The Middenman

The Middenman
»The … who?«
Carla Klauwitz, Middenheimer Citizen

The old world knows its fair share of strange cults, secret societies and conspiracies. Most of them are concerned with the unhealthy trinity of non-humans, demons or the dark arts, while very few retain a more mundane approach to construct reality and furthermore gain influence for their worldly goals. The »Middenmen« are the prime example for a group that is dedicated like demon-worshipers but focus their attention not on personal gain, the destruction of the empire or the wellbeing of some non-human power.

Middenland always seems a little strange when compared to the rest of the empire, sure Hochland is a little more backwaterish, in Ostland the accent is stronger and when it comes to strange customs nothing beats the damn tree huggers down in Talabecland, but the mixture of above makes Middenland a prime example, why inbreeding and traditionalism are a bad pairing. 
For a better understanding of the »Middenmen«, it is first necessary to grasp their view of the Reich's history, the basic concepts of their ideological pillars and the connections they maintain with other power blocks of the empire.

For the »Middenmen«, the Empire is long dead and its successor nothing more than a empty husk that perverted everything that once was good and true. Their Empire died when Magnus not only was elected Emperor but also accused his greatest rival Duke Sigurd Stoutheart of consorting with Chaos. Before he could be cought by authorities, his body was discovered in the Schmandteich, a small lake near the prosperous village of Winzlingen. The »Middenmen« state that Magnus ordered the assassination by his secret police, after it became evident that a) the Middenlander wouldn't believe this outrageous lie and the newly elected feared that mighty Ulric himself would intervene and show the Empire not the purity of Sigurd but also the rotten core of its new ruler. Magnus feared the mighty power and the sheer force (Glory, power and might paired with strong adjectives are the favorite words of the »Middenmen«) and so conspired with the other Elector Counts to prevent a Middenlandish emperor. Is it coincidence that the worst Emperors ever known in history were preferred to more worthy (and stronger) candidates from Middenland?

The first important ideological pillar of the group is that the current political and social system of the Empire is flawed: Burghers and even peasants enjoy too many privileges, while the whole concept of electing an emperor is weak and unmanly and the de facto state cult of Sigmar defies the mighty holiness of Ulric supreme rule. Furthermore the influence of guilds and outlandish conspiracies (like the iron grip of the dwarfs on the empire) and the whole mercantile system gnaw at the very essence of the Empire. 

The »Middenmen's« vision of the Empire is a ruthless rollback to absolute feudal structures, where all economic, political and religious power is concentrated in a Middenland controlled state. The Emperor's election process will be replaced by heritage succession and the higher levels of state bureaucracy will only be available to pure-blooded teutogens. Sure, this will go against anything that Sigmar himself envisioned for its Reich, but the ideas of the first emperor were nullified when Magnus betrayed it and in order to secure the glory and might of the Empire, it will be necessary to overthrow the concepts and replace them with the »Middenmen's« way.

The second identity-establishing factor of the group is a sheer neglect of reality regarding the own importance. Members are kept in a state of constant paranoia, where the slightest slip will result in the eradication of the group. Although imperial powers-that-be would not be exactly thrilled if the conspiracy came to their attention, neither the Witch Hunters, nor the Cloaked Brothers or any of the knight chapters, nobles or other imperial agents would likely feel compelled to act against them. Ironically the only possible exception could be the elector count of Middenland, who would fear his good name and status would be stained by the association of his noble ancestor with the outlandish claims of the Middenmen.

In the unlikely event of a middenlandish revolution, the roles are clear to the Middenmen: The Teutogen Guard would serve as strong arm of the Middenmen, while both the Panther Knights and Cult of Ulric would cement the ideological foundation of the new-born reich. 

Both Guard and Knights also serve as primary recruiting ground for the Middenmen and high-ranking members of the two militant organizations are rumored to be also Middenmen. Although the conspiracy’s ambitions to reestablish Ulric as patron god of the Empire, their success in recruiting his clergy isn’t a big success …yet. 

The conspiracy enjoys a rather flat hierarchy; local cells of Middenmen are led by a Hutzelmann, whereas regional organization is coordinated by a council of Hutzelmen. 

Advanced Career:
Middenmann

Main Profile:

WS

BS

S

T

Ag

Int

WP

Fel

5.00%

10.00%

5.00%

5.00%

10.00%

15.00%

15.00%

Secondary Profile:

A

W

SB

TB

M

Mag

IP

FP

0

4

Skills:
Academic Knowledge (Genealogy/Heraldry), Academic Knowledge (History), Academic Knowledge (Conspiracy Theories), Academic Knowledge (Law), Common Knowledge (The Empire), Consume Alcohol, Concealment, Disguise, Gossip, Perception, Read/Write, Secret Language (Middenmen) 

Talents:
Etiquette or Streetwise, True Patriot*, Flee!, Sixth Sense
• +10% on all Knowledge Rolls concerning Middenland

Trappings:
A black robe with hood, torch

Career Entries:
Any

Career Exits:
Agitator, Courtier, Hutzelmann, Knight Panther, Demagogue, Scribe, Forger

Hutzelmann
Main Profile:

WS

BS

S

T

Ag

Int

WP

Fel

10.00%

20.00%

25.00%

20.00%

Secondary Profile:

A

W

SB

TB

M

Mag

IP

FP

0

6

Skills:
Academic Knowledge (History), Academic Knowledge (Conspiracy Theories), Academic Knowledge (Law), Common Knowledge (The Empire), Charm, Gossip, Evaluator, Performer (Actor), Read/Write, Secret Language (Middenmen), Speak Language (Reikspiel) 
 
Talents:
Dealmaker or Schemer, Etiquette or Streetwise, Master Orator, Public Speaking, True Patriot

Trappings:
A red robe with hood, torch, cell of middenmen

Career Entries:
Any

Career Exits:
Agitator, Courtier, Knight Panther, Demagogue, Politician, Guildmaster

Adventure Hooks (thanks to b_u_g):
A hutzelman has been found murdered under the exact same circumstances like Sigurd Stoutheart.
In a Middenheim orphanage a child is found with the same birth mark like Sigurd.
A chaos cult plans to assassinate a high-ranking noble, perhaps the Emperor himself(!), and use the Middenmen as expedient scapegoats.
The group is stalked by a Middenmann who wants to leave the conspiracy but seeks protection in exchange for the terrible (really?) dirty secrets of the black hood…

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