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Clockwork, Clockwork Excavator

Set atop spoked wheels, this huge contraption has two hinged arms that appear to be designed to shovel rocks into its open maw. Gleaming drills set around the construct’s base look like they could easily break apart stone, and a gleaming scope of dark-hued glass projects from the end of a jointed arm.

Clockwork Excavator CR 10

Source Pathfinder #117: Assault on Longshadow pg. 84
XP 9,600
N Huge construct (clockwork)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, metal sense 120 ft.; Perception +0


AC 23, touch 9, flat-footed 21 (–1 Dex, +2 dodge, +14 natural, –2 size)
hp 111 (13d10+40)
Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +4
DR 10/adamantine; Immune acid, construct traits, fire
Weaknesses vulnerable to electricity


Speed 20 ft., burrow 10 ft.
Melee 2 slams +21 (1d8+10 plus grab), drill +21 (2d6+10)
Space 15 ft., Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks explosive charge 3/day, pulverizing ray (30-ft. line, 6d8 sonic damage, Reflex DC 16 for half, usable every 1d4 rounds), swallow whole (2d6 bludgeoning damage, AC 17, 11 hp)


Str 30, Dex 8, Con —, Int —, Wis 11, Cha 7
Base Atk +13; CMB +25; CMD 36
Feats Improved InitiativeB, Lightning ReflexesB
SQ difficult to create, superior craftsmanship, swift reactions, winding


Environment any land
Organization solitary or crew (2–4)
Treasure incidental

Special Abilities

Explosive Charge (Su) A clockwork excavator can create alchemical explosives that aid it in clearing particularly dense areas of rock. Three times per day, an excavator can launch a cylindrical explosive charge as a ranged attack, targeting any grid intersection within 30 feet. A thrown charge detonates 1d4–1 rounds after being released (a result of 0 causes it to detonate upon impact), creating a 10-foot burst that deals 2d6 points of fire damage and 2d6 points of bludgeoning damage (bypassing objects’ hardness). Creatures in the blast radius can attempt a DC 16 Reflex saving throw for half damage. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Metal Sense (Su) When a clockwork excavator is wound, the operator can place 1 pound of one type of gem, metal ore, or mineral in the construct’s headpiece, keying the clockwork to search for the desired material within 120 feet. If the construct does not immediately sense the presence of its target, it begins searching in a clockwise spiral from its activation point outward until it needs to be wound again (barring any other instructions from its operator). Placing an artificial or mixed material, such as steel, bronze, or alloyed coins, in the construct’s head keys the excavator to one of the material’s base elements (at random) and the creature has a cumulative 5% chance of going berserk every hour of operation. A berserk excavator goes on a rampage, attacking the nearest living creature or object, then moving on to spread more destruction until it needs to be wound again.

Pulverizing Ray (Su) A clockwork excavator can make short work of obstacles in its way with a powerful sonic ray. This functions as a breath weapon usable every 1d4 rounds.

Superior Craftsmanship (Ex) Clockwork excavators are designed to be able to break apart almost any material as part of their mining duties. The drill bits on a clockwork excavator are crafted from adamantine and ignore all hardness, and the construct does not rust.


The product of greed and invention, clockwork excavators are designed to strip-mine an area in pursuit of mineral wealth. Found in areas where such desires override any concern for the natural environment, clockwork excavators are durable, tough, and purpose-driven.


The original inventors of clockwork excavators worked hand in hand with experienced miners to determine the most beneficial abilities for such a contraption. Able to work day and night in complete darkness with no fear of poisonous gas pockets in mine shafts, these constructs can find a vein of diamonds, gold, or iron, place the raw ore into its storage compartment, and haul it back to its operators with no risk to life or limb.

As clockworks, these constructs are able to take more complex commands than a lesser construct might be able to, and can easily distinguish friend from foe. However, unscrupulous owners might opt to store iron in the clockwork excavator’s headpiece and set it loose in a populated area, turning this industrial clockwork into an impromptu weapon as it attempts to feed steel armor and weapons into storage—with their owners still attached. The clockwork excavator is only as good as the instructions it is given, and disregarding safety in favor of acquiring more wealth is always a temptation. Such attempts come with their own risks, of course, as a complex metal placed in the clockwork can cause it to go berserk, rampaging without control through narrow, inescapable mining tunnels.

The nature of the clockwork excavator is such that the creator can easily swap out the tools at the end of the excavator’s arms. Picks, saws, and shovels are all common replacements, and pulley systems to lift heavy loads from the bottom of a quarry are not unheard of. Many clockwork inventors specializing in these excavators hope to eventually include within their creations a means to process the raw ore. As of yet, that goal has not been achieved, as the complexities of including a hot smelter among all the delicate gears has proven difficult, and the failures have been explosive and fiery.

Habitat and Society

Being constructs, clockwork excavators have no society of their own, and they can be found wherever their skills are needed, usually owned by someone with both deep pockets and an engineer on staff to maintain the complicated machinery. A few inventors make a tidy living moving their clockwork excavators from site to site, renting out an excavator for one winding of the key before moving on.

Traditional miners view clockwork excavators and their creators as a threat to their way of life—others, as the inevitable future. The constructs are often the target of sabotage attempts, but many attempts are cut short when the would-be saboteurs realize that a clockwork excavator is very capable of defending itself.

Purpose-built to find specific minerals, a clockwork excavator can search for only inorganic material, with gemstones and metal ores being the most common. Complex locks are often added to the headpiece to prevent any malicious altering of its target, as the clockwork excavator is fairly indiscriminate in pursuit of its goal. In 4702 ar, a Nirmathi inventor by the name of Kyrdu Bellhorn was hanged after the iron ore in his excavator was replaced with gold coins and the construct massacred several wealthy merchants. His excavator was dismantled and sold as scrap by followers of Brigh, who then distributed the proceeds to the victims’ families.

Dwarves and followers of the clockwork goddess Brigh most often create clockwork excavators, though dwarves who do so can earn the ire of traditionalists who frown upon mechanical automatons taking the place of skilled workers. Brigh and her followers, on the other hand, have no such compunctions holding them back, and have yet to let tradition stymie innovation or engineering triumphs. Clockwork-focused engineers from across the Inner Sea have received invitations to Absalom for a conference in the summer of 4717 ar, where they can meet with like-minded peers and show off their work. More importantly, High Clockmother Llanalir of Alkenstar will be attending to judge a contest, with hopes of finding new ideas and clockwork innovators from beyond Alkenstar’s borders by offering the winner a workshop in Alkenstar City. The opportunity to work in Alkenstar with both the High Clockmother and the nearby dwarves of Dongun Hold has already attracted countless contestants to the city, where they tinker in preparation for the pending festivities.


When creating a clockwork excavator, the creator must obtain adamantine drill bits worth 10,000 gp, in addition to acid- and fire-resistant clockwork components worth 10,000 gp.

Clockwork Excavator

CL 10th; Price 140,000 gp


Requirements Craft Construct, animate objects, fabricate, geas/quest, locate object, shatter, creator must be at least caster level 10th; Skill Craft (clockwork) DC 20; Cost 80,000 gp

Creatures in "Clockwork" Category

Clockwork Angel15
Clockwork Assassin13
Clockwork Dragon16
Clockwork Excavator10
Clockwork Familiar2
Clockwork Fiend17
Clockwork Goblin3
Clockwork Goliath19
Clockwork Guardian8
Clockwork Gunslinger7
Clockwork Hound5
Clockwork Leviathan12
Clockwork Mage9
Clockwork Nautiloid14
Clockwork Overseer7
Clockwork Priest11
Clockwork Servant2
Clockwork Snail10
Clockwork Soldier6
Clockwork Songbird1/2
Clockwork Spy1/2
Clockwork Steed6
Clockwork Vivisectionist10
Mechanical Efreeti1
Toy Golem5


Source Bestiary 3 pg. 53
Clockwork constructs are the technological cousins of golems, constructed with a combination of magic and precise technologies dependant upon the internal churning and turning of thousands of intricate springs, screws, and gears.

There are those who would scoff at the work of clockwork engineers, whose constructs seem at best merely imitations of the creations brought to life by practitioners of the purely arcane arts. However, those canny enough to realize the potential of clockwork engines know their true power to be both exotic and potent. In worlds where clockworks are common, these creatures can rival even the most powerful of golems for raw power. Massive giants comprising countless nuts and bolts have torn entire empires asunder. Time and time again, clockwork creatures have proven themselves a formidable presence in the face of more traditional rivals, and those who have borne witness to the feats of these creatures know to hold their tongues before questioning the constructs' power.

Clockwork creatures function by combining magical energies and clockwork mechanisms. The myriad metal parts that go into the construction of a clockwork creation require absolute precision in order to function properly, so they must be built by only the steadiest of hands. Amateurish attempts at clockwork construction typically result in nonfunctional units or misfires, and many an engineering lab has been burned to the ground by novices seeking to learn the basics of clockworks and the elements that power them.

Particularly guileful crafters may construct miniature clockwork spies that can record sound, and rumors tell of even more advanced technologies that allow visual recording. While magical wonders such as spells can allow the user to scry information or to see where one isn't normally physically able to, clockwork spies provide an edge in that their memories are concrete and incorruptible, enabling them to make flawless recordings of events not subject to the regular perversions of human memories.

Clockwork creations, as their names suggests, must be wound up before they animate. The creator of a clockwork crafts a unique key for each creation. This key is typically inserted into the clockwork's back and turned clockwise to wind it. Turning the key counterclockwise has the effect of winding the machine down, though only a willing (or completely helpless) machine will allow itself to be unwound in this way, meaning either its creator or someone its creator has specifically designated can normally do so. Since each key is totally unique, construction of a new key (or bypassing a key entirely) requires a successful Disable Device check (DC = 20 + the clockwork's CR). Larger clockworks tend to have larger keys, and particularly huge keys require more than one set of hands to turn. Rather than seek assistance from other engineers, eccentric or hermetic inventors often rely upon other clockwork creations to help them turn keys or aid in the creation of more monumental constructs. Other times, engineers give copies of keys to their most trusted clockworks, which can be programmed to wind allies and even themselves as the situation requires.

Much like golems and animated objects, clockwork creatures can be given any number of commands; a perpetually turning script in their core records those orders and programs the rest of the machine. Only one who possesses a key to the clockwork can program it, but any commands given to the construct last until the clockwork is reprogrammed or destroyed. An individual clockwork's potential is only limited by its creator's innovation and aptitude. Unlike many golems, which are trapped in bodies resembling lumbering and fallible cages, clockwork constructs can be repeatedly reworked and reengineered—gears can be oiled, springs can be replaced, and pistons can be fine-tuned. The ever-adjustable framework of these mechanical beasts allows for extreme variation from creation to creation.

Since clockwork creations are mostly mechanical and are at the mercy of their creator's adeptness with the technology, they are prone to the follies of human error. Loose bolts, improper programming, or lack of maintenance are all cause for malfunctions, errors that can range from minute energy leaks to deadly explosions. The most common cause of malfunction, however, is not imparted by the creator, but by the clockwork's destroyer. Creatures attacking the machine gradually unhinge screws and twist cogs with each landed blow, giving the clockwork a greater chance of backfire. Many combat clockworks are thus accompanied by clockwork servants—servitor clockworks that quickly and readily fix their mechanical allies in the heat of battle.

In the earlier days of clockwork technology, many practical hindrances prevented rapid maturation of the devices. Clockwork machines were powered by inefficient, costly resources; however, the advent of arcane enchantment not only has allowed for greater precision in the crafting of gears and other key components, but has also opened up a wide new range of possibilities for defensive systems and offensive weaponry. Early attempts to combine clockwork with steam power or other nonmagical forms of energy tended to overcomplicate the already delicate machinery, and have long since been abandoned as a result. Whispers abound of an even more unusual category of clockwork that has solved this problem and has merged the complexities of steam power with the adaptability of magical energies, yet such exotic and unusual clockworks remain nothing more than rumors in most worlds at this time.

Clockwork Augmentations

Source Pathfinder #123: The Flooded Cathedral pg. 81
In addition to the standard special abilities and qualities granted by the clockwork subtype, many clockwork designs incorporate more abilities designed by their engineers. The following examples are intended to help GMs build new clockworks or modify existing ones. Some of the most common clockwork special abilities have been gathered in this section along with a number of new ones.

Charged (Ex): Equipped with a static generator, a clockwork with this special ability deals an additional 1d6 points of electricity damage with all natural attacks and melee weapons it has.

Efficient Winding (Ex): Built for long missions, a clockwork with this special ability can function for 2 days per Hit Die each time it’s wound. If the creature’s CR is 11 or higher, it can function for 3 days per Hit Die each time it is wound.

Embedded Ioun Stone (Ex): As a full-round action, an ioun stone can be embedded in (or removed from) a slot in the clockwork creature (usually on its forehead). It is possible to embed or remove an ioun stone only if the clockwork is helpless, pinned, or willing. The clockwork gains the benefit of the ioun stone, including its resonant power.

Grind (Ex): A clockwork with this special attack deals additional slashing damage when it makes a successful grapple combat maneuver check because of many twisting gears and churning pistons in its body. This additional damage is equal to 1d4 points (1d6 if Large, 1d8 if Huge, 2d6 if Gargantuan, or 3d6 if Colossal) plus 1-1/2 the creature’s Strength bonus.

Integrated Firearm (Ex): One of the clockwork’s arms ends in a firearm. The firearm generally functions as a pistol or musket intended for a creature of the clockwork’s size, but nearly any firearm of suitable size is possible. The clockwork is considered proficient with the weapon. The clockwork can reload an integrated one-handed firearm as a swift action and an integrated two-handed firearm as a move action. As a standard action, the clockwork can remove the broken condition from an integrated firearm, provided that the condition resulted from a misfire. A clockwork usually has 10 rounds of ammunition and gunpowder stored within a reloading mechanism.

Proficient (Ex): A clockwork with this special ability is proficient with all simple and martial weapons. The clockwork must have humanlike hands in order to gain this ability.

Repair Clockwork (Ex): Clockworks with this special ability are adept at repairing other clockwork constructs. As a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity, the clockwork can repair damage done to either itself or an adjacent clockwork creature, restoring 1d10 hit points to the target. If the repairing creature’s CR is 11 or higher, the amount of hit points restored increases to 2d10.

Self-Destruction (Ex): When the hit points of a creature with this special ability are reduced to 10% of its total or less but are still above 0, the creature self-destructs on its next turn, bursting in an explosion of metal scraps and steam in a 20-foot-radius burst. The damage dealt is equal to 1d6 points for each Hit Die above 5 the construct has (clockworks with 5 or fewer Hit Dice cannot gain this ability). Half of this damage is fire damage and half is slashing damage. A target that succeeds at a Reflex save (DC = 10 + half the clockwork’s Hit Dice + the creature’s Constitution modifier [usually 0]) takes half damage.

Standby (Ex): A clockwork creature with this special ability can place itself on standby as a standard action. While on standby, the clockwork creature cannot move or take any actions. It remains aware of its surroundings but takes a –4 penalty on Perception checks. Time spent on standby does not count against the clockwork’s wind-down duration. The clockwork can exit standby as a swift action. If it does so to initiate combat, it gains a +4 racial bonus on its Initiative check.

Tough Alloys (Ex): The clockwork gains Toughness as a bonus feat.