Assume that you and your party have located a plausible construct nearby, it has not noticed you and you don't yet know if it is hostile. You don't know anything about what instructions it has been given and there are no tells in the environment. Assume the construct has all the common immunities to constructs (mind affecting, magic immunity etc.)

Is there some way for a group of PCs to find out what that construct's objectives are?

For example, what instructions it has been given by its master, finding out if it is guarding something, what sort of creatures it would not attack, and so on. Preferably without alerting the construct in any way.

I've had no luck finding out anything of the sort.
Answers using 3rd-party content or other editions are acceptable if they are marked as such.

Edit: The party has whatever resources a party of PCs might have. Their character level is "enough" for whatever method you would propose.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ What resources does the party have available? A 1st level rogue and a 20th level wizard will have wildly different options (as might a flat-broke 20th level wizard and a millionaire 1st level rogue). \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 18:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @minnmass Added an edit to clarify this. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Synapse
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 22:15

2 Answers 2


Have you tried asking the construct? It's a rather obvious solution, that is often overlooked in a world full of magic, but skills like Diplomacy & Bluff can work on all creatures, even those immune to mind-affecting effects. A good party face could try to convince a construct by words to tell you about its objectives.

As for the magical means, there are a few spells, that are specifically meant to target constructs, which could be used here:

  • Reboot would allow command of a destroyed construct, asking it what its objectives are.
  • Control Construct is the same, but works on any construct.
  • Apparent Master is an option, if 3.5 edition material is allowed.

Apart from these few options, a Sorcerer with the Impossible bloodline can easily do it with an Enchantment (compulsion) spell of his choice, from Reveal Secrets over Suggestion up to Dominate Monster, …

If said Sorcerer also possessed another bloodline, e.g. Arcane or Astral, it could even ignore a golem's magic immunity by using a supernatural ability like the "Arcane Bond" item or "Peerless Speed" to cast the spell.

For other casters, there might be a good option with shadow spells like Shadow Enchantment, since the mimicked spells do not have the mind-affecting descriptor, but the construct would automatically save on all Will saves, so a spell with "Will: partial" or "save: none" would be a good choice, e.g. False Belief. Keep in mind that Illusion spells aren't automatically mind-affecting, only subschools like Pattern and Phantasm are, so Figments can work: If you suspect the construct attacks butterflies, send in illusionary butterflies.

A counterintelligence option is to use a Parasite Familiar, since it can attach undetected to any host as a supernatural ability, and share the host's senses. Thus, the parasite familiar would be able to "hear" the messages sent by the construct's master.

Other supernatural or extraordinary abilities should work too, if they lack descriptors that the construct is immune to.

There's also plenty of third-party material out there, most prominently the Technomancy sphere from Spheres of Power, or the Clockwork mystery for Oracles.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't know about asking. That goes against the part about "Preferably without alerting the construct in any way.". But all the specific spell suggestions and class options were exactly the kind of things I was hoping for. \$\endgroup\$
    – Synapse
    Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 22:50

Remember that a golem’s “magic immunity” is equivalent to a spell resistance of ∞.¹ It only matters for things that the caster needs to succeed on a SR check for. SR: No spells, to say nothing of spells that affect the environment rather than the construct per se, are fair game.

Note also that spell resistance only applies to spells (and spell-like abilities)—if someone has some supernatural divinatory capacity, it would affect the construct unimpeded. I don’t know if your party has any such things, or any SR: No divinations, but those would certainly work.

And then there are powerful divinations like legend lore that don’t target the subject at all—they target the caster, allowing the caster to become aware of things they never could have. So that’s at least one option that should certainly work.

Or you could summon a test subject to put in front of the construct and see how it reacts. Or it could be an illusion.

Knowing about the kind of construct can open up a lot of options too. Is the construct mindless?² Put a wall of stone or even just obscuring mist in front of it, and odds are good that it won’t even question it, unless its instructions were very careful.

In short, yes, there are lots of things that can be done to find out more about how a construct is expected to behave. Too many, really, to list them all out.

  1. Also note that magic immunity is not a “common construct immunity,” that’s a thing that is mostly found on golems only.

  2. Note: pretty much all of the magic-immune ones are, because golems are and golems are the ones with magic immunity.


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