Heldenhofen – City of Heroes is a first for Bring Out Your Lead. Rather than trying to organise one huge game on a big table, the idea is to create a spectacular table with a whole suite of games sprawled across it, broadly linked by narrative. (In a curious coincidence, the exact same principle also happened with Helsreach!)

So Heldenhofen becomes the ultimate fantasy gaming board! Bloodbowl? Check. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay? Check. Mordheim? Check. Frostgrave? Frostgrave? Yeah, that’s what I said. We got that too. Check. Chariot Racing? Check.

Basically, if it’s fantasy related, its happening on this table. Masterminded by Fimm McCool (Of Oakbound Studios fame), the table will be host to a set of scheduled events and just plain ad-hoc mayhem, facilitated by a team of enthusiastic and quite likely unhinged Games Masters, with nothing but highly modified rule sets and a sense of adventure to guide them.

And, of course, the overarching narrative of Heldenhofen:

Village of Coney

The Halfling village of Coney predates Heldenhofen by several centuries and its inhabitants are still resentful of the cankerous city which has crawled up to its walls. As Heldenhofen sprawled from a small riverside town to the metropolis it is today it has brought wealth and opportunities to the Halfling folk and few of them would wish for it to be gone completely but most would like it to have stopped growing long before it engulfed their own little settlement. A nice neighbour to have, but now a little too close. To most of the citizens of Heldenhofen the village is just another part of the city and they refer to it as the ‘Halfling Quarter’, which really annoys the Halfling separatists. The village technically lies outside the city wall (which wraps around it and opens into Coney via the Lupt gate) and maintains its own wooden palisade, sheriff and village militia.

There are four large families in the Halfling community; the Hamfoots, the Sackbarrows, the Slaws and the Merriwinkles. The majority of the farmland bordering the western road to Heldenhofen belongs to the Sackbarrow family, the richest of the four and principle governing family in the village. The office of sheriff is a hereditary one passed down through the Hamfoot family. The Slaw family run the milling and baking industry which is the village’s principle trade. Unusually they do not work with grains but with the species of brassica which grows readily on the waterlogged fields to the south. This cabbage-bread is an acquired taste but seems to have become popular in certain far-flung regions of the empire and as a result the Slaws have become phenomenally wealthy. This in turn has made them most enthusiastic supporters of Heldenhofen. The other halflings are just glad so much of the cabbage-bread is now being exported and they can eat normal wheat bread instead. The Merriwinkles pride themselves in being the best rat-catchers in the world and supply the village with the majority of its dietary protein through their efforts. Rat on a stick is a favourite delicacy. This is another thing that Heldenhofen’s growth has provided for the Halfling population, there is never any shortage of rat.

Academic Quarter

North of the bustling Gatehouse District is the secluded and quiet Academic Quarter. Here are to be found the august institutions such as the College of Magic, the School of Anatomy where young physicians are tutored, the library, museum and the shrine of Verena which offers respite and healing for the mentally distressed. The more privileged of these institutions can be discerned by their proximity to the city wall, for on the Eastern side of the Academic Quarter is the Industrial District. The tanneries and abattoirs can be smelt across the city when the wind blows from the North, but the rest of the time it is only this district and the neighbouring streets of the Academic Quarter that are plagued by the stench. Other industries practiced in this noxious part of town are weaving, saddlery, joinery and silversmithy.

The college is the seat of thaumaturgical learning for the region and students come from far and wide to confer with its academics and use its fabled library. Not only does the college deal with ‘cerebral’ magics such as sorcery and psionics but also ‘theoretical’ magics such as divination and ‘practical’ magics such as alchemy. The college itself is surrounded by a wall of crackling magical energy in which there is a single gate, marked by a tall, white archway. The gatekeeper, Baelthezar Hex, is a dour, gaunt man with lank, white hair and a small beard. His eyes are permanently hidden behind dark lenses, his already great height is amplified by a tall hat and long coat. He stands silent guard at the gate with a halberd in his gloved hand and the green heraldic sash of the college around his shoulders. Few have ever heard him speak and he only stands aside from his post for members of the college or when he senses a visitor is expected by one of the senior wizards. The college also employs its own enforcers (knowing that the City Watch pay very little attention to goings on in the academic quarter). They are serious, disciplined individuals who conceal their features behind cloaks, close helmets and scarves. Their standard armament is a brace of matchlock pistols and a pair of long, curved knives. The college enforcers patrol the entirety of the academic quarter, considering that their jurisdiction extends to the edge of the gatehouse district and into a section of the industrial quarter where a number of alchemists rent workshop space. Formidable though their defences are, there are areas of the college which are open to the general public. The substantial library attracts scholars from across the known world to the city and a number of the wizards hold surgeries where they can be consulted on their fields of expertise. Then there is the college belltower. The brass bell in its narrow tower lies silent most of the time, however whenever Heldenhofen or the college are threatened it tolls out with a low knell. During festival seasons it is rung by college members and sounds a bright, lively peal. The bell has been rung on the hour every day during the current Capricorn festival, but after each of the celebratory chimes have faded away a dull humming seems to continue and is growing stronger as if the bell is ringing a perpetual warning.

Schönbrunn Square

Some general residential housing and some inner-city allotments, grazing and stabling for horses. This is one of the nicer districts in Heldenhofen, away from the bustle of the port, the throng around the gates and the unpredictability of the academic quarter.

The Dropped Drum Tavern

The Dropped Drum Tavern has a reputation for being one of the liveliest venues in the city. Their regular live music nights attract acts and audiences from across the known world and there are various… services? Well, favours of a dubious nature which can be procured if you know the right slang to use. Even Greenskins, Trolls, Ogres and other creatures which would normally be barred from the city find a welcome at the Drum, whose dockside location makes it easy for ne’er-do-wells to slip from ship to tavern and back without attracting attention.

Customs and Excise

Under normal circumstances the Imperial arm extends to the importing of goods via Heldenhofen and takes very little interest in the rest of the city. The small garrison, customs house, courthouse and jail cluster around the centre of the harbour where they are immediately visible to all inbound ships. The jail itself lies right in front of the mayor’s residence, perhaps as a reminder that the Imperial eye is not completely removed from the day to day running of the city. The mayor has since rearranged his dwelling so that his own quarters face the more appealing view along the statue walk of the central park and in doing so has literally as well as figuratively turned his back upon the doings of the port. Standard taxes and levies are applied to goods brought into the harbour and also upon cargoes being loaded up as exports to countries and regions downriver.

Most of the ships which dock belong to merchants resident within the city and these individuals have standing arrangements with the customs officials so the customs house itself is usually only sparsely manned and often stands closed. Besides, so mundane are most of the goods brought in on a regular basis that the officials can make more money in fines for ‘non-payment’ than they could imposing normal duties so it is in their interests to make paying standard levies as difficult as possible. A tiny toll booth stands at the entrance to the warehouse district for regular importers, but this is almost never open.

The Duck’s Head Inn

The Duck’s Head Inn is run by the jovial Roberte Houper. A popular local legend says that the coaching inn used to be called the ‘Duke’s Head’ following a revolt against the local gentry which saw the hapless Duke’s severed cranium carried through town and nailed above the city gates nearby as a warning. As trade and the wealth of the city increased it was felt this display of independence was detrimental to Heldenhofen’s image and Houper decided to change the name of his hostelry. He made use of the original sign-writer’s unique spelling, simply painting out the ‘e’.

The Dancing Donkey

The Duck’s Head Inn is run by the jovial Roberte Houper. A popular local legend says that the coaching inn used to be called the ‘Duke’s Head’ following a revolt against the local gentry which saw the hapless Duke’s severed cranium carried through town and nailed above the city gates nearby as a warning. As trade and the wealth of the city increased it was felt this display of independence was detrimental to Heldenhofen’s image and Houper decided to change the name of his hostelry. He made use of the original sign-writer’s unique spelling, simply painting out the ‘e’.

The Market Hall & The Rathaus

The largest buildings in the Gatehouse District are the Rathaus and Market Hall. Above the pillared courtyard of the Market Hall is the city guardhouse where the night and day watch take it in turns to sleep between shifts. The Heldenhofen Market has no set hours of business and the streets around the market are as noisy in the small hours of the night as they are at midday, so neither of the watches get a lot of shut-eye and they are renowned for being irritable, tired and prone to looking the other way whenever there’s sign of trouble.

The Rathaus bears the City’s motto, the origin of which is lost in time. It reads “Eine ziege und ein hammmer sind alles was ich brauche”.

…But the City is Still Growing…

The City of Heldenhofen is still under construction! Even as you read this, diligent builders expand this burgeoning city and its populace…

Wait – is that a Bloodbowl stadium on the left?

Note

The chariot race is a separate event with a separate booking schedule – click for more detail.

Old World Series - Formula C - Heldenhofen

More detail on the Oldhammer Forum.

Ruleset: Various! WFRP, WFB, Mordheim, Frostgrave & a whole custom range in between!