Magic Clocks

January 27th, 2016

Joshua Zaback

Magic Market Archive

                I know when we think about clockwork we tend to think about fantasy robots and complicated but beautiful prosthetics which solve the problems of frequent dismemberment. But often overlooked are the clocks themselves: beautiful, useful and intricate machines crafted by master artisans with such skill and precision as to inspire the imagination in a way few other crafts ever have. What’s more, fantasy roleplaying games seem to have a distinct lack of magical clocks, which is, in my opinion, a huge shame. Perhaps clocks were omitted because they seem too complex for a fantasy setting, or perhaps they were omitted because including clocks would mean figuring out how time works in a game world. Either way, as long as we have established that we can create fully functioning automatons with winding gears, then we can have clocks, and if we can have clocks, we can have magic clocks. Here’s a few to wet your whistle.


Slot none; CL 9th; Weight 10 lbs.
Aura moderate varied

                These magical clocks are housed in highly polished ironwood carved with runes in Elven script, proclaiming mighty phrases which must be uttered as the clock is wound to activate its magic. The clock’s face is made of pearl inlaid with golden numbers, again in Elven script, and the hands are miniature arrows made from silver. Once wound, the clock keeps accurate time for 12 hours.
                Once per day, when winding the clock, the phrases on the clock’s housing can be uttered. If this is done, then when the clock chimes each hour, it releases a wave of magic which empowers those within 30 feet for 1 hour. All creatures in the area are affected by one of the following spells, determined at random: freedom of movement, good hope, heroism, and protection from evil (some clocks of progressive enchantments instead protect against other alignments). These spells always remain in effect for 1 hour, or until dispelled, regardless of their normal duration.

Construction Requirements       Cost 50,000 gp

Craft Wondrous Item, freedom of movement, good hope, heroism, protection from evil (or other appropriate protection spell, if the clock is to protection against a different alignment)

CLOCK OF SUBJECTIVE TIME                  PRICE 200,000 gp
Slot none; CL 17th; Weight 10 lbs.
Aura strong transmutation

                This magnificent clock is crafted from strange and alien metals, and gleams with supernatural luster. It never requires winding and it emits a loud tick-tock as its hands move steadily around a featureless circle, mimicking a standard 12-hour clock.
                These powerful devices can be used slow, speed up, or stop time within a small area. For up to 10 minutes each day, a creature touching the clock can speak a command word which either causes the hands to slow or speed up. If the hands are sped up, then all creatures within the 30-foot-radius area around the clock are affected as though by slow, as time moves faster around them. If the hands are slowed down, then creatures are affected as by haste. These 10 minutes need not be spent consecutively, but must be spent in 1-minute increments. Additionally, once per day a creature can use the clock to stop time, as per the spell time stop.

Construction Requirements       Cost 100,000 gp

Craft Wondrous Item, time stop

Slot none; CL 17th; Weight 10 lbs.
Aura strong divination

                Made of polished wood and inlaid with bronze and silver swirls, these gorgeous clocks never require winding, making them popular even among those who are not interested in their magical properties. These clocks have dark wood faces with ivory numbers for a 24-hour day and feature three very fine hands, made from gold, silver, and copper, to represent hours, minutes and seconds, respectively.
                These clocks constantly tick and never require winding, keeping accurate time at all times. They can also be used to alert the owner of the clock to various points of interest. By speaking a command word, a creature can specify a set of conditions which cause the clock to chime. Taking advantage of the clock’s perfect sense of time, such conditions are usually “when 8 hours have passed,” or similar, but the everticking clock of alerts also has a limited divination magic which alerts it to the presence of specified creatures or objects within 120 feet and can chime in response to these triggers. Adventurers commonly use these clocks to alert them to the presence of monsters or gems. The clock can sense objects and creatures through 1 foot of stone, 3 feet of wood, or 5 feet of dirt. Metal of any kind blocks the clock’s senses, and it is fooled by illusion spells such as invisibility. The clock cannot detect alignments or thoughts.

Construction Requirements       Cost 2,500 gp

Craft Wondrous Item, foresight