Matt Sanders of Sealed Library made a post on Twitter about flatpack golems and how much fun they could be, and we decided to write up a table of their potential malfunctions. Matt also provided two golem-peddling merchants for you to drop into your games, too. Enjoy!
|1||1||Its right leg is shorter than its left. For every 15ft it moves forward, it moves 5ft left.|
|1||2||The screw you could never find a place for means something internal creaks loudly when it moves any quicker than a snail’s pace.|
|1||3||Should you be able to see straight out the other side when you look into its ears? When it’s windy, this makes a pleasant whistling noise.|
|1||4||Something is wrong with its knees. When moving more than 25ft in a round, there is a 1 in 6 chance its knee will dislocate and it will topple over. Reattaching the lower leg and getting up right takes a full action.|
|2||1||Its balance is poor and it can easily be knocked over. Anyone attacking who does max damage on their roll will knock it over. It’s 50/50 if it topples forwards or backwards.|
|2||2||A lack of articulation in its preferred arm makes the golem’s reach longer, but it is incredibly clumsy and has a tendency to smash things when it turns.|
|2||3||A misconnected ocular sensor means the golem has heat vision. This makes it useless in some situations, but powerful in others.|
|2||4||Something is wound too tightly and the golem moves at high speed. It has a 2 in 6 chance of overshooting its intended movement by half.|
|3||1||Something in the shoulder is wound the wrong way. Every time it swings its arm the joint tightens up. Eventually the arm will stop working entirely.|
|3||2||A piece was missing from the box – the golem’s lower jaw. The opening where its mouth should be acts as an amplifier for the mechanisms inside it, so that every time it moves it emits a low-level rumble like a neverending growl.|
|3||3||It literally has two left feet, and often walks in circles until explicitly instructed to pay attention.|
|3||4||Part of its arm is calibrated incorrectly and acts as a dowsing rod. When unattended or acting without specific instructions, the golem can usually be found stumbling in the direction of water.|
|4||1||It’s cheaply made, and that is most obvious in the construction of its valves and seals. It leaves a thin trail of oil wherever it goes, and needs topping up regularly.|
|4||2||Whatever rudimentary intelligence exists inside it latched on to the box it was transported in as “home”. It regularly tries to climb into boxes and crates when it doesn’t have a task to perform.|
|4||3||The springs in its legs are calibrated wrong. It walks with an exaggerated bounce, as though gravity is slightly lower for it. It can jump surprisingly high, but landing tends to be chaotic.|
|4||4||The piece that forms the golem’s neck is slightly too long and can’t properly support the weight of the head. It lolls to the side, and the golem struggles to walk in a straight line.|
Discount Golem Vendors
Grondor’s Used Golem Warehouse
Grondor is a diminutive and hirsute seller of second hand golems. His prices are almost too good to believe, and his promises about quality definitely are. Any golem bought from Grondor has a 3-in-6 chance of failing in the first dungeon or encounter you use it in. Sod’s law means it’ll get there just fine, but as soon as you need it something will go wrong. Grondor will never accept responsibility and will always refer to a previously not-at-all obvious sign with a disclaimer in tiny text on it. This is in contrast to the large and lurid signs with things like WIZARD’S TOWER CLEARANCE – ALL STOCK MUST GO emblazoned on them. Amongst those in the know, Grundor is famed for filling second hand golems with sawdust or cheap ooze to keep them running smoothly until after you’ve bought them.
Smorkea’s big innovation was making golem’s affordable for the masses. You walk around and they have golem’s set up performing tasks in pre-made dioramas that make everything look lovely and aspirational. Once you reach the end, you select a flat pack golem from the shelf and build it yourself at home. The instructions are arcane and hard to follow for even the most accomplished wizard, let alone the bargain-seekers who typically shop at Smirkea.
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Image Credit: A market scene with a water vendor, sellers of vegetables and a woman selling fish to a man as a soldier looks on. Coloured etching with aquatint by R.B. Peake. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)