The ancient wizard Ponusius was exceptionally fond of experimenting, but often had varied results. After one particularly volatile experiment (involving two badly drawn glyphs and a very surprised gremlin), Ponusius found himself with an abundance of rubbish littering his home. Rather than resort to manual labour, Ponusius decided to see if he couldn't animate some objects to help tidy themselves up. At first, he kept it simple with animated brooms and piles of debris that formed automatically, but eventually Ponusius wondered if he could create a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
With some moderate experimentation, Ponusius created a spell that could animate a single object. That object could then attract other objects and create a fully humanoid construct capable of carrying out simple instructions. With further experimentation, Ponusius managed to perfect the spell to a point where he could grow an autonomous helper from broken furniture, empty bottles and old curtains.
At first, Ponusius only used the spell to create assistants around his home, but before too long he saw the opportunity to use such constructs for more violent pursuits. Ponusius had developed a bitter rivalry with the wizard Enmenlis which was resulting in increasing levels of sabotage. With some slight tweaking, Ponusius managed to create a delay on the spell that would prevent its activation until the right conditions were met. For the first outing, Ponusius cast the spell on a bottle of wine that he then anonymously gifted to Enmenlis. The bottle did its job perfectly and once the wine had been drunk, activated. The newly formed golem seed waited until nightfall and created a form out of the other empty bottles and assorted rubbish before vandalising Enmenlis' home.
Enmenlis destroyed the golem, surmising it was sent by Ponusius. Recognising the ingenuity and value of the spell, Enmenlis resolved to steal the spell and employ it for his own means. The rivalry continued, the two wizards occasionally slipped a seed past the other, but were generally too paranoid not to spot a seed when it arrived. However, there were many other opportunities perfectly suited for what were dubbed Trash Golems and the spell soon worked its way out into the wider world.
The Trash Golem is much like a traditional golem in that it consists of raw materials animated by magic. Rather than a solid mass, however, the Trash Golem is initially a single animated object that grows into a full humanoid form by attracting other items. The spell specifically attracts objects that will put up the least resistance, resulting in golems created from rubbish, debris and loose items.
The original component can move freely on its own, making it ideal for guerilla attacks whereby innocent litter can blow down the street until it's in such a postion that it can create its full form and carry out its orders.
The duration of the spell and min/max mass of the golem are completely at the GM's discretion and dependent on the whether the system being used governs magic by level or power expended etc. For the purposes of NPCs, there are no upper limits, but for PCs, it is suggested that at the highest level the spell has a maximum duration of 12 hours, and a maximum mass of 2 tonnes.
Attacks & Abilities
Physical Attacks: Trash Golems chiefly inflict blunt damage through their limbs, but this is subject to change depending on what exactly they are composed of. Bricks, stones and other heavy objects will provide a good deal of blunt damage, but broken bottles, metal spikes and splintered wood are better suited for puncturing and slashing.
Projectile:The Trash Golem can also throw projectiles from its own construction. It can do this for three attacks without penalty, and then by expending HP for each additional attack. The damage inflicted will depend on the object thrown, but it should ideally be moderate. While the golem shifts shape to incorporate the loss of mass, objects capable of major damage (e.g. Blacksmith's anvil or the kitchen sink) would result in a significant drop in the stability of the golem's form or its strength.
Entangle/Suffocate: Certain Trash Golems are also capable of entangling, holding and suffocating enemies. If the golem has a length of rope included in the form, then it can be used to hold enemies in knots, or choke them by snaking around their throats. Alternatively, a large sheet of fabric may be used to similar effect, suffocating instead of choking.
Regeneration: Trash Golems can assemble more objects to repair portions of their form and heal HP. The amount healed depends entirely upon the objects integrated.
One man's junk is another man's treasure, or so they say. This is particularly true of the Trash Golem, since the spell doesn't require specific items to make up the humanoid form, only a certain mass. As such, any number of valuable objects could be included in the creatures mass including all manner of lost coins and gems, or misshapen jewellery thrown out by craftsmen.
Inspired partially by the Book Golems from Ghostbusters: The Videogame, but chiefly inspired by the empty plastic bag I was certain was following me down the street.