Large rusty cogs turn above the roiling magma adjusting but the smallest thing within the massive city. Iron plating makes up the form of this structure with pipes releasing pent up steam which turns the gears. Platforms protrude from its core each holding a dangerous prisoner.
An ancient scroll speaks of a powerful weapon from the fabled Clockwork City, waiting deep within the mountains. It has lain abandoned for centuries after a catastrophe destroyed its dwarven creators.
Despite the lack of life within this place, the clocks and cogs of the city have continued to churn faithfully; hisses and ticks echoing throughout the cavernous ruins, bolstered by clouds of steam. Small mechanical creatures scuttle about, performing repairs on the city, as well as each other.
While adventurers have made it into some areas of the city, you find many of their bones lying covered in dust. When you finally enter the room deep within the city that has been left undisturbed since the calamity—the room containing the weapon—you trip it’s defence system. Suddenly hundreds of the little mechanical creatures swarm the floors, banding together in its centre to create a gigantic clockwork dragon.
Once defeated, you trigger the seal suspending the weapon in a cage above the magma. As the chamber is lifted up, the weapon is revealed to be a young girl.
What’s happening? The ones who built this city succeeded at creating synthetic life. However, they did not know its cost. The girl is a homunculus, made in an experiment that unknowingly harvested the lives of the entire civilisation.
By the time they realised the consequences of their spell, it was too late to stop. Seeking to create immortal life, they instead transferred all of their lifetimes into their creation, who has been held in stasis ever since.
She does not need food, or water. Wounds that would kill her heal as they use up one of the hundreds of lives she has left. Her creators were magical beings and when they created her, they transferred their power into her as well. She holds all their magical potential, broiling within her—but she doesn’t know how to control it. Not yet.
Highly impressionable and taken to flights of imagination, she can be moulded into something good or evil.