Far above the skies of the Ninth World of Numenera, an immense and impressive city made of iron stays well-hidden in a mass of clouds as it drifts slowly to the east.
Those who are unfamiliar with the Iron City of Automata have speculated that the metal metropolis hides in order to protect itself.
But those who know better recognize the fact that the automaton citizens of the floating city have nothing to fear since they are under the protection of a powerful woman who most believe commands grand powers.
The clouds are there because she desires her city to appear more astonishing.
Automata is the city of iron and automation, from its foundation to its citizens…save for one.
The human Zunedanus, Sorceress of Automata, acts as the city’s protector, and adviser to the ruling “Ascendant,” a collection of eight automaton intelligences encased in an octagon-like structure with each face projecting one of the giant “ancient” automatons.
More often than not, the “Ascendant” has gone along with Zunedanus in all matters pertaining to the city’s growth, prosperity, defense and future. In fact, Zunedanus has taken more control with her strong and unbending beliefs (which is the true origin of her title) and steered Automata in a direction that has benefited all.
Automata stretches nearly a mile in diameter with extraordinary and always-in-motion spires, palaces and gardens in differing shades of red strewn throughout, with Zunedanus’ shining radiant red keep, The Parathade, in the center.
Under Zunedanus’ watchful guidance, the city has prospered with other realms of the Ninth World in trade and commerce with most dealings favoring Automata. Even when confrontational occurrences arise, Automata remains victorious thanks to Zunedanus’ mysterious and potent sorcery.
Zunedanus, clad in red flowing dresses and robes, wields an iron staff covered in a multitude of odd lights and irregular shaped buttons. With a press of buttons and a short incantation, Zunedanus is able to produce magical feats that have stunned and dazzled Automata’s denizens and visitors, as well as put fear into those who think of invasion.
Zunedanus’ magic has included the following: a creation of an impenetrable field that has encased the whole city or herself when under attack, teleportation of undesirables or criminals to the world below, the transformation of structures to accommodate the growing populations, the control of the weather and Zunedanus’ uncanny knowledge of what (mostly) transpires in the city.
Aeon priests of the Amber Papacy have surmised that Zunedanus’ “growing and troubling” magic is in fact numenera that is spread across the great iron city. They believe the sorceress’ power originates in the staff and nothing else, although the papacy has been hard pressed to find any priests wiling to challenge and test the “magic”; Zunedanus’ dislike of the papacy is a curiosity but a well-known one at that.
Despite their misgivings of the sorceress, the papacy has had numerous dealings with Automata especially when it comes to The Parathade, which not only serves as Zunedanus’ sanctum, but home to a myriad of unique Automata-produced numenera and a massive wealth of past chronicles, some of which are accessed by large glass chambers.
The chambers contain either remnants of a living being or a recorded account. When the chamber is in use, a being is projected by light and can interact with its user, either by telling stories or answering questions to the best of their ability. Many adventurers looking for lost cities, knowledge, long forgotten and powerful artifacts, come to The Parathade in search of clues.
In addition to its many visitors, Zunedanus has allowed humans and other beings to take temporary residence in Automata; as the human population nears 5,000, the automaton denizens near 20,000 and continue to grow.
What is unknown is why and especially how the automatons are increasing in numbers.
A subject that Zunedanus has no interest in sharing with outsiders.
Another perplexing attribute to the automaton populace is their belief they are organic creatures who happen to live in a metropolis of automation; no amount of evidence will persuade them that they are mechanical in nature even if presented with a reflection of their physical forms.
Visitors will also find all automatons are vastly different to one another from their colorful elaborate garments and long cloaks they wear to the color of their iron framing. Even their personalities run the spectrum from pleasant to ungracious.
THE HELM OF UNITY
Technology Class: Automata cypher
Wearable: Dark red and black iron helmet fashioned with a multitude of circular etchings throughout with 12 glowing circular red eyes protruding from the face plate of the helmet.
Origins: Personally forged by Zunedanus and her elite automaton craftsmen. Combines elements of numenera discovered in the city’s ancient foundations, and numenera found in the Beyond. Construction for the device is one week.
Effect: Draws upon the energies of all allies to produce a single effect. At least one ally and a maximum of ten must be with the user of the helm in order to use its one time power. When used, the helm renders allies unconscious for two rounds and permanently subtracts 2 points from a stat pool producing one of the effects below.
1) The Might of Unity – Add the number of allies, multiply by 3 and add to your might pool. The number of allies is also added to your might edge (maximum of 3) for two rounds. For example 5 allies allows 10 points to your might pool and a might edge of 3. Permanently subtract 2 points from each of your allies’ might pool.
2) The Speed of Unity – Add the number of allies, multiply by 3 and add to your speed pool. The number of allies is also added to your speed edge (maximum of 3) for two rounds. For example 5 allies allows 10 points to your speed pool and a speed edge of 3. Permanently subtract 2 points from each of your allies’ speed pool.
3) The Intellect of Unity – Add the number of allies, multiply by 3 and add to your intellect pool. The number of allies is also added to your intellect edge (maximum of 3) for two rounds. For example 5 allies allows 10 points to your intellect pool and a might edge of 3. Permanently subtract 2 points from each of your allies’ intellect pool.
Use: One of hundreds of Automata cyphers produced in the Parathade, Zunedanus is willing to give The Helm of Unity as a gift for important tasks rendered or valuable knowledge that helps to substantially advance her cause. As of late she seeks information on Caravald an extremely bulky, short and obnoxious automaton merchant who has managed to keep secret his affairs with a rebellious faction.