Monday, May 28, 2012

Trying on a new skin: Clay Golem and The Queen's Golem

Golems are a well-known enemy in RPG Geekdom, especially Dungeons and Dragons. The clay golem was inspired by the Golem in Jewish Mythology. In Jewish mysticism the golem was fashioned from dust “kneaded into a shapeless husk”. Two ways of bringing the golem to life are shown in the mythology.  The first is to inscribe the Hebrew word Truth into the forehead of the golem.  The second way to bring the golem to life was to scribe the word life on a piece of paper or parchment and place It in the open mouth of the inanimate golem. In Dungeons and Dragons they are describe thus:

Golems are magically created automatons of great power. Constructing one involves the employment of mighty magic and elemental forces.

The animating force for a golem is a spirit from the Elemental Plane of Earth. The process of creating the golem binds the unwilling spirit to the artificial body and subjects it to the will of the golem’s creator.

This golem has a humanoid body made from clay. A clay golem wears no clothing except for a metal or stiff leather garment around its hips.

A clay golem golem cannot speak or make any vocal noise. It walks and moves with a slow, clumsy gait. It weighs around 600 pounds

One thing that has always bothered me was that golems have always been described as humanoid. Two arms, two legs, a head and a torso. Now, granted, that is how the Jewish golem was described, but in the Monster Manual the golem is described as having any appearance the creator wishes.  So, where are all the golems who were created as mounts? Or as terrors and monsters? Where are the golems that were used to impress and invoke fear and respect?

In my homebrew world Verdenheim, The Sorceress Queen, a powerful witch and empress of a spreading empire has created a powerful mount out of a golem.  Here it is described:

The Sorceress Queen’s golem is a large quadruped that seems to be scaled and horned with red-grey clay.  Where many wizards create only a most basic structure to house their golems spirit, the Sorceress Queen hired the most skilled sculptors to create a massive beast that was so life like that it inspired fear and sent the weak screaming even before the Queen animated it with her magicks.

The Queen’s Golem is a beast a full fifteen feet long, including horns and tail. It is equipped with a ridge of horns upon its draconic head and several along each side of its jaw. Its forelegs are massive compared to the hind legs, and it uses these strong forelimbs to tear and rend its opponents.

Where another golem is a mere representation of man, a mockery of life, The Queen’s Golem is an exquisitely detailed terror, a nightmare come to life. 

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