The bonded, Braided-Beard Golem, gruesome cousin of the The Hair Beast
Onruldt lies dead and dreaming, three days gone since his last breath. The forges of the clan's halls are cold, the anvils and their symphony of hammers lay silent. Few dwarves alive know not his name, and even those who called him foe and enemy cast down their eyes in the shadow of his passing. The twelve came, shearing off their beards, passing the strands of course dwarf-hair into the hands of the Loom-Mistresses. A shroud would be made, and his casket would be draped in it, as were the kings of antiquity.
A beard golem is a horrifying creation fashioned for one sole purpose; to act as tomb guardian for renowned heroes and kings of the dwarven races. The presence of a beard golem inside a dwarven burial place, is the ultimate symbol of loyalty, fealty, and reverence, and denotes the magnitude of the individual entombed within. The reason these abominations have in many ways escaped the notice of tomb-raiders over the centuries, and remain to this day relatively unknown among human sages, is due to the great sacrifice which was required on behalf of the twelve dwarven volunteers, involved in the ritual. This rare construct is woven from the shorn beards of twelve willing dwarves of high standing within the clan.
When a hero dies, the twelve dwarves closest to him or her will willingly chop of their own beards at the chin. This is a humiliating experience for any dwarf, a taboo, an act not committed to lightly. Thus the twelve show their love and esteem for the deceased.
The clans finest fingers weave the beards into a single, bristly clomp, and then an Entwiner, a dwarven magician, will chant ancient spells, until the interwoven beards are ensorcelled with powerful magicks. Dust from the tomb of other kings, queens or heroes is collected in advance and sprinkled upon the woven beards. The Entwiners cast more spells, an item of the deceased is placed upon the great, hirsute bundle, usually a helm, and a viscous musk-oxen oil is smeared through every hair, while blood of cave toads is spilt upon them. For twelve beards, twelve clasps are entwined within the hair, each clasp representing one minor magical protections or boons, for the future golem, each clasp provided by a high standing clan matron. The beards are then taken and hammered into the stonewalls of the chosen tomb, with great iron nails, forming a grisly tapestry.
Within twelve days, a fearsome, roughly humanoid, beard golem rises from the gathered tresses, many times larger than the dozen beards involved in its creation, and protects the dwarven host for all eternity, or until its unlikely destruction. Standing nearly seven feet in height, the beard golem appears as a huge, macabre but vague, mockery of a dwarven warrior, constructed of tightly corded, multi-colored, patterned ropes of hair. The gruesome creature swooshes across the stone floor sounding like a rhythmic monastery sweeper, but is otherwise silent. The beard golem is resistant to blunt weapons, hammers and maces doing no harm to the abomination, but is susceptible to edged weapons, though difficult to slay even with blades.
Clasps of the Clan Matrons
Mustard yellow-fire resistance
Bone white-cold resistance
Sage green-sentience and cunning
Ash black-resistance to lesser spells
Mace red-strength and durability enhancement
Sepia gray-immunity to blunt weapons and crushing damage
Cobalt blue-immunity to mind-affecting magic
Burnt orange-sense life in vicinity
Chartreuse-allows the golem to split itself into individual hairs. Un-entwine itself, so to speak.
Sable-allows the golem some control over the hair of its opponents.
Somber and shroud-like it shuffles, but as intruders enter and violate the tomb, the gaurdian becomes more hateful and filthy, as blood of the wicked, spills to resanctify the tomb.
The beard golem attacks with thick, ropy, snake-like limbs, resembling arms, though it can perfectly well make similar actions with its twisted, stunted legs, as it is quite flexible and agile, able to contort its shape at will. The creature tends to bash opponents into submission, then proceeding to smother or strangle the unfortunate victims to death. The golem attacks all intruders, without fear or prejudice, unless a dwarf enters, bearing a beard-ribbon or hair clasp, acquired from a member or descendant of the same clan, which had assembled the guardian, centuries earlier, in the first place.
Dwarven priests of Bebbtut say one such bonded beard golem resides inside Onruldt's Oubliette, the booby-trapped tomb of an erstwhile smith-prince and warrior of great ability and repute, whose sepulchre is hidden among the jagged lands of the Shepherds' Ranges, beside the Great Escarpment.
If the construct is slain, the ribbons remain behind, radiating magic, but of questionable use, while the body of the creature, withers quickly before the eyes of onlookers, a short while later leaving nothing but clumps of straw-like, dessicated hair.
Priests of Bebbtut also claim that upon the rare event of a Beard Golem's demise, the spirits of the twelve dwarves who had long ago, sacrificed their beards for the automatons creation, arise, and seek out the transgressor of the particular tomb, yearning for retribution. Even if true, this fanciful legend has not yet been verified in any way.
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? Responses (16)
This sub fits the dwarven style very well, though it does not get across as frightening as it should. Especially with a weakness to blades (carried by almost any looter).
A question - if a clasp is stolen/snatched, will the golem lose its ability?
I would add on the scariness, and prhaps design a less obvious method of combat.
yeah, scarier is better I guess, but the last sub of mine was all gross and primordial, so i tried to keep it short and sweet. As far as the blades, just kind of liked the visual of a sword, chopping at a beard golem. Something has to kill them i guess :) I should change that though. Its not a weakness to blades really. Just a hint that edged weapons affect it.
Edited altered blade-weakness line, at your suggestion
As to the clasps, yes, but they would each need to be 'snatched', with successful dispel magic spells, prior to any dextrous maneuvers.
Hmm, a less obvious method of combat is an interesting thought! Any ideas?
How bout Zylithan's idea? They pulll out hair of PCs in clumps and add it to their own mass, during combat, allowing them to regenrate "damage"
or, it is able to split into individual hairs(!!) (as Zylithan mentions)
What about lice? If one or two beards were lice-ridden, maybe the sorcery effected the parasites as well. Now the golem, spews thousands of milk-white lice, which infest PCs in quick order, causing painful, unbearable itching.
Beard lice? Ick. +1 for that lovely imagery :P
Now this here is different! Though it better not lose it's mustard clasp, as it would be dreadfully vulnerable to fire otherwise.
How about the ability to take control of the beards of others? "Aye lad, before ye face the thing, be sure yer face is bare and ye cut yer hair, lest ye be strangled by yer own beard..."
Oh no, not another one of these!
Glad you have created a worthy successor. If more scariness is desired, don't forget that the original beast is basically a shapechanger. This golem may be forced into one basic form for combat, but it could move around unseen, and get through the tiniest cracks (if the PCs think a closed door or even a collapsed roof will get the better of him). Should it be hindered, and its tomb desecrated, it could pursue the grave robbers for quite some time.
Note also, that it might not only attempt to strangle, but also to choke its victims (but that goes into the disgusting direction, which can be also explored - think of hair as a living entity, and it should freak you out sufficiently ;) ).
But back to the submission... I like the whole ritual, and the very strong dwarven feeling. Great submission, Muro!
Very Cool, I love dwarves! I need to post some new Dwarven items. This is great, I love the idea of a big crazy Dwarven Chewbacca-Golem. I have a pretty full beard myself and could see shaving it to mourn the loss of a loved one. Especially if it would help guard their tomb. This is a very cool creature and very Dwarven in a good way. I love it.
Ok... this was asked of me how this stacks up to other golems here. Frankly I think its creepy. Personally being attacked by a mass of moving and pissed off hair would greatly give me the willies. Its hard for me to get a decent visual of this as I can't imagine what a mass of hair like that would look like.
However... When a hero dies, the twelve dwarves closest to him or her will willingly chop of their own beards at the chin. This is a humiliating experience for any dwarf, a taboo, an act not committed to lightly. Thus the twelve show their love and esteem for the deceased.
This speaks volumes to me. It gives it depth, flavor, and definate meaning. It is a concept that only the true at heart could understand, even while they know they will be shunned for doing such a thing. The entire idea is a great addition and the fact it can be linked to The Hair Beast makes it all the better. A dusty thumb up muro.
A unique tomb-guardian whose existence springs from the deep love and adoration that its creators possessed for the deceased. While I have never taken hair as a threat seriously, I have to say that you've done a very good job with this.
By the way, is it considered a great honor for a loyal dwarf to contribute his beard for the construction of this being?
To fire they therefore turned, rather than leave their kin to beast or bird or carrion-orc. But those who fell in Azanulbizar were honoured in memory, and to this day a dwarf will say proudly of one of his sires: "he was a burned dwarf", and that is enough.
- The Lord Of The Rings
I would say yes; it borders on self-mutilation in memory of the deceased, and their beards may never grow as long as they were once. And theirs will be surely a special epithet, like "Beardless", or "Shaven" (but sounding better), that will tell a dwarf all that is necessary.
To give the promised love, but they managed to cover everything I would of.
I could see it in general rest or when not pushed, to look like the giant dwarven warrior. Even when nothing more than a rabid ball of fur, there should still be a dwarven face visible in the chaos, an echo of the kind.
The creature should have inhuman speed, flexibility, and length of limb. It would be like fighting a several armed slinky monster, limbs flying in and out of range.
Weapons. I could see this creature using grave goods to defend its charge. Hammers and maces, as well as the occasional ax swimming and flying about with the slinky armed attacks.
Who says it would only have two limbs. It could be cunning and utilize its hair self in a variety of ways, extra limbs, odd shapes, dropping down from the ceiling and smothering the interlopers.
I could also see a epithet related to this thing. "More dangerous than twelve beards." or "More dangerous than a hero's beard". This vague cultural reference would be a good add to the world.
Anything else, not yet, but it will come.
A golem made not only from powerful dwarven magic but also from the love for the deceased of twelve dwarves.
This thing creeps me out. Hardcore yo.... 0_0
Those crazy dwarves.
Muro - Entwiner link is broken.
Link fixed as it should be. Behold the terror of the Dwarven Beard Golem! (Doesn't sound that scary if you call it that way. :) )
"The beard stays, you go" - Kevin McDonald
Disturbing on a few levels... but very well done. Reading the comments shows how effective this is in firing the imagination. Definite 5/5.