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These types of creatures are also referred to as constructs or Animunculi, and are part magical part mechanical creatures built by the Dwemer. The Dwemer were an ancient civilization obsessed with machines and magic, and they wanted to advance their race by way of technology mixed with the divine. They primarily favoured logic over the arcane arts, and wanted to become closer to the Gods with machines infused with divine properties.
The Centurions are mostly made of metal, with steam emanating from the various pipes and vents. It is rumoured that it is this steam, perhaps a kind of boiler, which powers them and brings them alive. Although steam is the principal way in which they function, it is assumed that they also are infused with some kind of otherworldly energy, since Centurions which are brought into towns far of Red Mountain, suddenly shut down.
They are powerful creatures and should be confronted by experienced characters only.
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Centurion sphere – A relatively common type of Centurion, it is found in all major Dwemer ruins. They are the second kind of protector encountered when venturing in these types of ruins, and they are highly complex in their build. They are initially a sphere of metal which transforms into a two-armed warrior, complete with shield, upon sensing intruders. The shield is the top part of the sphere, or the cap. When transformed, they have an eye-sensor to target the enemy when fighting, and maintain balance by the bottom-part of the sphere, similar to a gyro. They inflict shock and melee damage, and are difficult to fight. They drop scrap metal, which is useful for some related quests or as an alchemical ingredient, but it is too heavy and not useful for much else.
Centurion spider – The first creature you will encounter when visiting a ruin, or the most common kind of construct built by the Dwemer. Since plenty have been built, they are not the strongest type; they are still aggressive though, as they work at weakening intruders for the advantage of other more powerful machines. They resemble a mechanical six-legged spider, with a flexible gas bag as the main body which can fire poisonous attacks. They are the easiest to kill, but should still be approached carefully, almost always being accompanied by some other construct.
Steam centurion – The biggest and most powerful of the centurions. It looks like a giant warrior, like an ogre with the face of a feline. It is assumed that this centurion was based on the Khajiit race. They are very hard to bring down, and should be avoided by frail characters.
Guide to the creatures encountered in Bethesda's epic Morrowind: The Elder Scrolls III PC Game