All those knowledgeable in the creation and use of constructs know that such creatures obey the commands of their creators. Constructs without instructions are no more than mindless hulks, following their last commands to the best of their feeble ability or awaiting commands until their parts begin to decay. Thus, it comes as a shock to most when an object still moves after the duration of the spell that gave it the semblance of life ends. Even more shocking is the rare instance when a created construct goes rogue. Few understand why such events occur, since most creators who discover that their constructs have a free will destroy them immediately. Some constructs, however, imbued with an intelligence and will of their own by some spark of life, escape or overcome their creators to pursue whatever ends suit their developing minds and souls.
“Lifespark” is a template that can be added to any non-intelligent construct (referred to hereafter as the base creature). At the GM’s option, intelligent golems that go berserk might instead gain the lifespark template. A lifespark construct uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted below.
Size and Type: Size and type are unchanged, but some features of the construct type no longer apply, as noted in the following sections.
Special Qualities: The lifespark construct retains all the base creature’s special qualities and gains those described here.
Unlike normal constructs, the lifespark construct is not immune to mind-affecting effects. In fact, perhaps because of its past need for commands, its mind is especially vulnerable to magical compulsion. A lifespark construct takes a –2 penalty on saving throws against mind-affecting effects. Golems are still immune to magic, as described in the Bestiary.
Though the lifespark construct is not a living creature, a “spirit” still resides within it. Unlike most constructs, the lifespark construct is not immune to all necromantic effects. Certain spells that rely on the existence of a creature’s soul (not “life force”) —namely astral projection, clone, magic jar, and soulbind— can affect lifespark constructs. No other necromantic effects affect lifespark constructs, and they are still immune to death effects. Though they cannot be raised or resurrected, lifespark constructs can be reincarnated as described by the reincarnate spell. Golems are still immune to magic as described in the Bestiary.
Abilities: Replace the base creature’s Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores with new ones between 3 and 18. Determine each one by rolling 3d6. All the creature’s other ability scores remain the same.
Skills: Because of its recently awakened intelligence, a lifespark construct gains a number of skill points equal to (2 + Int modifier, minimum 1) x (HD +3). A lifespark construct has a number of class skills equal to one-half of its Intelligence score; all other skills are considered cross-class skills. A lifespark construct typically devotes skill points to whatever Craft skill is appropriate for repairing damage it sustains (see the base creature’s description for details), and several other skills favored by its creator.
Languages: A lifespark construct can speak even without a mouth. It can automatically speak the language of its creator and chooses its bonus languages from among those its creator knows.
Feats: The lifespark construct retains the base creature’s bonus feats, but it loses all other feats that the base creature had. Recalculate the number of feat slots the lifespark construct has based on its character level (racial and class HD) and assign feats as desired, giving preference to the feats that the base creature originally possessed. The lifespark construct must still meet any prerequisites for feats chosen to fill vacant feat slots.
Treasure: Standard items. A lifespark construct collects items it finds useful. Potions and other items useless to it are discarded in favor of other items. A lifespark construct that takes a class usually carries items appropriate to that class.
Alignment: Usually neutral. Lifespark constructs can have any alignment, but most tend not to care about law, chaos, good, or evil. They generally seek to know more of the world around them while plumbing the mystery of their own awakened intelligence. Even so, some lifespark constructs seem to be possessed of great evil or great good from the moment they first refuse their masters’ commands.
Advancement: By character class. Because spellcasting lifespark constructs are still immune to most spells, as described in the Bestiary, they are often forced to use spells that affect creatures and objects other than themselves.