The Created In Fantasy: Warforged, Clockwerks, and other Magical Androids

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Warforged (from Eberron) came up in another thread and I thought I would start a side discussion about Created beings in fantasy. They are fairly common -- mostly in steampunk, but also outside of it -- but usually have a strong sense of other and often push the boundaries of the genre we broadly refer to as "fantasy." For example, from my perspective, warforged are a very cyberpunk element of Eberron, which already has some pretty strong cyberpunk vibes (such as Dragonmarked Houses as megacorps).

For the purposes of this discussion, i want to identify the Created as those creatures that resemble sci-fi androids: human in form but easily discernable from actual humans (or other races*) who were intentionally created by mortals (usually humans) to do their bidding but have since gained their freedom or are fighting for it.

*It occurs to me that I have never seen warforged art that shows a warforged shaped more like a dwarf or dragonborn or other non human PC species. Huh.

What fantasy TTRPGs have Created PC "races"? How do they treat them? Have you used the Created in your campaign(s)? How? Why? How do you feel they interact with the idea of "fantasy" -- especially in its vaguely high medieval era assumed milieu?
 

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Huge fan of these kind of characters here!

Level Up has the Constructed heritage, among others. I'm playing one right now in our active game. Dark Matter, a 3pp book from Mage Hand Press, has the Vect (similar to warforged in most respects)!

Various licensed games have them as appropriate, of course. Star Wars has its druids, Star Trek has its androids and holograms.

Robot heroes and villains are prevalent in the supers genre too.
 

*It occurs to me that I have never seen warforged art that shows a warforged shaped more like a dwarf or dragonborn or other non human PC species. Huh.
One of the cool "exploits" in 3.5 involved being a warforged with the adamantine or mithril body 1st level feat and becoming a dragonborn, since the transformation was a ceremony in 3.5. You lost your racial features but kept feats, so you wound up with an adamantine body or mithril body dragonborn.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
*It occurs to me that I have never seen warforged art that shows a warforged shaped more like a dwarf or dragonborn or other non human PC species. Huh.
FWIW, I designed a post-apocalyptic D&D campaign in which The Inheritors are the brains of psionically active dwarves placed in the magi-tech bodies they were building for a powerful client when the world went to Hell. Essentially, they’re fantasy versions of Cybermen/Daleks.

The first generation look like traditional Warforged, but most of the subsequent ones look like dwarves…or other beings. Physically, they’re constructs; culturally, they’re dwarves, with all that those categories entail.
 


Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
CM4 Earthshaker!! was a Zeb Cook module from 1985 that featured a colossal automaton run by gnomes.

Personally I love Automata and use a few gnome powered types, warforged and freewilled golems.
One demiplane was inhabited by the 'Talos' people who were all automatons (in Aurum, Argenti, Ferros and Kupric castes). The Talos were of course based on the Greek Talos, and thus I've used automaton owls, dogs and serpents in Hellenistic settings. (Harryhausen had a big influence of my concept of ancient Greece)

My version of Persia/Ottoman Empire also featured clockwork-soldiers and court dancers, bronze lions, gilded birds, jeweled scorpions and mechanical horses

Then you have Pinocchio-like enchanted puppets including Ravenlofts Carionettes, plus the various kinds found in he Land of Oz such as the Tinman, Scarecrow, Jack Pumpkinhead, Tik-tok, Saw-horse, China Princess, Patchwork Girl plus many others

then you have to consider the Flesh Golem and similar Frankenstein Monsters

as to TTRPGA World of Darkness Promethean gave lots of kinds including Frankenstein's, Galatean living statues and Tammuz Golems etc
 

Distracted DM

Distracted DM
Supporter
*It occurs to me that I have never seen warforged art that shows a warforged shaped more like a dwarf or dragonborn or other non human PC species. Huh.
Do you mean official art? House Cannith "created" the warforged and they're human- so I guess that's the shape they'd go with.
Except for the small scout ones.
And the bigger ones.
And the titans.
But no, afaik no "dwarf" or "Dragonborn" warforged; probably because Created by humans -> created for human convenience -> have a human shape.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Do you mean official art? House Cannith "created" the warforged and they're human- so I guess that's the shape they'd go with.
Except for the small scout ones.
And the bigger ones.
And the titans.
But no, afaik no "dwarf" or "Dragonborn" warforged; probably because Created by humans -> created for human convenience -> have a human shape.
Just had a look at Warforged illustrations and well, they dont look particularly Human at all. Sure their 6ft bipeds, with two eyes and a hinged mouth, but they have no noses, their fingers and toes are much broader than humans, and they are more robust. Other than height they look no more human than they do dwarf or goliath. For dragonborn just give one a sculpted visor on their helmet
 

Distracted DM

Distracted DM
Supporter
Just had a look at Warforged illustrations and well, they dont look particularly Human at all. Sure their 6ft bipeds, with two eyes and a hinged mouth, but they have no noses, their fingers and toes are much broader than humans, and they are more robust. Other than height they look no more human than they do dwarf or goliath. For dragonborn just give one a sculpted visor on their helmet
I'm not sure what the question is here- no, they don't look like one-to-one humans, they don't even have five fingers iirc. BUT the warforged were "made" by humans, to wield human weapons, to fight alongside humans, etc.
Why didn't the humans make them look like dwarves with metal beards? Or dragonborn with dragon heads and a tail?
Why should they? They're semi-mass produced killbots that're supposedly better than killbots cuz they can learn and adapt.

They weren't even a Cannith creation, it was magitech that Cannith salvaged from a far-flung past war. I'm pretty sure the war that that original warforged tech was much larger in size- like, giant-sized. If House Cannith had been dwarves, they'd probably look more dwarfy.
Regardless, if you want real answers go bother Keith Baker. I just like Eberron and know a bit about it.
 


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