Iron cobras were activated and de-activated by their masters through use of command words. When activated an iron cobra obeyed simple commands; while de-active, an iron cobra was completely silent. Additionally, when ordered by their creator to track down a creature (whose name must be known to the creator), they could detect its position as if by the locate creature spell. Some described this ability of theirs as them honing in on their target's psychic vibrations and that they could be blocked by spells such as mind blank.
Despite their size and metal forms, iron cobras were surprisingly stealthy.
Their bodies possessed a magic resistance and could see in areas of total darkness out to a range of 60 feet (18 meters). They were immune to spells that affected the mind and some were unaffected by the spell web. They could not be harmed by non-magical weapons unless they were made of adamantine.
Iron cobras were venomous, with an internal reservoir that held three doses of poison, though said reservoir could be refilled in but a minute. The exact type of poison varied, although venom from a monstrous spider was a common choice. Some loaded them with alchemical concoctions that paralyze creatures or cloud their minds with paranoia.
Iron cobras' combat tactics were simple, but typically effective: bite until the enemy died.
As constructs, they had little to no effect on their surrounding environment, and could be found in any land ecosystem.
Iron cobras could be created from 100 pounds (45,000 grams) of iron by a caster of above-average skill who could cast both arcane and divine spells. The creation process also required use of the spells animate object, freedom of movement, geas/quest, and locate creature.
It was said that the first eight iron cobras were created ages ago by a powerful wizard-cleric, and that they were indestructible. Other spellcasters after them tried to copy the design, but with uniformly less powerful results. Others believed that they were a gnomish invention and grouped them in with other gnomish constructs known as clockworks.
Rumors & Legends
Some claimed that there were only a dozen or so iron cobras in existence.
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- Spike Y. Jones (December 1990). “The Mechanics of the Iron Cobra”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #164 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 72–78.
- Dragon #95, "Into the Forgotten Realms" • Curse of the Azure Bonds • Dungeon #37: "A Wizard's Fate" • Dungeon #210: "The Vulture's Feast" • Scepter Tower of Spellgard • Dragon+ #26: "Six Faces of Death"
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