Clockwork Lock-Beast

by mshrm

When the empire of the dwarves was at its height, they created many technological wonders. One of these is the Clockwork Lock-Beast.

A lock-beast is a construct shaped like a chunky dragonfly, about four inches tall. They have six legs, using the front pair as arms, and a delicate set of wings. They are made of a network of metal and semi-precious stones. While each one is unique, they all have a keyhole in their thorax. They are found clinging to a door or chest, where one might expect to find a lock.

Each lock-beast has an ornate key, obviously designed and decorated to match, that fits its keyhole. If presented with that key, they release their grip and allow passage. They’re not very bright, and don’t have great senses, so they can even be fooled by a skilled picker of locks, with a Regular contest of DX-based Lockpicking versus the beast’s Professional Skill (Lock). If the beast wins such a contest, if the object it protects is attacked, or if it is simply pulled loose from its perch, the lock-beast goes on the offense.

When agitated, the lock-beast’s mandibles open wide, revealing a small but vicious buzzsaw. The saw’s edges are sharpened and reinforced to cut through armor. Even worse, the saw is envenomed, from a magically-refilling internal reservoir. Anyone cut by the saw must roll HT-3 or take an addition 2 points of toxic damage.

While a lock-beast attacks aggressively, its goal is primarily to preserve the object it has been set to defend. It will pursue fleeing would-be thieves for a few seconds, but will break off pursuit and return to its base as soon as possible.

Being Reprogrammable, a lock-beast could be made to perform tasks beyond acting as a lock and guardian, but there are a couple of reasons this rarely happens. First, they aren’t terribly bright, don’t much care for change, and only really understand the life of a lock. (If left idle, a lock-beast will often choose some nearby object and lock it to the surface it rests on.) Second, being a remnant of ancient dwarvish technology, they’re mostly found guarding the treasures of long-dead dwarves. Even if their masters were available to transfer ownership, the method by which this can be accomplished is long lost.*

* Quest!


ST 4 HP 11 Basic Speed 6.5
DX 13 Will 4 Basic Move 3
IQ 4 Per 9  
HT 13 FP n/a SM -7 (4” tall, 8” wingspan)
Dodge 9 Parry 9 DR: 3 (Semi-Ablative)
  • Buzzsaw (13) 1d(2) cut, Reach C.
  • Poison (follow-up) +2 tox, resisted by HT-3.
Traits Clinging; Damage Resistance 3 (Semi-ablative); Doesn’t Breathe; Doesn’t Eat or Drink; Doesn’t Sleep; Electrical; Extra Legs (4 Legs); Fanaticism (defended item or door); Flight (Small wings); Fragile (Unnatural); Hidebound; High Pain Threshold; Immunity to Metabolic Hazards; Incurious (6 or less); Indomitable; Injury Tolerance (No Blood, Unliving); Night Vision 3; No Sense of Smell/Taste; Numb; Reprogrammable; Slave Mentality; Social Stigma (Valuable Property); Unfazeable; Unhealing (Total); Wealth (Dead Broke).
Skills Professional Skill (Lock)–15.