Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Mechanics

The art of locksmithing, keymaking, clockmaking and other tiny feats of engineering are considering a pseudo-magic. The method of creating these tiny devices of metal are combination of revealed mysteries through the Guild. The art of the Mechanics Guilds is contrasted with the more obtuse Engineers Guild, whose craft deals with larger creations of iron, wood and stone.

Lock & Key. All keys and locks are of 24 kinds, based on the Treatise of the Twenty-Four Ultimate Permutations by Frederick the Keymaker. The discoveries and experiments detailed by Frederick in the Treatise were that there are only 24 mathematically perfect methods of configuring a lock's design. In the Treatise's appendix there is some discussion about a method of creating Unique Keys matched to Unique Locks with some theories as to how these might be forged. The appendix also includes discussion about some of the weaknesses in the system, mostly how some of the 24 may not be as unique from one another as indicated in the title. The source of Frederick's designs, as illustrated in the book, come from both salvages from the remains of the Ark and materials brought out of the Ancient Cities.

The Delvers Guild. The Delvers Guild seeks out assistance from the Mechanics Guild in their pursuit of secrets within the Ancient Cities. The discoveries of Frederick -- while helpful in securing the portals of modern Man -- have proved invaluable in unlocking the troves deep within the Ancient Cities.

The Unique Keys. Mechanics that worked on the Treatise's original assumptions eventually developed Unique Keys of their own. This discovery allowed Mechanics to secure all manner of portal and container in their evolving craft. This also offered clues as to how many ancient portals and gates may be opened. (Years following the Great Peace, a discovered Unique Key was used to open a gate in the Great Wall the separated the Wastes from the Holy Empire.) The method is perfect to a fault, portals so-secured could only ever be opened or secured using the forged key.

Thieves. The Black Companies, having Mechanics under their own employ -- however secret -- developed strategies to break any portal secured with one of the 24 basic locking mechanisms. These Lock Picks are a set of a dozen or so tools made of iron, brass, wood, etc. -- designs that attempt to hijack the arcane mechanisms of the basic locks. Picks are contraband in any City are should never be brandished as they will be confiscated, you will be fined (or worse if you have a criminal history).

The 24 Permutations.
 The Jeweled Triad: Adorned, Fancy, Ornate.
The Triple Minerals: Brass, Iron, Rough.
The Three Precious Minerals: Copper, Gold, Silver.
The Monstrous Tripartite: Dragon, Titan, Ur-beast
The Three Animals: Eagle, Lion, Pig.
The Triple Archetypes: Hierophant, Mother, Warrior.
The Cards: Jack, King, Queen.
The Plants: Nettles, Vines, Yew-tree.

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