Construct Features

June 26th, 2017

Alex Riggs

Exotic Encounters Archive

Sure, constructs may come off an assembly line (though they certainly don’t have to), but that doesn’t mean that each and every one is going to look exactly the same, does it? Today’s Exotic Encounters provides 10 cosmetic features that a construct might possess that might make it interesting and set it apart from other constructs of its type.


1. Smokestacks. The construct has one or more smokestacks built into its design. This might take the form of a single large smokestack that rises from its back and dominates its frame, or it could be several smaller smokestacks that rise up across its body, giving its silhouette the appearance of a city skyline. Whenever the construct spurs to action, smoke spews from the stack with a loud, shrill whistle.

2. Maker’s Mark. Each of the construct’s parts is emblazoned with the distinctive hallmark of its maker: a thick, jagged lightning bolt design set in front of a shield, with the words “Made at Silja’s Smithy” printed below it. In all, the design appears on the biceps, forearms, palms, head, chest, back, thighs, calves, and feet of the construct, leaving very little doubt who made each and every piece.

3. Music Player. The construct is equipped with a simplistic magic device somewhere within its body that can produce the sound of a particular tune on command. For some constructs, this is a soothing, lilting melody, like one might expect to find in a music box. For others, it is a roaring battle song that intimidates opponents and emboldens allies.

4. Painted Designs. The construct is painted with one or more designs. This could be anything from garish, such as bright red or green racing stripes or flames adorning its body, to elegant, with reproductions of famous paintings across its chest. The painted design could even be practical, such as if the construct was intended to guard a specific spot, and was painted to blend in with its surroundings in that location.

5. Flashing Lights. The construct has been fitted with several bright, colorful lights, which blink on and off. These lights might simply serve to indicate when the construct is functioning, or may have far more expressive purposes, with different colors lighting up when the construct engages in different forms of activity, or perhaps even conveying very simple messages.

6. Made From Scrap. The construct has been put together from a variety of discarded scrap and household objects, and it shows. It wears a frying pan as a pauldron, with a discarded wagon wheel making up the joint on its left elbow. Its head is a tea kettle, with one foot being a discarded snow show, and the other an ironing board. Despite the odd mismatch of different spare parts, the construct functions just as well as one made of the proper pieces.

7. Pre-Programmed Voice. The construct is equipped with a rudimentary speaker or a simple magic device which can play back several short, pre-recorded messages, and does so when very specific criteria are met. Depending on the construct’s purpose, this might mean that it plays the sounds of its creator’s cackling gloats as it pummels would-be intruders, or it might serve as an alarm clock, or simply speak a simple greeting to house guests and respond with a “yes, sir” when receiving commands.

8. Hollow Filigree. The construct’s body is sculpted with painstaking and artistic care, completely hollow, with only a very delicate filigree pattern forming a lattice on the exterior shell, and the rest of it empty space. In addition to being lightweight and requiring fewer materials to create, the effect is highly artistic, although it takes an incredible amount of work to achieve, making it far more expensive in the long run.

9. Covered in Runes. The construct is completely covered in tiny runes that have been etched all over its surface. The runes might tell a story in some ancient or arcane language, with the words forming a continuous path all the way across the creature’s body, looping and doubling back. Or the runes might simply be the same phrase over and over, some mystic words of power or mantra that empowers the construct, or sanctifies it.

10. Decorative Cogs. The construct’s exterior is littered with decorative cogs and other pieces of clockwork machinery, made of gleaming brass. These pieces are either completely non-functional, and are simply glued or bolted on, or else they spin and operate, but serve no real purpose in the construct’s design, except perhaps to confuse and frustrate those that would dismantle it.