27 November 2011

Lamp Golems

Just saw a really cool idea. For some reason, the idea of interesting golems is floating around the netosphere, and it's not bad. Really, there's no reason for all golems to be giant clay bodyguards. If you can animate a being to follow your basic directions and also make it out of pretty much anything, why would you just make one whose entire job is to beat people up? How often does your average wizard spend fending off intruders, anyways?

See: These Lamp Golems. They'd follow you around, or stand where you directed them to, bringing your light with you so you'd have both hands free to carry whatever you're carrying. You could read a book while walking and still have light to read by.

I'm thinking of a Brazier Golem, or a Cauldron Golem, something that you could direct to walk over to you so you could dump in your ingredients and then direct it back over the fire, so you wouldn't have to get all sweaty standing over a fire, and you wouldn't have to worry about it tipping over or anything. It'd have four or six legs, arranged around it circularly, looking a bit like a xorn except made of cauldron instead of elemental.

You could have a little winged Helper Golem, to sort and organize your inventory and make things happen. You could be like "Helper Golem, pour the essence of nightshade into the phial of brimstone, close the stopper, and shake until it turns red. Then hand it to me." And then you're brewing your own things, having him make your red solution you need to mix. Handy little guys, really, a wizard's best friend. You can get them to organize your library and bring you books, or clean up the place.

You could also have a pretty useful Pedestal Golem, although I'm not sure how often you really need to have your Pedestal move around with you. Usually it's not too much work to just stand in one place while you've got your book with you. You could just hold it with one hand.

If you want to go all Sorcerer's Apprentice, you could have little Broom Golems, although I imagine it'd be easier just to enchant a broom for a little while and have it go to town. Then again, making a golem out of bits you already have lying around could be pretty useful. There's no real rules reason why it has to be made out of clay or meat or iron or whatever other than that's what the myths are made out of. Still, Houseworking Golems would give you the benefits of having a couple of servants without having to worry about them getting paid, eating, or leaving your service because you make them work fifteen hours without a break. Uppity servants, so hard to find good help these days.

Probably the coolest kind of golem would be a Riding Golem- basically an armored mecha type thing your wizard could ride around inside/on top of. It might be a little too "non-standard fantasy" to have your average wizard being carried around by a Gundam made of rocks, even if they don't have the lasers or energy swords or whatever. Your mileage may vary, but there's no way it's not acceptable to have a golem carry your wizard around, especially since it's not fighting while it's carrying you around unless you manage to jury-rig some sort of workaround. Which, again, some people might not appreciate.

Little Bottle Golems could be nice, especially if you have some sort of potion/mixture that can be applied to the ground, or if you give them a little valve to shoot out of their head. You could essentially make either little bomb-ombs or acid-spraying squirt bottles. They wouldn't be too terribly dangerous if your enemies knew what was going on, but their first instinct when they see little walking bottle isn't going to be "SHIT KILL IT", it'll probably be a very bizarre confusion. Until the first one explodes in a shower of fire or acid. OH SHIT SON.

If you've got any awesome ideas for golems, please, do not hesitate to let me know.


  1. China MiƩville's book the Iron Council plays around with the idea of golems quite a bit but it is not the focus of the story.

    I like simple and interesting golems over the machines of doom that they usually show up as in D&D. Like the leather men: http://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/new-monster-leather-man/

  2. Cool article. I've got a posting in my Shatterworld blog on Golems, and I categorize them with skeletons and zombies. My idea is that all animated entities actually house a summoned sentient spirit. I call them the "enchanted undead".


    So... while using golems for trivial servants may seem like an idea with benefit with no cost, there is always room for the summoned spirits or their spirit overlord to get fed up with such trifling.

    There are plenty of golem ideas in Beauty and the Beast... arms holding torches on walls, animated tea cups and kettles, a wardrobe that takes your clothes and hangs them up for you.

    I've always liked the idea of entire castles under weird enchantments. You could outfit an entire abandoned wizard's castle with bound spirits. Door Golems. Chandelier Golems. And of course, your empty suit of armor. And they won't let you out until you release them from the stupid spells they've been under for 1000 years.

  3. Just brainstorming a few more ideas.

    What about Golems with unique powers of communication? I once created a magic item for my campaign that was a drinking tankard with a face engraved on it. You had to put the best quality ale in the tankard to wake the face up. It would then converse with you. It had been around a long time, and knew a lot of stuff.

    Other ideas along those lines:

    An ink quill Golem... converses with you by writing or drawing.

    Musical instrument golem: converses with you through musical tunes.
    A lute might express "Danger" or "Happy" or "Melancholy"

    A math Golem. Communicates through knocking or tapping, or even an entire abacus

    Shoe Golem. Put it on, and it will take you places, or dance you to death al la "The Red Shoes"

    Gauntlet Golem: may write, fight, drink, etc.. while you are wearing it.

    Cooking pot golem: Cooks up a meal on command

    Rag Doll Golem: A la Vasalissa. "Eat doll, eat". Feeding it brings it to life, and it gives you advice

    Scarecrow Golem: A la Nathaniel Hawthorne. It has to smoke a pipe to remain animated, and it aspires to gentleman status.

    Pipe Golem: Like the beer tankard. You light it, and the face animates and converses.

  4. I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the Trunk Golem, like in the Diskworld series.

  5. Certainly an interesting concept on Golems and Constructs however the crafting items for you was covered by the Homunculus iirc.