When creating a world of magic, most people go the traditional route with medieval Europe level of technology. Though accidents happen when you add a little plumbing or some more advanced items. One may even go further with having magic-based technology like airships, magic guns, and flying cities. The sky can be the limit once you step outside of the traditional settings. Yet, there is one thing that doesn’t come up that often:
The closest you usually get are golems. These are artificial creatures forged by magic and typically used as mindless servants. You see a lot of them in The Merchant of Nevra Coil. They get mentioned a few times and big ones are unleashed in The Compass Key and Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue. Still, they don’t exactly count as robots for many people.
Anime and video games seem to touch on this or at least get close. For example, you have Cait Sith from Final Fantasy VII who is a remote-controlled robot in a world where magic exists. Been a while, but I think he can use magic even though he’s a tech creation. There might have been a little magical creation to him, but I really have to read up more on it agian. So you can see that it’s rare that you have a true combination. Oddly enough, ‘Pinocchio’ and some variations on ‘Alice in Wonderland’ try this. One is a marionette (tech for that world) made alive by magic. The other has a version called ‘The Looking Glass Wars’, which has some characters using magic in a world that has robotic soldiers and high tech melee weapons.
I think part of the reason you don’t see many combinations is because of how people take to magic and technology. Those who accept magic in a story tend to look at it as a natural and used by man. Technology, on the other hand, is entirely man-made and artificial, so it doesn’t mix with magic. Some also require a lot of science and logic in regards to technology, which isn’t the same with magic where you only need to remain within your own rules. Both systems come under scrutiny and a robot in a magical world stands on the border with a spotlight. Honestly, I do want to see more of these types of characters and creations. As time moves on, I hope to slip a few into Windemere where the stories permit me.
So, what do you think of magical robots? Any that come to mind?