Monday, October 15, 2012

The Awakened Golem

Golems are a big part of the D&D game.  Well. Maybe not a *big* part, but they have their part to play.  What is interesting about them though is the varieties of myths that were pulled together to make them.
The word Golem and the Clay Golem monster have their roots in Jewish folklore, horror and film.  The Flesh Golem is an homage to Frankenstein and his monster.
Other Golems come from a variety of places.  The Iron and Stone Golems seem to have basis in tales, but the most likely origin seems to be the films featuring the Ray Harryhausen monsters, in particular the giant statue from Jason and the Argonauts (whose fertile ground also gave us Skeletons).

The one thing that many of these stories have that the RPG monster does not though is the semblance of true life.  After all.  A Golem with no life that does it's business is no big deal.  But give it a spark of true life and suddenly you have horror.

The Awakened Golem then is a Golem that has been "Awakened", it has a spark of true life.  This is either by accident such as a word or letter is mis-coded in a Clay Golem, or the personality of the original body lives on in the Flesh Golem, or the animating spirit in the Druther overrides the witch's control, or even the golem becomes the vessel of some spirit of vengeance.  What ever the cause a living soul is now in procession of a body that it can only see as an abomination.

Different types of Golems have different chance of Awakening.  This percent is rolled when the golem is made or under special circumstance; such as a nearby tragic death, or a bolt of eldritch lighting hits it.
(These Golems have appeared in various editions of the game)

Statue (any golem made to be a statue):  2%
Iron, Stone, Amber, Silver, Mud (any non-living mater): 5%
Clay, Wood, Druther, Bone (formerly living matter): 10%
Flesh, Corpse (formerly a sentient being): 15%  +5% if body parts come a wrongly convicted murderer.
Plush (special Ravenloft golem): Plush golems and stuffed toys are better handled as an  Imaginary Friend or a Boogey.

In most cases the Awakened Golem will be Chaotic, or at best Neutral.  Some rare cases will occur when the awakened Golem will be Lawful.

The changes to the monster will be a greater intelligence (at least Average, often more) and a blinding hate for whomever created it.  The Awakened Golem, even Lawful ones, will be driven to write some percieved wrong.  An Awakened Golem might want to kill their creator, or kill everyone.  Or it might want to discover the killer of some innocent.  What ever  the motivation it should be tied directly to their origin story.

The Awakend Golem gains HD over their non-awakened counterparts. Better AC and attacks.
Despite their origin and/or appearance, Awakened Golmes are not undead.  They are still immune to the effects of mind affecting spells, sleep, charm and hold.  They do not need to eat (but might do it out of habit) and can not be healed.  Awakended Golems regenerate 2 hp per round, even if reduced below 0hp.  Only fire can completely destroy them since they do not regenerate after fire damage.

Awakened Golem (Flesh Golem)
Armor Class:  0 [22]
Hit Dice: 10d8+15* (60 hp)
No. of Attacks: 2 (fistsl)
Damage:  2d8/2d18
Special: immunities, regeneration
Movement: 30’ (90')
No. Appearing: 1
Saves As: Fighter 12
Morale: 12
Treasure: None
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 2800

The Creature (as he is know) is an Awakened Flesh golem. He stands over 7 feet tall and has greenish cadaverous skin. Despising what he sees  himself to be he killed his creator and terrified a nearby village. He currently lives in a cave where he prefers to stay in peace, reading books on philosophy.
If he is disturbed though he will fly into a violent rage and kill anyone that disturbs him. He will not though attack children.
The Creature has been killed many times, only regenerate from the smallest scraps.

OGL Section 15 The Awakened Copyright 2012 Timothy S. Brannan.
All text is Open under the terms of the OGL.
Links are not considered part of this entry and are not under the OGL.

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