The Enemy Within
Friedrich von Kaufman
Minor noble, Averheim
Friedrich von Kaufman is slightly over average height and well built. He is 36, though looks a little younger. He has sharply chiselled handsome features and wears a closely trimmed beard, cropped brown hair and a face–spanning handlebar mustache.
Von Kaufman always wears the latest fashions in perfectly tailored satin. As a patriotic Averlander, he ensures that much of his wardrobe is cut from cloth in the province’s colours of yellow and black. Prominently worn around his neck is a chunky silver chain attached to a golden badge decorated in enamel with the von Kaufman coat of arms. This depicts a black Imperial cross on a yellow field. The cross is encircled by a stylised red corona, as if it eclipses the sun.
Von Kaufman is a minor aristocrat with a small estate in Averland and an impressive townhouse within Averheim. Whilst he isn’t a particularly influential noble, and would never be considered a serious contender for the Electoral seat, Friedrich is nevertheless respected and has a number of influential friends in Averheim. His business interests give him many friends amongst the mer- chants, his birth gives him recognition amongst the nobility, and a brief and unremarkable term of service with the Pistolkorps has given von Kaufman contacts amongst the military as well.
Von Kaufman has a significant stake in a number of business ventures and a noted talent for commerce. His concerns include warehouses and stockyards in Averheim’s waterfront district, and he also has a share in the running of the Red Arrow coaching house. He can be a hard taskmaster, expecting his workers to perform consistently well over time before offering them much in the way of remuneration or promotion.
As a result of his business acumen and connections, von Kaufman is quite wealthy, far more so than his rank would otherwise suggest. However, von Kaufman has the gift of being rich without being obnoxious, and enthusiastically spends his wealth on what he considers to be worthy causes. He has made sizable (and quite public) donations to the cults of Sigmar, Shallya, and Verena in Averheim. He allows the academic community in Averheim to meet in one of his taverns, and even occasionally attends their meetings, making him a sort of silent patron to all the scholars in the city. He has even funded major trade missions and expeditions to far–off points around the globe.
Recently, von Kaufman’s expedition to the Southlands has returned to the Empire via the port of Marienburg. This expedition, which was headed by the explorer Johann Templemann, spent most of a year operating in the small imperial enclave of Sudenberg, on a tropical, jungle–clad coast far to the south of Araby. From there they made many journeys into the jungle, recovering golden artifacts from stepped temples guarded by reptilian warriors, exotic beasts from the depths of the forests, and primitive works of “art” from the savage orc tribes. Templemann himself did not return, for reasons that von Kaufman is curiously vague about.
Von Kaufman’s wealth now far outstrips his social status, and he is beginning to chafe at the stagnation of Averheim’s political system. People know him as clever, competent, and very rich – why should he have to bow and scrape to lords with less money and skill than him, just because of an accident of birth? Some say he is using his wealth and his connections to find a way past the limitations of his current title. Many believe if he can secure an advantageous marriage, or attach himself to the next Elector of Averland, then he will have advanced his position and that of his heirs.