A golem (גולם) is a creature from Jewish mythology. It is an animated humanoid made from inanimate material (typically clay) brought to live by holy words by rabbis who, through their piety, gain some of God's power and knowledge, including some of that which he used to make Adam. Almost inevitably in the myths, this involved inscribing certain Hebrew words in clay upon its forehead - usually the four letters of the shem (שֵׁם, the tetragrammaton, i.e. the secret name of God that is forbidden to be pronounced). One particularly interesting tale has the rabbi write 'אמת, truth, on a golem that then the goes berserk, but is then calmed by the erasure of one letter yielding מת, death.
Purposes for making a golem include general labor, labour in hostile conditions, defending treasures, places and tombs and killing the fuck out of antisemitic mobs. This tends not to go so well for their creators, though; hubris is perhaps the ultimate theme in these stories, with the occasional added motif of the golem being available to help the rabbi and his people again should they be in need. They are generally rather like fantasy-equivalents to robots in a surprising number of ways, being artificial entities created for servile purposes, whose level of sapience varies and whose possession of a soul is a topic of frequent debate due to their non-biological nature, and who either A) mindlessly follow the orders of their masters to the letter rather than the spirit, B) go on a berserk rampage and rebel against their creators out of spite, or C) both.
Comparable myths about animated statues can be found in other places; for example the Greek God Hephaestus creating gold and silver maidens to help him out, being crippled and everything (and also to have sex with because his wife was Aphrodite and naturally fucked everyone but him). The word "Golem" has become a catch all term for such things. The idea of artificial people is thus very ancient, and the fear of their rebellion may originally just be an extension of the general fear of slave revolts.
Golems in Dungeons and Dragons
In D&D, Golems are mid-tier enemies. There's about as many kinds of Golem as there are things out of which you could potentially make them, from quasi-robot Steel Golems to quasi-Frankenstein's Monster Flesh Golems. You could even use clay, if you're the kind of person whose pet tortoises die of boredom, though they do have some unique abilities. (Chiefly, hasting themselves and having a chance of going berserk.)
They tend to have lots of raw strength and hit points, on top of high damage reduction and magic resistance (or even immunity) as a racial trait. Some of the more-exotic types have magical powers. Warforged are the closest thing to a PC variant golems possess, and even then they're really a grey are a between golem and straight-up robot.
Ravenloft adds the added wrinkle of "dread golems"; while they look and act like regular golems, the Dark Powers have used the obsessiveness of their crafters to make them truly sentient, rather than being unthinking automata. Unfortunately, the Dark Powers' "gift" also makes dread golems extremely malicious by nature, and most if not all of them will eventually attempt to murder their creators.
You might think that golems get pretty old, pretty quick, but they come in a massive array of forms, abilities and levels. And we mean massive; check out this list! And these are only coming from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition!
Oh, and if the generic material-based golems of AD&D aren't enough, it also featured specialized types of golem, too:
- Brass Minotaur: A powerful vengeance implement, consisting of a minotaur skeleton bathed in brass to create a sculpture that is then animated.
- Burning Man: A crude golem made of burning coal.
- Caryatid Column: A stone golem designed to resemble a statue of a beautiful woman being used as a support column, but which can step out of its column to battle intruders.
- Carrionette: A relative to the Doll Golem native to the Ravenloft domain of Odiare, made from a marionette. Capable of stealing a person's body by stabbing them with a magic needle, leaving the victim's mind trapped in the marionette.
- Doll Golem: A golem consisting of an animated doll.
- Drolem: A Flesh Golem built to resemble a dragon.
- Figurine Golem: A malicious miniature golem that disguises itself as a Figurine of Wondrous Power, native to Ravenloft. There are many different varieties, made from various different materials; ceramic, crystal, diamond, ivory, obsidian (jagged or smoothed, each is its own variant), and porcelain.
- Furnace Golem: A variant iron golem that is created to serve as a secondary spelljammer helm.
- Gargoyle Golem: A stone golem designed to replicate a gargoyle. Also has an Iron Gargoyle Golem variant.
- Juggernaut: A giant stone golem that runs about on stone rollers, crushing anything in its way.
- Mechanical Golem: A mass of vicious machinery given clumsy life as a vicious golem, native to Ravenloft.
- Metagolem: A
straight-up freaking robotsapient golem made of metal with intricate mechanical innards.
- Naàruk: A golem in the form of a winged bull composed of bronze, created by the enduk of Mystara as a magical flying troop transport.
- Necrophidius: A bone golem mockery of a naga, comprised of a fanged humanoid skull atop the skeleton of a giant snake. So-called because "Bone snake" would've never made it past the editors.
- Radiant Golem: A rare and powerful golem that sheds a magical death aura, implied to be made out of radioactive material.
- Scarecrow: An animated scarecrow; what did you think it was?
- Shaboath: A golem constructed from magically animated water by aboleths.
- Spiderstone: A drow-crafted golem consisting of obsidian magically worked into a four-armed drow.
- Stone Guardian: A giant stone golem used as a temple guardian.
- Zombie Golem: A Flesh Golem made from rotting, dead bodies infused with necromancy.
Pathfinder follows in the tradition of D&D with a stupidly huge array of golems made from different materials and types. It even introduced the idea of Colossi, incredibly huge and powerful golems made only by the true masters of magic.
The current list of Pathfinder golems stands at:
- Iron (with Iron Archer and Iron Maiden variants)
- Stone (with Stone Guardian variant)
|This article or section is about Monstergirls (or a monster that is frequently depicted as a Monstergirl), something that /tg/ widely considers to be the purest form of awesome. Expect PROMOTIONS! and /d/elight in equal measure, often with drawfaggotry or writefaggotry to match.|
Golems enjoy some popularity as monstergirls. Because of their hard bodies they are lacking in the physical department: no hugging, no kissing and no sex. Handjobs are technically an option, but given the often hard and cold materials golem girls are made of they tend to be uncomfortable at best. Despite (or because of) this they often desperately want to feel and touch their lovers, with romantic streaks being common. On the other hand, somewhat cold and aloof personalities also appear amongst them. Actually permanently turning a golem girl into something fleshy is out of the question, because that would defeat the entire point of a golem girl. But the science/magic that made them also proves the answer. By linking something like a fleshlight into her body the girl can feel and have sex, even if it is somewhat uncomfortable. Aside from the shenanigans that come from a golem girl being quite heavy for her size (being made out of stone or metal and all), there is one tragic element to them. Because of their nature a golem can live forever if they're not destroyed. As such they're very likely to greatly outlive their lovers, which sometimes has them stand over their lovers' graves unmoving for a long time to come.
Because of the close relationship between the Golem and other "Construct type" monsters, such as Animated Objects and Tsukumogami, monstergirls based on other forms of construct are often considered golem-girls as well.
Needless to say, golems appear in the Monster Girl Encyclopedia. Aside from the stone-based, rune-powered "common" Golem, there's also the more mechanical Automaton, the slime-like Lava Golem, the Gargoyle and the Skeleton, a necromancer's equivalent to a golem. The setting's equivalent of the Construct Type is the "Magic Materials" type, which makes the Golem relative to the Cursed Sword, Living Armor, Living Doll, Gargoyle and the Tsukumogami mamono.