Unmanned armored mechanical devices designed especially for use in climates where the temperature is too cold to support an organic operator, cryodrones have become a common sight especially around the more northern Enlightenment cities, though they show up anywhere that a little extra of their particular type of Efficiency might be required. An equivalent prototype for the problem of hotter climes has been tentatively named the pyrodrone, though none of the designs thus far have made it out of testing with any notable success.

Early Automaton Designs

The first inspiration for cryodrones actually came from a prototype weapon used when the Automaton Empire launched its assault on St. Petersburg. Earlier skirmishes between Russian Enlightenment cities and the Empire had shown that most of the Empire's automated warriors were not well suited to the harsh and sudden onset of the Russian winter, and their losses were deemed unacceptable. So, when the attack on St. Petersburg was launched, the local defense was unpleasantly surprised to find a hundred prototype automatons dropped into their city from low-flying airships. The new automatons were slower and heavier than the more common models, but they trudged through the slush and snow of the streets without any of the difficulty that their lighter cousins had experienced in earlier conflicts.

Enlightenment Reverse-Engineering

The automatons were, however, still prototypes, and the drain on their energy sources turned out to be more than they could endure. Over half of them collapsed after only a few hours of fighting, without even enough power to self-destruct properly. This was a greater loss to the Empire than the failure of the automatons themselves, as it allowed the Enlightenment to capture a large number of intact specimens and examine them. It was from these, and from some traditonal Russian designs that the first Enlightenment sanctioned cryodrones were built.


Though the prospect of unmanned armor appealed to many of the less enthusiastic soldiers of the Enlightenment, the unpredictability of the cryodrones behavior made them impractical to use without supervision. Enlightenment officials also scoffed at the need for unmanned armor suited to cold, thinking that time and effort might be better spent looking at weapons and armor suited for warmer, more Imperial conditions. Funding went elsewhere, it and was left to the bored tinkerers to make improvements in their free time, if they felt so inclined. Still, the Russian cryodrones went through two full upgrades, coloquially known as "generations," leading to the most advanced unmanned Enlightenment weapons to date, the 3GRC. Even so, it has never been considered a particularly great success. A popular joke once heard around the factories producing the RC line implied that the only reason the Empire abandoned their serious attempts to invade the country is that, having seen St. Petersburg (the "heart" of the nation), they were no longer interested.

Recent Developments

In light of the recent losses the Enlightenment has suffered because the Automaton Empire has pursued its automaton's affinity for cold to masterful levels, there has been some speculation that cryodrone research might not be as dead as was once thought. However, the few factories that were still manufacturing them were hit fairly hard by some of the more violent Russian resistance activity, and finding someone who could repair one-let alone build one or improve the design-seems likely to prove difficult, at best.

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