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I'm running a Pathfinder 1st edition game in modern times, and I'm wondering something: would it be possible to use Anímate Objects on something like a generator, use Permanency to make it last forever and then have the target continuously run without fuel? It would technically be a perpetual motion machine, and perfect for the PCs' house.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a very cool idea, but I would also suggest giving a look at Starfinder, it is also made by Paizo essentially being pathfinder in space with guns and tech, it also has magic but it is alongside tech. \$\endgroup\$
    – TurtleTail
    Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 16:35

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Rules As Written, no

Animate Objects reads:

You imbue inanimate objects with mobility and a semblance of life. Each such animated object then immediately attacks whomever or whatever you initially designate.

The only thing an animated object can do is attack things.

However...

As the DM you have a lot of freedom. While Pathfinder wasn't really designed for modern times, if you're adapting it anyway, taking some creative freedom like this is generally perfectly fine.

There's only one question you have to ask yourself: Does giving the PC free power for their appliances in any way, shape or form break the campaign you have designed, or the world that campaign takes place in?

If the answer is "No", then do it! It sounds interesting, fun, and immersive. As a DM, you're a storyteller, and a detail like this makes a world feel lived in, feel more real.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This answer is correct, but would be improved by pointing out that there's nothing particularly game-breaking about using magic to obtain free energy, as there's already a whole bunch of spells and magic items that do it. Heck, it's the entire purpose of the Continual Flame spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 9:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Nothing inherently, but there's bound to be other translations to the new world. Therefore, I thought it important to mention being mindful about the consequences. Also, Continual Flame is IMHO a bad example: "The effect looks like a regular flame, but it creates no heat and doesn’t use oxygen." Only infinite light, but it's really inefficient for energy without that heat. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gloweye
    Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 10:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, but light is energy. If you get enough Continual Flames, you could power your solar cells 24/7. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 18:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Generally agree with your answer, barring a minor note: The rules state the animated object can only attack what you designate. If it needed to move to do that, then the players could potentially make a battery and hamster wheel it. But yes that's not precisely what was asked \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 20:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd argue that to follow the rules in that case, the object would need to avoid the hamster wheel. It doesn't say they can only do straight lines, after all, but it does says that it attacks as fast as possible. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gloweye
    Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 20:55

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