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The Zahnfe are a race of clockwork beings from Alatyr, living in pockets around Tosteladt. They are unique among the mechanical races in that they don't consume fuel of any sort, only needing their springs wound. The small, faerie like ones can be wound by hand, but the high-tension springs in the man sized ones are usually wound using the torque from a waterwheel. As such, most Zahnfe settlements involve a river. Worthy of note is that no Zahnfe can wind the spring of another of their own size. The tension needed is simply too much, if they could wind each other they would be perpetual motion engines.

They appear humanoid, though their size can vary wildly. Some are tiny, with little gear-operated wings allowing them to flit about. Others are of average height, looking more or less humanoid. Some do possess more than one set of arms, though. Their construction seems to make them look as though they attempt to emulate human features, with varying degrees of success. Some simply have a mouthless mask for a face, with two eye slots being their only feature. Others have intricate interlocking panels for their face, allowing them to have expressions and use nonverbal cues. One thing that is commonly accepted is that, though seemingly benign and friendly, the realism of some of their features combined with their sometimes jerky or mechanical movement makes some people distinctly unsettled by them.

The Zahnfe are an inherently creative race, and take great delight in attempting to imitate nature or create new designs for new Zahnfe to be patterned after.

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