Races >3rd Party Races >Rite Publishing >


Ironborn are a race of constructed humanoids which possess unique racial abilities determined by the purpose they were built to accomplish.

Alignment and Religion Ironborn have the same alignment as their creator. The mystic rituals and spells used to create ironborn forge a strong bond between creator and created. If built to be servants of a god, the ironborn worships the deity of it’s creator, but when left to their own devices, seek out gods of metal, earth, innovation, invention, prosperity, progress and creation.

Adventurers: Few ironborn enjoy a normal lifestyle. Almost all of are designed for a specific task or duty, and though they can deny this calling for long periods of time, eventually must give in to it. An ironborn built as a holy warrior could try to lead a sedentary life, but would still find itself practicing sword-play and seeking out quests as a “normal” life would not sate it’s built-in desire for righteous combat. Ironborn call this compulsion their “burden,” and is what often drives most them to go “adventuring”. Even those who have relatively undemanding burdens are still pushed by their innate inquisitiveness and industriousness to push their design to their limits.

Names: Ironborn tend to be named after a particular ideal, be it virtue or vice that their creator wanted them to uphold or some other idea. Sometimes a word is added to it, making it sound like a human nickname.

Standard Racial Traits

Unlike other player character races, ironborn are designed and built to fulfill a specific role. If you play an ironborn character, you must first determine how and why your character was built. These decisions will shape your character’s racial drawbacks and benefits. In addition, you must pick your character’s burden and establish some information regarding its creator. These aspects of an ironborn’s past play an important role in shaping the character as a person.

  • Ability Score Racial Traits: Ironborn display a wide range of physical and mental abilities. Some of them are built for combat, while others are designed for reconnaissance or duty as battle wizards. Thus, their ability scores tend to reflect their intended role. Ironborn gain a +2 racial bonus to two ability scores other than Strength but suffer a –2 penalty to any other ability score. Alternatively, an ironborn character may gain a +2 bonus to Strength but no other bonuses or penalties to other scores. Alternatively, the ironborn may gain no ability score modifiers at all.
  • Size Most ironborn are Medium, but a few are built for roles where a larger or smaller size would be advantageous. Ironborn of a size other than Medium tend to have fewer special abilities relating to their mechanical heritage.
    • Medium: Medium ironborn gain no special advantages or disadvantages due to size. A Medium ironborn’s base land speed is 30 feet.
    • Small: Small ironborn are usually built as scouts or rogues. Most are designed to take advantage of their size to sneak past enemies or remain hidden in battle. A Small ironborn gains all the standard benefits for this size: +4 size bonus on Stealth checks, +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +1 size bonus to Armor Class. Its base land speed is 20 feet. A Small ironborn may opt for a –2 penalty to Strength, or not gain its build purpose’s secondary feature.
    • Large: Large ironborn are invariably built for war. They use their great bulk to wield heavy weapons and batter opponents before they can draw near. A Large ironborn gains a natural reach of 10 feet, but takes a –4 size penalty on Stealth checks and a –1 size penalty on attack rolls and AC. Its base land speed is 30 feet, and its space is 10 feet rather than 5 feet for Small and Medium characters. A Large ironborn does not gain its build purpose’s secondary feature. Also, a Large ironborn takes a –2 penalty to Dexterity due to its ponderous bulk. Large ironborn are too heavy and unwieldy to move with the agility of their smaller brethren.
  • Type: Humanoid (ironborn). Ironborn have the humanoid type and the ironborn subtype. This indicates their partial, but not complete, artificial nature. Ironborn are, in essence, beings with the outer body of a construct but the inner workings of an organic creature.
  • Languages: Ironborn begin play speaking Common and whatever primary language their creators use. Some also know a language called Metronish, which uses runes arranged in long vertical columns. The speakers of this language require a specially designed or modified voice box that uses artificial sounds and harmonics. Writers and speakers of this language use it to communicate secret messages (direction or warnings for ironborn) or as an attempt to develop their own cultural heritage. Ironborn with high Intelligence scores can choose any language as a bonus language. See the Linguistics skill page for more information about these languages.

Defensive Racial Traits

  • Natural Armor: All ironborn have heavy, metallic bodies. They gain a +1 natural armor bonus to armor class.

Other Racial Traits

  • Ironborn Traits: Ironborn do not need to sleep and are immune to all sleep-based spells, poisons, and other attacks. They need one-quarter of the food and water required by other creatures of their size; as a rule of thumb, multiply the days’ worth of food and water that an ironborn carries by 4 to determine how long it can make its supplies last. Unless otherwise noted, ironborn do not gain any of the other standard construct traits, such as immunity to critical hits.
  • Immortal: As artificial creatures, ironborn suffer none of the drawbacks and gain none of the benefits of aging. They never die of natural causes, and they are immune to any attacks or effects that age a character.
  • Rust Vulnerability: An ironborn suffers damage from a rusting attack, as it disintegrates its body. Use the damage value given for the spell or effect if one is mentioned. If a damage value is not given, the ironborn makes a save using the Difficulty Class and save type indicated for the effect, if any. If no save is allowed or if the save fails, the ironborn takes 1d6 points of damage for each of its Hit Dice, with half damage on a successful save.

Feat and Skill Racial Traits

  • Social Ignorance: Ironborn are ignorant of the ways of society and other creatures. They are “born” as adults and have few of the social skills that other intelligent beings take for granted. They suffer a –2 racial penalty on all Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sense Motive checks.

Build Purpose

In addition to the traits described above, ironborn have other abilities based on their purpose for being built. An ironborn crafted to serve a cleric might be covered in holy runes, while one built as a warrior could have a thick, heavy layer of armor. These specialized abilities are organized into a series of purposes. You may choose one purpose for a Medium ironborn character. Each purpose comes with a primary ability and a secondary ability. Once a build purpose is chosen, you cannot switch to a new one.

Acrobat Build

With its slender, long limbs, sleek chassis, and elegant design, an ironborn with this purpose can move with a speed and agility that belie the image of constructs as shambling, creaky machines. This set of features is most common in ironborn designed as monks, scouts, and other warriors who rely on mobility rather than heavy armor and brute strength.

Enhanced Agility (Primary Ability): Your slender but strong limbs and intricately designed joints allow you to perform difficult feats of agility and acrobatics with ease. You gain a +2 racial bonus on all Acrobatic and Escape Artist checks.

Enhanced Mobility (Secondary Ability): With your long, powerful legs and efficiently designed frame, you move faster than normal. You gain a +5 foot increase to base land speed.

Artisan Build

You were designed as a blacksmith, a cobbler, or in some similar craft before making a choice to take a different path, regardless of your burden.

Builder (Primary Ability): You gain 1 rank in Craft at 1st-level and 1 bonus rank to spend upon it at each subsequent level. You can purchase goods that you can make with your Craft skill at a 10 percent discount, as you know enough about your trade to find bargains on quality goods.

Professional (Secondary Ability): Select one of the following trait abilities:

  • Clever Worker: You were built for efficiency. When you take 20 on a skill check, you use half the normal time. You can use this ability on any skill check where you are able to take 20.
  • Materials Expert: You were designed to have a keen eye for spotting flaws in objects. When you damage an inanimate object, you inflict 1.5 times your Strength bonus in damage with a one-handed weapon, or twice your Strength bonus in damage with a two-handed one.
  • Merchant’s Eye: You were created to have an almost uncanny ability to spot valuable items. You gain a +2 bonus to Appraise checks and can sell items at 10 percent more than their normal price.

Burden Carrier

You must be size Large to select this purpose as you were built to be bigger and stronger than almost any other ironborn. Designed with broad shoulders that can support a heavy load, you are nearly an unstoppable force and an immovable object.

Laborer (Primary Ability): Whenever you are subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as during combat maneuvers), you are treated as Huge if doing so is advantageous. You are also treated as Huge for the purposes of calculating your carrying capacity for your light, medium and heavy loads.

Centurion Build

The centurion build is normally used for warriors and other ironborn meant to take a direct hand in fighting. It is easily the most common build, reflecting the fact that most ironborn are crafted for use in war.

Armored Body (Primary Ability): The centurion’s body includes a number of heavy plates, reinforced joints, and additional shielding. This protection provides a +9 armor bonus to Armor Class, a +1 maximum Dexterity bonus to Armor Class, a –6 armor check penalty, and a 35 percent arcane spell failure chance, and you reduce your speed as normal for wearing heavy armor. You gain these attributes in addition to the +1 natural armor bonus to Armor Class that all ironborn enjoy. Note that if you lack proficiency with heavy armor, you apply your armor check penalty to attack rolls and all skill checks involving movement. You can add magical abilities and enhancement bonuses to this armor as if it were any other suit of armor. You cannot remove this armor, nor can you wear armor over it.

Tough as Iron (Secondary Ability): The thick armor plating that covers a centurion helps shield it from critical hits. There is a 25 percent chance that any critical hit against a centurion deals only normal damage.

Combat Build

You were designed to use tactics and cunning to defeat your enemies. Many of the urban folk who have learned the secret of the ironborn prefer this set of abilities, because it produces an efficient, loyal warrior.

Battle Tactician (Primary Ability): You are built for tactical combat, allowing you to perform exceptionally effective tactical techniques. You gain a +2 bonus on combat maneuver rolls.

Counter Design (Secondary Ability): You are created with the ability to counter an opponent’s combat maneuvers. If an opponent fails an attempted combat maneuver against you, they provoke an attack of opportunity.

Diabolic Build

Your creator was noted for mysterious dealings, sinister reputation, and aptitude for magic. From the day of your creation you have displayed strange talents that, it is whispered, derived from a diabolical pact between your creator and an otherworldly being.

Otherworldly Construction (Primary Ability): You gain a +2 bonus on all Knowledge (planar) checks and Spellcraft checks due to your being imbued with the knowledge of other worlds. In addition, your body is tainted with demonic influence—as materials used in your construction are from beyond the veil of reality.

Fiendish Function (Secondary Ability): Select one of the following trait abilities:

  • Arcane Nature: You gain bonus spells as if your spellcasting attribute were 2 points higher.
  • Infernal Glower: You exert a strange influence over others, as your unusual construction shines through when you are angry or upset. Your eyes may glow for a brief moment, or the scent of brimstone briefly wafts through the room. The phenomenon grants you a +4 profane bonus to Intimidate checks.
  • Precognition: You enjoy the peculiar ability to catch brief glimpses of the future. Once per day, you can ask a question about the results of an action that you might take. There is a percentage chance equal to 60 + your Charisma score that you receive a brief insight about this action’s result. Your GM informs you if the action will yield a result that is good, ill, or both good and ill.

Divinely Inspired Build

You were created in strict observation of religious tenets. You might even be a priest of the faith, though you could simply be one of the faithful.

Product of Worship (Primary Ability): The holy symbol of your faith is part of your body, you are filled with resolution and faith that your deity watches over you. You gain a +2 bonus against all fear effects and, once per day, may opt to gain a +2 bonus on a single d20 roll of your choice.

Divine Design (Secondary Ability): you enjoy one of the following trait abilities:

  • Fanatic: You were developed to fight in the name of your deity, and your faith drives you forward against the enemy. Once per day, you gain a +4 bonus to damage on a single attack as you strike with strength fired by your faith.
  • Inquisitor: As part of your religious design, you were imparted with the knowledge of how to detect heresy among the faithful. You gain a +2 bonus to all Sense Motive checks.
  • Ordination: You are ordained as a priest of the faith, though your rank is just above that of a lay person. When dealing with others of your faith, they must obey your orders within reason. They do not fight for you unless the need is dire, and they do not sacrifice themselves. You can expect them to treat you as a valued friend, such as by offering information, giving you a place to stay, feeding you for at least a few days, and so forth. A title may come with this position. Consult with your GM for information on religions in your campaign.

Divinely Marked Build

Your body is covered in religious icons and holy symbols. You have been blessed by your creator, soaked in holy or unholy water, and consecrated within your faith’s sacred chapels.

You are a living divine artifact. When you select this build purpose, pick an alignment opposed to your own. Your abilities help you defeat followers of that ethos.

Divine Vengeance (Primary Ability): You can channel your divine energy in several different ways. If you use the ability to harm undead or living creatures, you can augment your ability with your body’s divine energy. You add +2 to the DC of your channel energy class feature. You can create a surge of divine power to harm your enemies, sheathing your weapon or fist in a nimbus of energy that grants you a +2 bonus on damage rolls against enemies that have your chosen opposing alignment as a subtype. Choose a single alignment subtype, such as chaotic, evil, or good. Against opponents that have that subtype, you gain a +2 bonus on damage rolls. For example, if you chose evil, you would gain this bonus against a vrock because its subtype is evil.

Blessings of the Divine (Secondary Ability): You gain a +1 bonus on all saving throws against spells cast by someone of your chosen opposing alignment. Your patron god’s protective energy wards danger away from you.

Iron Heart Build

Unlike other ironborn, you have only the slightest shred of an organic component. You were built to serve as an obedient warrior or soldier. Your intellectual abilities were given only passing attention, but the magical processes that power you are too strong to keep your personality and mind dormant. You have phenomenal toughness and durability thanks to your manufactured nature.

Machine Body (Primary Ability): You are immune to poison and do not need air to breathe, allowing you to survive indefinitely underwater. Your natural armor bonus increases to +2.

Machine Mind (Secondary Ability): You are immune to all mind-affecting effects, since your mechanical mind is simply too alien for such spells and magical attacks to affect it.

Legacy Build

You were created to be the heir to the last of a noble line. Few accept your status to a natural bloodline and much of your inheritance was used in your creation. Despite this setback, you still enjoy many of the advantages of your station.

Birthright (Primary Ability): You gain a +2 bonus on all Diplomacy checks when dealing with nobles and officials. Your bearing shines through in formal circumstances. You also start with double the normal amount of gold to purchase equipment.

Bequest (Secondary Ability): Select one of the following trait abilities:

  • Title: You bear an official title in a nation or domain chosen by the GM. While in this land, you can access the upper levels of the nobility or government. You might not gain an audience with the king, but you can speak with an official or minor noble, if you wish.
  • Knowledgeable: You were endowed with lore on a wide range of topics. You gain 1 bonus skill ranks at 1st level and 1 bonus rank at each subsequent level. These ranks are in addition to the normal ranks you gain. Add them to your total ranks after accounting for your Intelligence bonus or penalty, not before.

Terrain Specialist Build


You were built for the ice and snow of the arctic. The bitterest cold has little effect on you, and you excel at traveling in areas dominated by snow and ice.

Endure Cold (Primary Ability): You gain a +4 bonus on all saves against cold effects. You treat heavy snow as normal terrain rather than difficult terrain. You gain a +2 bonus on Survival checks and can use that skill trained, even if you lack ranks in it, while traveling through snowy areas.

Walker in the White (Secondary Ability): Select one of the following trait abilities:

  • Bear’s Toughness: 1/day you can heal nonlethal damage equal to your level multiplied by your Constitution modifier as a full-round action even during combat.
  • Cold Iron Will: You remain stoic even in the face of danger. You are designed to survive the bleak environment of surviving howling blizzards. You enjoy a +2 bonus on saves against mind-affecting effects.
  • Wanderer at the Edge of Creation: You were imbued with a curiosity that always drives you to penetrate farther and farther into the arctic wastes. You gain a +2 bonus on all Acrobatics and Climb checks to reflect your experience.


You were crafted to thrive in the endless dunes of the desert. Intense heat has little effect on you.

Endure Heat (Primary Ability): You enjoy a +2 bonus on all saves against fire effects. You treat Survival as a trained skill while in the desert and gain a +4 bonus to all Survival checks made in that environment. You can survive on half the standard amount of food and water an ironborn requires.

Sand Spirit (Secondary Ability): Select one of the following trait abilities:

  • Dunestalker: You were crafted to run across the shifting sand dunes with ease, while others might slip or stumble in the sand. You gain a +4 insight bonus to all Acrobatic checks.
  • Camel’s Tenacity: The desert is a deadly environment; you were built to survive dust storms and long periods without water. Each round your hit points are 0 or fewer, you can attempt a Fortitude save (DC 15 + your negative hit point total). If this save succeeds, you can take a standard action that round, and you do not fall unconscious. You continue to lose one hit point each round while your hit points are below 0. Additionally, you automatically fall unconscious at –10 hit points and may die as normal thereafter.


You were cast in a mold that would suit you to operating amongst the towering trees of the forest, where you cannot see the horizon. So much so that you often feel uncomfortable in a situation when you can see the horizon.

Wilderness Lore (Primary Ability): You gain a +4 insight bonus to all Survival checks in forested areas and may use Survival untrained in such regions.

Green Engineering (Secondary Ability): Select one of the following trait abilities:

  • Ghost in the Green: Engineered for stealth in foliage you can step into a forested area and effectively disappear in the blink of an eye. You can take 10 on Stealth checks in the forest at any time, even during combat or other stressful situations.
  • Tree Runner: You were engineered to travel via climbing trees as much as wandering the forest floor. You gain a +4 bonus on all Climb checks and retain your Dexterity and dodge bonuses while climbing.


Engineered for the tropics, you wander the dense rain forests and jungles with the same ease that civilized folk stroll down a street.

Endure Environment (Primary Ability): You gain a +2 bonus to Survival checks and may use that skill untrained in jungle and rain forest terrain. Heat and humidity have little effect on you. You gain a +2 bonus to Fortitude saves made to resist high temperature conditions.

Emerald Engineering (Secondary Ability): You may choose one of the following trait abilities:

  • Ape’s Agility: While climbing, you can fight without penalty or retain the benefits of a shield you carry. You are built to fight and defend yourself while climbing aloft, both upon nature and constructed precipices.
  • Emerald Sentinel: If you have time to prepare an ambush site, you can create camouflage and arrange the area to better hide your companions. If you spend 10 minutes preparing an ally, he uses your Stealth bonus until he moves.
  • Friend of Snake and Spider: You gain a +2 bonus on all saves against diseases. Many creatures here have venomous bites, and you were built with a stronger than normal resistance to them.


You were engineered for the towering mountains. Traversing the steep slopes, jagged cliffs, and perilous trails of the peaks seems no more daunting to you than a simple walk through a cleared green field.

Treacherous Terrain (Primary Ability): You gain a +2 bonus to all Survival checks made in the mountains. In addition, you are steady on your feet from long hours spent walking along narrow paths. You gain a +2 bonus to your Combat Maneuver Defense.

Stone Built (Secondary Ability): You may Select one of the following trait abilities:

  • Mountaineer’s Luck: If you should fall from any height, you immediately may make a Reflex save (DC 10) to grab hold of a ledge or similar outcropping (assuming such is available). Success means you stop falling and suffer no damage. You dangle in the air and lose your Dexterity bonus and Dodge bonuses to armor class until your next action.
  • Rock Hurler: You can throw rocks with unerring accuracy. You are proficient with them and treat them as thrown, two-handed, simple weapons with a 10-foot range increment. The stones inflict damage based on their size. Your GM judges the stone’s size by comparing it to other weapons. Normally, a Medium stone is large enough that a human must hoist it in two hands. Picking up a stone to throw it is a move action. See table below.
  • Tough as Iron Ore: Your design had the goal of achieving the vitality required by mountain life. You gain +3 hit points at 1st level and +1 hit point at each subsequent level.
Table: Rock Hurling Damage by Size
Stone Size Thrown Stone Damage
Tiny 1d2
Small 1d4
Medium 1d6
Large 2d6
Huge 3d6
Gargantuan 4d6
Colossal 6d6

Omenbuilt Build

Strange happenings marked the day of your creation. Perhaps there was a comet in the sky or a volcano erupted. Perhaps the oil caught flame spontaneously as you were brought to life, or maybe every waterclock in town stopped as you came into the world.

Whatever its form, a portent hung over the hour of your creation, and you will forever be under this sign: you have been marked for some special fate.

Token of Destiny (Primary Ability): Whether it is fate or some other agency, something has taken an interest in you. Whenever you roll a “1” on an attack roll or saving throw, you gain an Omen token. Any time you are about to make an attack roll or saving throw, you can choose to spend Omen tokens on the roll. Each token grants you a +1 bonus for that roll only; you must announce how many tokens you are spending before you make the roll. You can spend as many tokens as you wish on a single roll, up to the number currently in your pool. Omen tokens do not expire; they are lost only when they are used. However, you can only have a maximum number of Omen tokens at any one time equal to 10 + your character level.

Mark of Destiny (Secondary Ability): Select one of the following trait abilities:

  • Mark of Despair: Other creatures are unnerved by you, though they are not always sure why. You may spend Omen tokens on Intimidate skill checks. This works exactly as outlined above when spending tokens on attack rolls and saving throws, except that you get a +2 bonus per token spent, rather than +1.
  • Mark of Glory: Other creatures instinctively warm to you, believing you capable of great things. You may spend Omen tokens on Diplomacy skill checks. This works exactly as outlined above when spending tokens on attack rolls and saving throws, except that you get a +2 bonus per token spent, rather than +1.
  • Mark of Sacrifice: Other creatures find themselves willing to give you the things you need or want, even if it costs them a little to do so. You may spend Omen tokens on Bluff skill checks. This works exactly as outlined above when spending tokens on attack rolls and saving throws, except that you get a +2 bonus per token spent, rather than +1.

Slave Build

You were created as a slave. You are the legal property of another person, but either you have escaped or through some other method you have won your freedom and must now make your own way in the world.

Toil (Primary Ability): You were designed to cope with hardship and privation. You gain Endurance as a bonus feat.

Servitude (Secondary Ability): Select one of the following trait abilities:

  • Escapee: You escaped from slavery, a difficult process that taught you several new tricks along the way. You gain a +2 bonus to all Escape Artist, Open Lock, and Disguise checks.
  • House Slave: You worked in the home of a wealthy noble or merchant, possibly performing menial tasks or tutoring your owner’s children. Due to the unassuming manner you developed as a result, you are often overlooked and know more than you should about what is going on. You gain a +2 bonus to Stealth and Perception checks.
  • Indentured Entertainer: You have been built to excel at the performing arts to ensure that you can please your owner. You gain 4 ranks in Perform at 1st level (choose a specialization for this skill as normal) and 1 bonus rank in it at each subsequent character level. You can purchase other specializations of Perform at the normal cost.


You were created to be a leader, not a follower. Though the ironborn do not yet wield great political power your day will come.

Noble (Primary Ability): You were imparted with a great deal of intellect and personality. Choose any one Intelligence- or Charisma-based skill. You gain a +4 insight bonus to checks with this skill.

Building a Dynasty (Secondary Ability): Select one of the following trait abilities:

  • Demagogue: You were designed for political machinations giving you an edge in such matters. You gain a +4 insight bonus to Diplomacy checks.
  • Dilettante: You were created to make the allies of the ironborn comfortable, however something went wrong and you went on to lead a life of ease and leisure, leaning on The First Virtuoso’s wealth and good name while you dedicated your life to pleasure. The design of your organic parts so that it can handle many intoxicants gives you a +3 bonus on saving throws against disease, while your privileged background means you begin with double the normal amount of gold to purchase equipment.
  • Tyrant: You were created to lead the ironborn to heights of undreamt of glory, but something went wrong; you don’t want to lead, you want to rule. You gain a +4 insight bonus to Intimidation checks.

Shadow Build

Your mechanical form was crafted from shadow and contained within a metallic shell. You can command the shadow to seep from your body and cover an area, allowing you to conceal your approach or escape under cover of darkness.

Shadow Master (Primary Ability): You can bind and fold a thick veil of shadowy darkness that cloaks your presence and confuses your enemies. You gain a +2 bonus on all Stealth checks. In addition, you gain a +4 bonus on Bluff checks made to create a diversion that allows you to hide. You create a sudden surge of shadows that allows you to divert your opponent’s attention while you slip into the darkness.

Darkvision (Secondary Ability): Your close attunement to shadow allows you to see through even the deepest darkness. You gain darkvision with a range of 60 feet.

Slayer Build

You were designed to use stealth and cunning to defeat your enemies. Many of the evil folk who have learned the secret of the ironborn prefer this set of abilities, because it produces an efficient, loyal assassin.

Blood Seeker (Primary Ability): You can see and smell the blood that flows through your enemies, allowing you to make a deadly strike when their guard is relaxed. You gain a +2 bonus on melee attack rolls against opponents that you flank or that have lost their Dexterity bonus to Armor Class. You do not gain this bonus against foes that are immune to sneak attacks.

Weapon Spike (Secondary Ability): You have a short blade that can retract into your hand, leaving you armed and ready for combat at all times. This weapon is a dagger of the appropriate size. It cannot be disarmed, and a Perception check (DC 25) is required to notice it if you leave it sheathed. You ready it like any other weapon. This blade can receive magical abilities just like a normal dagger and be upgraded to masterwork status. If it is sundered, use the standard price for a dagger of its size and features to determine the repair time and cost.

Spellmaster Build

Your outer shell is augmented with a lattice of carefully worked metals enchanted with arcane energy. Lead, copper, silver, and other metals treated by an alchemical process turn your body into a magnet for magic. This lattice makes it easier for you to use and focus magic, allowing you to handle spells with greater precision. Ironborn created to serve as wizards and sorcerers commonly have this set of features, though many clerics built for combat also feature it.

Spell Precision (Primary Ability): When drawing magical energy and shaping it into a spell, you can direct it with greater precision than normal. You gain a +1 competence bonus on attack rolls with spells that require attack rolls of any kind, such as touch spells.

Spell Durability (Secondary Ability): The arcane lattice in your body absorbs and holds magical energy even when you are on the verge of losing it. Once per day, if you fail a Concentration check when attempting to cast a spell, you can opt to reabsorb the spell’s energy into your body before you lose control of it. You do not lose the spell’s slot and can attempt to cast it again later.

Trailblazer Build

Your chassis was designed to withstand the elements, allowing you to endure extreme temperature, heavy rains, and other hazards of the natural world. You survive on the water and nutrients available in the environment around you, allowing you to spend months in the wilds without supplies. Ironborn created to serve as druids and rangers are usually built with this purpose, as are scouts who spend months seeking out enemy units and pathways through difficult terrain.

Survivor (Primary Ability): You gain cold and fire resistance 2. In addition, you no longer need to eat or drink.

Scion of Nature (Secondary Ability): Your mechanical body is laced with tiny plants and soil and rock blessed by a druid. These modifications grant you an innate affinity for the natural world. You gain a +2 bonus on all Handle Animal and Survival checks. You can feel the ebb and flow of natural energies, granting you an almost intuitive sense of nature.

Origin and Creator

All ironborn were built for a purpose and designed by another person, be it a wizard interested in copying someone else’s work or an ironborn interested in spawning another member of its race.

All ironborn have an innate connection to their creators. They share their builder’s alignment as a consequence of the magical rituals required to give them life. An ironborn must make a Will save (DC 10) to disobey any direct order it receives from its creator. The ironborn automatically succeeds at this save if the order would destroy it or is suicidal in nature. Otherwise, anything goes. An ironborn’s creator can choose to forgo this control at any time, and once he does so, his hold over his creation is forever broken. Many ironborn who build descendants use their power over their children to help them learn of the world and adapt to it. At the coming-of-age ceremony, usually held two or three years after an ironborn’s creation, its creator relinquishes this hold.

These stipulations serve to add some color and weight to an ironborn’s background. The save Difficulty Class is low enough that high-level characters can ignore potentially harmful instructions most of the time. Since an ironborn shares its maker’s alignment, it usually obeys reasonable orders without question.

An Ironborn’s Burden

All ironborn have what they call a burden, which is the role or position they were created to fulfill. The magical process used to create them uses this overriding purpose

For GMs

Using this feature requires some care. It is all too easy to have an ironborn’s creator show up and force it into undertaking an adventure or performing tasks like a pet or slave. This weakness should be used rarely—perhaps only once in an entire campaign, if at all. The player should decide if her PC’s creator would abuse this power, since this feature serves as a roleplaying and plot device, not a mechanical balance to the ironborn’s racial abilities.

to help give an ironborn’s nascent personality the force and will it needs to achieve true life.

An ironborn must engage in activities relating to its class each day, whether it simply practices its skills or uses them to accomplish a task. For example, an ironborn fighter might have to engage in combat, whether a mock fight or a real one, each day. For each day an ironborn fails to exercise its abilities, it slowly becomes more irritable, angry, and prone to lashing out with its talents in order to use them. At the start of each new day, an ironborn must make a Will save with a DC equal to 10 + the number of consecutive days it has been unable to use its abilities. If it fails this save, at some point during the day the ironborn loses control and makes use of its abilities regardless of the situation. If it cannot do so for any reason, such as if the proper materials are not available or it is physically restrained from exercising its abilities, it lashes out at the nearest living creature, attacking by any means available for 2d6 rounds. At the end of this time, it returns to normal. If no foes are present, it vents its rage against inanimate objects. An ironborn that lashes out in this manner must still make another save the next day, since it has not yet fulfilled its burden.

This drawback is intended as a piece of background color to illustrate an ironborn’s mechanical nature. All of these creatures were built for a purpose, and they pursue it with a focus that is at times maniacal. Most PC ironborn can easily get around this drawback, and it does not serve as a balance against the benefits of the ironborn’s abilities. Instead, GMs can use it as a part of an adventure or as part of a story in the game. For example, an ironborn paladin might be thrown in jail by suspicious townsfolk. When the jailers stop him from praying each day, he may go berserk and make it that much harder for the other PCs to convince the mayor to release their friend.

Ironborn Details

The following information allows a player to fill out the final details of an ironborn character. It provides a range of heights, weights, and ages that can be used as examples or as a method to randomly generate such values. Note that ironborn tend to be only a few years old when they start their adventuring careers. Their masters build them, train them for a few months, and then either set them to their tasks or allow them to wander the land. Since ironborn are built rather than born, they are created with many of the basic skills and abilities that organic creatures need years to master.

Design Notes

Creating an ironborn is similar to gaining the service of a cohort through the Leadership feat. A loyal ironborn, with its close ties to its creator’s ethos, fills almost the same role as a trusted follower. In order to produce an ironborn, you must take the Craft Ironborn feat, which draws on many of the rules that cover the use of the Leadership feat.

Ironborn Age

Ironborn do not age physically, but as a naive, young race they tend to look up to the elders among them with tremendous respect and admiration. The table below is meant to give you a sense of how ironborn view others of their kind in terms of age. As the campaign progresses, these values might change as the eldest ironborn survive through the years. As you can see, ironborn have existed for a time period shorter than the lifespan of an elf or dwarf.

Table: Ironborn Ages
Ironborn Age Value
Starting Age 1d4+2
Middle Age 15
Old Age 30
Venerable 60
Maximum Age

Height and Weight

An ironborn’s height and weight are determined by its size. Since these creatures can be built as Small, Medium, or Large creatures, there is tremendous overall variation in their height and girth.

Table: Ironborn Height and Weight
Size Height Weight
Small 3 feet+2d6 inches 40+2d20 lbs
Medium 6 feet+2d10 inches 200+5d20 lbs
Large 8 feet+2d10 inches 400+4d100 lbs

Creating Ironborn

Crafting an ironborn is a short and simple process. As part of the process, the creator must donate a small shard of his or her life force and personality to give the ironborn vitality. Because this investment of energy is taxing to the creator’s psyche, a single individual can never create more than one ironborn. While ironborn can produce others of their kind, they too must obey this stricture. Even if an ironborn dies, its creator cannot build another one to take its place.

This deep connection between creator and created explains why an ironborn shares its creator’s alignment.

Many spellcasters and warlords who wish to amass small groups of ironborn order their created minions to produce more of their kind. The expertise needed to make more ironborn takes time to develop, making this an inefficient way to build up an army. Ironborn may exist in small, elite units, but beyond that, the process is simply too slow to enable the building of entire legions.

Craft Ironborn (Item Creation)

You have learned the mystic secrets of creating an ironborn. When you have gathered the proper raw materials, you can craft a mechanical being that will serve you as a friend, comrade, and trusted ally.

Prerequisites: Craft (metalworking, blacksmithing, or similar skill) 10 ranks, caster level 1st or ironborn race. You must also have iron, powdered gems, and other raw materials totaling 1,000 gp in value along with a copy of the Ironborn Codex. It takes one week of work to produce an ironborn.

Benefit(s): You create an ironborn that has a character level as determined by the table below. Your construct score equals your character level + your Intelligence modifier. As you can see, this produces an ironborn of the same level as a cohort you would gain with the Leadership feat. Your ironborn minion gains experience for participating in adventures as normal and gains levels at the standard rate. You create every aspect of the ironborn, from its ability scores and name to its personality and appearance. The ironborn you create never abandons you or betrays your trust, and it serves you to the best of its abilities. An ironborn can create an additional follower for itself, which you can command by proxy. Keep in mind that even ironborn need the minimum ranks in an appropriate Craft skill in order to create another of their kind, perhaps requiring an ironborn to gain several levels before it can create a new follower.

Constructed Sorcerous Bloodline

The power of animating lifeless objects resides in you, so much so that you have become a driven force unto yourself. This influence comes from the materials you were created from, possibly the remains of an extra-planar construct, or a time when your construction materials or your creator were exposed to a powerful animating force.

Class Skill: Knowledge (engineering).

Bonus Spells: animate rope (3rd), make whole (5th), tiny hut (7th), stone shape (9th), telekinesis (11th), animate object* (13th), statue (15th), polymorph any object (elementals only) (17th), wish (19th).

*This spell is considered a 6th level sorcerer spell.

Bonus Feats: Craft Construct, Craft Ironborn, Diehard, Endurance, Great Fortitude, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Knowledge [Engineering]), Toughness.

Bloodline Arcana: Some constructs are susceptible to your mind-affecting spells. Unintelligent constructs are not immune to your compulsion effects (including unintelligent golems).

Bloodline Powers: You can call upon the mysterious spark of magic that grants life to constructs. Unfortunately, the more you draw upon it, the greater risk of the power overwhelming you.

Arcane Bond (Su): At 1st level, you gain an arcane bond as a wizard equal to your sorcerer level. Your sorcerer levels stack with any wizard levels you possess when determining the powers of your familiar or bonded object. This ability does not allow you to have both a familiar and a bonded item. If you choose a familiar, it is automatically a clockwork familiar (created when you were, or when your creator was exposed to the animating force; see Clockwork Familiar Template below).

Object’s Frame (Su): At 3rd level, your anatomy changes, giving you a 25% chance to ignore any critical hit or sneak attack scored against you. This chance increases to 50% at 13th level.

Golem’s Gift (Sp): At 9th level, you gain spell resistance equal to your sorcerer level + 5. This increases to +10 at 15th level

Touch of Elan (Sp): At 15th level, when you cast animate object you double the duration of the spell automatically; you can also permanently animate the object without casting permanency, though it only requires half the normal cost of diamond dust that permanency requires.

Construct Body (Su): At 20th level, your body transforms into solid adamantine. You gain immunity to sneak attacks, critical hits, and gain damage reduction 20/-.

Ironborn Feats

The following feats are designed specifically for ironborn or with ironborn in mind. They draw on these characters’ unique origins and artificial nature to grant them expanded abilities or disrupt their abilities.

Some of these feats are marked with the ironborn feat type, which indicates that only members of that race are eligible to select them. An ironborn can take one of these feats as a bonus feat gained from a class feature, such as from the fighter or wizard class. The class feature that grants the extra feat must be referred to as a “bonus feat” in the class’ level progression table.

Otherwise, you cannot use this opportunity to select an ironborn feat. For example, the ranger gains combat styles that provide the equivalent of a feat, but that class feature is not specifically called a bonus feat.

Holy Icon (Ironborn)

You have a specially wrought holy symbol mounted on your chest, forehead, or some other part of your body. This icon allows you to channel divine energy with increased focus and power.

Prerequisite(s): Divine caster level 1st. (You must purchase a masterwork holy symbol if you take this feat after 1st level.)

Benefit(s): You may use your divine spells to augment your channeled energy. 1/day by spending a spell slot, you gain a bonus on your channel energy DC equal to half the level of the spell slot sacrificed; only one spell slot can be sacrificed this way.

Improved Natural Armor (Ironborn)

Your metal skin is thick and durable, allowing you to shrug off hits that otherwise would injure you.

Prerequisite(s): You must spend 100 gp on raw materials, including iron, bronze, and similar metals, to reinforce your chassis if you take this feat after 1st level.

Benefit(s): You increase your natural bonus to Armor Class by 1. You may take this feat only once.

Intricate Joints (Ironborn)

You can turn and rotate your torso and arms along several joint lines not normally found in humanoid creatures. This ability allows you to face attacks that come from several directions, making it impossible to flank you.

Prerequisite(s): Dexterity 15, Spring-Loaded Reflexes. (You must spend 400 gp on raw materials, including iron, bronze, and similar metals, to improve your chassis if you take this feat after 1st level.)

Benefit(s): You can no longer be flanked. This benefit denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack you by flanking, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than you have character levels.

Manipulate Construct (General)

Constructs are just another kind of magic item; with your skill you have learned to disrupt, immobilize or command them.

Prerequisite(s): Skill Focus (use magic device), Disable Device 5 ranks, Use Magic Device 5 ranks, Cha 13 Benefit: A number of times per day equal to your Charisma modifier, you can manipulate the commands that allow spellcasters to direct the actions of constructs. Use of this ability is a standard action that requires a successful touch attack against a construct, but does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The clockwork knave must make a successful use magic device check DC 15+ the caster level of the construct’s creator (when this is unknown use the construct’s Hit Dice). The construct then receives a Will save to negate (DC 10 + ½ your character level + your Charisma modifier). If the construct’s master is currently within range to directly control the construct, then a successful opposed charisma check is required to use this ability.

If you have at least 5 ranks in Use Magic Device, you can cause a construct to go berserk by disrupting its normal commands or thought patterns. The uncontrolled construct goes on a rampage, attacking the nearest living creature or smashing some object smaller than itself if no creature is within reach. It will then move on to spread more destruction once the current target is laid low. The construct’s creator, if within 60 feet, can try to regain control by speaking firmly and persuasively to the construct, which requires a DC 19 Charisma check. An intelligent construct is granted a new Will save each round, just before your turn.

If you have at least 7 ranks in Use Magic Device you can immobilize a construct for 1 round per character level, though if attacked it is instantly free of its immobilization. Intelligent constructs are granted a new Will save each round, just before your turn. Immobilized constructs are considered helpless.

If you have at least 9 ranks in Use Magic Device, you have a degree of control over a construct creature. If the subject is intelligent, it perceives your words and actions favorably (treat its attitude as friendly). It will not attack you for 24 hours. You can give the subject orders, but you must win an opposed Charisma check to convince it to do anything it wouldn’t ordinarily do. Retries are not allowed. An intelligent commanded construct never obeys suicidal or obviously harmful orders, but it might be convinced that something very dangerous is worth doing.

When you control an unintelligent construct, you can communicate only basic commands, such as “come here,” “go there,” “fight,” “stand still,” and so on. Non-intelligent constructs won’t obey suicidal or obviously harmful orders.

Any act by you or your apparent allies that threatens the commanded construct (regardless of its Intelligence) breaks the effect.

Your commands are not telepathic, so the construct must be able to hear you.

Memory Bank (Ironborn)

Your mind can alter and shift its contents to suit your needs, drawing on the artificial nature of your consciousness to shape and mold it.

In essence, you can hold more memories than a living mind can normally process. By shifting and changing your mental focus, you can gain and lose access to portions of the abilities you have learned.

Prerequisite(s): Intelligence 13.

Benefit(s): When you take this feat, you gain a +2 competence bonus on checks involving a single class skill of your choice. Once per day you can select a different skill to gain this feat’s benefit.

Sabotage Or Repair (General)

You can repair or sabotage magic items, constructs or ironborn.

Prerequisite(s): Manipulate Construct, Skill Focus (use magic device), Disable Device 9 ranks, Use Magic Device 9 ranks, Cha 13.

Benefit(s): You can repair a construct, magic item or ironborn as if the clockwork knave possessed the proper craft feat (material cost is the same), substituting their disable device skill for any required skill check.

Use of the sabotage ability renders the construct permanently inert, as if the creation check had failed, the item becomes non-magical and the ironborn is killed. To sabotage a subject you must make a successful disable device check (DC 25 + the caster level of the construct, ironborn or item’s creator (when this is unknown use the creature’s Hit Dice or the item’s caster level)). Use of the sabotage ability requires 10 rounds (1 minute) of work and provokes attacks of opportunity.

Artifacts, constructs with fast healing, and ironborn with the Omenbuilt purpose are immune to the sabotage ability.

Special: It requires a successful Sense Motive check opposed by your Disable Device check for someone else to determine whether you are repairing or sabotaging a subject.

Spell Runes (Ironborn)

You scribe the text of several spells onto your body, allowing you to study them without the use of a spellbook. In addition, you modify your body to better collect and focus the energies required for those spells.

Prerequisite(s): Arcane caster level 1st, ability to prepare spells. (You must spend 800 gp on raw materials, including iron, bronze, and similar metals, to alter your chassis if you take this feat after 1st level.)

Benefit(s): Select any three spells you can prepare and cast. Those spells are scribed on your body. You can prepare them even if you lose access to your spellbook. When you cast one of these spells, you gain either a +1 bonus to its save DC or a bonus on the spell’s damage equal to your Intelligence modifier. You make this choice at the time of casting, and you can change the benefit from one casting to the next.

Spring-Loaded Reflexes (Ironborn)

Your joints have a set of heavy springs and flexible, high-tension connections and lines. You react quickly to danger, allowing you to defend yourself even when an opponent has the drop on you.

Prerequisite(s): Dexterity 13, Dodge, Improved Initiative. (You must spend 100 gp on raw materials, including iron, bronze, and similar metals, to improve your chassis if you take this feat after 1st level.)

Benefit(s): You gain the uncanny dodge ability. You retain your Dexterity bonus to Armor Class even if you are caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, you still lose your Dexterity bonus to Armor Class if you are immobilized.

Weaponized Limb (Ironborn)

One of your arms has been replaced with a sword blade, axe, mace, or similar weapon. As an extension of your body, it is easier to wield than a standard weapon.

Prerequisite(s): You must purchase a masterwork weapon of the appropriate type for your arm if you take this feat after 1st level.

Benefit(s): Select a melee weapon that you can wield one-handed. This is the weapon installed on your arm. This masterwork weapon cannot be disarmed. Like any other masterwork weapon, you can enhance it with magical properties as normal.

When using this weapon, you gain a bonus on damage rolls equal to 1.5 times your Strength bonus, the same as if you wielded the weapon with two hands. Since the weapon is part of your body, you can put more weight behind it than normal, and you have superior leverage with it.

Special: You can take this feat only once. When you do so, you lose the ability to use the hand on your weaponized arm as a hand (see below).

You cannot use a double weapon with this feat. You otherwise gain the benefits of all feats and abilities relating to this weapon as normal.

Since you have only one hand after you take this feat, you suffer penalties in some situations. You take a –2 penalty on all grapple checks unless your weaponized arm has a light weapon. You take a –2 competence penalty on all Climb, Craft, and Disable Device checks. In addition, the GM can assess a –2 competence penalty in any situation when your lack of a hand is a drawback. Your remaining hand is considered your off hand, and you may suffer any relevant penalties for using it as normal.

Clockwork Familiar Template (CR +0)

The clockwork familiar whirs to life at the whim of its master. Made of various metals and granted a soul, this intelligent construct is designed to resemble a living creature in both form and function. A clockwork familiar serves as an intelligent aide, guardian, or even friend to its master.

A clockwork familiar’s body is a complicated construction of gears, wires, chains, and struts, often covered with riveted metal plating to give it the form of the living creature it mimics. Magic and engineering give a clockwork familiar access to the powers of the creature it resembles, thus enabling its creator to effectively gain the aid of any being desired.

Clockwork familiar” is a created template that can be added to any familiar (referred to hereafter as the base creature).

A clockwork familiar uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Creating a Clockwork familiar

Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature.

Size and Type: The creature’s type changes to construct with the augmented (magical beast) subtype. Do not recalculate base attack bonuses or saves. Size is unchanged. Hit Dice: Change all racial Hit Dice to d10s. The creature gains bonus hit points as a construct of its size category. Since it has no Constitution score, it does not gain bonus hit points based on high Constitution.

Special Qualities: The clockwork familiar retains all the special qualities of the base creature and gains those described here.

Hardness (Ex): A clockwork familiar has a hardness of 10. This quality functions like object hardness, even though a clockwork familiar is not an object.

Metal Body (Ex): Beneath its skin, a clockwork familiar is largely composed of metal. It counts as a ferrous creature for the purpose of rusting grasp and other spells that have special effects on metal.

Windup Key (Ex): A clockwork familiar must be wound up each day by placing a small key into a special orifice and turning it—an action that provokes attacks of opportunity. For each full-round that the key is turned, the clockwork creature can be active for 4 hours (maximum 24 hours). In most cases, the creator either retains his construct’s key or gives it to the clockwork familiar so that it can keep itself running. When the clockwork familiar runs down, it becomes immobile, helpless, and unconscious, and it remains so until wound up again. Anyone can wind up a clockwork familiar without the key by making a successful Disable Device check as a full-round action (DC based on the quality of lock the creator built into the clockwork familiar). This technique allows the clockwork familiar 4 hours of activity (maximum 24 hours) for each such successful check.

Abilities: As a construct, a clockwork familiar does not have a Constitution score.

Skills: Due to its innate understanding of its own being, a clockwork familiar gains a +5 racial bonus on Craft (armorsmithing), Craft (weaponsmithing), and Disable Device checks. It can use these skills as though trained, even if it has no ranks in them. However, the clockwork creature takes a –2 penalty on Stealth checks because its internal mechanisms constantly click and whir while it functions.

Environment: Same as master.

Organization: Pair (master and familiar).

Alignment: Same as master.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

In the Company of Monsters Copyright 2011 Steven D. Russell Authors: Jonathan McAnulty and Steven D. Russell