A Question of Mortality

Greetings fans of Falkenstein! I do hope everyone had a lovely holiday.

Recently, a question was posed to me by a Host planning a campaign of Castle Falkenstein. Specifically, she asked "How long do dragons live?". An excellent question and one not readily apparent from reading the published texts. The question, plus the upcoming changing of the years, gave me pause. The question of mortality of the various races of the Castle Falkenstein universe can be an important one given the storytelling aspects of normal character creation. After all, where many roleplaying games create characters using numbers, Castle Falkenstein creates Dramatic Characters using words and "I was born..." can be powerful words indeed! I dug into the existing texts and Captain Olam's notes to put together the following. Until such time as I receive another missive from Captain Olam contradicting what I've written, consider it to be an "official ruling" on lifespans in New Europa.


Despite the existence of both magic and super science, little changes in terms of human lifespan from our world (the Fourth Earth) to the world of New Europa (the Fifth Earth). Magic is relatively rare, though it can prolong life and cure disease. Super science, such as longevity solutions and immortality potions are even rarer and cannot be produced on an industrial scale. Thus, the average human lifespan in the Victorian era is roughly 41 years. However, keep in mind this average changes drastically depending on a variety of factors. The have-nots tend to die earlier because of lack of access to life saving health care and proper nutrition while the haves often live longer because they can afford such things. Life expectancy, like many statistics, exists on a bell curve and when were are talking such a vast number of data points (the world population at the time was over a billion strong) there are literally millions of individuals on both sides of it. That being said, few humans live beyond the age of 70 without the aid of magic or science.


Long ago, there were no dwarves. They were, instead, a group of disparate Fae who fell in love with the concept of craftsmanship and worked with the dragons to craft spells which Translated them from Faerie to mortal. And mortal they are. Dwarves are born, age, and eventually die. They are hardier than humans, however, and can live for quite a long time before shuffling off the mortal coil. The average lifespan of a dwarf is roughly 150 years. It should be noted, dwarves who find their Second Name seem to live longer than those who do not. In addition, few dwarves actually die of old age. The nature of dwarven life means a fair number die each year due to industrial mishap, accidental explosion, and the occasional tunnel collapse.


Dragons are not immortal, though they are extremely long lived. 1,000 years of age is considered venerable old age for dragons, although a rare few live longer based on a combination of natural prowess and magic. Few dragons actually live so long, however. A dragon's life is dangerous and there are entire, secret orders dedicated to their extermination.

Tales of dragons sleeping for centuries are incorrect. First, they have no need to hibernate during winter. Dragons are not only warm blooded, they are fully capable of generating all the heat they desire during the cold months. More importantly, dragons sleep when they are tired like any other creature. They don't sleep to avoid boredom. Dragons do experience something known as the Reverie, however. During Reverie, a dragon will snuggle up in their hoarde and enter a waking dream state. The dragon touches an item and relives memories linked to the item as if they were experiencing it first hand. Considering dragons live for centuries and have not only their own memories but all the memories of their direct ancestors, a Reverie can last days, weeks, months, or even years. Dragons remain dimly aware of what happens beyond their Reverie but are vulnerable during this time period. More than one hunter has ended a dragon's life during Reverie.


Faerie are immortal. They do not grow old (though they may take on the appearance of growing old). They do not get sick. They cannot starve or die of thirst. Being, essentially, pure energy given physical form a faerie can live forever and some do. However, there are caveats. First, a Faerie's physical form can be destroyed. If this happens, they unravel and their energy returns to the Faerie Veil to heal and reform. Once reformed, they can find a doorway back to New Europa and return. Second, Faeries can, under certain circumstances, Translate. To Translate they return to the Veil and literally become a new type of Faerie. A brownie might become a Lake Lady, for example. The old Faerie, including memories is effectively destroyed and the new Faerie begins life, more or less, as a new being. Think of it as the ultimate in recycling. Finally, Faeries are particularly vulnerable to two types of attacks. Damage done by either Cold Iron or energy weapons (of the sort one finds in a science fiction setting) can disrupt their energy patterns so violently the Faerie just breaks apart and can never reform.


Unicorns and Sphinxes were introduced in Curious Creatures. Unicorns are native to New Europa, while Sphinxes originate on Third Earth, a science fiction universe. Unicorns have a lifespan measuring roughly 300 years, though a rare few can reach 500 years. The lifespan of a Sphinx is unknown. There are Sphinxes alive today who claim to have been alive when the pyramids were built but the truth of those claims can't be verified. 

And there we have it. I hope this information helps Hosts and players better plan their Castle Falkenstein Dramatic Entertainments!

Your humble servant,

J Gray

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