Non-fever Dreaming Miércoles
I woke up Wednesday morning dreaming about the Eye of the Needle, an airship based setting I sketched out some time ago. I'm positive that this happened because I was reading the Unearthed Arcana named Ships and the Sea. I had been thinking in my little bit of spare time about reverse engineering the ships to create a process for building custom ships.
Before talking about the Artificer Priests, it's important to read the post linked above. If you don't have time, the key piece of information is that the airships can travel through the needle back and forth for several days in a row with plenty of reserve engine power. Unfortunately, they can only travel 20 miles, a hard limit, from the needle once they exit. Any attempt to surpass that limit fails with the ship gently coming to rest exactly 20 miles from the nearest edge of the needle.
The engines that power the ships traveling through the needle seem semi-intelligent with an ability to avoid collision with other similar ships. Both the ships will drop into a much slower speed until the threat of collision is gone. The engines themselves have a similar barrel shape with no obvious means to propel the ship. There are no visible controls on the engine, yet turning, pulling, and pushing the ships' wheel directs the ship effortlessly.
The folx that make these engines have a religious devotion to the creation of the engines. They are happy to share how the engines are created, but no one has been able to push through the dense religious tomes and iconography to understand the process. The information about how they came to the knowledge of engine creation is provided below. The source comes from their own writings.
In the side of hill a day's journey away from the city, lies the Temple of Oa, the Creator, the Originator of Breath, and source of the divine language. The Artifice Priests have journeyed daily to this temple to perform sacred rituals and take holy sacraments since the needle was discovered and the city built around it. At that time, however, they did not call it The Needle, instead calling it the Endless Chasm.
Oa was discovered by the first pilgrims, but she spoke in an unknown tongue. As pilgrims and priests listened, she revealed wonders and miracles in visions and later written books. All in a language neither recognized nor understood.
The thousands of E-Po were discovered soon after. Each egg shaped object lay motionless and spoke the language as Oa when approached. Inside the eggs were more tomes and treasurers, all beyond understanding. Oa was vast, but the E-Po were small by comparison, about the size of three people.
The First High Priest
The woman that became the first High Priest listened for years. She listened to the pilgrims' ignored questions and to the comforting, but alien voice of Oa.
She decided one day to tell Oa the history of her people before they moved to the Endless Chasm. She told the old stories and described the basics of how people survived. She talked about her culture and the lands of others that lived far away. She wasn't sure why she made this decision, but she continued for weeks and months. Every day, for a couple of hours, she told Oa about her life, her people, and her understanding of the world around her.
One day, Oa asked her a question in the young woman's language. Oa's questions became discernable and her answers to questions were pieced together. Oa taught the pilgrims her language and the written language in all the books.
The First Artificer
As Oa and her followers began to understand each other, a pilgrim asked about the the Endless Chasm was. Oa answered that it was a trade route to a city that lay on the other end. She described it as a tunnel, but it was she that named it The Needle. She described a large, egg-shaped rock in the middle that she called The Eye.
An older pilgrim asked how she could travel to that city.
She created the first airship to travel the Needle. She learned from Oa the secret of using one of the thousands of E-Po to create a magic engine to push the ship through the Needle before coming out the other side to that city.
The Master Artificer
When the Master Artificer was a young student, he asked The Question. E-Po were becoming harder to find and some of the engines made from them did not work. Oa answered with a message that described error and corruption. But then she asked her own question of the young acolyte.
"Did you wish to repair this error?"
After a pause, he stammered a yes and offered obseqious praises.
Then Oa revealed the secret to making engines without sacrificing an E-Po, master creation of Oa. She taught him how to create a vast well. Although the surface appeared as water, it was pure, divine energy. Free to make engines from more the common materials was wood, iron, and semi-precious stones, it became possible for more and more travellers to journey between the two cities. The engines could be made in any size, large or small. Cargo ships could be constructed.
Cities on both sides of the Needle grew, however the Second Question arose when it was discovered that the new engines could travel no further than 20 miles from the Needle's edge.
When the Master Artificer asked the Second Question, Oa spoke again of corruption and error. She asked again if he wished to repair the error only to reply that he could not do so at this time. From that time forward, there was a prophecy of a Great Artificer that would come and answer the Second Question. The Great Artificer would be worthy to dispel the corruption and error that enshrouded this knowledge.
Life of the Artificer Priests
Artificers that worship Oa are called priests by each other. They speak and read the language of Oa as well as Common. They make many kinds of objects to provide for their welfare, the most profitable of those, the airship engines. They will not, however, make weapons of any kind.
They make harvesting golems and mechanical clocks. They repair older machines and wonders as well as farming implements used in nearby fields. They are generous and thoughtful, rarely raising their voice in anger, eager to help others through their creations.
The Other Temples in Town
Many students have created shrines and temples near the Needle. Recently, one shrine, the Children of E-Po, boasts that their members can walk the Needle in a day without fear of pirate attacks. They claim to understand the runes engraved on the sides of the Needle.
They offer their services as couriers between the two cities.