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Types | Subtypes | Universal Monster Rules


Source Bestiary 3 pg. 53

Clockwork constructs are the technological cousins of golems, constructed with a combination of magic and precise technologies dependant upon the internal churning and turning of thousands of intricate springs, screws, and gears.

There are those who would scoff at the work of clockwork engineers, whose constructs seem at best merely imitations of the creations brought to life by practitioners of the purely arcane arts. However, those canny enough to realize the potential of clockwork engines know their true power to be both exotic and potent. In worlds where clockworks are common, these creatures can rival even the most powerful of golems for raw power. Massive giants comprising countless nuts and bolts have torn entire empires asunder. Time and time again, clockwork creatures have proven themselves a formidable presence in the face of more traditional rivals, and those who have borne witness to the feats of these creatures know to hold their tongues before questioning the constructs' power.

Clockwork creatures function by combining magical energies and clockwork mechanisms. The myriad metal parts that go into the construction of a clockwork creation require absolute precision in order to function properly, so they must be built by only the steadiest of hands. Amateurish attempts at clockwork construction typically result in nonfunctional units or misfires, and many an engineering lab has been burned to the ground by novices seeking to learn the basics of clockworks and the elements that power them.

Particularly guileful crafters may construct miniature clockwork spies that can record sound, and rumors tell of even more advanced technologies that allow visual recording. While magical wonders such as spells can allow the user to scry information or to see where one isn't normally physically able to, clockwork spies provide an edge in that their memories are concrete and incorruptible, enabling them to make flawless recordings of events not subject to the regular perversions of human memories.

Clockwork creations, as their names suggests, must be wound up before they animate. The creator of a clockwork crafts a unique key for each creation. This key is typically inserted into the clockwork's back and turned clockwise to wind it. Turning the key counterclockwise has the effect of winding the machine down, though only a willing (or completely helpless) machine will allow itself to be unwound in this way, meaning either its creator or someone its creator has specifically designated can normally do so. Since each key is totally unique, construction of a new key (or bypassing a key entirely) requires a successful Disable Device check (DC = 20 + the clockwork's CR). Larger clockworks tend to have larger keys, and particularly huge keys require more than one set of hands to turn. Rather than seek assistance from other engineers, eccentric or hermetic inventors often rely upon other clockwork creations to help them turn keys or aid in the creation of more monumental constructs. Other times, engineers give copies of keys to their most trusted clockworks, which can be programmed to wind allies and even themselves as the situation requires.

Much like golems and animated objects, clockwork creatures can be given any number of commands; a perpetually turning script in their core records those orders and programs the rest of the machine. Only one who possesses a key to the clockwork can program it, but any commands given to the construct last until the clockwork is reprogrammed or destroyed. An individual clockwork's potential is only limited by its creator's innovation and aptitude. Unlike many golems, which are trapped in bodies resembling lumbering and fallible cages, clockwork constructs can be repeatedly reworked and reengineered—gears can be oiled, springs can be replaced, and pistons can be fine-tuned. The ever-adjustable framework of these mechanical beasts allows for extreme variation from creation to creation.

Since clockwork creations are mostly mechanical and are at the mercy of their creator's adeptness with the technology, they are prone to the follies of human error. Loose bolts, improper programming, or lack of maintenance are all cause for malfunctions, errors that can range from minute energy leaks to deadly explosions. The most common cause of malfunction, however, is not imparted by the creator, but by the clockwork's destroyer. Creatures attacking the machine gradually unhinge screws and twist cogs with each landed blow, giving the clockwork a greater chance of backfire. Many combat clockworks are thus accompanied by clockwork servants—servitor clockworks that quickly and readily fix their mechanical allies in the heat of battle.

In the earlier days of clockwork technology, many practical hindrances prevented rapid maturation of the devices. Clockwork machines were powered by inefficient, costly resources; however, the advent of arcane enchantment not only has allowed for greater precision in the crafting of gears and other key components, but has also opened up a wide new range of possibilities for defensive systems and offensive weaponry. Early attempts to combine clockwork with steam power or other nonmagical forms of energy tended to overcomplicate the already delicate machinery, and have long since been abandoned as a result. Whispers abound of an even more unusual category of clockwork that has solved this problem and has merged the complexities of steam power with the adaptability of magical energies, yet such exotic and unusual clockworks remain nothing more than rumors in most worlds at this time.

Clockwork Augmentations

Source Pathfinder #123: The Flooded Cathedral pg. 81
In addition to the standard special abilities and qualities granted by the clockwork subtype, many clockwork designs incorporate more abilities designed by their engineers. The following examples are intended to help GMs build new clockworks or modify existing ones. Some of the most common clockwork special abilities have been gathered in this section along with a number of new ones.

Charged (Ex): Equipped with a static generator, a clockwork with this special ability deals an additional 1d6 points of electricity damage with all natural attacks and melee weapons it has.

Efficient Winding (Ex): Built for long missions, a clockwork with this special ability can function for 2 days per Hit Die each time it’s wound. If the creature’s CR is 11 or higher, it can function for 3 days per Hit Die each time it is wound.

Embedded Ioun Stone (Ex): As a full-round action, an ioun stone can be embedded in (or removed from) a slot in the clockwork creature (usually on its forehead). It is possible to embed or remove an ioun stone only if the clockwork is helpless, pinned, or willing. The clockwork gains the benefit of the ioun stone, including its resonant power.

Grind (Ex): A clockwork with this special attack deals additional slashing damage when it makes a successful grapple combat maneuver check because of many twisting gears and churning pistons in its body. This additional damage is equal to 1d4 points (1d6 if Large, 1d8 if Huge, 2d6 if Gargantuan, or 3d6 if Colossal) plus 1-1/2 the creature’s Strength bonus.

Integrated Firearm (Ex): One of the clockwork’s arms ends in a firearm. The firearm generally functions as a pistol or musket intended for a creature of the clockwork’s size, but nearly any firearm of suitable size is possible. The clockwork is considered proficient with the weapon. The clockwork can reload an integrated one-handed firearm as a swift action and an integrated two-handed firearm as a move action. As a standard action, the clockwork can remove the broken condition from an integrated firearm, provided that the condition resulted from a misfire. A clockwork usually has 10 rounds of ammunition and gunpowder stored within a reloading mechanism.

Proficient (Ex): A clockwork with this special ability is proficient with all simple and martial weapons. The clockwork must have humanlike hands in order to gain this ability.

Repair Clockwork (Ex): Clockworks with this special ability are adept at repairing other clockwork constructs. As a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity, the clockwork can repair damage done to either itself or an adjacent clockwork creature, restoring 1d10 hit points to the target. If the repairing creature’s CR is 11 or higher, the amount of hit points restored increases to 2d10.

Self-Destruction (Ex): When the hit points of a creature with this special ability are reduced to 10% of its total or less but are still above 0, the creature self-destructs on its next turn, bursting in an explosion of metal scraps and steam in a 20-foot-radius burst. The damage dealt is equal to 1d6 points for each Hit Die above 5 the construct has (clockworks with 5 or fewer Hit Dice cannot gain this ability). Half of this damage is fire damage and half is slashing damage. A target that succeeds at a Reflex save (DC = 10 + half the clockwork’s Hit Dice + the creature’s Constitution modifier [usually 0]) takes half damage.

Standby (Ex): A clockwork creature with this special ability can place itself on standby as a standard action. While on standby, the clockwork creature cannot move or take any actions. It remains aware of its surroundings but takes a –4 penalty on Perception checks. Time spent on standby does not count against the clockwork’s wind-down duration. The clockwork can exit standby as a swift action. If it does so to initiate combat, it gains a +4 racial bonus on its Initiative check.

Tough Alloys (Ex): The clockwork gains Toughness as a bonus feat.

Creatures in "Clockwork" Category

Clockwork Dragon16
Clockwork Excavator10
Clockwork Familiar2
Clockwork Goblin3
Clockwork Goliath19
Clockwork Gunslinger7
Clockwork Leviathan12
Clockwork Mage9
Clockwork Nautiloid14
Clockwork Overseer7
Clockwork Priest11
Clockwork Servant2
Clockwork Snail10
Clockwork Soldier6
Clockwork Songbird0.5
Clockwork Spy1/2
Clockwork Steed6
Clockwork Vivisectionist10
Mechanical Efreeti1
Toy Golem5

Clockwork, Clockwork Overseer

One arm of this six-limbed clockwork construct ends in a broad fist, and the other extends into an articulated metal lash.

Clockwork Overseer CR 7

Source Pathfinder #123: The Flooded Cathedral pg. 86
XP 3,200
N Medium construct (clockwork)
Init +6; Senses all-around vision, darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +1
Aura aura of command (30 ft.)


AC 21, touch 14, flat-footed 17 (+2 Dex, +2 dodge, +7 natural)
hp 75 (10d10+20)
Fort +4, Ref +8, Will +5
DR 5/adamantine; Immune construct traits
Weaknesses vulnerable to electricity


Speed 30 ft., climb 30 ft.
Melee lash +15 (1d4+5 plus trip), slam +15 (1d6+5 plus push)
Space 5 ft., Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with lash)
Special Attacks overclock, push (slam, 10 ft.)


Str 19, Dex 14, Con —, Int —, Wis 13, Cha 1
Base Atk +10; CMB +15; CMD 29
Feats Improved InitiativeB, Lightning ReflexesB
Skills Climb +12
SQ swift reactions, tactical calculus, winding


Environment any land
Organization solitary, crew (1 plus 2–5 clockwork servants), or deployment (1–2 plus 2–5 clockwork soldiers)
Treasure none

Special Abilities

Aura of Command (Ex) A clockwork overseer broadcasts subtle commands in a 30-foot radius, granting heightened combat abilities to all clockwork creatures in the area. Affected clockwork creatures, including the clockwork overseer, gain a +1 competence bonus on saving throws, attack rolls, and weapon damage rolls; these bonuses are already calculated into the clockwork overseer’s statistics. As a standard action, a clockwork overseer can intensify the aura until the beginning of its next turn, increasing the competence bonus to +2.

Lash (Ex) A clockwork overseer’s lash is a primary natural attack that deals bludgeoning damage.

Overclock (Ex) In place of making a lash attack on its turn, a clockwork overseer can overclock another clockwork creature within its reach, impelling it to exceed its performance limitations. At the beginning of its turn, an overclocked creature takes an amount of damage equal to half its Hit Dice (minimum 1), expends 1 full day of activity stored by its winding ability, and gains one of the following benefits, selected by the clockwork overseer.
  • The overclocked creature gains the benefits of haste.
  • The overclocked creature’s natural attacks and attacks with metal melee weapons deal an additional 1d6 points of fire damage. If the creature already deals fire damage, including with a breath weapon or the swallow whole ability, that special attack’s fire damage increases by 2d6.
  • The overclocked creature gains Combat Reflexes as a bonus feat and gains a +2 bonus on attack rolls when making attacks of opportunity.
A clockwork overseer can end this effect on a clockwork creature affected by its aura of command as a free action. The overclocked condition otherwise continues until the clockwork creature expends its stored days of activity or is destroyed.

Tactical Calculus (Ex) A clockwork overseer can store hundreds of commands and scripts, allowing it to perform modest feats of problem-solving and strategic command as though it had an Intelligence score of 10. In practice, this enables a clockwork overseer to make tactical decisions, such as exploiting terrain or flanking targets, as well as convey simple tactical commands to other clockwork creatures in its aura of command. If the clockwork overseer takes electricity damage, it must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC = the electricity damage dealt) or lose both its aura of command and tactical calculus abilities for 1d4 rounds.


What clockwork creatures boast in both strength and resilience, they often lack in nuance and strategy. Most machinists are content to command their constructs directly when seeking tactical precision, but only a few artificers have the technical expertise needed to create a mechanical lieutenant capable of reasoning and adapting in its master’s absence. Known as clockwork overseers, these constructs boast extraordinarily complex programming that far exceeds the basic command vocabulary of other clockwork creatures. This allows clockwork overseers to store hundreds or even thousands of commands, which they can parse and sort quickly enough to simulate an intelligent creature’s adaptive thinking—at least regarding combat strategy and moderately complex tasks of coordinating construct laborers. These functions fall short of true thought, and clockwork overseers are incapable of language, emotion, higher thinking, or symbolic reasoning beyond specific sounds and statements they might parrot on command.


Like most clockwork creatures, clockwork overseers are finely tuned creations of metal, gears, and magic, but they differ in two major regards: their mechanical “brains” and their kinetic generators. The complex inner workings of a clockwork overseer’s programming core are an order of magnitude more complicated that those of its counterparts, composed of delicate arrays of counters, springs, toggles, and other perfectly fitted components that collectively store and compute data.

Clockwork overseers can compel even greater feats from their subordinates, though doing so requires direct contact between the constructs via the overseer’s lash to convey an electrical charge. This electricity builds over time, accumulated by static energy discharges created by the movement of limbs and gears. Most clockwork creatures respond readily to this electrical goading, overriding their standard operating specifications based on the exact combination of current and voltage the overseer conveys. Clockwork overseers harness and exploit electricity in small amounts, but they’re as vulnerable as other clockwork creatures to massive discharges—arguably more so, since such attacks can scramble an overseer’s decision-making hardware and temporarily reduce it to a truly mindless state.

Numerous cultures and machine schools have built clockwork overseers over the ages, emphasizing different martial techniques in the process. These variant clockwork overseers can grant a different combat feat—typically one for which they qualify—to their minions. What’s more, these overseers sometimes represent the last record of otherwise extinct fighting styles; a creature with the Craft Construct feat or that succeeds at a DC 21 Craft (clockwork) or Knowledge (engineering) check can spend 8 hours deciphering an overseer’s mechanical “brain” in order to decode the stored combat feat, using this new knowledge as the basis to learn the feat or teach it to others.

Habitat and Society

Since they are artificial constructs, clockwork overseers almost always exist because either a skilled artificer or a machinist created them. The creator typically already owns several other clockwork creatures and needs a capable, tireless entity to direct them. As a result, a clockwork overseer is only rarely encountered alone, unless attrition, misfortune, or time have destroyed its entourage.

Under rare circumstances—especially involving areas of sustained magical energy—an overseer can independently learn new tricks or even develop self-awareness. These creatures often commandeer other clockwork creatures, creating tiny fiefdoms dedicated to building new wonders or helping the overseer attain true sentience. The faithful of Brigh seek out such awakened constructs, considering it their duty to protect and guide these mechanical “children.”


The creator of a clockwork overseer must start with crafted clockwork pieces worth 2,000 gp.

Clockwork Overseer

CL 12th; Price 42,000 gp


Requirements Craft Construct, geas/quest and haste, creator must be at least caster level 12th; Skill Craft (clockwork) DC 20; Cost 22,000 gp