Dwemer animunculi, also known as automatons, centurions, or robots, are steam-powered constructs created by the Dwemer as guardians and war machines. Made from a special Dwemer metal, they continue functioning centuries after their creators’ disappearance. Without the Dwemer to control them, the animunculi revert to their default settings, maintaining their underground cities and attacking intruders. A construct may never hurt a Dwemer without being ordered to do so by another Dwemer. Some adventurers use this to their advantage, masking themselves with illusion magic.
In combat, the animunculi deploy surprisingly effective tactics such as ambushes and coordinated attacks. They focus the most threatening and vulnerable targets before moving on. Knowing no fear or sympathy, they ignore casualties on both sides. However, they will retreat if doing so is tactically advantageous.
Scholars and mages find these constructs fascinating and many try to uncover the secrets behind these technological marvels. Each of these constructs is powered by steam, but some of them also use electricity or soul gems as a backup or auxiliary source of power. All artifacts taken from Dwemer ruins are considered to be the property of the Emperor by Imperial Law. This includes Dwemer constructs, which means that honest merchants will not buy the remains of destroyed animunculi. Smugglers and fences, however, will gladly buy anything a daring adventurer brings from a Dwemer city.