Eldritch Excursion – Riding on a Pale Gundam

Alternatively titled: Shinji, Get in The Coffin

Hello and welcome to Eldritch Excursion, the blog that remains steadfast with mechanics upon the precipice of death, and clings to the light of life with every last drop of flavor it has. This time, I’d like to revisit a concept discussed in one of my oldest entries of EE on the site. Specifically, how bypassing the mechanics of death allow for interesting storytelling. But this time, I’m not talking about a worldwide shift in the cycle of life, or even a free pass for the PCs. I’m talking about something more personal. Something artificial.

I’m talking about what it means to be chained between life and death.


His dreams always began peacefully. Open fields with the grass between his toes and the sun beaming upon his face. The face of a loved one and the feeling of a hand held within his, with warm skin pressing upon his calloused palm. But they would end the same way. Feeling cold, then feeling nothing. Chains wrapping around his body, dragging him back into his coffin. He would open his mouth to scream, but there would only be a silence. A silence so loud that it echoed through his head and bellowed forth from the ruined remains his gaping maw.

Each Awakening was the same. The peace of sleep was seized by the memory of his last battle as a living, breathing man. His frame shook with the sudden alertness as he was thrust back into the waking world. He could see through the tint of red glass that he was surrounded by robed figures, changing prayers in perfect unison. He could not smell the burning incense in the room, though its residual magic registered to him nevertheless.

The chanting dulled to a low hum, barely subvocalized, though the power within their prayers resonated throughout his body as clearly as the sound through any other man’s ears. One robed figure, bearing a sword and a holy symbol approached him. With a simple metal clang, the symbol was affixed to his chassis, and his limbs surged with an energy that banished the icy chill that had clung to them like lodestones.

The robed figure spoke. “Brother Fury, we once again need your voice.” The robed figure, a woman of orcish descent, looked to him with a mournful determination in her eyes. Even beneath those robes he could see the powerful body with rippling muscles beneath. Before, she was two heads above him. But she seemed so small, now.

“Then you shall have it.” The sound bellowed forth as if a cave itself had learned to speak, with the sting of steel against steel meeting the same way lips and teeth come together. “I raise my voice to the Goddess, and we shall bring swift retribution to our enemies. Glory to Her! Glory and victory!”

And so, the hymn began, with a booming voice and the percussion of heavy steel boots upon the ground.


Resurrection is a complicated ordeal in most games, with elaborate rituals and expensive reagents. I’ve discussed alternatives to this dynamic that makes bringing back the dead far more accessible to your low-level PCs, both with and without consequences. But one thing I didn’t go into was how these easy ways to bring people back can be pale imitations of life.

Having a fallen PC come back as some form of undead certainly is fun, and a concept that’s explored in detail by both the game’s mechanics and my own work. But what I’m suggesting is a bit less necromancy and a little more mechromancy.


When a warrior falls in battle, it might be possible to save them without the aid of high level magic or the ‘fool’s gold of immortality’ that is undeath. There is a certain kind of practice in which the body of the recently deceased is placed within a constructed vessel. Should there be no substantive remains, there are also practices that can simply place the spirit within the created form.

Examples of this practice are often used in some of my favorite science fiction settings. The iconic dragoons from Starcraft were mechanized bodies piloted by protoss warriors that were critically injured in battle. Warhammer 40,00 is another setting I adore and it’s absolutely lousy with coffin mecha: Examples range from the iconic space marine dreadnought to the stompy ork deff dread, and one could argue that the entirety of the necron race qualify. The little story above is largely inspired by the dreadnought and its awesome voice lines from the Dawn of War series.

But what could you do to play as someone given a second chance to live in a body of steel? The flavor of mechanical internment can apply to a surprising amount of things already in the game, actually. In Starfinder, something as simple as a character with the android race can be reflavored as a cybernetic revival. Perhaps your body was left in such a terrible state that it they had to place your soul in a fully mechanical frame? In that case, you could go with an SRO instead. Classes work as well, with something like evolutionist or nanocyte helping to represent your unique form. With the plethora of power armor and mechs, there might be options that are affordable for a PC with a few levels under their belt. If you’re looking for something a bit more grandiose, I’ve even written rules to accommodate a character who’s essence has been transferred to a starship if you want to go big.

But we’re not limited to science fiction. Pathfinder may be fantasy, but that fantasy has lots of possibility. Our old friends the androids make an appearance, and an ancestry like automaton is pretty much a perfect fit. There’s also a lot of potential if you don’t mind an organic vessel, with conrasu feeling very much like a spirit riding around in an upgradable vehicle for a body. In terms of classes, you could use summoner to skip the need for a rare ancestry entirely by taking the Meld Into Eidolon feat with a construct eidolon. You might want to work with your GM to limit your character’s natural body, and you’ll definitely want to homebrew a buff for the feat to allow spellcasting and perhaps some form of tandem actions. But if you’d rather skip the middle man and just play as the construct, I’ve written rules for that as well.

The whole Combat Wheelchair debate seems pretty mundane in comparison.

With these rules you should have more than enough to explore what it means to live your best life from the inside of your mobility sarcophagus. And hey, it might just let you have some badass moments of your own.

Come back next time and I’ll show you how your PC can start a family, even in today’s economy.

Nate Wright

Hey there. I'm Nate Wright, author of the Eldritch Excursion blog. I'm also a credited freelance author on several releases from Paizo. When I'm not scooping up my thoughts and slapping them onto your feed like so much delicious ice cream, I can be found on social media where I retweet pixel art and talk about how great summoners are.