In Pathfinder I am currently trying to design a few encounters with a supposed ghost ship (actually a Colossal Animated Object) complete with a crew of Haunted Objects (again, Animated Objects), but I am having a few difficulties with implementing my concept in the rules.

A key concern I have is how an Animated Cannon would function, because that would affect how the ship fights and how big of a crew I could fit on it (since the ship can be encumbered). You see, depending on the size of an Animated Object, they are allowed a pool of Construction Points. Among these items is a Ranged Attack that can be purchased for 2ConP that has a range of 20ft. So considering the object that is animated is a cannon, would they be able to fire themselves, or would they just throw things within the wimpy 20ft range?


2 Answers 2


These rules are for players attempting Animated Objects construction.

When you're the GM, you can design your Animated Cannon as you like (perhaps to be similar to Arcane Cannon or Golem Cannon. Then you can freely play with your cannons (and other marine objects) and when you're done add the effects of Animated Object spell - namely susceptibility to antimagic and dispelling. Finally, figure out the CR and you're all set up. You can use Building and Modifying Constructs as your guide to what would be reasonable to do. But to quote this specific page:

The monster creation rules serve as your best guide for designing a new construct. New constructs should stick fairly close to the those presented on Table: Monster Statistics by CR.

And why would you want to abandon player-targeted rules in the first place? Well, it's pretty clear that a Wizard did it. Pathfinder seems to encourage construct modification and many modifications can be done to a construct given time and effort without increasing its Construction Points.

A different take on the same problem would be to treat the whole ship as a conglomerate of objects. It is going deeply into the houserule territory, but have you considered pooling all Construction Points of the ship and it's "crew" together and then upgrade your constructs using points from that pool?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the input, I really appreciate the varied sources that you added to your answer. As far as pooling the ConP and creating one super construct, that would either result in a horribly unbalanced creature or a glass cannon. The way that I imagine the encounters involves people being able to board the ship (ya know, cuz its a ship) and possibly gaining it as an ally with insane benefits. By pooling the whole thing into one monster, I could have a boat that could out-sail (and possibly out-fly) an Elemental, could charge through steel walls and would be unable to stop borders. I like crew \$\endgroup\$
    – Areadbhair
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 17:57

Logically, an animated canon would be able to fire itself (assuming perhaps a flintlock trigger mechanism or something like it), but it seems like it would have a lot of trouble LOADING itself due to lack of limbs to pick up ammunition. ;)

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    \$\begingroup\$ A cannon has two openings, one tiny for spark the other large for a projectile. Animation lends some kind of elasticity/flexibility to usually rigid materials, so I suppose given time a cannon could 'inhale' (suck up) a cannonball, but the gunpowder and packing wad would make it impossible to properly load for the purpose of firing. If you're going to the trouble of animating a cannon you may as well animate all the firing equipment, then between them they can reload the cannon. \$\endgroup\$
    – niekell
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 6:44

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