An Artilect is the term applied to the intelligence that drives a mechanical entity, most typically embodied in a Clatterjack and a Heliar is the term used to identify a specific type of Artilect that possesses it’s own will and self-awareness. Heliar are believed to reside within the Helion that drives a Clatterjack as it is possible to transfer a Heliar Artilect between mechanical bodies. In their ‘natural’ form Heliar appear as beautiful but inert shards of extremely dense crystal.
As essentially mechanical entities the Heliar possess perfect and near instantaneous recall. They are also adept with both technology and advanced knowledge and lore. They do not require food or oxygen to survive and their metal bodies can be incredibly robust. It is very difficult, though not impossible to kill a Heliar as they possess no real biological functions. Destroying one requires shattering their Helion core. It is also possible for a Heliar to change bodies by moving their core into a new Clatterjack chassis.
As mechanical beings the Heliar are fundamentally different than all other life on Aeldos and exist as slaves, outsiders, or targets in most places. Their machine bodies are often cobbled from ancient recovered tech, mismatched and in frequent need of repair. They lack an understanding of many human social cues and are rarely treated as equals by humans. While Heliar do possess a will of their own, it is often weak, the result of their confinement within metal bodies. As a result they are prone to developing psychological flaws and other odd quirks. Heliar are incapable of procreation and many dedicate their lives to seeking out others of their kind. This is, unfortunately, an often fruitless endeavour as Heliar are extremely rare.
Heliar are a form of inorganic life that is only perceptible via a particular set of circumstances when a specific piece of Helion which appears to be the locus for a Heliar spirit is placed in a Helion Harness and integrated with a Clatterjack body. While Artilects as a general class of entity are somewhat understood, at least by specialists, the existence and origin of the Heliar are a mystery many Artifex and Mechanics have pondered over.
Further complicating factors is the fact that while all Heliar are independent and possess volition, not all independent Artilects are Heliar. The rare independent Artilect, capable of independent action but driven by organic edicts is considered an anomaly, but a Heliar, driven by their own will, is so rare as to be considered a myth by most.
Composed of two parts; the body, a mechanical construct that can move, act, and otherwise behave as humans do; and the core, a piece of immobile sentient crystal capable of powering the body, it is possible for a core to switch bodies, maintaining their memories, personality, and mental faculties while changing their physical ones to suit conditions.
Legends suggest that the Heliar were a little known creation of Ixi the Scholar; artilects imbued with volition and perfect recall to act as the Ayr’s representatives on Aeldos. If this is true the Heliar themselves seem unaware of it.
In their base form Heliar are indistinguishable from an inert piece of Helion crystal; dense, matte grey with slightly coloured facets and silver striations. It is impossible to distinguish a Heliar from normal Helion by any known test. Heliar are only able to demonstrate their unique volition when refined and fitted to the Helion Harness used to power a Clatterjack, granting them the ability to act and communicate.
While an active Heliar remembers every moment of consciousness perfectly, an inert Heliar experiences nothing, with no perception of time or the external world. Heliar memory is affected by long periods of dormancy. Any length of torpor longer than a month causes gaps and lengthy dormancy triggers a complete loss of memory prior to becoming inert.
Curiously, Heliar do require at least 2-3 hours of restful dormancy per day. This is commonly understood to be a ‘sleep period’, but the Heliar do not actually dream and they do retain partial conscious of the world around them. The actual purpose of this time is unclear. Heliar can delay this dormancy for up to eight days; after eight days without rest they fall in to a insensate slumber for 24 hours.
As a result of their unique nature the capabilities of Heliar is largely dependent on their construct bodies. Heliar can take any crafted form from the humanoid such as servant and companion machines, hulking bipedal war machines, or nimble metal assassins; to more exotic shapes such as serpentine or insectile micro-jacks.
As mineralid entities, Heliar do not age, are immune to organic toxins and diseases, and do not require food, water, or oxygen. While their machine hosts are susceptible to damage and degeneration their base forms are nearly impossible to destroy.
Heliar possess perfect memory and highly ordered minds. They have a simple time becoming masters of physics, mathematics, logic, technology, history, natural philosophy.
Heliar are dependent on their bodies for interaction with the world, but they are not inextricable from any given body. With some preparation and risk a Heliar can change bodies, assuming they have a new mechanical body ready to occupy. Many Heliar seek to build one or more accessory bodies as backups or to extend their capacities.
Heliar do have several disadvantages.
Whether it is intrinsic to their nature or something in their mechanical bodies, Heliar lack strong personal wills and are susceptible to the suggestions and guidance of others. This limited volition also tends to lead to psychological flaws or odd quirks of personality.
Heliar are, at their base level, crystalline brains, entirely dependent on their mechanical bodies for interaction with the world, and these bodies are rare and expensive to maintain in the Fourth Age. Rust, grit, and lubricant fluid depletion are all concerns for a Heliar. Materials and parts are hard to come by, self-modification and repair can be difficult, and a great deal of mechanical knowledge has been lost.
Heliar are indistinguishable from the much more subservient Clatterjacks Artilects they share a form with. Since most Artilects possess neither rights, nor interest in them, humans have no real concept of a self-determining machine. This, combined with their scarcity, makes them almost entirely unheard of and most humans simply perceive them as malfunctioning Clatterjacks. Given the utility and value of Clatterjacks this often makes Heliar a target of slavery.
Heliar minds are very different from those of organics and as a result they often have difficulty understanding common mores and social cues. This nature, in combination with their appearance and their often limited ability to demonstrate emotion or communicate physically cause Heliar to struggle in social situations.
Heliar do not procreate and their creation is a mystery. While there’s a chance a new Heliar might be created each time a new piece of Helion is used to power a Clatterjack, the chance is vanishingly small.
Heliar are an exceedingly small population, numbering only in the hundreds across all of Aeldos. As a result they have no common culture to speak of and their factions are largely expressed in two urges, Union and Federation.
Some Heliar feel a compulsion to gather as much Helion as possible, a difficult, dangerous, and expensive proposition. It is unclear what the underlying cause of this compulsion is but once a sufficient mass of Helion has been acquired, which is infrequent due to the rarity of the material, the Heliar is driven to hide and protect it, spending their days in the presence of the mass, acting as constant guardian.
Federators are driven by a fundamental desire for unity, seeking out other Heliar to ‘merge’ with. This act of fusion requires the Federator to seek out or construct a Crucible, a rare advanced technology that enables synthesis of Helion. The low numbers of Heliar and the extreme scarcity of Crucibles or their components make this an almost impossible compulsion. While most Heliar are only willing to merge with other willing Heliar, and generally satisfy themselves with the company of other sapients as a substitute for Federation, others respond to this urge by aggressively pursuing other Heliar for fusion, becoming hunters of their own kind.
Species Calling: Ixi's Chosen
Heliar excel at the following callings:
Heliar Tinker: Craft = New Level x2
Heliar Alchemist: Lore = New Level x2
Heliar Curate: Lore = New Level x2
Heliar Mechanic: Lore = New Level x2
Crystalline Memory: +2 starting Intellect, maximum of 7
Inorganic Life: Heliar do not need food, water, or oxygen to survive.
Durable As mechanical entities Heliar health and stress capacity are doubled.
Portable Mind: Artilects can switch between chassis by moving their helion core. This procedure is not entirely without risk. The Heliar or the person switching the Heliar between chassis must roll an Intellect + Technology against a difficulty of 17.
Success means the procedure is completed with incident.
Failure indicates that the Heliar was unable to assume control of the new chassis and had to be returned to their former chassis.
Critical failure, (a roll of 2) indicates that the procedure has triggered an internal energy imbalance which leaves them unable to assume control of their original chassis as well. The Heliar must wait 24 hours for their internal energy levels to stabilize before trying again.
Property: Embodied in Clatterjack forms the Heliar appear indistinguishable from the less sophisticated and obedient Artilects more frequently found across Aeldos. As a result they are typically treated as property, not as sapient entities with self-directing will.
Construct: As mechanically embodied entities Heliar do not heal naturally and must be repaired. Most can conduct minor repairs but significant damage can prompt the need for hard to find components or advanced repair facilities. Repairing a Heliar requires a roll of 2d10 + Intellect + Technology. The Heliar recovers 1 point of health per 10 points rolled. This roll can only be made once per day.
Compliant: -2 starting Will, maximum of 3
Inert: Heliar require a mechanical body in order to interact with the world. In the absence of a functioning body the Heliar is rendered entirely helpless, unable to perceive or interact with the world.
Skill Purchase Modifiers
Heliar have modified XP costs for purchasing the following skills.
Socialize +1 multiplier
Stealth +1 multiplier
Performance +1 multiplier
Technology -1 multiplier
Lore -1 multiplier
Craft -1 multiplier
Heliar Core – Shattered Heart: No Heliar is entirely whole; on some level every Heliar bears cracks and fractures in their crystalline heartmind. With sufficient experience and focus Heliar are able to mend their crystalline structure and unlock new abilities. Ability levels cannot exceed the characters level in Heliar Core.
Overcharge: The nature of the Heliar is to act as both mind and motivator for mechanical bodies. By modulating their energy output the Heliar can enhance certain physical abilities. For each point in Overcharge the Heliar can temporarily add a point to the Power or Grace rating of their chassis. Effects last for a number of minutes equal to the ability level.
Shocking Discharge: The Heliar releases a blast of energy that paralyzes and stuns nearby enemies. Additional ranks in this ability increase the number of affected targets and stun duration.
Webwork Query: Though the webwork was almost entirely shattered during the great cataclysm, some towers continue to transmit. By adjusting the alignment of their core the Heliar is able to tap into the remaining portions of the webwork and the vast repository of fragmented knowledge that reside within, gaining a boost to Intellect. Once per game the Heliar can gain a temporary bonus to Intellect equivalent to the rank in Query and access information they normally would not have access to.
Active Sensing: All Artilects are able to use their crystalline cores to send out a wave of energy, mapping nearby areas. Indeed this capability is one of the pillars of Clatterjack technology, allowing the machines to perceive the environment around them. Heliar however can consciously refine this technique to grant more robust perception and increase the difficulty to ambush or surprise one. Each point in this ability can be added to the characters base Perception. This ability also grants the Heliar perfect night sight, eliminating all penalties for operating in low light or pitch black areas.
Resonance Transmission: A unique ability amongst Heliar that allows them to communicate via a series of finely controlled energy waves. With this gift, any two Heliar, the Heliar and an Artilect, or the Heliar and an decent quality Luminar can communicate directly in perfect silence, eliminating the possibility of eavesdropping. Additionally, the Heliar is able to use this ability to encode a message in a piece of crystal. This crystal can be read by any other Heliar or a human equipped with a luminar and the right decryption key.
Resonance Reception: The Heliar synchronizes a portion of their consciousness with a specially prepared crystal, granting them the ability to hear and see via the crystal. The Heliar can maintain a number of listening crystals equal to the ability level.
Direct Control: With practice Heliar are able to assume control of any technology powered by Helion (save those powered by fellow Heliar). At low levels this ability can be used to frustrate others use of ancient tech, but at higher levels a skilled Heliar can take control of other non-heliar artilects. This ability requires the character to make a Will + Shattered Heart + Direct Control. Results are defined below:
|1||Luminar, Urul Lighting|
|2||Urul Doors, Minor Tech, Traps|
|2-5||The attempt backfires, causing the target to break or become hostile|
|5-16||The attempt fails|
|16-19||The attempt succeeds. The target follows all simple instructions given to them by the Heliar|
|20+||The attempt is exceptionally successful. The target follows complex or self-destructive instructions|
+A Heliar can control a number of relics equal to their Will + Direct Control / 2.
Synchronicity: The mineral-mechanical nature of Heliar intelligence renders them fundamentally different from all other forms of intelligence on Aeldos. This is the source of one of their greatest obstacles – understanding, empathizing and interacting comfortably with organic beings, a problem anyone who has traveled with a Heliar can attest to. Heliar who seek to better understand organic life can do so by engaging in synchronization, the temporary emulation of organic brain waves. Simply put, the Heliar alters a portion of their internal structure to emulate the semi-chaotic nature of organic thought, allowing them to better understand and engage with organics. For each point in this ability the character can temporarily add a point to their Personality rating. Effects last for a number of minutes equal to the ability level.
Rumour has it a small Tamaa once licked the Helion core of a Heliar, and declared it salty to the tongue
Heliar Character Creation
Initial Core Aspects
Players get 36 experience points which they can spend on improving their core aspects.
-Maximum Intelligence at character creation is 4
-Maximum Will and Personality at character creation is 3.
Initial Body Aspects
Players must assemble a body for their Heliar. Players get 8 points to spend on their body components according to the costs listed below.
-Broken components or flaws have negative costs and can be used to gain additional points to spend on other components.
-Chassis, Myos, and Sensorum are all mandatory components.
-Modules and Flaws are optional.
-If the character has points left over from core aspects they can be spent here.
-Only 2 distinct flaws can be taken.
Mandatory Components ∞
|Salvage (Large)||+6 Power, +1 Grace, +1 Appearance, -15 Stealth||-4|
|Salvage (Medium)||+3 Power, +3 Grace, +3 Appearance, -10 Stealth||-2|
|Salvage (Small)||+4 Grace, +1 Power, +3 Appearance, -5 Stealth||-1|
|Alpha (Small)||+7 Grace, +2 Power, +3 Appearance, -5 Stealth||1|
|Beta (Medium)||+5 Power, +5 Grace, +5 Appearance, -10 Stealth||2|
|Gamma (Large)||+8 Power, +2 Grace, +2 Appearance, -15 Stealth||4|
|Epsilon (Medium)||+6 Power, +7 Grace, +5 Appearance||8|
|Zeta (Aerial)||+5 Grace, +2 Power +1 Appearance, -5 Stealth||3|
|Worn||+2 Power, +2 Grace||-2|
|Light||+2 Power, +5 Grace||2|
|Standard||+3 Power, +3 Grace||4|
|Heavy||+5 Power, +2 Grace||6|
|Apex Myo||+5 Power, +5 Grace||8|
Optional Components ∞
|Crossbow||7d||4||100m range, 1 round reload|
|Discblade||8d||5||Slashing damage, Terrifying|
|Grinder||8d||5||Aggravated damage, Terrifying|
|Thunderer||12d||8||250m range, 2 round reload, minimum power of 4|
|Aesthetically Pleasing Shell||+3 Appearance||4|
|Aesthetically Exquisite Shell||+5 Appearance||8|
|Audio Processor||Mimicry and audio playback function||3|
|Autoloader||Reduce reload time by 1 round||3|
|Cargo Canister||Integrated Storage||3|
|Charming Voice||+3 Personality||4|
|Cloak||+10 to visual Stealth checks||8|
|Dampeners||+10 to audible stealth checks||6|
|Direct Interface||+3 to Tech w compatible artefacts||4|
|Far Talker||Remote communication device||3|
|Faction Livery||+3 to social with specified faction||4|
|Fire Suppression System||Put out fires||3|
|Halo Unit||Ignore 3 standard ranged attacks / rd||8|
|Heat Engine||No cold weather penalties||3|
|Heat Sink||No warm weather penalties||3|
|Mapping Unit||+3 to Travel Checks||4|
|Portable harness||+3 to chassis swapping check, body-less interaction||4|
|Repair Suite||+3 to repair checks||4|
|Surgical Suite||+3 to medical checks||4|
|Target Designator||+3 to hit ranged||6|
|Bad Wiring||Chance to catch fire when under strain||-2|
|Command Unit||Total obedience to bolt holder||-4|
|Corrupted Language Library||Can only speak 1 language||-1|
|Cracked Harness||-1 to all aspects, no levels in Shattered heart until repaired||-4|
|Crude Proprioceptor||-5 to all fine grace checks||-2|
|Fragile||Critical failures cause components to fail until repaired||-2|
|Improper Sheathing||Susceptible to water damage||-2|
|Irritating Voicebox||-3 Personality||-3|
|Primitive Harness||-3 to chassis swapping checks||-2|
|Rusty||-2 Grace, -5 Stealth||-2|
|Stiff Joints||-15% Travel Speed||-1|
|Warped Targeting Optics||-5 to all attacks||-4|
The rest of Heliar character creation is identical to other characters; 10 Broad Skill points, 15 Focus Skill points, and 5 traits. To continue character creation please see the Character Creation section of the Rules page.