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The automaton, Talos
|Origins||Greek Mythology, Legend and Folklore|
The Automaton is a creature with origins in Greek mythology, legend and folklore. In particular, their origins lie mainly with the Greek god of fire, metal, craftsmenship and volcanic activity, Hephaestus.
In Greek society, they were made for a variety of purposes, and served a variety of functions. They may, for example, be experts at cooking, or cleaning, or singing, or serving food and drinks, or caring for children, or the like. They may even serve as soldiers or other implements in military, such as sentries, guardians, scribes or vehicle operators.
And from these cultures, they have become widespread, to the point that they are staples in numerous other supernatural and mythological societies.
Automatons are made almost exclusively of metal (though this may just be because stone or clay constructs are more associated with golems). Common materials for an automaton include gold, silver, brass and bronze. Otherwise, automaton appearance can vary pretty greatly, due to culture, function, competency of the designer and numerous other factors.
Some appear humanoid (like a member of a race common to the region where they will serve, or like a member of a race common to the region they come from); some appear robotic, such as clockwork and similar designs; some are animal (like the master's favorite animal, or like an animal indigenous to the area); some even resemble objects (such as the animated golden tripods that served the god Hephaestus on Olympus). They can also vary in size and numerous other properties.
Not to mention, due to being constructs, they are highly customizable to provide upgrades, accessories, decoration and other things that personalize them to each individual owner/master.
The notion that automatons behave the same as golems is false. Whereas golems are will-less and unthinking without receiving orders, automatons possess a will, and are capable of thinking to some degree. However, their directive is often set to please the will of whoever their master is. In other words, they will possess one or a few skills, and they will be unable to do much of anything else. This often gives the impression of being will-less, or mindless.
Though, it should be noted, even personality of an automaton may be modified (with the right tool, the proper technology, or a well-placed spell).
Automatons capabilities generally lie within their strength, stamina and durability over normal creatures. They can be nearly any size, from small (such as a gold or silver dog) to giant, such as the famous giant automaton, Talos. However, other abilities exist for them.
For example, there were bronze horses and bronze bulls made by Hephaestus that had the ability to breathe fire. And a team of golden maidens possessed the ability to sing an enchanting song, like that of the Sirens. Some served Hephaestus, while others served on Earth as gifts from the god.