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Clockwork Spy

Engineers, technologists, and mechanically gifted wizards employ clockwork spies—tiny, spiderlike constructs capable of recording and playing back audio— to surreptitiously surveil their enemies or steal secrets from competitors. Their spindly bodies and delicate components make them unsuitable for combat; in fact, most builders construct clockwork spies with a self-destruct mechanism to ensure the spies' meddling can't be traced back to them.

Recall Knowledge - Construct (Arcana, Crafting): DC 15

Elite | Normal | Weak

Clockwork SpyCreature -1

Source Bestiary 3 pg. 48
Perception +8; low-light vision
Skills Acrobatics +5
Str -1, Dex +3, Con +0, Int -5, Wis +2, Cha +0
Record Audio Single ActionSingle Action The clockwork spy records all sounds within 25 feet onto a small gemstone worth 1 gp embedded in its body. The clockwork spy can record up to 1 hour of sound on a single gemstone.
Once it begins recording, it can't cease recording early, nor can it record onto a gemstone that already contains a recording. Some clockwork spies contain multiple gemstones to allow for a series of recordings. Since clockwork spies are not intelligent, they must be given simple commands regarding when to start recording sounds. A clockwork spy can differentiate between different kinds of creatures but not between specific individuals.
The spy can start or stop playback of recorded sound by spending a single action. Removing a gemstone from or installing a gemstone into a clockwork spy requires a successful DC 14 Thievery check to Disable a Device; on a failure, the gemstone is undamaged, but any recorded sounds are erased and the gemstone still can't be used to make another recording.
Wind-Up 24 hours, DC 14, standby
AC 17; Fort +2, Ref +7, Will +4
HP 8; Immunities death effects, disease, doomed, drained, fatigued, healing, mental, necromancy, nonlethal attacks, paralyzed, poison, sickened, unconscious; Weaknesses electricity 2, orichalcum 2
Self-Destruct ReactionReaction A clockwork spy must use this reaction unless specifically programmed otherwise by its creator; Trigger The clockwork spy is reduced to 0 Hit Points; Effect The spy thrashes around and emits a tinny scream followed by a steady ticking sound. At the beginning of what would have been its next turn, the clockwork spy explodes, dealing 1d10 piercing damage in a 5-foot radius (DC 16 basic Reflex save). Its gemstone is destroyed, along with any information contained inside it.
An adjacent creature can cancel the self-destruct sequence by succeeding at a DC 16 Thievery check to Disable a Device.
Speed 25 feet, fly 25 feet
Melee Single ActionSingle Action spherical body +7 [+2/-3] (finesse), Damage 1d6–1 bludgeoning

All Monsters in "Clockworks"

Clockwork Amalgam20
Clockwork Assassin13
Clockwork Dragon16
Clockwork Mage9
Clockwork Soldier6
Clockwork Spy-1


Source Bestiary 3 pg. 48
Intricate, complex machines, clockworks are built with care by highly skilled engineers. Though their creation involves some amount of magic, they're primarily mechanical, packed with precision-tuned gears and springs working in concert.

The sturdy mainspring within a clockwork must be wound to provide the energy needed to power the device. Some larger clockworks contain a series of springs for different limbs that each need to be wound. A clockwork's crafter creates a unique metal key while building the clockwork; winding the clockwork usually involves inserting the key into the machine's back and turning clockwise. Larger clockworks require greater strength to turn the key, and typically have larger keys to allow for more torque—some even accommodating a team of winders rather than an individual. Programming a clockwork requires both the key and the knowledge to set the program correctly, information usually reserved for the clockwork's creator or owner.

Winding Clockworks

A clockwork must be wound to remain operational. Each clockwork has the wind-up ability, with the specifics listed in its stat block.

Wind-Up For a clockwork to act, it must be wound with a unique key by another creature. This takes 1 minute. Once wound, it remains operational for the listed amount of time, usually 24 hours, after which time it becomes unaware of its surroundings and can't act until it's wound again. Some clockworks' abilities require them to spend some of their remaining operational time. They can't spend more than they have and shut down immediately once they have 0 time remaining. If it's unclear when a clockwork was last wound, most clockwork keepers wind all their clockworks at a set time, typically 8 a.m.

A clockwork that lists standby in its wind-up entry can enter standby mode as a 3-action activity. Its operational time doesn't decrease in standby, but it can sense its surroundings (with a –2 penalty to Perception). It can't act, with one exception: when it perceives a creature, it can exit standby as a reaction (rolling initiative if appropriate).

A creature can attempt to Disable a Device to wind a clockwork down (with a DC listed in the wind-up entry). For each success, the clockwork loses 1 hour of operational time. This can be done even if the clockwork is in standby mode.

Sidebar - Locations Clockwork Research

Clockworks were invented in ancient times, culminating in the clockwork army of Xin, the first emperor of ancient Thassilon, but were lost for millennia. Disparate peoples later rediscovered the techniques and began to alter and improve them. Today, the Clockwork Cathedral in Absalom is a center of clockwork research, with many breakthroughs also coming from the kingdom of Nex and the mechanically savvy Grand Duchy of Alkenstar. The Qadiran professor Hadia Al-Dannah, formerly of the Clockwork Cathedral, wrote the best-regarded modern text on clockwork design—Glorious Rhythms in Life and Mechanica.

Sidebar - Advice and Rules Malfunction!

Clockworks can be prone to errors if not well maintained or properly programmed. You might want to introduce one of the malfunctions listed below in a clockwork that is in disrepair or gets damaged heavily in battle (such as with a critical hit).

Backfire: The clockwork rolls a DC 5 flat check at the start of each of its turns. On a failure, it backfires, dealing 2d6 fire damage in a 15-foot cone, including to itself (basic Reflex save at the standard DC for its level), and is slowed 1 this turn.

Damaged Propulsion: The clockwork loses 1d4 hours of operational time at the end of each of its turns.

Loose Screws: When damaged, the clockwork attempts a DC 5 flat check. On a failure, a plate of its armor falls loose. It takes a status penalty to AC equal to the number of lost plates (up to –4).

Sidebar - Additional Lore Winding Routines

Maintaining a group of clockworks that are meant to operate on a regular basis takes planning and attention. A cadre of clockwork soldiers set to patrol a location needs to be regularly wound. Typically, one or more servants are assigned to wind all the clockworks serving in one place at a standard time.