Since playing the Iron Gods Adventure Path I have made sure to include some kind of technological treasure or encounter in my game. For example, I am currently running Tomb of Anhiliation and have converted the atropal into a demon-robot-Orcus and the Soulmonger is as much a technological device as magical (no real difference to the natives of The World).
This has slowly moved my campaign to have a more future-past feel than a truly traditional D&D fantasy setting. Or even just a S3 “crashed spaceship” approach of mixing tech and magic but making it clear they are seperate and independent. Picking ideas from various settings it has moved from a pre-civilisational sword-and-sorcery type setting in the feel of Hyboria to a more Dying Earth, Numenera or (a serious) Gamma World post-apocalyptic/far future earth. Though the strong sense of “if it’s no human stick a sword in it” still remains. For example, magic in my world is basically just maths ala the Dying Earth. All magic items are really far future technologies and so on.
Horizon Zero Dawn has given another option – biomechanical wildlife. Combine this with the cypher loot system and you have the same mechanic as the video game with robots providing valuable technological loot. Here is a system and example for converting beasts into biomechanical wildlife to populate your “Great Mistake” setting.
TEMPLATE – BIOMECHANICAL WILDLIFE
A beast or monstrosity with an Intelligence of 3 or less can become biomechanical wildlife or “Machines”. When a creature becomes a robot, it retains all its statistics except as noted below.
- Type Change to construct (robot)
- Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks that aren’t adamantine.
- DamageImmunities necrotic, poison
- Damage Vulnerabilities lightning
- Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, and poisoned
- Gift of the Machine God. As a creature of technology, biomechanical wildlife gains many damage and condition resistances and immunities, but it is also susceptible to lightning attacks.
Optionally it gains one or more of the following traits which each increase the creatures original CR by 1. This increase is accumulative:
- ForceField. Biomechanical wildlife is sheathed in a thin layer of shimmering energy that grants it (CR x2) temporary hit points. If the force field is active, the robot is immune to critical hits (which become normal hits); force attacks and loses its vulnerability to lightning damage. The force field regains (CR x2) hit points at the start of the robot’s turn. Once reduced to 0; the force field shuts down and does not reactivate until a long rest is completed.
- Combat Hardened. The robot is built for battle or extreme environments and its armor is formidable. The robot has a damage threshold of (1/2 CR). It reduces all damage by (1/2 CR) per attack. Each time the robot suffers a critical hit this number is reduced by 1. Once reduced to 0 it losses this trait until its next long rest.
- Eyes of the Iron Devil. The robot gains an additional attack option:
- Integrated Pulse Gun. Range Weapon Attack: +[Proficency + DEX) to hit, range 120 ft.; one target. Hit: 3d8 + DEX radiant damage.
You can easily add even more options to this optional list. For example, grabbing one of the many actions or traits from this list or anything on my blog. Here is an example using the template. The base creature is a sabre-tooth tiger:
Large robot (construct), unaligned
Armor Class 12
Hit Points 52 (7d10 + 14)
Speed 40 ft.
|18 (+4)||14 (+2)||15 (+2)||3 (-4)||12 (+1)||8 (-1)|
Skills Perception +3, Stealth +6
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks that aren’t adamantine.
Damage Immunities necrotic, poison
Damage Vulnerabilities lightning
Senses: passive Perception 13
Challenge 3 (700 XP)
Gift of the Machine God. As a creature of technology, the sawtooth gains many damage and condition resistances and immunities, but it is also susceptible to lightning attacks.
Keen Smell. The sawtooth has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.
Pounce. If the sawtooth moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hits it with a claw attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, the sawtooth can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.
The Sawtooth is built for speed, agility, and aggression. Like the saber-toothed cat, it is heavyset at the front, with a large, broad chest, neck, and shoulders, powerful legs, and no tail. Its mouth is equipped with a pair of curved, scimitar-like serrated spikes, like a saber-toothed cat’s fangs, giving the machine its name. There are four visual sensors on its face, two on each side, in dual vertical configuration
A long metal crest-like structure runs along the forward area of its back, and an array of three long antenna-like structures protrude from its back in a fan-like pattern, just behind the shoulders. Its paws are equipped with non-retractable claws. The shoulders, head, and neck are heavily armored. A power cell sits atop its hindquarters, and a canister of Blaze is ensconced in its chest.
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