Franz Grunberg was born in a poor suburb of Vienna on October 20th, 1815. During his childhood, Franz’s father earned a meagre living as an asylum guard at the infamous Narrenturm mental asylum. Unlike his brothers and sisters, young Franz showed special interest in his father’s work and as he grew older, began accompanying his father to the stone tower. Although the rows of raving madmen presented a disconcerting sight to the boy, he found himself intrigued by their condition, and even as a youngster, wondered what could be the benefit of chaining them to damp walls and leaving them to fester in their own bodily filth.
By age 13, Franz worked as a guard-in-training under the tutelage of his father. However, one of the institution’s most notable doctors, a German by the name of Josef Steiner, recognized the youth’s sharp mind and keen interest in the asylum and its occupants. When Franz’s father died of cholera in 1830, Doctor Steiner and his barren wife stepped in as sponsors to the young man and provided the financial backing, as well as the necessary letters of introduction to begin his academic education.
Franz roamed continental Europe throughout his early twenties, attending lectures and studying under many great men. In 1841, Franz rose above his station and was awarded Doctor of Medicine from the University of Vienna. Less than two years later he earned a Doctor of Philosphy from the same institution, and his post-doctoral paper, The Symptoms and Proposed Treatments of Mental Duality in the Criminally Insane, was well-recieved in medical circles.
Grunberg’s Asylum and Its Occupants:
1866 was a life-changing year for Grunberg. Just before Summer, his venerable sponsor and foster-father died in a house fire. Dr. Grunberg was greatly upset by the loss of Steiner, but was shocked to find himself the sole beneficiary of the Steiner fortune. For the couple of years preceeding Steiner’s death, Franz had become somewhat disillusioned with standard psychiatric treatments and the mainstream medical community as a whole. He took the windfall as a sign, and bought a long abandoned lodge in Transylvania. Within a year, Grunberg’s Lunatic Asylum was in full operation. Dr. Grunberg and his neice Emmalina still live there to this day.
Now that Dr. Grunberg is more or less cut off from the major centers of Europe, he essentially has free license to experiment with new and questionable treatments. Although some patients fall victim to his failed experimental ideas, the doctor sees his actions as justified – if he finds a cure for madness, no means would be questioned, would they?
Some of the less dangerous patients roam the grounds under the watchful eye of the groundskeeper Ernst Holdt. They sometimes seem inexplicably drawn to the dark forest across the river.
Emmalina Grunberg was the only daughter of one of Franz’s younger brothers. Her father, apparently a devil for the drink, mistreated the girl and Franz stepped in out of pity and took her on as a member of his household. She has been with him ever since and is the only family member he has any contact with.
Dr. Grunberg looks to the stalwart Ernst Holdt to maintain and protect his sprawling property. When the doctor first took possession, Ernst and his father lived in a small cabin at the north end of the grounds, still under the employ of the previous owners. The old fellow passed on a few years later, and the doctor, who had become quite dependent on the young caretaker, offered him more than fair compensation to stay on.
Painted By: Jason (aka JET)
Thoughts & Commentary:
Although we had a great time playing our Legends of the Old West campaign last year, there were a few things missing. We never got to play any scenarios that required innocent by-standers – the wargaming equivalent of non-player characters. When the Gothic Horror project was well under way, I had decided to make painting such models a priority. I didn’t want to be stuck playing the same basic scenarios.
In a sense, by painting these various inhabitants of the Dertflinghan vicinity now, I am killing two birds with one stone. Some of these models, in addition to standing in as bystanders and scenario objectives, will join the ranks of my Hungarian Monster Hunters a little later in the campaign.
Thanks for reading,