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

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


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.


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

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.

Clockwork Excavator Construction

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.

CL 10th; Price 140,000 gp


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

Section 15: Copyright Notice
Pathfinder Adventure Path #117: Assault on Longshadow © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Benjamin Bruck and Thurston Hillman, with Liz Courts, Paris Crenshaw, and Jason Keeley.
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