The party headed boldly north, to where they had been told the gnomes had last been seen… but first, a pitstop.
While delving ruins under an abandoned castle and trying to drive out a grell infestation, the party had come across what looked like a large but smaller than average iron golem in the treasure lair of a long-dead beholder. They carried off the gold, but had avoided the golem, expecting it to be some sort of failsafe security device they had been fortunate not to trigger yet.
Of course, they were wrong.
Once they got to learning about the gnomes and the fantastic constructs they piloted in battle and how those constructs looked a little like small iron golems and how that might be a reasonable thing for a egomaniacal beholder to keep as a trophy… They went back for a second look.
And so they did. On closer examination (they had pointedlt avoided even going near the thing the first time) they discovered the chest panel had severe structural damage and was propped closed after having been torn open.
Prying the chest plate back revealed a small seat with a safety harness. Two large metal gloves and metal helmet were also there, attached to the golem with thin metal wires.
The party looked at each other, and the halfling cleric shrugged. He was the only one small enough to try it out, and, after the “dress the cleric as a child” incident, he knew damn well they were gonna want him to.
He climbed in and the party took cover around the corner, you know, in case it exploded.
The halfling sat him down in the seat and put on the gloves and helmet. He discovered the helmet covered his eyes intentionally, but otherwise fit perfectly.
The halfling immediately found himself standing, disembodied, in a black void of some kind of otherspace. He could see himself, but nothing else was there with him. A gentle voice spoke from all around him.
“Hello, I am Pinwheel, Third Light Gnomish Lance. Where is Commander Dalyn? You are not Commander Dalyn.”
“Um, no, I’m Wolfgang, Cleric of Yondalla. I’m looking for the gnomes. Can you help me?”
“I’m sorry, only Commander Dalyn is authorized to pilot this construct. Are you Commander Dalyn?”
The halfling paused to consider his options. “No, I’m not, but I do need your help to find the gnomes and prevent the end of the world.”
“Please elaborate on ‘end of the world'”
“Pinwheel? How long have you been stuck here?”
“Unclear, time is not known. Presumed a long time.”
“What is your last memory, Pinwheel?”
“Commander Dalyn engaged a beholder to cleanse the area and rescue nearby villages. During combat, this unit received critical structural damage and Commander Dalyn exited the construct to engage to enemy and enact repairs.” Pinwheel paused as if checking something, “Self Repair Protocol is… offline.”
“Damnit, There is a demon army massing to invade and destroy the realm. I need to find the gnomes. Can you help me?”
Pinwheel paused, weighing it’s options. “The only authorized users are Commander Dalyn and repair crew. Are you repair crew?”
The halfling didn’t like lying and made a worried face. Pinwheel continued.
“The world needs saving. I want to help. Are you repair crew?“
The halfling took a deep breath and nodded in the void. “Greater good.” He muttered to himself.
“Excellent! Mobility authorized! Magic Missile Pod offline. Scorching Array offline. Force Scythe offline. Grapple countermeasures offline. Gravitational dampeners offline. Inertial shielding offline. Let’s save the world, Repair Technician Wolfgang.”
Before he could respond Wolfgang felt his senses shift to looking out of the constructs helmet and he peered down at where his party was peering back up at him. He had an overwhelming sense of bigness he had never experienced before.
When he spoke his voice came out booming and mechanical. “Ok, guys. I’m in. We can find the gnomes.”
He took his first uncertain steps out of the alcove and into the main treasure room. The constuct moved like his own body naturally would. It was time to save the world!