Campaign of the Month: January 2015
Skies of Glass
The term ‘artifact’ in this world is used in a rather drastically different context then conventionally. In this world, any form of technology is considered to an artifact. Artifacts are commonly referred to as ‘artifice’ when discussing the existence or functions of an artifact. For instance, when discussing an artifact door, one might say “The artifice in this mechanized doorway is amazing.” Artifacts typically take one of three forms: pure technology, physically held spell matrices, or a mix of these two.
Pure technology artifacts are machines that rely entirely on clockwork, piston, or other non-magical methods of function. Pure technology artifice is largely used where either magic is cost-ineffective or is functionally ineffective, such as over the oceans. Clocks and telescopes are two excellent examples of pure technology artifacts that exist in the world. Because of the relative abundance of magic and the limited instances of its pure technological advantages, this type of artifice is fairly underdeveloped in the world, hundreds of years behind our own technology for the most part. Sanctuary is the only known bastion of advanced pure technology in Creed, with devices such as dishwashers and light bulbs being common place there.
Spell matrix artifacts are devices that primarily exist to create a physical spell matrix, allowing a user or an internal source of energy to produce a spell through them. These matrix artifacts often utilize some amount of clockwork or other non-magical force to directly manipulate their integrated matrix, allowing for magical effects very unique compared to those made by any other means. Other matrix artifacts are built using stable objects, such as crystals, and instead utilize the complex composites of these objects to create intricate matrices that would be too difficult or too dangerous to be created within a last stable medium (such as the organic body of a spellcaster). Because of the complexity of their nature, the works of the truly amazing artificers throughout history have often become prized and highly valued objects by collectors, researches, and heroes alike. The most powerful matrix artifacts have almost universally been discovered, rather than been made, spurring further research and leading many to wonder what ancient yet-undiscovered society made these unique devices.
Mixed artifacts are devices that rely partially on the mechanisms of pure technology and partially on the power of matrix artifice. By far the most common example of mixed artifacts are artifice creatures, golem-like beings made through artifice. As a mixture of scientific and biological law and mystically animating force, artifice creations can be made into various and intricate forms, and mimic true life to a degree impossible to golems. Much like a matrix artifact, a mixed artifact can either draw from its wielder or an internal power source, or, in the case of artifice creatures, from its creator’s power. Due to the rarity of sufficiently durable power sources, many artificers create a tie between themselves and their artifice creations, functionally allowing the creature to draw off of them for life-giving power. This significantly limits the artificer’s magical capabilities, but many find that to be an equitable trade.