Friday, April 3, 2009

Golems of the Javarta Campaign

Part of the fun of campaign design is deciding how your design decisions impact the use of DnD staples like magic items, monsters, and so on. I have already decided that magical metal weapons can only be fashioned from Golan metal fallen to earth from the sundered Golan moon (see To Sûr With Love). That has all sorts of implications, but while reviewing monsters in the Swords & Wizardry ruleset, I saw an interesting opportunity to harmonize a traditional D&D monster with its new environment.

The changes are in the flavor text; I made only minimal changes to the S&W stats. Some might regard this as fluff, but fluff is the stuff from which adventures are made. Decisions made here have a large impact on how golems might be used and by whom, and where they might be encountered.

Golems are animated man-shaped creatures fashioned from the various elements of Golan rock. Golems are created by particularly powerful priests, though clerics of more modest ability have been known to animate golems if blessed by an Avatar or working from librams preserved by certain temple sects.

Golems possess a rudimentary intelligence and knowledge of their creator’s native tongue, and can follow simple instructions. Golems cannot speak. They are incapable of disobeying their creators, but caution is warranted when commanding them, because they tend to be very literal in interpretation. They also simply stop listening when commands become too complex, which can lead to tasks being half completed, sometimes with disastrous results!

Golems can only be hurt by weapons fashioned from Golan metal. They are also immune to the sorts of spells used to create them (iron golems being immune to fire, for instance).

Clay Golem
Clay golems are fashioned from soil and water drawn from the impact crater of a Golan meteor. Because such sites in the Old World tend to have towns and cities built up over them, the clay golem is most closely associated with urban environments.

Due to the mix of profane earthly matter with the blessed Celestial elements borne from the sundered Golan moon, Clay golems are somewhat unstable. For each round of combat, a clay golem has a 1% chance (cumulative) to go berserk, leaving its master’s control and attacking enemies and allies alike.

 Non-magical weapons made of Golan metal do half damage to clay golems, while enchanted ones do full damage. They are immune to all spells other than those affecting earth, and these have very diminished effects—with one exception. An earthquake spell utterly destroys a clay golem.

Clay Golem: HD 12 (50hp); AC 7[12]; Atk 1 fist (3d10); Move 8; Save 5; CL/XP; 14/2700; Special: Weapons fashioned of Golan metal to hit (non-magical Golan weapons do half damage), immune to spells.

Stone Golem
Stone golems are fashioned from Golan meteor rock. When the requisite amount of rock is gathered, it is fused together to form a massive stone statue and animated by very powerful magic.

Stone golems can only be harmed by magical +1 or better weapons fashioned from Golan metal. They are slowed by fire spells, and damaged/healed by rock to mud spells and the reverse. Spells that affect rock (and fire spells) are the only magic that affects them.

Stone Golem: HD 15 (60hp); AC 5[14]; Atk 1 fist (3d8); Move 6; Save 3; CL/XP 16/3200; Special: +1 or better magical weapon fashioned of Golan metal to hit, immune to most magic.

Iron Golem
Iron golems, fashioned from Golan metal itself, are the rarest and most powerful of all golems. These huge moving statues of iron can breathe a 10 foot radius cloud of poison gas. They can only be harmed by magical +2 or better weapons fashioned from Golan metal. They are slowed by lightning spells, but fire-based spells actually restore hit points to them. No other type of spell affects them.

Iron Golem: HD 20 (80hp); AC 3[16]; Atk 1 weapon or fist (4d10); Move 6; Save 3; CL/XP 18/3800; Special: Poison gas, +2 or better magical weapon fashioned of Golan metal to hit, slowed by lightning, healed by fire, immune to most magic.

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