Robots may be technological and elementals may be magical, but inevitables straddle the line. Each designed to oversee and protect certain aspects of existence, the anhamut was built to watch over the exploration and mapping of the multiverse.
To understand the anhamut, look first at the category of outsider to which they belong. Inevitables are implacable machines created as stewards for reality, ensuring that its many aspects function as the laws of existence demand. Take note that this doesn’t mean they’re right, only that they’re orderly. Inevitables value law above all else and despise chaos. Depending on how you present them, this could mean they’re noble guardians who would shield mortals from the shifting chaos of the multiverse or orderly tyrants who would reduce all to a sterile void if only to ensure nothing will ever threaten its order.
As individuals, inevitables are created for a purpose. Some ensure mortals abide by the rules of their kind, some keep planes from colliding, but anhamuts have a more unusual function: to watch over those who would explore and map the multiverse. At first glance, this doesn’t quite fit with the inevitable agenda. Exploration is all well and good, but why should they care if reality is explored? It makes more sense when you look the multiverse as a series of cats in boxes. Merely knowing about something imposes order on it, so every planet discovered of back road mapped is a little more of reality locked into static form.
Anhamuts are guardians after all, so let’s look at their arsenal. Their primary ability is Discorporation (Ex), allowing the anhamut to drop its more robotic form for a cloud of nanites, granting it a flight speed, the ability to interface with technology through physical contact, and a sizable stealth bonus. Related to that is its Nanite Blade (Ex), a bonus feature the anhamut gets by virtue of its weapon being made entirely of those same nanites. The weapon counts as lawful for purposes of damage resistance and carries the new nanite weapon fusion described in its monster entry, dealing double acid damage on a critical hit and sickening the target as the nanites flood into their wounds and begin to consume them. As a ranged offensive attack the anhamut is also packing Electrical Discharge (Ex), an electrical blast that can be used in robotic or nanite cloud form. It also has Inevitable Onslaught (Ex), which allows it to make three attacks as a full round attack rather than two at the cost of a higher penalty to attack rolls.
Using anhamuts in your game will most likely relate to one of two parts of their description: their duty to guard explorers and their nanite nature. The former could see them appear as allies to you players, depending on your game. If they’re the type who like finding new wonders and seeing what’s out there, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for them to form an alliance with an anhamut. It would be best for such a bargain to be struck only at higher levels, or else with some mitigating factor to ensure it doesn’t overshadow the players. One such bargain would be for it to only guard their ship, which serves the dual purpose of keeping it out of the way and reassuring your players that their ship is safe so they can follow the plot. Of course, there’s no reason an anhamut would appear as an ally. If they waylaid an NPC who does some exploring, they could quickly find themselves marked as opponents of exploration. A space pirate who was searching uncharted areas for a new hideout or competitors in a treasure hunt in a new frontier would technically be considered explorers, and thus fall under its protection. Such a conflict would surely end in combat, unless a crafty player finds a way to exploit its dedication to law and convince it why they should be protected instead. The second reason is more likely to come up if your players are the type who dissect everything they find to learn about it. An anhamut is a pinnacle of extradimensional science, a nanite swarm that can coalesce into a solid being. Scientists would love to capture one for analysis, or arm a team of mercenaries with experimental weapons to see how it reacts, whatever the consequences to their hired muscle. Whatever the lab techs learn from it, it means some poor schmucks are facing a hungry swarm that can eat them from the inside out. Here’s a few plot hooks to use anhamuts in your game.
- The Totality Vault is the crown jewel of planar studies, a demiplane sought after by dimension hopping wizards and lunatic star jumpers for centuries. Legend tells of a barren gray desert beneath a starless night sky whose sole feature is a needle-like tower piercing the heavens at its heart. If one can enter the tower, they can find a perfect map of all of creation, allowing them to find back doors into the most secure of locations or safely gaze upon wonders that would reduce the unprepared to ash. But the journey to the spire is as hazardous as any death world. Not only does the demiplane lack any food or water and baffle all navigational equipment, the desert itself is a guardian. Formed of countless trillions of anhamut inevitables, discorporated into a nanite sand, the slightest sign of chaotic intent for the knowledge held in the vault will see a legion of silver warriors form from the dunes to strike down the intruders.
- Tempest is a harsh world, wracked in an eternal storm that rages across its entire surface. Most would never approach it but for the legends told by the cloaked and masked natives of the world. An ancient tale of a star crashing to the ground matches with historical records of a missing scout ship from the Mercantile Enclave, one that supposedly held a recorded route to a nebula dense in enough exotic materials to make a mortal rich within its memory banks. Attempts to find the ship are hindered by the apex anahmut inevitable that was bound by the captain of the vessel centuries ago, the first and most powerful of its kind. Gravely wounded in the crash and unable to recorporate to repair itself, the composite nanites of the being fill the atmosphere of the planet. It has become something akin to a minor deity, capable of using its Electrical Discharge to strike explorers with massive bolts of lighting and form fragments of itself into gray goo swarms to slay those who get too close. Why a being created to guard explorers would attack them is a secret that can only be uncovered with the successful retrieval of the data it protects, though whether that data is what rumors says is a mystery to all but the guardian itself.
- A bar fight gone wrong saw a survey scout hospitalized for several days for some broken bones, but not all feel the culprits have paid their dues. An anhamut now stalks them from planet to planet, seeking to eliminate what it considers to be enemies of exploration. Using its nanite form, it hijacks security systems and sabotages vital components of various starships in an attempt to kill them without drawing attention to itself. So far malfunctioning security robots and misaligned airlocks have been written off as accidents while the guilty party slips away through the bulkheads, but it’s growing impatient. If its not discovered and dealt with soon, it will resort to sizing control of a gunship and attacking them directly, regardless of any collateral damage such a tactic will invoke.