My 5e game has a certain amount of steampunk elements to it: airships, constructs, etc. That's going to be a recurring element, so I've been thinking of how to make some interesting constructs. There are some constructs in the various monster books but most are a little too specialized, or powerful, etc. And in any case not quite what I'm looking for. I want some relatively mundane constructs that are still mechanically interesting.
I think I figured out my approach on that. They'll essentially all be based off the Animated Armor stat block, which is CR 1. They'll have 1 or 2 additional "tricks" up their sleeves, and possibly some vulnerabilities (aside from the animated armors vulnerability to anti-magic or dispel magic). For example, a construct designed to capture or restrain someone (like a guard) might fire nets, or have a sleep gas (as sleep spell) or fire slippery oil (as a grease spell). A more combat focused one might be have a flame thrower (burning hands) or possibly improved strength, damage, or a reach weapon. One designed for pursuit might have an ability like the Hunters Mark spell, or improved movement speed or an ability like the Jump spell. All first level spell equivalent sort of stuff.
Fancier, more advanced models might have slightly better stats, or abilities that mimic higher level spells. Different Artificers might specialize in certain types of construct.
I have an idea for a late game enemy where the big bad has captured teh soul of a phoenix in a construct phoenix under his control, and the PC's will have to fight it - and possibly free it so it can be reborn as it should be...