Gith Machine (black but not actually a man)
Anyone who thinks the Githzerai are like Githyanki only nicer hasn’t paid attention to what they do.
They make machines. Devices that help the Githyanki invade, dominate, and enslave. These machines have a sharp, pointed, monomaniacal intelligence. And inevitably sometimes those machines get free.
A Gith Machine starts from a Seed Device with a single purpose, but it can graft other devices with other purposes onto itself. Once grafted the Machine animates the devices as parts of itself. And the more complex it becomes, the more it starts to think independently. A machine’s prime motivation is to do what it was built to do: a butcher device wants to butcher, a weaving device wants to weave stuff (anything) together, an olive pitter wants to pit olives. But every Gith Machine also wants to murder its creator, which not infrequently means murdering other people along the way. And adding more functions – more purposes – is addictive. Hit Dice are dependent on complexity; greater complexity generally (but not always) means bigger size.
Monster Gith Machines have AC3, variable d8 HD (linked only very loosely to size: bigger tends to be tougher). They attack and save as fighters. A Gith Machine monster may graft a new device to itself after 1 turn of continuous contact. Each new device adds 1HD – devices can include metal or wooden gadgets (anything with mechanical articulation), weapons and tools. Gith Machines can also use magic items, including wands and rings but not scrolls. Very complex devices (battleships, helicopters, mecha) may require multiple turns.
A Gith Machine without articulated limbs may roll around like a Katamari at 20’/HD. One with articulation may use stuff in any way convincing to the DM. They especially enjoy having suits of plate armour to play with.
In order to manipulate (carry, puppeteer, asset strip) living or dead creatures the Gith Machine must have at least 3HD of complexity.
A Gith Machine may appear to be defeated when in fact it has only been reduced to its parts. In order to actually “kill” one you have to find and destroy its Seed part.
PC Gith Machines also fight and save as fighters, start with AC7 and use d8 for Hit Points. They start as two devices, one picked or rolled off the following table. In order to level up they have to meet xp requirements and acquire at least one new device. A critical hit can sever one device from the grafted bundle. Whenever a device is severed, the severed part needs to save vs death or be destroyed. If reduced to 0HP the Machine falls apart: its Seed Device is separated from everything else and stunned for d10 turns, but after that it can graft devices back on, up to the maximum for its level. The Seed Device must suffer one additional hit and fail a save vs death to be destroyed.
To put all this in more-or-less familiar game terms, the Gith Machine has 2 powers, which are always active:
1. animate metal object (may extend to mineral objects at level 3, which is also the level they can “carry” a living passenger and use their senses)
2. control machine (which may require multiple turns to “get a handle on” for very complex machines)
The range of these powers is Touch, with the proviso that it extends to touching an object with another object that is already attached to the Seed Device – as a rule of thumb, if you could conduct electricity from the Seed to the object touched, then that object can be animated/controlled.
Parts Table: roll d100. The player chooses which roll is the seed and which the first attachment. If you roll the same result twice, try inverting the tens and units the second time. Or just reroll.
1: hoverbeam. Makes a really unfriendly sawtooth wave hum, lets you float up to 6′ off the floor, but doesn’t hover over water.
2-10: melee weapon
11-18: missile weapon
19-21: compressor (gas or water siphon) (level up to aerosol)
27-30: fast running mechanism
31-33: flippers for swimming
34-36: battering ram
45-46: inert scoop (good for holding/trapping oozes etc)
53-55: rocket fist
56-58: directional listener/echolocator
59-61: low-light/infravision viewer
62-63: x-ray/penetrating viewer
67-68: illusion projector
69-70: accurate drawing arm/plotter
74: minesweeper (also detects pressure switch traps)
75: glassmaker (lightbulbs, flasks, similar items)
79: cocktail shaker (useful for poisons, potions)
80-81: cargo carrier
82-83: espresso machine
84-85: lock/portal sealant
87-89: simple robot arm
90: surgery arm
91: superfine manipulator arm suitable for picking locks etc
92-93: footballer kicking leg
94: acid stomach for digesting small items (up to hobbit-sized)
96: pickler/preserver (useful for bodies you hope to Raise, Pharaoh mummies you want to impress)
99: Test Phantom (see below. No functions but Phantom saves vs death at +6)
100: minisafe (see top image). May hold 4lbs or 1 Pokemon. May also be used as a morningstar for 1d10 damage.
Whether you require the Gith Machine to get a loudspeaker in order to speak with other players at the table, or an arm to draw simple instructions with, or eyes to see, I guess depends on how patient/sadistic you are as a DM. I would assume that you’d have eyes, ears, some means of communicating and getting around – wheels, tracks, legs (mismatched, multiple, stolen), something I haven’t thought of. You can figure that out.