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Demzer
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Posted - 05 Aug 2018 :  12:42:50  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Greetings all,

I'm going through The Ruins of Undermountain II: the Deep Levels boxed set of 2E and I'm toying with possible evolutions of the situation in Trobriand's Graveyard.

One thing that baffles me is the repeated statement that all the experiments the automatons are making will be fruitless because as constructs and inanimate beings they can't control magical energies. This is confusing because much of my ruleset knowledge comes from 3E where there are plenty of extraplanar constructs with spellcasting abilities (and some other constructs with a twist with very limited spell-like abilities), among those the inevitables and especially the maruts that were already present in 2E (although I don't think in 2E extraplanar construct were a thing as defined under the 3E ruleset).

So I'm wondering if experimenting with the essence of such extraplanar creatures it would be possible to create constructs capable of spellcasting (something like binding the essence of the creature to the construct) and, if that's the case, if Trobriand would be keen on giving some of his pets this chance.
He has a very hands-off approach to the society growing up in his Graveyard but for his own studies it would be interesting if he decided to have mechanical apprentices ... or not?

Edited by - Demzer on 05 Aug 2018 12:43:47

Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 05 Aug 2018 :  16:24:59  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Keep in mind that in 2E, free-willed constructs were the exception, not the rule. And planar stuff gets to do all sorts of things Prime stuff doesn't.

Me, I'd allow a very small number of the silversanns to somehow gain spellcasting abilities. Of course, that could make them a threat to Squch, since they can control Trobriand's automatons, as well.

In fact, that might make for a fun development. A handful of silversanns become spellcasters. One of them uses his abilities to buff himself up, making himself more of a physical threat (and more likely to do well if physically attacked). This silversann gets ambitious, and basically rebels against Squch. The other spellcasting silversanns (Spellsanns? Silverspells?) take sides -- some stick with our newly buffed up silversann, and a couple stay loyal to Squch. Of course, Squch won't trust them entirely, but he needs them to help deal with the rogues...

And the rebellion doesn't even have to be able both sides wanting to rule -- that's Squch's gig. Maybe the rebel leader sees more value in building a thriving community of mechanicals. Maybe he wants to lead his automatons to some isolated place, where they are free to develop their own society and find their own destiny, without worrying about Trobriand or random groups of murder-hobos stomping thru the place.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 05 Aug 2018 16:28:45
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Demzer
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Posted - 05 Aug 2018 :  20:00:27  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Keep in mind that in 2E, free-willed constructs were the exception, not the rule. And planar stuff gets to do all sorts of things Prime stuff doesn't.



Yeah, I was thinking as much but my monster-lore in the 2E ruleset is weak.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Me, I'd allow a very small number of the silversanns to somehow gain spellcasting abilities. Of course, that could make them a threat to Squch, since they can control Trobriand's automatons, as well.

In fact, that might make for a fun development. A handful of silversanns become spellcasters. One of them uses his abilities to buff himself up, making himself more of a physical threat (and more likely to do well if physically attacked). This silversann gets ambitious, and basically rebels against Squch. The other spellcasting silversanns (Spellsanns? Silverspells?) take sides -- some stick with our newly buffed up silversann, and a couple stay loyal to Squch. Of course, Squch won't trust them entirely, but he needs them to help deal with the rogues...

And the rebellion doesn't even have to be able both sides wanting to rule -- that's Squch's gig. Maybe the rebel leader sees more value in building a thriving community of mechanicals. Maybe he wants to lead his automatons to some isolated place, where they are free to develop their own society and find their own destiny, without worrying about Trobriand or random groups of murder-hobos stomping thru the place.



Yep, that's exactly the kind of development I wanted, to avoid Undermountain going stale. The silversanns would probably first make something like a Kwalish Apparatus that could fire a couple of wands and such other usables and this will please Squch. Then some of them will start actually casting spells, with one or a couple quickly outpacing the others, Squch would try to enforce his dominance and be surprised by the fact that 1) it's not so easy and 2) Trobriand actually enjoys this twists and prevent either side from winning.
To ensure space and resources for everyone Trobriand sends more supplies in and helps the spellcasting silversanns and those that want to follow them to actually burrow and dig extensions of the level.

Squch re-assesses its judgement seeing the potential for expansion and conquest and sues for peace and collaboration.

Fun times for everyone when the machines will start bumping into other levels of Undermountain, spilling in the Underdark and everywhere else, proving that even Trobriand's discarded childrens are more than a match to the living, to Trobriand's great amusement.

Edited by - Demzer on 05 Aug 2018 20:10:26
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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 05 Aug 2018 :  21:02:04  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think the being able to cast spells is something to do with being alive/having a soul.

Planar creatures can do it (even ones that are made to resemble constructs) because they are fashioned out of souls. Intelligent undead can do it because they are the opposite of alive (the either feed off a soul or have an anti soul).

Constructs are just bits of metal. Yes metal can be enchanted, and yes they can use the magic powers they were enchanted with, but they cannot pick up a spellbook and learn to cast it (there are always exceptions).

I'm happy to give constructs spell like abilities, someone took the time to enchant the construct with those magic powers and it can use them (within the confines of its programming), but free learning and casting of new magic is not possible. Except for warforged which somehow I put down to them having a soul - as part of the construction method for them.

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Demzer
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Posted - 05 Aug 2018 :  21:10:09  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Actually if I remember correctly even standard iron/clay/ecc... golems have souls in a fashion because to animate them they were infused with the essence of elementals (which are extraplanar and exhibit a wide variety of spell-casting powers).
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 06 Aug 2018 :  01:03:17  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

I think the being able to cast spells is something to do with being alive/having a soul.

Planar creatures can do it (even ones that are made to resemble constructs) because they are fashioned out of souls. Intelligent undead can do it because they are the opposite of alive (the either feed off a soul or have an anti soul).

Constructs are just bits of metal. Yes metal can be enchanted, and yes they can use the magic powers they were enchanted with, but they cannot pick up a spellbook and learn to cast it (there are always exceptions).

I'm happy to give constructs spell like abilities, someone took the time to enchant the construct with those magic powers and it can use them (within the confines of its programming), but free learning and casting of new magic is not possible. Except for warforged which somehow I put down to them having a soul - as part of the construction method for them.



So how do you explain Squch, Aragus, and other canon, free-willed constructs that are capable of learning? (Both Squch and Aragus are, BTW, from Ed's pen).

(Note that I'm leaving out Alias and her sisters, since they all got a chunk of soul from Dragonbait)

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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 06 Aug 2018 :  09:38:11  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well that is the big question, how do we explain self aware constructs like squuch. Do we know how trobriand created them, does trobriand know. Did he use murder in the creation process and trap someones soul in the automaton in a similar fashion to elemental in golems (I don't believe elemental have souls as they are extraplanar in nature). Did trobriand accidentally create a mini phylactery and imprison a portion of his own soul inside it. Did he accidentally discover the secret to creating life and how to imbue forms with a soul.


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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 06 Aug 2018 :  10:07:24  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

Well that is the big question, how do we explain self aware constructs like squuch. Do we know how trobriand created them, does trobriand know. Did he use murder in the creation process and trap someones soul in the automaton in a similar fashion to elemental in golems (I don't believe elemental have souls as they are extraplanar in nature). Did trobriand accidentally create a mini phylactery and imprison a portion of his own soul inside it. Did he accidentally discover the secret to creating life and how to imbue forms with a soul.





Nothing even implies any of those things were true. It says he decided to make them intelligent and just did it.

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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 06 Aug 2018 :  11:36:10  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well the vagueness gives a lot of room for interpretation, I doubt it was as simple as him clicking his fingers and he just did it. We can assume lots of complicated magic was involved as this kind of magic has not been seen before in the realms. Murder may have been involved, it may not, the lack of mention does not prevent it's involvement in the magic. It is entirely possible that this was a freak accident or it is magic that trobriand does not fully understand and by casting the magic he is stealing a soul from elsewhere. This could result in some nasty unintended consequences if anyone tries to replicate the magic and could also be the cause of reprisals from where ever the soul was stolen.

Or he could just have clicked his fingers and did it, but that seems a lot less interesting.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 06 Aug 2018 :  15:26:09  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

We can assume lots of complicated magic was involved as this kind of magic has not been seen before in the realms.



Since when? There are a lot of intelligent magical items in the Realms.

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sleyvas
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Posted - 06 Aug 2018 :  16:11:24  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
just to note, in 2e, Helmed Horrors I believe became free willed if their master died.

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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 06 Aug 2018 :  16:37:25  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

We can assume lots of complicated magic was involved as this kind of magic has not been seen before in the realms.



Since when? There are a lot of intelligent magical items in the Realms.



Is that true intelligence or artificial intelligence. Magic items are created with a pre programmed purpose and they always act to fulfil that purpose, are they capable of acting contrary to that purpose or evolving beyond it. AI for computers will soon become so sophisticated most will not be able to distinguish between that and real intelligence but it does not take away the fact that it is artificial and can be programmed.

Is squuch true intelligence or magically artificial intelligence. Is what stops the casting of spells a soul or true intelligence (and why awakened skeletons could cast spells even though they definitely do not have a soul or an anti version of one.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 06 Aug 2018 :  17:23:59  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Where is it written that a soul is require for spellcasting?

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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 06 Aug 2018 :  17:44:31  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Nowhere, and yet squuch and the automaton are struggling to cast spells so one has to wonder why if they possess the intelligence to do so

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 06 Aug 2018 :  20:17:47  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

Nowhere, and yet squuch and the automaton are struggling to cast spells so one has to wonder why if they possess the intelligence to do so



Millions of people and critters in the Realms are intelligent enough to cast spells, but aren't spellcasters.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 06 Aug 2018 20:18:52
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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 06 Aug 2018 :  20:28:02  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
But is the failure of certain humans to cast spells as a result of lacking whatever it is necessary to cast spells or is it more a lack of money, opportunity, discipline, self belief. We know that humanoids can cast spells

These intelligent constructs want to cast spells, need to cast spells, and yet for some reason cannot. We know that as a rule constructs cannot cast spells (unlike humanoids which is the other way around). Among constructs I can think only of warforged that cast spells and they are special for a number of reasons.

I'm not angling for a specific answer here, just thinking up possibilities and reasons why Squuch and his automata cannot cast spells.

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sleyvas
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Posted - 06 Aug 2018 :  21:45:31  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dazz, such is the mystery of magic, a mystery furthered by Mystra. Noone truly understands why certain creatures are able to cast spells and others cannot. Numerous theories abound, but for every theory, there is some loophole to prove it incorrect.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 06 Aug 2018 :  22:13:31  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

But is the failure of certain humans to cast spells as a result of lacking whatever it is necessary to cast spells or is it more a lack of money, opportunity, discipline, self belief. We know that humanoids can cast spells

These intelligent constructs want to cast spells, need to cast spells, and yet for some reason cannot. We know that as a rule constructs cannot cast spells (unlike humanoids which is the other way around). Among constructs I can think only of warforged that cast spells and they are special for a number of reasons.




You can't apply that rule -- constructs in general can't cast spells because they are not intelligent. Squch and the silversanns are intelligent, so that rule does not apply to them.

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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 07 Aug 2018 :  06:52:24  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Of course I can categorise squuch like all other constructs, I want to.

A chair cannot cast spells, even if it gains intelligence I will still not allow it to cast spells.

The point about the helmed horror is interesting though. When they gain free will do they also gain intelligence or are they still acting on their programming but without the constraints of a master to obey.

Going off Eds past musings about life and magic being connected it kind of makes sense that a soul is required for casting a spell. Plus it makes soulled constructs more interesting because when you do create them where do you get the soul from.


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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 07 Aug 2018 :  10:11:04  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

Of course I can categorise squuch like all other constructs, I want to.


That's your call. And I can say that watermelons and basketballs are the same thing, if I want. But it's still not a valid comparison. You're saying that since something mindless can't cast spells, then neither can something with a mind.

quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

A chair cannot cast spells, even if it gains intelligence I will still not allow it to cast spells.


Do what you want in your own game... But unless you can point to something which says it's not possible, I'm going to say that it is.

quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

Going off Eds past musings about life and magic being connected it kind of makes sense that a soul is required for casting a spell. Plus it makes soulled constructs more interesting because when you do create them where do you get the soul from.



Honestly, I think it makes them *less* interesting, because then it's just another critter, in a different shell.

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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 07 Aug 2018 :  10:27:35  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's a comparison of constructs and constructs so I think a better analogy is that id be saying water melons and grapes are similar (not the same but they share similar attributes such as sweetness, seeds, etc). If I were to try and categorise constructs, based on current observed behaviour one of the attributes I would assign Is "can't cast spells".

Looking at all the constructs, mindless and non mindless, the only ones who can cast spells are those with souls (and the warforged who may have souls). It's not a foolproof assumption of a soul being required for spellcasting but there is nothing in canon to say it is an invalid assumption (yet).


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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 07 Aug 2018 :  14:18:16  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Nothing in canon says souls are required for spellcasting; nothing in canon says whether or not Trobriand's automatons have souls; and nothing says that his automatons will never be able to cast spells.

I still say your comparison is invalid when you're comparing a handful of unique ones that are very dissimilar to the thousands of "regular" golems and such. When something is unique, or damn near unique, that uniqueness sets it apart from anything you could compare it to.

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Demzer
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Posted - 07 Aug 2018 :  14:43:57  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Actually I think you are focusing too much on the soul thing, if you go down that route you'll need to argue that in older editions dwarves didn't have souls.

Maybe I posed the question in the wrong way but it was twofold: on one hand I was wondering what in 2E ruleset adamantly prevented constructs from using magical energies, on the other hand I was asking for ideas on how to develop their eventual discovery of magic.

On the matter of constructs incapability of casting spells, I would pin it more on their designed resistance/immunity to magic, so if you can realx that aspect as a creator then you can get spellcasting constructs (starting with a slightly inferior resistance with a couple of spell like abilities and going to almost no resistance and archmage level potential, or something like that).
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sleyvas
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Posted - 07 Aug 2018 :  15:38:55  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal


A chair cannot cast spells, even if it gains intelligence I will still not allow it to cast spells.



Why not? A magic item with intelligence can do so. What's the true difference between a chair and an intelligent stick/staff? Both are wood in a different shape. Granted, I won't say its at all common, but its not outside the realm of possibility, and we don't have a definitive answer as to why and/or how this works.... its a mystery of magic.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 07 Aug 2018 :  17:36:29  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Actually I think you are focusing too much on the soul thing, if you go down that route you'll need to argue that in older editions dwarves didn't have souls.

Maybe I posed the question in the wrong way but it was twofold: on one hand I was wondering what in 2E ruleset adamantly prevented constructs from using magical energies, on the other hand I was asking for ideas on how to develop their eventual discovery of magic.

On the matter of constructs incapability of casting spells, I would pin it more on their designed resistance/immunity to magic, so if you can realx that aspect as a creator then you can get spellcasting constructs (starting with a slightly inferior resistance with a couple of spell like abilities and going to almost no resistance and archmage level potential, or something like that).



In 2E, there were no prohibitions that I'm aware of that prevented intelligent constructs from being spellcasters.

The reason we didn't see such things in 2E were two-fold:

1) In 2E, free-willed and sentient constructs were very much the exception and were all unique, one-off creations. Constructs weren't the most common things, and the rules really didn't cover the concept of free-willed and intelligent constructs. Intelligent constructs were kind of an afterthought.

2) This discussion has focused on constructs being wizards... But there was no mechanism in 2E for anything other than PCs to have classes (and even those were limited, in many cases). So we don't have any documented intelligent constructs that were wizards -- but none that were rogues or clerics, either, and the one golem fighter that's documented in 2E was a former dwarf. It wasn't until 3E that anything and everything could have a character class.

That's the biggest thing in 2E about classed intelligent constructs -- not souls or anything like that, but rather a rules artifact that simply didn't conceive of classed entities that weren't human-shaped and mortal-born. At least, not in the core rules.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 07 Aug 2018 19:50:28
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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 07 Aug 2018 :  20:24:34  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal


A chair cannot cast spells, even if it gains intelligence I will still not allow it to cast spells.



Why not? A magic item with intelligence can do so. What's the true difference between a chair and an intelligent stick/staff? Both are wood in a different shape. Granted, I won't say its at all common, but its not outside the realm of possibility, and we don't have a definitive answer as to why and/or how this works.... its a mystery of magic.



The magic stick/staff only produces the effects imbued into it. It doesn't gain the ability to learn new spells and cast anything it likes, it is given a set of spells and it is stuck with them. Any construct can manifest the powers it was originally enchanted with, its the learning of new stuff that must be problematic (or else why would it be such a problem worth mentioning for squuch). The way I see it, the person writing about squuch had to have thought magic was beyond constructs else why would he have written about it in such a manner.

A plant cannot walk, but if you could modify the plant in order to have legs what is to stop it moving (apart from the brain of course). Squuch is a construct that can modify itself to whatever parameters it desires. It can create children in whatever form it wants. And yet despite searching and experimenting, it cannot cast spells, none of them can, because they are constructs and it says this is impossible.

The only constructs that have ever been documented as casting spells are warforged and a few of alias' clones. Warforged arguably have souls because they can be resurrected. Alias clones do have a soul.

It may be an entirely incorrect deduction I am making but there has to be a reason squuch cant do it, and arbitrary "mysteries of magic" do not cut it as an explanation for me.

Demzer originally wanted to know if extraplanar essence could be used to create constructs capable of spellcasting and I would suggest that the answer is yes because souls go to the outerplane and merge with it. Extraplanar creatures often spring up out of the plane itself and so may be recycled soul stuff. Some Baatezu are fashioned out of souls (I'm not sure about other extraplanar creatures). So take some extraplanar creature and imprison it inside a construct (like a golem does with an elemental essence) and you may well get a spellcasting capable construct (that probably hates you and wants to destroy you).

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