Welcome back to the Card Catalog series on Castle Falkenstein! If you have not read the round up of both the system and the setting here on Seize the GM, please take a look here! We are now going to take a turn into the options in Castle Falkenstein that are not humans. This week, I will take a stab at making a Dragon Lord that has come into Paris for his own reasons and been caught up in the wave of human excitement. Dragons, aside from being magically using pterosaurs have a genetic memory where they will recall the memories of all of their line before. It isn’t made clear just how long lived each one is, but I always took them to be the sorts who outlived humans on top of that. There are also a few special rules and considerations for Dragons which we will address as we go through the creation process below. I’ll do my best to work through the character creation in the design notes but as a reminder, there are very few “crunchy” choices to make regarding character design, so the Design Notes will be more narrative and the Character Notes will be treated as excerpts from the Dramatic Persona Diary in proper Falkenstein form!
The best way to survive the dinosaurs’ extinction is magick and opposable thumbs. The Dragons of Falkenstein did just that. In designing Lord Kaornik Ladoni I needed to come up with a good reason and way for him to be part of the Cabaret scene and interact with the other Dramatic Personas so I settled on extreme wealth. While Dragons are always going to be given respect and a wide breadth, a curious Dragon who has more money than common (human) sense seemed like fun.
For the dramatic persona’s Abilities, you select one to be Great, four to be Good, and one to be Poor. The rest are Average. You can create new Abilities besides those listed in the book, but for the Card Catalog purposes, I will stick with the examples listed. As I mentioned, Kaornik will have a Great Exchequer to represent how much of his wealth he can use at any one time in Paris and his general attitude towards money. For Good, I know for sure that I will have Sorcery there to increase his ability in the magical realms, Good Physique to be strong of limb, Good Courage to be strong of Mind, and a Good Perception so the Dragon may be insightful into human ways. For his Poor Ability, I choose Social Graces. He doesn’t know his way around human culture, at least human culture that isn’t beholden to a Dragon, so his etiquette failures must be endured and his friends will have to work around that problem.
In creating a Dramatic Persona, you are also asked to think about a Virtue and Vice to help anchor your character. Lord Kaornik has a fondness for kindness. It may be more from a noblesse oblige standpoint, but he does do his best to help others in need – he more than Olga or Anatole is a Heroic Hero. His Vice, though, is a stubbornness when his mind is set and being dissuaded to convinced contrary is rare and will often cause trouble, especially in conjunction with his Poor Social Graces. Additionally, Dragons all have Collections. This is the Falkenstein version of the Draconic Hoard, but it carries more than just the matter of gold and money. As Dragons carry a genetic memory back to their progenitors, the Collections provide a tangible thing to anchor memories to so they will collect items of import and matter to help them with their own memories from lives past. Having chosen Ladoni as the name, and looking to the Greek mythological Ladon. Ladon guarded the Golden Apples of Greek Myth and was the brother of the Nemean Lion. As such, I am going to have Lord Kaornik Collect recipes and food. I will say the 100 heads of Ladon symbolize the Ladoni, draconic descendants, and the myths of guarding apples comes from Collecting food and recipes.
Like many Dragons, Lord Ladoni may be described as Aloof but also as Earnest. The combination of Poor Social Graces with his inherent kindness and stubbornness means that he comes off as very sincere even if apart from the mortal needs. This sort of distance but straightforward action is often at odds with the decorum and politeness of the Salons and Clubs of New Europa.
Dramatic Personas are centered around what they value and who they are aligned with, so now we turn the items and allegiances to further flesh out Lord Ladoni’s relationships. Looking to his person to for whom he would sacrifice himself, his missing Son takes that role nicely. He needs to seek his missing son out, but also will be a doting and loving father as he has for his other children thus far. His physical possession he cherishes is an accounting of Ancient Greek dishes – perhaps the only cookbook of that era. Finally, Lord Ladoni values Family above all else. You can see how that takes its shape from his other traits for sure and he can make Humans a bit uncomfortable once he considers them family. An Allegiance or two of note has developed over the years for Lord Ladoni – he specifically has ties with the Filiki Eteria who may have had some influence in Greece leaving the Ottoman Empire as well as unofficial recognition by the First Dragon Emperors of the East. This could well be where his Nemesis came from that may be behind his son’s abduction or disappearance – The Austro-Hungarian Secret Service has taken a distinct look at Lord Ladoni here as one who may cause problems for them around Ionian and Adriatic Seas though the Ottoman Empire would not be beyond dispatching it’s agents in retribution. Lord Ladoni’s goals are not ones that are unknown or unknowable. As a Romantic goal, it is time again to find a mate …errr wife as they call them here in human society so that the Ladoni line continues. Socially, Kaornik would prefer to find a better way to organize the Hundred Heads of Ladon as his family is known, and the glory that would come from such an understanding . Finally, a Professional goal is to bring back not only recipes for his Collection but to hire on a permanent chef to return to his mountain fief to assist in the organization and cataloging of the Collection. While children have died before, never has one vanished. It is a regret, and his greatest, that he does not know what has happened. As someone with memories inherited from lifetime to lifetime, not knowing what happened is harder than the loss. As for his greatest accomplishment, Lord Ladoni is quite fond of the fact that he has indeed had a feast made for all one hundred heads of Ladon based entirely on Greek comedies.
While some of this is certainly written in a good narrative style, check below for the abridged diary version, and click the link for the PDF of the full diary sheet. Anatole will provide a look at a more classic Castle Falkenstein Diary beginning, not unlike the one found in the original book as an example.
Special Dragon Rules
Dragons do not have the limitations on Sorcery that humans do – they can potentially cast any spell. Their limitation is that they can only draw up to 5 Cards from the Sorcery Deck to meet the challenge. When you remember that a draw is a good 1 minute of time each, you realize that Sorcery is rarely a mid combat activity in Castle Falkenstein. Also, Dragons may change between their draconic and human forms, but it does take 10 Minutes and may only be done three times per day. Finally, the breathing of flame, or Flamecast is actually a spell and treated as such!
The Unusual Written Memories of Lord Kaornik, Ladoni, Dragon Lord and Inheritor of the Collections of Food
I do not pretend to understand why the humans record their memories like this – I am aware that they do not have the line of thought through the Ages but I must admit a failure of comprehension on my part. I am Koarnik, Ladoni, Dragon Lord and this is my story for those whose Collections may make up such things even as I seek out the recipes and food my kind so loves. It is, as the human nations say, January 15, 1870, as I do put my pen to this paper.
* * *
I am known well in Paris for the depth of my wallet [Great Exchequer] but as all of my kind I am also skilled in working Etheric Knots into spells [Good Sorcery]. The Ladoni are known to be strong of limb, and I am no exception [Good Physique] but it has been paired with a firm will [Good Courage] and a steel trap mind [Good Perception]. Sadly, I do not yet understand how these humans comport themselves, though it would likely benefit me to learn their customs one day [Poor Social Graces].
While I do admit to being considered Stubborn by many of the humans I have met, it is only in service to what I already know. My Kindness and Generosity runs deep, and the rarity with which these humans will sometimes move to help their own leaves me confused. If I must move myself to help them, so be it. It is important to keep the Collection I carry from my father and his father and his father before him continued. We of the line of Ladon find that food and the Recipes behind them carry the richest of life’s memories. I must admit that my decennial trip into the human cities does provide a greater opportunity to find what they have begun to cook.
* * *
I should explain then what my habits are and how we Ladoni have comported ourselves. Every decade or so of time, I, or my ancestors, would come to human cities from the mountains of Greece, and find a mate. It may be more like that of what you would call a wife, as they are cared for henceforth. To continue the line, we dragons require breeding with humans and it is far easier to woo than threaten a village with immolation. And so, I returned to Paris in search of my son left here with his mother to be raised the first decade of life amongst the humans as a human. Arrangement were made to ensure that they were taken care of and would want not for a comfortable life but the letters did stop a few short months ago. I therefore came to Paris as I planned to find no trace of them. The line of money to draw upon had been left and not emptied. The house where they were to have lived was in one piece though abandoned for what looks to be a year at least. I must now look forward and find my son, find the next mother a Ladoni, and continue our future. To that end, I have engaged Monsieur Clemenceau as a Consulting Detective to begin the search in this matter and in the meanwhile I am taking in the sights and sounds of Paris, including the Cabaret in which I have found the most remarkable of humans.
* * *
In this endeavour, I hope to remove the stain on my honour to not know what has happened, and perhaps find a new way to do things amongst my brethren[Social Goal]. I can summon the Hundred Heads of Ladon again and we can feast, as once we did, in finding our family’s continued survival. In this end, I shall also set my sights on finding a chef to hire on to my fief to set about organizing and cataloging what we Ladoni have Collected thus far [Professional Goal].
Read the entire Diary entry here for the full character
Castle Falkenstein and Cygne Dore’ Cabaret Overview Here