GW2 Charr Lore - Aging, Maturity and Lifespan
Age has always been a subject of debate within roleplay communities when fantasy races are introduced. When you explore beyond the scope of humanity and the familiarity of what make us, well, us, finding that creative balance of new and exciting and what we already know is certainly a challenge. People love new and shiny things. They also need something they can relate to. Felid races are not a new concept in the fantasy world. From the Khajiit in Elder Scrolls, Saberon in World of Warcraft and the Ronso from Final Fantasy there are more than your fair share of feline-race concepts with varying degrees of humanoid features and behavior patterns. Then there are the Charr. Unique to the lore of Guild Wars and the world of Tyria that we’ve come to love.
The question posed by many people within the roleplay community remains, “Do Charr age like humans?” Charr are not humans. Their lifestyle and their physiology, obviously, are drastically different. Like many areas of non-existent or barely touched upon racial lore, the community is decisively split on whether or not Charr age and mature as humans do or if they mature at a much faster rate. What we consider to be official lore, based off of a no longer accessible interview states that “Charr mature at about the same rate as humans.” I consider this to be both a true and false statement. We know that Charr cubs develop rapidly as they are “born fully furred, with open eyes and functional limbs” and “within a few days, cubs can follow their mothers over even the harshest terrain. They eat meat within a month of birth, and are fully independent several months later.” Even with a gestation period of 9 months, human babies are helpless and completely dependent on their parents for survival. Despite this relatively lengthy gestational period, human babies on average don’t begin teething until 4-7 months. Of course this varies depending on the individual. If Charr aged anything like humans early in their growth, you might find, to our horror, month old human babies tearing into a steak like it was nobodies business. There’s some nightmare fuel for you. It’s an entirely possible concept that Charr females may have a longer gestational period much like equids who produce highly developed young after an 11-12 month gestation. It’s something to consider given the similarity in physical development with Charr cubs being able to follow their mothers within such a short span of time after birth along with being able to effectively eat and digest meat within a month.
Early, rapid development is more akin to big cats found in the wild rather than that of our own species. Cub survival rate in real life is horrifically low. In 2009 the mortality rate for lion cubs was a whopping 67%. Tyria is a dangerous place. The rising of the Elder Dragons did not lessen the level of danger. Humans typically spend the first 18 years nurturing and protecting their developing children. This protective instinct, in most cases, is a lifelong support system. Charr on the other hand, or paw in this case, only have the protection of their parent until the time in which they are sent to the Fahrar. Their warband is their family. Their education in unification and defining their own hierarchy under the watchful eye of their Primus is their protection. A warband that doesn’t work together, dies together.
It’s proven in game that Charr cubs are independent. The Crush Warband in the Plains of Ashford at the Old Duke’s Estate are a great example of this. While it’s a silly and childish dare to prove their courage, and even with the assistance of the players, they are independent enough to make the decision to leave Smokestead into ghost and harpy territory and make their way back to the village on their own successfully after the event ends. With Centaur’s basically knocking on the door of Divinity’s Reach you would be hard pressed to find any decent mother letting her child wander too far out of her sight beyond the walls of the city. Human children beyond the safety of The Reach however might even share the independent nature of Charr cubs but would not possess the technical skill and know-how of a Fahrar trained cub like our favorite lost child Kari. (May she remain forever trapped in a cave full of Destroyers. By the Six child what were you even doing that far from Mom because you definitely can not run faster than a Centaur.)
While human children are play-fighting and being shepherded away from danger, a Charr cub in the same age range has likely already cut their teeth in combat several times over. The Fahrar system is not unlike that of the Spartan Agoge with 7 year old boys being removed from their families to be taught in the arts of warfare. Hazing and fighting were encouraged. By the age of 12 they were expected to be able to survive on their own wearing nothing but a cloak. One could logically presume that Charr mature physically and mayhaps even mentally at a much faster rate than humans in their early years before balancing out to a “human” like aging process late in their “teen” years. Spartans completed the main phase of the Agoge roughly around the age of 21 but with the way Charr rapidly develop as young it could be theorized that this age of combat readiness could be closer to that of 15 or even younger depending on the effectiveness of the Warband. With modern science, even the age of mental maturity in humans has been widely debated upon with many arguing that our brains aren’t fully developed until our mid 20s to even our early 30s.
As for the topic of lifespan. Like the Norn, Charr are part of a warrior culture and the longevity of an individual who is more often than not placing their person in harms way on a regular basis isn’t exactly going to be record breaking. Encouraging the official stance that Charr do age similarly to humans, Tygor Mindflayer is a Charr found in the Black Citadel Memorial Quadrant who states that he lost track of his age “after ninety” and that he’s “younger than dirt and older than you.” That’s pretty impressive as a lot has happened in Tyria in the last 100 and some odd years alone. The Founding of Divinity’s Reach, the rising of Zhaitan and the establishment of the Dominion of Winds are just a few events that come to find within that rough time frame.
As it stands, exact ages for Charr physical and mental maturity is incredibly difficult to pin down as there are so many factors to consider. You can only theorize so much before the whole fantasy aspect comes into play and how much those exact details matter in the bigger picture. Even within the roleplay sphere with developing character backstories, subjects like exact ages can safely be left vague because they aren’t generally topics that are going to be brought up or matter in the long run! Variations of “I was a cub when…”, “I was just a cub…” and so on are quite effective without having to go through the struggle of listing out your characters technical specs like they’re a piece of machinery. I think it’s safe to say that Charr do age similarly to humans as per official lore but it’s a fact that shouldn’t be taken at face value.
Thanks for reading! Have a subject you would like me to cover or just want to discuss Charr lore? Feel free to send me a direct message or an ask with your request, I will be posting Charr Lore articles every week on Monday and Friday respectively!