Could you have advanced mechanical engineering without, say, advanced electrical engineering accompanying it? Thick clockwork, clickety clackety stuff, does it need steam/electricity by default? How would you explain armatures, automatons, wood or metal prosthetics that somehow trump even modern medicine/tech irl in a mostly medieval setting, where this exists in one exclusive location/society? Magic exists in this world, and it's mostly medieval tech, with this one civ having that narrow focus on mechanical somehow. Let me elaborate.
I'm mostly writing worldbuilding/lore, no real plot as of now. I try to find holes in the lore because it really bothers me when that happens, it has to be cohesive or it just crumbles for me. So if you can assist me with that, I'd hugely appreciate it.
I have one civilization particularly that is unlike all the other ones that all use magic in all the more traditional fantasy ways, channeling it and using it offensively; each civ having their own spin on it. Except one civ, which seemingly uses no magic straight up. However, they actually do have access to it in their own way, they don't really channel it and use it offensively directly like other civs, they just have special ores, special resources, and other such things that have, somehow, allowed them to develop advanced mechanical technology in a mostly medieval world. And other civs can't really replicate it, because it's not a globalised world so speed of information is slow anyway, but also, simply because they won't have access to these resources. It's not really advanced mechanical tech we have now, it's more like steampunk, if that makes any sense, you know how in steampunk there's plenty of tech that is honestly indistinguishable from magic? but it's still cohesive in-universe. That's sort of what I want.
The thing is, I don't want gunpowder in this world, I want it to be the typical western medieval fantasy, where magic mostly explains the thousands of years of stagnation. However, is what I've laid out enough explanation for this one particular civ's tech prowess? it wouldn't be hugely overpowered, but it'd still be impressive you see and sort of be able to take on the other civs who do use magic directly. I'll illustrate in a second.
It's hard to conciliate advanced tech where it doesn't belong, so to speak. I guess my question is, can it belong? :p
As I said previously, imagine things like armatures, automatons, wood or metal prosthetics that somehow trump even modern medicine/tech irl. Think of Shingeki no Kyojin/Attack on Titan's 3DMG (I believe special ore is the only explanation for the insane air pressure they produce in such a small device?), Dishonored (tallboys, clockwork robots), Bloodborne's trick weapons, Violet Evergarden's arms, Sekiro's arm prosthetic, the Dwemer in Skyrim/TES (not sure how they did it, maybe I should look into it), I'm sure you're seeing a pattern here of crazy mechanical devices. I'm trying to think of other stuff like it, but can't think of anything atm. Can you have all that without... steam or electricity? Assuming magic could explain it (how would you explain it? I want an in-universe explanation, not just "well, it's magic lol"). Steam tech would be fine and really cool actually, but I have a hard time imagining steam tech existing without gunpowder or electricity, or low level electronics coming right after. If you guys can somehow explain that being feasible, I would love that, I could even start thinking of low tier trains if steam tech is available. But mainly, I'm preocuppied with mechanical tech that is seemingly magical in a medieval world, and it's also "stable", in the sense it won't kickstart a tech revolution elsewhere. It's just this rly unique particularity of this one culture/civilization (this exclusivity I was trying to explain with those native resources).
So, to reiterate and summarize, the idea would be that this land in particular would have relics or so that can't really be reverse engineered, but humans are crafty and would still find a use for it nevertheless, they'd use them as they are. Maybe an ore that produces that much pressurized air for something akin do the 3DMG, or whatever. Or some relic that can power clockwork robots. This could have a similar effect to magic stagnating tech, in fact, because it would impede "normal" tech progress.
TL;DR How do I have steampunk tier prosthetics working without electricity? Magic exists, but the answer can't be just a hand wave.