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Transforming Construct (CR +1*)

Made mutable to adapt to their masters’ changing needs, transforming constructs seem like typical examples of beings created with equal parts of craft and magic. This seemingly normal outward appearance disguises a potent power to change shape and undertake a wealth of different tasks. A transforming construct has limitless utility, and those who specialize in the manufacture of constructs often seek the secrets of their creation most avidly.

Transforming constructs come in six different varieties according to their alternate forms: bipedal, climber, digger, flyer, roller, and swimmer. These forms are defined as follows:

Bipedal: When the transforming construct takes on bipedal form, parts of its body become legs, and other parts become arms with grasping hands.

Climber: When the transforming construct takes on climber form, any legs it possesses are split into a half-dozen spider-like limbs. If it lacks legs, part of its main body mass instead splits open and becomes legs.

Flyer: When the transforming construct takes on flyer form, it loses any legs or wheels it originally had and gains wings.

Digger: When the transforming construct takes on digger form, it loses any arms it has, and its torso becomes a great drill.

Roller: When the transforming construct takes on roller form, it loses any legs and arms it possesses and gains great rollers for movement.

Swimmer: When the transforming construct takes on swimmer form, its shape becomes more streamlined, and its lower body transforms into a large propeller.

Creating a Transforming Construct

Transforming” is an inherited template that can be added to any construct (referred to hereafter as the base creature) that meets the qualifications given for the desired alternate form, as follows:

Bipedal: This form is available only to a transforming construct whose normal form is not bipedal.

Climber: The climber form is available only to a transforming construct that has no a climb speed in its normal form.

Flyer: The form is available only to a transforming construct that cannot fly in its normal form.

Digger: This form is available only to a transforming construct composed primarily of stone or metal that lacks a burrow speed in its normal form.

Roller: This form is available only to a transforming construct that does not move about using wheels in its normal form.

Swimmer: This form is available only to a transforming construct that lacks a swim speed in its normal form.

A transforming construct can have multiple alternate forms. A transforming construct creature uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Challenge Rating: Same as base creature +1 per alternate form.

Type: The base creature gains the shapechanger subtype.

Senses: A transforming construct in digger or swimmer form gains tremorsense +60 ft.

Speed: When the transforming construct takes its alternate form, its speed changes depending on the form assumed. Unless otherwise specified, it does not gain a new mode of travel unless otherwise specified.

Bipedal: A bipedal transforming construct’s land speed in bipedal form is double that of the base creature. If the base creature doesn’t have a land speed, its land speed is equal to twice that of the fastest speed. Swim and burrow speeds, if any, are each reduced to one-half the base creature’s values. If the base creature has a fly speed, its maneuverability is reduced by one category (minimum clumsy).

Climber: The climber transforming construct’s land, burrow, fly, and swim speeds are each equal to one-half the base creature’s values (minimum 5 feet). It gains a climb speed equal to the base creature’s highest speed. In climber form, the transforming construct can climb sheer surfaces and ceilings like a spider.

Flyer: When in flyer form, the transforming construct gains a fly speed equal to double the base creature’s highest speed and loses its land,burrow,and swim speeds. It fly with average maneuverability. If it already has a fly speed with a maneuverability better than average it keeps its maneuverability.

Digger: When in digger form, a transforming construct gains a burrow speed equal to the base creature’s highest speed and loses any climb, fly, or swim speed it had. The digger can burrow through stone if its body is made mostly of metal. When the construct burrows tunnel immediately behind it fills up with the earth that it is burrowing through. This seals the tunnel behind it.

Roller: When the transforming construct is in roller form, its land speed is double that of the base creature, or equal to the base creature’s highest speed if it lacks a land speed. The transforming construct loses its climb speed (if any) in roller form. Swim and burrow speeds, if any, are each reduced to one-half the base creature’s values. If the base creature has a fly speed, its maneuverability is reduced by one category (minimum clumsy).

Swimmer: When in swimmer form, the transforming construct gains a swim speed equal to double the base creature’s highest speed and loses any fly speed. Any land, climb, and burrow speeds are each reduced to one half the base creature’s values.

Attacks: The transforming construct retains all the base creature’s attacks. When in its alternate form, it loses any attacks associated with limbs it no longer has. In addition, it may gain new attacks when in its alternate form, as follows:

Bipedal: In this form, the transforming construct gains two primary slam attacks as primary attacks if it did not already have them. If the base creature already has a single slam attack, it gains another one with the same damage. If it has two or more slam attacks it does not gain another one. In addition, it can wield weapons and it is proficient with any two specific weapons.

Digger: The transforming construct gains a gore attack as a primary attack with its drill in digger form.

Roller: A transforming construct in roller form gains a new single primary ramming attack, which does damage as a slam plus 1-1/2 times its Strength bonus. It cannot use its ram attack with any other attacks in the same round.

Swimmer: In swimmer form, the transforming construct gains a primary bite attack as a primary attack if it did not already have one.

All natural attacks gained by the alternate form do damage based on size as if the transforming construct was one size category higher.

Special Attacks: A transforming construct retains all the base creature’s special attacks. In its alternate form, it loses any special attacks that depend on limbs it no longer has, and gains those described here.

Alternate Attack: The exact attacks that the transforming construct gains depend on its alternate form, as follows:

Digger: Dire Charge (Ex): When the transforming construct charges, it deals double damage with a successful gore attack.

Roller: A transforming construct in roller form loses any previous trample attack and gains a new one. The damage from the trample is one size category higher than the slam attack it gains in this form plus 1-1/2 times its Strength bonus. The trample DC is Strength-based.

Swimmer: Dire Charge (Ex): When the transforming construct charges, it deals double damage with a successful bite attack.

Abilities: Str +2.

CMD: In roller or swimmer form, the transforming construct cannot be tripped.

Feats: While in its alternate form, the transforming construct gains the indicated bonus feats.

Bipedal: Two-Weapon Fighting.

Climber: Skill Focus (Climb).

Flyer: Fly-by Attack.

Digger: Toughness.

Alternate Form (Su)

A transforming construct can take an alternate form as a full round action. The specific form is chosen when the template is applied, and cannot thereafter be changed. A transforming construct retains its hit points in when it changes forms, and it can remain in an alternate form indefinitely. Any abilities purchased with construct points remain in every form the transforming construct has if its new form doesn’t prevent it. True seeing or similar magic reveals the transforming construct’s many forms simultaneously.

Swimmer: Weapon Focus (bite).

Skills: A transforming construct gains bonuses on certain skill checks according to its alternate form, as follows:

Climber: A transforming construct in climber form has Climb as a class skill.

Flyer: A transforming construct in flyer form has a +4 competence bonus on Perception checks, gains Fly as a class skill, and has a +8 racial bonus on Fly checks

Swimmer: A transforming construct in swimmer form has Swim as a class skill.

Special Qualities: A transforming construct retains all the base creature’s special qualities and gains the following. In its alternate form, the transforming construct loses any special qualities that depend on limbs it no longer has.

Using the Transforming Construct Template

This template offers a way to add zest and surprise to a construct by allowing it to take another shape. For example, a transforming flesh golem could leap into the water and set its legs to spinning around like a propeller while its face opens to reveal shark-like jaws. Or a transforming iron golem could spread its legs into wings and soar into the air. A transforming shield guardian could change its legs to wheels and crush enemies even as it speeds away. This template can also be applied to a construct more than once, allowing it to take multiple forms.

This template uses some broad language so that you have some latitude to interpret how it should be applied to the particular construct you have chosen. If you need an idea or for some reason find yourself at a loss as to how the template should be applied, review the quadrupedal and bipedal templates for rules on changing a creature’s form. You might even want to put your construct through one of these two templates first.

If you allow players to create transforming constructs or want to be stringent about how NPCs do so, add 12,500 gp per alternate form to the cost of a transforming construct and increase the Craft DCs by +5 per new form. If you create a transforming animated object using the animate object spell, each new form counts as two Small objects toward the spell’s limitations.

Alternately, if you use the Construct Modification rules each form is a complex modification as follows:

Alternative Form

Requirements: Craft Construct, polymorph

Challenge Rating Increase: +1.

Cost: 12,500 gp.

The construct gains the transforming construct template and a single alternate form. This modification can be applied multiple times. Each time the modification is applied chose a different alternate form.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Advanced Bestiary, Copyright 2014, Green Ronin Publishing, LLC; Author Jeff Hersh, Developer Owen K.C. Stephens