Maximilian Hoherberg Von Zottehal Character in Ulskandar | World Anvil

Maximilian Hoherberg Von Zottehal

Dear Reader,   I, Maximilian Hoherberg Von Zottehal do most humbly give you thanks for taking the time to read the words inscribed within these pages. What you see before you is the life’s work (still in the making) of a slave to learning seeking to shed some light upon the confusing tapestry of history, whose threads link us all whether we are aware of it or not….
Opening lines of the introduction to Maximilian Hoherberg von Zottehal’s History of the Known World, Volume I.   Regarded as being one of greatest living scholars of the Settlement Era, Maximilian Hoherberg Von Zottehal is, despite his short years, a leading authority on the history of the Kingdom of Reinhart’s collapse and is currently several volumes into a highly ambitious work to write a historical and cultural treatise on each of Turoza’s geopolitical entities.

Physical Description

General Physical Condition

A tall, lanky human male, Maximilian is often to be seen dressed in his academic robes and cuts a dashing if slightly scruffy figure. His oval face is highlighted by a small ginger-brown beard and deep-brown, large, haughty looking eyebrows that can make his resting face look rather severe or angry. He wears his auburn hair slightly on the long side, and his blue eyes constantly seem to dart around, as if taking in every single detail of his surroundings.

Mental characteristics

Personal history

Born in 514S.E., into a noble, but rather run down family native to the Dukedom of Zottehal, Maximilian was the fourth of five brothers born to Lord and Lady Hoherberg. The Hoherberg family’s star had already began to wane a couple of generations before Maximilian’s birth, but by the time that he came into the world, the situation was becoming rather desperate. His mother and father, keen to bring the family back to the upper heights of Zottehal’s society, were obsessed with keeping up appearances. What this meant in reality was an outward veneer of them leading the life expected of close intimates of the Duchess of Zottehal, whilst in reality there was some severe cutting of corners going on to cut down on actual expenses. For example, all of the Hoherberg children were provided with one of the most expensive tutors that money could buy, but were then only educated up to the age of 10, regardless of their potential.   Having said this, the only one of the brothers who showed great potential academically was Maximilian. His four brothers showed more aptitude for martial pursuits, and Lord and Lady Hoherberg channelled the little surplus family funds into buying all four of Maximilian’s brothers officers’ commissions within Zottehal’s small but respectable army. Although this was a large expense, Maximilian’s parents could see the advantage of setting their sons up within the Dukedom’s military. It meant that the four brothers were directly serving the Duchess, would bring in wages and show how self-sacrificing the Hoherberg family was when it came to supporting Duchess and Duchy. What this meant for Maximilian is that there was no leftover capital to nurture his clear academic aptitude, nor was there any will on the part of his parents to encourage him to pursue a line of trade that showed no promise of helping them ingratiate themselves with Zottehal’s high society. Maximilian was, therefore left to his own devices, and as he was gaining no stimulation at home he took a job at the first place that would take him on in the city of Zottehal, a printmakers and bookbinders workshop.   Even though Maximilian was only working as a printer’s assistant in the workshop for a meagre wage of 1 silver piece a week, the position suited him enormously because it gave him access to books and learning that he could not access at home. Lord and Lady Hoherberg had once owned an extensive library before Maximilian was born, but cost saving measures had seen all of the books and the shelves they used to sit on being burned for kindling and firewood, so that money did not have to be spent heating their rickety mansion with bought in fuel. His mother and father had also refused to ‘waste’ money on books to enhance Maximilian’s education, so instead, he used his position in the workshop to surreptitiously take books, read them and then return them to the workshop before they were noticed as missing. This was the way that Maximilian enhanced his own education and furthered himself for the next five years. By the time he was 17, Maximilian had become a full printer, and was earning the handsome wage of 10 silver pieces a week, all of which he squirrelled away and hid from his parents and brothers, who had no idea that Maximilian was working, but thought that he spent his life in listless idleness.   It was shortly after his seventeenth birthday, that Maximilian convinced the owner of the workshop to allow him to become an itinerant salesman for him, moving though the Mountain Principalities, selling books and drumming up support for the workshop’s trade across the area of the Felsspitze Mountains. The owner of the workshop agreed, and several nights later, Maximilian slipped out of his home, a large moneybag containing all of his savings with him, never to return to the mansion of Lord and Lady Hoherberg. In all honesty, Maximilian had no regrets, he had always been shunned at home and despite not being the youngest had been firmly at the bottom of the pecking order. His intellect and natural curiosity had no place amongst the boorish, violent antics of his brothers, who picked on him relentlessly, egged on by his father and mother who viewed him as being weak.   Maximilian’s new position, travelling through what had been the Old Kingdom of Reinhart provided welcome exposure to the world that he had read about in the books that had passed through the printmakers and bookbinders workshop. It also gave him an opportunity to visit other libraries across the Mountain Principalities, further satisfying his thirst for knowledge, and he even became adept at sneaking into the lectures being held in the Ravendorp School of Political & Military Science whenever he was in the town of Ravendorp. During the evenings when he made camp for the night, he began to make notes and write what would become his first work of historical investigation, On the Fall of the Kingdom of Reinhart. After a year of being on the road, Maximilian had finished this first book, had printed several copies himself and bound them and had begun to sell them on his travels alongside the other volumes he had been given by the workshop to sell. In his nineteenth year, when in Ravendorp once more, a scholar from the School bought a copy of his book, and the next day tracked Maximilian down, asking who the author of the work was and where he could find him. The scholar’s surprise was great when he was told that Maximilian himself had penned the work, and after a long conversation in a nearby tavern, he offered Maximilian a job as a junior lecturer in history at the School.   From there, Maximilian’s career has gone from strength to strength. Now a full-time, and rather handsomely paid academic, he has begun an extensive and ambitious project to write on the histories of all of Turoza’s geopolitical entities, work which has taken him across the continent, and spread his fame far and wide in the academic community. Maximilian Hoherberg Von Zottehal is now the foremost authority on the history of the continent, and especially on the history of the Mountain Principalities and being just 39 he has a long career still ahead of him (even for a human) to continue contributing his knowledge and analysis to the scholarly corpus of Turoza and Ulskandar.


Up to the age of 10, Maximilian received some formal education through the medium of a tutor that was hired to educated the Hoherberg children. However, because of the expense involved in educating five male children, all of whom with the exception of Maximilian did not want to be there, meant that each of the Hoherberg brothers was only educated up to the age of 10, with a concentration on fundamental literacy and numeracy. Even though the family tutor enthusiastically explained Maximilian’s intellectual potential to his parents, the state of family finances dictated that Maximilian’s formal education ended at 10. Following his employment at the printmakers and bookbinders workshop a couple of years later, Maximilian took his education into his own hands and enriched his knowledge by reading whatever books were being produced in the workshop. During his time as an itinerant salesman and marketer for the workshop between the age of 17 and 20, Maximilian regularly made trips to Ravendorp, where he became adept at sneaking into lectures, which aided his academic ambitions no end.


Maximilian first entered a working life when he was only 12, when in a bid to escape the persecution of his other brothers he took a job as an assistant in a printmakers and bookbinders workshop in Zottehal. It was in this workshop that his love of literature began to flourish and he would borrow copies of the books that he helped produce, devouring their intellectual contents before replacing them in the stock before the absence of the book was noticed. When Maximilian turned 17 he had taken on additional responsibilities within the workshop, and eventually persuaded the workshop’s owner to let him travel throughout the Mountain Principalities selling books and drumming up support for the business. It was during this trip, which lasted about 3 years (with frequent return trips to the workshop in Zottehal to restock), that Maximilian gathered the material for his first treatise, On the Fall of the Kingdom of Reinhart. Following the conclusion of this trip, Maximilian stood down from his position at the workshop, and began to write his first book, the completion of which allowed him to launch his academic career, and secured him a livelihood that still sustains him to this day.   Maximilian is currently a permanent member of Faculty at the Ravendorp School of Political & Military Science, and has also been granted the status of Visiting Faculty at Royal College of Social, Scientific, Historical and Philosophical Studies in Vaháyer. As well as this, Maximilian is often asked to attend the courts of various rulers and nobility, across Turoza, but from the Mountain Principalities particularly, who want to his opinion on various matters of potential policy and to attempt to shed light on the histories of their

Accomplishments & Achievements

Maximilian has achieved the notable feat of being the youngest ever full Faculty member of the Ravendorp School of Political & Military Science, and is also the youngest ever person to have been granted the status of Visiting Faculty member at the Royal College of Social, Scientific, Historical and Philosophical Studies. Both of these appointments are down to his internationally acclaimed treatise, On the Fall of the Kingdom of Reinhart, and his continuing work producing volume after volume of his eponymous, Maximilian Hoherberg von Zottehal’s History of the Known World.


Social Aptitude

Most who meet him say that Maximilian looks at you as if he is observing you rather than talking to you. Though he is a charming, affable character, Maximilian is an academic to his core, and will often lose himself in an internal train of thought mid-conversation, only to then resurface and have no idea what the person he is conversing with is going on about. As he classes himself not just as a historian, but as a ‘social observer’ Maximilian will tend to minutely scrutinise those he comes into contact with, especially if they exhibit behaviours, cultural differences or styles that he is not familiar with. He has an incredibly good eye for detail, and can often be found scribbling notes about a thought or other he has come up with for his magnum opus, Maximilian Hoherberg von Zottehal’s History of the Known World, or hurriedly sketching an architectural detail hitherto unnoticed, but deemed to be of significant importance.

Wealth & Financial state

Maximilian’s was born into a reasonably wealthy family, though as just one of five brothers, his chances of inheriting a large enough amount of money to comfortably see out a life of leisure were slim at best. However, Maximilian has been able to carve out a fairly affluent lifestyle for himself, helped party by the fact that he has been appointed as a member of faculty at the Ravendorp School of Political & Military Science, who not only pay him a good standard wage to have his name associated with them, but they also provide a rather lavish suite of rooms for him to live in, pay him extra for any teaching he finds time to do and pay for his research trips. In addition, Maximilian will always make time to lecture in Royal College of Social, Scientific, Historical and Philosophical Studies whenever his travels bring him near the Sultanate of Fashaddon, for which he is always generously payed for his time and services.
Year of Birth
514 S.E. 39 Years old

Cover image: by Chris Pyrah


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