Arcanotechnology: The Marriage of Magic and Science

A mage examining some freshly-mined arcanite ore prior to processing it for use in an arco-tech device.
alt. arcane technology, arcanotech, arco-tech

Arcanotechnology is known to have originated from D ominus, but thanks to airship travel has begun to see use in other continents of Aetheria as well. In the simplest of terms, this is the process by which technological devices draw power from a magical source. There are three known means of achieving this: binding, arcanite ore, or the practice known as spelljamming.

Binding is considered the most archaic and crude of arcanotech power sources. This process involves imprisoning an extraplanar energy being (usually summoned creatures from the elemental planes) in a device and having it provide an everlasting power source — no one knows why the elemental doesn't end up depleting its own life force in the process. This practice had fallen out of public use decades ago when researchers discovered that the elemental planes' denizens are actually sentient. Older devices still have a poor elemental soul trapped within, and nowadays it's considered a common courtesy to liberate an elemental from its ancient arcanotech prison. Some elementals, however, have grown to appreciate or even thrive in their imprisonment: most notably the cores of the warforged, ancient man-sized constructs whose souls are gestalts of elemental power sources and their own artificial intelligences.

Arcanite is an ore mined beneath the Spine of the World mountains; the dwarves thus have a virtual monopoly on its supply lines (with a few notable exceptions). Arcanite ore seems to be nothing less than raw magical energy somehow transmuted into a solid form, and is usually used to power portable arcanotech devices — most notably weapons and armor. A fist-sized chunk of arcanite is known to be able to power a device for weeks, possibly even months with mild use. Dwarven arcano-technicians suspect that this wondrous power source is the legacy of some bygone age, its civilization undoubtedly wiped out by whatever cataclysm sent Atheria's lands into the sky.

Spelljamming is arcanotechnology's means to power anything larger than a suit of armor: From generators powering industrial buildings to full-blown airships. This works by a mage interfacing with the machine directly via a device known as a spelljamming helm, which for ease of reference is almost always constructed as a literal helm worn over the head. A spelljammer is known to be able to power a machine almost indefinitely, so long as they have magical reserves to draw upon. Some mages who interface with machines for extended periods of time claim that they somehow 'feel what the machine feels' but this effect is known to end the moment the helm is removed.

Spelljamming and arcanite power aren't mutually exclusive; a sufficiently large quantity or arcanite is known to be a temporary fix for a missing (or dead) spelljammer, and a mage is known to be able to 'charge' depleted arcanite ore; or in most cases, extend its lifespan. 

What puzzles sages is that seemingly any sort of spellcaster is able to interface with a spelljamming helm. Sorcerers and wizards are obvious candidates, but clerics and druids have also been discovered to be capable of spelljamming — in addition to warlocks, bards and all manner of other 'lesser' magic-user. Evidently magic has its own rules that do not discriminate the way spellcasters do.

Are there drawbacks to arcanotechnology? Aside from the dependence on magic-users or arcanite mining, there don't seem to be any. Devices are still under constant monitoring for possible side effects of long-term use, but so far this wonder of modern engineering has done nothing but improve the quality of life on Dominus.

DM's Note: Think of this as our setting's token magical power source like chrysm ore from Breath of Fire III or ember from Torchlight. For mechanical purposes a spelljamming-able 'mage' is literally anyone with a Spellcasting class feature and spell slots to go with it.

Peg source: Kamen Rider Wiki

Arcanotechnology: The Marriage of Magic and Science

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