As stated in the introduction to this section, the study or even idea of Technomancy was non-existent in pre-Snowfall Varius. All avenues toward exploring the true nature of Potential were scattered into a multitude of tangential and sometimes mutually exclusive disciplines. Toward the end of the 20th century, the methodology of science had solidified its hold through most of the world and began to make discoveries that would later unlock the secrets of Technomancy.
What remained missing was any reason to suspect that scientific discipline needed to change or explore other conceptual realms. In retrospect, the researches of that era were too engrossed in attempting to create systems and blindly alter Focus. The sciences were quite content to map the properties of energies, masses, and dimensions. Individual disciplines were kept separate. Thus, while many spent the majority of their lives writing texts on how science worked, far too few attempted to sufficiently answer why it did.
When the snowfall came the sciences staggered as the infrastructure that kept labs running collapsed. Additionally, there was a sudden explosion of interest in codifying and discerning the true nature of the supernatural energies that now permeated nearly every aspect of the planet.
So many labs were lost when the coastline rose that entire branches of research were lost forever. Rather than begin again, most post-Snowfall researchers picked up what they could and began to apply their perspectives to magical research. Many have theorized that a great deal of the technology that existed by 2300 could easily have appeared at least 200 years earlier had the Snowfall not occurred. The founding of New Washington and its fortunate patronage by powerful peacekeepers brought a safe haven for researchers into the new ways of magic and the old ways of technology. One such researcher made a concerted effort to look at them both.
Dr. Nathan Gerson was born into a generation that was the first to be conceived and birthed by the post-Snowfall races. His generation was truly the first to be a part of a new and completely different era. To him, the flooding of the coasts and the rampage of the Mad Mage were things left to history lessons and childhood stories. Unburdened by the memories and stifling simplicity of a dead age, he took to learning about the world with a fervor reminiscent of the scientist-adventurers of the Enlightenment. Through his college career and for the next ten years he probed deeply into the workings of attunement magic and supernatural theory. With help from his wizardly patrons, he mastered the workings of the Law of Correspondence. With it in mind, he eventually discovered that Humanity was capable of a unique kind of attunement magic. Humans posessed a natural ability to infuse a little of their being into an object and have that object eventually assimilate the infusion completely, making that shard of energy its own. Dr. Gerson named this The Law of Emergent Potential and declared it the First Law of Technomancy. After a decade of research, he was ready to publish his life's work.
In the spring of 2076 Dr. Nathan Gerson, then 31 years old, published a comprehensive text on all his research to date entitled "Gods of Machines." Within this text, Dr. Gerson outlined the workings and structure of human attunement magic and its reliance on focusing rituals that were secular, technical, and reinforcing in nature. He outlined the properties of a human magical energy which could be channeled into an end product he called “Effect.” He also outlined the tendency for every system infused through this process to pick up new capabilities and eventually take on the infused Potential as its own. The word he coined for this new type of attunement magic was "Technomancy."
Dr. Gerson's book shocked both the scientific and magical communities. The greatest effect of this discovery was not simply in the redefinition of many scientific principles, but in finding at last the racial magic of humanity. Until this point, only the new races showed inherent talents toward a type of magic. Humans had remained a race with the ability to learn another race's magic (and even to master it given time) but had no discernable magic of its own. For a time, every human in New Washington rushed to learn everything they could about Technomancy.(*) Dr. Gerson refused to remain complacent, he spent the rest of his life exploring the new field and spreading his knowledge to everyone that came to him.
He would find that his work was nowhere near complete.
Use and Refinement
Over the next hundred years, new experts and students of Technomancy collaborated with Dr. Gerson to find more and more applications for the magic and to attempt to create a mathematic for which to measure it. The study of applications quickly took prominence, creating a kind of rift between Dr. Gerson and his new generation of disciples. Inventions, attunement arts, unlockable techniques and quasi-sentient gear blossomed into the prototype and engineering phase. Dr. Gerson could see that just as in the days of the pre-Snowfall scientists, too little work was being done to sufficiently answer why Technomancy worked.(**)
The rest of his life would see his work mired in politics and short-sighted experimentation. Dr. Gerson would eventually withdraw from the public eye and found his own exclusive research facility dedicated to the discovery of every last secret of Technomancy. It was here that his work would lead him along the road to make another great discovery - one that several others would make at the exact same time.
In the year 2162, three different labs (Gerson's own among them) and four independent researchers all rushed to publish the exact same result. They had discovered the basis for the Law of Emergent Potential and the reason why Potential behaved as it did. They furthermore discovered why humans were inherently talented at manipulating it. This discovery was released as The Law of Infinite Potential and was seen as so essential to the understanding of Technomancy that it replaced Gerson's Law of Emergent Potential as the First Law of Technomancy.(***) The event caused a tremendous stir for that year and the two years following it as the different labs traded barbs and attempted to out-perfect one another's understanding of Technomancy. This also created a second boom among humans to learn and know their heratige magic.
Dr. Nathan Gerson withdrew again from the public eye shortly after. His work became more and more focused on the occult and metaphysical aspects of Technomancy. In one of his last public appearances some five years before his death, he claimed (in a quizzically fond tone) to have been betrayed by the Law of Correspondence in his later career. Dr. Gerson's death drew worldwide attention and his name has since become the name of the unit of Potential. (The Gerson)
Ironcially, this advanced level of understanding served only to slow the further understanding of Technomancy. With one of its most haunting questions solved and one of its greatest champions dead, the field of Technomancy settled into a long stable heyday of minute experimentation and development. It is during this time that many of the items considered to be archetypical of the Age of Corporations were first invented. This heavy emphasis on research and industry drove a wedge deep between technomancy and the other schools of magic. The patron wizards that helped bring understanding to Dr. Gerson eventually washed their hands of the Technomancers and contented themselves to merely observe.
The fact that Technomancy was never taught at Ethertech University served no small purpose in starting the divide between supernatural mages and technomancers. This dichotomy and lack of a similar regimen of training kept Technomancers scattered and disorganized literally for centuries. In this time the public image of the Technomancer shifted from the dedicated labrat of the late 22nd century, to the gifted but sometimes arrogant engineer of the 23rd century, to the anarchic and upredictable techno-punk of the mid and late 24th century, to the mysterious and enlightened techno-mystic of the 25th.
In these centuries of refinement, the Technomancers never lost their public mystique of being sworn individualists. Without a school and with nothing but Infinite Potential to work with, there were as many different styles and subtypes of Technomancers as there were stars in the universe.
The study of applications began to reach a plateau in the 26th century and, for the first time in over three hundred years, the Technomantic community(****) placed its attention on the theories and postulates behind the attunement. Many kinds of experimentation began to take place anew and for a time, the “mapping” of every unlockable function (or “Focus") of an attuned object became all the rage. This research attempted to create a perfect chart showing every possible way an object could change when it displayed Emergent Potential. What they discovered in addition was one of the cornerstones to true Artificial Intelligence.
In the summer of 2643, another collection of labs and individuals published the same set of findings at once. Their work in mapping many different objects had led them to discover that every object has a specific numerical value that must be breached in order for an object to begin to manifest a consciousness. This value (a measure of “Effect” or “Utility,” which is derived from the object's Potential) was called Minutiae and it was further determined that Minutiae could not be set lower than a specific amount. This universal minimum for Minutiae was called the Spark Point. Items below the Spark Point cannot manifest consciousness. The next hundred years became a race for mapping the Minutiae of all objects and constructing the first true AI.
This mapping yeilded another seredipitous discovery in 2710 when a collaborative project betwen three of the largest labs in the world found that any attuned item had an impact on all others like it regardless of weather those items were attuned or not. This item memory could be explained under the Law of Correspondence, but what was more remarkable still was the items were all becoming more similar and that the map of their unlockable functions was shrinking by a very, very small amount. These observations led to The Revised Meaning of Entropy.
These last understandings were what created the being that would ultimately end the Age of Corporations. This most advanced stage of development nearly destroyed humanity and the sentient races, but it also allowed the human race to eventually learn the highest secrets of their magic and save all organic life. Those are stories for the next age.
(*) - This would represent the first and last time anyone attempted to create a formal program of training and education for Technomancy. The massive movement to learn the magic ultimately failed as there were quite simply too few willing teachers with mastery enough to teach. By 2085, most humans had decided to leave the Technomancy to the experts.
(**) - Contrary to popular belief, Nathan Gerson had nothing to do with the creation of the Guardians. The majority of records and reports of the time shows that he was actually opposed to the research and felt it was stepping blindly and foolishly into methods that were neither sufficiently tested nor completely understood. His feelings on the matter were so strong that it is believed to have influenced his decision to keep Technomancy out of Ethertech University.
(***) - The lab that managed to get their results published first was not Gerson's. Although each lab seemed to have discovered the basic equation for Potential at the same time, the rival lab decided to name the end result of Potential divided by Focus “Utility” instead of “Effect,” the word Dr. Gerson used when he first published "Gods of Machines." This debate was never resolved and the terms Utility and Effect have now become interchangable.
(****) - The Technomantic “community” is only seen as a community by those on the outside of it. Even in the late AoC, Technomancers rarely worked with anyone outside of their lab or social circle. Yet, Technomancers consistently seem to have the same ideas and discoveries at the same time. It is theorized that Technomancers are hooked into a very strong collective unconscious because of the Law of Correspondence.