[[{{SUBST:Puppetmaster: A History}}|   ]]
Puppetmaster (04/17/2006)
[[{{SUBST:Puppetmaster: A History}}|   ]]

Traditional Peformances & Cutting-Edge Craftsmanship


Wireless Animator & a Pair of Sainti

  • Come one, come all!
  • See the amazing walking, talking, sleeping, fighting Muffin the Automaton tell the tale of the "Happy Red Spring"!
  • Will Muffin ever find the face she was truly meant to wear? - From the introduction to "The Seven Faces of Muffin"

For years, puppeteers have been entertaining crowds with their skillful manipulation of artfully crafted marionettes. But with the recent development of the "automaton," a semi-automated puppet without the need for strings, the uses for a puppeteer's talents suddenly expanded to the fields of agriculture, fishing, industry, and even combat. In any era, there is always a need for specialists to master new types of technology. And the puppetmaster has stepped forward--a special breed of puppeteers that customize their automatons with ingenious attachments and use a controller known as an "animator" to transmit commands. Puppetmasters also sometimes find it necessary to protect themselves from advocates of simpler times, and are rarely seen without a pair of sainti--their hand-to-hand weapon of choice. Let us take a closer look at this fascinating profession...

The Birth of Mnejing


Early Puppetmasters

What a ridiculous question.
Whether it be this automaton,
or a marionette from years past,
I pour the same amount of heart into every piece.
All puppetmakers breathe a soul into their work.
- Ghatsad the Puppetmaker, in response to the query "Do automatons have a soul?"

Automatons were developed by a group of craftsmen led by Ghatsad, a Galkan puppetmaker. Ghatsad has never explained what he hoped to achieve with the creation of automatons, but rumors say that the gigantic automaton-like being that appears in Aht Urhgan's founding myth is the ultimate goal of his work. As if to underscore the truth of the rumors, it seems that Ghatsad was provided with a substantial research fund from the Imperial Treasury under the pretense of encouraging private enterprise. With a massive amount of capital at his disposal, Ghatsad set about putting together a research team from the finest alchemists the Empire had to offer, not to mention expert blacksmiths, goldsmiths, bonecrafters, and clockmakers from every corner of the world. After ten years of painstaking work, they finally completed the very first automaton--Mnejing. However, when a triumphant Ghatsad entered the palace with his newly created automaton, he did not receive the warm reception he expected. The Emperor and his court entertained visions of the giant creation of legend, and when they beheld the shaky gait of Mnejing and the command cord trailing behind her, they assaulted Ghatsad with gales of derisive laughter. Only one face among the hecklers lit up at the sight of the tottering automaton--Crown Prince Jalzahn. The prince not only convinced his father to allow him to keep Mnejing, but also to employ Ghatsad as his personal tutor. Even while Ghatsad's creations were quietly ridiculed as the "prince's toys," the puppetmaker continued his research within the palace up until the day the Emperor died, many years later.

The Appearance of Puppetmasters


A puppetmaster and his automaton performing for a crowd.

My master has gifted me with the power of dreams.
I bestow these dreams on those around me.
Take those dreams, and share them with someone you love.
Maybe one day, I'll have a dream of my own.
- "Erwin" the automaton. Serial No. 218.

Fifty years have passed since the creation of Mnejing, the first automaton. Automaton technology has progressed considerably since that time. Based on the idea of the xhifhut, an Antican translation instrument, a cordless controller known as an "animator" was developed.

Illustration by Mitsuhiro Arita

Now puppeteer and puppet could act freely without any strings to hamper their movement. Another advancement in the automaton field was the creation of custom parts called "attachments." These attachments freed puppeteers from the need to have alchemists or clockmakers present in order to improve the performance of their automatons, and opened up a profession that was previously restricted to court and military practitioners. And so people witnessed the emergence of a new type of specialist--the puppetmaster. The appearance of puppetmasters and the constant fine-tuning of their automaton companions has led to a boom in the evolution of puppetmaking.

Turning frowns into laughter, and the ability to bestow life and affection on a creation of wood and metal--these are the qualities you will need to excel in the profession of puppetmaster.

[[{{SUBST:Puppetmaster: A History}}|   ]]

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