The adventurers hear a noise and turn, only to see a bottle clatter down the street. Shrugging it off, they continue on their way, blissfully unaware of the hulking mass of junk taking shape behind them...
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.
I'd love to see a modern-day form of this. It's a perfect monster for modern horror or modern... weird.
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? Responses (13)
My first submission, so let me have it. I'm just trying to get a feel for how to make an idea worthy of full submission.
Also, any hints on how and where to cross-reference would be great. I'm aware of a Iron Spike Golem that follows very similar principles to this one.
iiiinteresting, I shall revisit this after work with some thoughts. (And delete this comment for another)
Are the limits on the length of time this spell is active? Say in a city in the midst of a barbarian sacking, a wizard enchants a bunch of random junk of his as trash golem seeds. Would adventurers rediscovering the city a century or more later find roving trash golems guarding the place?
What about size? Could a golem seed that gets thrown into a junk yard assemble all debris around it into a giant trash golem? Given their regeneration ability, such a golem would be extremely difficult to bring down.
I can see a sort of street wizard-thief using this spell to stalk prey in the night, having trash golems jump out from alleyways and mug passerby.
I have plans on joining the Weavers Guild and am developing a scenario to link back to this (pending confirmation that this is an acceptable standard of submission).
Both the duration of the spell and limit on the mass is completely at the GM's discretion. If it's being given to a NPC, then sure, they could last indefinitely and give adventurers trouble centuries after their creation. If the spell is being given to a PC, however, I'd probably set a baseline and give it increments founded in level/power.
Oh, this is more than acceptable Pete - perhaps just add the details in your response to Dozus and post-er-up!
For details on linking.
Dozus ask good questions (I had a few of the same ilk), and val is right, this is ready for consumption!
I love all unorthodox and bizarre golems, so this works. The twist being the particular items that make up the golem. That sounds like the fun part to dream up.
I also feel the urge to mention that trash and garbage seem to be two different things. When I saw the title i imagined 'garbage', you know, of the icky, organic variety, and immediately imagined the Valley of Hinnom and giant stinking masses of rotting, burning refuse, but this seems to be actual 'trash' or clutter/junk even. I find that interesting.
I think this is great. Making golems out of non-standard stuff isn't brand new, but this take on it has a good story, good mechanics, and is just a good idea over all. Great first sub, Pete.
And now, ze voting...
An interesting idea, with a lot of potential uses. Well written. Like I said in my idea, there should be a cool modern-day version for horror and/or weird.
Just say no to Littering!
Not much to say aside the fact that i like it :)
I like this idea a lot. Be fun to work it into story or turn the spell into a curse. Everything somebody throws away turns into a Golem.
One pet peeve though, and we have all done it, is that generally the most banal thing to say in a write up or in a comment is at the GM's discretion'. Of course it is up to the GM discretion! But either you have an argument and logic for something or you don't, either way is fine-we not writing manifestos* or legal briefs. But we should stop using 'GM discretion' as a means of dismissing a point of discussion, side stepping a question or just using it as a stupid non-response/response.
In the particular case of this post I found the mechanics discussion clear, helpful and it aided me in understanding the author's vision for the piece. Well done.
*I fully recognize that there are manifesto-type documents on the Citadel.