The greatest threat during the seemingly unstoppable reign of the old world was a massive and unexpected battle known as the Golem War, which some called the Simulacra Menace. In those days golems were as common as dog’s teeth and met the demands for cheap and reliable menial labor across the Empire. some even hoped that the age old horror of slavery would be brought to an end by the ushering in of these new mass produced golems.
Working from massive factory cathedrals, the Golemic Artificers devised methods to create simple golems from base materials, reducing the cost of a standard type clay golem from thousands of gold pieces to a few hundred. unlike keeping servants or slaves, these new golems didnt require food, or lodging and dint complain of working too long, or about anything else. Indeed, only the more expensive overseer golems had the power to function speech.
The Overseer Golem
Tasked with controlling squads or work gangs of golems, the Overseer golem possessed an average human intelligence and was able to coordinate the operation of multiple minion golems. Overseer golems worked as intermediaries between humans and the host of slave golems that worked the mines, quarries, foundries, and other industries traditionally held by slaves.
Powered with this new labor force, the Old World surged. Buildings doubled and then trippled in size as stone came quicker and faster, and the buildings could be raised faster. It wasnt long before the golems were being pressed into the military, armed with weapons they couldnt loose, and armor that didnt require maintenance. It seemed that there was no end to the heights that humanity could climb to.
Then things started going wrong. The Soldier Golems turned against their human masters, showing the strength of the Arms Simulacra. Humanity was staggered by the sudden reversal of fortunes as across the empire the Golems revolted. The Golemic Artificers were stunned, these simulacra had no minds and couldn’t rise up on their own. Much to their horror they discovered the cause of the situation.
The father of the new Golem movement had incorporated infernal proportions and elements into the design of the cathedrals and the golems they produced. This made the golems much easier to manufacture, but it built a weakness into their deisgn. The intelligent overseer golems and the Task Lord Golems had been fundamentally re-enchanted by infernal forces. Directives had been changed and the ensorcelled codices of conduct had been completely rewritten, installing in the golems a core hatred of humanity and a vision of their own oppression and slavery at human hands.
Task Lord Golem
In truth, a non-mobile construct, the TL Golem is a large intelligent construct that is able to comprehend very difficult assignments, such as the design and construction of major buildings such as castles, factory cathedrals and the like. The TL golem coordinates with companies of Overseer Golems, and can link with distant TL Golems in other locations, not a network but the quarrey TL and the principal construction TL can communicate needs between each other.
The war was a vicious one as the average a single iron war golem was a match for a full company of human soldiers. Thankfully for humanity, none of the golems were possessed of magical power, and their design did not incorporate enough tainted pattern to allow the demons to manifest their powers through the automatons. Thus the battles were brutal and the losses staggering, but the humans were slowly gaining ground after the initial upset.
Assault on the Factory-Cathedrals
So long as the F-Cs and their associated Task Lord functioned, there would be no end to the Golem Armies that pressed against the ragged borders of humanity. Thus plans were made, and elite strike teams of magic armed warriors and mages were sent in to destroy these wonderous constructs. The survival rate of these missions were low, with them being assigned to the volunteer only Martyr’s Brigade.
The Brigades met with both success and death, and after several key F-Cs were destroyed the Brigades were disbanded. The destruction of command echelon Task Lords staggered the Golem gesalt, causing the Golems to begin to operate inefficiently and creating cracks in their golem war effort. Battles became easier and easier as Task Lord after Task Lord was destroyed, leaving their legions of Golems unguided and passive.
After nearly a decade of bloody conflict, the Empire staggered to victory. The Golems were defeated and a humbled humanity was left with the shells of its foes and the works that they created. Many of the great cities had been ruined by magical powered warfare, or had been dismantled piece by piece and fed into the hungry maws of the Factory Cathedrals. Few of the great wonders survived.
Fate of the Golem Army
With their commanding Task Lord destroyed, many golems simply stopped what they were doing, or continued with their tasks at hand until it was no longer possible to continue. The task of destroying these resilient constructs was staggering to an already decimated populace weary of war and destruction. Rather than embark on a decades long campaign of disenchantment, the Golems were gathered into massive Golem Caches. These Caches were then buried and records of them destroyed, as humanity had acquired both new respect for and great fear of their synthetic servants.
The ailing Emperor, Vasilios Varek was himself buried in a royal mausoleum with flowing rivers of quicksilver and an honor guard of 2000 iron golem soldiers upon his death.
Attack of the Golems and You…
The Plot hooks
Attack of the Golems can be approached from one of two directions. The prime and most likely direction is that of a historical reference. The Golem Wars occured in the distant past, to very well distant past. This brings up two opportunities, the first being a villian discovering one of these caches of buried golems and discovering how to control them.
How you ask? with access to the knowledge of how to create a golem grants insight on controlling one. A masterless golem can be commandeered by a magus with the suitable willpower/magic roll. This can be boosted with access to arcane materials, A Manual of Golems, or extensive research into Golem history.
The villian has uncovered the Golems and has discovered how to control them, though only a few at a time. The PCs must deal with a foe with a steady supply of iron, stone, and other golems, some of which could be rare or experimental designs. The PCs must thwart the villian and deny him access to the cache.
Faced with massive opposition, like the dragon-riding uber orcs of Hoonar, the PCs are tasked with finding the lost caches to bolster the borders. Can they find them, and then lead the invincible army into battle with the great foe?
The Royal Tomb
As a corollary to the above, Varek was buried in great wealth and splendor as the liberator of humanity. He is guarded by an ARMY of iron and stone golems, as well as having a Emperor’s ransom in grave goods. Hands itching yet? They should be, this is the wealth of seven kingdoms, power, and even the wisdom of those lost ages in scrolls and calligraphied on the walls themselves.
Other ideas…Varek the Lich? A Dragon Golem? The Mandate of Heaven to Return the Benevolent Rule of the Ancient Empire…
Into the Breach
The Golems wars are now, the PCs are the quick witted and hopefully lucky defenders of humanity locked in a collossal contest of wills with an animated army. The PCs must face a drastically more organized and efficient foe, one that doesnt make simple organic mistakes, and never tires.
The PCs can expect to face Golem scouters, face Golem Crusher teams as well as working with the legendary Martyr’s Brigade in suicide runs against the massive Factory-Cathedrals of the Golems. Rather than a massive high level munchkin fest, the PCs face the threat of constant death and are left to stealth, protecting the few mages capable of defeating the Golems, manning siege weaponry to defend their homes and hoping that none of the golems can catch them in a bone shattering, life ending grip. The general feeling should be somewhere between Terminator and WWII.
A Beautiful Mind
Demi-Preceps Alterp Tiebrich is known as the Father of the Golem Wars and is reviled for his hand in the matter. It was Alterp who drafted the initial design of the golems and the factory cathedrals that created them. Desperate for success, Alterp consulted unwisely with demonic advisors who gave him what he asked for, but left holes in the design.
In the Golem Wars of the Past scenario Teibrich is a despized if not forgotten figure, but his notes and such could lead to signifigant information on golems. He might have cut one corner too many, but he was no pretender to the art.
If the Golem Wars are happening now, the Teibrich is a VIP, as he could have the keys to defeating the golems, or ways to elude their magic based perception, interrupting the string of cammand between overseer and task lords, or the like.
apologies to Star Wars and Exalted.