A 'cypher' is a type of magical device employed throughout the Emerald Empire. It would not be an understatement to suggest that the Empire's ability to produce and utilise cyphers is the key to both its longevity and its power.

Varying in size and appearance based on their function, an imperial cypher is – essentially – an incantation in physical form. If they have sufficient magical power, anyone can activate and utilise a cypher; though many cyphers are large and would require significant magical expenditure.

On their own, however, cyphers harness no magical energy themselves. Thus, ordinarily, they would be useless unless operated by a skilled magical practicioner. 

But in the Emerald Empire, imperial mages and artificers possess the knowledge to create 'Taps'. These taps are large structures that harness luminous aether and draw from magical laylines. They radiate this power outwards. If within range of these taps, cyphers are capable of performing their intended functions. Even when operated by non-magical personel!

Designed by the many magical colleges within the Emerald Empire, and produced in significant numbers by the royal artificers, cyphers serve a great number of functions: transport, communication, the sharing of knowledge, industry – even the production of light, and more. 

It is said that the royal family invented both taps and the earliest cyphers – forging the Empire with their power. The royal family encourages this view.

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