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GURPS Castle Falkenstein – Cover

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Bibliography for GURPS Castle Falkenstein

The following are sources favored by the authors of this adaptation. The original Castle Falkenstein game and its supplements have further bibliographies covering the sources used by its original authors. For other useful material, see the unofficial but excellent Castle Falkenstein Reading List on the Web.


Barber, Noel. The Lords of the Golden Horn.

Bidwell, Robin. Travellers in Arabia.

Churchill, Winston S. A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, vol. IV.

Encyclopedia Britannica.

Freeth, Zahra, and Winstone, H.V.F. Travellers in Arabia.

Girouard, Mark. The English Town; The Victorian Country House.

Israel, Fred, ed. 1897 Sears, Roebuck Catalogue.

Manchester, William. The Last Lion. (Vol. I has a very good portrait of the British Empire at its peak.)

Osprey Books' Men-at-Arms series has several volumes depicting military uniforms of the period.

Pool, Daniel. What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew.

Tuchman, Barbara. The Proud Tower.

Wheatcroft, Andrew. The Ottomans.

Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Reason Why.


Castle Falkenstein draws on the vast body of Victorian literature, along with traditional myths and fairy-tales and modern "steampunk" SF. Virtually anything from the period can provide an idea about atmosphere and style, but the following are especially relevant:

Baxter, Stephen. Anti-Ice.

Blaylock, James. Homunculus and Lord Kelvin's Machine.

Boothby, Guy. A Bid For Fortune and Dr. Nikola.

Carriger, Gail. The "Parasol Protectorate" series is more supernatural intrigue than steampunk, but is positively steeped in Victorian high society's sense of propriety. Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, and Timeless are great fun. The "Finishing School" YA prequel series (Etiquette & Espionage, Curtsies & Conspiracies, and Waistcoats & Weaponry) features the origin story of one of Alexia's allies, while the "Custard Protocol" sequel series, which starts with Prudence, follows her daughter's adventures.

Chesterton, G.K. The Man Who Was Thursday.

Davidson, Avram. The Adventures of Doctor Eszterhazy.

Dickens, Charles. Anything and everything. (Dickens is the definitive portraitist of mid-Victorian English society – start here.)

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. The "Sherlock Holmes" stories (available in various collections and editions – start here). The "Professor Challenger" series and various independent short stories are also well worth a look. (One version of the Forgotten Futures RPG, described below, makes the Challenger stories available in computer form.)

Fraser, George MacDonald. The "Flashman" series.

Frost, Mark. The List of Seven.

Garrett, Randall. The "Lord Darcy" series.

Gibson, William, and Sterling, Bruce. The Difference Engine (a prime source for the Steam Lords).

Hope, Anthony. The Prisoner of Zenda; Rupert of Hentzau.

Jeter, K.W. Infernal Devices.

Kipling, Rudyard. Virtually anything, especially earlier works (his main themes being colonial adventure, the supernatural, and science fiction).

Moore, Alan, and O'Neill, Kevin. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (comics series).

Newman, Kim. Anno Dracula.

Powers, Tim. The Anubis Gates.

Priest, Christopher. The Space Machine.

Rohmer, Sax. The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu and other "Fu Manchu" stories. (Notably racist, and dated rather late, but still a prime source for Chinese-variety villainy.)

Twain, Mark. Most works, of course, especially including The Gilded Age.

Verne, Jules. Numerous novels; Around the World in Eighty Days, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Mysterious Island, From Earth to the Moon, Around the Moon, Master of the World, and Robur the Conqueror are of particular interest. (Look for complete editions and better-quality translations where possible.)

Wells, H.G. Wells started writing at the end of the century, but The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds are important.

Castle Falkenstein

The original Castle Falkenstein line, published by R. Talsorian Games, Inc., comprised a core rulebook and half a dozen supplements (and two novels), all of which may still be available from game shops and booksellers. The extended background can of course be used in GURPS Castle Falkenstein games, and the game-mechanical information can be adapted (see the Appendix).

The core rulebook details a good deal of the background, with a focus on New Europa, and includes much of Tom Olam's account of his arrival on the world, the restoration of King Ludwig to the throne, and the subsequent war with Prussia.

Comme Il Faut ("A Castle Falkenstein Companion") includes extensive information on New Europan culture (especially high society) and campaign ideas, along with variant rules for the original game and suggestions for live-action play.

Steam Age provides fully illustrated coverage of numerous vehicles and devices (some of them definitely Infernal).

Six-Guns and Sorcery, a very detailed treatment of North America in the Falkenstein world, is an account of Tom Olam's first trip there, with additional notes.

The Book of Sigils considerably extends the available information on Sorcerous Orders and their Lorebooks, including accounts of several non-European groups. (The new spell effects it details can be adapted directly to the GURPS Castle Falkenstein magick system.)

The Memoirs of Auberon of Faerie is a major treatment of New Europan Faeries, including the history of their activities in other universes; GURPS GMs will have to add game mechanics, but this should not be unduly difficult.

The Lost Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci deals with Engine Magick in detail, with descriptions of all the sorcerous engines currently thought to be possible.

The novels From Prussia With Love and Masterminds of Falkenstein, both written by John DeChancie and published by Proteus/Prima Publishing, describe the further adventures of Tom Olam, including numerous encounters with other major figures of New Europa.


Several other RPGs have dealt with 19th-century, fairy-tale, or steampunk themes; the following may be currently available and of particular interest.

Call of Cthulhu, from Chaosium, is a classic horror game; although the original version is set in the 1920s, one major supplement, Cthulhu by Gaslight, and several follow-up works, focus on the later Victorian era.

Deadlands is another game that adds weird science and fantasy to a Victorian-era setting (see the GURPS adaptation.)

Forgotten Futures, a game of Victorian scientific romances, was originally released as a series of computer files, each accompanied by a collection of classic out-of-copyright stories. The core system has recently been published in book form by Heliograph Incorporated, who have also promised further volumes that include period literature and game ideas based thereon.

Mage: The Ascension, from White Wolf (adapted as GURPS Mage: The Ascension, of course) is somewhat relevant; see especially the supplements Sons of Ether (for mad science), Order of Hermes (the ultimate western sorcerous society), and The Book of Worlds (science and magick fighting multi-sided battles across the dimensions and the solar system).

Space: 1889, from GDW, was the original steampunk colonial RPG. It and its supplements are currently available in a reprint edition from Heliograph Incorporated.

Film and Television

The cinema often does swashbuckling fairly well, if not generally with a Victorian setting; steampunk technology, colonial adventure, and fairy-tale magic are rarer, but not unknown. The following films and TV series may repay attention:

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.

The "Doctor Who" stories Pyramids of Mars and the near-perfect The Talons of Weng-Chiang.

The Great Train Robbery

The Man Who Would Be King

Master of the World

The Mountains of the Moon

Pascali's Island

The Prisoner of Zenda (any version, though the black-and-white Ronald Coleman version is often rated highest).

Royal Flash

Most Sherlock Holmes adaptations have some interest, though some are better than others; the 1980s British TV versions, starring Jeremy Brett, are very impressive.


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

The Wild, Wild West (the TV series was a major inspiration for Falkenstein; the recent movie may be underrated).

In addition, many older-style horror movies might be of interest. Virtually any period piece from Hammer is worth a look, as are some of the various versions of The Mummy (1934) or The Mummy (1942).

The original Castle Falkenstein game has inspired plenty of unofficial fan Web sites; furthermore, there are countless sites dedicated to Victorian history and culture, steampunk fiction, and old technology. A number of suggested sites can be found at this book's product page. Just remember that the ephemeral nature of the Web guarantees this list will eventually change.

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