Today marks the end of Knight Week here at Necromancers of the Northwest. While knights are generally something that you’re more likely to see as player characters than as monsters, there certainly are some inhuman foes who nonetheless manage to qualify as knights. This article explores a couple of them. First, the unusual clockwork knight, and second the malevolent flame rider.
This creature takes the form of a knight mounted atop a horse, but both knight and horse appear to be made of metal, with whirring cogs and churning pendulums making up its form. Perhaps most disturbing of all, the knight and his horse are clearly one complete creature, and the clockwork from one extends into the other without barrier.
CLOCKWORK KNIGHT CR 10
N Large construct (clockwork)
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +0
AC 25, touch 13, flat-footed 21 (+2 Dex, +2 dodge, +12 natural, -1 size)
hp 121 (13d10+50)
Fort +4, Ref +8, Will +4
DR 10/adamantine; Immune construct traits
Weaknesses vulnerable to electricity
Speed 50 ft.
Melee +1 lance +22/+17/+12 (1d8+13/x3)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with lance)
Str 28, Dex 15, Con —, Int —, Wis 11, Cha 1
Base Atk +13; CMB +23; CMD 37
Feats Improved Initiative (B), Lightning Reflexes (B), Ride-By Attack (B), Spirited Charge (B)
SQ durable frame, inefficient winding, proficient, swift reactions, undersized weapons
Organization solitary, pair, trio, troop (3-8), or brigade (6-12 plus 12-14 clockwork soldiers)
Treasure standard (+1 lance, other treasure)
Durable Frame (Ex): A clockwork knight is built in a fashion that protects its gears and with several redundant and backup parts, making it more durable than other constructs of a similar size. It gains 20 bonus hit points in addition to those granted to it for being Large size.
Mounted Body (Ex): A clockwork knight is treated as though it were mounted at all times. Additionally, the clockwork knight gains Ride-By Attack and Spirited Charge as bonus feats, even though it doesn’t meet the prerequisites.
Inefficient Winding (Ex): Built for speed and power rather than endurance, a clockwork knight can function for only 1 day per 2 Hit Die every day it is wound.
Proficient (Ex): A clockwork knight is proficient with all simple and martial weapons.
Undersized Weapons (Ex): Although a clockwork knight is Large, it is fashioned to resemble both a mount and a rider, and its torso is the same size as that of a Medium humanoid. As a result, they wield weapons as if they were one size category smaller than their actual size (Medium for most clockwork knights).
Like other clockwork creatures, a clockwork knight is a complex creation of gears and cogs, which, through great feats of engineering genius, is able to function in ways that replicate living creatures. Clockwork knights are favored primarily by eccentric wizards and nobles who have need of an army from time to time in order to battle their neighbors, but who either do not have the skills and charisma necessary to manage a real army, or who feel that clockwork knights are more cost-effective in the long run. In some places, clockwork knights are modified in various ways and made to fight each other for sport in grand arenas, though this is somewhat rare, due both to the expense and the lack of blood produced by such sport.
This creature appears almost human, but its body is covered in intimidating black plate mail that appears to be made of burning coals, wreathing its body in flames. From the back of its closed helmet extends a flowing mane of fire.
FLAME RIDER CR 8
CE Medium fey (fire)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., smoke vision; Perception +18
AC 21, touch 13, flat-footed 18 (+8 armor, +3 Dex)
hp 97 (13d6+52); fast healing 5
Fort +8, Ref +11, Will +10
Defensive Abilities flame implements, flame touch; Immune fire; SR 19
Weaknesses vulnerable to cold and sonic, water weakness, wind weakness
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +2 flaming burst heavy flail +12/+7 (1d10+6 plus 1d6 fire/19-20) or gore +9 (2d6+3 plus 1d6 fire)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th; concentration +13)
Constant—pass without trace
At will—ash storm, burning hands (DC 14), color spray (DC 14), heat metal (DC 15), ghost sound (DC 13), phantom steed
1/day—freedom of movement, wall of fire
Str 17, Dex 16, Con 18, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 17
Base Atk +6; CMB +9; CMD 22
Feats Improved Initiative, Mounted Combat, Ride-By Attack, Skill Focus (Ride), Spirited Charge, Trample, Weapon Focus (heavy flail)
Skills Acrobatics +19, Handle Animal +16, Intimidate +16, Knowledge (nature) +18, Perception +18, Ride +22, Sense Motive +18, Stealth +19
Languages Common, Elven, Sylvan
SQ rider’s grace
Environment any warm
Organization solitary, pair, or cavalry (3 – 12)
Flame Implements (Su): A flame rider wears full plate armor and wields a +2 flaming burst heavy flail that are both made of burning coals, magically hardened to the consistency of steel. Its armor has no armor check penalty. When a flame rider dies, its armor and flail continue to burn for 1d6 rounds (dealing 1d6 points of fire damage to any creature that touches them), after which they collapse into a pile of loose soot.
Flame Touch (Su): A flame rider’s body is incredibly hot to the touch. Any creature that hits the flame rider with a melee attack made with a natural weapon or unarmed strike suffers 1d6 points of fire damage. Additionally, a flame rider can ignite any unattended, non-magical object with a hardness of 7 or less merely by touching it (a move action). Fires started in this way may spread, if left unchecked.
Rider’s Grace (Su): A flame rider magically protects any mount it rides from the effects of fire and flame, rendering that mount immune to fire damage and able to breathe smoke as though it were pure air. The flame rider is also able to breathe smoke in this way, as well.
Smoke Vision (Ex): A flame rider can see perfectly in smoky conditions (such as those created by pyrotechnics).
Water Weakness (Su): A flame rider suffers physical damage when exposed to water. A flame rider suffers double damage from any spell with the water descriptor that inflicts damage. Additionally, a flame rider hit with a bucket of water (or a similar amount of water) suffers 2d6 points of damage. A successful ranged touch attack may be required to hit the flame rider with the water. Flame riders in conditions of rain, snow, sleet, or hail suffer 1d6 points of damage per round. Flame riders submerged entirely in water suffer 5d6 points of damage per round.
Wind Weakness (Su): A flame rider suffers physical damage when exposed to strong winds. Each round that the flame rider is exposed to strong or stronger winds (21+ mph), he suffers 1d6 points of damage per round. This damage increases to 3d6 for severe or stronger winds (51+ mph).
These terrifying fey are opposing counterparts to the dreaded cold riders in more ways than one. Where cold riders are associated with ice and winter, and bear the resemblance (and, according to some tales, hearts) of stags, flame riders carry the power of fire, and prefer warmer climes, and bear a resemblance to lions. The two fey share a special enmity, and will slay each other on sight, ignoring all else in order to do so.
If the rumors that cold riders are the result of a hideous evil queen of witches torturing fey, removing their hearts, and replacing them with those of stags are true, then it seems clear that flame riders are some sort of similar creation, intended to counteract those dark soldiers. Who might be creating these flame riders is uncertain, and some have even posited that they are created spontaneously by the very essence of fairy lands themselves, in order to avenge those corrupted and turned into cold riders.
The one thing that flame riders and cold riders have in common, however, is their evil nature, and their love of slaughter and death. While flame riders may be no ally of cold riders, they are certainly not friends to any other creature, either.