One of the enjoyments of reading Terry’s Shadow World books, is finding a interesting but vague tidbit that just cries out for more detail. I previously blogged about one such nugget, the Mazatlak Pillar City, and today I wanted to speculate on the Clycallah War Machines.
There are only a 3 mentions of mentioning or relating to these War Machines in the Master Atlas:
5977: Gaalt: [Clycallah archeologists discover a
Wôrim underground vault containing strange
5983: The Raven Queen’s armies first encounter
the Clycallah war machines, rebuilt from ancient Wôrim designs. They are routed by the huge walking mechanical terrors. Later encounters are inconclusive
Gaalt: The Raven Queen launches a new assault,
this time led by land and air drakes, each
with a Quaidu rider. They prove an even match
against the Clycallah war machines.
That’s not much to go on, but it definitely sparks the imagination. From these few points we can conclude that:
- These are mechanical not magical–they are not Constructs but “technology” of some sort.
- They move by walking rather than wheels or tracks.
- They are “huge”.
- They are built using Wôrim designs. This implies that they Clycallah had the technological capacity to build these machines, but it also hints that they are “rebuilt” so perhaps they fixed older inoperable machines.
Where is Clycallah? Per the Master Atlas, it is in Gaalt:
G. Clycallah: [Cool Temperate/Seasonal–Wet &
Dry] Laan (Mixed economies/Republic (TL:6-7).
This little realm would have fallen long ago to
Gaalt but for two things: the powerful Mages
among the Laan, and their machines. The
Clycallah’s war machines (based on Wôrim
technology) strike terror into even the Raven
Queen’s elite forces, and they are powerful
enough to defeat her Troll warriors.
Who are the Wôrim? Again we are left with only a few references that they were a vanished, technologically advanced race during the Interregnum:
c.-30,000 – -20,000: The Wôrim empire, centered
in Gaalt, is founded and expands rapidly
and is soon at odds with the Jinteni and Elven
What else do we know? Per the Master Atlas we also have some possible conflicting info that:
The Lydians might be descendants of the Wôrim
Trogli might be descendants of the Wôrim
The Wôrim might be the pre-cursors to the Laan.
Other than that, there is little, if any, real data on the Wôrim. Unlike the Jinteni which were fleshed out quite a bit in Emer III, we only have a few more hints on the Wôrim found in the Haalkitaine book:
Corridors: Most of the tunnels correspond to the usual
Wôrim trapezoidal profile with periodic buttresses of a
grey stone. Some sections were cut from solid granite,
but where there was only earth the halls were faced with
granite slabs. It is these areas — mostly to the west —
that have deteriorated the most. There are many caveins
caused by water seepage from the sewers; some have
opened cracks between the two networks while some
have shifted or even completely blocked corridors.
Also typical of the Wôrim, there is little decoration or
engraved writing; the stone cutting is precise and starkly
angular. The only apparent written records are etched on
the oval metal canisters which hold the bodies — and those
are the as-yet undeciphered dot patterns believed to be
the Wôrim written language.
Anyway, circling back to the Clycallah War Machines, we are left wondering about it’s abilities. Clearly it must have some offensive capacity–it is called a “War Machine” and they can battle with Dragons! Chemical reactions are not reliable on Kulthea, so traditional explosive weaponry seems unlikely. The Jinteni had energy weapons–perhaps these War Machines were armed with laser guns!
What are your thoughts? Have you ever introduced Clycallah War Machines in your campaign? What do you think they look like? What type of weapons could you imagine they have?