Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Clockwork Goliath

What’s more terrifying than a clockwork dragon?  A 100-ton, 45-foot-tall CR 19 clockwork goliath.  (That’s as high as the Hollywood Sign, to give you a sense of scale.)  And it’s got four arms.  One of which is a cannon. 

So it’s everything you love about cannon golems—and dang, do you all love cannon golems—and everything you love about girallons in the same monster.  Plus if you actually succeed (DR 15/adamantine) in severely hurting it, it explodes for 24 dice of damage.  Fun!

One last note: The clockwork goliath’s description makes clear that while behind the GM screen the goliath’s attacks resolve as slams, in front of the GM screen how you describe them is another matter entirely.  Drill bits, buzz saws, hydraulic pistons, pneumatic mattocks, vorpal Cuisinarts…whatever will send the PCs teleporting away in terror.

Her Majesty’s Great Bridge isn’t a bridge at all!  The monstrous mechanism, touted as a combination lift bridge, clock tower, and dirigible landing spire, is actually a mobile fortification aimed at Parliament and the heart of the city.  Worse yet, the gearworks that supposedly run the great bells actually conceal a clockwork goliath!  Its directive is to crush the queen’s enemies and any last holdouts against the return of her absolute monarchy—especially adventurers.

The four-armed design of the clockwork goliath might be more than a tactical advantage.  It might also offer clues as to clockwork technology’s original creators—from otherworldly kasatha and shobhads (see Distant Worlds) to subterranean races like extinct lizardfolk mutants and the four-armed drow Blessed caste.  One persistent theory is that the first clockwork goliaths were created by four-armed sahuagin.  This suggests two disturbing things: first, that the sahuagin are (or at least were) far more technically advanced than the surface world realizes, and second, that given the clockwork goliath’s distinct lack of aquatic modifications, these ancient sahuagin lived on land…

Cognomon’s clockwork goliaths are so rare as to be legendary, but they do exist.  The gearthrall city of Thronehold features a vast cathedral where an eternally sleeping clockwork goliath is worshipped as an aspect of the Clockwork Mind.  Those who follow the philosophy of Independence smash a clockwork construct at Midwinter to commemorate the felling of the Goliath of Olan.  And even now, salamander savants in the Furnace Wards have secretly reactivated a clockwork goliath.  Paralyzed by their ever-roving paranoia, they seek only a target worthy of their new, poorly understood weapon.

Pathfinder Bestiary 3 54

In a D&D 3.5 campaign, clockwork goliaths might be humanity’s attempt at emulating the Monster Manual III’s geriviar.  (For those who don’t know, this four-armed giant is perhaps the most amazing monster in that tome.  If I ever designed a campaign that drew inspiration from The Maxx’s Outback—and I’ve thought about it—the geriviar would be the first monster on the list.)

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