From the journal of Ardebast Raconteur :
One of the great wonders of Pelarian society is the tinker, a mechanical construct that is capable of simple thought. The secret is in the tinker-core, which only guild tinkerers know how to create.
There are different classes of tinkers. Heavy-labour tinkers, are durable constructs built to perform tasks that are deemed too difficult or dangers for the average fur, like mining or excavation. Companion tinkers are much smaller and often serve as pets for younger furs. Tinkerers are always exploring new avenues for tinker development.
Tinker-cores are responsible for a tinker’s “personality” and have a finite life-span. Once they run down, the tinker “dies”. Guild tinkerers cannot (or choose not to) explain why they cannot simply “recharge” these run down cores. While you could simply replace the tinker-core, the new core’s personality would change. Many is the parent who has tried to fool their child by replacing the tinker-core of their child’s cherished tinker companion, only for the child to reject the tinker for not being the same.
You can find furs in just about every town that can maintain and repair tinkers. Some might even be able to build one from scratch. Even then, they would have to call upon the tinker guild for a tinker-core to give life to their creation. As creating a tinker-core is an involved process, it would be unusual for a guild tinkerer to give or sell a tinker-core to another individual. You could try to salvage a tinker-core from another tinker of course. Assuming you were the owner of the original tinker in the first place, there’s nothing strictly wrong with doing so. Most guild tinkerers however, would be upset to learn that their tinker-cores were being used in an “inferior” tinker model. Seeing as how each tinkerer marks the tinker-cores they make, it’s not like an amateur tinkerer could keep such a thing hidden from those who know where to look.
It should be noted that not every fur is comfortable with tinkers operating in society. Some are radically opposed to the very idea of tinkers, considering them abominations. It is not unknown to find smashed tinkers in neighborhoods known to house these anti-tinker extremists.
Rumors have reached my ears of a recent phenomenon in Bree whereby aging and damaged tinkers wander off on their own never to be seen or heard from again. It sounds to me like a story waiting to be told.
It really shouldn’t have taken me this long to write about tinkers.
As I was starting this entry, the Tigger song popped into my head. I ALMOST started Ardebast’s entry with, “The wonderful thing about tinkers, is tinkers are wonderful things. Their tops are made out of metal, their insides are made out of springs.” Ultimately, I thought it was a little too over the top, but I thought it was too cute not to share. That’s the great thing about including my notes, right?
The idea for tinkers came about because as I was developing this world where animals became sentient, I thought about what they’d do for pets. Would they domesticate animals from the Wild? I found the idea of a cat keeping another cat as a pet a little twisted and decided against it. Then I thought, “What if they built their own companions?” and thus the idea of tinkers was born. Basically, they were clockwork creations with all kinds of springs and cogs inside to make the tinkers able to move around. From there came the idea of a variety of classes of tinkers built to help Pelarian society.
Originally, the Age of Animus setting was meant to be a low-fantasy setting, with tinkers as the main fantastical element. I’ve since become a little flexible when it comes to the fantastical, having added phantom spirits to the mix.
The tinker-core, which is where the name tinker comes from, was an idea I recycled from an anime RPG campaign I worked on years ago where there was no electricity but gadgets still abounded powered by something called a tinker-core which is an elaborate kind of battery that was created through some fantastical process.
Obviously Ardebast’s journal entry was written before the events in Tales of the Tinkerwood.