Ghosts of Fallen Stars (Iron Gods)
Androids are superficially identical to humans in many ways, and to the uninformed it can be difficult to differentiate the two. In most but not all cases, androids’ alien nature is revealed in the right light by the metallic sheen in their eyes and the biological, tattoo-like circuitry that riddles their skin. Their bodies are completely artificial, though made of materials that mimic the flexibility, shape, and density of human flesh and bone. Their organs mirror those of humans so well that only by examining the materials and makeup of these systems—which use sheeny oils and polymer alloys rather than blood and marrow—could one guess that their physiology is alien. Their complex design is unlike that of any race known, leading many to suspect that they originated from a distant star system or even another galaxy. Androids are roughly the same size as humans; on average, they are 6 feet tall and weigh 200 pounds.
An android eats, drinks, breathes, and excretes much like a human, though certain improvements have been made. Androids do not require sleep, and resist biological diseases. Their thin, watery blood carries life-sustaining oxygen in the fluid itself rather than in cells. Instead of clotting, android bleeding is halted by repairs carried out by nanites. These nanites carry out other biological functions as well, including cleansing the body of accumulated toxins. Androids have limited control of their nanites.
Most android bears a set of unique markings that resemble tattoos but are in fact a kind of biological circuitry. If questioned on their glowing tattoos, faintly metallic eyes, or pale blood, they credit curses or strange ancestry, often claiming angelic heritage.
What separates androids from golems and other mindless constructs is that androids are living beings and as such possess souls, through means not fully understood. Similarly, androids don’t live forever, though barring violence or tragedy their bodies never deteriorate. Rather, an android’s cybernetic mind eventually shuts down after decades of living and self-restarts later, leaving its body vacant for 2-3 weeks as the old soul departs for its final reward in Pharasma‘s Boneyard and a fresh, new soul finds its way into the shell (this is a process called ’renewal’). Androids live nearly as long as humans, and like other humanoids, they grow physically weaker with age.
Reproduction and Origin
Though they have genitalia and secondary sexual characteristics (breasts, widened hips, facial hair, etc.) and can engage in and enjoy intercourse, androids have no functional reproductive organs and cannot procreate. They know that androids are built, not born, and made in the image of humanity. New androids originate only from foundries or from androids lost to renewal, in both cases beginning life fully grown. Most androids don’t fear renewal, but they certainly fear the death of their bodies, all the more because they cannot reproduce. Each death of an android permanently diminishes the species.
Shamans speak of great forges where androids are “born” from metal wombs and are cut from electrified umbilical cords. Even androids can’t refute or verify such stories, since most who emerge from ruins do so naked and without any memories beyond their initial egress into the wide, unfamiliar world. The androids of Golarion now struggle to find their purpose in a world ruled more by magic than technology.
Relationships and Purposes
Though androids lack familial relationships and have difficulty processing emotions, some learn to experience friendship and form communities. Yet even the most social android finds comfort in solitude. With no need for sleep, androids have ample time for contemplation and reflection. Many androids choose the wanderer’s life, roaming Numeria, the Inner Sea region, or even more distant lands. Some travel merely to experience all life has to offer in the years between awakening and renewal. Others search for deeper meaning, or even the faint hope of finding a means to return to an ancestral home that they’ve never known. Brave androids search Numeria to find those of their kind that are newly born and wandering the wastes.
Science and Religion
As creations of advanced science, androids find themselves drawn to the mysteries of technology. They eschew any fears and superstitions of technological advancement, taking a practical view of advanced technology as a tool to be understood and mastered.
Androids also find religion and spirituality fascinating. The deity Brigh, the Whisperer in Bronze, speaks to many androids, who see themselves as the ultimate union of life and invention. Any faith in pursuit of grand ideals has a chance of attracting android adherents, and androids beholden to Iomedae and Sarenrae battle shoulder to shoulder with other holy crusaders in Mendev, or seek enlightenment in remote Iroran monasteries. Androids are not limited in their reverence to goodly religions. Cruel and manipulative androids gravitate to the worship of Norgorber.
This fascination with religion has led to androids creating philosophies unique to their kind.
Despite their technological origins, androids have as much magical potential as any other humanoids, and no particular aversion to practicing it.
As living creatures with souls, androids can become undead like any other humanoids. They are also susceptible to supernatural afflictions such as lycanthropy and curses. In addition, androids can be brought back to life with magic.