Constructs at first seem like such simple creatures, mindless automatons brought to a semblance of life by the power of magic. Yet consider them again, in light of a horror-themed campaign. These are not creatures but things, soulless, pitiless, without fear, judgment, or mercy, brought to a horrifying mockery of life by forces beyond comprehension. Their animus bound unwilling by the eldritch experimentation of madmen, the accursed invocations of apostate heretics, or risen into being by the tormented hauntings of spirits unable to rest and unwilling to forget or forgive the miseries they suffered or perpetrated in life. And what of those constructs that are not mindless at all but possessed of a malign and calculating intellect that makes them all the more hateful of those that live. These are what constructs can be in a horror game, or when used to evoke the themes of horror in any campaign, and within the Construct Codex you will find 11 new constructs and variants along with optional rules for creating and using constructs as instruments of terror in your game.
Designed by Jason Nelson with the Legendary Games design team of Neil Spicer, Greg A. Vaughan, Clinton J. Boomer, and Clark Peterson, with amazing illustrations by Colby Stevenson and Jason Juta. Who better to provide you with creepy constructs and alternate rules for creating and using them in your Adventure Path campaign than the very writers of those adventures themselves? Answer: no one. Legendary Games' Adventure Path Plug-Ins supplement and enrich your campaign experience, offering adventures and supporting products that incorporate and expanding upon unique concepts, themes, and rules subsystems introduced in the Adventure Paths while filling in the background characters, items, and locations that make those adventures come alive in delightful (and often dangerous) detail. Legendary Games combines stellar writing talent with innovative layout and product design and top-notch artistic values that we think will bring you back again and again.
Inside this Codex you will find:
The crowflight carriage, drawn by spectral horses and suitable for carrying a vampire overlord and his unsuspecting guests (or anyone wishing to make a dramatic entrance) past quaking villagers in broad daylight or darkest night.
The living crematory, which disposes of the dead as it roams battlefields in the wake of massacres, cleansing the countryside yet not always careful to discriminate between the living and the, as both are but fuel for its eternal fires.
The morgech death machines, three different yet all deadly magitech abominations of fused flesh and mangled metal
The stained glass knight, animate artworks as beautiful as they are deadly to those venturing into the castles and cathedrals they guard
The gothic gargoyle, fell statuary lurking along haunted battlements, seeking only to add intruders to the grotesque sculptures adorning their domain castle grounds.
The dirge organ, a magnificent instrument prideful in its darkling majesty, filling desolate palaces with its mournful melodies, entrancing and destroying those who fail to honor its malevolent musical mastery.
and last, least, and yet lethal, the bloodthirsty manikin, an apparently harmless plaything cursed with murderous urges to shed blood with blade and booby trap, coming back from seeming destruction to kill again.
Download includes TWO files: a full color version AND a stripped black and white version for easy printing, both versions hyperlinked internally and to online Pathfinder resources for easy interactive reference.
Check out this 28-page gothic-themed monster accessory and Make Your Game Legendary!
Constructs have always been one of my favorite aspects of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, as well as its predecessors. The idea of taking inanimate objects and gifting unto them life has always fascinated me, partially due to the foreignness inherent in constructs. And does this product ever live up to my expectations. To start, the prose is phenomenal. The editing is top notch. The artwork is wonderfully evocative. Mechanically, I found very few, if any, issues with the product. There were a few times where I thought I found a mistake, only to figure out that there was no mistake at all. This is the kind of book that I gift to people to show them the wonderful possibilities that 3rd party products can represent, and to show them that Pathfinder 3rd party material has for the most part been absolved of the sins of its 3rd edition father.
Rather than give an overview of all the constructs, I’ll focus on just the constructs that gave the most visceral responses. The dirge organ is a CR 14 construct that, as improbable as it sounds, makes for a compelling encounter with an opponent that cannot move. The organ acts as a bard that can affect other constructs, and gets a number of abilities that perfectly capture the role of organs in gothic and horror works of art. Phantom ballets, the haunting sounds it produces that lead those that hear it throughout the winding passages of the castle, creating ghostly hallucinations in the form of at-will minor image...it’s all there. Perhaps most amazingly, due to only having a few offensive capabilities, it would be easy to insert this in even a low level adventure just by lowering the DCs and not using as many offensive abilities.
Endzeitgeist claimed that words failed to describe how much he loved the Living Crematory. I can only completely agree with this statement. This is one awesomely twisted creation. With its long reaching chains, it grapples hapless enemies and and brings them into its fiery heart where they take a lot of damage each round. I haven’t read such a horrifically jaw-dropping monster in a long time, and I doubt I’ll ever forget this one.
As a big fan of Numeria in the Golarion setting, I was quite intrigued by the description of the morgechs. Nothing quite says fantasy mad scientists like “sadistic beings wrought by the admixture of science and magic”. The executor is a creature adept at both melee and ranged combat, using the alchemists’ bombs for ranged weaponry and a flail that is wielded two-handedly even though it’s attached-literally-to only one hand. The griever is a nasty creation that relies on four keen rapiers to attack (or 4 hand crossbows with keen bolts), and sickening, staggering, and stunning critical to really bring the hurt. Oh, and he has critical mastery as well. And he counts as a level 20 two-weapon warrior fighter (another of Jasons’ creations). And dear god get him away from me. The creation process is suitably horrific, requiring a living being to be modified for the whole creation process. The final morgech is the relatively tame Ravager wolf who, when combined with another ravager, turns into a veritable meatgrinder of PCs thanks to their possession of the Outflank, Paired Opportunist, and Precise Strike teamwork feats. This creature contains the first mistake I’ve seen: it lists pack attack as a special attack, with no explanation for it. This isn’t a universal monster rule, but there is a teamwork feat of the same name, which isn’t mentioned in the Feats section. I assume it’s the teamwork feat, as it quite fits, but this is the small blemish on this otherwise great product.
I can’t recommend this enough, and if it weren’t for the grisly nature of it, it would definitely be the product I recommend to people interested in 3pp but not sure where to start. And I still might do that anyways.
A new standard for small bestiaries and a must-buy
This pdf is 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction/how-to-use, 1 page contributor bios, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with a total of 21 pages of content so let's check this out!
The Construct Codex finds me with a weeping eye, as it constitutes, at least for now, Legendary Games' last AP-plug-in for the gothic horror AP Carrion Crown, this time in the form of a mini-bestiary focused exclusively on constructs and thus it is only to be expected that the pdf kicks off with an introduction to the role of constructs in gothic horror settings and the carrion crown AP in particular. We also get two optional rules to better represent the creation of constructs, with the first requires research to create a particular construct, thus introducing the necessity for research in contrast to just taking a feat. Nice! The second optional rule introduced centers on uncreated constructs, i.e. constructs animated by the forces-that-be, the mists, malignant entities etc. and rules repercussions that may see them damaged by positive energy. To help the DM integrate the new beasties into the AP, suggestions for which locales would be appropriate for the constructs are also included before we delve into the creatures per se, with the first being:
The Bloodthirsty Manikin at CR 2 - which is frightsome indeed: Remember the carrionettes from Ravenloft? Well, these tiny dolls are their much more deadly brethren, coming with a death attack (!!!), a deceptive appearance and the option to reassemble themselves - awesome, albeit rather deadly! It should be noted that all constructs herein come with information on how to create them as well as full-color artworks, some even on their own pages, thus allowing you to print out the artworks and hand them out to your players as hand-outs - awesome!
The second creature herein also comes with 3 signature abilities: Crowflight Carriages (CR 9), ghost carriages driven by a spectral drover including doom-inflicting whiplashes, the option to transport people (or....things) and a team of spectral horses. If that doesn't strike you as iconic, I don't know what will. The CR 14 Dirge Organ is essentially an immobile organ that can project an incorporeal avatar as well as play two special bardic performances as well as the option to mislead those ensnared by the haunting tunes it plays. There also are two variants of gothic gargoyles (CR 3 and 5), variant gargoyles that gain the option to crush down on foes and gradually petrify them with their attacks. Honestly, these gothic gargoyles are the superior monsters when compared to the standard stony warden-creatures, but still are essentially a variant that is not as stellar as the other creatures herein.
What immediately sets the record straight again is the shambling, deadly CR 10 Living Crematory! Yes! A cinder-cloud spewing crematory that ropes you into its combustion chamber via chains! YES! Words fail to describe how much I love this creature! In another blast from the past, we get stained glass golems, something I haven't seen since the Ravenloft-days of AD&D, both as CR 3 and 7-versions and yeah, they come with trademark dazzling light, are almost 2d and can embed themselves in the window, while damaging foes that strike them via their shards. Smart, cool and full of iconic signature abilities - nothing to complain about...apart from the fact that I would have loved a high-level version with prismatic abilities, but maybe that's just the sadist in me that enjoys hunting low-to-mid-level PCs with creatures far beyond their capabilities to defeat with mundane means.
The final 3 creatures in this tome are morgechs, cruel cyborg-amalgams of biological and mechanical elements that get their own subtype-abilities, being slightly more vulnerable than regular constructs, but also faster and come with jagged spikes and blades that make melee against them a painful experience. Humanoid Morgech Executors (CR 9) can throw bombs and come with extensive embedded weaponry and massive notes on the gruesome process of creating these beings. There also are CR Ravagers, based on deadly wolves and the final being would then be the CR 17 Griever, a truly deadly engine of destruction - 4-armed, expert swordsmen with supernaturally sharpened blades as well as a vastly enhances deflective capabilities.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice a single glitch. Layout adheres to the landscape-format and a two-column standard, at least in my version of the pdf. There now is also a portrait-version, If you prefer that one. The pdf is extensively bookmarked and comes with a background-less version that is slightly more printer-friendly. As with all offerings by Legendary Games, this pdf's layout is in full-color and stunning, gorgeous, drop-dead beautiful to behold. And the artworks. Oh boy, the artworks. Colby Stevenson and Jason Juta have created pieces herein that are gorgeous, could feature in an official Paizo-product and in fact may even surpass several artworks from APs. The artworks are all so iconic, cool and evocative that they make you immediately want to use these things.
Better yet, the crunch of all the creatures herein is up to the very highest demands - each creature herein comes with multiple, deadly, evocative, cool abilities and honestly, it is very rare I can voice no gripes. None. I have nothing to complain. Not even about the Gargoyle-variants. This pdf sets the bar higher for the whole class of monster-pdfs. Presentation, fluff, crunch - everything herein is TripleA+ in execution, presentation and quality. This is the best 3pp-monster-pdf in the small files-category released for PFRPG so far and redefines what one can expect from the whole genre of monster-books by 3pps. I am not only bereft of any points of criticism, even arbitrarily nitpicking at the page-count or something like that is simply not an option here. I can't for the love of my life find anything about this book that would deserve anything but glowing praise. This is one of the rare pdfs that I'd rate 6 stars, if I could. I can't, though and thus my final verdict will be 5 stars + endzeitgeist seal of approval: Even if you don't run Carrion Crown - get this. It's so rare I get blown away by any release anymore and this pdf really did it - so: Buy it and let's hope for a sequel.