View Full Version : 'Skeletal Automata of the Empire' (?)

07-03-2016, 19:03
People of the Old World, denizens of the Empire,

I have recently been compiling a small portfolio of atmospheric Warhammer Fantasy art as a visual introduction for roleplay-initiates to its grimdark world. While doing so, there were two pieces in particular that attracted my attention.

The first is known as 'Emperor Boris' extravagant tomb barque arrives in Marienburg' http://imgur.com/SxBwj7e
and the second is called 'The opening of the recruiting station at Stichenfloch, offering 'The Soldier's Schilling' http://imgur.com/9hAGAaM

In both scenarios we can see several skeletons that perform a number of varying actions, some partly integrated into structures (barque, gate), some even flying through the air freely. The cue is that they seem to be acting (at least to a certain extent) autonomously (therefore 'skeletal automata').

Now I ask you, how might that be possible? Is this some case of "advanced" technology (technomancy?), a form of necromancy, or something in between?
Can this even be explained by the WH background or might these moving and performing skeletons be considered 'artistic freedom' of a fictional painter?

Do you know of any lore or fluff pieces that write about such phenomena as depicted here? The only thing that comes to my mind right now are depictions of empire technici with mechanic owls and scarabs (8.ed. Empire AB) as well as the 'Mechanical Menagerie of Leon Brachwurster' (7.ed. Rule Book), though all of these are decidely more steampunkish looking.

Please, share your thoughts with me. All and any ideas are much appreciated!

08-03-2016, 09:36
There's the mecha horse.
As for the flying stuff, they're added everywhere on the pics, I don't think you should consider them actually there. I mean, sometimes, they're even going out of the drawings.

08-03-2016, 09:57
If it causes trouble there's no reason to suppose that the skeletons etc are animated in any way. It reminds me of the Capuchin crypt in Rome, where the skeletons of monks are used to decorate the building as well as placed in attitudes enacting various scenes. The warhammer world version of this would of course be necessarily exaggerated and overblown! Here are a couple of Wikipedia links but there is plenty of other information on the internet concerning this practice.

08-03-2016, 12:39
There's the mecha horse.
I've always considered this a close cooperation between the College of Engineers and the College of Gold, making it a sort of magical/mechanical golem type creature.

That said, I think the flying angels and skeletons are just additions by the artist.
The skeletons on the boat and in the recruiting station might actually be mechanical automatons, or just fixed into place in a dramatic pose.
Either way I don't think they would be able to operate on their own.

Necromancy seems out of the question as this practice is forbidden in the Empire, and even depicting it can get you in trouble with the witch hunters and/or the colleges of magic.

Eddie Chaos
29-03-2016, 00:42
I always understood them to be mechanical, clockwork with just a pinch of magic.

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Col. Tartleton
29-03-2016, 21:27
They're clockwork. You can see the wheels and gears in them. The funeral barge also seems to show fanatics winding a mechanism at the front.