Technology of Clockwork Canon

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An Introduction

On the properties of science and magic

by Lucero, Master Craftsman, Grande Oriente de Castellano

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Arthur C. Clarke

I was once told a story, by a mentor, about an intricate piece of clockwork that had suddenly found itself upon the laps of savages. It was an experiment by a well known woman anthropologist who lived to the age of ninety despite her addiction to peaceleaves. She observed that, despite the inherent benignity of the design, it was treated with fear and loathing by the primitives. They would throw sticks, stones, and spears at the automaton because, they said, “They wished to free the souls they saw trapped within the contraption.” The object was an early form of radio receiver at a time when batteries were at the advent of their invention; power for it was generated by turning a crank. The souls the savages wished to free were nothing more than the voices they heard emanating from the device.

I was sure the story was apocryphal, but it did deliver message clearly. Just as the man, who I have quoted, said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” This is the nature of the writing you are reading now. This is an attempt, by a humble craftsman, to enlighten his people and free them from the dark aged dogmas that continue to hold them bondage. They call me erehe; they call me blasphemer; they call me filibustero; but I am merely a servant of the light. I am here not as the holder of truth nor even the bringer of it, but merely a butler who draws the curtains to let the sun in. I bring you fresh air, brother. Breathe in and open your eyes.

On the nature of magic and science, I only assert that magic is nothing more than another word for knowledge. It is also such to the occult; occult being the word for hidden knowledge. But if such things are knowledge, no different from science and conventional academics, why the need to hide them? Because it is the prerogative of a learned man to be responsible. Knowledge, like everything else in this world, is nothing more than a tool; it is neither bad nor good; it merely is. The good and evil, which the apologetic never fails to mention, are only found in the purpose through which a tool is used for. A responsible person, knowledgeable of what is good and what is evil, will never place such powerful tools in the hands of another who would mean to do evil, or in the hands of a child who would not know the meaning of good or evil. Imagine a loaded revolver in the hands of a madman. That is what hidden knowledge serves to prevent.

Thus, true knowledge is only for those who are responsible and mature enough to realize that such things do exist; they must also hold the passion and determination to seek them out through personal paths. True knowledge is never gained through mentors, classrooms, textbooks, or treatises written by hermits and doctors of mysterious disciplines; it can only be gained by the self, and the most which those who have learned could do is provide an unmarked map. It is a straight path were are all destined to walk. In the end, it is you who decides how straight you wish to walk.

“Faith could move mountains,” a wise man once said. It was not just a lesson, or an example, it was a statement of a fact. What we are dealing with here concerning the nature of magic and science, including their relationship with each other, are realities and perceptions. Do understand that perceptions never reflect realities and realities never completely form perceptions. They are rarely in congruence, and even then, only mildly. It should, however, be realized that there is such a thing called personal reality. Many scientist's have already caught a glimpse of it and what it could do to reality at large when personal reality is stronger than external reality. Conventional laws concerning our understanding of the material world tend to...eschew.

This is why magic was brought far, far away from its original meaning of being nothing more than knowledge. People have observed things which they could not completely and properly explain, even the scientist. Those who have taken the supernatural perspective of such phenomena have been branded superstitious, be they civilized or primitive. They call these things urban legends if not outright myths. The dogmas call them miracles, if acknowledged; and witchcraft by the agents of the Dead God, if apparent beyond the constraints of religious law.

In fact, they are nothing more than manifestations of the Natural Order of the Universe. All things generate reality and reality, be it personal or external, is at a constant flux. One influences, changes, or molds the other. Many people try to name it many things, but this is nothing which could ever truly be defined, only understood, imbibed, and unified with. Only one term is ever accepted among the truly learned, that is mystical. We often find it amongst the most mundane of things; focus, intuition, the ability to modulate your emotions at will, and even extreme concentration. At even more sophisticated levels of proficiency, as the wise man once said, “Faith,” could move, “mountains.”

—The Year 4560, Age of Empire

Human Understanding in the Age of Empire

From the onset and the premise of this campaign setting, it would already seem that technology on this alternate-earth is dominated by clockwork machinery and principles, heavily and jealously guarded by the Magisterium Imperium. This section aims to dispel that notion and provide a better picture of the truth, a truly accurate account of what is over what is perceived to be.

Not many know this, but it is the accepted truth among the inner circles of the Empire that the Living Saint-Emperor was handed by God the Book of Enoch and all of its wondrous secrets. This he used to fuse together the Christian Church and Roman Empire into the Holy Roman Empire, expanding the Kingdom of God in every direction, over every inch of Earth conceivable.

What these few do not understand, however, is that the secrets held within the book are not at all limited to mere clockwork machinery or, dare I say it, technology. Within the context of this game, clockwork merely happened to be the superficial motif of a much more complex situation. It is such because clockwork is the only apparent application of the principles found in the Book of Enoch to an Empire composed entirely of pre-industrial mindsets; mindsets, that through the effects of an altered history, survived beyond their limited historicity. Their learning was still classical in nature and continued to pervade civilized thought throughout the Age of Empire. Thus, the most basic and simplest of schematics were developed into intricate and elaborate forms in order to fully utilize the learning the Book of Enoch offered.

First among these machines was the Astronomical Clock—a machine whose internal mechanisms could calculate and visually represent, through its external design, the positions of the Sun and the Planets on a geocentric model at the mere turn of a dial. From here, man's imagination knew no boundaries.

However, clockwork alone could not sustain a project as staggering as the ambition to rile the world. In truth, what is called Angelic or Celestial Clockwork by the Empire is merely a names they have given to something much, much more complex; it is only unfortunate that clockwork is their only conception of the reality. A truer name for the principles in the Book of Enoch does exist though, and it is known to a very few of this world; something even most of the Imperial circles could not comprehend; something they have branded as heresy, blasphemy, and what have you.

Those who truly understand, those who truly know the craft have aptly named the principles, “The Natural Order of the Universe”—which implies complex understandings of physics, mathematics, geometry, and so on and so forth. To the better learned who elude the cruelty of the Inquisition, they have even developed a pseudonym for it, “Perfect Geometry.”

A godlike understanding of these principles alone (as professed by the Emperor, and in varying lesser degrees by his Cardinals) is not sufficient to bring the whole world beneath one's heel. There is yet one other half of the equation which completes the solution. This is one secret the Empire guards even more zealously than clockwork. Whereas clockwork, in its more basic forms, is taught to some subjects of the Empire, this discipline is kept only among the most trusted of the Empire.

It is aptly called, “The Understanding of the Nature of Things”—which basically implies understanding of material science, but is capable of much, much more; the more sophisticated degrees of which even transcend the mere material. Those who know it and practice it within the purview of the Empire have called it Thaumaturgy, the practice and study of God's miracles. Those who know it and practice it outside the approval of the Empire, those who are burned at the stake as witches, have called it Alchemy. It is a study into the nature of things, both corporal and ethereal, spiritual and temporal, without which the Book of Enoch is merely an incomplete half—impotent and trite.

It is with this justification that we shall assert this reality; every other aspect of study is merely a specialized form of one of the two, or yet a practical application of both. For example, Biology is clearly an aspect of Alchemy, yet the discipline of Healing it complements is an aspect of both Alchemy and Clockwork, as clockwork is also the understanding of cause and effect.


Technology for Daily Use

Clockwork Machinery

Clockwork machines are called clockwork because their mechanisms are powered by high-tension springs, like clocks devised in the classical era countless millenia ago. By using the recyclable energies of the springs inherent properties, these machines are nigh perpetual in operation.

They predominate the technological infrastructure of the Holy Roman Empire&mdashbeing found in astronomical clocks, global clocks, automatic calculators, and even heavy machinery for construction. Clockwork is essential in maintaining the apparent global military superiority of the Imperial Armed Forces.

In the empire, five kinds of spring are used for certain kinds of machinery that achieve a distinct purpose;

Spring of Gold, the Divine Spring, the Emperor's Spring, the Godspring, etc. Subversive elements merely call it the Mainspring. It is the logical conclusion of clockwork machinery, being the ultimate high-tension spring that powers highly sophisticated technology. The exact methods and formula of its manufacture are zealously guarded secrets of the Empire. Only Rome is allowed to manufacture the alloys, and even there only a secretive cabal of Friars under the close supervision of the Emperor have the knowledge and means of reproducing these metals. It is said that a coil of this alloy, made at just the right size, could keep the world turning.

Spring of Silver, Spring of Athanasius, the Saintspring, etc. Subversives call this Powerspring. It is used to power complex, heavy machinery such as construction equipment, industrial equipment, and so on. The heavier war machines of the Imperial Forces use these springs, as so do a few sophisticated war gear. These things are hard to find. Only factories and personnel loyal to one of the Empire's Ascetic Military Orders have the means, knowledge, and sanction to reproduce these metals.

Spring of Bronze, Peter's Spring, the Priestspring, etc. Subversives call this Blightspring after the only people sanctioned to manufacture it, clergymen. Priestspring is not as powerful as Saintspring, but it is enough to provide the motive force for simple yet heavy machinery or miniature yet sophisticated devices. These springs are usually found within commercial equipment, equipment of moderate size used in agriculture, civilian transportation, and the like. Most of the smaller devices it is found in are sophisticated calculators, mechanical scribing tablets, and the like.

Spring of Iron, Paul's Spring, the Zealspring, etc. Subversives call this Lecherspring. It is used to power machines of considerable complexity and size, although not in the scale and sophistication achievable with the springs already mentionied. These are usually found in cheaper construction equipment, cheaper vehicles, and so on. These springs also power millstones, water pumps, and other simple luxuries of daily living. The Empire sanctions anyone willing to manufacture these springs for profit.

Spring of Clay, Man's spring. Subversives prefer to call this Commonspring. It is the spring you find in watches and other trivial items. Anyone could make these springs.

These springs, especially the powerful ones, are usually housed in modules that allow for quick replacement when they have worn down. These modules are manufactured exclusives by the clergy of the Empire. Modules with worn springs are returned to their respective manufacturers.

The only technologies allowed for use in the Empire is clockwork. Everything else is labeled the machinations of the devil, forbidden knowledge, black magic, or the illusions of heretics.

Technology for Special Purposes

Technology for Logistics—Communications, Travel, and Transport

Technology for Warfare

Clockwork Wargear