Warforged originated on the same eastern continent as the minotaurs and the dwarves, and the first of their kind were created by the dwarves some seventy-five years ago. The majority of warforged alive today were made during a short period between 75 and 70 years ago, and these warforged are sometimes called the “first” warforged to differentiate them from the small number of other warforged who have been created since then. One example of a more recent creation is Saugren Oltarn's servant Detritus.
Only recently – a bit more than two years ago – the first of the dwarven-made warforged were granted their freedom, due to the role they played in the siege of Uruz. Some say the circumstances at Uruz caused the warforged to malfunction, others speculate that machines became self-aware, but whatever the real reason may be, after the massacre at Uruz the battalion of warforged refused to advance into the land of the minotaurs and instead stood unmoving on the narrow mountain pass dividing the nations, refusing to let anyone to cross. This event lead to an uneasy peace between the dwarves and minotaurs.
The dwarven command, fearing a revolt, released the warforged involved from service, proclaiming that their heroic deeds earned their freedom, but purged their memories, presumably to prevent any military intelligence from falling into enemy hands or possibly to prevent further “malfunctions” in the remaining soldiers.
Elemental magic has long been used as a source of controlled power, and the earliest attempts at mechanical warriors were created with bound elementals to drive water or air through the mechanisms to make them move. The disadvantage of this approach was not only that it needed someone to control the construct, but also that dealing with the enraged elemental when things went wrong was a real problem.
It was the dwarven mage Baodan who first experimented with objects of the very small. He is most well known for his treatise “On the Conservation of Shape in a Divisive Fractal Field”, and utility spells such as “Baodan's Variable Spheres” which are still used in the production of the moving constructs today.
This effect allows a wizard to turn one sphere of metal into many smaller spheres with a combined weight equal to the first. Done over and over the result is a dense oil with remarkably low viscosity. Although it is easy to understand how such a fluid can be used to drive a mechanical body, it is less clear how it made thinking constructs possible. A wizard explains:
“Ultimately what makes the warforged move is a difference in pressure, in our modern case derived from the increasing size of the microspheres of the working fluid. Unlike water pressure the different sized spheres allow us to select different channels and so execute instructions. To understand, consider what happens in warforged eyes.
Behind the sensor there is a thin layer of fluid with some of the smallest particles that we can come up with. When light strikes the sensor, some of these tiny spheres are knocked out of the crystal lattice that holds them in place and move down the tubes into the main calculating network.
To the eye, the network resembles a fine sponge, but under magnification one can discern tiny structures that resemble a dense forest of trees, the roots all interconnected. In this the working fluid runs from the fine roots to the large output branches. One sphere can knock down many others so that the effect can cause a cascade and so turn a trickle into a torrent, which, in a positive Baodan field, will make these spheres coalesce, grow bigger, and so select different branches than before.
This effect increases the overall size of the spheres until the spheres become large enough to be ejected from the calculator and run down the body to the various valves that controls action; to raise an arm say.
After activating a valve, the fluid is then returned to the main tanks, but this time along a different route, utilizing the increase in sphere size to power the pistons that acts as muscles.
Of course, with only one such stimulus-response cycle running at a given moment, the construct's movements are quite jerky, but with the introduction of multiple concurrent cycles the overall effect becomes quite smooth and almost believable. Not unlike what one would expected from a real living being.”