We close out our look at the clockwork creatures from Pathfinder’s Bestiaries 3 and 4 with the clockwork steed.
My subtle, probing analysis? It is a clockwork steed. Don't stand behind it.
Clockwork chargers have the potential to upset the supremacy of the mounted knight on and off the battlefield. When an adventuring party’s cavalier joins the lists at a tournament, he finds his opponent is a clockwork charger armed with a pivoting lance. As jousting is as much a social challenge as a martial one, the cavalier must be careful. He earns no honor from dismounting the dummy placed on the charger’s back, but he still risks dishonor if he himself is unhorsed.
The gnomes of Eed shape their clockwork steeds into delicate clockwork deer able to nimbly run through wooded terrain. (Instead of a powerful kick, they send foes flying with their antlers.) Dusk elves (see the Advanced Race Guide) favor these steeds as well, and tend to be fair less welcoming to adventurers on their lands.
Clockwork steeds are common servants of Cognomon’s gearpriests and clockwork mages. Indeed, a clockwork mage outrider (usually a speedy transmuter) sitting atop a clockwork steed at a crossroads is an iconic sight along Cognomon’s border reaches. Clockwork steeds are also commonly used by the paladins of the White Lion, who bestow their god-blessings on their swords rather than their mounts. This earns them a mixed reputation in Independent circles—White Lions are respected as healers and champions of the common man, but critics point to the steeds as a sign that the order is rotting from within.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 4 33
Apparently there is a Clockwork Steed Magic card. Who knew?
Speaking of metal horses, did anyone else have Stridor and Fisto growing up? I know I did. Though I think my Stridor was missing a tail for absolutely no reason.
Speaking of jousting, I have enjoyed the audiobooks of Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small quartet. I’m not head over heels like I was for the Beka Cooper books, but still definitely a fan.
I hope you all have enjoyed the past two weeks’ Cognomon adventure seeds. It was fun to explore a setting at greater length for a while. In my head Cognomon is vaguely reminiscent of the city from Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis, but on a far grander scale—the size of a country at least—with whole regions and disparate geographies (possible even more than one artificial sun) tucked into its many clockwork levels and terraces. And of course at the very center is the Cog Spire or Gnomon itself—a great Gormenghastian tower of gears and battlements and flying buttresses and clockwork cathedrals and pneumatic tubes and magical processing cores and who knows what else.
Humans and clockwork creatures would be the main inhabitants (plus other constructs and possibly androids, robots, and even axiomites as well), along with small communities of the other traditional PC races. The main antagonists would be skum and their aboleth masters, serpentfolk, otherworldly salamanders, and of course many of the clockwork creations of Cognomon itself, should the gearpriests or even the semi-sentient World-City itself decide that the adventurers pose a threat to the overall order of things.
As for what lies beyond the World-City—or if it really is a world unto itself—that’s a mystery for your characters (and even me, at the moment) to discover.