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Homuns

Active Period: 100-150 Years
Average Height: 5'4“ - 6'4”
Complexion: Metallic grayscale, varies by construction and paint/finish.
Physique: Humanoid
Origin World: Phoebus

Appearance

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The Machine-Star

Despite calling Colico their primary home for thousands of years, and a rare few in every time period rising to positions of power or making their names as folk heroes, there is little known about the origin of Homuns or how their artificial nature relates to the greater universe, and what is known only raises more questions. The best known accounts of the Homuns’ original home comes from the centuries-old logs of spacefaring Kasari pilgrims who, on the far fringes of Colico’s neighboring stars, discovered a black pearl of a planet covered in spires and storms.

At the cost of many downed vessels and more than a few doomed Kasarites, this world would eventually be identified as Phoebus, the ancestral home of the Homuns. From high orbit, the world appears blanketed by dark gales over an abyssal sea, illuminated by perpetual flashes of unnatural lightning and the blinking lights of urban sprawl that leave little of the world’s sparse landmasses uncovered. Any ship that strays too close to the upper atmosphere is almost immediately struck with an arcane fluctuation that short-circuits electronics and drags the vessel sharply downwards. Few, if any, are known to have survived the descent to Phoebus, and researchers of distant worlds are left unsure if this is a natural phenomenon or an ancient, sophisticated defense system. In the present day, travel to the star system surrounding it is forbidden by the Dominion of Charity and heavily dissuaded against by less-than-legal spacefarers…

While one is unlikely to find their way aboard a ship going towards such a world, explorers of centuries past have intercepted more than a few vessels traveling away from it. Phoeban spacecraft do not closely resemble those of any other world, most notably in that they are all completely autonomous and devoid of crew. A sizable bounty of precious metals, complicated electronics, and sometimes stranger goods has been discovered on every ship leaving the mysterious planet- but more significantly, a rare few have been said to carry hundreds of dormant Homun cores, both coupled and decoupled from bodies.

Stories of spacefarers plundering such ships have been well-circulated for centuries, but the dangerous and profitable nature of the task has left many of the finer details muddled. From Kasari pilgrims to diverse crews of scrap collectors, those who talk most about their findings from Phoebus are prone to embellishing their stories or miscommunicating vital parts after a few drinks. It’s rumored the Dominion of Charity has (following their monopolization of space travel via the Aurora Project) conducted military operations to investigate the Homun homeworld, but whether they’ve had any breakthroughs may never be known to the public…

Metal of the Soul

The core of every Homun may vary in size and shape, but without exception, each is made of the same mysterious alloy that scholars have come to call ‘Soul Metal’. Ranging in tone from a near-platinum sheen to as black as wrought iron, Soul Metal is incredibly dense and heavy for its size, as well as being functionally indestructible. Heroic Homuns of legend are said to have survived everything from walking directly through gatling gun fire to dragging themselves out of molten rock, with only surface-level damage to their cores. While a Homun’s core may survive nearly anything, however, the same can’t be said for the person contained within…

A Homun’s life cycle begins when their cores ‘awaken’ inside a suitable robotic frame, at which point they are quick to catch onto the basics of the first spoken language they hear almost immediately. It takes an awakened Homun less than two weeks to progress from a comotose state, to operating on a purely instinctual level, to having the same intellect as a fully grown adult of another race, leading many to think that Homuns do not learn but rather remember.

Through carbon dating, it’s become common knowledge that Homun cores are almost always centuries or millenia older than their bodies and sense of personal identity. As dormant Homun cores can awaken within suitable vessels, they can also be shaken by exterior damage, sometimes to the point of returning to a dormant state for decades. In this sense, each Homun is technically immortal. Upon taking sufficient damage, a Homun may be ‘knocked out’ into a dormant state for minutes or hours and re-awaken as normal, but extreme harm may put them into dormancy for months or years (sometimes decades), after which they lose their sense of self. This is why Homuns are said to experience life in cycles, to the point that more spiritually-inclined folk may think Homuns physically reincarnate.

There’s no clear consensus among anyone as to whether Homuns are truly alive or if they are merely an incredibly sophisticated form of artificial intelligence. There is no evidence in science, even arcane studies, that any living being has what could be called a soul, but as far as anything could be consider ‘alive’, natural life is measured by two things: The first being a heartbeat, the second being a psionic aura (even in those with no ability to use psionics). With the former being technically present in unseen internal rumblings of their core, and the second being emited from it at all times (even in dormancy, to a greatly reduced extent), it technically doesn’t matter if Homuns were made completely by mortal hands or emerged from the universe like all other people: They are, without a doubt, alive.

The personalities held within a Homun core are as vast and varied as those of any Elf, Fae or Human, if not more-so: Some Homuns deliberately or instinctually speak and act with a cold, off-putting efficiency and robotic shortness, while others take great offense to being seen as any less mortal than their fleshy peers. It’s common for Homuns of both sorts to experience biological urges, such as sleeping (via dormancy) when tired or eating food (should their body allow for it) when hungry, but such desires are completely behavioral. Homuns experience no physical consequences for being shaken awake from long naps or being starved for exceptionally long periods of times, only growing irritated or deflated.

lore/races/homuns.txt · Last modified: 2019/06/19 17:02 by sage