Construct (Dungeons & Dragons)
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Within the world of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, construct is a type of creature, or "creature type". Constructs are either animated objects, or any artificially constructed creature.
Most construct are mindless automatons, obeying their creator's commands absolutely, which makes them unbribable and absolutely trustworthy, although some of them are very literal-minded about the execution of their duties, obeying orders to the letter without any concern for their intent. There are exceptions to this rule, however. Certain constructs, such as Inevitables, are every bit as intelligent as mortal creatures.
As they lack a metabolism, constructs have a wide array of immunities to frailties and effects that would affect creatures of flesh and blood, such as poison, fatigue, exhaustion, disease or various special attacks and magical effects related to draining a creature's life energy (ability drain, level drain, death effects, etc.). As most constructs lack functional internal organs (their animating force does not require any) they are immune to critical hits and forms of damage targeting a creature's weak spots (such as a rogue's sneak attack).
Constructs are almost always created by an intelligent creator, typically a wizard, sorcerer or cleric, though some are created by other character classes or spellcasting monsters. Creating a specific kind of construct begins with the creation of body, made by either the creator himself or a hired craftsman. Construct bodies can be made from wildly different materials, from clay to copper and bone to cadavers. The next part of the process is a ritual requiring the casting of specific spells to bind a spirit of some kind (typically an elemental drawn from the Inner Planes) into the body and imbuing it motion and special abilities.
The creation methods for certain constructs are unknown, or might require much more stringent requirements. Warforged, for example, can only be created with the help of specific artifacts, the creation forges.
A massive conglomeration of stone, wood, and metal, shield guardians are the size of an ogre and resemble stick figures with stony appendages. They act as bodyguards to spellcasters, protecting their masters with spells and stamina.
Automatons are built for labor or war. Superficially similar to a golem, they are built with clockwork parts and animated by means of powerful shadow magic.
The golem-like bronze serpents were first seen in tropical lands, serving as guardians to temples of the gods they resemble. They appear as 20-foot-long (6.1 m) serpents made of articulated bronze rings and with impressive fangs armed with electricity instead of venom.
The Cadaver collector appeared in Monster Manual III. They resemble giants made from stone, with jagged metal armor binding them at such points as the head, the hands, the feet, the knees and the arms. Sharp red spikes protrude from this armor.
Cadaver collectors dwell in battlegrounds, and typically emerge from dormancy after a great fight has taken place. They are known as cadaver collectors for a grisly purpose; they pick up the corpses of the recently defeated, and impale them on the spikes on their armor. In other words, they collect cadavers. Older Cadaver collectors become completely covered in corpses, blood, bone, torn clothing and such, and really are a most grotesque sight.
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Golems are perhaps the most archetypal type of construct, having been a part of the Dungeons & Dragons game from its very earliest incarnation.
Loosely based on both the famous Jewish legend and Frankenstein's monster, golems in D&D are typically man-sized or larger, roughly humanoid and built from one particular kind of material for which they are named, e.g. flesh golem, iron golem, wood golem, etc. They are normally very strong and impervious to most magic. Typically, each kind of golem has special vulnerability to one or more specific spells or kinds of spell, usually reflecting their abilities and the properties of the material they're built from. Many also have the ability to benefit from spells of a certain kind, absorbing particular kinds of energy and using it to heal themselves.
Aside from their brawn, golems often possess special attacks or abilities. These include, for example, the iron golem's ability to spray clouds of poison gas and the stone golem's ability to supernaturally slow its opponents down.
The helmed horror is an ancient construct that resembles an animated suit of plate mail. The helmed horror was introduced in the second edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. The helmed horror along with the battle horror appears first for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting in the module Halls of the High King (1990), by Ed Greenwood, then in the revised Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1993), and was later reprinted in the Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume One (1994). In edition 3.0 it appears in Monsters of Faerûn (2000). and in Dragon #302 (December 2002). In edition 3.5 the helmed horror and battle horror appear in Lost Empires of Faerûn (2005). In the fourth edition the helmed horror appears in the Monster Manual.
The zodar is a fictional humanoid ("medium-sized construct"), which is incredibly powerful and rather enigmatic.
When a zodar chooses to fight, it will do so (usually) without any weapons, preferring to slam and grapple their opponents, rather than punch and/or kick them.
Zodars have many unique powers as well. Three times a day, for a few seconds at a time, a Zodar can increase its strength. Zodars are also immune to many effects such as poison, stunning, and disease. They also can only be damaged by bludgeoning weapons. A zodar's ultimate ability is that once per year it can cast a wish spell to alter reality as it sees fit.
Approximately five feet tall, zodars appear as ornate black suits of armor with a life of their own; these "suits" are not actually made of metal, but rather a ceramic material. They are capable of speech which all sentient beings are able to understand, though despite this unique linguistic proficiency, they hardly ever speak more than one sentence every 50 years or so. When it does speak, what is says is usually very important.
Zodars are usually of the chaotic neutral alignment.
- Monster Manual v 3.5, page 13-14
- Monster Manual v 3.5, page 158-160
- Monster Manual v 3.5, page 223-224
- Monster Manual II v 3.0, page 27-28
- Monster Manual II v 3.0, page 34-35
- Monster Manual II v 3.0, page 40-41
- Greenwood, Ed. Halls of the High King (TSR, 1990)
- Greenwood, Ed. Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (TSR, 1993)
- Wyatt, James, and Rob Heinsoo. Monstrous Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn (Wizards of the Coast, 2001)
- Baker, Richard, Ed Bonny, and Travis Stout. Lost Empires of Faerûn (Wizards of the Coast, 2005)
- Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)
- Cagle, Eric, Jesse Decker, James Jacobs, Erik Mona, Matthew Sernett, Chris Thomasson, James Wyatt. Fiend Folio (Wizards of the Coast, 2003)