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Warlock’s Apprentice: Cogs and Gears

Warlock’s Apprentice: Cogs and Gears

Patients with the strange metal-transforming disease I have spoken of in the past have been appearing at the hospital in greater frequency. I have been able to confirm that the strange rust covering the gearforged patient I went to see is indeed the same disease that infected my previous flesh and blood patients. How a mechanical body could so be infected by disease is still beyond me, but that is not the most troubling news.

The disease rust (see clockwork magic from Deep Magic) appeared years ago, covering gearforged with infectious rusty lesions that spread across their bodies. The infection has since leapt to flesh-and-blood patients, converting their limbs into rusty metal. Rumors abound as to the source of the disease: punishment from the Gear Goddess Rava, a diabolic bargain gone wrong, or even some form of possession. Whatever the truth of its origin, one thing is true—it has gotten worse.

The Automata Epidemic

Seven months ago saw a new version of the disease. Rust patients in Longezza and Zobeck have been reported with clockwork mutations. Not only has rusty metal formed beneath their skin, but entire limbs have transformed to functional clockwork, if painfully so.

One of the leading researchers into rust is Dr. Brimley Angur of the Longezza Hospital. Dr. Angur has been traveling far and wide, documenting the disease, and in several cases has hired adventurers and other mercenaries to aid him on his travels. In his case notes and correspondence, the doctor refers to the warped form of the disease as calcesplasia, and that moniker has stuck.

Much of what we know about this new disease comes from Dr. Angur’s notes. While mutations from calcesplasia are mostly found around the site of the initial infection, the disease seems to be carried by the blood, so it is not uncommon to see patients with several limbs affected. So far, new symptoms have luckily only been found in flesh-and-blood patients. While gearforged and other constructs can be carriers of calcesplasia, there does not seem to be any harmful effects beyond rusty lesions.

Infection and Cure

Calcesplasia infection is similar to normal rust. Any creature injured by an infected construct must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or contract calcesplasia. Symptoms present 1d4 days later, beginning with an itchy rash around the site of the injury that rapidly progresses to skin and muscle necrosis and finally sloughing off to reveal the clockwork beneath within one day. Once infected, the victim only recovers half hit points from all natural and magical effects. The process of mutation is extremely painful and not all survive.

Every 24 hours after symptoms manifest, the victim may attempt a DC 15 Constitution saving throw to halt the progress of the disease. If the saving throw succeeds, the disease stops progressing, but all penalties and acquired mutations are permeant without magical intervention. If the saving throw fails, the infected creature loses 1 point of Dexterity, and they must repeat the saving throw after another 24 hours. If the saving throw fails by 5 or more, the infected acquires a calcesplasia mutation (see below). Whenever acquiring such a mutation, the victim must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or lose 1 point of Constitution.

Calcesplasia can be completely cured by lesser restoration or comparable magic if applied before any mutations are acquired. Lost Dexterity or Constitution can be restored by greater restoration, or once the disease is cured, it returns naturally at the rate of 1 point after each long rest. However, if mutations have occurred, the infected tissue must be removed before the disease can be cured. Calcesplasia-mutated limbs can be cleanly amputated with a successful DC 15 Wisdom (Medicine) check, removing the affected limb and all of the infected tissue without killing the patient. A regenerate spell or more powerful magic is needed to regain use of the limb after amputation. At this time, no method short of wish has been found to return natural function of torso or head mutations, though the search for such a cure is rumored to be found somewhere on Ravatet, the Plane of Rusty Gears.

Calcesplasia Mutations

Once a patient contracts the mutated form of the disease, it does not take long before clockwork mechanisms begin sprouting from their flesh. This process is brutally painful, and the final conversion looks wholly unnatural.

To determine the location of an infection and mutations suffered, use the tables below. When rolling for location, if the result is an arm or leg, consider odd numbers to be the left side and even numbers to be on the right side…

Table A: Infection Location

d6 Location
1–2 Leg
3–4 Arm
5 Torso
6 Head


Table B: Leg Mutations

d6 Mutation Effect
1 Clockwork Knee The joint of your knee has been replaced by a massive spring and clockwork gear. You may make long jumps up to 20 feet and high jumps up to 15 feet, with or without a running start. However, the gear is noisy and stutters regularly. You have disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks, and your walking speed is decreased by 5 feet.
2 Gripping Cog Several sharp-toothed cogs have grown out of your foot, helping you get traction. You gain advantage on Strength (Athletics) checks made to climb and Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks made to keep your footing or keep from falling prone. Unfortunately, you cannot wear boots or other footwear. You have disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws to avoid caltrops or similar dangers.
3 Oil Drip Small pores form in the metal of your clockwork leg that constantly drip oil. As a bonus action, you may smear the oil over yourself to get advantage on Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks made to escape being grappled or restrained. Unfortunately, the oil is very flammable, and if you ever fail a saving throw versus an effect that does fire damage, you catch fire. You take 1d4 fire damage at the start of each of your turns until you extinguish the flames by using an action to make a successful DC 10 Dexterity check.
4 Paddle Foot Your foot has been replaced by a metal flipper. You gain advantage on Strength (Athletic) checks made to swim but suffer disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks and Strength (Athletic) checks made to climb or jump.
5 Piston Leg Both of your legs fuse together and are replaced with a spring-loaded piston. You gain advantage on Strength (Athletic) checks made to jump but suffer disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks and Strength (Athletic) checks made climb.
6 Reinforced Leg Your leg has been replaced with hydraulics and tightly wound springs that stretch along your back. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift. However, your leg is very heavy, and you decrease your movement speed by 10 feet.


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