Wandering Monsters: Golems

I find it strange that in this week's Wandering Monsters article that all golems are cited as being Large, but in the Bestiary the flesh golem only weighs in at Medium. I actually kind of like that, and think that golems should by default have multiple size categories so that we could have an army of Medium-sized clay golems (or crank them up to Huge).

I did not like 3rd Edition golems because they initially had a high degree of damage reduction (30 I think for the iron variety), which coupled with an immunity to critical hitsand by extension, Sneak Attackdid in fact "shut down" the rogue. Given that the fighter had non-scaling damage, it also shut her down without a sufficiently plussed weapon.

Thankfully 3rd Edition Revised toned things down, so even if a fighter lacked a specific weapon the damage resistance only dragged things out instead of making it insurmountable (because, again, magic immunity). Rogues still got the short end of the stick, unless they took a feat that probably existed that let them critically hit Constructs. 4th Edition made things even easier by removing both damage and magic resistance, as well as allowing crits (so, yay for Sneak Attack).

So right away I do not like the pair of golems featured in the lastest playtest packet's Bestiary: they are both immune to nonmagical, non-adamantine weaponsthough that might change, as the article mentions that it only resists non-magical weaponsand can only be affected by either spells with specific energy types or all of three spells. Well, at least we still have critical hits.

I think that at the least the designers could go with 3rd Edition's damage-resisting model, so if the party finds themselves without magical or adamantine weapons that they are not good and screwed. Personally I would just give them advantage on saves against most magic as opposed to outright immunity. Why are they even immune to virtually every spell in the first place? Why does this not crop up on more constructs?

I would also like to see golems get a lengthy list of optional/alternate traits to better represent wizards and clerics experimenting with them; why should iron golems be the only ones with breath weapons? For that matter, why do they all have breath weapons? Also, it could be cool to have the animating spirit escape and attackor potentially reward thecharacters.


  1. I continue to dislike the "We're going to make certain types of characters usless" types of creatures or rules. It's just not fun for my playstyle. It says that you are screwed if you don't have the traditional D&D adventuring party. I like the idea that we can play a unique group that still has the ability to face these creatures. I can deal with monsters that are difficult for one type of character to deal with, but making it nigh-impossible is dull. Especially when you shut down multiple types of characters the way golems work.

    Your idea of advantage on magic saves is good. Or saying that they are immune to certain classes of damage or effects instead of "all but three specific spells" Likewise, give them advantage against people without the right types of weapons. This would give them a strong defense, but not an insurmountable one. Rogues would find it hard to harm them and don't get their full effect, but they can still chip away at their hit points. The fighter is still the hero of the encounter, but they aren't the only ones being effective.

  2. I would prefer something more logical when it comes to how spells effect them. Maybe fire hurts an iron golem, but causes it to deal bonus fire damage? Maybe it makes it vulnerable to weapon attacks for awhile?

    I greatly preferred 4th Edition's flesh golem: you could hurt it with lightning, but it got a bonus attack (or something like that), and fire also caused it to run away (both callbacks to Frankenstein).

  3. 3.x golems were only immune to spells that allow a saving throw (magic immunity = unlimited SR), IIRC. Each of them also had specific weaknesses, which was nice. I don't mind immunity to sneak attacks since I see it actually backstabbing or striking a vital point in the target's anatomy. I can see the issue if you're thinking about it abstractly.

    I think there's a conflict in classic d&d monster design between the seemingly nonsensical abilities from the original source (some early 20th century weird fiction story, or ancient myth), and modern expectations (mostly computer gamers & movie-goers). Do you kill a zombie by putting salt in its mouth, or by shooting it in the brain? Making the demon-badger king only susceptible to the smell of a rose is hard to represent in any rpg that I know of, but it'd make a great story.

    I prefer to have both types of monsters.

  4. I just checked and, yeah, they are only immune to spells that allow spell resistance (and I have no idea how many allow that sort of thing).

    I still find it odd that a flesh golem has magic immunity. Why? Why do any of the golems have this over, say, animated objects or other constructs?

    Why do iron golems all breathe poisonous gas? In 3rd Edition you had to also cast cloudkill as part of the construction, but why did you have to do that?

    An explanation for this sort of thing would be nice, as would optional loadouts. So, you could give an iron golem cloudkill if you want, but it is not a requirement.


Powered by Blogger.