Thursday, February 03, 2011

AD&D Monster Manual Part 20

Golem: There are four types of golems detailed here: flesh, stone, iron and clay. The first three were introduced in Supplement I, and the clay golem was first seen in The Strategic Review #4. Golems are still immune to non-magical weapons, but now any magical creature with hit dice equal to or greater than the golem can successfully attack it.

Clay Golem: Clay Golems begin with a significant change, as their AC worsens from 2 to 7. This makes perfect sense to me, because clay isn’t exactly renowned for its protective properties, and they really shouldn't have an AC equivalent to the Iron Golem. Their damage range has changed slightly; it was 4-32, and now it is 3-30. A 17th level lawful good cleric is now required to create one, whereas before the level was 15th and the alignment was lawful. Even so, now it is stated that a lower-level cleric can do so with the right magical item. More spells are needed for the process as well; before it was raise dead, animate object and commune, and now it is resurrection, animate objects, commune, prayer and bless. To me the lower level spells that have been added feel a bit redundant, because any cleric that is casting resurrection will have no trouble with the weaker spells. The ritual now requires a massive outlay of at least 50,000 gp, whereas before you could get away with under 20,000 gp if you were lucky (part of the costs were randomly determined).

There’s still a chance for the clay golem to be “imbued with a chaotic evil spirit” – a much more evocative description than the event had before – but instead of a flat 1% each round, it is now a cumulative chance. So your clay golem is absolutely guaranteed to go berserk eventually.

And now we come to the most controversial sentence in the entry: “Damage inflicted upon living matter by a clay golem is only repairable by means of a healing spell from a cleric of 17th or greater level.” Yes, that means what it says. If you get damaged by a clay golem, that damage is permanent until you can find a 17th level cleric to heal it. It seems incredibly unfair, and I know of a lot of people who insist that the rule must be some kind of mistake. To them I say shenanigans. Suck up that hit point damage or find a high-level cleric, because some monsters are just plain dangerous.

The golem now attacks with 11 hit dice instead of 12, but it can still cast haste upon itself (and will now automatically do so if it goes berserk). They are still immune to all weapons except those that are blunt and magical. A move earth spell will still drive them back, and now it also deals a load of damage. Whereas before a disintegrate spell just paralysed them for a round, now it slows their movement by 50% and deals damage also. In addition, the earthquake spell now affects them, paralysing them and dealing massive damage.

I think most of the changes to the Clay Golem’s stats can be attributed to someone trying to strengthen the creature’s connection to that chaotic evil spirit. They were trying to create a more powerful creature, and they did so, but the cost is a greater chance for it to be possessed. Them’s the breaks!

Flesh Golem: Flesh Golems haven’t changed at all statistically. They are given a lot more detail, though, most notably that the means of creating one is described for the first time (it’s the first time that Iron and Stone Golems get this description as well). It requires a 14th level magic-user to cast wish, polymorph any object, geas, protection from normal missiles and strength, as well as the expenditure of 40,000 gp and one month of game time. They also now have the same chance as a clay golem to go berserk, which was not present before. At least with Flesh Golems there’s a decent chance that the creator can regain control of it, which cannot be done with a Clay Golem. Otherwise they have the same immunity to normal weapons, are still slowed by fire and cold, and are healed by lightning.

Iron Golem: Iron Golems’ AC has worsened from 2 to 3, but on the plus side they are slightly faster than before, and their damage range has increased from 4-32 to 4-40. Their creation requirements are detailed, needing an 18th level magic-user to cast wish, polymorph any object, geas and cloud kill, and to spend 80,000 gp and 3 months game time. And these guys are a good investment, because they won’t go nuts like the previous two types. They are still immune to weapons of less than +3 enchantment, are slowed by lightning and healed by fire. The only change is that it is explicitly stated that they are affected by rust monsters, although there's no indication of exactly how long it takes a rust monster to destroy one.

Stone Golem: Stone Golems haven’t changed a bit statistically. To create one you need a 16th level magic-user to cast wish, polymorph any object, geas and slow, and to spend 60,000 gp and 2 months of game time. The golem can still cast a slow spell on an opponent, but only every second round instead of every round. You’ll still need a +2 weapon or better to hurt one. They are no longer slowed by fire spells, but a rock to mud spell now has the same effect. Mud to rock still heals all damage the golem has taken. More interestingly, stone to flesh makes it temporarily vulnerable to normal attacks.

And, I’m done for today. You might have noticed a lack of updates lately. That’s been partly due to the holidays, but mostly due to a general lack of interest in D&D. Without actually being able to play the game (and I haven’t for a couple of years now) it’s hard to maintain my enthusiasm. The good news is that I’m in the initial stages of getting my regular game going again, so hopefully there’s some game-play in my future.


  1. Anonymous9:31 AM PST

    First and foremost: Yay new post!

    Also, golems are cool. Everyone read Pratchett's Feet of Clay if you haven't.

  2. Honestly, people should read everything by Terry Pratchett. He's a personal favourite of mine.