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Clockwork Puppeteer

Clockwork puppeteers are grim constructs capable of controlling corpses like puppets. They typically stand 12 feet tall and have spindly legs and long arms ending with scalpel-like claws. Dozens of metallic strings, composed of interlocking clockwork links, hang from their wrists.

Recall Knowledge - Construct (Arcana, Crafting): DC 32
Unspecific Lore: DC 30
Specific Lore: DC 27

Elite | Normal | Weak
Proficiency without Level

Clockwork PuppeteerCreature 12

Uncommon N Large Clockwork Construct Mindless 
Source Pathfinder #180: The Smoking Gun pg. 81
Perception +20; darkvision
Skills Stealth +25
Str +6, Dex +6, Con +2, Int -5, Wis +2, Cha -5
Wind Up 24 hours, DC 22, standby
AC 33; Fort +22, Ref +25, Will +19
HP 205; Immunities death effects, disease, doomed, drained, fatigued, healing, mental, necromancy, nonlethal attacks, paralyzed, poisoned, sickened, unconscious; Resistances physical 10 (except adamantine or orichalcum); Weaknesses electricity 10, orichalcum 10
Clockwork Swarm (aura) 30 feet. A cloud of flying, spiderlike clockworks surrounds the clockwork puppeteer. A creature that ends its turn in the cloud takes 4d8 piercing damage (DC 29 basic Reflex save).
Speed 25 feet, climb 25 feet
Melee [one-action] claw +24 [+19/+14], Damage 3d10+9 slashingRanged [one-action] string +24 [+19/+14] (range 60 feet), Damage 3d8+9 slashing plus clockwork stringClockwork String Any creature hit by the puppeteer's string is grabbed. The puppeteer can move while it has a creature grabbed with its string, but it automatically releases the creature if the puppeteer moves beyond the string's 60-foot length. The puppeteer can use up to six strings at a time. It can release any creature grabbed by a string as a free action. Each string has AC 30, and its Escape DC is 32. A string can be severed by a Strike that deals at least 20 slashing damage to it. This doesn't deal any damage to the clockwork puppeteer.Create Puppet [reaction] (arcane) Trigger A creature grabbed by the puppeteer's clockwork string dies; Effect The triggering creature's body becomes infested with tiny clockworks. This puppet is fully under the clockwork puppeteer's control and has statistics identical to a zombie of its size with the following exceptions: It loses the undead trait, loses negative healing, loses its weakness to positive damage, and gains the construct trait.Pull String [one-action] The puppeteer reins in a creature grabbed by its string. The puppeteer attempts an Athletics check against the creature's Fortitude DC. On a success, the puppeteer pulls the creature 15 feet closer to it (30 feet closer on a critical success).

Sidebar - Additional Lore Clockwork Free Will

Although mindless, clockwork puppeteers display an unusual ability to reason and make choices independently. This appearance of free will is, however, merely an illusion. In truth, a puppeteer's clockwork “brain” is so complex it bears a powerful semblance of agency. Creating these brains is a taxing and expensive endeavor, which is why clockwork puppeteers are among the rarest kinds of clockwork.

All Monsters in "Clockworks"

Clockwork Amalgam20
Clockwork Assassin13
Clockwork Brewer3
Clockwork Buccaneer9
Clockwork Cannoneer15
Clockwork Clock Tower20
Clockwork Disposer5
Clockwork Door Warden4
Clockwork Dragon16
Clockwork Fabricator4
Clockwork Handler1
Clockwork Hunter0
Clockwork Mage9
Clockwork Puppeteer12
Clockwork Soldier6
Clockwork Sphinx8
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 - Advice and Rules Versatile Designs

Most clockwork builders design their mechanical minions to perform a single specific task, as in the case of the clockwork door warden or clockwork disposer. Though these constructs' intended functions are typically limited, creative owners can find workarounds or loopholes to exploit, effectively turning their single-purpose clockwork into a versatile guardian or servant. Of course, nearly every clockwork is pre-programmed to defend itself against foes, a function which typically requires no special action on the clockwork's part.

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.