The Mechanimists are a religious faction centered within Qud mainly comprised of mutant humanoids. The faction is first encountered through the Zealot of the Six Day Stilt preaching around Joppa at game's start. They prominently gather at the Six Day Stilt at the edge of Moghra'yi, the Great Salt Desert, and at other late-game dungeons, and can be found scattered across the map of Qud.

 Hierarchy of Mechanimist Edit

The following is a list of all different types of Mechanimists divided into probable ranks (the exact hierarchy of the Mechanimist religion is never specified in-game. Therefore, a fair amount of conjecture will be used past this point):

  • Rank One: The new conscripts of the faith. Rank One Mechanimists exhibit a passing and superficial knowledge of the Mechanimist canon, such as the names and roles of members of the Argent Fathers or popular proverbs. Access to a personal copy of the Canticles Chromaic is usually rare at this point, and much of their knowledge is acquired through word of mouth from higher ranked Mechanimists. Rank One Mechanimists include Pilgrims and Converts.
    • Pilgrims
    • Converts
      • Mechanimist converts are usually found around legendary Mechanimists or at the Six Day Stilt. They are randomly generated, meaning that a convert can be any humanoid, robot or monster in Qud, from the lowly snapjaw to the towering chrome pyramid. When spoken to, they speak dialogue used by Pilgrims.
  • Rank Two: The workforce of the faith. Rank Two Mechanimists are marked by a more thorough - and often fanatical - knowledge of the canon, including comprehensive memorization of the Canticles Chromaic and relevant sermons & gospels. Additionally, they are marked by the often menial tasks they choose to undertake, such as open-air proselytization (which some find annoying enough to warrant fatal consequences) and rifling through trash in search of artifacts. Rank Two Mechanimists include Zealots, their Six Day Stilt variants and Rummagers.
    • Zealots of the Six Day Stilt
    • Zealots
      • There doesn't appear to be a significant difference between Zealots and their Six Day Stilt counterparts besides a wide gulf in levels and equipment. They both are fanatical followers of the faith, although seeing that Zealots often spawn near Priests it could point to their marginally higher standing within the faith.
    • Rummagers
  • Rank Three: The wardens of the faith. Although the extent of their knowledge & understanding of the canon is unknown, their devotion is apparent in their choice to risk their lives in service to the faith. Rank Three Mechanimists are usually formidable adversaries clad in carbide armor, and can be found guarding legendary Mechanimists and/or Priests. Rank Three Mechanimists include the Protectors of the Stilt, found at the Six Day Stilt, Houndmasters, found in late-game dungeons, and Paladins, the most common of the three.
  • Rank Four: The clergy of the faith. At this rank knowledge & understanding of the Mechanimist canon and mythos increases sharply, as well as access to the Canticles Chromaic and additional relevant texts and information. Their grasp on the faith is unshakable; additionally, Mechanimists at this rank seem to exhibit a characteristic "cool" or calmness, contrasted with Rank Two Mechanimists, who often zealously and loudly proclaim their faith. Rank Four Mechanimists also occupy a position of authority over other subordinate Mechanimists, or fulfill some form of ritualistic function. Rank Four Mechanimists include Choralers, Catechists and Priests.
    • Choralers
      • Although I was conflicted as to whether to include the Choralers as Rank Two or Rank Four, I settled on Rank Four because (1) Choralers don't appear to serve any practical function such as proselytizing or rummaging; (2) no other Mechanimist has been observed singing hymns, and could therefore be a unique property or function of Choralers; and (3), while singing could be construed as a fanatical or zealous proclamation of faith, their singing is characterized as "crooning", which carries a much softer and calmer connotation. Thus, Choralers occupy the same lofty rank as Priests and Catechists.
    • Catechists
    • Priests
  • Rank Five: The sovereigns of the faith. Known as "High Priests", they are the most charismatic and knowledgeable of the Mechanimists, easily demonstrating a knowledge of a vast array of Mechanimist lore and a firm command over the membership. It is unknown whether there is one High Priest assigned to each Mechanimist congregation - such as the Six Day Stilt - or if they're just a regional variation found only in Qud, although most signs point to the former. High Priests don a mantle, an apparent feature of their rank, which is a different color per individual. It is unknown whether this difference in color has any meaning within the faith. Rank Five Mechanimists also appear to be formidable opponents, either commanding an array of potent telekinetic and psychic mutations or wielding powerful artifacts. Rank Five Mechanimists include Eschelstadt II, High Priest of the Six Day Stilt, and Phinae Hoshaiah, High Priest of the Rock.

Ranks One through Five were created only using in-game knowledge of Mechanimists. Therefore, it is unknown whether there exists Mechanimists occupying a rank lower than One or higher than Five; there feasibly could be a single Supreme Priest of sorts who holds dominion over all Mechanimists, including the High Priests. However, that is merely conjecture.

Additionally, there is only one known Mechanimist librarian, Sheba Hagadias, who appears to be a devout follower themselves. It is unknown whether the construction of a collection of books and tomes is a tenet of the faith or whether this is just a pet project of Sheba corroborated by High Priest Eschelstadt II.

Belief System Edit

The Mechanimists worship a pantheon of deities known as the Argent Fathers, the most prominent of which is known as Shekhinah. The Argent Fathers seem to originate from or make their home in space. Additionally, they praise an entity known as the Kasaphescence, a primordial mother goddess. It is important to note that, while the Argent Fathers are depicted as men, the Kasaphescence, although attributed gendered pronouns (e.g. "Her") and human characteristics (e.g. "Her naked womb"), is never actually personified as a woman or goddess. Instead, the Kasaphescence is believed to be some kind of paradisiacal location, akin to a Garden of Eden or a promised land.

These Argent Fathers are said to be the origin of both humanity and machinekind. Shekhinah in particular is reported to have "breathed life into our flesh", while all the Argent Fathers were involved in the creation of machines and the ruins alike.

Because of their divine origin, Mechanimists venerate the ancient artifacts and machines of Qud, often praising their "chrome" and/or "chromium", a symbol of the Kasaphescence. In their view, the ancient artifacts are perfect and pure. On the other hand, human flesh is seen as weak, impure and unworthy to even touch the artifacts. In spite of our seeming divine origin, humanity is often portrayed as in need of salvation. It's hinted at that Mechanimists believe each human carries around a "debt" to the Argent Fathers for our own creation, in a similar vein to original sin. Additionally, as one procures and uses artifacts, one grows more and more "guilty" for their misdeeds against the Argent Fathers. The Mechanimist call this "chrome guilt", a literal name for the weight of the artifacts and a metaphorical name for the mental anguish and confusion that accompany the use of these complex machines. Each person can pay this debt and ride themselves of their chrome guilt by, in the words of High Priest Eschelstadt II, "freeing" themselves of any artifacts in their possession. By freeing oneself of artifacts, one can be free from the complexity of said artifacts and finally live in simplicity, peace and devotion. This act of freeing is also described as beneficial to the artifacts themselves, allowing us to free them of our impure flesh in the process. It is important to note that high-level Mechanimists will still carry and use artifacts, although how they reconcile this seeming hypocrisy is never covered.

So far, the Mechanimists have displayed no prejudices or reservations against mutant humanoids. In fact, several prominent members of the faith, including High Priest Eschelstadt II, are mutants themselves. Mutants or mutant powers, abilities and features are not mentioned within the verses 17-24 of the Canticles Chromaic or by any individual Mechanimist. Additionally, they make no mention of the True Kin or the Putus Templar. From this we can derive that the Mechanimist faith simply doesn't care whether their followers are mutants or not, only if they are willing to receive its message.

The Mechanimists collect much of their lore, legends and traditions in a series of tomes known as the Canticles Chromaic. In-game text describes this book as a "chrome-tanned leather bible", although the verses held within resemble hymns and songs more than they do the verses in the Christian Bible. We only have access to Verses 17 to 24; we're unsure of exactly how many verses there are in the whole of the Canticles Chromaic.

  • The name "Mechanimist" is a possible portmanteau of the words "mecha" or "mech" and "animist", the latter of which being a spiritual tradition that ensouls inanimate objects and natural phenomena, such as plants and weather. Given this probable etymology and their reverence for the artifacts, as well as their subtle personification of said artifacts (e.g. use of pronouns such as "them"), it's hinted that Mechanimists probably believe in a type of (literal) mech-animism, where machines and artifacts are ensouled in some manner.

List of Mechanimist Deities Edit

Within the Mechanimist canon there are 6 deities worshipped by the Mechanimists: the Argent Fathers, a group of five gods, and the Kasaphescence, a primordial mother goddess.

  • Shekhinah: Characterized as the most important of the Argent Fathers, Shekhinah (also known as Glorious Shekhinah, Father of Fathers, Argent Adonis, the First Father and our Argent Father) is the central deity of the faith and the hero-god of the Mechanimists. Among others, Shekhinah is credited with leading the Argent Fathers in the Sacred Joining, fondly regarding "His new, gleaming world" during the Edification, creating "shining machines" from the Kasaphescence with only "His exalted touch", breathing life into mankind and teaching us the story of that very creation. In this way Shekhinah is painted as a creator deity who breathes life into man and machine alike, and the patron deity of man. Shekhinah is depicted as wearing a golden diadem crowning Him as "Father among Fathers", although this diadem more closely resembles a large crest on his in-game sprite.
    • Glorious Shekhinah, Argent Adonis and First Father, poses in luminous mummery. With the stature of the ageless stars, fixed and permanent, He appraises the temple erected in His honor and cocks His head in approval. Befitting the memory of His union with the Kasaphescence, He clothes His manifestation in cerulean shades, forsaking the viridians and russets of the lowly plants and clay earth.
    • Interestingly, it is hinted that Shekhinah might have at one point been a mortal man. The marble relief of the Sacred Joining states that Shekhinah himself relayed the aforementioned legend to the temple high priests. Additionally, the Cathedral features two separate depictions of Shekhinah: the hologram, featuring a godly Shekhinah swathed in astral regalia, and the statue, featuring Shekhinah as a beautiful, chiseled man wearing a golden diadem. Verse 24 of the Canticles Chromaic also states that Shekhinah "deigns to live among us". Therefore, it's entirely possible that the historical figure Shekhinah functioned more so as a founding prophet or emissary for the Argent Fathers who was deified by the Mechanimists after his death.
    • The name "Shekhinah" derives from a Hebrew word meaning "dwelling" or "settling", and in rabbinic literature refers to the feminine aspect of Divinity.
  • The Argent Fathers: Alongside Shekhinah, four astral deities populate the Mechanimist pantheon. Beyond physical descriptions for each, little is known about these deities. Prior to the Sacred Joining, legends state that the Argent Fathers "roamed the timeless aether with inert hearts". Each Argent Father is considered a patron deity of some aspect of life in Qud.
    • Bel: A protector deity who wields an "epochal aegis", a type of massive shield. Little else is known about Bel, except that he used his epochal aegis to obstruct a swirling gas cloud in the starry dawn. The significance of this is unknown. Bel is also depicted as a massive deity of "tremendous weight". Eschelstadt II beseeches the player character to "rain [their] alloys down to the heart of the Stilt" in the name of Bel, implying that Bel is associated with metals or the alloys used in the construction of certain weapons and armor, such as metametal or carbide.
      • The statue of Bel wears its tremendous weight in polished marble. He wields his epochal aegis, storied for obstructing a swirling gas cloud in the starry dawn.
      • The name "Bel" refers to a title given to many gods in the Mesopotamian religion of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia. "Bel" signifies "lord" or "master".
    • Carthax: The athlete. Carthax is depicted mid-stride as he "vault[s] through the firmament", implying a perpetual motion or movement. His silver hair is tied back behind his head "in astral tradition". Carthax could be the patron deity of athletes, strength or physical prowess. His silver hair and implied perpetual vaulting could also relate him to a celestial body such as a moon, although this is unlikely. Eschelstadt II will call upon the player character to "vault [their] artifacts into the sacred portal" in the name of Carthax; this is probably just a play on Carthax's depiction within the pantheon.
      • Carthax the athlete is depicted here mid-stride. His glistening silver hair is tied behind his head, in astral tradition, as he vaults through the firmament.
      • The name "Carthax" doesn't appear to have a specific origin, as cursory research uncovered only the name of a location within a tabletop game and the name of a possibly fictional rune used in wizardry.
    • Dagon: The orator. Dagon is depicted in a "brazen pose" as he "domineers the west apse". He wears a golden coronet. Eschelstadt II will call upon the player character to "speak chrome's prayer and empty your barrels, unholster your guns!" in the name of Dagon. In this, we can assume that Dagon could be a patron deity of peacemaking and diplomacy.
      • Dagon the orator domineers the west apse with his brazen pose. His golden coronet shines splendidly in the fire's shrine.
      • The name "Dagon" makes references to an ancient Mesopotamian god of fertility of the same name.
    • Nisroch: The star mason. Nisroch is much more clearly depicted as a protector deity: he's portrayed straddling the earth with his legs in a presumed protective stance; Mechanimist pilgrims will lay praise upon his name, he "who shelters us stiltseekers"; Eschelstadt II will call upon the player character to "honor thy Well", in apparent reference to the sacred well within the Cathedral of Shekhinah, in the name of Nisroch. He also wears his "favorite sash" rendered in the Cathedral in gold. Not much is known about his duties as a "star mason", and it's unknown whether Nisroch uses stars in much the same way a stone mason uses stone or if he's a mason from the stars.
      • Nisroch the star mason is depicted here straddling the earth with his mighty legs. He dons his favorite sash, whose folds are exquisitely worked in gold.
      • The name "Nisroch" comes from an Assyrian god tentatively identified as a patron deity of agriculture.
    • Resheph: "The Above". Of all the descriptions, Resheph's is the most brief. He's depicted lifting a finger that will "heal the wounds of the sick". Eschelstadt II also cries to "cleanse them of your flesh" in the name of Resheph. Plainly we see that Resheph is a patron god of healing or medicine.
      • Resheph, who's called "the Above", lifts an enigmatic finger to heal the wounds of the sick."
      • The name "Resheph originates in the ancient Canaanite religion, in a god of the same name. Interestingly, the historical Resheph is a deity associated with plagues or sickness.
  • The Kasaphescence: A foil to the male-dominated Argent Fathers, the Kasaphescence (also known as Her Radiance) is a primordial mother goddess referred to by the Mechanimists as "Her". It's also heavily hinted that the Kasaphescence is not a physical woman or humanoid; although they attribute to Her human characteristics (e.g. "Her naked womb"), mentions of "chromium shoals" - a nonsensical phrase perhaps referring to veins of chromium or shiny metals - and Her role in seemingly supplying the materials needed for the creation of the artifacts points to the Kasaphescence being more of a location. The Mechanimists speak of the Sacred Joining, where the union of the Argent Fathers and the Kasaphescence created the machines and artifacts. The Mechanimists much more plainly pray to the Kasaphescence for protection, mentioning her "watching over [their children]". Additionally, the Kasaphescence is characterized as a slumbering deity, one who dreams of "our lives", and one who exists at such a grand scale where the vast jungles of Qud are mere gardens and Moghra'yi, the Great Salt Desert, "is but dust in Her hands".
    • There, in the coldest distance of space, they discovered beauty-and-chrome incarnate, the Kasaphescence.
    • It is unknown whether Qud and the Earth exists within the Kasaphescence or if the Kasaphescence is simply an extraterrestrial paradisiacal zone, although given available information the former is more likely.
    • Cursory research has yielded no known origin for the name "Kasaphescence". However, the title includes the suffix "-escence", derived from "-escent", indicating a developing state or action. The remaining part, "Kasaph-", is of indeterminate meaning, although it's possible to derive a word - "Kasaphus" - in a similar way one can take "phosphorescence" and derive "phosphorus". Therefore, etymologically speaking, the Kasaphescence denotes the developing state of some thing involving "Kasaphus" or "Kasaph-".

The titles of the verses of the Canticles Chromaic also use words of varying etymologies; words such as Ignatium (a word possibly related to the Latin ignitus or ignus, meaning "to ignite" and "fire" respectively), Ben-Charonium (a phrase or name appearing in 17th-century Latin texts), Gendonai (a possible Greek word pertaining to sensory perception), and Beth (a related word Bethel appears in ancient ancient Middle-Eastern texts), and it is uncertain whether these songs are historical individuals or events, lesser deities, states of being or mind (akin to "nirvana"), or something else entirely.

Mechanimist Creation Myths Edit

Within the known canon there are two events of significance that occur at the beginning of the universe: the Sacred Joining and the Edification. These events are Genesis-style legends, intended to explain the origin of the artifacts and ruins. Both events included the Argent Fathers and the Kasaphescence, and while a direct timeline is never established, it is known that the Edification occured after the Sacred Joining, although once again the time between these events is unknown. Interestingly, no such legend exists for the creation of mankind; it is only passingly mentioned within the Canticles Chromaic.

The Sacred Joining, the first of the two, occurred when, at the early dawn of the Universe, the Argent Fathers, who had up until that point been wandering the universe with "inert hearts", discovered the Kasaphescence and created machines from "Her naked womb", the implication being that the Argent Fathers used the abundance of materials found within the Kasaphescence to create machines, rather than a more literal impregnation. These machines numbered enough to "inhabit a hundred earths", and is highly implied that they are the ancient artifacts and machines that one can find around Qud. Shekhinah is depicted leading the Argent Fathers in the Sacred Joining.

  • (Description of the marble relief) This is an exquisitely detailed high relief cut from precious cerulean marble. It depicts the Sacred Joining, as recounted by Shekhinah the Father to the temple high priests. In the early dawn of our universe, the Argent Fathers roamed the timeless aether with inert hearts. There, in the coldest distance of space, they discovered beauty-and-chrome incarnate, the Kasaphescence. Together they wrought machines from Her naked womb to inhabit a hundred earths. In the scene here, the Fathers first approach Her Radiance. They are led by Shekhinah, who occupies a position of prominence.
  • Interestingly, it is hinted at that their union with the Kasaphescence is what deified the Argent Fathers in the first place. Although not much is known about the Argent Fathers prior to the Sacred Joining, we know that their hearts were "inert"; additionally, Shekhinah's hologram within the Cathedral is clothed in "cerulean shades", a color associated with godhood or the firmament, in memory of His union with the Kasaphescence. This could mean that, prior to the Sacred Joining, the Argent Fathers could have simply been powerful beings who lived within the firmament, and their union with the Kasaphescence propelled them to godhood in the eyes of the Mechanimists.

The Edification, the second event, most likely recounts the creation of the ruins we see scattered across Qud. Using the "plasmatic metal" of the Kasaphescence, the Argent Fathers created presumably hundreds of "spires", "arches" and other edifices fit for mortal folk. Here the Kasaphescence is more precisely portrayed as an area of abundance containing enough raw materials to craft the ancient ruins. It is unknown whether the purview of the Edification spanned across many planets as the Sacred Joining did or if only the Earth was affected, however the former is more likely given the power exhibited by the Argent Fathers and the scope of influence of the Kasaphescence. Additionally, the legend states that the purpose of the Edification was to create structures suitable for "mortal folk": it's therefore probable that humankind has already been created. Shekhinah is portrayed once again as leading or overseeing the Edification: in the marble relief at the Cathedral he's depicted as fondly regarding "His new, gleaming world".

  • (Description of the marble relief) This is a high relief cut with exquisite detail from rare, cerulean marble. It depicts the Edification, as chanted in the Canticles Chromaic. After the Sacred Joining, the Argent Fathers molded the plasmatic metal of the Kasaphescence into edifices fit for inhabitance by mortal folk. They wrought spires onto mountains and arches over rivers. Here, Shekhinah oversees the construction, gazing east upon His new, gleaming world.

Known Historical Connections & Speculations Edit

Although not much is known about the "true" historical fact of the world of Qud beyond rumors and legends, there is a marked connection between the Argent Fathers and a similar group of spacefaring entities: the Coven spoken of by Uri the Jeweler in the short story "The Black Glass". In it, Uri describes the worlds of "a thousand thousand different beings" visited by the elder race of Eaters, and how those same beings visited our world. Some of these races would eventually come together to form a coven "that spanned the firmament" which would welcome Qud's Eaters into their fold. The coven is loosely characterized as an interplanetary organization or coalition, pooling the resources and might of possibly hundreds of worlds to improve the standards of living for each of the member civilizations. Given this information, there are a number of important speculations we can make about the Mechanimist pantheon (NOTE: the following is merely speculation and is not supported by the facts and canon presented by Caves of Qud):

  1. The Argent Fathers were prominent members of the elder race of Eaters: This is backed by the fact that seemingly all of the Argent Fathers have a human appearance and physiology, especially Shekhinah. Since it's known that, prior to joining the ranks of the coven, the Eaters "skirred the stars" and visited hundreds of extraterrestrial planets, it's plausible that this could be the age when the Argent Fathers, or Eaters, wandered the cosmos with "inert hearts".
  2. The Kasaphescence is the Mechanimist name for the coven or a special location within the coven: Although Uri never mentioned what happened when the Eaters became part of the coven, it is plausible that the Eaters benefitted from the coven's prosperity and used it to their advantage, upgrading their current technology. The coven, then, could be the source of the ancient artifacts, advanced pieces of technology with incredible curative, destructive or augmentation abilities. Given this, the Kasaphescence could simply be the name the Mechanimists attributed to the coven, a powerful engine of creation that encompasses all of creation, since the coven is characterized by Uri to have dominion over "all reaches of the clustered cosmos.
  3. The Argent Father's "union" with the Kasaphescence could be an interpretation of the individual Eaters who made first contact with the coven: We've speculated earlier that it was their union with the Kasaphescence that deified the Argent Fathers. And since we've also speculated that the Argent Fathers could simply have been important members or leaders of the Eaters, we can therefore deduce that the individuals among the Argent Fathers were perhaps the Eaters who made first contact with the coven, achieving a sort of "union". It's not a stretch to say that such an event - making first contact with an advanced coalition of extraterrestrials - would be a defining moment in the history of the Eaters and would instantly propel these individuals into fame amongst the Eaters.
  4. The Edification took place solely on Earth, as opposed to across several worlds: If the Sacred Joining was the moment the Eaters joined the ranks of the coven and used that collective power to create advanced technology, the Edification would be the use of the coven's power to create advanced futuristic cityscapes across the Earth's surface. This makes sense as, unlike the description of the Sacred Joining, the legend of the Edification makes no mention of other worlds or planets, and in fact recounts Shekhinah looking across his "new, gleaming world". Note the singular world, as opposed to worlds
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