Automaton Core (Minor Artifact)

Slot none; CL 20th; Weight 1 lb.; Aura strong transmutation


These glowing metal cylinders are often gold- or silver-plated and decorated with tiny, glowing arcane symbols. These cores are primarily used to provide life-giving power to an automaton, but an automaton core can also be harvested from an automaton’s body and used to enhance spellcasting (see page 21 for details). A spellcaster holding an automaton core treats her caster level as 4 higher for all purposes.

The innate power of an automaton core depends on the CR of the automaton from which it was extracted: it contains 1 spell point per CR. As a swift action, a spellcaster can expend a number of spell points from the automaton core to cast a spell she has prepared without expending that spell or spell slot. The number of spell points required to use this ability is equal to twice the level of the spell cast. Once all of the automaton core’s spell points are expended, the automaton core can no longer power an automaton. There are currently no known methods to restore an automaton core.

An automaton core can also be used to offset the cost of building a construct. When it is included in the process of crafting a construct, an automaton core offsets an amount of the construction cost equal to 2,500 gp per spell point. A core used in this manner is still removable following the normal rules for removing an automaton core.

Automatons covet these cores, as they can use a core to reactivate automaton allies whose cores have failed, or whose cores have been stolen. Automatons have been known to ruthlessly hunt down and kill creatures who carry these items.


An automaton core can be destroyed only by placing it in a ritual circle where it is surrounded by six other automaton cores. These surrounding cores must then expend an amount of spell points equal to the remaining points in the central core.

This overloads the central core, destroying it forever.

More About Automaton Cores

Although the bodies of automatons are wonders in and of themselves, the true technological marvels they bear are the automaton cores (see page 16) that power these constructs. The secret to the creation of automaton cores has since been lost to time, but each core contains a spark of consciousness from a particular individual, combined with a significant portion of planar energy.

These two components are merged using powerful magical energy to form a core of seemingly limitless arcane potential that powers an automaton. This energy courses throughout an automaton’s body, powering the construct and completing an internal connection that allows the individual automaton’s consciousness to remain active.

Powering an automaton with a core other than its original core can cause a conflict with the consciousness stored within the body. The two different individuals may engage in a mental struggle as each attempts to wrest control of the body from the other. This usually leads to one individual consciousness overpowering the other, but it occasionally creates a new, shared consciousness wherein the two individuals meld to form a single new entity with shared memories.

Removing an automaton core from a destroyed or willing automaton is a laborious and risky process that requires a number of hours equal to half the automaton’s CR. After this time, the remover must attempt a Spellcraft check with a DC equal to 20 + the automaton’s CR. On a success, the automaton core is removed and can be used normally (see page 16). On a failed check, the removal attempt is unsuccessful and cannot be attempted again for 24 hours. Failing this check by more than 5 causes damage to the core and reduces its total number of spell points by 1. Returning a core to an inactive automaton’s body to restore the creature requires another Spellcraft check with the same DC. If the consciousness in the body and the core are incompatible or unwilling to meld, the two attempt an opposed Charisma check. The winner of the opposed roll takes over as the dominant consciousness, but it may find itself opposed again later.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Construct Handbook © 2018, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Brian Duckwitz, Andrew Hoskins, Nathan King, Kris Leonard, Luis Loza, Adrian Ng, Tom Phillips, Alex Riggs, and Nicholas Wasko.

scroll to top