Animates are an interesting group. They are items which have been brought to life, either by magic, or by technology. They are not creatures that are born. They do not have to grow up as most living creatures do. Their experience of the world is therefore often a lonely one. Many animates were made, and usually for a purpose or task that nobody else really wants to do. Sometimes, their task is to simply look nice, or seem scary, or to perform manual labor. For a long time, the various Animate races were separate. However, since coming to Juniper, Animate Coalitions have been founded. These informal clubs usually talk about the challenges of being an Animate and do their best to help others who are Animates. The local Animate Coalition meets at Flying Laundry, a business which is owned (but sometimes not managed) by a robot named Bleacher. Flying Laundry floats around the Tear, picking up laundry often by use of drones, though you can also actually go there to do your laundry. A phone app allows people to track its path to the various drop-off points. Flying Laundry does not pay Iron Guild tax because it never actually lands in the Tear, and because the Laundry often works with the Iron Guild to supply workers for jobs in the Tear, while at the same time rejecting jobs that they believe are too dangerous or underpaid for their typically preyed-upon people.
Strengths: The Dolliau can often use their power, "Shh", to make children, non-magical animals, and people with compromised minds such as the mentally ill, the extremely old, or the infirm...simply forget that they interacted with them. It does work to a lesser degree on non-compromised minds, making the memory hazy or jumbled, but not removing it entirely. Usually the mind fills in the blank spots...wrongly. Some Dolliau do not have to eat, drink, or breathe, however...those that do not (even one of these) do not heal over time and must be healed magically. The Dolliau are immune to mundane disease and to poisons. They are also immune to Biokinesis and resistant to fleshcrafting if their skin/organs are not humanoid. Dolliau are exceptionally adept with Sympathetic Magic, and can insta-cast level one Sympathetic Magic spells once they have the reagent.
Weaknesses: While Dolliau magic is decently strong, it runs out very quickly. The Dolliau are more vulnerable to magical fatigue than most, and if they overextend themselves, they will go into a state known as "Ragdolling", leaving them vulnerable to attack. They can not learn Biokinesis and while they can learn Fleshcrafting, it will drain their magic quickly. While they are amazing AT Sympathetic magic, they are also at the same time weak to Sympathetic Magic being cast upon them.
Lifespan:Some types of Dolliau can live thousands of years, others last only a few years at most.
The Dolliau have existed for an extremely long time. They are, by and large, representations of people in some form or another, and those representations have been brought to life by magic. It is believed that they were first willed into existence by Mages who were too primordial to understand the magics they had tapped into. Other Dolliau were subsequently brought to life in a whole host of other ways. But, in general, a Dolliau is a lifeless item which depicts a person. A magical catalyst, usually an intense magical event, powerful spell, or incredibly adept magical creature, then imbues that item with the ability to come to life. Magical accidents are also a common way for a Dolliau to be brought into being -- someone meant to cast one spell, but ends up casting quite a different thing altogether due to interruption or just...lack of knowledge. A rare few Dolliau come into being for no real reason anyone knows. In these cases, it's believed those Dolliau were positioned on a particularly strong ley line during a powerful event in the Spirit Realm. But, who knows, really.
Being creatures of magic, the Dolliau tend to be pretty adept at learning and casting magic. However, since they are made of magic, although their magic is powerful, becoming depleted of magic is...problematic. A Dolliau who overextends themselves magically is in danger of "Ragdolling", which is exactly like it sounds. They are no longer able to control their body, and they simply become inert for a time, conscious, but pretty much unable to move. Ragdolling is a real problem, because it leaves the Dolliau vulnerable to attack or even destruction.
For most of time, the Dolliau have tried to hide themselves from the mundane world. They do occasionally show themselves to children, and occasionally the mentally ill, upon whom they can use a power called "Shh". Children forget the details of speaking to a Dolliau, and thankfully, most adults just think that any tales they do come up with are overactive imagination. In time, Shh will erode the memory completely, and the child will completely forget how they once literally spoke with their animate friends. Nonetheless, the Dolliau have used children, and this power, throughout time to help cover their tracks and get things done.
During the Earth periods such as D13, when other supernaturals formed the Consortium, the Dolliau remained hidden. After all, they are mostly immune to disease, and they fear humans rather than need them. Humans are a creative force, but also an incredibly destructive one. They point to things like humans destroying sculptures with bombing runs during WWII, Pinnochio, and books like The Velveteen Rabbit to point out how adult humans (and also supernaturals), do not really think of them as "real". However, many of the Dolliau were actually moved in the late twentieth and twenty-first century when movies like Toy Story portrayed animate dolls in a different light. As such, some of them are now more willing to be known, and they believe that they should work to make a place for Animates on Juniper.
Dolliau anatomy is not always the same from one to the next. Some Dolliau can bleed, some just break. Some Dolliau have "fully functioning" parts, as Lt. Cmdr. Data used to say, and some of them are just...well, Ken Dolls down there. The more non-human a Dolliau is in form, the more likely it is going to be that they can't eat, drink, breathe, or...well, heal. Dolliau without blood and organs can not heal without advanced forms of healing magic applied to them.
Special note with the Dolliau: Dolliau MUST look adult age and have the demeanor/capabilities of an adult. Dolliau can use technology appearance emitters to look fully human, and often do.
Mannequins: Often just called "The Quins" by other Dolliau, Mannequins have been around ever since humans have used human forms to display products. However, they became especially popular in the early twentieth century, and that time could really be said to be the genesis of Quin culture. Most Quins have a real interest in households, tidiness, normalcy, useful products that can help them manage a family, and an overwhelming number of them are women. Though there are the occasional male Quins who tend to be really into golfing and cigars. Because Animates do not have families, the Quins have taken it upon themselves, quite often, to be the Moms and Dads that their people never had. They often love to do family-type outings and are known to give great advice. They can be a little judgmental sometimes, if they think someone is doing something that isn't good for them or those around them. Nonetheless, Quins are driven to make communities and families, and to cause group harmony. (Mannequins get Cooking or an Artisan/Crafting Skill at Journeyman to start. Once a day they can infuse a gifted creation with one of the following: "Kiss it better" -- this is a slow magical heal. It works a bit like Healing 1, but it takes 48 hours to complete. Nonetheless, this can be extremely useful for races that can not heal without magic. "Lullaby" -- This lasts three days, and can counteract the effects of stress, anxiety, nightmares, or other mental torment. It may not eliminate these things entirely, but is a slow enchant-over-time that can help. "You can do it." This allows for a single re-roll by the recipient if they roll beneath a 6 on something non-combat that they are trying to achieve. These items all only last for only a week, meaning that the Mannequin can never have more than seven in play at one time.)
Blanks: Not all Dolliau who are brought to life are wonderful representations of human form. The Blanks, so named because they tend not to have faces, often come from animate forms that are either not quite finished, are made specifically to not have faces (like some faceless mannequins you see), or have lost their faces over time (such as damaged statues). For some reason, this tends to create what is called a Blank. These creatures live strange lives, where they are literally faceless in a world of faces. Many of them feel themselves as being hollow inside, or without true personalities, and many have difficulties expressing emotions correctly. Blanks can speak (the sound comes out of basically where their mouth would be), hear (from approximately where ears would be) and see (from approximately where their eyes would be), but their senses are all magic-based rather than anatomy based. Many Blanks take up wearing masks because their facelessness freaks people out. Too, Blanks often really identify with the sort of "Men In Black" idea, and many wear suits and join organizations that will allow them to pursue espionage, or work as some sort of law agent. (Blanks can not be blinded, deafened, or silenced by non-magical means. This means that if you put a blindfold on them, they can still see. However low light or quietness can make it more difficult. Blanks also have an aura of fear, which can only be used when their faceless faces are exposed (so it can not be used when they are wearing masks or using magic/technology to make it look like they have a face). This aura, which works even on entities immune to emotional casted magic, like Wraiths, has the following effects: With concentration, a Blank can cause a target to flee or cower as long as they are not magically compelled to do otherwise (some subraces have berserker powers which this would not work on). This power only works out of combat, and neither party can currently be in combat. If the person flees, the Blank can switch targets once the person has gone. Once combat has started this power can be used to "force a stumble" once per combat. In essence, the Blank can cause one person with a successful roll to have to roll again. This can only be used once per scene.)
BJDs: BJDs, Ball-jointed Dolls are known for their exceptional beauty. Many of them are handcrafted, one of a kind, and before they were brought to life, expensive and well cared for. They love to dress elaborately, and have a flair for the dramatic. Many BJDs go into fashion, work at salons, as dancers, or take up acting. Some of them are forced to become sex workers and some of them become sex workers because they just enjoy it. BJDs love to gossip, and are often the life of the party. They will defend others with their sharp tongue first, before ever turning to something as 'lame' as physical violence. (They are quite known for quarrelling with the stick-in-the-mud Mannequins.) Unfortunately, BJDs have a hard time learning things that they don't consider to be fun, and often fail at more serious pursuits. (BJDs start with the Charm skill at Journeyman. They have an ability known as Spotlight, where if they focus all of their attention on someone, that person wants to focus their attention back on the BJD, and will become mildly enthralled by the BJD for a time. This is great for distracting guards, or causing an enemy's attention to switch. During Spotlight, the target (single) can not attack the BJD as long as the BJD is not personally harming them. Physical damage to either party will end Spotlight -- so a BJD distracting an enemy to them can only hold that attention until a blow lands on the target or themselves. For each additional target, Spotlight decreases in power. It can only be used once per target per scene. The end of the scene ends Spotlight, but repeated uses on a single person can cause a sort of long term enthrall. If you wish to use this ability as a long-term, please discuss it with your target first as to what the ultimate end of that longer term will be, as permanently enthralling someone who doesn't want to be enthralled can be an RP killer.)
Stitches: That old beloved doll. The one you loved so hard, the head came off. The doll your cousin neglected outside in the rain that became forever just a weird, splotchy color all down the right side. The doll your aunt made as one of her first sewing projects. The weird doll you made during your 'goth' phase. Those are the sort of dolls that became the "Stitches". So named because of the large and rather obvious stitches many of them have, either from repair or from being made by a less than able hand, Stitches look like they're kind of a mess, a lot of the time. Some of them so much so that they became the Halloween trope of "the creepy doll". Nonetheless, Stitches embrace their less-than-polished looks and freaky nature. Stitches love uniqueness, and expressing uniqueness. Many of them become artists, work in tattoo parlors, or simply get really into countercultures. "You do you" is basically the mantra of Stitch-kind. Some Stitches do carry a bit of trauma, as some of them were not treated well in the beginning, and that's how they ended up as Stitches, however it's just as common for a Stitch to be well-adjusted, and perky. (Stitches spend so much time patching themselves and those like them up, that they have developed special abilities with needle and thread. Although they can not use Fleshcrafting, they can magically sew severed body parts back on, and sew flesh wounds closed. This works both on flesh, and on the non-flesh of some Dolliau. Once sewn, wounds heal over the next week. They also grow needles under their fingernails that they can shoot out by flicking their hands at a person. The needles are often coated with a mild hallucinogen that will cause the target to, within 10-15 minutes, begin to hallucinate hostile, nightmarish creatures watching them for up to an hour. Stitches can produce thread from under their tongues that is as strong as a rope.)
Sculpts: Sculpts are often the oldest of the Dolliau. Some of them are even thousands of years old. Where the Mannequins are the Moms and Dads, the Sculpts are often the wise protectors. They have seen quite a bit, and they are not generally quick to trust. Sculpts are often also...made of heavy rock, which makes them tend to be resilient to quite a bit. However, the more rock they are, the more they are likely to be unable to self-heal. Rock also makes the Sculpts slower than most people, and they can never take above Novice dodge. No matter what, Sculpts are seen as strong silent types who speak only when they believe it's important to do so. While they do sometimes take up jobs in manual labor, they are just as likely to become tutors or philosophers. (Sculpts can use Wisdom to ask, in ST scenes, if a course of action seems unwise. This ability may only be used once per ST scene. They are also just...ridiculously strong -- as strong as Shifters, Centaurs, and Minotaurs. Physical damage is always reduced by half when it comes to Sculpts, due to being made of stone.)
Hosts: Hosts are a very special type of Dolliau that really only exist on Juniper. However, there are sometimes arguments about whether they are actually Dolliau, or if they are Wraiths. They are, in fact, both. Hosts occur when the Wintertalon use their special crystals, the Mourn, to coax a soul from the Pale Realm into a body they have crafted, usually from clay or using bits of leather or stone. Hosts are rare because they are very difficult to construct. You take a ghost that would not naturally be able to skinride, and you fuse it to an inanimate form. Neither of these things are natural, and Hosts usually have a very limited life span. Hosts can expect their magic to remain viable only for a handful of years at most, with the majority dying after only one or two years. A host, once fused, can never be re-fused a second time. The ghost simply can not handle that level of magical/soul strain. Hosts can not manifest like wraiths, because outside of their constructed body, they do not have the power to exist in the world of the living. Other than the fact that they were once Pale Realm ghosts, all mechanics for the Hosts work similar to the Dolliau. (Hosts can learn Ectoforging. They are magically weak, one of the weakest of magical creatures. However, they can also shut off their ability to feel pain: mental, emotional, or physical. They can, if touching another person, pass this trait on to the person while they remain touching.)
Strengths: Robots have a built-in eidetic memory. And most of them have the ability to be restored from backup should they be damaged. Many robots can pass as human. Often they have the ability to turn off various functions temporarily, such as pain or unpleasant sensations. Many of them have the ability to communicate with nearby electronic devices wirelessly, or through a cable. It should be noted that robots do not automatically have a high-degree of technical ability. Many of them were not created to know about robots -- because why do you need to know how to be a computer hacker if you are made to repair asphalt roads.
Weaknesses:Robots do not heal naturally. They must be fixed by someone who knows robotics or by certain magics. They dislike EMPs and are always vulnerable to advanced forms of data manipulation/hacking.
Lifespan: Until they break.
Background: Robots are also considered to be Animates. However, instead of being brought to life by magic, they are brought to life by technology and electricity. However, Robots are some of the most important citizens of New Convergence, because they keep a lot of the city's inner workings functional. Robots clean the streets, they tend to public functions such as water distribution or dangerous dock work. Robots can be housekeepers, construction workers, bartenders, teachers, even sex workers. Not all machines are automatically considered Robots, though. A potential robot must pass a zignet administered test, the TuringZig v3.6, in order to be declared "sufficiently sentient" to become a citizen and be known as a "Robot" or "Android". Anything else is just a machine. The TuringZig determines if an artificial sentience can emulate with a sufficient degree of repeatability, the mental and emotional abilities of an adult human at the age of eighteen.
It is, by and large, difficult for Robots to cast magic. However, they can purchase TPUs, which are Thaumaturgic Processing Units - custom units that tend to be handcrafted and rather expensive to procure. Although it is more difficult this way (and more expensive, XP-wise), there are advantages to owning a TPU. A TPU basically channels magic through the Robot from the city itself. The robot is more like a prism, directing and focusing the magic, rather than personally producing it. This means that Robots generally do not need reagents for their spells, unless the spell specifically requires certain reagents to perform. Too, Robots do not get tired from casting spells. The only limiting factor for them, is that the TPU can go into meltdown from too much magic being pushed through it at once, so they must cut off their spells before this occurs.
Robots are monitored closely by zignet itself, because of their enormous potential to be turned against others via hacking. The Zignet Drones will shut down (usually through localized EMP) any robot which appears to be breaking the laws of New Convergence. However, Starry seems to have believed that Robots should not be second-class citizens. They are given the same rights as others, as well as the right to react with violence to a situation should that be appropriate. Or, as some robots say, "Do the Violence". Robots may have masters to whom they are beholden, and many do before they can pass the TuringZig. Some robots continue to serve those masters after they pass their exams. Some choose not to do so. Robots can self-elect to join Volse, the same as other beings, but it isn't common. What is common is for Robots to be some of the staunchest supporters and defenders of the city. The city is their home. While they can go into space (and some of them were made for specitically that purpose), it is difficult for them to exist on the surface of the planet due to Ve Radiation. Robots can visit the Depths, and Juniper at large, but they must usually get a device known as a Radfilter. Different grades of Radfilters allow different lengths of stay on the surface. Red Radfilters will allow a 2-3 hour visit, Green Radfilters allow an 8-12 hour visit, and Blue Radfilters (which are extremely expensive and rare) can allow a 2-3 day visit. It usually takes a full day for a Radfilter to be drained and cleaned for re-use. This means that most robots are confined to the city or the skies, a fact that annoys them greatly.
(Robots begin with 18points to spend on Robot traits. TPUs cost 6 points, and they may have up to two, each representing the first level of a magic, and then spend the remaining six on Robot Augmentations on the Augmentations Page. Or they can have one TPU and 12 points in Robot Augmentations. Or no TPUs and spend all 18 points on Robot Augmentations. https://convergence.enjin.com/augmentations)
Types of Robots:
Earth Robots: Earth Robots tend to be exactly what you'd think -- robots from Earth, mostly Robots made by humans in one of the various iterations of Earth. They tend to be clunkier and more machine-like in form, because humans can not manipulate magic to create technology. No, they instead just go the long route, manufacturing robotics using sheer science, ingenuity, and will. Although they don't look pretty, sometimes have mechanical sounding voices or have to navigate using more rudimentary sensors, Earth robots CAN become sentient and pass the TuringZig. It's not as common, but they can. The usual obstacle to an Earth robot completing the TuringZig is emotions, as they do not generally have the most advanced emotional emulator. But, the TuringZig only requires that the testing party understand and be able to appropriately emulate the six basest emotions - joy, surprise, sadness, anger, disgust, and fear. Once a Robot can do so, they will pass the emotional intelligence portion of the TuringZig.
Fornaxian Robots: Fornaxian Robots were those robots who were originally built or included on the Fornax satellite as it traveled through space, searching for a new home for humanity. They know the city's inner workings better than almost anyone. Fornaxian Robots take great pride in their city and making sure it functions properly. They also tend to show an elevated interest in exploring. This makes them perfect for going into space -- since Robots generally don't need to breathe. However, Fornaxian Robots are the ones most frustrated by the presence of Ve Radiation, because it hampers their ability to explore Juniper. They often organize Radfilter drives and trades, because many of them truly believe that the ultimate goal of Animate-Kind is to be as independent and free as any other race. Fornaxian Robots tend to be made of special synthetics that are designed to be light, but strong.
Old Convergence Robots: Old Convergence Robots are rare. These robots came through the portals with the other races, not even knowing if they were going to be able to survive in this new world. Because Old Convergence robots were so very tied to the old city, leaving that city behind was like leaving behind their family. They just couldn't do it. In the final days of the Third Dark War, robots fought valiantly, and many of them died to protect others in the city. Since they were so unwilling to leave and venture through the portals, a great many robots were physically hauled through the portals by non-robot friends. It is difficult for them here, though they are by and large relieved to find they are in a new iteration of Convergence. However, it has absolutely been an incredible catalyst for the Old Convergence robots. They are determined, now that they can freely learn any sort of martial art, to protect their new city from meeting the fate of their old city. Many of them have quickly learned the art of battle, and a lot of them spend free time training others, especially humans, robots, and the Dolliau, to protect themselves and that which they love. Old Convergence robots tend to be heavy, though not as heavy as Earth Robots, but often have a great deal of artistry woven into them.
Juniperan Robots: Once in a blue moon (though maybe not a blue moon, since one of Juniper's moons IS blue), a Juniperan robot shows up. This is exceptional because an overwhelming amount of Juniper's technology was rendered inoperable during the Great War. Most Juniperan Robots are brought back to New Convergence in pieces, and must be repaired carefully in order to get them to work. Almost all of the Juniperan Robots are from Vakrynalian territories, as the Vaks had the most advanced technology, but the occasional bug-like Varduuni robot or an Argosi navigation bot shows up now and then. Unfortunately, even though they can be made to function, the Great War's weapons and fallout wiped the memory banks of the Juniperan robots completely. They boot up knowing little of the world, and having only the most rudimentary knowledge -- usually about what their function should have been and a little about the society in which they were made to function, but nothing particularly concrete. Juniperan Robots tend to be sleek looking, but glitchy as hell.