Augment

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Augment is a common colloquial term for humans (or other Mortal races) that used implanted Magic-Tech to make themselves stronger, faster, or in some way better than their ordinary nature would allow. The practice was thought to be common at one point, but became much more rare in later eras, and died out completely by the end of the Mage Wars.

History[edit]

Using enchanted items first began in the early First Chaotic Period, where surviving texts mention medical applications. Records survive of enchanted limbs, but apparently eyes were the most common. A glass orb with a suitable enchantment could be used to replace an eye lost in an accident or battle. A fragment of a surgeon-mage's journal which survived into later times tells an interesting story, of a man with diminished eyesight asking to have both eyes replaced, despite the availability of enchanted spectacles with much the same advantages. The mage, having been trained as both an enchanter and a surgeon, felt that to remove healthy flesh would be a despicable act. At the same time, the man was willing to pay handsomely. The entry ends with the surgeon waxing philosophically about the ethicacy of bio-augmentation, and potential abuses. The passage is particularly notable for its prescience; many later civilizations would have exactly the same discussion about genetic and cybernetic technology.

By the mid First Chaotic Period, enough surgeon-mages had put aside their scruples (and opened their pocketbooks) to make the practice of magic-tech augmentation widespread. It was found in all parts of the known worlds, though the challenging expertise and expensive materials did keep it from common practice. Most Augments began as simple medical need: a warrior having a lost arm or leg replaced. These were relatively simple, as the prosthetic limb needed only be controlled with magic. Still, it didn't take much to start with a new hand, then dream up ways to improve upon it.

Augmentation strictly to improve one's abilities was less common, as enchanted objects could usually provide the same results and magic, for all its abilities, wasn't particularly good at stopping infection. Still, mages with enchanted items implanted in their bodies was not unheard of, nor was having runes carved into living bones. The latter practice was popular in the late First Chaotic among older wizards who already lacked mobility but needed a dramatic increase in power. One such mage is even known to have had his own skull etched with runes such that it became a phylactery, allowing him to "cheat" death but confining him to an enchanted skull.

Augments came into their own during the Dynastic Period, when a combination of stable empires, massive wealth, and greater skill at all things magical came together. Most legends are dated to this period. While details are scant, magic-tech augmentation included embedding enchanted items to provide greater power, skeletal replacement and muscular enhancment. It was also not uncommon to see entire exoskeletons grafted on. Augments were not leaders, but champions, fiercely loyal.

The practice lasted until the end of the Dynastic Period, with scattered use in the early Second Chaotic Period.