(modified from Dark Ages Europe, pp.68-70 and Wikipedia)
One of the fastest growing cities of eastern Europe, Vienna has the dubious distinction of being the first city in the Cainite world to have a Tremere prince. Since the middle of the 12th century, the ancilla Warlock Lotharius has ruled here, and the city is overwhelmingly Tremere in numbers and character. A number of Toreador, Lasombra and Ventrue with links to the church and the Holy Roman aristocracy are tolerated, but they are forbidden from interfering with municipal politics.
Ancient Vindobona, and the rule of Rome
There has been a settlement on the site of Vienna for at least the 2nd century BCE. In pre-Roman times, a small Celtic settlement named Vindobona served as a trade outpost near the marshy banks of the Donarus. When they moved into Noricum in the first century CE, the Romans created a military camp (occupied by Legio X Gemina) at the village, and they were joined by the ancilla Valerianus, in 50 CE. Embraced by Titus Venturus Camillus himself some two centuries earlier, Valerianus was eager to set up his own Domain in the north as the capital had grown overcrowded with Cainites and pickings had become lean. He oversaw the fortification of Vindobona, and soon it became the base of some 6000 legionnaires and many civilians besides.
Valerianus established a small brood of Romans and local Celts, and he became one of the strongest powers in Noricum and Pannonia. Initially, there were significant obstacles to making Vindobona great. The area around the Donarius (or the Danubius as the Romans called it) was marshy and flood prone, the southerly country of the province was mountainous, and the soil relatively poor except in the southeastern parts, but it proved rich in iron and trade soon grew to supply material for the manufacturing of arms in Pannonia, Moesia and northern Italy. Indeed, Noric steel became renowned in the empire, and Noricum also proved to be rich in gold and salt. Using the vital arterial of the Donarius (called the Danubius by the Romans), Valerianus and his pawns became quite wealthy by controlling the trade. It was not long before the town became the regional capital.
The locals were initially a problem too. Being a warlike people, who paid more attention to cattle-breeding than to agriculture and trade, but using the might of his legions and the civilising power of prosperity, Valerianus saw them pacified, and inducted programmes to increase the fertility of the soil by draining the marshes and cutting down timber. Roads were built, forests chopped down for farmland estates, and canals and aqueducts improved the viability of his city. He played his role as the Cainite puppet-master well, deflecting threats to his domain on a macro-political scale through prestation politics with his Roman contemporaries.
In AD 166, the Tzimisce Voivode Jorska manipulated the barbarian Marcomanni into marching on Noricum in response to Valerianus pushing them into his own lands in Bohemia. The Marcomanni entered into a confederation with other peoples including the Quadi, Vandals, and Sarmatians, and together they swamped the provinces of Noricum and Pannonia. Valerianus was forced to call in much of his favour to have the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, march the strength of Rome against the confederation. After a terrible 15 year conflict that the historian Eutropius compared to the Punic Wars, the Marcoman Confederation was defeated. It was Valerianus’ finest moment, and cemented his status as an elder in the faltering Eternal Senate.
In the wake of the Marcomanni Wars, the importance of Vindobona grew. The Romans erected stone houses with floor heating, and paved streets, monumental architecture and stone walls followed them. With a population of nearly 40 000 people, and his star on the rise, Valerianus used even more of his prestation capital to make sure that the settlement was raised to the status of a municipium in 212, during the reign of Caracella.
The city prospered for centuries, but like the rest of the empire it fell into decline as the borders became unstable. Many citizens moved to safer areas, and the trade routes were frequently disrupted by raids. Roman Vindobona was located in the outskirts of the empire and thus fell prey to the chaos of the Völkerwanderung. The barbarian hordes sacked and burned the city in 406 CE, but Valerianus and several of his brood survived to rebuild. The Tzimisce had reasserted their ancient territorial rights, and the Ventrue wisely kept their heads down. Vindobona was still a trade nexus, but a relatively modest one, and its political climate was unstable. Both Lombards and Avars controlled its destiny between the 6th and 8th centuries.
Medieval Vienna, and the Nosferatu interlopers
The streets and houses of early medieval Vienna followed the former Roman walls, centred on what is now known as the Berghof. The walled town was still strong enough to resist the Brujah led Magyar invasion in 881 CE, and the city became yet another military outpost, this time of the Carolingians. Vienna’s star, and that of her Prince’s, were on the rise once more, and Valerianus saw a chance to reclaim some of the glory of Rome. He began agitating for Vienna to be the centre of a new Eternal Senate for the Holy Roman Empire. This required him to travel in order to meet and lobby with other luminaries of the European Ventrue such as Hardestadt, Dominius, Julia Antasia and Erik Eigermann. He linked the city’s political fortunes with that of the emerging Babenberg dynasty, and in AD 804 left the city in the hands of his capable childer, some of whom were now elders in their own right.
Julia Antasia and a number of others welcomed Valerianus’ initiative, but Hardestadt, Dominius and Eigermann had grown into the new feudal structure, and did not see a need for an outmoded and altogether too democratic forum for the clan. Alas, while Valerianus was busy elsewhere, a Nosferatu brood led by the vicious elder known only as the Pawnbroker overthrew the Ventrue of Vienna, slaying them all. Valerianus, while individually quite formidable, lacked true strength in allies to reclaim his Domain, having only a few loyal and inexperienced neonate grandchilder. To make matters worse, his attempts to find support were frequently blocked by the intrigues of his Warlord contemporaries: Dominius, Hardestadt and Eigermann in particular. Valerianus, humiliated but determined, was forced to establish a court in exile in the town of Innsbruck, and set his mind to slowly amassing a new power base.
For nearly two centuries, the Pawnbroker ran Vienna as his own petty fief. He did not have Valerianus’ flair for manipulating the mortal institutions, but what he lacked in management skill or influence, the Pawnbroker certainly made up in meanness and low, rat cunning. Blackmail and midnight visits by unseen tormentors were the modus operandi of the Pawnbroker and his brood. The Nosferatu allowed other Cainites to exist in the city, but they insisted on extortionate tribute from whatever political and commercial success that the Ventrue, Toreador, Cappadocians and Lasombra might have. Vienna languished under Nosferatu control.
One single Cappadocian ancilla, the clever and cagey Dietrich von Steyer, aligned himself with the exiled prince in the early part of the 10th century, and soon moved to Vienna. He managed to deflect Nosferatu suspicion with his self-absorbed and miserly ways, and then began using his mastery of Auspex to spy on the city. He secretly funnelled intelligence to Valerianus for nearly a century. Among the tidbits of interesting news was that certain of the mortals of the city were skilled in the use of magics that put the Disciplines of the Cainites to shame. Indeed, Dietrich surmised that one of these mortal magi, called Etrius by his fellows, had even intervened decisively in the Battle of Lechfield to see that the Magyars were defeated. They were careful, far too careful for the unsophisticated Nosferatu to know them. Therefore the knowledge of their existence was an advantage. Could these mortals be manipulated into helping oust the Nosferatu?
Valerianus, though, was determined to retake the city without endangering the Sixth tradition, and when he finally gathered his allies and struck in AD 1025, the Nosferatu were not entirely dislodged from Vienna. A shadowy war of ambuscade and intrigue ensued, and to the surprise of both Dietrich and Valerianus, Etrius was observed to be investigating it. Not only that, but the magus had somehow become a Cainite. Valerianus, no longer worried about the Silence of the Blood, approached the warlock seeking terms. Etrius explained that he and his brethren had made themselves vampires through an alchemical ritual, but had been attacked by the Tzimisce en masse afterwards. They desired little more than a secure place to grow, knowledge of the Cainites and acceptance among them. Valerianus offered them all of these things in return for their support against the Pawnbroker.
An accord was struck, and Etrius brought his potent blood Thaumaturgy, and a coterie of skilled battle-mages, to the alliance of Ventrue knights and a small army of ghouled sergeants. The Nosferatu really didn’t have a chance, and after a two month hunt, perhaps only one or two managed to flee the city. The rest, including the Pawnbroker, were destroyed. The manpower necessary to finish the job expended the remainder of Valerianus’ favours, but he considered the expense well worth it. Vienna was his once more, and between his newly-blooded childer, his new Cappadocian seneschal, and the Tremere, he was confident that he could keep it. True to his word, Valerianus gave security and knowledge to the Tremere, easing them into the courts of the West through his many contacts.
Etrius rarely returned to Vienna, and sent his talented childe Lotharius and the diplomat Locus to handle the task of integrating the Tremere into Cainite society. Wishing only to maintain security over the chantry, Lotharius soon proved his worth by demonstrating the advantages of their blood magic, and he was not slow to recognise Valerianus’ and Dietrich’s excitement at the prospect of these tricks being at their disposal. Before long, Tremere ambassadors showed up in other Holy Roman vampire courts, quietly offering the very same secretive arrangements to other princes of the Ventrue, Cappadocian, Toreador and Lasombra clans. The place of the Tremere, albeit as a Low and minor bloodline, was eventually assured with the boons that accrued from this arrangement.
The following century was a good one for Vienna and her prince. Once again allied with the Babenberg dynasty, Valerianus propelled them into greatness first as the Margaves of Austria, and then laid the groundwork that has now seen it elevated to a duchy. Using his skill at municipal management, he also saw the town once more raised to a civitas, and it was soon the most important settlement of the margraviate. All seemed well and secure in the Domain of Vienna at last. The diablerie of Saulot by Tremere, reportedly with the assistance of Etrius, was a cause for reservation, but the prince chose to overlook it on pragmatic grounds.
Then, in 1155 CE, the Tzimisce caught wind of Valerianus’ support for the Tremere. A war coterie of some eighteen Cainities, primarily Tzimisce with a few Gangrel warriors and Nosferatu scouts, descended upon the city when the Ventrue prince had called his vassals to court. The enemy displayed a profound knowledge of the city’s Cainites, and the prince and all of his vassals were destroyed except for Lotharius, who was on a rare visit to the Tremere Chantry, and Dietrich who was lucky enough to be running late to court. After a few nights mopping up, and losing nearly half of their number on attacking the Chantry, the Tzimisce and their allies left the city. They had failed to destroy Lotharius, but their point was considered well made: harbour the Usurpers at your own peril.
Within the month, two new Tremere appeared in Vienna. Hansel and Stromberg arrived with the speed and mystery that has become typical of the Tremere, and with their support Lotharius declared himself Prince. Dietrich was informed that his services were no longer required as seneschal, but that his service to, and love of, the city was recognised and that he was welcome to stay. Konrad von Babenberg also journeyed to Vienna, and endured the knowledge of the Tremere ascendancy with poor grace initially, and then bland acceptance when his claim over many of Valerianus’ properties and holdings was recognised. Other Cainites, always recognising a vacuum in an important Domain, soon arrived and Vienna swiftly returned to peace.
Despite the recognition of his power, Lotharius was careful about increasing Tremere numbers at first. Apparently heeding the desires of his master, Etrius, he kept his involvement with the mortal magi of Vienna incidental, and also chose not to interfere with Filaerus’ rather obvious manipulations of the Babenberg’s. Stromberg kept an eye on him, to make sure that the mortal regent was safe from Konrad, Paul and Mortimer, all of whom found it relatively easy to counter Filaerus’ attempts at intrigue. Indeed, the High Clan members of the city grew to be quite confident that Lotharius’ interdiction of their mortal influence was token at best. Let the Tremere have the city so long as they could continue to use the Babenberg’s to control the rest of Austria and Styria!
Finally and rather abruptly, between 1185 and 1190, the Tremere numbers in the city more than doubled. Filaerus and three of the senior magi of the Chantry took a trip to parts east, and returned as vampires. These new Cainites, heady with their power, quickly began insinuating themselves into mortal politics and causing considerable tensions throughout the Cainite circles throughout the entirety of the 1190’s. After considerable waves of difficulty from High Clan elders abroad,Lotharius chose to isolate Filaerus’ intrigues as they were the most disruptive to peace in the city. The Regent was reluctant to dispense with his influence over the Babenberg’s, but once more orders from above forced his acceptance of the prince’s order. The injunction between national and municipal spheres of politics has returned to a stable state of affairs, as Audax and Peter are more subtle than their Regent, and cast their nets wider and lower than Filarus’ formerly did. It has also become extremely clear to the rest of the city’s Cainites that a delineation of power also exists between the Regent and the Prince, who is called the Pontifex by his clan-mates.
Vienna continues in it’s march towards prosperity. The capture and ransom of King Richard the Lionheart after the 3rd Crusade provided untold wealth to the Babenberg’s. They used this wealth to fund the building of a city mint, new city walls and considerable renovations of city infrastructure. Many prince’s across Europe look upon the Austrian capital with jealousy and admiration, and wonder where the Usurper’s will turn their clever tricks next…
Titular Ruler: Leopold VI, the Glorious, of the House of Babenberg, Duke of Austria and Styria.
Cainite Ruler: Prince Lotharius
Governmental Mix: Strong Duke ruling over vast territories and the city itself, which has been the capital of Austria since 1156 CE. A city assembly composed of of 300 wealthy burghers and masters of guilds advises the Duke, and may pass regulations on city ordnances, guild by-laws and the like, but Duke Leopold retains veto rights.
Military Disposition: Standing army of 722 city guards, responsible for maintaining the wall watch, keeping law and order in the city, and patrolling the outlying roads and villages. This force is commanded by Kapitan Heinrich II ritter von Durnstein, who is ably assisted by 15 lieutenants. The city guard is funded by tolls on the river trade, as well as a gate toll and land taxes.
The city militia can be turned out in times of crisis, and consists of 2840 able-bodied men that are required to practice one saturday out of each month, as well as a further 690 men of the retinues of the landed knights who hold the lands surrounding the approaches to the city. Officers of the various guilds serve as officers of the militia as well. All men of the militia are bought arms by their respective guilds, but are responsible for their own upkeep or replacement if lost irresponsibly.
Finally, the Ducal Guard of Leopold VI numbers 700 men, including 165 knights. These are professional soldiers, a standing army intended to not just protect their lord but bolster the forces of vassals at a moment’s notice.
Population: c. 29 000 (76% German Austrian, 7% Bavarian, Styrian and Saxon German, 6% Magyar, 5% Styrian Slavic, 2% Italian, 1.5% Jewish, 1.5% other including Greeks, Poles, Franks and Pechenegs). Almost 21 000 live within the new walls, while the rest either live in the numerous small market towns and tiny villages that dot the lands of the knights and edlers further out. Most Bavarians, Styrians and Saxons are merchants or knights in the service of the Duke, as well as their families. The Italians are universally merchants interested in networking Vienna with their own peninsula. The Magyars are either merchants or courtiers (Leopold’s wife is an Arpad), as are the Poles and Franks. Greeks and Jews work as lawyers, scribes and scholars, and the Jews are also developing a healthy sideline as medical practitioners and money-lenders. Several score Pechenegs work as caravan guards and mercenaries.
Economy: Extremely strong, reliant on the Danube river trade route and its position as a Ducal capital, a market city and a crossroads for the salt, silver and wool trades. Wine is a strong export too.
CAINITE AFFAIRS OF VIENNA
- Lotharius, Prince of Vienna and Pontifex of Austria (5th gen. Tremere, Childe of Etrius, e. early 11th century); first of the Warlock princes, an honourable ruler but considered to be quite fair compared to his High Clan counterparts elsewhere. He does not tolerate disrespect to his clan or authority, and Cainites of other clans are advised to stay out of municipal politics. He is considered a master of the mysterious Thaumaturgy of his clan, with command of many different powers and rituals.
- Hansel, the Scourge (6th gen. Tremere, Childe of Lotharius, e. mid 12th century); quite martial for a Warlock, this ex-mercenary patrols the roads quite heavily with a contingent of ghouls, Gargoyles and other arcane creatures. He specialises in directing fire and moving objects with his mind.
- Amandus Stromberg, Seneschal & Keeper of the Lore (5th gen. Tremere, Childe of Etrius, e. late 11th century); the prince’s oldest friend, adviser, and able chief aide-de-camp. He is related to the Bamberg dynasty. He specialises in communing and awakening with local elemental spirits.
- Rudolf von Erdburg, the Sheriff (7th gen. Lasombra, Childe of Werner Schloss (d), e. late 10th century); a fretful and paranoid nobleman, eager to continually prove his worth to the prince out of fears that he will be replaced by a Tremere. His sire, Werner, was Valerianus’ sheriff.
- Sister Sophia of Ardech, church manipulator (8th gen. Lasombra, Childe of Bishop Ernst of Salzburg, e. mid 11th century); a clever and cool schemer, deeply amused by Rudolf. She advises the prince on Church politics but otherwise keeps to herself, and has many contacts in the Austrian church, and appears to coordinate several archdeacon’s on her sire’s behalf.
- Mortimer Graf von Baden, Holy Roman manipulator (9th gen. Toreador, Childe of Sister Gertrude, e. late 11th century); a paragon of the ‘style over substance’ mentality that is slowly insinuating itself throughout the clan, Mortimer stands openly in mortal society like his chief rival, Paul. He is renowned in the Austrian and Styrian courts for his wit, aesthetic sensibility and skill at intrigue.
- Paul Graf von Mistelbach, Holy Roman manipulator (7th gen. Ventrue, Childe of Lady Anne of Ravensburg, e. early 11th century); a prominent Austrian count like his chief rival, Mortimer, Paul is a full-time adviser to the Duke who has his childer and ghouls run his lands for him. He is allied with the Tremere Regent, Filaerus, who has placed a number of Warlock progeny at his disposal.
- Konrad von Babenburg, recalcitrant heir (6th gen Ventrue, Childe of Valerianus (d), e. early 12th century); the last and favoured childe of Valerianus, Konrad was in Innsbruck when the Tzimisce axe fell. He was the heir to much of his sire’s material holdings, and so maintains considerable interests in the city and is watched closely by the Tremere. Konrad is also the great-uncle of Leopold VI, and exercises considerable sway over the Babenberg’s.
- Dietrich von Steyer, the relic (6th gen. Cappadocian, Childe of Kyros of Antioch, e. 852 CE); the former seneschal of Vienna, this scholar and prominent edler landowner is possessed of a deep love of the city, and was instrumental in its growth. He is forbidden by the prince from involving himself further in the city management, and endures the political exile with ill-concealed pain. The Cappadocian now concentrates on a number of mercantile endeavours based out of Hungary and the Slavic south, but cannot bear to leave Vienna.
The Tremere Chantry
- Filaerus, Regent of the Vienna Chantry (5th gen. Tremere, Childe of Etrius, e. late 12th century); a rugged, craggy faced man who frequently advised the Babenbergs before the turn of the 13th century, he has been compelled into quietude by the prince because of dangers to the Sixth Tradition. The Regent has built many contacts amongst the Holy Roman Ventrue, and has transferred his interest to Cainite politics.
- Audax, the ambitious politico (7th gen Tremere, Childe of Canticus, e. late 12th century); a frighteningly intelligent, powerful and willful magus trapped in the body of a 14 year old boy, Audax has engaged himself heavily in Austrian politics, picking up where his regent left off. He has developed links and rivals with Ventrue, Toreador and Lasombra in this regard.
- Ala, the Regent’s Whip (6th gen. Tremere, Childe of Filaerus, e. late 12th century); a cold, Nordic beauty who loves and supports her sire with uncharacteristically passionate fervour and devotion. She is seen outside the Chantry only on Filaerus’ business.
- Peter Schloss, the Prince’s Man (9th gen. Tremere, Childe of Curaferrum, e. late 12th century); this former soldier is a close ally of both Audax, the scourge and the prince, Peter is not typical in appearance for a magus, being of a practical bent. He advises and supplies the scourge in his duties, performs errands on behalf of the prince, and is frequently Audax’ partner in intrigue amongst the Cainite and mortal nobility. He has a particular facility for alchemy and elaborate mechanical traps.
Prominent Mortal Residents
Inns, Taverns & Alehouses of Vienna
Other Notable Locations
The City Walls:
The City Square:
The Vienna River: Wienfluss
The Little Danube:
The Church of St. Rupert of Salzburg: (Vienna has 4 churches)
The Church of St. Mary on the Strand:
The Church of St. Peter:
The Cathedral of St. Stephen:
The Schottenstift: The Scottish abbey
The Ducal Castle: “Am Hof”o the Arges road. The monks and lay folk beg on the road and at the town gates, and are not permitted within the walls for any reason.
The Vienna Woods: Wienerwald. southern woods.