I thought I’d take a post to highlight how we’re getting to Orr! Charr zeppelins! I’m using this to highlight a number of design aesthetics that the charr tend to rely upon when building things. So this is something of a lore piece.
Charr design tends to be bulbous, often rounded in nature. I imagine this is because when they began metalworking, they cast their metals via bronzed devourer husks (and we know those things can get really big), so that stuck with them, and they don’t cast as we do. Due to this link with insects (devourers), the look of charr construction is also slightly insectoid.
It has a chitinous look to it, often constructed of interlinked plates, and with spikes added on because the charr love their spiky things. Grills and exhaust pipes are also prominent feature due to how many of the charr clockpunk contraptions are actually powered by steam, and steam needs to be permitted to escape. So we can see from those pictures that the propulsion system of that airship is indeed powered by steam.
And the charr use metals wherever they can as opposed to other materials. Even going so far as to prefer the use of light but strong metallic chains to do a job where we’d normally use ropes. And there are many chains present on that airship. These are all hallmarks of charr design, and the only other trademark of note is that the charr like circular, spinning elements to their designs, gears and elements similar to them.
If you look around the Black Citadel and at many charr inventions, they all share elements of what I’ve described above, it’s all down to how the charr methods of both aesthetics and construction work. Often, a design will be pragmatic first, only prettied up if that can be done in ways that don’t affect the underlying functionality of the device. (But the charr do have their own distinctive take on cultural art, such as their utilisation of purposeless gears. But they fetishise the gear as symboogy of their advancement and power. I can’t blame them, though. Gears are cool.)
This is just to highlight how charr production has evolved both aesthetically and functionally, and how it’s different to what we would consider a standard. Human construction tends to be cuboid by its nature unless we need to make something that isn’t. Charr design tends to be much more organic in appearance.
In light of the above, the various things we see in the Cathedral of Flames dungeon in GW:EOTN take on a whole new aspect. Even though the complex had been taken over by the Flame Legion’s Shamans, it’s pretty obvious that it was previously a combination of mine and factory. Levels 1 and 2 in particular are filled with mining and metalworking equipment, including what looks very much like a smelter or one of those things you see in steel mills (Bessemer something?) I suspect the place originally belonged to the Iron Legion, and that Pyre arranged for it to be returned to its rightful owners after the northern provinces (Grothmar, Dalada and Sacnoth) were liberated.
I completely agree that this is possible, and in fact, highly probable.
If I remember correctly, the machinery in the Cathedral held a lot of similarities with what we see of charr technology today. In fact, some of it straight up reminds me of what the Black Citadel looks like, now that I think about it. An interesting point, really. It’s one that I argued for with the lore masters back in the day.
I argued that it was likely that the Flame Legion took control of the facility away from the Iron Legion in order to keep the technology out of charr hands. I think that it’s fair to say that the Flame Legion feared anything that went beyond basic technology and took control over such installations, only allowing the Iron Legion to smith whilst monitored by them. The reason I say this is because the forward thinking shamans likely saw the progressive Iron Legion as something that would threaten their rule if not carefully controlled.
What would be the point of using magic to create the Searing (as a political move) if the Iron Legion were able to get a similar result with machines of war? So the Flame Legion likely took control over all production facilities in order to curtail production and progression of Iron Legion technology. This also means that before the Iron Legion was enslaved by Flame, they were already on a constant forward march to technological superiority.
Of course, one of the points I had flung at me was that it could have been dwarven or dredge. But after having seen what both of these look like in Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2, I honestly have to say that what was in the Cathedral of Flames was probably charr rather than anything else, because looking back on it it does share a lot of aesthetic values with what I’ve come to know as charr in Guild Wars 2. If that is the case, then ArenaNet is seriously forward thinking.
And it makes next to no sense that the Flame Legion would have dwarven equipment in their cathedral. So the greatest likelihood is that it was indeed originally an Iron Legion stronghold that was taken from them after the Flame Legion took over.
So ultimately - I agree!
And this just goes to show just how deep the rabbit hole went in regards to how much control the Flame Legion had over the other legions at that time.
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