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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!

GW2 Charr Lore - Horns

We know very little about Charr horns and their purpose. How they develop, when they develop, their function, weight - the list goes on. Within an official lore capacity we just don’t have the information. A basic, cursory search generally only results in the common cry for more horn styles in makeover kits. Perhaps they’re remnants from primitive Charr culture. A vestigial leftover or “evolutionary baggage” as scientists have been known to call it.

While wild animals have a wide variety of uses for their horns we’re often left to wonder how the modern Charr horn affects their day to day life. Is there a cultural significance? The rarity in which Charr mate for life casts a shadow of doubt over their usage in courtship but is certainly a possibility. The disparity of horn shapes and sizes between the sexes and each individual leaves room to question their effectiveness as a combat tool. Many species have anatomical features utilized for survival - a deceptive trait of misinformation such as false markings, feigned injury, the ocelli or eyespots that are used in social behavior in some members of the cat family. Taking this into account the horns could be nothing more than a feature used in threat displays much like how a lion’s mane appears to make the individual larger in agonistic confrontations.

Taking into consideration that Charr most likely possesses what is considered a “true horn” and the arid environment of Ascalon, I think a simple and logical explanation for horn use is the potential for thermoregulation and cooling. We know that Charr have the ability to sweat but the effectiveness of this function is questionable. Members of the cat family typically sweat through their paws or lack the ability to sweat entirely- in the case of the Charr this would be a fatal flaw in their physiology due to the prevalence in which they use their paws in every day tasks. Holding a sword would be much more difficult if you were constantly having to deal with a case of sweaty palms. Temperature regulation through the horns however would eliminate the need to sweat through the paw pads which would ultimately, from an evolutionary standpoint result in a species more likely to survive and progress. Taking this route, how would individuals with small, broken or entirely removed horns fair in comparison to those with larger horn sets? Could you determine the health or even the age of an individual from the condition or size of their horns much like reading the rings on a tree? What happens in the case of scur development? Are they belittled or seen as a bad or good omen? It’s an interesting thought.

From a cultural standpoint, horn shaping as body modification could be a common practice - similar to ritual scarification or neck rings in some parts of the world with every horn being unique to that individual. Different accessories or even small combat trophies could be displayed to showcase their prowess. It’s interesting to consider the possibility of horn removal utilized for criminal punishment, much like the practice of hand amputation in the case of thieves. Perhaps there is a sub-culture that practices self-mutilation, opting to remove their own horns as some form of sacrificial rite of passage. In the absence of official lore the possibilities for character design and development are quite vast - ultimately it’s up to the individual player to decide which direction they wish to take their own character!

Thanks to @dagossss for contributing the top image! 

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!

GW2 Charr Lore - Claws but not the Claw of the Khan-Ur!

Charr are downright fascinating when it comes to their physiology. From the ears and their ability to hear different frequencies to their overall massive stature in comparison to the other races. There is one thing however that has been greatly debated upon within the community. Claws. And no, not the Claw of the Khan-Ur as that is a subject deserving of it’s own post. 

There have been several discussions across multiple platforms regarding Charr and their ability or lack of to protract their claws. Most proponents refer to Almorra Soulkeeper in Ghosts of Ascalon as an example for pro-retraction. Ghosts of Ascalon was released in July of 2010 and Guild Wars 2 two years later in 2012, a fact that anti-retraction proponents tend to utilize for debate. Two years of additional development is a significant amount of time for developmental changes to occur, however, Ghosts of Ascalon is an official lore source and is entirely valid to reference from! Many argue that the size of the claws are simply too large to retract while others state that the size is more for the aesthetics of the in-game model. Lets take a moment to look to nature!

Most big cats typically have hooked, retractable claws for grasping prey. In modern Tyria, the Charr no longer have a need to hunt as they have developed effective ranching methods. In the wild, excessively large claws/talons are typically non-retractable. Predatory avians such as eagles, owls and falcons exhibit large talons for catching prey whereas mammals such as bears and wolves have claws that are used for digging and gripping terrain as they run. Cheetah’s are a good example of a semi-retractable claw that helps them to make quick turns at high speeds. From a logical standpoint it would make sense for Charr to have claws similar to a Cheetah considering they tend to favor running on all fours when their paws aren’t occupied by weapons or tools. While I think it’s entirely feasible for Charr to have semi-retractable claws, my own personal opinion would have to lean more toward a “no” in regards to full retraction like a Tiger or Lion and other big cats that share the same trait. Considering the wide variety of patterns and builds Charr exhibit it could be entirely possible that each individual has different claw characteristics and varying degrees of retractability. 

Looking through concept art from the first game up until GW2, one thing has remained a constant. Large, semi-curved claws and what I consider to be a vestigial bone spur on the hock that serves little to no purpose and perhaps is even a detriment in certain instances. Some people refer to this spur as a “dew” claw though dew claws tend to form on the front legs and rarely on the hind (except in certain species or dog breeds), while spurs almost exclusively form on the hindfeet. It was a fairly common practice for modern working dogs to have their dew claws removed as puppies due to the prevalence of injury and the tendency for them to be painfully ripped off or damaged to the point where amputation was required. Modern veterinary science however now recommends against preemptive removal of the dew claw in working dogs due to the “indication” that removed dew claws have a propensity to cause more foot injuries and an increased risk for the animal to develop arthritis. After the study of stop-motion photography it’s said that the dew claw “digs into the ground preventing twisting or torque on the rest of the leg”. 

If the position of the “spur” on the Charr was placed moreso on the interior of the leg rather than the rear this could make sense but taking into account that Charr favor running on all fours, the spur makes absolutely minimal to no contact with the ground even while running on two legs. It comes close to ground contact in a couple frames of the run cycle but relatively remains contact free on an otherwise flat surface. The only time I have seen the spur touch ground on a flat surface has been during the standing idle. With elevation changes and different types of terrain perhaps the functionality theory that it does serve to prevent twisting and torque on the leg could be entirely feasible. On the other hand, how many Charr have had this spur painfully torn or even damaged to the point where amputation became a necessity?

Mayhaps in the primitive days of the Charr this spur could have been utilized as a way to mark territory or was used in elaborate threat displays. Some modern day mammals exhibit similar spurs with scent glands and modern day big cats and other predators like wolves utilize claw scratching as a means to enforce territorial boundaries due to the scent glands between their toes. Ultimately when it comes down to the debate of retraction, semi-retraction or no retraction, roleplay or draw what you enjoy the most. I would love to hear your opinions and I hope you enjoyed the read!

Holed Up in Claypool

Gods, when I asked for a sign, I didn’t mean throwing me into every weird situation that Crescent Moon Company is involved in… However. I know quite a few fellow members now, and they aren’t what I expected, in a good way. I think I can help. I think I can be a valuable asset. I was in Claypool making a delivery this evening, I was in bed, Dula was curled up with me. I heard commotion outside and so I decided I would see what was going on. What if someone was being kidnapped? What if someone was hurt?

So, I go down the cliff and see a beautiful stalker fighting someone behind a tree, one person with a dart in their arm and another with an arrow in her ass. There were elementals… My boots were scorched, and I am lucky that I wasn’t seriously injured. Not that I am NOT in pain, I am already hurting.

One man named Sid had a leather hood on… Which was on fire. I took that hood, shoved a salve in his hand and told him to take care of himself while I checked on a woman named Tanith.

There was a woman and… I use that word because I’ve no idea what else I should call her. I called her non-lovely hostess during our “chat”. I won’t even get into the rest, I don’t even know if it’s safe to do so. What I do know is that something is seriously wrong with Tanith and Sid. They each have a mark on them, dark in color and something is very… off.

I contacted Count Nightenveil, as I plan on helping both of them as best as I can, but this is something I have never seen. When I entered my room here, Dula hissed and dived under the bed, so I assume she could sense the energy or… a smell? from non-lovely hostess.

Time for a shower.

GW2 AU Charr Lore- Land of the Golden Sun

While modern day Charr Legions have embraced technology, far to the southeast in the vast, abundant savannas of Kourna lie the remnants of what was. Warbands seeking to leave behind the desolate wastes of Ascalon in the wake of the Foefire venture into the Crystal Desert in 1090 AE. Those who survived the perilous journey emerge wearing the claws of their fallen band-mates and the bones of their slain enemies. Cunning and adaptive, these top predators successfully established themselves within the various uninhabited regions of Elona left abandoned after the events of Nightfall. Over the generations these primitive warbands developed heavier builds than their northern cousins. They have lost their wide variety of fur patterns and now display pelts that range from rich beige hues to reddish browns to better blend into the tall grasses of the plains. Males have thick, coarse manes while the females typically have short if not entirely absent manes that helps them to remain concealed while hunting. It’s not uncommon to find individuals adorning elaborate arrays of colorful polished stones and feathers to warpaint patterns used in cultural ceremonial displays. With the takeover of Palawa Joko in 1135 AE and the rise of Kralkatorrik in 1320 AE, it’s unknown what has become of these isolated tribes. 

GW2 AU Charr Lore - The Man Eaters

Humans and Charr have long been at odds with one another. Man and beast. Both sides have their stories, their legends. In the eyes of the Charr, it was they who were driven out of their ancestral homeland in 100 BE - forced to the far reaches of their northern territories. Had it not been for the assassination of the Khan-Ur, the human incursion very well may have failed if presented with an organized counter-attack - the death of the Charr leader, their uniter, granted Ascalon the time it needed to become an established foothold of human society. Centuries later however, the role of invader had shifted. The Charr regrouped and once more rose to power under the Shaman Caste, bringing with them the devastating power of the Searing. Fast forward to modern Tyria. Human and Charr now work side by side in the campaign against the Elder Dragons. Though there is a cease-fire between the two races enforced by the treaty and the subsequent return of the Claw of the Khan-Ur, it is a fragile truce threatened by Separatists and Renegades. 

Since the founding of Ebonhawke in 1080 AE, the Charr have battered her walls. The Siege Plains before her stalwart defense nothing more than a barren sea of scattered corpses and viscera. A perpetual no mans land. 

From the blood and sinew they rose with a bestial hunger. The Man Eaters

To this ruthless sub-culture of Charr society there is sport to be had hunting human prey. Feasting upon the flesh of humans fills them with an unrivaled vigor on the battlefield. Woe betide the unfortunate patrol found beyond the safety of the Hawkgates as many with less than ideal luck have fallen to this dangerous foe. There is no reasoning, no bargain to be made before you’re next up on the dinner platter. Most likely served with a still beating heart.

Man eating has never been officially confirmed within Charr Lore. You find hints. Scraps of dialogue in an ocean of text from years of development. Rragar Maneater, the breeder of Fleshreavers from the Eye of the North campaign is one such hint that man eating may have been part of Charr culture at some point. It also may have been nothing more than an ominous name to unsettle the player delving into Rragar’s Menagerie. Derogatory terms, such as “meat” and “mouse” respectively are still used with regularity in modern Charr society. It makes one question when and where these terms gained ground in everyday exchanges. Are they nothing more than flavorful, veiled threats to instill fear in their ancient enemy or is there a cultural history behind them? 

It’s terrifying to consider a roving band of Charr with a penchant for man eating. The Tsavo Man-Eaters of Kenya were a devastating duo of fatality for the unfortunate souls working on the Kenya-Uganda Railway. While modern science has drastically lowered the figures of ~135 victims, researchers did exclude but did not disprove claims that the Tsavo lions were killing just to kill. Regardless, a rough estimate of ~28-35 eaten victims is still a staggering number. While killing a human simply to kill would be nothing out of the norm, actively hunting humans with the intention of eating them would most likely be outside the scope of what is considered normal behavior. With the intelligence and dexterity Charr possess and the sheer number of individuals present within a warband, the people of Ebonhawke would be incredibly unfortunate to have these man hunters lurking just beyond their walls. 

It’s possible a man eating sub-culture still exists in modern Tyria. Maybe it never existed. Mayhaps they’re nothing more than an Ebonhawke legend to scare children into behaving, encouraging them to stay within the safety of the stronghold. 

Hope you enjoyed this spooky Friday the 13th AU. Don’t wander off alone.

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!