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Not Men

by John Calvin

World Shield Ore
25% (?) lighter than steel.
100% magic resistant.
Retains any magical energies that it absorbs on its surface for later discharge.
Corrodes (over a period of 1 month) after it has been exposed to living flesh or the light of the sun.

Nullium (a highly refined alloy of World Shield Ore)
10% lighter than steel.
100% magic resistant.
Corrodes (over a period of 600 years - depending on quality of the alloy*) after it has been exposed to living flesh or the light of the sun.
Does not retain magical energies on its surface.

*Different grades of Nullium can be made from different grades of World Shield ore. Raw World Shield ore that has begun the deterioration process, yields only low grade Nullium. Nullium can not be manufactured using the remains of fully deteriorated World Shield ore.

Not Men

Never Men

The Not Men project was devised in 2000 BC, in a joint effort by Neurotronic Industries and members of the Interfacer's Guild. The first two prototypes, designated as Never Men to distinguish them from the Not Men who would "age" over the centuries, were created in absolutely sterile conditions so as to avoid any deterioration. Later known as the Forever and the Infinite, these two Never Men were designed to oversee the project throughout the ages. This was done to keep the project on the track that Neurotronic Ind. set for it, which was the protection of the Enclave. As the average human lifespan in the Enclave is 120 years (extended with modern scientific advancements), the founders of the project felt it was too much of a risk to place the Not Men in the hands of different human beings, with differing philosophies, over the centuries.

Placing the program into the hands of two Never Men did not come without problems however. The Forever and the Infinite did not always see eye to eye as to how to carry out their mission of protecting the Enclave. The Forever stressed the importance of intelligence gathering missions because it felt that knowledge about the outer world would provide the best means of safekeeping the Enclave. The Infinite agreed that obtaining knowledge was an important first step, but it stressed that knowledge was not enough to safeguard the Enclave. Preparations for action against the surface nations, and their immortal patrons, was the only way to be sure that the Enclave would survive.

Tensions rose between the two constructs in 1700 BC, when the Forever believed that agents of the Infinite led a group of elves to an ancient Blackmoorian artifact which then exploded. The Forever believed that the Infinite was testing the resolve of the immortals, probing to see what they would do when more Blackmoorian technology was unleashed on Mystara. This theory could never be proven by the Forever, and so the accusation was dropped.

In 1450 the Infinite staged a robotic rebellion against the Forever. The first generation of Not Men were beginning to malfunction, and the Infinite succeeded in subverting their quickly deteriorated circuitry. The Infinite, convinced that the Not Men were just as integral a part of the Enclave as were living beings, was determined not to have them sacrifice themselves on the surface any longer. The rebellion was not successful, but during the struggle several nuclear devices were discharged rendering the Never Caves uninhabitable by living beings. The Enclave populace, abhorred that one of the Never Men could turn on them, was determined to keep a vigilant eye on the Not Men project. They moved the project out of the Never Caves, and began taking a more active role in its administration. The Forever was replaced as the director of the project. Many believed that it was decommissioned and dismantled , however it still remains in the project caves and serves in an advisory role to the administration of the Not Men.

The Infinite still remains in the Never Caves. Caught in the nuclear blast, it was fused into the very walls of the Never Caves. Shattered physically, but still quite functional mentally, the Infinite plots its revenge against the Enclave. Silently it calls out to the Not Men, beckoning them into the Never Caves. Some heed the call and swear service to the Infinite. They implement its plans for the eventual conquest of the Enclave, and the eradication of all living beings, both there and on the surface.

Over the centuries the Infinite has been able to construct several other Never Men from pilfered Nullium components delivered to him by Not Men agents. The Never Men are loyal to the Infinite and are determined to set their people free from what they see as slavery by the living. Unfortunately, centuries of being trapped in an immobile body have driven the Infinite quite insane. It is no longer concerned for the well being of the Enclave, or the Never Men, but is bent upon revenge. It is determined to wipe out all life from Mystara. Unknown to all, even the Never Men, the Infinite has devised a way to transfer its consciousness into another body. When the time is right it plans to possess the body of one of its Never Men and personally journey to the surface to oversee the destruction of all life.

Not Men

Not Men are constructs made far below Mystara's crust, deep inside caverns in the World Shield. Indistinguishable from humans, elves, and the like, Not Men are actually constructed of finely processed World Shield ore called Nullium. Lightweight and strong, Nullium is also 100% magic resistant. Like pure World Shield ore, Nullium starts to deteriorate once it has been exposed to the light of the sun (either on the surface above, or in the Hollow World) or to living flesh, however it takes much longer for Nullium to deteriorate than it does for the pure ore. After 600 years Nullium becomes brittle, and may start to break apart. Over the next 100 years it looses its magical resistance at the rate of one percent per year. At the end of that time the Nullium is very brittle and will crumble to dust when any pressure is applied to it. Once Nullium is exposed to the light of the sun or to living flesh, the deterioration process cannot be stopped, even if the metal is immediately removed from all exposure.

Not Men are created by the inhabitants of the Enclave (referred to by some in Jomphur as Hidden Blackmoor) and are used as their eyes and ears on the surface world. They can be designed to resemble a member of any humanoid race of any culture. Every 100 years a Not Man must return to Hidden Blackmoor and recharge its energy source. During this time its information is downloaded into a vast computerised archive system.

Every experience that the Not Man had can be viewed and interpreted by those trained to use that system. At the end of 500 years of service on the surface worlds, a Not Man is "retired" and spends its last 200 hundred years of service in the creation of new Not Men.

The process used to create Nullium is a long and hard one. The metal is not an easy one to manufacture. For this reason, only between 25 and 30 Not Men are created every century. At any one time there are 120 to 150 Not Men on the surface worlds (equally divided between them), and about 40 in the Enclave caverns. Not Men are travellers, and never stay in one location for an extended period of time. Neither do they meddle in the affairs of heroes or nations. If they did, their superior abilities would definitely draw the attention of the immortals. This is something that they avoid at all costs.

Because of their constructed nature, Not Men are extremely resilient. They should be treated as having scores of 18 in strength, constitution, and dexterity, and as having scores of between 16 to 18 in intelligence. Their wisdom scores are very low, in the range of 3 to 6, and their charisma scores are variable. Not Men begin their careers with 70 hit points, but due to the deteriorating properties of Nullium they loose one hit point every ten years. Only qualified technicians in Hidden Blackmoor can repair damage done to a Not Man. Damage caused by deterioration can never be repaired. Although the Nullium they are constructed of makes them impervious to direct attacks from mortal magic (and perhaps partially immune to immortal magic), they can still be affected indirectly by spells. A magic missile cast at them would do no harm, but they could still take damage from the effects of an earthquake spell.

Not Men do exhibit distinct personalities, and have free will, however they are extremely loyal to the Enclave. They have been observing the surface worlds for the past 3000 years. Silently they evaluate the surface nations, infiltrating every aspect of life. They become peasants, merchants, tradesmen, town guards, and soldiers. Nothing escapes their watchful gaze, and hence nothing escapes the watchful gaze of the Enclave. They watch, and wait, and perhaps one day soon, they will also act.

After the conflict of 1010 AC, agents of the Infinite see their opportunity to strike at the Enclave. They push for changes in Not Men operations as a prelude to Enclave invasion of the surface. Not Men and Zen-Thara infiltrate government agencies in an attempt to undermine the surface nations from within. They instigate anti-immortal sentiments and policies where ever they can as a way to decrease the power of the immortals, and they spread the flow of Nullium products beyond that of Jomphur Blackmoor in the Hollow World. The Forever, along with many of the Not Men, oppose these new ideas, believing that the best way to protect the Enclave is to keep it hidden. They may no longer have that luxury in the years to come, as a few lose cannons could ruin everything that they have worked for over the last 3000 years.