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Constructs

The Constructs were very early attempts by Empire scientists to create lab assistants and manual laborers. They were mostly successful in getting the required strength, receptiveness to programming, and instinctual intelligence, but this required the use of many rare materials, meaning they could only be produced in small numbers by large teams of skilled craftsmen, taking at least a month to produce one unit. The Defense Coordinators noticed their combination of strength and intelligence and wanted to use them as guards, but after studying the matter the Coordinators concluded that delvers could just smash a Construct as easily as they could a rock golem. Constructs were therefore assigned mostly to clerical work and construction supervision, until a very recent scientific breakthrough.

By studying some old scrolls written by a mysterious "von Neumann", 7th Metalsmith and 5th Programmer managed to create a Construct made of much tinier machines, that could use pre-defined fracture lines and magnetism to re-construct itself some time after being smashed. Thus, even in the event of a cave-in or a long fall, the Construct could still be recovered and re-used in future projects. This allowed them to be deployed in the Empire's defenses, although still usually in small numbers. As a security measure against their malfunction, Constructs are forbidden from regenerating if the green door signal is broadcast, forced to remain in rubble form until they can be retrieved.

Constructs are somewhat smarter than other normal monsters. They can step diagonally around small obstacles, carefully wade through shallow water without waterlogging themselves, and push fragile objects like mirrors or kegs without breaking them. They are also receptive to and can follow a brain's directions. However, they can still trap themselves and be outmaneuvered around simple terrain features. Constructs are heavy enough to drop trapdoors and break ice with their footsteps, but only do so incidentally as they move. Constructs are aware they are made of metal and electronics, so they refuse to step onto oremites. However, they can be forcibly pushed onto them, and once smashed, their remains can be pushed into water to short-circuit them (and create a stepping stone). They can be vaporized by conventional explosives. They also cannot regenerate fast enough to recover from disintegrating on hot tiles, flame traps, or getting repeatedly punctured by floor spikes.

In another example of history repeating itself, interest has been revived in using Constructs as personal assistants for complicated tasks that rock golems would be unsuitable for. When given the proper programming, Constructs can carry an egg without breaking it, decipher handwriting, and walk up or down stairs.