Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Center Cannot Hold: Androids


"Behold, the industrial miracle.  A fusion of the apex of magical construction and technological wonder.  They shall change all our lives for the better." 
- Nikolai Ripley, Android Inventor

Nikolai Ripley crafted the first Androids through a fusion of various techniques, ultimately relying on a series of ancient magical constructs and text she had found underneath Crux.  She combined the best aspects of clockwork automatons, wax golems and animated dead.  Nikolai's first creations were mindless, but over time she perfected a set of necromantic spells that granted Androids sapience.

Whether or not they also gained souls in the process, is still greatly debated.  Ithic law considers Androids property.  Most Androids work and live as slaves, owned as property.  Some do operate or live as free individuals, but the majority work in factories or as servants for the wealthy.

Androids are created in the image of a adult humans.  At a distance one can't quite see the difference between Android or Human.  But at closer inspection, one sees their glowing blue eyes.  The glowing runes that cover parts of their bodies.  The odd seams between parts of wax flesh.  Most are created with hair and wax flesh.  They look close enough that a few Androids know how to disguise themselves almost fully as human.

First created only a decade or two ago, the Artificeries that produce Androids have taken to using serialized numbers for each Android they craft.  Those with four digit numbers are almost ten years old- while much younger Androids have serial numbers six or seven digits long.  Most often owners use these for names instead of proper names.  Androids in turn act as the property they are treated as- only a few manage to realize that they can refuse an order or even work toward freedom, often taking proper names to reflect this epiphany.

Crux: Androids were first crafted in Crux, as Nikolai Ripley's first series of Androids were a project headed by the University of Crux.  Nikolai Ripley holds a contrarian view on her creations, donating all her profits to charities and efforts to grant them some measure of legal recognition.  Called the Mother of Iron, Nikolai remains disgusted at the widespread adoption and creation of Androids as Slave labor.

Androids can be found performing any job for anyone that can afford them.  They haven't completely replaced middle-class jobs, but most upper-class and servant jobs are performed by them.  Android cleaning crews can be found in the richer districts of Crux, while destitute Free Androids or the disheveled Androids owned by those just barely rich enough to afford them, can be found throughout other places in the city.

Riots against Androids do happen from time to time, as many of those in the lower-classes see them as direct competition for their jobs.  Others fear them, seeing Androids as violent machines biding their time.  A few don't think of them as anything more than walking dolls.  Androids have yet to really claim or mold a piece of Crux for themselves.  As newcomers, they still have yet to decide how they will leave their mark.

Sidebar: Free or Owned

This setting makes it an option for a player to choose to be owned as property.  NPC masters need to be used carefully.  They should help enable adventuring, not be a barrier to preventing a PC from being able to do what they want.  Pardoning any sort of historical context, first be certain that everyone is okay with the situation and how it'll be dealt before the game starts.

A pivotal moment might be when a Android is freed by their owner, inspired by the Android Adventurer's career.  Or perhaps when an Owner is murdered, it sparks a murder mystery for the Party.  Or maybe the Android being freed starts their career as an adventurer.  Whatever the choice, it is a chance to create story moments.  Use it to make the game interesting!

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