26 minutes ago
Friday, October 19, 2012
Automata for the People
In the City today, automata are mostly in the hands of the rich, but the proponents of the technology hope that one day they will be labor-saving devices for all humanity. Since automata have been a focus of our current G+ Weird Adventures game, I though it might be a good time to talk about them a bit here.
The history of automata goes back to the golems and clockwork curiosities of antiquity. When golems relied on an animating spirit to make them move, clockwork devices were often given life by strictly mechanical properties. Modern automata engineering borrows from both these practices. Automata have mechanic joints and internal machinery to give them a wider range of applications but often rely on a vitalizing element like golems.
Theoretical advances over the past thirty years have allowed vast improvements in powering automata. While the Steam Men of half a century ago were dependent on boilers full of coal, and the clockwork animals of Ealderdish imperial courts had springs that needed winding, the modern marvels of Mikola Donander and Hew Hazzard often utilize power broadcast through the air. So far this broadcast power is short-ranged and possibly susceptible to thaumaturgic blocking, but in the future, whole cities might run on it.
Even more advanced automata harness the power of the sun itself. Tiny sparks of pure alchemical fire, generated in heavily shielded atomic athanors, allowed the primal force of creation to be used as a power source--and perhaps a "seed" for the germination of a living soul. The City's protector, the Titan, is the only automata known to be powered in such a way, but the future of this technology is truly limitless.