Nestled in a massive spiraled armored shell, this clockwork creature has several dozen grasping tentacles surrounding its octopus-like beak.
Clockwork Nautiloid CR 14
AC 31, touch 13, flat-footed 26 (+5 Dex, +18 natural, –2 size)
hp 161 (22d10+40)
Fort +7, Ref +14, Will +7
Defensive Abilities deep dweller, reflective shell; DR 10/adamantine and bludgeoning; Immune cold, construct traits
Weaknesses vulnerable to electricity
Str 31, Dex 20, Con —, Int —, Wis 11, Cha 1
Base Atk +22; CMB +34 (+38 grapple); CMD 49 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Improved InitiativeB, Lightning ReflexesB
Skills Perception +8, Swim +18; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception
SQ enhanced senses, swift reactions, winding
Deep Dweller (Ex)
Clockwork nautiloids are immune to cold and damage from water pressure.
Enhanced Senses (Ex)
Clockwork nautiloids have more efficient olfactory, tactile, and visual senses than most other clockwork creatures. A clockwork nautiloid has blindsense out to a range of 60 feet and a +8 racial bonus on Perception checks.
Reflective Shell (Su)
The curved shell of a clockwork nautiloid resists magical ray attacks. Ray spells and ray effects targeting a clockwork nautiloid are harmlessly deflected and have no effect.
Tenacious Grappler (Ex)
A clockwork nautiloid does not gain the grappled condition if it grapples a foe with its tentacles.
Environment any water
Organization solitary or pair
Clockwork nautiloids are specialized, watertight clockwork creations designed to withstand the darkest, coldest ocean depths. A clockwork nautiloid resembles an oversized nautilus with a curved and magically strengthened shell.
Its sharp, octopus-like beak is surrounded by dozens of tentacles that appear organic but contain rotors and pistons allowing for a strong, prehensile grip. Most of its tentacles end in a subtly serrated gripping pad, but two of them end in specialized sensory equipment shielded with durable crystal. These clusters provide the clockwork nautiloid with superior senses, allowing it to see even in the oppressive blackness of the deep ocean.
Clockwork nautiloids pursue the directives of their creators with single-minded purpose, attacking any creature that interferes with their orders. Although a clockwork nautiloid has many gripping tentacles, it can usually bring only four of these tentacles to bear in combat along with its snapping bite. Clockwork nautiloids are relentless combatants that pursue their opponents to any depth and even onto land, propelling themselves with their powerful tentacles.
A clockwork nautiloid is 30 feet long and weighs 4 tons.
The shell of a clockwork nautiloid is a tight spiral made of overlapping metal plates. In addition to providing significant protection to the creature’s delicate internal mechanisms, this shell is coated with a thin film of grease baked onto the metal at incredible temperatures to waterproof the creature’s interior and prevent the shell from degrading in the harsh, salty water of the ocean. This thin film also reflects incoming rays, scattering these magical attacks without harm to the clockwork nautiloid.
Unlike with living nautiluses, which inhabit only the largest portions of their shells as they grow, a clockwork nautiloid’s entire spiraled shell is filled with gears, rods, and springs. The pleasing logarithmic spiral of a clockwork nautiloid’s shell arises not from a pattern of natural growth but because the mathematically consistent shape allows for the most efficient packing of the creature’s clockworks. A clockwork nautiloid’s winding key fits into a small hole at the precise center of its spiraled shell, on either the left or right side.
Although clockwork nautiloids have few natural predators, mysterious titanic creatures lurk in the deep oceans, and clockwork engineers often camouflage their clockwork nautiloids just to be safe. The upper side of a clockwork nautiloid is often constructed of dark metals in overlapping stripes, allowing the clockwork nautiloid to blend with the deeper ocean below when it is seen from above. Similarly, the creature’s underside is usually constructed of bright, pale metals; when seen from below, the creature appears part of the brighter ocean above. Clockwork nautiloids cannot retract into their shells, although they can fold their tentacles over each other to form a rigid covering.
Tons of ore are required to produce a clockwork nautiloid—enough to deplete a small mine—but once created, the construct has little impact upon the natural environment. Its coated shells provide no purchase for barnacles or other small creatures, so it slips through the seas without displacing marine life. A clockwork nautiloid pollutes very little under normal operation, as its greased gears and pumps are fully contained.
Habitat and Society
As they are specifically created to withstand marine depths, clockwork nautiloids are only rarely found outside of the deep ocean. Because of the expense of creating these constructs, they are usually programmed to perform specific, important tasks lasting no more than 22 days (the limit of the clockwork nautiloid’s winding). The tasks that bring clockwork nautiloids to the ocean depths are as varied as the motives of their creators. A creator might deploy a clockwork nautiloid to defend a strategic undersea locale, recover treasures from a shipwreck, explore a submerged ruin, or capture valuable marine specimens.
Clockwork nautiloids must be flexible problem solvers, as they usually operate independently in environments that would be lethal to their creators. Like most clockwork constructs, clockwork nautiloids lack an Intelligence score, but each is constructed with multiple internal turning scripts that turn simultaneously when wound. As a result, clockwork nautiloids can process multiple strategies to surmount obstacles. This parallel thinking also makes a clockwork nautiloid a surprisingly flexible combatant, able to efficiently fight large groups by grappling smaller foes, biting at others, and rotating its thick shell to intercept attacks.
Few clockwork engineers have the resources necessary to build more than one clockwork nautiloid at a time, but those who do find that the creatures work very well when paired together. Although a clockwork nautiloid’s tentacles cannot normally reach its own key (unless its tentacles are specifically designed to do so), clockwork nautiloids can wind each other to extend their operating time considerably. Undersea explorers tell of roving pairs of clockwork nautiloids encountered many leagues from civilization, sustaining each other for much longer than their initial winding.
Variant Clockwork Nautiloids
Just like other clockwork creatures, clockwork nautiloids can be found in many configurations, each specific to the construct’s task. Furthermore, clockwork engineers can retrofit and redesign existing clockwork nautiloids to serve different functions. One of the many variant clockwork nautiloids is presented below.
Clockwork Submersible (CR 14): A gnome engineer spent his life’s fortune in the construction of a clockwork nautiloid with an internal chamber just large enough for a Small humanoid to inhabit. A creature in the chamber can wind the clockwork submersible and see out of the construct’s prehensile eyestalks.
A clockwork nautiloid is difficult to create, as each component must be waterproof and able to withstand the crushing pressure of the deep ocean. The creator must start with crafted clockwork pieces worth 18,000 gp.
CL 14th; Price 200,000 gp
Pathfinder Adventure Path #125: Tower of the Drowned Dead © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Ron Lundeen, with Nathan King, Isabelle Lee, Erik Mona, Kalervo Oikarinen, and David Schwartz.