A RagtagBunchOfMisfits travel to the HauntedCastle of the EvilOverlord Constant Drachenfels. One by one they fall to his minions and his {{Death Trap}}s, until only the [[PrinceCharming brave prince]] remains to fight the sorcerer and vanquish him at last.

That's just the ''prologue''. Twenty five years later, Detlef Sierck, the Empire's greatest playwright, is rescued from debtor's prison by the Crown Prince Oswald. Oswald, the aforementioned brave prince, has a simple proposition for Detlef: he wants to produce a play about his defeat of the Great Enchanter Drachenfels, and he wants Detlef to write and star in it. The original band who travelled with Oswald are reunited for the play's premiere, a one-time performance staged in the very walls of Drachenfels' abandoned fortress, attended by all the nobility of the Empire. WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong

''Drachenfels'' is a ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' novel by Creator/KimNewman under his Jack Yeovil pen name, first published back in 1989. It occupies a bizarre place in the Warhammer canon, suffering from a huge, setting-wide case of CharacterizationMarchesOn. Constant Drachenfels hasn't been mentioned in the background for years, having long since been displaced by Nagash the Black as the setting's necromantic BigBad. Details like goblins being willing to work for humans and vampires mingling relatively openly in Imperial society will look like massive errors to anyone who got into the fandom any time after the early nineties. Thing is, people ''really'' like it, so Creator/GamesWorkshop keep it in print and other authors give it {{Shout Out}}s on a regular basis.

The protagonist of ''Drachenfels'', the vampire Genevieve, went on to have a small role in the novel ''Beasts in Velvet'' and then to star in a collection of three novellas called ''Genevieve Undead'' and a short story collection called ''Silver Nails''.

!!This book contains examples of:

* AffablyEvil: Drachenfels, mostly just to mess with people.
* AndIMustScream: A favourite of Drachenfels. Freezing people in place to starve to death with a feast laid out before them, trapping people in tiny pocket dimensions to be chewed on by rats for all eternity...okay, the second one might have been an illusion to fuck with Genevieve. When he died, there was a ''mass exodus'' of trapped souls finally leaving.
* AristocratsAreEvil: Played straight with [[spoiler:Oswald von Konigswald]], averted suprisingly (given the nature of the Warhammer world) with most of the others.
* BadassBookworm: Astonishingly enough, Detlef ''does'' have his moments. [[spoiler:[[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu Killing the Great Enchanter]], for a start.]]
* BodyBackupDrive: Drachenfels, having survived since a time before almost every sentient species on the planet by [[spoiler:piecing himself together replacement bodies every time his is worn out or destroyed]].
* BrainlessBeauty: Lily Nissen, the actress brought in to play Genevieve. Not just brainless, but a ''bitch''.
* CanonDiscontinuity: Pretty much, but people love it anyway. Other authors continue to reference it, creating the bizarre situation wherein Drachenfels himself is never brought up but Detlef Sierck's plays are.
** Though the 7th edition sourcebook for the Empire does mention Castle Drachenfels a few times; it shows up in the timeline as notable for the year 2203, and is depicted on the map of the Empire as being in the Grey Mountains, near Axebite Pass.
** As of the End Times books they seem to be back in continuity (at least in BroadStrokes), with a resurrected (although amnesiac) Drahenfels serving as one of Nagash's generals against the Hordes of Chaos. He's ultimately destroyed by holy power in the last book, but it's not like it's the first time. An unidentified vampire heavily hinted to be Genevieve also pops up a few times to give the heroes significant intelligence.
** Castle Drachenfels [[spoiler:(long after Constant Drachenfels' death)]] also shows up in VideoGame/TheEndTimesVermintide as a DLC area, now infested with Skaven.
* CanonWelding[=/=]AlternateUniverse: Alternate versions of Genevieve are a main character in the ''Literature/AnnoDracula'' series, and a secondary character in the ''Literature/DiogenesClub'' series. The ''Diogenes'' universe also has a version of Drachenfels himself, although Constant Drache is drastically less powerful than his counterpart, simply being a crazed architect with a fondness for AlienGeometries. Elder Seth, the BigBad of ''Literature/DarkFuture'' is also an alternate Drachenfels, as revealed in ''Krokodil Tears''.
* ContinuitySnarl: The later stories name drop ''Literature/GotrekAndFelix'' as contemporary heroes and ''Beasts in Velvet'' follows up on plot threads from ''Skavenslayer'', but this series is treated as having happened before Felix's lifetime there.
* CreepySouvenir: Drahenfels kept the victims of the poisoned feast in his dining room, among many, many other things.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: The feat which Oswald is famous for throughout the Empire - finally killing the Great Enchanter Drachenfels. [[spoiler:At the end of the book, Detlef, of all people, does it for real.]]
* DwindlingParty: Twice, for different reasons.
* ExpositionOfImmortality: ''Drachenfels'' has this a couple of times between Genevieve and the eponymous villain. Drachenfels himself has his immense age pointed early on by the adventurers reminding themselves that he was around when Sigmar Heldenhammer was still alive at least two thousand years ago and coming across the remains of his infamous [[AndIMustScream Poison Feast]] in which an ancestor of Oswald's was a victim.
* EyeScream: All the people who die on the way to Castle Drachenfels have their eyes removed... [[spoiler:and then Laszlo Lowenstein ''eats'' them]].
* HeelFaceMole: Part of the backstory. Drachenfels once faked a HeelFaceTurn, invited everyone to a banquet...then froze them in place there until they died of starvation. [[TooDumbToLive And they brought their kids along.]]
* HumanoidAbomination: Drachenfels, a monstrously powerful sorcerer who is older than ''humanity itself''.
* InexplicablyAwesome: Even Drachenfels has no idea how his powers work, they just do. This is a guy so powerful the RPG supplement says the Chaos gods lend him daemons to keep him from beating them up and taking their lunch money. He was old before the Old Ones first brought magic into the world, and millennia older by the time Chaos first entered it; whatever his power source is it's completely out of context.
* MayflyDecemberRomance: Oft-rumoured to have happened between Genevieve and Oswald, though the former denies it. [[spoiler:Very definitely happens between her and Detlef, though.]]
* ModestRoyalty: Emperor Karl Franz.
* TheMole: [[spoiler:Oswald.]] [[TrailersAlwaysSpoil And the blurb writers don't care who knows it.]]
* TheMuse: Genevieve has become this to Detlef by the end of the story.
* MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning: [[spoiler:Unusually, the ''hero'' is in on it too.]]
* OurVampiresAreDifferent: Genevieve muses on how many different kinds there are in the ''Warhammer'' universe (aside from the four you usually run into in the game). She herself seems to be a unique type, but has not seen fit to sire more of her kind.
* PrimaDonnaDirector: Detlef.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: The Emperor Karl Franz. He isn't the griffon riding badass of later versions of Warhammer (mostly on account of being considerably younger in this book) but he seems like a humane and capable individual.
* RichBitch: Lily Nissen.
* ShoutOut: It's a Creator/KimNewman novel, people. Don't make a drinking game of them unless you want to wake up having your stomach pumped.
** The creepy actor brought in to take the role of Drachenfels is named Laszlo Lowenstein, the birth name of Creator/PeterLorre.
* TimeAbyss: Drachenfels. When [[spoiler:Genevieve feeds on him]], it's revealed that he remembers "the arrival of the toad-men from the stars". That's right, he ''predates'' the arrival of the setting's resident AncientAstronauts. [[spoiler:And when he does finally die, he realizes even ''his'' life has been little more than an eyeblink in the scheme of things. Brrr.]]
%%* {{Troperiffic}}: Again... Creator/KimNewman novel.