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Guild Wars 2 Dev Journals: Charr Trailer, Background & Screens

By Guest Writer on April 21, 2011

Charr

The feline charr of Tyria are a victorious race challenged by their own success.  They have survived defeat, oppression, and civil war, but have returned, reconquered and rebuilt their original homes. Their mighty fortress, the Black Citadel, dominates the surrounding ruins of the human city of Rin, and their non-magical technology is the mightiest in the land. Yet despite their success, they are challenged by divisions among their people, the power of the Elder Dragons, and the ghosts of their own victories.

This, then, is their story.

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History

The charr made the open lands east of the Shiverpeaks their home for many long years before the arrival of the humans. They were driven from Ascalon and thereafter engaged in a centuries-long war with the humans, their efforts stymied by the power of the human gods and technology.  However, they rallied and eventually invaded the human nations. Distant Kryta resisted their incursions, but both Orr and Ascalon ultimately chose destruction rather than fall before the charr.


Click the image above to watch the Charr trailer

The charr paid for their success dearly, for the old High Legions (Ash, Blood, Iron) were put under the yoke of the Flame Legion, who researched forbidden magics and worshipped dark, false gods. The Flame Legion also subordinated the charr females, who had previously been equals to their males. As the war lengthened, each success was attributed to the inherent rightness of the Flame Legion’s crusade and each failure was used as an excuse for others to sacrifice for the good of the Flame Legion Shamans.

In the end, the charr did take Ascalon, but its maddened human king chose to invoke his own dark magic: the Foefire, which stripped the souls of his population from their bodies and left them to eternally guard their land. The Flame Legion had succeeded, but in doing so condemned the charr to an eternal insurrection.

The charr females rebelled against the rulership of the Flame Legion, gathering with them rebellious factions from the other charr legions. The rebellion’s leader, Kalla Scorchrazor, won the support of the Iron Legion Imperator, and the Iron, Blood, and Ash legions joined the rebellion fully. The Flame Legion shamans were cast down, and the three legions regained control of the fate of the charr people. The Iron Legion, for its part, took control of Ascalon.

Since that time, the charr have fought on multiple fronts. They hold Asaclon against an eternal and unliving foe. The Flame legion is bowed but not broken, and plots to retake control. The humans hold out in the distance fortress of Ebonhawke. And most recently, a great Elder Dragon, Kralkatorrik, has scarred Ascalon with a great Dragon Brand. Yet despite the challenges, the charr remain a potent force east of the Shiverpeaks, and masters of Ascalon.

The Black Citadel

Upon the overthrow of the Flame Legion, the Iron Legion was granted control of the conquered kingdom of Ascalon by the other victorious legions. They built their main fortress-city, the Black Citadel, on the human ruins of Rin, and the wreckage of that destroyed city can still be seen among the foundations of the citadel. While the Iron Legion is officially in charge, Blood and Ash legions both have a major presence in the city. 

As the Iron Legion is the most technologically-based of the charr legions, its city is a great foundry and center of industry.  The Black Citadel is dominated by the huge Imperator’s Core, a great spherical structure that houses the headquarters of the three Legions, the offices of the tribunes, and the war council, where the legions meet to plan strategy. Over all of this the Iron Legion Imperator Smodur the Unflinching co-ordinates the charr in Ascalon with a veteran’s eye.  

A Target-Rich Environment

The charr are challenged on many fronts, and though they control Ascalon, that control is neither as sure nor as strong as they would like. The Foefire, summoned by the last human King of Ascalon, has invested the former human territories with ghosts, all of whom are still living in the last days of their previous lives, and still see the charr as invaders to be driven from the land.

The Flame Legion has survived, though they have pulled north. From bases there they continue their assault on the Legions, seeking to undermine the leadership and to regain control of the charr.

Yet the greatest and most immediate danger has been brought by the Elder Dragon Kralkatorrik. Once freed from its deep tomb, it flew south, the dragon’s very presence scouring and transforming the land beneath it. That land bisected Eastern Ascalon, and in that blasted landscape the Elder Dragon’s minions wage continual war with the charr. Kralkatorrik’s passing has had another effect – the ogres have come out the Blazeridge mountains to the further East, and seek to settle their herds in these new lands.

Humans survive as well, making their stand in Ebonhawke, where Krytan support and asura gates have kept the city from falling to a siege centuries long. Now confronted by the power of an Elder Dragon, the three Legions have chosen to negotiate with the humans as opposed to battling them. The negotiations have resulted in a tentative truce, and humans are now permitted in the Black Citadel itself. Still, it will take generations before the long wars are forgotten.

The Triumph of the Charr

Despite all the challenges facing the charr, they have prospered in Ascalon. The great shards of the Searing are now surrounded by grass and young trees, and the rolling hills of the former kingdom, once blasted to twisted wreckage by war, is now covered with grass and used to raise herds of meat animals to feed the Legions. The iron-shod encampments of the legions dot the landscape,

Due to their long history of conflicts, the charr are the most militarily and technologically advanced race in Tyria. Their rifles and pistols are among the most finely made, and their forging technology is superior to that of even the ancient and legendary dwarves. Individual craftsmen may produce better weapons, but on a mass production scale, no other group holds a candle to the mighty charr arsenals.  Not all of their advancement involves weapons – they make some of the finest clockwork and spring-driven devices in Tyria.

The charr face their opponents as they have always faced them – united in purpose, based upon the solid of foundation of their warbands and the ruthless efficiency of their leadership. They have triumphed over internal dissension and external threat, have retaken retaken their ancestral lands, and face the world as one of the strongest and most energized races in Tyria.

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