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Artifacts

Artifacts are magitech devices from before the Cataclysm, unearthed from First Age ruins. Since they were created before most magical knowledge was lost, they are capable of supernatural-seeming feats far surpassing anything modern technology can produce. Known artifacts include flying machines, divination tools, gadgets that make the wearer invisible, and so forth.

Despite their seemingly miraculous capabilities, most artifacts are too dangerous and unpredictable to use outright. As they were created before the background mana field covered the world, artifacts were designed to be used in a low-magic environment. In present day, the overwhelming amount of mana in the atmosphere has drastically magnified their effects. Even a mundane First Age kitchen appliance might engulf the area in flame when activated. Furthermore, the Telosian language was lost during the Cataclysm, so there are no readable instructions detailing how to use them or even what they're for. Many artifacts have never been successfully activated at all.

Most known artifacts are kept at one of Empyria's 12 mage academies for safekeeping and research. An untrained civilian wielding an artifact is a risk to both themself and people around them, so it is illegal for private individuals to own artifacts in both Orlis and Wywick. However, due to the difficulty of enforcing laws in the wilderness, a small but lucrative illegal artifact trade continues to exist outside city walls.

Modern Technology

The mana circuits in artifacts are too intricate and complex to be reproduced with modern means. However, humans have reverse-engineered certain glyphs and principles from them, and used these to create new technology.

Due to the large amount of mana in the atmosphere, it is easy to create simple but powerful machines - for example, an oven can simply convert mana into heat with little worry for running out of fuel. Complex or "smart" machines such as cars and phones are harder, though the recent discovery of key glyphs has made them much more possible.

Daily Life

Magitech excels at using mana to produce motion and heat, so there exist a variety of widely available home appliances that make life easier. Kitchen stoves, washing machines, air conditioning units, and so forth are all commonly found in individual homes, having replaced domestic servants in all but the richest households.

Transportation

Most people live in small cities where everything is within walking distance, and the monsters outside cities make it difficult to lay and maintain roads. Furthermore, until the discovery of keys eight years ago, it was simply impossible to create personal motor vehicles that would accelerate fast enough to be practical. Simple bicycles are common within cities, wagons or beasts of burden are used to transport goods over long distances, and sailing ships handle overseas trade; mostly, though, people just walk to get places.

About 180 years ago, the Orlis government approved the construction of a magitech railway system across the continent of Ortesia. Its development was arduous and expensive as the construction crews were always under the threat of monster attacks, but most of the empire's major cities are networked by high-speed trains now, and more are still being added at a slower rate.

Agriculture

Since monsters completely ignore plants and animals other than humans, it's possible to build farms outside city walls. The farmer just has to be close enough to the city to run to safety in the event of an attack. Most city fortifications have extra walls that radiate outward to increase farmable area, and a traveler arriving in a bigger city might have to tromp through vegetable patches for half an hour before they reach the city proper.

Mana-powered combine harvesters, hay balers, and so forth help to automate various farm activities; however, due to the difficulties in creating motor vehicles as discussed above, they are rarely hooked up to tractor units except in very high-tech communities. Instead, they are towed by working animals or simply pushed along by the farmer like a lawnmower.

Communication

Most long-distance communication in Empyria is achieved through portals. Current methods can only create temporary portals ~1cm in diameter, so they're useless for large-scale transportation, but you can send information signals through them across arbitrary distances at near-instant speeds. The most common application is portal-phones, which work by establishing a physical connection between two phones that you can simply talk through.

Unfortunately, you cannot broadcast information with portals; if you want to communicate the same message to multiple people, you have to open a portal to each one, which quickly becomes prohibitively expensive as audience size grows. Usually, important news is converted into sound/light signals and portaled to a town's communication centre, then distributed to individual people from there via analog means like newspapers.

The advent of keyed magitech allowed engineers to link large groups of fast-processing logic circuits, ushering in a new age of digital technology. High-resolution videos and audio can be sent through portal links, and fancier phones even have little video games built in. However, due to the broadcasting problem, computer networks are still limited to small intranets of a few machines each.

Weaponry

Since long-range attack spells are fairly easy to learn, almost all personal weapons are melee. Swords and spears are the most common, but since most of the people using these weapons are adventurers (read: independent weirdos with too much money), there is a baffling variety of strange and specialized weapons in existence. Weapons can be "enchanted" with simple spell circuits powered by the wielder's mana to customize them even further.

Artillery and siege engines are rare; usually, mages serve that role. The typical army formation has several mobile tents full of mages at the very back, who work together to cast large complex spells that rain fire down upon the enemies. However, Orlis has recently developed war machines capable of casting spells faster than a group of mages and from longer distances, and their involvement secured Orlis's victory in the latest Orlis-Wywick war.

Health

Due to the complexity of the human body, it is extremely difficult to use magic for medical applications. For example, although it is theoretically possible to magically stitch up internal bleeding without surgery, you would need intimate knowledge of the exact location of the wound at every moment of the process in order to construct the proper spells. Although medical tools are sometimes magic-powered, the procedures and methods are constructed from regular non-magical medical knowledge.

That said, the wars in the past few decades have led to huge advances in medical technology. Untreatable diseases are rare, and traumatic amputations have high survival rates. In recent years, Orlis has even developed magitech prosthetics that respond to muscle movement, though they're still prohibitively expensive for most.