven't drawn enough assets to do so right now. Empty shapes reprecent places where I know I want corresponding buildings, but I'll reuse the drawings once I've made them. Many of the structures are slightly altered duplicates, and it will be easy to recycle modules to make things more cramped.

I like the idea of hidden passageways and will use them, but mostly as a complex of sewers, cellars, and Dwarfen dugouts. Entrances and exits would either be with the walls or to the west, I thought, as it would otherwise be a weak point during sieges, but the town doesn't really appear to be exactly "in the hills". Still, I suppose we could have something leading there.
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Ambivalent Badger
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Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:38 am

To the rest of you: I think I'll remove most of the labels in the finished version, just not the names for the largest areas as they provide important reference. It's all in a seperate layer that I mostly toggle off when working on the map, and in that way it's just easier to display the names for now.

It's good to see other appreciators of 3e here indeed! It's rather lonely, isn't it? I just had the first session with the group last night, and they certainly seemed to enjoy it even if the rules require a bit of adjustment. The group is still just in Averheim, but will head out on the Old Dwarf Road next week.
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Jackdays
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Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:04 am

Back to population numbers. Grenzstadt population on Sigmar's Heirs is:
  • pop: 2520 (Town)
    wealth: 3 (agriculture, cattle)
    Garrison/Militia: 20a, 60b, 160c
    Villages of Buch (pop 92) and Dorfbach (pop 45) close.
Now, population number could have been much higher before the Third Black Fire Pass conflict and SoC. But, we do not know. This is just speculation and ideas. So, here is some optional numbers for Population and Garrison. Besides these, there are probably large number of visitors (hundreds) all the time. And personally I would rise the Garrison/Militia numbers, as most of the the Dwarf population probably can take arms if needed. And this is important garrison for the Empire.
  • Before 2520: 4000 pop (100a, 200b, 500c)
    Circa 2521: 3500 pop (50a, 100b, 300c)
    And after SoC: 2520 pop (20a, 60b, 160c)
Grenzstadt probably could have Mountain Guard HQ (Averland elite rangers) and also Chapterhouse for Order of the Black Lynx (elite Knightly Order, that are stationed in the Black Fire Pass). Also Order of the Black Bear could have too some small Chapter House there. It is Averland Order, probably not so large...
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Ambivalent Badger
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Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:44 am

Jackdays:

What does the "a/b/c" and associated numbers stand for?

It makes sense for the garrison to have suffered (and not having been replenished, as the Averland provincial army took the brunt of the invasion), but I don't see anything indicating the the Greenskins ever got to the town itself in connection with the recent battle, so I'm not sure if civilian casualties would have been that significant. Or do you factor those in a lost militia and auxiliaries?

I think we can settle on the population at least being less than 5000, which I think should make it a rather middling town by Imperial standards. The bigger question for me is how to represent that population visually. We can agree that the structures need to be denser and maybe smaller, but it seems like a hassle to approximate the number of people living in each house and calculate it from there.

Yes, something like a barracks and tower (or maybe more?) should be dedicated to the Mountain Guard. As for the Order of the Black Lynx, I think their secretive and outdoorsy character is more suited to a hidden base somewhere in Pass itself. The Black Bear folks should have a presence in the town, if for no other reason that one of the PCs is on a quest to join them, and has to seek out some of their members and beat then at challenges of their choosing. But as they are a minor order, and one I'm depicting as less wealthy and prestigious (mostly based in the lower nobility), I think it could be as little as one of their members living in town with a rotating group of lodging mates. I had planned on having a Knights of the Blazing Sun chapter house next to the Temple of Myrmidia, as many of their members might pass through on their way to the Border Princes or Tilea. What do you think?
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Jackdays
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Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:56 am

Ambivalent Badger wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:44 am
Jackdays:

What does the "a/b/c" and associated numbers stand for?

It makes sense for the garrison to have suffered (and not having been replenished, as the Averland provincial army took the brunt of the invasion), but I don't see anything indicating the the Greenskins ever got to the town itself in connection with the recent battle, so I'm not sure if civilian casualties would have been that significant. Or do you factor those in a lost militia and auxiliaries?

I think we can settle on the population at least being less than 5000, which I think should make it a rather middling town by Imperial standards. The bigger question for me is how to represent that population visually. We can agree that the structures need to be denser and maybe smaller, but it seems like a hassle to approximate the number of people living in each house and calculate it from there.

Yes, something like a barracks and tower (or maybe more?) should be dedicated to the Mountain Guard. As for the Order of the Black Lynx, I think their secretive and outdoorsy character is more suited to a hidden base somewhere in Pass itself. The Black Bear folks should have a presence in the town, if for no other reason that one of the PCs is on a quest to join them, and has to seek out some of their members and beat then at challenges of their choosing. But as they are a minor order, and one I'm depicting as less wealthy and prestigious (mostly based in the lower nobility), I think it could be as little as one of their members living in town with a rotating group of lodging mates. I had planned on having a Knights of the Blazing Sun chapter house next to the Temple of Myrmidia, as many of their members might pass through on their way to the Border Princes or Tilea. What do you think?

a/b/c stands for Garrison/Militia quality. Probably sometype of compination of experience and equipment.
A = Excellent (Experienced heavy elite soldiers, Knights...etc)
B = Average (normal soldiers, mercenaries...etc.)
C = Poor (militia, unexperienced soldiers with poor equipment...etc.)
Civilian casualties might come from Dwarfs and other common folk joining arms during the conflict. Every able man (or woman) is needed, when Chaos Incursion starts...

Well, as you said it - structures need to be denser and maybe smaller. To give little more bigger look for the town.

Myrmidians (Knights of Blazing Sun) are pretty good and logical option here.
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Karanthir
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Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:09 am

Just to note, a decrease in population could also represent people fleeing the town because of potential incoming Greenskins and then not coming back afterwards.
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Ambivalent Badger
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Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:20 am

Speaking of demographics, I think it makes sense for Grenzstadt to be fairly wealthy. In part that would be a result of the important trade flowing through the town, and in part because its slightly isolated and rather exposed position combined with strategic importance for military as well as commerce would mean that the demand for a lot of goods and particularly services would be high, but supply would be low. Artisans, innkeepers, mercenaries, smugglers, labourers, and even prostitutes should be able to make a relatively good earning in this town, and thus I think the abject poverty of urban slums should be limited to certain small areas along the southern wall and docks in the western corner.

Then, there's the question of agriculture. I think the immediate areas around the edge of town would be left unused so that armies would have the room to camp and muster there, whereas it would mostly be too dangerous further away. Farmlands should be more common west of the river, which would naturally guard against hostile forces. Wine might be the exception, as I'd think the best vineyards would be in the hills just to the north of town. As Black Fire Pass is volcanically active, it would bring tutritious deposits of ash and dust to the soil, making it extremely fertile and probably contributing the the Grenzstadter White's unique flavour (as I'm sure the labels would say), but with the constant threat of Greenskin raiding parties and roaming monsters, one would need a small army of mercenaries to keep operations safe. Thus, most of the crop-growing land east of the river would be owned and managed by a few large estates more mercantile than noble in character. Nearer town would still be the commons, which at opportune times would be filled with grazing livestock and workers extracting soild for fertaliser.

Does that all sound reasonable? Am I perhaps an exception in caring about such details?

I've added an updated image of the map below.
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Grenzstadt maptest3.png
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Orin J.
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Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:36 am

given the location and the severity of risk there, i don't think it would be too wealthy- materials for most craft goods would be at a premium and the taxes would be too high. it would be a shipping town if anything, people would use it as a place to resupply and rest their caravans before heading on to better places. there wouldn't be a whole lot of people living there but all the nearby villages would probably flee into the walls when raiding armies start to come.

slums WOULD probably be at a minimum but that's more because the town guard would bee looking for "volunteers" constantly to do hard labor for the town since workers would be at a shortage. there would be a few rich families, but i'd expect most of it to be skilled labor/managers handling the business of supporting the caravans and/or the army. the empire would keep a small standing force there after all. and i'm sure they'd also be constantly looking for people they could press into service over minor infractions of the law....
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