The technology used to create warforged began with the methods used to create mindless constructs. Although true sentience was a goal, there was little thought given to what the effects of sentience would be or how to best prepare those minds for their new existence.
At the moment of a warforged’s first awakening to the living world, it can understand the language of its creator and instinctively knows how to move its body, but in all other respects the newly created warforged is a blank slate. At this early stage, any creature has great
power to mold the future psychology of a warforged. It has no knowledge of the world, no understanding of falsehood, and no feelings about good or evil. Lies told to it then might be considered truth forever, or at least until disproved.
Most warforged were created in the forges of House Cannith. During the Last War, House Cannith had heavily regulated regimens of instruction for warforged. At their core was the understanding that a warforged was not entitled to choose for itself. It was created for one purpose: to be obedient to and fight for whomever bought it.
This simple concept required months of instruction. Although fighting came naturally enough, warforged had to be taught the use of weapons and tactics. They were instructed in how to recognize enemies, know allies, and improvise when left without commands. Most of this training took the form of elaborate war games in which warforged fought one another with real weapons while artificers and magewrights stood on hand to heal them. The victors received praise and saw the exultation on the faces of their human commanders, while the losers were berated.
At this point most warforged felt their first emotions. For most it was a single feeling: pride or shame, joy or jealousy. From then on, the warforged fought to preserve or quell that feeling through combat. It was better to feel nothing than to be jealous of others or shameful, and to maintain joy or pride, a warforged had to succeed constantly in battle. This simple view of the world served the warforged’s creators and buyers well.
Next came fear. Although sometimes it is magically induced, most warforged first experience fear not in the face of overwhelming odds or terrible carnage, but when they realize that death means an end to experience. For a warforged, this is a traumatic revelation.
Warforged were designed not to require sleep; they don’t have any reckoning of a time when they aren’t able to experience what happens around them. When a warforged was awakened from incapacity, it saw for the first time that the world moved without its input, things changed over which it had no control, and time passed without its knowledge. At this point, House Cannith trainers explained death to the warforged as equivalent to oblivion. Once that information had been implanted, fear could then be used as a motivator to get warforged to do their creators’ bidding.
Warforged learned about other emotions on the battlefield. Most gained a sense of camaraderie from sharing battlefield successes and failures, but few know what real friendship is, and fewer still understand an emotion as complicated as love. Hate comes somewhat more easily to warforged. Warforged who know jealousy can most easily understand hate, but any warforged who cares for his comrades and fears for his life can come to hate an enemy that threatens both.
When the Last War ended and the Treaty of Thronehold declared warforged to be free beings, warforged lost the structure of their existence. Suddenly thousands of warforged were left bereft of leadership or purpose. This bewildering freedom led to a profusion of lifestyle choices.
In Thrane and Karrnath, most warforged became indentured servants, tireless workers who could rebuild the lands ruined by war. In other lands, many warforged stood on the mustering fields for days or weeks, waiting for orders that would never come. Some warforged then banded together to decide what to do, while others looked to one of their own for a leader. Still others immediately set out in search of a life free of war. In those chaotic days that followed their freedom, warforged made their choices based on their feelings about the four facets of their free lives discussed below. The ideas they formed then about these core facets of their lives ruled their psychology and influenced the choices they made.
- Back to Warforged