Clockwork Excavator

Family: Clockwork

Huge construct (clockwork), unaligned

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 115 (11d12+44)
Speed 20 ft., burrow 10 ft.

26 (+8) 8 (–1) 18 (+4) 1 (–5) 12 (+1) 1 (–5)

Damage Resistances acid, fire; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Damage Vulnerabilities lightning
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages understands the languages of its creator but cannot speak
Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)


  • Metal Sense. When a clockwork excavator is wound, the operator can place 1 pound of one type of gem, metal ore, or mineral in the clockwork excavator’s headpiece, keying it to search for the desired material within 120 feet. If the clockwork excavator does not immediately sense the presence of its target, it begins searching in a clockwise spiral from its activation point outward until it needs to be wound again (barring any other instructions from its operator). Placing an artificial or mixed material, such as steel, bronze, or alloyed coins, in the clockwork excavator’s head keys it to one of the material’s base elements (at random). The clockwork excavator has a cumulative 5% chance of going berserk every hour of operation. A berserk clockwork excavator goes on a rampage, attacking the nearest living creature or object, then moving on to spread more destruction until it needs to be wound again.
  • Winding. A clockwork excavator can function for one week every time it is wound. A creature of at least Large size can use an action to wind the clockwork excavator, restoring it to one week of operating time; a creature of Medium size can wind it at half this speed, and Small or smaller creatures are generally unable to wind it.


  • Multiattack. The clockwork excavator makes one drill and two slam attacks.
  • Drill. Melee Weapon Attack: +12 to hit, 15 ft. reach, one target. Hit: 13 (1d10 + 8) piercing damage. Additionally, a creature damaged by this attack is automatically grappled by the clockwork excavator (escape DC 16). A grappled creature automatically takes damage from the drill attack at the start of each of the clockwork excavator’s turn. As long as a creature is grappled in this way, the clockwork excavator cannot use its drill attack to attack.
  • Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +12 to hit, 15 ft. reach, one target. Hit: 13 (2d10 + 8) bludgeoning damage.
  • Explosive Charge (3/day). A clockwork excavator creates an alchemical explosive that it launches to a space within 45 feet. Any creatures within a 10-foot radius of the explosive must succeed a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw or take 7 (2d6) bludgeoning damage and 7 (2d6) fire damage.


The product of greed and invention, clockwork excavators are designed to strip-mine an area in pursuit of mineral wealth. Found in areas where such desires override any concern for the natural environment, clockwork excavators are durable, tough, and purpose-driven. Set atop spoked wheels, this huge contraption has two hinged arms that appear to be designed to shovel rocks into its open maw. Gleaming drills set around the construct’s base look like they could easily break apart stone, and a gleaming scope of dark-hued glass projects from the end of a jointed arm.

Ore Seekers. The original inventors of clockwork excavators worked hand in hand with experienced miners to determine the most beneficial abilities for such a contraption. Able to work day and night in complete darkness with no fear of poisonous gas pockets in mine shafts, these constructs can find a vein of diamonds, gold, or iron, place the raw ore into its storage compartment, and haul it back to its operators with no risk to life or limb. As clockworks, these constructs can take more complex commands than a lesser construct might be able to and can easily distinguish friend from foe.

Erratic. However, unscrupulous owners might opt to store iron in the clockwork excavator’s headpiece and set it loose in a populated area, turning this industrial clockwork into an impromptu weapon as it attempts to feed steel armor and weapons into storage—with their owners still attached. The clockwork excavator is only as good as the instructions it is given, and disregarding safety in favor of acquiring more wealth is always a temptation.

Such attempts come with their own risks, of course, as a complex metal placed in the clockwork can cause it to go berserk, rampaging without control through narrow, inescapable mining tunnels.

Versatile Tools. The nature of the clockwork excavator is such that the creator can easily swap out the tools at the end of the excavator’s arms. Picks, saws, and shovels are all common replacements, and pulley systems to lift heavy loads from the bottom of a quarry are not unheard of.

Many clockwork inventors specializing in these excavators hope to eventually include within their creations a means to process the raw ore. As of yet, that goal has not been achieved, as the complexities of including a hot smelter among all the delicate gears has proven difficult, and the failures have been explosive and fiery.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Mechanical Monsters (5E) © 2023, Legendary Games; Authors: Jason Nelson, Miguel Colon, Robert J. Grady, Nicholas Hite, Matt Kimmel, Michael Mifsud, James-Levi Cooke, Dan Dillon, Mike Myler, Ismael Alvarez, Jeff Lee, John Lynch.

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