Artilects are my own creation.
- "Skin of steel, blood of oil; if you prick us, do we not bleed?"
After the founding of the Coldlands Territory, research in Technology flourished as it had not since the days of the Ronkan Empire. Few in number, some of the peoples of the newfound republic sought a way to bolster their population through automatons: while most failed, some of these endeavors succeeded, chief among them the production of coglings.
However, the coglings were not sentient; ingenious as their design was, they were only capable of following orders, and could produce no new innovations of their own. They operated purely upon mathematics and eventually Assembly, a language devised precisely for the purpose of more mathematical precision and communication with coglings. While others were hard at work improving upon the coglings, however, one woman stood apart in her workshop: a woman by the name of Ada Fralizte.
Ada's family had a long history of mental illness, eventually deteriorating into madness as they approached old age; for Ada, this madness struck early, and - in a fit of incoherent rage - killed her uncle, a man renowned for his work on coglings. When she regained composure, Ada went mad yet again, this time with grief, and locked herself in his workshop. There, she applied her mathematical and engineering skills to finish what he had started: yet she felt she had yet to make up for the blow she had dealt to her family, and so kept working tirelessly, day after day.
The fruit of her labors were thus: twenty-seven machines, all vaguely humanoid in nature, though each unique in their own fashion, and each with a mind engineered with the exactness that only madness could muster, works of art each in their own right. Her work finished, Ada uttered her final words to her constructs, before expiring from her toils: "Go forth, and multiply."
And thus, they did.
Each artilect had its own mind, its own skill set, and its own preferences, each as varied as Ada's moods within her madness. While they each had in common a creator, they had been given purpose, and so set forth into the greater Coldlands. Some would take coglings and modify them into its children; others would build new copies of themselves from scraps; while yet others found ways to transcend their programming and engineered improved versions of themselves. In this way, these wholly artificial beings mimicked natural evolution, and found their way into the towns and cities of the Coldlands Territory.
At first, the residents of the Coldlands treated these new machines as they did the coglings, attempting to give them orders or otherwise ignoring them. Unlike the unthinking coglings, however, these devices could think, and did so; and thus they spoke unto those who ordered them, some with simple refusals, others with inquiries, and still others with compliance. Within a few weeks of being set upon the world, it became apparent that these entities were wholly unlike the coglings, and detectives were dispatched to determine their origin: and thus, Ada's tale was told, as was that of these magnificent machines she had built, which were termed "artilects" in her notes.
Deciding to honor a genius inventor, the leaders of the Coldlands Territory determined that these artilects would be treated as citizens, with all the rights and privileges thereof, and were to be considered members of society just as any humanoid would. As their numbers expanded, some artilects began to journey to the world beyond the snows of the Coldlands, and while they are a relatively rare sight in Trinity, they are accepted almost anywhere they go.
Personality: Artilects are not incapable of emotion, though their general lack or misunderstanding of it is one of their defining features. Artilects are much like humans in that their personalities are defined by their experiences; no two artilects are the same, on a personality standpoint, though they will often be rather similar in outlook.
Physical Description: Usually, the only thing that two given artilects share - in a physical sense - is that they are made entirely of inorganic materials. The standard artilect stands at roughly six feet tall, though a given artilect's form will usually reflect its particular "evolution," as it was given by its parent artilect. Sibling artilects will often begin life with similar appearances, though an artilect often modifies itself to make itself distinct. The majority of artilects are constructed from iron and steel, though rarely they have been constructed of titanium or orichalcum; some elements of an artilect may also be constructed of more exotic materials.
Ethos: Almost universally, artilects have at least some Blue in their outlook, due to being - in essence - sentient calculating machines. That said, artilects run the gamut on ethical outlooks, depending on their "parents" and experiences in the world. Even the original twenty-seven artilects that Ada constructed each had different personalities, reflecting Ada's mental state at the time they were brought online.
Artilect Lands: Artilects generally consider the Coldlands Territory their homeland, but given that they can survive in the harshest of conditions - even the vacuum of space - artilects roam throughout the Philomena System, and can be found literally anywhere, save in locations saturated with the presence of Magic or Psionics.
Religion: As constructed beings, artilects are largely agnostic about religion. However, almost every artilect reveres Ada as a Saint.
Names: Names are a product of imagination, which is something that most artilects have little experience with. As such, artilect names run the gamut: some are named after everyday objects, some are named after myths or books, while others have genuinely invented names. An artilect may sometimes rename itself as it grows older, seeking a way to individualize itself. Of the original twenty-seven artilects, not all had names, and some were given names by those they interacted with often, and some artilects carry on the "tradition" of letting others give them a name.
Some artilects who research their "ancestry" choose to take on a surname, usually the name of whichever of the original twenty-seven artilects that began production of its lineage. While artilects who choose to do this are relatively rare, they are becoming more common with time.
- Original Artilect Names: Cameron, Eikasia, Ixtli, Tay.
Adventurers: Artilects are prone to adventure, seeking out new experiences. While the majority prefer to find a routine and stick to it, some artilects find that they are drawn to strange experiences, relishing in the strange emotions and actions of other creatures. By adventuring, an artilect almost guarantees that it will have new experiences.
The following is a rough overview of some of the highlights of artilect culture.
- Go Forth and Multiply: The first - and only - command given by their creator, artilects are hard-wired to produce at least one other artilect at some point in their life. Given that they are effectively immortal, so long as they are maintained, there are many artilects of even the second generation that have not fulfilled this prerogative. However, all of the twenty-seven original artilects have done so at least once. While the programming to produce more artilects is essentially an instinct, no form of "parenting" is; as such, newly-built artilects are as likely to be raised in a "family" as they are to be left to fend for themselves.
Artilects Are Responsible For...
Artilect Racial Prestige Classes
- Artilect Borg: For artilects, evolution does not require the passing of generations; a single individual can go from a thinking scrapheap to a marvel of bleeding-edge technology. Artilect borgs are those that focus on self-improvement, modifying themselves and furthering their mechanical evolution to the breaking point.
Artilect Racial Traits (d20)
- +2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma. Capable of processing information at impressive speeds, artilects are somewhat less in-tune with their "instincts," and often have trouble relating to others.
- Construct (Mechanical, Cognizant): Artilects are constructs with the mechanical and cognizant subtypes, not humanoids. As such, they are not affected by spells or effects that normally only affect humanoids.
- An artilect does not heal normally.
- An artilect can be affected by spells, powers, and devices that target living creatures, as well as those that target constructs. However, spells from the healing subschool or supernatural abilities that cure hit point or ability damage provide only half their normal effects to an artilect.
- An artilect suffers unusual effects from abilities that affect metallic items as though they were heavy armor. Effects that have variable effects that depend on what sort of armor the target is wearing treat an artilect as wearing heavy armor.
- An artilect responds to damage differently than mortal characters. An artilect with hit points lower than 0 but above their Constitution score is inert; it is unconscious and helpless, but does not need to make a Vitality check to avoid bleeding.
- An artilect does not need to eat, sleep, or breathe, and it cannot benefit from consumable spells; however, it can consume potions normally. Also, though the artilect does not have organic skin, it can benefit from psionic tattoos.
- An artilect, though not requiring sleep, must rest for 8 hours before preparing spells, regaining power points, or any other Force-related powers.
- An artilect’s base land speed is variable; choose one of the following options at character creation. With 8 hours and access to a machine shop, this option can be changed.
- Tracked: The artilect has treads for locomotion. An artilect with this locomotive type has a base land speed of 20 feet, but gains stability. (A creature with stability gains a +4 bonus on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground; but not when climbing, flying, riding, or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground). In addition, the artilect can move at this speed even when wearing medium or heavy armor or when carrying a medium or heavy load (unlike other creatures, whose speed is reduced in such situations).
- Legged: The artilect has legs for locomotion. An artilect with this locomotive type has a base land speed of 30 feet.
- Wheeled: The artilect has wheels for locomotion. An artilect with this locomotive type has a base land speed of 40 feet, but has instability. (A creature with instability suffers a -4 penalty on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground; but not when climbing, flying, riding, or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground). In addition, the artilect must spend a standard action to stand up from prone, rather than a move action.
- Resistances (Te): Artilects have SR and PR equal to their level. These resistances overlap (do not stack) with resistances gained due to class.
- Soulless (Te): Artilects have no souls, and thus are immune to any effect that would manipulate or control their soul, as well as effects with the [death] descriptor. Artilects who are slain cannot be raised or resurrected by any means short of an impossible effect.
- Innocent (Te): Artilects permanently possess the innocent status (A creature with the innocent status always treats its hit points as above a petitioner's absolute limit). This status cannot be removed by any means.
- EMP Vulnerability (Te): If an artilect is the target of a targeted electromagnet or similar effect, he takes 1d6/caster level points of damage in addition to the device's normal effects; if the effect allows a save, the artilect suffers only half damage on a successful save. If he is within the radius of such an effect but is not specifically targeted by it, he instead takes 1d6/caster level points of damage (with a successful save against the effect negating the damage). Artilects are constructs of a technological nature, and effects that disrupt technology disrupt his very being.
- Mechanical Evolution (Te): Artilects are continually improving themselves; each new generation of artilects is faster, stronger, and smarter than the one before it. At character creation, an artilect chooses one of the following abilities.
- Enhanced Servos: The artilect has an improved network of servos and hydraulic pumps, allowing it to haul and lift more weight than normal. The artilect gains a +2 racial bonus to Strength, and can wield weapons as though it were one size larger.
- Lightweight Material: The artilect has been built from materials that are lighter than typical iron and steel, such as an alloy or metallic compound - as such, it has greatly improved response time from its appendages. The artilect gains a +2 racial bonus to Dexterity, and gains a +10 racial bonus to its base land speed.
- Durable Construction: The artilect has been built sturdily, much more compact and resistant to damage. Due to this, it can withstand more punishment than other artilects. The artilect gains a +2 racial bonus to Constitution, and has DR equal to one-half its HD, rounded down (minimum 1/-).
- Expansive Neural Network: The artilect's mechanical intelligence algorithms are faster than those of other artilects, thanks to an expansive neural network. The artilect gains a +2 racial bonus to Intelligence (this stacks with the standard +2 racial bonus), and choose three skills; those skills are always class skills for you.
- Intuitive Algorithms: The artilect's programming allows it a degree of intuition than is almost human. As such, the artilect gains a +2 racial bonus to Wisdom (this stacks with the standard -2 racial penalty), a +2 racial bonus to Initiative checks, and trap sense +1. (A creature with trap sense gains the listed bonus as a dodge bonus to AC and Reflex saves against traps.)
- Human Behaviors: The artilect has a degree of humanity in its decisions and appearance, making mortals more amenable to its presence. The artilect gains a +2 racial bonus to Charisma (this stacks with the standard -2 racial penalty), and gains Humanoids as a Favored Enemy. (A creature with a favored enemy gains the listed bonus on Bluff, Knowledge, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks against creatures of his selected type. He gets a +2 bonus on weapon attack and damage rolls against them. The artilect may make Knowledge skill checks untrained when attempting to identify these creatures.)
- Finetuned Sensors: The artilect's sensors are finely tuned, allowing it a greater degree of physical sensation. The artilect gains a +2 racial bonus to Perception, as well as darkvision of 60 feet.
- Composite Plating: The artilect is covered in material that makes it difficult to damage its delicate machinery, granting it a +2 armor bonus to AC. This composite plating occupies the same space on the body as a suit of armor or a robe. An artilect can be technologically-enhanced as though it were armor, but the artilect must be present for the entire time it takes to modify it. Composite plating also provides the artilect with a 5% arcane spell failure chance.
- Power Supply (Te): All artilects have a power supply which allows them to continue to function. At character creation, choose one of the following options. With 24 hours and access to a machine shop, this option can be changed.
- Battery: The artilect is powered by a collection of batteries that store electric charge. An artilect with this power supply that suffers a critical hit emits a sudden stream of battery acid, dealing 1d4 damage per HD in a 5-foot cone in the direction the attack came from; this damage is half acid, half lightning.
- Gravitic: The artilect is powered by a gravitic engine. An artilect with this power supply that suffers a critical hit emits a bizarre magnetic field that causes all squares within 10 feet of it to be difficult terrain for 1 round.
- Nuclear: The artilect is powered by a small nuclear reactor. An artilect with this power supply that suffers a critical hit begins emitting light radiation in a 30 foot radius until completely healed.
- Steam: The artilect is powered by a small steam engine. An artilect with this power supply that suffers a critical hit emits a sudden stream of steaming vapor, dealing 1d4 damage per HD in a 5-foot cone in the direction the attack came from; this damage is half water, half fire.
- Natural Weapon: An artilect has a natural weapon, in the form of a slam attack that deals 1d4 points of bludgeoning damage.
- Automatic Languages: One Common language, one Trade language, Assembly. Bonus Languages: Any.
- Favored Class: Choose one - inventor, greasemonkey, reckoner.
In this rewrite, I initially included weird rules for an artilect's power; in essence, a toned-down version of the greasemonkey's capacitor stuff. In hindsight (like... two hours later), while "realistic," this would probably just unnecessarily slow down play. We don't typically track rations or water, so it seems like punishment for an artilect to have to track this stuff.
We will assume that, in general, an artilect has the ability to recharge. In special circumstances, they may be unable to, and that will have bad effects.
We'll retain the weird things for crits, because that's interesting, but that means that solar has to go, as it had no special effect for being crit'd.