I'm playing an artificer (from Unearthed Arcana) and he just reached level 6, unlocking the Mechanical Servant feature. I was looking around for some CR 2 large beasts and I found the Plesiosaurus. It has the Hold Breath trait, which allows it to hold its breath for an hour. This got me thinking about whether or not constructs need air, or more specifically, whether or not the mechanical servant needs air.

The Mechanical Servant feature says:

Select a Large beast with a challenge rating of 2 or less. The servant uses that beast’s game statistics, but it can look however you like, as long as its form is appropriate for its statistics. It has the following modifications:

  • It is a construct instead of a beast.

  • It can’t be charmed.

  • It is immune to poison damage and the poisoned condition.

  • It gains darkvision with a range of 60 feet if it doesn’t have it already.

  • It understands the languages you can speak when you create it, but it can’t speak.

  • If you are the target of a melee attack and the servant is within 5 feet of the attacker, you can use your reaction to command the servant to respond, using its reaction to make a melee attack against the attacker.

It says nothing about the servant being able to survive without air, but realistically speaking a robot doesn't need air.

Do constructs need air to survive?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I assume from your tags that you're playing the version of the artificer from this UA? Also, are you asking specifically about the mechanical servant, or about all constructs (in which case most of the class-specific info in the question is irrelevant)? \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Dec 20, 2018 at 1:49

1 Answer 1


Unless the particular construct is described as not needing air - it needs air

In the Monster Manual p.6 it says:

Certain spells, magic items, class features, and other effects in the game interact in special ways with creatures of a particular type.

However, that is a feature of the particular "spells, magic items, class features, and other effects" on constructs - it is not inherent in constructs themselves.

Constructed Nature

Some constructs have this feature but it is far from universal:

Constructed Nature. An [X] doesn't require air, food, drink, or sleep.

So that is a feature of [X] in particular, not constructs in general.


As currently written, the mechanical servant does not get Constructed Nature, so it needs air, food, drink and sleep.


Playtest Material This character class is presented for playtesting and to spark your imagination. These game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your campaign but not refined by design iterations or full game development. This class is not officially part of the game.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So just to be clear, even though the mechanical servant changes from the beast to the construct type, it still isn't considered to have the constructed nature? \$\endgroup\$
    – Twiggy
    Dec 20, 2018 at 1:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Twiggy correct \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Dec 20, 2018 at 1:44
  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ Just a quick review confirms not all constructs have Constructed Nature. Doesn't even seem like it's most. +1 \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Dec 20, 2018 at 2:24

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