Artifex Item in Arbor | World Anvil
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The artifex are a true wonder of engineering, magic and artistry all combined into one. To call them golems or constructs is to belittle their creation and the skills of those that craft them into being. They are programmable bipedal clockwork automatons, crafted exclusively by the The Iron Hands finest craftsmen. In fact each artifex is unique and can be considered a work of art onto itself. in fact many who own the artifex treat them as such hiding them away in glass enclosures showing them off to their friends as status symbols. There have been at times questions about the nature of the Artifex at times, are they alive, do they feel, do they think. The Iron hands have waved away such questions and insist the Artifex are merely creations obeying their programming with no free will of their own.  
To see them move is to watch art in motion, gears and springs moving with such perfect precise precision that no person could hope to achieve - Iron Hands Designer


Each Artifex is a unique creation having been molded by the designers hands over the course of months or even years, these are not mass produced golems designed to replace the working man but pieces of art to be appreciated by those of the upper classes. However they do share a few common characteristics regardless of the craftsmen responsible which are listed below.
  • They are not alive, they do not have a pulse or any kind of respiratory or pulmonary system lacking either working heart or lungs. Which is not to say that some do not have representations of these organs but they are purely for aesthetic purposes and nothing more.
  • Their creation and locomotion process is a closely guarded secret by the Iron Hands, it is the main reason for the gloves that their workers are forced to wear keeping the secret of how the Artifex are created is paramount
  • They are generally composed of various cuts of Great Tree Wood , Iron, Steel, Brass and Copper. Each piece is almost always engraved with beautiful scrollwork and embellishments to further add to their artistry.
Beyond this small set of criteria an Artifex can look like nearly anything though there is a tendency to more delicate pieces within the company there have been larger variants produced from time to time.  


The Artifex have existed for about 200 years now, at first they were merely a pet project of the Goldfoot family, an obsession with creating something to rival the golems that were beginning to be churned out of factories. They hated these mass produced clunky things that were really only good for basic guard duty and nothing more. They envisioned a thing of abject beauty that could be at home in a stately manor rather than standing on some street corner keeping the riff raff away. They found that some of her Iron Hands were amteur artisans creating small pieces of jewelry with leftover pieces of Iron and slag. She put them to work constructing the body and frame of their creations and paid a golemancer to oversee the mechanical construction of the creation.   At first progress was slow the golemancer saying that what they wanted was impossible no amount of money could be thrown at this to create something that wasn't blocky, stupid and clumsy like other golems. So they got another golemancer and another until they found one Dora Maxwell that agreed to try and do what the Goldfoot's were asking of her. The process to create a golem is a complex one requiring many years of study but even then there are rules that must be followed in order to be successful. The Artifex designs and desired outcome broke almost all of these rules. Dora was not deterred though and on a dark night many months later the Artifex took its first steps.   Unfortunately this would not lead to fame and fortune for Dora, she forgot the cardinal rule about inventing something for someone else, make sure you always hold something back so they still need you. The Goldfoots had her killed everyone knows this but Dora was from a poor family and would not be missed, her creation and the secrets that she learned cost her her life and the process for making the Artifex has been kept secret by the Goldfoots ever since.  


Unfortunately for everyone else the secret of how the Artifex are created remains in the hands of the Iron Hands. What is known though is that for the most part there isn't anything in the construction itself that is too unusual if you were trying to design a more streamlined golem. It has most of the same and similar components that it's larger dumber cousins do though with far more care put into its outer shell, inner gears and workings. However nothing in it's construction that one can learn without taking it apart has lead anyone to a discovery of how they move and think in the way that they do, so it remains a mystery.  


Comprised of Great Tree Wood, Heart Wood, iron, brass, copper, gold and gemstones the artifex is also on it's own in terms of materials worth a pretty penny. The body alone could sell for hundreds if not thousands of Leaves and in some cases making it the most expensive item a person can own.  


The Artifex is capable of not only complex thought when carrying out tasks but understanding at a level that should be impossible for something without a true spark of life. In addition they are far faster and more agile than any of the mass produced factory golems. An artifex is also capable of learning new skills and growing more proficient as time passes some of the earlier creations are still around and for those that own them find them quite capable in nearly every aspect of life made available to them.
Item Type
The Iron Hands  
Owning Organization
The Iron Hands  
Very Rare: Taking Weeks or even Months to create a single one in addition to the high material cost there are only rumored to be about 200 in the entire city.  
Related Technologies
Steam Power  
Varies from model to model but starting price is usually upwards of 100,000 Leaves


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