As part of the Treaty of Thronehold, the document that ended the Last War, two important decisions regarding the warforged were agreed upon. First, at the insistence of Breland, the status of the warforged changed; they were no longer property, they were people. Second, House Cannith was forbidden to produce any new warforged; the creation forges were shut down and destroyed. Some nations, such as Thrane and Karrnath, sidestep the property clause through “indentured servitude,” forcing their warforged to work as de facto property while promising them freedom once they have worked off their debt to the state for their creation. Many people regard the warforged with suspicion, anger, or fear, but the living constructs have begun to find a level of acceptance they never imagined attaining when the war first ended.
Warforged do not reproduce. The vast majority of warforged roaming the continent of Khorvaire are veterans of the Last War. The oldest among them date back to the original production run in 965 YK; the newest emerged from the creation forges in the last days of the war.
Warforged are constructs, but they are not machines. Warforged have bodies composed of inorganic materials like steel and stone but also of living magic. In this way, warforged combine technology and magic in an unparalleled manner. During the Last War, most warforged were discouraged from taking any interest in magic or their own construction. The only practice of magic taught in the House Cannith training halls was that of the artificer, and House Cannith strictly controlled the training of the few warforged selected for that duty. Thus, most warforged think very little about magic and attach no emotion to it. Magic and how it interacts with a warforged body hold no interest for most warforged beyond pure practicality. A warforged values magic that aids him, particularly magic that repairs his body. Warforged enjoy the ability to accept magic into their composite plating and to graft particular magic items to their bodies, but few warforged are curious about how or why either process works. Still, some warforged, mainly those who have taken up spellcasting, are beginning to investigate their pasts and the rumored links between warforged and the ancient magic of the quori who invaded Xen’drik. These few seekers of knowledge see the discovery of the means to create warforged and docent components as a strategic goal.
The Treaty of Thronehold gave warforged their freedom, but only after great debate. House Cannith and Thrane argued ardently that warforged were not living creatures because they do not possess souls. Their evidence for this was that warforged cannot become undead by any known method, not even ghosts or wraiths. They are immune to energy drain, and no one knows of a warforged soul in Dolurrh, the Realm of the Dead. Breland argued that because warforged can be raised from the dead, they must have souls. Of course, House Cannith and Thrane countered that no warforged brought back from death told tales of any kind of afterlife. In the end, the Question of Souls, as that portion of the negotiations came to be known, was left unanswered. Warforged were freed because they could exhibit independent thought and free will. Today many people continue to think of warforged as creatures without souls, and citizens of Thrane often refer to warforged as “the
In 965 YK, Aarren d’Cannith created the first sentient warforged of the present era. Other constructs similar to warforged had been created before, but the warforged that emerged from the creation forge on that day marked the successful end to a long series of experiments with the goal of creating living, thinking constructs. House Cannith had been creating constructs built for labor, exploration, and defense for some time before King Jarot, growing ever more paranoid about threats to Galifar, urged Merrix d’Cannith, Aarren’s father, to build constructs designed for war.
For armies of constructs to march on the fields of battle, the constructs needed to be able to think for themselves, and up to that point, even the most intelligent constructs to emerge from the creation forges required minders to give them commands and control their actions. The new
intelligent constructs also needed to be inexpensive to build; although an army of intelligent golems would be unstoppable, Merrix d’Cannith realized the Kingdom of Galifar lacked the resources to pay his house to build such an army. After the kingdom split, Merrix devoted all his energy to the concept of sentient construct soldiers, but his son made the first breakthrough, using documents dating back to Kedran d’Cannith that some say originated in ancient quori ruins that had been explored by Kedran in Xen’drik. When the secret of warforged creation was discovered, the creation forges of House Cannith began selling warforged to whomever could afford them. Breland, Cyre, and Thrane had the largest forces of warforged, but most of the various factions in the war boasted at least a small contingent of the soldier constructs. Warforged participated in all the important battles of the Last War, on the side of at least one of the various parties in the conflict.
Warforged distinguished themselves in the Last War due to their speed traveling long distances, their tirelessness, and their fearlessness in the face of overwhelming foes. They also surprised many with their rather mutable loyalty. Although warforged were unquestionably loyal to their owners, it was found that a captured warforged’s concept of who owned it was often easy to change. Many battles during the Last War were fought for the sole purpose of capturing an enemy’s warforged. Such battles imperiled the capturing force, since the need to use nonlethal tactics against constructs that were under no such constraints made combat doubly deadly. As the war progressed, new types of warforged emerged from the creation forges. Most were made by request in limited production runs, but some were experiments driven by House Cannith. Of these, the warforged scouts and warforged chargers were the most successful products, but they still paled in comparison to the success and the numbers of normal warforged that were built to fight the Last War. Early in their employment in the Last War, certain warforged distinguished themselves greatly in battle after battle, and their growing skill in the tactics and strategies of warfare could not be ignored. Aundair was the first nation to promote a warforged to a true command position. Previously, warforged had been given only temporary field commands, usually only until a human commander could reach the battlefield (Human commanders often lagged behind warforged forces due to their need for rest).