Steel grates on steel as a steady hissing steam clouds your vision. Through the haze you see a gigantic mechanical beast surge forward.
The reapervast is the ultimate invention of Beret Tinglefoot, but alas, the gnome’s ambition outstripped his skill. While Tinglefoot learned to graft souls into clockwork machinery, the inventor did not realize the intelligence inherent in the spark of life. When dealing with lesser machines and singular souls, this was hardly a problem. The life force acted as he had planned, purely a motive force for his constructions. But this motive force slowly gained awareness.
It started simply enough. One gear alone is nothing; however, when combined with belts, other gears and firing pistons, it fulfills its purpose and acts. Tinglefoot’s sentient harvest engines had little trouble joining their similar gears and materials into something greater. They simply rearranged those parts in the most efficient manner between two engines. Then three. Then four.
If the machines had merged only mechanical pieces, Tinglefoot might have diffused the situation. But his metal machines operated on necromantic principles and consumed the fuel of human souls. Each merging joined not only more mass, but also more lives, more magic, and an increasing sentience.
Tinglefoot was lucky to escape with his life. His workshop is no longer his; instead the reapervast — as the sentient machine prefers to be called — treats the tinker’s home as an extension of its body. Here it sits, cold and efficient, sending out its engines to collect more and more souls, so that it may continue to do what it knows best — build.
Reapervast Level 16 Solo Controller
Huge Natural Animate (construct) XP 7,000
Initiative +11 Senses Perception +16; darkvision
Steam Blast aura 2; blinding blasts of steam constantly hiss; all creatures within the aura suffer a -2 penalty to attacks.
HP 632; Bloodied 316
AC 34; Fortitude 34, Reflex 29, Will 31
Immune disease, poison
Saving Throws +5
Action Points 2
M Grasp (standard; at-will)
Reach 3; +21 vs AC; 2d8+7 damage and the target is grabbed.
m Clockwork Assimilation (minor; at-will) ♦ Necrotic
The reapervast harvests a soul to produce more clockwork minions; target must be grabbed; +20 vs Will; 1d10+7 necrotic damage and the target is dazed (save ends). First Failed Save: The target is dominated (save ends) and infected with Clockwork Creep.
c Violent Machinery (standard; recharge 456)
The whirring gears of the machine lunge outward. Close burst 2; +20 vs Reflex; 3d10+7 damage and the target is pushed 2.
c Children’s Plight (immediate reaction; when first bloodied; encounter) ♦ Psychic
The souls of the captured children weep in agony. Close burst 5; +20 vs Will; the target is stunned (save ends). Aftereffect: The target is weakened.
a Gear-driven Smash (standard; recharge after a successful clockwork assimilation attack)
The reapervast slams downs a fist, sending gears scattering. Area burst 1 within 3; +20 vs Reflex; 4d10+7 damage and the target is pushed 1. Effect: The reapervast loses 10 hp and at the start of its next turn 4 gearlings occupy squares within the area. They act on the reapervast’s initiative.
Grasping Gears (immediate interrupt; when hit by a melee attack, recharge 6)
+20 vs Fortitude; the target’s weapon becomes lodged in the reapervast’s gears. A successful Str vs Fortitude attack frees the weapon.
Alignment Unaligned Languages Common
Skills Endurance +18
Str 23 (+14) Dex 15 (+10) Wis 16 (+11)
Con 22 (+14) Int 9 (+7) Cha 11 (+8)
The reapervast seeks to build more clockwork minions, using Clockwork Assimilate as often as possible. In an ideal situation it would keep the energies it draws to put into creating more harvester engines, but in battle it turns that stored life force into Gear-driven Smash.
Its remaining combat options keep foes at bay: it employs Grasping Gears whenever it is recharged, and Violent Machinery to remove foes circling the reapervast.
Machinery tumbles off the reapervast with every blow it suffers. These gears, springs, and sprockets attach to whatever is at hand — even each other — and lurch to life.
Reaper’s Gearling Level 16 Soldier Minion
Medium Natural Animate (construct) XP 350
Initiative +9 Senses Perception +9
HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion.
AC 32; Fortitude 28, Reflex 25, Will 24
Immune disease, illusion, poison
M Slam (standard; at-will)
+21 vs AC; 8 damage and the target is pushed 1.
When a reaper’s gearling makes a successful charge attack the target is pushed an additional 1 square and knocked prone.
Alignment Unaligned Languages — (understand Common)
Str 15 (+10) Dex 12 (+9) Wis 13 (+9)
Con 13 (+9) Int 2 (+4) Cha 10 (+8)
Reaper’s Gearling Tactics
A reaper gearling an extension of the reapervast. It constantly charges the battlefield using Motive Force to propel enemies away from its creator.
Battle Against the Reapervast
Fighting an epic beast like the reapervast is likely the culmination of a fair-sized story arc. The battle should be exciting, terse, and, more than anything else, unusual.
The reapervast is not your standard monster. It’s an agglomeration of gears, metal, and the souls of children. The former two qualities grant it a strength and presence in battle that befits its powers; the latter is best played up as a role-playing hook. Throughout the battle children’s faces may press outward from the monster’s metal and clockwork exterior. The hiss and grind of its steam-driven motion may at times sound like the laughter, crying, or screams of children.
Clockwork Creep Level 15 Disease
Clockwork creep is more an assimilation than a disease; unfortunate victims of this malady find their flesh and muscle being replaced by clockwork automations and their will being supplanted by a feverish loyalty to the reapervast.
Attack: +18 vs Fortitude
Endurance: improve DC 24, maintain DC 19, worsen DC 18 or lower.
The target is cured ← →Initial Effect: The target gains only half hit points from healing effects. However, it does gain a +1 bonus to AC ← →The target gains only ¼ hit points from healing effects; also, when in the presence of the reapervast, the target is dominated (save ends) ← → The target dies. It rises again as a harvester engine or similar construct.
Check back tomorrow for expanded adventure options with the Reapervast! This the second installment of a series of articles by Nevermet Press. Give it a thumbs up or down in comments.
Art by Rob Torno