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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 the logistics behind my concept that I cannot ignore.

One of the biggest issues that I have plot-wise would be how to hide the fact that there is a massive force of Animated Objects aboard the ship, including the ship. I also feel I need a drawback in case animated cannons end up becoming nerfed from the process of becoming animated. So I was wondering would an object with an enchantment keep its improvements after becoming animated? If not, could a construct be custom-built to hold a wand and have some helper swap out used wands?

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The Animate Objects spell states (emphasis mine):

An animated object can be of any non-magical material. You may animate one Small or smaller object or a corresponding number of larger objects as follows: A Medium object counts as two Small or smaller objects, a Large object as four, a Huge object as eight, a Gargantuan object as 16, and a Colossal object as 32. You can change the designated target or targets as a move action, as if directing an active spell.

So enchanted objects are not a valid target.

Also, a construct could be custom-built to hold a Wand but it would not be able to use a Wand. Wands are activated by using Spell Trigger:

Activation: Wands use the spell trigger activation method, so casting a spell from a wand is usually a standard action that doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity.

And to be able to use Spell Trigger, you need to have the spell on your class list:

Spell Trigger: Spell trigger activation is similar to spell completion, but it's even simpler. No gestures or spell finishing is needed, just a special knowledge of spellcasting that an appropriate character would know, and a single word that must be spoken. Spell trigger items can be used by anyone whose class can cast the corresponding spell. This is the case even for a character who can't actually cast spells, such as a 3rd-level paladin. The user must still determine what spell is stored in the item before she can activate it. Activating a spell trigger item is a standard action and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Animated Objects don't have any class levels.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I read that as the actual, physical material the item's made from can't be magical, but the item itself can totally be magical. That is, the animated object can't be composed of, like, force or something, but a wand ("Most wands are wood, but some are bone, metal, or even crystal") could be animated. Such a wand wouldn't be able to activate itself (even despite the lack of class levels, it doesn't grow a mouth!), but it could, like, roll around, I guess. Did you want to address this, or should I post my own answer? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Dec 17 '15 at 15:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ As a conflicting answer I think it's better if you just make your own. I would call enchanted metal a magical material. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Dec 17 '15 at 16:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik thanks for the heads-up. Guess I need to keep my fingers crossed on animated cannons being able to fire themselves. Any suggestions on how to hide the fact that the ship and everything on it is animated? \$\endgroup\$ – Areadbhair Dec 17 '15 at 17:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Areadbhair That would be another separate question, as it's unrelated to how an animated object can be/use magic. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 17 '15 at 17:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie fair enough \$\endgroup\$ – Areadbhair Dec 17 '15 at 18:00

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