Thursday, September 17, 2015

Willow & Tara: Castle Falkenstein

It's been a while since I visited my two favorite witches.  I thought they were mostly retired by now, trying to live a quiet life.    Well I was wrong!

Long time reader and friend Ronnie Bradley shared his Castle Falkenstein stats with me.  I really like what he has done here.  Ronnie was also responsible for the Kult stats from a few years ago.  Willow from Boston and Tara having a Fey background actually ties in nicely to things I have done too.

So thank you Ronnie! Here are his stats.

Willow & Tara for Castle Falkenstein

The world of the Victorian age of New Europa is a world of steampunk technology, Faerie, Magick and derring do. It is of course our own Europe of the Victorian era with a few obvious changes but the nations remain the same. How do Willow and Tara fit into this world? Here is my take on it.
Given that so much of the action takes place in New Europa and the sheer weight of history and intrigue in that area I am going to have Willow and Tara emigrating to London. Willow will be a Consulting Detective (very similar to Madame Vastra in Doctor Who) who specializes in dealing with the occult and mystical crimes with her partner and lover Tara, who is the heiress to a great estate and fortune in England thanks to her Fey lineage.

The character sheets along with a small biography for the two characters are presented below. I have added the Health Points for those who wish to use the standard combat system from the main rulebook rather than the revised one from Comme Il Faut.
Whilst the overwhelming amount of information is held by the core rulebook, some of the skills and tomes come from Comme Il faut and a few tomes from The Book of Sigils. It would be useful to have these 3 books at least (and Sixguns & Sorcery is always a good one as well).

Willow and Tara flanking the Slayer of Victorian Age, Tara LaGrange by mqken.
Willow Rosenberg
Willow was born in Boston, Massachusetts and showed herself to be an adept and able student at school, excelling in the sciences and engineering. Many believed that she would become a great mathematician and perhaps solve the great scientific mysteries of the day. However as she entered College (still a great rarity for a woman of that age) she found herself becoming interested in the mystical and how magick could be manipulated.
For Willow magick became an equation to be cracked, a formula to be stripped down and re-assimilated. Using her keen mind she was able to strip spells down to their core components and re-assemble them as she wished. In the course of her studies into the mystical arts she became friends with and eventually lover to Tara Maclay, a sorceress whose power was only matched by her beauty. Willow soon learned that there was a price to pay for her tinkering and began to realise that magick was part of the natural lifeblood of the world and that damaging and tinkering with its power unchecked could cause grave repercussions.
Unwittingly letting loose a daemon from the Unseelie Court into the college, she was able to stop it with Tara’s help. Her actions however had her thrown out of the college to the shame of her family, who could not accept Willow’s new found interests, both academic and romantic and disowned her. With nowhere to go she was heartened by Tara’s offer to come with her to her ancestral home in England, where they could live in comfort as she continued her studies. There Willow has learned to harness her intellect and keen perception in providing services for those needing help against dark magickal forces.
In the 10 years since their move to England Willow has gained a reputation in London as someone to go to when the crime is mystical or supernatural in nature and her business is a thriving one. Tara remains her partner both in business and in love and together they have defeated many attacks on British soil by nefarious  Wizards and sorcerous orders and the Unseelie Court. Willow is by nature loyal to her friends and especially to Tara although she can at times be quick tempered and whilst Tara is by nature passive Willow is more certainly more aggressive.

Willow Rosenberg, 32 yr old Sorceress (Consulting Detective) Health Points: 7

Athletics (GD/♣)
Charisma (GR/)
Comeliness (EXC/)
Connections (GR/♠)
Courage (GR/)
Education (EXT/)
Exchequer (GD/♠)
Invention (EXT/)
Fencing (GD/♣)
Marksmanship (GD/♣)
Motoring (GD/♣)
Natural Sciences (GR/)
Perception (EXC/♦)
Performance (PR/)
Riding (PR/♣)
Sorcery (AST/)
Tinkering (EXC/)

Equipment: 22 Derringer, Rapier, Notebook, magnifying glass. Willow also has an extensive library of criminology and a small  lab in the basement of the London mansion that is their base of operations. Money is almost no object so assume any day to day items needed can be provided for.

Tara Maclay
Tara was born the daughter of a wealthy woman who met and married her father, a lay preacher, whilst on holiday in Boston and chose to stay there with him. Their eldest, a son, followed his father into the ministry whilst the younger, Tara, grew up as a gentlewoman.
Tara’s mother however had kept back one thing from her husband, her Fey ancestry. Not only was she Fey, she was in fact Tuatha De Danu, one of the rarest of all the Fey races and the most powerful. Her husband, whilst a good man in most respects, saw the Fey in strict black and white and saw them all as demons and tempters to be thwarted. As such, she did not share her life energy with either of her children, ensuring they were born mortal so as not to raise suspicion. Although she did not pass on her secrets of magick to her son, who she quickly realised was her husband in younger form, she did teach what she knew to her daughter, especially with regards to the delicate nature of balance and the need for the Second Compact. Tara showed a remarkable ability with magick. Whilst not powerful she showed an effortless ability to cast spells seeming to easily and safely grasp the thaumaturgical energy from the ether and give it form.
Sadly, her mother’s presence was soon discovered by the Unseelie and in her determination to save her children, she sacrificed herself to protect them. Her father and brother, grief stricken, declared all fey to be the enemy of the family and went on a moral crusade to rid all of them, Seelie and Unseelie, from the town. They were eventually stopped by Tara, using spells of defence and confusion to keep them from killing a family of fey who had resided in the area for decades. In doing so she accepted and embraced her fey heritage and was renounced by her family as a demon.
Tara moved away, eventually becoming a part of a small coven dedicated to protecting the people of Boston from the forces of darkness. Whilst at a meeting with the head of her coven who taught at the local college, she struck up a friendship with a young woman who was interested in learning about magick. The young woman, Willow, soon won Tara’s heart and their relationship grew stronger. She saw in Willow incredible power but a recklessness in her determination to wield and understand the forces around her. It was this recklessness that led to the opening of a portal and the near destruction of the college.
Tara aided Willow in defeating the demon that appeared but when the Coven asked her to choose between them and her new friend, she chose Willow. At that point fate intervened and she was visited by a man who turned out to be her maternal Grandfather. She learned of her lineage and of their ancestral home. Although she was not Fey she was still the eldest of the lineage as her brother had refused to acknowledge the line. She was given the title of Lady Tara Maclay of Constance Manor, a
stately home on the outskirts of London, along with the deed to the house. The grandfather died soon after, but not before giving his blessing to her love and wishing them well.
In the 10 years since their move to London, Tara has graced high society and her initial shyness has been replaced by a quiet confidence. She aids Willow in her Detective work whilst often entertaining dignitaries from around the world and from the Fey realms. She is often seen as a neutral ambassador and her clear headedness is often used for diplomatic work for the Fey in high society.

Tara Maclay, 32 year old Sorceress (Noblewoman) Health Points: 7

Charisma (GR/)
Comeliness (EXC/)
Connections (GD/♠)
Courage (GR/)
Education (GD/)
Exchequer (EXC/♠)
Fencing (GD/♣)
Fisticuffs (PR/♣)
Marksmanship (GD/♣)
Motoring (GD/♣)
Perception (EXT/)
Performance (GR/)
Physician (GR/)
Riding (GR/♣)
Social Graces (EXC/♠)
Sorcery (AST/)
Tinkering (PR/)
Equipment: 22 Derringer, rapier. Assume any other equipment needed is either already owned or can easily be acquired given
the wealth available.

Given that Castle Falkenstein doesn’t have a traditional spell list but rather certain spells in certain tomes I list below the tomes that Tara’s mother, over the years, has managed to copy out of. This makes the Maclay tome one of the most complete tomes of magick ever assembled and would mean instant death from several orders if they knew the couple had access to spells and rituals known only to specific sorcerous orders. As such the tome is held in a secret part of the library, hidden from all so as to keep the Manor and the couple safe.
A note on casting. The corebook states that if more than one person casts then only the Sorcery skill from the primary caster is subtracted from the Thaumaturgical energy cost. That is fair enough but not really in line with Willow and Tara and how they cast when together so for them subtract their total score from the TER (which yes makes them incredibly powerful). A Joker will still wildfire a spell but they should be able to mitigate the results.

The following tomes all appear in the core rulebook with the exception of those marked * which appear in Comme Il faut and those marked ^ which are found in The Book Of Sigils.

Manuscriptum Mentallis
Ritual Writing Of Psychic Binding
Megron’s Realm Of Dreaming
Realm Of The Unknown Mind
Osman’s Tome Of Physical Movement
Scrolls Of Dimensional Movement
Manuscript Of paranormal Divination
Manuscript Of Elemental Shaping
Burton’s On The raised Forces Of Nature
Primal Forces Raised*
Realm Of The Senses*
Zwinge’s Practicum^
The Didi Papyrus^
The Book Of Glass^
The Riddler’s Guide^

Ultimately this is just one possible interpretation of how the couple could exist inside the great world that is Falkenstein. Obviously change and augment what you feel needs changing but I think as they sit they would be interesting characters and fun to play and powerful in themselves without being completely unstoppable.


Ronnie, I don't think I could have done any better myself!  Thanks so much.

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