Best of the Beastiary, D&D

Clay Golem: Like the Batman Villain, Except Not

Can we just replace this one with Clayface? I’d be fine with that.

The more rigid it’s physical form, the less likely the golem is to lose its sense of purpose. The clay ones can be a bit twitchy.

Words of warning in the Manual of Clay Golems

Clay golems are pretty simple. They’re made to protect sacred shrines. Their bodies are infused with a sacred spirit. When the spirit leaves, the remaining body flies on a rampage.

Aaaand that’s it. Okay, moving on.

Design: Did a kid build this one?

These guys are supposed to be built by experts, right? You’re telling me an expert made this?

He looks ready to give good suck.

Well, you’re getting exactly what the lore tells you you’re getting. It’s a mound of clay given life. It certainly looks like it could pack a punch and it looks very angery. But… there’s nothing else to it, really.

On the bright side: getting a model of this should be easy! Just give a kid a mound of clay and tell ’em to make it look like a dude! You’ll have one within the hour!

Stats: Thick, Wet, and Durable

I didn’t mean for that to be an innuendo, but… you know what? Let’s just move on.

Killing a clay golem is a proper pain in the ass. Its AC isn’t all that high, but it more than makes up for it by being immune to acid (it actually heals when hit with acid, because why not?), poison, psychic, and all melee damage not imbued with magic. And charm, exhaustion, frighten, paralysis, petrification, and poison. It’s also immune to any spell that may alter its form (no polymorph), has advantage on all saving throws against magical effects, and all of its attacks are imbued with magical properties. Combine all of that with its triple-digit HP and you’ve got a fight that’ll last a while.

Its primary deadly ability is Berserk. When its HP drops to 60 or lower, you roll a d6. On a 6, the golem flies into a rampage, relentlessly attacking anything close to it. So… all it really does is encourage it to attack. Maybe not so deadly after all.

What is deadly is its Slam attack. Damage wise, it is pretty deadly. But it also has an ability that forces you to make a DC 15 Con save. Fail that, and your maximum HP is reduced by the damage, not just your current HP pool. If that reduces your HP to zero, you are dead. Only magic like Greater Restoration can fix the effect.

Hope you can roll well. Because it can do this twice per turn.

It can also give itself Haste! This allows it to use Slam as a bonus action, gives it a +2 to AC, and it gains advantage on all dexterity saving throws. This lasts until the end of its next turn. And if you roll a 5 or 6, it gets that ability right back!

Overall, it’s a fairly simple but compelling boss fight. It’s durable as hell and its abilities are highly dangerous. It can easily become tedious if you aren’t careful, but it is certainly a deadly foe to pit your players against.

Placement

It saved it right at the last second! The lore is boring and the design even more so. But the stats managed to save it right at the end! It’s still not a top-ten tier monster, but it’s certainly above the bottom ten!

With all that in mind, let’s put the Clay Golem on the Best of the Bestiary!

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Dragon Turtle
  4. Green Dragons
  5. Red Dragons
  6. Blue Dragons
  7. Black Dragons
  8. White Dragons
  9. Silver Dragons
  10. Couatl
  11. Behir
  12. Aboleth
  13. Bronze Dragons
  14. Brass Dragons
  15. Copper Dragons
  16. Gold Dragons
  17. Chuul
  18. Gibbering Mouther
  19. Chimera
  20. Death Knight
  21. Fomorian
  22. Bone Devil
  23. Dracolich
  24. Faerie Dragon
  25. Ankheg
  26. Storm Giant
  27. Hill Giant
  28. Empyrean
  29. Efreeti
  30. Dao
  31. Cloud Giant
  32. Drow (all four of ’em)
  33. Shadow Demon
  34. Marilith
  35. Drider
  36. Aarackockra
  37. Azer
  38. Demilich
  39. Spectator
  40. Marid
  41. Cambion
  42. Fire Giant
  43. Animated Armor
  44. Banshee
  45. Basilisk
  46. Yochlol
  47. Bulette
  48. Cloaker
  49. Darkmantle
  50. Doppelganger
  51. Ghoul and Ghast
  52. Ettin
  53. Pit Fiend
  54. Erinyes
  55. Chain Devil
  56. Bearded Devil
  57. Barbed Devil
  58. Spined Devil
  59. Ice Devil
  60. Djinni
  61. Nalfeshnee
  62. Glabrezu
  63. Chasme
  64. Barlgura
  65. Horned Devil
  66. Balor
  67. Shadow Dragon
  68. Vrock
  69. Dretch
  70. Gnolls (all three)
  71. Goristro
  72. Hezrou
  73. Manes
  74. Frost Giant
  75. Duergar
  76. Quasit
  77. Dryad
  78. Flumph
  79. Goblin
  80. Githyanki
  81. Planetar
  82. Imp
  83. Clay Golem <——————–
  84. Flameskull
  85. Displacer Beast
  86. Carrion Crawler
  87. Githzerai
  88. Rug of Smothering
  89. Bugbear Chief
  90. Bugbear
  91. Vine Blight
  92. Twig Blight
  93. Needle Blight
  94. Bullywug
  95. Ettercap
  96. Gas Spore
  97. Cockatrice
  98. Lemure
  99. Solar
  100. Deva
  101. Cyclops
  102. Centaur
  103. Ghost
  104. Fire Elemental
  105. Water Elemental
  106. Air Elemental
  107. Stone Giant
  108. Deep Gnome
  109. Dinosaurs (All six of them)
  110. Earth Elemental
  111. Galeb Duhr
  112. Flying Sword
  113. Crawling Claw
  114. Violet Fungus
  115. Shrieker
  116. Gargoyle

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