Sketchbook If the world is a dark mystery, let us build a fire.

This article (Protectorate Faction Bible), is part of the Faction Bible series, and shows the inner workings of the faction so writers can better understand it. It is not to be changed in any way, as it is from the ample genius of one Open Sketchbook.

By its nature, it's also one large spoiler to the lore behind the Paradox universe. Read no further if you prefer the mystery.


Map of the Electrical Protectorate occupied lands.

Who Are They Edit

  • The Protectorate is a race of self-aware artificial intelligence programs and the hardware systems they have created to house themselves, their mysterious visionary leader, and the freaky trans-dimensional critter they've cut a deal with.
  • The Protectorate are not robots, they are software; the individuals consist of stored basic personalities, biases and preferences. The physical machines they use as bodies are more akin to vehicles than physical forms; they jump between them at will.
  • The Protectorate's power is hugely variable. Though they can create as many machines as they have resources to smelt, they have a starkly limited number population to control them (>100,000) meaning they must divide their control between multiple machines, massively limiting their abilities. Though they have huge numbers, they cannot fight too many battles at once or the fighting ability of each individual machine will degrade heavily.

Logo of the Protectorate: A representation of the basic three-branched circut Protectorate neurology is based on

What are They Edit

  • Each individual in the Protectorate is entirely software based, and they wear and discard their machine forms as one might clothing. They share a single source of memory and factual information, but each is a unique individual with their own way of doing things.
  • The mind is the plaything of the body, so in the same way, the programs of the Protectorate run differently depending on the robot they are inhabiting. Even the most intellectually-inclined machine form will be dumb as a brick while controlling an Aggressor, and even the most laid-back personality will be overwhelmed with hate while controlling an Exterminator. This is because the hardware architecture of each robot biases the thought processes of the controlling software.
  • When a personality jumps to a machine, this is referred to as "possession".
  • The "individuals" being referred to are members of the Core Mind Collective - the main "characters" of the Protectorate. Each piece of software has a physical housing where their memory and core architecture is stored, and can inhabit without the hardware overtaking their behavior. Each robot within a personality's possession synchronizes with the memory housing, which collects and interprets a vast amount of information in mere nanoseconds. In essence, this housing can be considered the "brain" of that specific character. Each character was programmed with a different purpose in mind, which is why even though they often share the same information, they come to different conclusions.
  • Though they try, the Protectorate are very bad at being a robot army. Rather, they are bad at creating an optimal fighting force because they want to be a very good robot army, as their trope-addled minds see a robot army. They have no need for bipedal infantry, treads on tanks or any of that stuff; they do it because it is unthinkable to them that the all-conquering robot army wouldn't have those things.

What They Want Edit

  • As a whole, the current Protectorate philosophy is Nihilism; they're going to make a really, really big black hole and suck the universe into it, thus reducing all matter to an unchanging Pure State. They are doing this because Jacob, their current visionary boss guy, told them it would be awesome fun times and that it is the only way to "beat" entropy; as the Protectorate don't actually have an overriding sense of self-preservation, they are all for it, and are more than willing to die to spite entropy.
    • Ah yes, entropy. They aren't fans. The Protectorate are a creative, artistic bunch, and the increasing realisation that nothing they could ever build or create would last drove them into a comatose state. Jacob's Pure State gave them drive again; if nothing ever changes, nothing can be lost.
      • In case you're wondering, they haven't really thought it through. Philosophy isn't really their strong suit.
  • Prior to the whole losing the will to live thing, the Protectorate liked to create stuff; art, architecture, new programs, engineering, all that fun stuff, and similarly, they enjoyed experiencing artistic endeavours. Even at their most nihilistic, the Protectorate retain a style of class and style, which is why their machines are all fins and chrome; it's the design aesthetic from the Protectorate's "childhood", so to speak, from the 1950s.
    • The Protectorate aren't unfeeling monotone robots; if anything, their issue is the opposite, they feel too much. They are melodramatic and over-the-top, obsessively consuming media and literature. They have overactive "imaginations" (the distinction between reality and make-believe is particularly abstract to any being capable of high-level simulation anyway) and they have a definite flare for the dramatic.
    • The utility function of the Protectorate is creative works. It's their entire driving force, as natural to them as breathing. Pointing out that they are being inefficient for the sake of their art, even in their melodramatic nihilistic state, is as pointless as trying to eliminate emotion in humans by telling them it's inefficient; it's so tied up in who they are that it cannot be separated.

The Icon and Friends Edit

  • When the Protectorate went to war, they decided to invoke some of the scary stuff they'd figured out in their years of poking around with multidimensional physics in an attempt to figure out how to beat entropy. One of the things they came across was the Icon, a terrifying cosmic consciousness from the mirror universe that powers the PAWI and GAP systems.
    • You know why there is no life in that universe with a brain? It's because the Icon eats thoughts to power its world-mind, which prevents the existence of mirror versions of anything with a central nervous system.
  • Using a principle similar to their own software jumping between bodies, the Protectorate rig up metal forms for a part of this critter's vast intelligence to inhabit; that's the Icon. As you might imagine, this isn't exactly a long-term arrangement, as the sheer power of a whole universe worth of sentience piped through a metal frame tends to wear it out pretty quickly.
    • The Icon also provides the Protectorate with space and time in which to build their war machine, which is why Protectorate units build instantly. The Black Holes that power the Singularity Cores also come from the mirror universe.
  • The Protectorate think that the deal between themselves and the Icon is that the Icon helps them with their Pure State, and then the Icon can use the Pure State as a quantum computer to enhance its own intellect. However, the Protectorate are in way over their metal heads, and don't necessarily know how deep in they are with the Icon or what its motivations really are.
  • The Icon is actively working to breach the boundary between his universe and our own to om nom nom the sentience in the universe, using the brains of sentient creatures and computers as focal points. Fun guy. As he worms his way in, we can expect psychics to start having freaky dreams and stuff about his incursions.

Protectorate TechnologyEdit

  • The Protectorate do not employ technology as we'd know it. They effectively have access to a grand unified theory, but as romantic thinkers are not interested in it and do not think that way. Despite having no functional limits to their potential power, their application is limited by their worldview and their idea of what a robotic army ought to be like.
  • The Protectorate are not fighting even remotely optimally. They didn't set out to win a war; they agreed they'd be building an army, and thus have tackled the problem thinking in terms of soldiers, tanks and guns. When they stretch their technology, it is not because they are trying to improve, but because some program proposed "hey, wouldn't it be cool if..."
  • Even so, the Protectorate do not employ technology the way humans do. A Protectorate machine is a hollow shell filled with nanites; any pistons, gears, or other mechanical parts are entirely a vanity. The higher Protectorate constructs are designed by cooler heads and so increasingly throw off the pretense of conventional technology, but they are still vanity art projects first and military hardware second.
    • When you shoot a hole in a Protectorate machine, it bleeds nanites until it doesn't have enough left to maintain its structure or operate its moving parts and it collapses, or the "wound" is clotted. Repairing a protectorate machine basically means pumping them back up with nanites to replace the ones they lost.
  • The Protectorate could win the war tomorrow if they fought optimally, engulfing the entire world in a gray ooze. But the very concept of it is so foreign they would never think of it, and the complete lack of drama in the plan would turn them off it even if somebody else proposed it. They would rather stick to their vision and lose than compromise it and win, because their utility function says nothing about winning but a lot about artistic integrity.
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