The Man With The Clockwork Face is the universally recognized creator and custodian of the universe and the one responsible for instituting reality for all beings occupy. To put it simply, he made the Auldensphere.
From the abyss before time and space became the neutral concepts upon which all of creation would be built, the figure of The Man With The Clockwork Face stood outside of limitations set by reality and authored the blueprints to set a world into motion. TMWTCF (most accepted abbreviation, for more see On The Name) declared the Start of Time and set possibilities and limitations for all things material.
From that time, there has been no evidence of interference or assistance from TMWTCF recorded. Rumors of interaction are shared only among the Auldensphere's oldest gods. It is believed TMWTCF set the energies in place that would go on to create aether and establish the gods. The gods would then go on to find their mortal host of folk to generate a symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationship leading to the progress of mortal and immortal alike.
It is unknown how much of what has happened in the history of time and all its events were foreseen at the start of creation. The Man With The Clockwork Face may have predicted the current occupancy and actions of the Sphere, or it may all be different from the original vision--even still, there may be no greater guiding purpose to time's beginning and the sphere's creation. The ability for any entity to know, be it god or mortal, is limited to the confines of the reality all take part in, with the possible exception of Nou who dwells beyond perceivable boundaries.
A constant talking point in any scholarly debate leaning towards the philosophies involves logic and proofs of TMWTCF being present in current time, watching the machinations of his creation, or that he has long since divorced himself from this realm and the Auldensphere exists as haphazard construction of its own guidance.
There were no expectations or requests made in cohesion with the Orb's inception that gods or mortalfolk are aware of. Concepts of "good" and "bad" were given no weight, and the collection of energies manifested into gods and mortals were bestowed with no goals or tasks. It is with this knowledge that, presumably, the Sphere's beings were meant to construct their own meanings to existence--though whether that existence was intended or not, or possesses any greater meaning beyond what the self would assess remain contentious points.
The Man With The Clockwork Face may have only our world as a magnum opus of creation, or it could be one of thousand like-worlds set into motion and given time by the creator. These facts are debated as well, with the posits of other worlds increasing when new or unexplained happenings or discoveries are made in the Auldensphere; what is naturally progressing evolution among the Sphere's beings, and what many be added from beyond the reality perceived as a test of the Sphere's adaptability and limitations. Even the ability of TMWTCF to do such reality-altering actions is unresolved, but makes for near limitless boring table conversation among men with more hair out their ears than on their head.
Another concern almost personal to some is if TMWTCF cares about his creation and what they have done. With no guidance and no known interaction since the start of all being, some wonder if the benefactor for all life is watching and possesses the ability to treasure and feel affection for his 'people'. One must be highly intoxicated to find themselves worrying about matters such as these, as most care as little for the creator as he apparently does for them.
Some folks say there is nothing to this theory of a man, that nothing came before and things have always been exactly as they seem without any outside intervention. Those who intone these thought experience no greater frequency of horrible accidents that befall them for their no-fun nay-saying, though there is an increase observed in the likelihood of having many facial warts among those who disbelieve a man with a gear head made everything. Skeptics default to correlation not leading to causation. It does make you wonder.
The source of TMWTCF's assumed visual image comes from no known base, and appears more as an assumption made over time to the point of fact. The gears and shining stones of his visage are intricately woven by artists creating in his image a complex mind and body appropriate for one who built the fabric of reality. His form is rendered more mortal-esque most likely out of a desire for creation to identify with its creator, though there are still those that swear "Yah, nah, he just looks that way because that's how he looks" citing one example or another of why he just has to look the way he does. Such tautological statements are hard to deny with the lack of evidence supporting other ideas of appearance.
Recent Relation to TinkeringEdit
Tinkering, the act perpetrated by tinkers against what many consider the basic principles guiding conduct of the sphere, has recently sought greater legitimacy for the craft claiming its a direct link to the creator, and works as a 'form of worship' between the tinker and the god-like form who created all of existence, based on the idea that "Each is creating something new through meticulous craft." The founding of metalurgy, a recent discovery of heating and melting certain stones and materials to form new, shiny objects, is seen by its proponents as a direct inspiration from TMWTCF, whereas detractors believe tinkers are using a godly excuse to get permission to take on themselves the work commonly shared between mortals and the gods.
A regular tinker's response to criticism can be summarized as "If ol' Gear Head didn't want us doing what we do, he wouldn't have made it possible to do it, eh? EH?" Opponents just continue to shake their head and stamp their feet saying no, no, no, no, and no.
It is the belief of many tinkers that they do not need the help of the gods to progress along the mortal coil, just as the Auldensphere as a whole doesn't need its creator and custodian to progress under the gods. Tinkers hope that by piecing together the mysteries locked away within the Orb they can move away from reliance on the gods and lead easier lives doing things for themselves, pointing at no inherent connection set down by The Man With The Clockwork Face for interaction between gods and mortalfolk. Dangerous stuff, in a land with moody deities all about.
On The NameEdit
Few of the enlightened members of the Sphere believe a being named "The Man With The Clockwork Face" ever existed by that exact appellation, pointing that there was no one to grant a name before this being's existence began, and none present to relate a name in the moments after the world's creation. Thus, it is well-established that named or not, the earliest description of a physical image is what gave the name that all inhabitants of the Sphere now know.
Some still say, like the existence of this masterful being all together, it is an old tale spun into truth by sheer ignorance and boredom.
That, however, hasn't stopped one of the queerest long-going debates of all time from continuing at a fever pitch: what the proper abbreviation for "The Man With The Clockwork Face" should be.
Debate on AbbreviationEdit
Conventional methods established early in the craft of writing made abbreviations so that long words would not take as much time to scrawl repeatedly into the back of live bovine. And so a code was established to take the first letter of each word to smoosh the phrase together into one that required less painstaking effort to reproduce.
With enhancements made in word writing, the standard form practiced in most large influential cities goes by the observed method of old, leading to the universe creator's long name being TMWTCF.
Some parties more finicky of their writing point to the unnecessary inclusion of the specifiers, mainly the two 'the' and 'with' in the name's phrase. If it is desired to go in line with the previous arrangement, MCF suffices in indicating the stated subject. It is already known of who you speak to say only "Clockwork Face Man", so CFM would also accomplish the objective of relating the subject.
Another group of men (always men, it would seem) with even longer beards (sometimes they tie them together, it is not known why) say that 'clock' and 'work' each have their own longstanding meaning and should not be joined in the phrase, leading to the abbreviation lengthening to TMWTCWF.
Most folks really just can't being themselves to care, and any argument for combining these schools of thought regarding something already so pointless is usually met with a fist in the mouth.