Animators are evil, violent spirits that can enter an object and imbue it with a life force. They vary widely in capabilities, but all are mischievous and dangerous.
Powerful and dark emotions attract an animator – emotions like hate, anger, and fear. It seems likely that the creature draws some manner of sustenance from these karmic vibrations. In most cases. these emotions radiate from a living person, but in rare instances they may be residual energies emanating from a corpse.
Upon discovering the source of such dark emotion, the creature finds an object that is of special importance to the subject and then merges with it. Animators are unable to invade magical objects or those currently under the effects of a magical spell. Once an object is controlled by an animator it is not forced to flee if a spell is cast upon its host. It takes some time for an animator to take control of an object (1d4 hours), during which lime the item radiates a faint glow. If the object is moved during this period, the process is disrupted and the animator must find another item or begin again.
Wards: Once it has assumed control of an object, the animator will act to protect the source of the emotions that summoned it. For this reason. that person is generally referred to as the animator's ward. While this might seem a benevolent action on the part of the creature, it is important to remember that the ward and animator may have very different ideas about the best way to do this.
All animators have a crude form of telepathy that allows them to sense the sources of their ward's distress. An animator will often act upon this information and attempt to harm or destroy the cause. Because they are such willful creatures, animators do not generally obey the desires or spoken commands of their wards.
Animators display the volatile disposition of angry children. They are extremely jealous and may become hostile toward anyone or anything that draws the ward's attention away from them. For example, an animator that occupies the house of an embittered widow may attempt to prevent the woman's attempts to leave the house or block the entry of a suitor.
Movement: An animator can freely operate the working parts of any object it inhabits. Thus, a door might be made to unlatch and swing open or a loaded crossbow might fire without any pull of the trigger.
Animators cannot cause solid matter to flex or bend. Thus, an animator might cause a pair of scissors to open and close unexpectedly but could not cause the blades to warp or curl.
Thrice per day, all animators can impart a motive force to the object that they reside in. The strength of this force varies with the power of the animator as does its duration. This force will not have any effect upon an object that is anchored to the ground unless it is sufficient to break the host free of its bonds.
A minor animator can impart a force similar to that of a human with a Strength of 8 for one round. For example, a minor animator that has entered a dagger could cause its host object to fly through the air as if it had been thrown. There would be enough force propelling the dagger to enable it to stick into a wooden surface or impale a surprised spectator. In the latter case, an Attack Roll would be required with results based upon the effective strength of the creature.
The strength of the common animator is much greater. When it applies motive force to its host object, it moves as if propelled by a person with a Strength score of 18. In addition, the animator can sustain this effort for a full turn. Should the object be used to make an attack of some sort, the attack and damage rolls are modified by this greater Strength score.
The greater animator can exert the power of a hill giant (Strength 19) through the object it inhabits. This force can be maintained for a full hour. As these creatures tend to possess large structures this ability is seldom manifested.
Combat: Every animator has different combat abilities depending upon the nature of the object it occupies. An animator possessing a dagger is likely to be much more lethal than one inhabiting a milk pail. By their nature, animators seldom enter an object that does not have some potential for violence.
Armor Class: Damaging the object that houses an animator ranges in difficulty depending upon the composition of that item. While other factors might contribute to the final AC of the animator. its base AC can be determined using the following table:
Hit Dice: The amount of damage that an animator can sustain before being destroyed is based upon its size and the material from which it is made. The base HD value for an object possessed by an animator is 1 per 10 pounds of weight (rounded up). Thus, an animator controlling a heavy crossbow (14 pounds) has 2 HD.
Hit Points: The number of hit points that an animated object has (or Hit Die) is based upon its composition. Simply subtract the object's base AC (as indicated above) from 11 to determine how many hit points an object has per die. Thus, an item made of glass has 1 hit point per die while something fashioned from cast iron has 10. Simply multiply this by the number of Hit Dice that the object has and you'll know how many hit points it has. The crossbow mentioned in the previous example is made of hardwood and would have 6 points per HD for a total of 12 hit points.
Battling an Animator: There are three basic ways to combat an animator. The first (and generally the easiest) is to disable the object that it inhabits. Once this is done, an attempt can be made to drive the creature out of its host or even destroy it.
An animator can often be rendered harmless by anchoring the object that it has possessed in some way. The aforementioned crossbow might simply be locked in a safe. This is only a temporary solution for the spirit will simply abandon the object and seek out another one.
Powerful magical spells such as dispel evil or wish can be used to drive the spirit from its home. This does not prevent the animator from returning to the object later, but that process is quite time-consuming.
The destruction of the object in which an animator resides does not actually harm the creature. However. it does drive it out of the item and forces the creature to seek a new home.
Just as some spells can force the creature to flee the object in which it resides, others can trap it there for a period of time. Only by doing this and then destroying the object that holds the spirit of the animator is it possible to finally kill the creature. The animator can be contained with either a quest or geas spell, although others might suffice, at the DM's option.