Living Steel

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd EditionCampaign Setting Logo

Living Steel
Frequency:Very rare
Activity Cycle:Any
Intelligence:Average (8-10)
Treasure:See below
No. Appearing:1
Armor Class:-2
Movement:12, Sw in metal 36
Hit Dice:10
No. of Attacks:2
Damage/Attack:1d10 (×2)
Special Attacks:See below
Special Defenses:See below
Magic Resistance:20%
Size:M (6' tall)
Morale:Fearless (19-20)
XP Value:5,000

Living steel usually appears as a humanoid mass of pure, shining steel, almost liquid in its motions. It reflects bright light and absorbs heat; to those with infravision, it appears as a cold blue lump. Although it is not normally an aggressive opponent, living steel can be ferocious when aroused, and it will track its enemies mercilessly until it or they are dead.

Combat: Living steel is completely immune to weapons of less than +2 enchantment. Any attacks by other weapons slide right through its form and serve only to irritate it. It simply reforms around the place where the weapon passed.

Living steel's most dangerous weapon is its ability to change shape at will. Although it cannot change its color and therefore is easily spotted, its form can include virtually anything. It can become a coursing steel hound or a human with blades for its lower arms. However, the form it adopts does not confer the powers of that form. For example, it cannot fly in bird form, nor does it gain the sense of smell dogs have when it takes that form, nor would it gain poison or magical immunity should it take another shape. Finally, it cannot assume the form of something with a larger or smaller mass. It must maintain its own body weight at all times. Thus, unless it was very large, the steel could not reproduce the form of a dragon, nor could it split to become a mosquito. However, it does gain the speed associated with the form it takes. It also can fit through tiny cracks by reforming its body. This shapechange takes a round to accomplish, and the living steel can do it at will.

During the time of shapechange, the steel cannot make any attacks, nor can it defend itself. At this point its AC becomes 5 and it may be hit by ordinary weapons. For this reason, the steel rarely changes form during combat.

Living steel is immune to electricity- and fire-based attacks, unless they inflict more than 55 points of damage. The electricity otherwise flows directly through the steel and the fire simply liquefies it, actually allowing it to change form and attack within the same round. If these attacks cause more than 55 hit points of damage, the steel suffers full damage and must spend two rounds regaining the pieces of itself that were blown away by the force of the explosion.

Cold-based attacks, on the other hand, serve to slow both the movement of living steel (Move of 6, only 1 attack) and its shapechanging abilities (two rounds are required to change form under these circumstances). Cold attacks also enable its opponents to cause double damage for two rounds following a successful attack, as well as enabling those without magical weapons to harm it.

Habitat/Society: Living steel has no known society. Solitary creatures all their lives, they reproduce asexually. If two living steels encounter one another, they battle to the death. The one with the most inventive and damaging shapes is usually the victor, consuming the loser and adding the vanquished creature to its own mass.

These creatures lair in small nooks in the rock, usually with only a thin crack as access. Only in their lairs do they relax the forms they have chosen, and here they appear as formless blobs of fine steel.

Ecology: Living steel survives only through a diet of iron. It is therefore generally found only near veins of iron ore or in regions where iron is otherwise available in abundance. Most of the iron is burned off to power the creature's movements, but the steel drops a small, refined portion of it in its lair at the end of each day. This mass is an embryonic living steel, and it becomes sentient and mobile after one year of this refining, provided the steel has daily access to a vein of ore.