Automata are a collection of glyphs that can be triggered to produce an effect.
Inscribing is the process of writing down the glyphs to create a new automata. To inscribe a new automata you take a number of glyphs and combine them on a hexagonal grid. The size and shape of this grid depends on the object you are inscribing. The available glyphs are listed on the glyphs page. Note that automata can only be inscribed on imbued items, which have been specially crafted so they can be inscribed. Inscribed automata can be removed from an item with the Imbue skill.
Each automata needs to be written on a surface consisting of hexagons oriented with the straight edges up. Each hexagon should be 2cm by 1.5cm. The size of the grid is the amount of surface of the object you are inscribing. Note that in the case of very thin objects like paper sheets only one side can be used. You are allowed to use a paper to represent the surface of the object when inscribing things like wands.
Each automata has to follow a certain set of rules. These rules were created by the original creators of primordial magic and serve as an abstraction on reality to make it possible to - literally - create magic effects.
To start the inscribing process, pick a starting grid tile and place the "Begin" glyph. Put other glyphs adjacent to the start glyph or other glyphs such that it will eventually produce the desired effect. It is very important during this process is to account for how the power flows through the glyphs: From the "Begin" glyph, the power will flow to the other glyphs in a single chain. The next glyph to be powered will be determined by starting from the top of the current glyph and moving clockwise. The first glyph that is encountered will be the next glyph to be powered. The previous glyph, take and put glyphs are excluded from this process. Should another, previously powered glyph be encountered this way the automata will short-cirtuit and be disintegrated.
Input and Output
Each glyph can have at most two inputs and one output. However, it depends on the glyph whether or not it will actually use an input or produce an output. To find the inputs, the same clockwise lookup is performed as for the next glyph except that Take glyphs are included. If the previous glyph produced an output, it is also included in the lookup. The first such glyph encountered is assigned to the first input of the next glyph, the second glyph is assigned to the second input.
For outputs, the surrounding glyphs are searched for a Put glyph using the same clockwise lookup. The first such glyph encountered will be used to put the value produced by the glyph. If there is no Put glyph, the value will be available for the next glyph to use. If nothing is done with the value, it will be lost.
Certain glyphs allow you to "pick" something. This represents a collection of Glyphs that your character knows that share a common design but have slightly varying parameters. Picking the parameters for the glyph does not mean creating a new glyph, but rather means that you know a glyph of that type with the chosen permutations. For example, the Create Particles glyph needs you to pick an amount and a type. If you need 5 Fire particles, you can pick "5" for the number and "Fire" for the type, which results in a "Create 5 Fire" glyph.
Some glyphs are marked as "Dominant" with a certain element. If more than 50% of the power of your automata is spent on dominant glyphs of the same type and there are no glyphs of the opposite of that type, the automata will become dominant of that type. This can have certain benefits, most importantly it allows certain skills to provide you with bonuses.
The end result of the automata - the effect, needs to be put into game terms once you are satisfied with your automata. To do this, contact a Game Master and hand him or her your automata. The game master will check it for you and then hand you a closed note with the effect in game terms. You can open and read the note the first time you activate the automata.
To activate an automata, you have to put enough power into it. Each automata comes with a power cost that needs to be matched. The power cost of the automata depends on the glyphs used for the automata. You need to be able to touch the automata with one of your hands to be able to put the required power into it.
The source of the power used to activate the automata depends on the components you use. See components for a detailed list of all available components and how to use them. Once an automata has been activated, the automata creates an effect either at the palm of one of your hands or at a point of the object the automata was inscribed upon, as decided during activation. The effect persists for a certain duration, then dissipates. How long the effect persists depends on several things, primarily on what type of matter - if any - is used. Please see "Stability and Radiation" for more details.