Originally, Mechanauts were quite simple in both form and function, being primarily an upgrade in materials from the most basic of golems. The name of the golemist who first thought of adding a simple wooden skeleton to their animated clay is lost to history, but modern industry owes that fine experimenter a debt of gratitude.
The next leap forward in engineering was somewhat less industrious and, quite literally, more mercenary: the armor-plated golem. Again, the engineer who originally conceived of this horror is not known, but their mark has been made upon history. These devilish devices first appear to have been used during the Conflict That Is Not Happening, though, due to the nature of the Conflict itself, it is unsure precisely when and where these engines of destruction were first employed. Unfortunately, their use has not completely been discontinued in modern times and it has been rumored that the so-called "mercenaries" employed by the Baron Smallwood were, in fact, these Articulated Retrograde Mechanaut Soldiers, or ARMS. Competing improvements on these unspeakable automatons between warring nations took on such terrible speed that the process was commonly referred to as a "race" by the year -68 EC.
Fortunately, in Kendrit of -45 EC, Carl Kapek discovered the process for instilling simple intelligence in Mechanauts, creating the first true EctoMechanaut, which he named Jacques. Kapek reportedly developed Jacques to serve as a valet who could anticipate his master's needs and, therefore, required more intelligence than previous Mechanauts. Though presumably still running, Jacques disappeared in Ikk of -25 EC shortly after the mysterious death of his creator. Luckily, the secret of alchemic intelligence was passed on to Kapek's apprentices who, along with several other prominent golemists, went on to form the Ghyll Mechanician's Guild (GMG).
EctoMechanauts in the Modern Age
Modern EctoMechanauts range in size from mouse-like to larger than an aelfant, with every size in between. Often they are produced to specifically mimic an animal or person, but there is at least one mechanician who specializes in combining animal forms to make Mechanauts of versatile and frightening purpose. It is believed that he is a renegade from GMG who stole the secret of alchemic intelligence with which he started the competing Folktown Mechanoworks Corporation (FMC). Generally, this mysterious individual is referred to as the Chairman of the Board by his employees at FMC, which is apparently an obscure reference to the worktable that the Chairman uses to invent his new creations.
EctoMechanauts are used daily throughout Ghyll for any number of tasks, many of which are quite hazardous to the health of most Ghyllians. A prime example is their use in the Dagger Seas where they dredge the sea-floor for artifacts and other salvage where vast forces of laborers once drew their nets. Another would be their use in the Azura Mines where they are used to gather the mysterious "gelatinous substance" which powers the Altoxian Bulb. According to a sales representative of GMG, EctoMechanauts make excellent laborers of all kinds including, but not limited to, foundry work, guard duty, drayage, various kinds of mining and tunneling, assembly work, and ladies shoe sales. Smaller EctoMechanauts are sometimes kept as pets.
There is at least one instance of a traveling scholar who commissioned a full-scale, entirely life-like Equestrian Beetle, which he has been seen riding through the Evesque Valley. EctoMechanauts of a finer quality are also used for more refined work such as a gentleman's valet, flautists, florists, and protocol tutors, at least in the more rural areas of Ghyll. There have also been other, alleged, uses of "fully functional" EctoMechanauts in some of the more exotic brothels of Folktown. Indeed, there have been those who have suggested that it is immoral to maintain such a seemingly intelligent workforce. Of course, those are mainly EctoMechanauts and rabble-rousers who go missing shortly after making their views loudly public.
EctoMechanauts are the primary product line of Folktown Mechanoworks Corporation, a Folktown company of golemists, mechanicians and engineers. Their chief, though not only, competitor is the Ghyll Mechanician's Guild. FMC is generally recognized as the leader and leading innovator in the field of Mechanaut manufacture and their EctoMechanauts are sought far and wide.
Folktown Mechanoworks Corporation insists that the "souls of dead babies are NOT used in the manufacture of EctoMechanauts", despite what their competitors claim, though neither independent theoalchemists nor the most learned occultologists can determine the source of the EctoMechanauts' alchemical intelligence. Add to that the fact that the Brothers of the Lantern have remained curiously quiet regarding EctoMechanauts, and one begins to wonder just how powerful these two manufacturing concerns have really become. It has been rumored that the former Mayor of Folktown, Lady Bavarian Magdelene Creame (formerly Sinch, formerly Smallwood, neé Wallinger), serves each organization secretly, using her political connections to help them maintain their relative positions in the economic world.
--Doctor Phineas Crank 21:30, 6 Oct 2004 (EDT)
Oh, come on. There are lots of things the Brotherhood doesn't talk about. It would be paranoid to assu --John Cowan 12:51, 29 Apr 2005 (EDT)