Magical constructs are used as guardians, soldiers, and laborers—be they sentinels in ancient treasure vaults, or the strangely self-aware flesh golems. Generally created by infusing a specially prepared body with an elemental spirit or (in some darker practices) a captured soul, there exists another, more obscure category of construct—the clockwork construct.
The technology for creating clockwork constructs was developed long ago but the technique has been rediscovered as surviving clockworks are recovered and reverse-engineered or ancient accounts of the process are uncovered by explorers in ruins. The process of creating a clockwork construct is much more involved and time-consuming than the more traditional methods of magic, and so clockworks have remained at best curiosities or experiments of the idle and rich. One of the greatest repositories of rediscovered clockwork technology lies in the vaulted clockwork cathedral. Here, clever artisans seek to further unlock the mysteries of the mechanical application of magic, striving to vastly reduce the amount of magical energy necessary to power their creations.
The key difference between a traditionally created construct and a clockwork construct lies in the fact that no bound spirit or captured soul provides the power of animation. A clockwork construct uses a series of springs, gears, and mechanical trickery to power itself. It typically needs to be “wound,” usually with a specially crafted key, in order to provide it with the energy it needs to function. Unfortunately, while this delicate machinery allows the inventor to bypass the dangerous and often distasteful practice of binding animating magic into a body, it makes clockwork constructs more susceptible to damage. A clockwork construct that’s allowed to run down simply ceases functioning and is treated as an object, but most can lie in wait for centuries or longer in this state, springing to life immediately upon being wound back to animation.
Clockwork Traits: While you can create a clockwork construct from scratch, you can also turn any existing construct into a clockwork construct by simply applying clockwork traits to the construct. Adding these traits to a construct does not affect its CR.
The construct gains the “clockwork” subtype.
Winding: The construct must be wound with a special key in order to function. As a general rule, a fully wound clockwork can remain active for 1 day per HD, but shorter or longer durations are possible.
Vulnerable to Electricity: Clockwork constructs take 150% as much damage as is normal from electricity attacks.
Difficult to Create: Increase the time and gp cost required to create a clockwork by 50% over normal.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The Inner Sea World Guide. © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Keith Baker, Wolfgang Baur, Clinton J. Boomer, Jason Bulmahn, Joshua J. Frost, Ed Greenwood, Stephen S. Greer, Jeff Grubb, James Jacobs, Michael Kortes, Tito Leati, Mike McArtor, Rob McCreary, Erik Mona, Jason Eric Nelson, Jeff Quick, Sean K Reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Leandra Christine Schneider, David Schwartz, Amber E. Scott, Stan!, Owen K.C. Stephens, Todd Stewart, James L. Sutter, Greg A. Vaughan, Jeremy Walker, and JD Wiker.