For a good month before the Fattest of Goblins announced the Castle Falkenstein license procured from the legendary R. Talsorian Games, I had a chance to dig through the stacks of notes, letters, and journals filled to bursting with messages from Captain Tom Olam about his Great Game. Choosing which topic to tackle first proved to be a difficult one but I admit I am a sucker for the classics and, while several Falkenstein books have alluded to unusual creatures and even included a few for review there was no true bestiary for the setting.
Which is why, perhaps, the thick letter tied to a leather bound book attracted my attention. The letter contained an interesting account of one Thomas Stubbins as he and his canine companion Wed-Wed worked to recover a stolen manuscript from Doctor Moreau. What interested me even more, was the book attached to the letter. It seemed to be a bestiary containing notes on the most interesting and unusual creatures of New Europa and it was written by Doctor John Dolittle.
That's right. In the world of Castle Falkenstein, Doctor Dolittle wrote what was essentially an RPG bestiary and I've got it in my joyous little fingers. I'm using it, and Stubbins' letter, to produce the first book in the Fat Goblin Games Castle Falkenstein line, Curious Creatures. Currently being transcribed, proofed, and playtested, Curious Creatures will provide rules for creating and using creatures in Castle Falkenstein as well as three new races for Dramatic Characters, all quite unusual. Of course, we'll also be including new Dramatic Character templates and a set of new Host Characters including Gregor Johann Mendel, Mowgli Manchild, Carl Hagenbeck, Doctor Moreau, and, of course, Doctor Dolittle himself.
While at first, some might question how “steampunk” a bestiary may be, I'd like to remind those reading this blog that steampunk extends beyond gears, cogs, corsets, and tea. Remember, it embraces the whole of Victoriana, a time when medieval bestiaries were being reevaluated in the light of scientific progress and animals of all sorts were making for thrilling tales and moral plays for both children and adults.
All that being said, how about a preview? To reward you for reading my ramblings, may I present a short summary of five new beasts being added to the Castle Falkenstein millieu.
A bird from Beyond the Faerie Veil the size of a dove but with a long neck said to be able to heal any illness or injury. A favorite of King Ludwig the Second who likens it to a little swan.
The Vegetable Lamb
From the pods of a legume native to Russia and Eastern New Europa grows a lamb so small it can fit into the palm of a grown man's hand. A favored pet of Leshiyes who bet with each other on who has raised the best lambs, often using poor mortals as judges.
The Questing Beast
Straight from Arthurian lore, this strange creature invades dreams. Upon waking, the dreamer becomes obsessed with hunting down the beast to the exclusion of all else. This compulsion lasts until either dreamer or beast are dead.
The Sapo Fuerzo
An odd toad from Chile now causing an ecological disaster in Spain. They are said to have the shell of a turtle and are capable of hypnotizing other creatures by staring into their eyes.
The True Unicorn
Rare and mythical, these goat sized equines prefer to live in forests, away from humanity. Yet, if need be they can adopt human form. They prefer truth to dishonesty and their horns can penetrate any lie, illusion, or Glamour.
I do hope you enjoyed this preview of Curious Creatures.
Your humble servant,