Golems (Part 1): General Lore

Beyond the unopenable doors lay a grand hall ending before a towering stone throne, upon which sat an iron statue taller and wider than two men. In one hand it clutched an iron sword, in the other, a feather whip. We should have turned back then.

Mordenkainen the archmage, chronicling his party’s harrowing exploits in the dungeons below Maure Castle

Golems are an oft forgotten staple of fantasy. Granted, I understand why. A walking hunk of clay or iron or whatever in a humanoid shape isn’t exactly the most compelling thing. Especially in comparison to something like a dragon or even a giant.

Question is: are D&D golems as forgettable? Or are they a gem worthy of your campaign? Let’s find out!

Despite being made of simple materials, golems are creatures of great power and durability. They have no emotions, no desires, and no needs. They are unstoppable juggernauts that exist for the sole purpose of fulfilling their masters desire.

Constructing a golem begins with building its body, a task that requires a fantastic command of sculpting, stonecutting, ironworking, or surgery. While a golem’s master may be a master of these crafts themselves, they often enlist help of experts in those fields to help build the body. Once the body is built, it is infused with a spirit from the Earth Plane, bringing it to life with no memory or personality.

No matter what they are set to guard, be it a tomb or a castle or some sacred sight, a golem will guard it forever, even after its master dies. Their bodies are nigh impregnable, resistant to all but the most powerful spells. However, should one acquire the item its previous master used to control it, they could make it their servant instead.

When ordered to perform a task, golems perform it flawlessly. When it can’t do that, it may do absolutely nothing, or it may react violently. One given conflicting orders sometimes alternates between the two. As it only understands its orders, it cannot be tricked or persuaded.

Yeah, that’s… pretty boring. You can’t do much with it in terms of storytelling. All it does is give you an easy boss for a dungeon. Its potential for interesting narratives is extremely limited.

But who knows? Maybe they stand better as individuals!


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