“You can keep your fancy blades and canna and suits of living armour; the real value is in the Luminar, the Cartographer, the Intravellum. It’s one thing to have an artefact but another to know it.”
– Vanhin Ilmarinen, Lorekeeper of Allfrerhem
The knowledge of the Urul Empire was vast and deep and covered nearly every subject imaginable. Indeed the volume of knowledge was so great many Lorekeepers suspect it would take entire cities to store it in books and scrolls. Fortunately for all, the precursors solved the problem of housing their vast knowledge with a variety of technologies, some of which survived the calamity and are still operating today.
A device for housing scrolls with a crank, dial or button that allows one to view and scroll through pages while protecting the record material from decay and decomposition caused by contact with air or flesh.
Used in the early Urul Imperium, prior to the development of Luminars, and again during the dark age after the fall of the Imperium, Autoscroll documents are largely priceless and irreplaceable primary sources for otherwise obscure information; illuminated manuscripts, holy texts, technical manuals. While the contents of most autoscrolls have been transcribed to Luminar the original documents are kept, both to maintain an accurate first record and as insurance against future cataclysmic losses of information. Autoscrolls are bulky devices, typically constructed of extremely durable materials, and generally unsuited for use in inhospitable or wild locales. The largest repository of Autoscrolls are located in Library of Cogs in the city of Selene.
“The progenitors saw everything, from cloud to pebble, star to stone, bird to beast, and they wrote it into a thing you can hold in your hand. They drew the entire world without ink on the head of a pin. I don’t know if it’s magic but it might as well be.”
– Elara Morain, Victran Adventurer
Also known as: Mapper, Eidor, Ayver, Veir, Automap, Mapping Unit, Cartographer, Explorator, Pathfinder, Iterlect
Cartographers are specialized devices, similar to Luminar, that store and display geographic data. In most cases this takes the form of pre-loaded interactive maps, specially crafted by human map makers and encoded on to data slates, but more advanced variants can be paired with automated remote units to live map a locale or region. The most highly valued cartographers retain the vast geographic records kept by the Urul, revealing ruins, caches, and vaults otherwise lost to modern folk. In the right hands mapping units are as powerful as any Canna or Clatterjack, offering the user access to both geographic and strategic knowledge that is unavailable to others.
The greatest strength and limitation of mapping units is the data they contain; most retain the details of Aeldos as it was in the first era and require considerable effort to update. It requires considerable skill and effort to update and maintain these devices, requiring both cartographic knowledge and technical expertise, and only a handful of individuals across Aeldos fit this description. Additionally Cartographers, like many devices of the first age, durable but nearly impossible to replicate using modern technologies. This makes working units scarce and highly valued, with most being confiscated by powerful cultural institutions or figures. The skilled adventurer in possession of a cartographer and the will to delve dangerous ruins is virtually guaranteed to find their fortune.
The Cartographer comes in several varieties and levels of capability.
Portable Cartographers: These devices look like black bronze or gunmetal plated scrolls with simple magnetized handles. With a simple code the handles magnets release and can be pulled apart unfurling a flexible glass sheet which displays local and regional terrain from a variety of views. Depending on the condition of the mapping unit the user can see only the most rudimentary outlines to everything from flora, fauna, topography, or weather. Most portable units seem to be capable of auto-mapping the local area within a dozen meters or so, though the mechanism for this action is unclear. More advanced units can be paired with aerial jacks to map larger areas. Like Luminar, most Cartographers seem to operate using a form of ambient energy collection and require exposure to light or heat to operate. A portable Cartographer kept in the dark and cold will eventually lose functionality.
Stationary Cartographers: These large devices are typically found in the ruins of first age cities, towers, or aerials and take the form of tables and pedestals which, once activated, project a luminous three-dimensional image of vast swathes of Aeldos. Known working examples have been reported in Selene, Ossandor, Victra and Granden, granting the rulers of each a significant strategic and economic advantage as these maps have layers revealing details such as the location of vaults, resources, and first age ruins.
Explorators: Highly specialized Clatterjacks called Explorators can be paired with a Cartographer to enable automated mapping. Explorators are small, typically 50 to 70cm or so, exceedingly light, mobile, and simple-minded. Some take various geometric shapes, like floating polyhedrons, while others emulate wildlife and are more akin to a Toyjack. Explorators utilize first age flying technology to cover large distances from a height, granting the Cartographer a wide lense on the local geography. In addition to the automated mapping function, a Cartographer paired to an Explorator grants the holder the ability to view distant events through the eyes of their Explorator, an ability highly sought out by mercenaries, spys, and thieves across Aeldos.
“The simplest way to describe it? You remember things that you didn’t do and you know things you didn’t really learn. That’s the gist. It’s a great way to teach really; skip all the work and time and practice… unfortunately it’s just as good at driving a man mad.”
– Marcus Vansen, Tinker of Kerv Oss
Also known as: Blood Books, Memory Needles,
A small cylindrical device approximately the size of a thick quill pen, the Intravellum is an innocuous but potent piece of technology, capable of conveying knowledge directly to a recipients mind. Upon unlocking the device, typically by a specific sequence of rotations on the stem, it reveals a needle-like piercing tip. Anyone injected with the sharp end of this device slowly gains access to the knowledge stored within.
The basic principle behind the Intravellum is simple: knowledge need not be transferred by the clumsy tradition of word or letter, but instead can be transmitted via the blood. Of course, this simple premise belies the incredible and arcane complexity of such a concept and as a result their creation remains a mystery only the Urul know the answer too. What lore exists suggests that this technology was favoured by the Sige faction of the Urul empire who used it to elevate an already highly intelligent society to new heights.
Practically speaking, the recipient of an injection from such a device gains the knowledge stored within. This takes time to manifest; information is not typically immediately accessible and can sometimes take weeks, months, or even years to fully register with the recipient. Intravellar knowledge can take several formats; mentally accessible codices, detached memories, even mental tutors, each of which convey some general or specific knowledge. Since the knowledge often comes in disassociated fragments, Intravellum require a strong mind to properly process and access the information. An unprepared or unsuitable recipient can easily be driven mad by the effects of the device.
While the techniques for creating Intravellum and loading them with information are believed lost and the devices are rare enough have survived to the current era that they are recognized and highly valued by lorekeepers and aretefact hunters.
Codice: Recipients perceive the new knowledge vaguely, as if it originated from a book they once read, or a story they overheard. The absence of the visceral multi-sensory features found in other types of Intravellum make this type the easiest to absorb but often the least potent and lasting.
Memory: Recipients perceive the new knowledge as a distinct and concrete memory, though not their own. This memory comes with a set of contextual knowledge and sensory features that make the knowledge robust and enduring, but also increase the stress and risk of madness.
Tutor: Recipients perceive an interactive tutor who guides them, instilling knowledge as any mentor might, answering questions and providing direction. The tutor is imperceptible to others, only appearing for the recipient. The nature of the tutor is defined by the donor, and can range from gentle, respectful instructors, to cruel and insulting taskmasters. Tutors often demonstrate awareness of the world as perceived through the recipients eyes, and exhibit personal values which may require satisfaction before they will instruct. Some demonstrate distinct goals which they will push their donor to pursue. The worst stories suggest some Tutors who can manipulate the perception of their donor or even possess their bodies at rest. As a result, recipients of a Tutor are the most likely to be driven mad by the persistent voice that now lives in their heads.
Also known as: Volmine, Omnes Lectora, Urul Slate, Light Slate, N.Neh.-Ishikthasi, Svert.-Kevytyyny, Lux.-Mrpoao, Oss.-Rasa Lucem, Tol.-Lichtbogen
The term Luminar refers in general to a class of devices capable of displaying information as light on a flat surface. These are normally dark glossy surfaces which respond to certain inputs, allowing a user to read, write and draw on their surface. Luminar are often a component of other larger technology relics such as Foundries, Looms, and Armourers.
The most common variant of Luminar technology is a small device 15-20cm wide and 20-30cm tall, easily held in the hand and capable of displaying a wide range of static or animated imagery. Luminar are able to store a library worth of information but most newly discovered or reactivated Luminar contain little or nothing. Images and notes taken on these devices can be pushed to other Luminar for display or held in the Luminar’s memory perpetually and many lorekeepers value the tools for their versatility, durability, and compact size. Unlike most Urul Technology, Luminar do not require Helion to operate and instead are powered by exposure to light or heat. Except in particular circumstances such as deep underground or in the dark and barren Chillwaste, they are functionally inexhaustible. The Luminar is a relatively common artefact of the first age, and examples can be found across the continent in varying degrees of repair. Larger variants of the technology are known as lightpads or lightwalls, very few of which can be found outside of Selene.
Portable Luminar Types
P – Passive: This type of Luminar can only read data, not write or edit said data. It cannot house any machine spirits and offers no bonuses to the user.
B – Active Basic: This type of Luminar can read, write, and edit data. It can house one Spirit but grants no bonus to Tech checks.
M – Active Moderate: This type of Luminar can read, write, and edit data and has access to advanced features. It can house up to three Spirits and grants the user +1 to Tech checks requiring a Luminar.
A – Active Advanced: This type of Luminar is fully adaptable and can access most forms of tech. It can house a full suite of Spirits and grants the user +2 to tech checks requiring a Luminar.
In addition to being able to connect with other units, all Luminar can also establish a connection with devices known as Nodes (Neh.-Vaga, Vic.-Nasc, Oss.-Syndesi). Nodes are large, typically stationary devices, one to two meters tall and 50-80kg in weight. Nodes are able to store, catalogue, and index a seemingly endless amount of information, as well as act as a hub for multiple Luminar devices, fulfilling a function as a virtual library, housing the accumulated knowledge of multiple generations of lorekeepers, and storing backups of every document such individuals can acquire and scan. Connecting with a Node requires a proximity, typically between 10-20 meters, and unlike Luminar, Nodes require Helion to operate. Most nodes are equipped with a rudimentary tier zero artilect capable of facilitating search, translation, and transcription. Once a connection to a node is established it is possible to acquire copies of its contents including both specific documents, summary indices, and even functional spirits.
Luminar are able to speak with a variety of other first age devices, from doors and simple mechanisms to foundries, looms, and even some clatterjacks. For unsecured devices this interaction takes the form of a simple interface, enabling the activation of such devices. For secured devices however this interaction requires additional specialization in the form of intangible tools and functions known as Geiste, Daemons, or Spirits. Each Geist is a singular or narrowly focused machine intellect, a highly specialized tool capable of executing a limited range of actions and generally restricted to acting on the data within or accessible to the Luminar. These intellects are adaptable and often incredibly complex but lack any form of personality or volition. A set of example Geiste are provided below:
- Lore Geist: A research function, designed to assist in lore related relationship. (+1 to Lore)
- Breaching Geist: A function designed to open first age locks, doors, and decrypt information (+1 to Tech Larceny). A skilled Tinker can attempt to breach secured devices without a Geist but suffers a penalty to do so (-2).
- Craft Geist: A function designed to assist in the design and construction of a material item (+1 to Extended Craft)
- Resurrection Geist: A function capable of rebuilding an otherwise irrecoverable first age operating system (+1 to Complex Tech Repair) A skilled Tinker can attempt to repair such systems without a Geist but suffers a penalty to do so (-2)
- Language Geist: A function capable of translating languages (Universal Language Trait)
- Inference Geist: The most complex and rarest variant of Geist is the Inference Engine or Inference Geist. Unlike other functions these replicate a greater range of sapience and can even develop personalities, demonstrating a level of intellect equivalent to a low tier Clatterjack. Inference Geiste can control other lesser Geiste independent of the Luminar operator, freeing them to pursue other activities. They can also provide much needed social interaction for isolated lorekeepers and explorers.
*Specialist Geiste: Also known as embedded or material geiste, these can be housed on a Luminar but require a connection to specific pieces of hardware (lenses, mendkits, audio devices) to work properly. A specialist geist can enhance the user’s ability with medicine, mercantile, observation, stealth, investigation, technology, travel, and survival – essentially acting as a digital advisor in a given skill.