Grave Hornets

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Grave hornets are a type of guardian automaton created to attack intruders in important First Age tombs. They are somewhat similar to automaton assassins, but are smaller, built to spend long periods dormant and possess more independence. The hornets are fairly innocuous looking, resembling one of the larger species of hornet, save that they are obviously metal.

Hornets would typically be scattered and concealed throughout a tomb, where they would wait in dormancy until someone came near. When someone came near, they would call upon their essence reserves to power their wings, fly to the target as stealthfully as possible and attempt to worm their way under clothes or armor and sting the intruder. If successful, they would move on to a new target, or hide themselves again before running out of power.

Hornets require no commitment, but rather have their own essence reservoir (20 motes) which they can only use to make themselves move. They must spend one mote per turn of activity and, therefore, burn through this pool very quickly. The pool can be filled by any essence user, but the hornets also have small, not particularly efficient, essence collectors as well that refill this reservoir at a rate of one mote per week. Typically, hornets would be put into tombs completely drained, as the last action of sealing a tomb, so that they would not attack those placing them. By the time the hornet had generated enough essence to move, the tomb would be sealed and its architects safely away.

Hornets can hold five doses of any venom to deliver with their sting. Unlike automaton assassins, hornets cannot produce their own venom, though they will continue to deliver one sting per intruder even when they are dry. To make up for this deficiency, hornets were usually deployed in groups of a half dozen or more in a single area.

Hornets are surprisingly durable for their size, and building both durability and essence collection into a package so small is a secret lost with the passing of the First Age. Even in such times, building them was tricky, particularly storing them until needed. Immediately after construction, hornets were usually sealed into glass containers. When they needed to be deployed, people would stand in front of these containers, which goaded the hornets into motion until they expended all their energy.

Hornets can only walk one yard per turn, but can fly 20 yards per turn as normal movement. Their agility when flying allows them to reflexively dodge all attacks against them while airborne at their full pool.

If brought down below incapacitated while any motes remain in their pool, the hornet explodes, sending shards of metal (potentially poisoned, if any doses remain) into everyone in a two yard radius. This resolved as a counterattack rolling one die for every mote remaining in the pool, doing a base 1L damage and delivering venom if any remains.

Material Bonuses

Grave hornets are always made from at least one of the five magical materials to withstand the passage of time; however, all hornets function the same way regardless of material. Most are, therefore, made from jade. Some, however, carry poisons that only remain viable in connection with certain materials.


Some of these are deployed in a crowded hallway in Wyr'palja's mausoleum.

Game Information

Commitment: none
Artifact: ●●●

Gender None Height 3 cm Eye Color Metallic
Nature Martyr Weight 0.25 kg Hair Color Metallic
Type Automoton Skin Color Metallic
Concept Stealthy tomb guardian
Dexterity ●●●●●●
Perception ●●●●
Stamina ●●●
Wits ●●●●
Sting (Spd -1, Acc -1, Dmg +1L, Def -3)
-0 _
-1 _ _
-2 _ _ _
-4 _
Inc _
Natural Soak 3B/1L/0A
Total Soak 5B/5L/3A
Athletics  ●●●  Flying +3  Crawling inside clothes/armor +3
Awareness  ●●  While undetected +3
Dodge  ●●●●●●
Martial Arts  ●●  Sting +3
Stealth  ●●●  Hiding +3  Crawling inside clothes/armor +3
Willpower ●●●●●●●●●●
  Personal 20 ()