Following the directions given to you by Fleeto, you press onward through the damaged forest, heading gradually downward through the pass. Several times you notice additional rogue fire elementals in the distance, but they flit away without attacking. After half an hour, you pass through a narrow channel to the east and emerge into a wide basin. A small lake fills about half the valley, blocking access to the wide cavern about 200 feet away. You can see where a waterfall once plummeted into this lake, but the waters are absent except for a few paltry streams. The stumps of harvested trees dot the otherwise barren shore. Near the eastern edge of the valley, a huge construct equipped with massive cutting blades sits idle, facing you.
The construct is the shredder Fleeto used to help chop down the forest. The device broke down several days ago and is non-functional. Fearing Fleeto would attempt to steal it, Goldknuckle equipped the shredder with a self-destruct trap (see Trap, below).
The only way to enter the cave is over about 20 feet of water at the closest approach. If the heroes approach within 10 feet of the cave entrance (either in, on, or over the surface of the water), the lake guardian bursts forth to attack. The lake guardian is hidden in the muck 10 feet below the water's surface, requiring a DC 40 Spot check to notice (even if this check is successful, the hero notices only a curious glint of metal, not a dangerous construct).
Two alarm-o-bots (see the Alliance Player's Guide, Chapter 5: Technology) patrol the cave's entrance. They walk in 20-foot square patterns so as to cover the entire cave area. Characters can notice these from outside the cave with a DC 20 Spot check (remember to add a -1 penalty for every 10 feet of distance between the observer and the bot). If the alarm-o-bots let off their shriek of warning, it not only activates the lake guardian, but also attracts the attention of the pummel squad from the factory room, which arrives to investigate within 3 rounds. Note that Zykos changed the password on the alarm-o-bots, so anyone trying to use the word "pyrite" in their presence will only set them off. (The new password is "weird.")
Trap: The huge, inactive shredder is equipped with a testy self-destruct trap. Anyone attempting to enter or climb onto the shredder sets off the device. If the trap goes off, the construct is destroyed automatically. Explosive Trap: CR 9; technological device; location trigger; no reset; DC 25 Reflex save for half damage (creatures inside the construct get no save); multiple targets (all creatures within 40 feet; blast dealing 20d6 points of damage (half fire and half piercing); Search DC 30; Disable Device DC 42.
Creature: The lake guardian is an arcane nullifier. Goldknuckle purchased a broken version from a down-on-his-luck gnome tinker and revamped it. Goldknuckle coated the construct with a special resin of his own design that makes it waterproof (at least for a time), as well as installing propellers for underwater movement. He swapped out the creature's arms for blades, which deal slashing damage. Advanced Arcane Nullifier X-21: CR 10; Large construct (mechanical); HD 20d10+30, hp 140; Init -2; Spd 40 ft., swim 40 ft.; AC 17, touch 7, flat-footed 17; Base Atk +15; Grp +26; Atk +21 melee (2d6+7/19-20, blade); Full Atk +16/+16 melee (2d6+7/19-20, blades); Space/ Reach 10 ft./10 ft.; SA rechannel spell; SQ darkvision 60 ft., hardness 5, malfunction, spell resistance 25, construct traits; AL N; SV Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +6; Str 25, Agy 7, Sta -, Int 1, Spt 10, Cha 1.
Feats: Awesome Blow*, Bash, Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Critical (blade), Power Attack, Weapon Focus (blade).
SA — Rechannel Spell (Su): If the arcane nullifier's spell resistance protects it from a spell, the creature stores that spell within its body. On its next turn, it automatically releases the same spell as a free action, usually targeting the creature that first cast the spell. The spell occurs just as if the original caster had cast it.
Tactics: The lake guardian lurches forth to attack anyone attempting to enter the cave. It pursues a
retreating foe anywhere within the valley, or into the cave entrance, but not beyond the cave itself. The construct is fearless and fights until destroyed.
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