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More has been learned in the past 100 years than in all the dark centuries following the fall of Marada. Yet, much of what is now known is, in fact, a re-discovery of the secrets lost in the cataclysmic war that wiped the great civilizations from the world 1,500 years ago. With the advent of steam and ichor locomotion, advanced alchemical reagents, aetheric engines, powered flight, and clockwork automatons, many believe the birth of a new empire of science and magic is at hand.
Most of the world’s food and goods are produced in mills, workshops, and smithies, which employ professional craftsmen, artisans, and apprentices. Although machines have improved the speed and quality of production, the majority of items produced are still handcrafted with skill and precision. Although the art of metallurgy is highly developed, enchanted metals and exotic alloys remain expensive. For this reason, the most common building materials are wood, brick, stone, and wrought iron. Large manufactories exist as well, and they are able to mass-produce goods. These manufactured goods are cheaper than their handcrafted counterparts, but are generally of lower quality. The most heavily industrialized nations are Kendes, Armillia, Tilsha, and, to a lesser extent, Suddaea.
While guns and cannons have dominated the battlefield since the Age of the Three Realms, armies and fighters still make use of traditional melee weapons. After all, nothing beats a good sword in close combat, and axes and maces, wielded properly, can inflict considerably more damage than a bullet. And they never run out of ammo. Most guns in use today are the snaplocks that have been used through centuries past, but guns with percussion caps and cartridges are becoming increasingly prevalent in this Age of Progress. The most advanced (and rarest) weapons found today are driven by clockworks, pneumatics, or mechanical engines, and can fire dozens of bullets in quick succession.
The general principles of mechanics are well known and widely deployed. All simple machines, such as those using wheels, pullies, levers, and wedges, are considered household items. Simple clockwork mechanisms are the most advanced of the common machines and are used in clocks, mills, weapons, and toys. Simple machines require no power outside manual control.
Industrial machinery requires more than just the delicate clockworks used in simple machines. Industrial machinery requires much more power, usually from steam engines, batteries, or dynamos, but can also do a great deal more work. Industrial machinery is built of numerous parts, such as gears, cranks, cams, drive chains, axles, and pistons. Mills and shipyards use heavy machinery for lifts—conveyors, cranes, and other such things. Other forms of machines are widely deployed as engines and motors, like those seen in aeronefs, locomobiles, and juggernauts. Industrial machinery has no limit to its engineering. Massive mechanical contraptions have been constructed by engineers throughout the ages.
More advanced mechanical devices are widely used today. Many of these devices are powered by clockworks. Others incorporate gears, cranks, motors, and axles and are driven by pneumatics, steam engines, or, more recently, electricity. The following are a few of the more common devices.
Over-science is the usage of magic in man-made devices to power or enhance them, or to create devices that are in some way magical. Many of these devices are called magines, which is another term for mage-engines. Magines are devices that either create energy from aethergy or aethergy from energy—they can also simply channel aethergy from an elemental or astral source. Crystones and orichalium circuits form the core components of all mage-engines and aetheronic devices, but aetheronic induction coils, oscillation amplifiers, spark resonators, spark tubes, and other such components are also used. Over-science devices technical include aetheric batteries, aetheric motors, aetheric dynamos, aetheric impellers, and so forth, as well as more advanced elemental furnaces and solaonic reactors.
Other types of over-science actively generate empowerments. Sometimes termed aetheronic devices, they are defined as being any machine, device, or mechanical contrivance that generates a magical effect. Aetheronic devices are highly complex, and one or more mages, as well as gearmeisters, mechanics, and engineers, may all be involved in its construction.
Nefastus Kyurgie, or simply kyurgie, is the sinister art of surgery, alchemy, and human instrumentation. Kyurgie is the branch of Over-Science whose practitioners seek to alter the human body beyond all boundaries of natural physiology. All knowledge of kyurgie was lost with the fall of Marada, but the practice has begun resurfaced within the past few decades in Grand Imperium. There, in the Kendes and Kaldea, kyurgie is anything but the Forbidden Surgery–indeed, kyurgie is seen by many as a status symbol and a desire to have one’s body sculpted in extreme and bizarre ways the ultimate expression of wicked beauty and dark eroticism.
Kyurgeons are masters of surgery, alchemy, and magic–and, indeed, magic is quite necessary for their work. The art of kyurgie may be used to change a person’s face, transplant objects and foreign body parts, and alter of limbs and organs. The attachment of claws, implantation of metal plates and spikes, elongating fingers or limbs, and integration of various machines and instruments into the human body are all done with kyurgical techniques. Even eyes, hearts, lungs, and brains have been known to be transplanted. The eyes, tongues, and other parts of animals may be transplanted into patients who elect for such radical surgery as well. In fact, the branch of kyurgie called human instrumentation is concerned exclusively with the integration of artificial parts into the human body. Using magic to bond metal to flesh, this results in the ability to implant machines and mechanical limbs to replace ones that have been lost. Though kyurgie has a dark and sinister undertone, it is only because its abuse by wicked men who perform grotesque and sadistic experiments upon slaves, prisoners, and criminals to further their desires of twisting and rending human anatomy to its most extreme. But, in the proper hands, kyurgie can help the lame to walk and the blind to see. Only time will tell what will come of this strange and exotic science.