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Hacking is a special lore for the Animation skill, which allows the Animator to understand and alter the mental programming of a golem created by someone else. Only a minority of Animators know these golem-hacking techniques, as they are shunned by the mainstream community due to the danger in tampering around with a magical intelligence. Hackers are considered shady at best, and often live up to their reputation.


Competent-level Animation or better. Once the lore is acquired, the Animator has a chance at hacking golems created by wizards of the same Animation tier or lower.


Normally, the creator of a golem will sometimes take it back to an Animation circle, for example if some parts have been replaced and need to be integrated or re-educated. These are most often trivial maintainance operations, though, as it is generally reputed unwise to modify a functional intelligence. The tale of the third Supervisor, Caliman, and the 'incremental upgrades' that Alahean court mage Rupert Pycon had him go through is a grim warning: Caliman eventually became obsessed with committing suicide and was partly responsible for Pycon's ultimate fall.

Hackers do not respect golems; in fact, they almost always tamper with someone else's creations. Espionage and other covert ops are their most common reasons. First, the hacker must get the golem inside an Animation circle. It is best if the golem could be temporarily deactivated (many possess special passwords that turn them off), but it is sufficient to restrain the golem so it cannot leave the circle. The golem stands inside the source circle, whereas the hacker is in the destination circle. Reversing the usual tranfert direction, the hacker channels information from the golem to his own mind, gradually understanding its programming and directives.

Next, the hacker re-establishes the normal flow and tries to overwrite sections of the golem's intelligence with new knowledge of his own making. Core information (directives) is the hardest to hack; as a general rule, the earlier the knowledge was imparted in the creation process, the harder it is to hack. A brilliant hacker will find ways to alter a golem's behavior by replacing a minimum of knowledge. Also, some high-level golems contain wards designed to hinder or even physically harm hackers. Glyphing is a popular tool for such traps. Careful hackers will be sure to find and disable any wards before they begin their work.