Spirit Golem (Apath)

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Unofficial rules compendium

Spirit golems are constructs endowed with intelligence using a combination of craft and magic. Less powerful than other golems, spirit golems are unique in that they are intelligent and have limited free will. The combination of intelligence and their golem natures makes them excellent supervisors of other golems. Created by magic, spirit golems often begin their career indentured to their creator.


Spirit golems are objects animated by spirits. They have a unique pineal mechanism that serves to connect the mechanical body with a spirit. Unlike the simple elemental spirits animating golems, these spirits are intelligent and have a limited degree of autonomy and free will. A popular theory is a spirit golem attracts to a spirit through an artificial pineal mechanism, just as a newborn organic creature attracts a spirit and connects to this spirit through the pineal gland.

Physical Description Made of mechanical clockwork parts covered by a metal skin, spirit golems are built to resemble humanoid creatures. They are able to act in the same environment and use the same tools as their creators. Most spirit golems are made to resemble dwarfs, but some look like gnomes, humans, or more exotic forms. The skin of a spirit golem is usually sculpted to resemble a clothed creature, making most spirit golems go without regular clothes. Spirit golems are made in both male and female shapes and most try to act the part, but spirit golems have no actual gender and many reject gender stereotypes. With skin of iron, brass, silver, leather, or wood, they are unlikely to be mistaken for humanoids.

Society Spirit golems have no society of their own, instead existing in the societies of their creators. They are physically fully formed on creation, but their personality is immature. Because of the great cost of their creation, spirit golems generally begin their existence indentured to their creators, something few newly made spirit golems protest. In general, such indenture lasts for 20 years. The indentured period is the closest thing to a childhood a spirit golem has. During this time the personality and free will of the spirit golem develops to a degree where it can live on its own.

Relations Dwarfs see spirit golems as their step-children. A dwarf commander is always reluctant to risk his troops, and even though spirit golems were made to be expendable, they are still treasured. Humans and gnomes find them interesting curiosities and take their free will less than seriously. Elves and other nature lovers pity spirit golems as sins against the natural order of life. Orcs, goblinoids, and other traditional enemies of the dwarfs greatly fear these metallic warriors, as they are implacable and their lack of emotion makes a victory over them hollow and unsatisfying.

Alignment and Religion Followers much more than leaders, spirit golems are usually of lawful neutral alignment, doing what they are told and not questioning orders or objectives. Spirit golems were first made by dwarfs, and have been imbued with much of the dwarf mentality; they are dutiful, hard workers, and dour, rarely speaking up for themselves except when asked or in their personal area of expertise. Spirit golems usually pay lip service to the faith of living creatures around them but few spirit golems have faith.

Adventurers A spirit golem that has worked off its indenture often feels an emptiness or lack of purpose. Many simply continue as they were, ignoring the fact that they are now free to chose. Others turn to a life of risk and adventure, some because they have fallen under the sway of an enthusiastic companion, others because they have rationally analyzed the situation and found themselves to be better suited to danger and sacrifice than organic beings. Spirit golems do well as alchemists, fighters, fencers, magi, and wizards.

Names Spirit golems often begin their existence as a part of a unit of others like themselves, using the name of their squad or work group as a family name and a name or number as their individual designation. Over time, they might earn themselves nicknames or even honorary names after great deeds. Others have been given typical servant names by their owners. Unlike humanoids, spirit golems have no particular attachment to their names and can effortlessly adjust themselves to a new appellation and take no offense at name calling.

Male and Female Names Copper First, Dawnforge Gamma, Dragonbait, Dusty, Fido, Fifi, Firefury 3, Georgie, Greasball, Jeeves, Red Six, Screechy, White Sword Left.

Standard Racial Traits

  • Ability Score Racial Traits [-1RP] +2 Strength, +2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom, -4 Charisma.
  • Size Spirit golems are Medium creatures and gain no special advantages or disadvantages from size.
  • Type [10 RP] Spirit golem are constructs, but the fact they have spirits makes them different from many other constructs. Spirit golems only gain abilities of constructs that are specifically mentioned here and no others.
    • Spirit golems have no Constitution score. Any DCs or other statistics that rely on a Constitution score treat a spirit golem as having a score of 10 (no bonus or penalty). When generating a spirit golem using point buy, assume a Constitution of 10.
    • Spirit golems cannot heal damage on their own, but can be repaired using the Craft (clockwork) skill. One hour of work and a DC 15 Craft (clockwork) check restores hit points equal to the repairer's Craft (clockwork) skill bonus. Spirit golems can repair themselves, but the DC is 20. Spirit golems can also be healed through spells that repair constructs, such as make whole. A spirit golem can benefit from fast healing and regeneration.
    • Spirit golems are not subject to ability damage, ability drain, fatigue, or exhaustion. The are immune to bleed, disease, necromancy effects, paralysis, poison, and sleep effects.
    • Spirit golems are immune to any effect that requires a Fortitude save (unless the effect also works on objects or is harmless).
    • Spirit golems do not risk death due to massive damage. They remain conscious but are unable to act when reduced to zero hit points, but can be repaired as long as their negative hit points do not exceed their normal hit point maximum.
    • Spirit golems do not breathe, eat, or sleep, unless they want to gain some beneficial effect from one of these activities. This means that a spirit golem can drink potions to benefit from their effects and can sleep in order to regain spells, but neither of these activities is required to survive or stay in good health.
  • Base Speed [-1RP] 20 ft.
  • Languages Spirit golem begin play speaking Dwarf and Common. Spirit golem with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following dwarf, gnome, goblin, ignan, infernal, orc, terran.
  • Random Starting Age Spirit golems have no childhood but most are indentured for the first 20 years of their existence. A spirit golem that is still indentured, or that has escaped indenture, has a starting age up to 10 years younger—younger spirit golems have insufficient personality to be player characters. Base age 20 years
    Barbarian, Rogue, Sorcerer +1d4
    Bard, Fighter, Paladin, Ranger +1d6
    Cleric, Druid, Monk, Wizard +2d6.
  • Aging Effects Spirit golems do not physically age if properly maintained, but their spirit mechanism matures as they age, growing more sophisticated but also sluggish and less able to control their physical form in a process that resembles aging. Middle Age 40. Old 60. Venerable 80. Max 50+1d100.
  • Height and Weight Most spirit golems are made to resemble dwarfs and are made to be just a little shorter than the average dwarf. Spirit golems made to resemble other races are one inch shorter that the average of that race. Even tough spirit golems lack a biological gender, they have an social gender that sets their height and weight. Made of metal and other heavy materials, spirit golems have hollow spaces for their mechanisms, giving them the same final weight as organic creatures and have the same weight as the average weight of the race they are made to resemble.
    Male Height 4'1" Weight 178 lbs.
    Female Height 3'11" Weight 148 lbs.

Offense and Defensive Racial Traits

  • Armored [+2 RP] A spirit golem has a metal skin that gives a +6 armor bonus with no speed reduction, weight, or armor check penalty. This armor bonus does not stack with armor worn. For effects that work with armor, this counts as medium armor but with no penalties of any kind.
  • Fearless [+1 RP] Spirit golems gain a +4 racial bonus on all saving throws against fear effects.
  • Robust [+1 RP] A spirit golem can take the Toughness feat a number of times equal to it's Strength bonus (minimum 1). The benefits stack.

Movement Racial Traits

  • Steady A spirit golem's speed is never modified by armor or encumbrance.

Skill Racial Traits

  • Craft Affinity [+4 RP] Spirit golems show an exacting and untiring attention to crafts. They gain a +2 racial bonus on all Craft skills.
  • Construct Knowledge [+2 RP] A spirit golem gains a +2 racial bonus on any Knowledge check relating to constructs. This includes Knowledge (arcana) for magical constructs and Knowledge (engineering) for automatons and robots. A spirit golem that successfully uses a Knowledge skill to identify a non-intelligent construct also intuitively understands that construct's current instructions.

Senses Racial Traits

  • Low-Light Vision (Ex) Spirit golems can see twice as far as humans in dim light.
  • Darkvision (Ex) A spirit golem can see perfectly in the dark up to 60 feet.

Magical Racial Traits

  • Construct Communication (Sp) [+4 RP] A spirit golem can speak with any construct that understands a language, as constant tongues. This also applies to instructions and programs written to be understood by constructs and machines.

Weakness Racial Traits

  • Alien to Nature [-2] Spirit golems have no affinity for nature or survival. They suffer a -4 penalty on Handle Animal, Knowledge (nature), and Survival checks. A spirit golem that receives an animal companion or mount instead receives an automaton companion. A spirit golem that receives a familiar instead receives an automaton familiar.
  • Environmental Vulnerability [-4] Spirit golems are built with redundancies that makes them less sensitive to environmental effects like dirt, dust, deposits, and corrosion than most clockwork devices. Still, they are more vulnerable to such environments than organic creatures. When in a dusty, polluted, sandy, or humid environment, or when underwater, they take 1d6 points of damage from exposure per hour (or part thereof). This also applies in any environment where organic creatures would have to make Constitution checks or Fortitude saves to avoid environmental effects: the spirit golem is immune to the effect but instead suffers from environmental vulnerability. A spirit golem with less than zero hit points does not take damage from environmental vulnerability.
  • Ferrous [-1 RP] Spirit golems are at least in part made of ferrous materials and are vulnerable to corrosion. Any effect that has a special effect on ferrous creatures or iron golems also has this effect on spirit golems.
  • Ponderous [-2 RP] Spirit golems suffer a -2 penalty on Initiative checks.
  • Poor Swimmer Spirit golems take in water, giving them negative buoyancy. They suffer a -4 racial penalty on Swim checks. Many spirit golems prefer to simply walk on the bottom.

Missing Construct Traits

Because of their special spirit mechanism, spirit golems lack the following abilities common to constructs. These abilities are not noted above, they are summarized here to make the difference between spirit golems and normal constructs more clear.

  • Pineal Mechanism Spirit golems have a spirit that controls their mechanical bodies. This is why they lack the typical construct immunity to mind-affecting and death effects. Spirit golems can be raised and resurrected.
  • Weak Link Spirit golems are not solid objects and do not gain bonus hit points based on their size.
  • Sensitive Mechanism Spirit golems have gears and sensitive interior mechanisms that make them sensitive to jolts and shocks. They lack the typical construct immunity to nonlethal damage and stunning.

Alternate Racial Traits

  • Environment Shielding The spirit golem is shielded from all kinds of environmental effects, which makes it weight 10% more and makes it slower and its joints stiffer. Environment shielding replaces environmental vulnerability and reduces Dexterity by four points.
  • Flesh Material Some prototype spirit golems were made out of the preserved parts of dead creatures, much like actual flesh golems. This replaces armored, ferrous, and poor swimmer.
  • Stone Material A secret development among dwarfs, the stone spirit golem is a hollow stone statue of a dwarf, animated by the will of the stonelord. This replaces ferrous and gives a -2 penalty to Dexterity. Spirit golems of stone have DR 5/piercing or admantine.
  • Gorgon Pattern The spirit golem resembles a centaur, with a dwarf upper body and the bull-like lower body of a gorgon. This replaces craft affinity and construct knowledge.
    • It is Large (6 ft. tall, 8 ft. long, weight 2,000 pounds).
    • It has a base speed of 30 ft.
    • It is a quadruped and gains a +4 racial bonus on CMD against trip attacks.
    • It has a natural armor bonus of +2.
    • Large races take a –1 size penalty to their AC, a –1 size penalty on attack rolls, a +1 bonus on combat maneuver checks and to their CMD, a –4 size penalty on Stealth checks and -2 penalty on Fly checks. A Large creature takes up a space that is 10 feet by 10 feet and has a reach of 5 feet.
    • Because it is large and quadruped, the gorgon pattern spirit golem can carry four times as much as a human of the same Strength.
    • Because their upper body is dwarf-sized, they wield weapons and make natural attacks as if they were Medium creatures.
    • A gorgon pattern spirit golem has the following ability score modifiers +4 Strength, -2 Wisdom, -4 Charisma. This replaces the normal ability modifiers and stacks with ability modifiers from alternate racial traits.
  • Gnome Pattern The spirit golem is built to resemble a gnome. This replaces darkvision, ponderous, and steady.
    • It is of Small size (male 3'4" 39 lbs., female 3'2", 34 lbs.). Small creatures gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty to their Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense, a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks, and a +2 size bonus on Fly checks.
    • A gnome pattern spirit golem has the following ability score modifiers +2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma. This replaces the normal ability modifiers and stacks with ability modifiers from alternate racial traits.
  • Human Pattern The spirit golem is built to resemble a human. It is larger that a typical (dwarf pattern) spirit golem but still a Medium creature (male 5'8" 170 lbs, female 5'3" 135 lbs) and has a base speed of 30 ft. This replaces darkvision, low-light vision, ponderous, and steady.
  • Soul Golem The spirit golem is animated by the spirit of a dead creature, and gains some of the features of the undead. This replaces fearless, pineal mechanism, and construct knowledge.
    • The soul golem is considered to be both a construct and an undead creature for effects that relate to creature type, except that it cannot be healed by negative energy and cannot be raised or resurrected.
    • A soul golem is immune to mind-affecting and death effects.
  • True Golem A true spirit golem gains the immunity to magic ability of the clockwork golem. A true golem made of other materials instead gains the immunity to magic ability of a golem made of that material. This replaces craft affinity, construct knowledge, and construct communication. It further reduces Intelligence by six points and Wisdom by 2 points.

Spirit Golems in Greyhawk

Dwarfs realized long ago that their long lifespans and slow reproduction is a weakness in conflicts with orcs and goblinoids. This made them think up spirit golems as weapons of war, but this project made little headway until other races got involved. Gnomes helped with tinkering and humans with magic. Together, they finally succeeded in imbuing spirits into clockwork mechanisms. This became a part of the great work, the emerging industrialization of the Flaness.

Advance Race Guide Design Points

+20 Construct
-8 Vulnerable to mind-affecting
+4 Dies at - hp, can be raised & resurrected
-4 Vulnerable to non-lethal and stunning
-2 No bonus hp
-1 Weakness Ability Scores
+2 Armored
+1 Fearless
+1 Robust
-1 Base speed
-2 Alien to nature
+4 Craft affinity
+2 Construct Knowledge
+4 Construct Communication
-4 Environmental Vulnerability
-2 Ponderous
-1 Poor swimmer
-1 Ferrous

10 points

Race Trait Options

Spirit golem can choose among the following race traits.

Environmental Adaptation (Race) Choose a terrain from Table: Ranger Favored Terrains. You do not suffer from your environmental vulnerability in this terrain. If you pick an elemental plane (air [weather], earth [dust, pollution], fire [heat, smoke], water [cold, water]), you also become adapted to hazards of this kind on the prime material plane, as long as they do not inflict actual damage. You can take this trait multiple times, choosing a different terrain each time.

Custom Build (Race) You were manufactured to be one of a kind rather than one in a series. You have an individual face and body shape. Roll randomly for height and weight as if you were a creature of the race you are patterned after. You gain a +1 trait modifier on Bluff, Intimidate, and Diplomacy checks, and one of these skills becomes a class skill for you.

Indentured (Race) You have not worked off your indenture and is legally owned by someone, often a government. Your owner approves of your adventurous activities, but can give you instructions you are obliged to obey. You are 1d8+2 years younger than the normal starting age, this is the number of years remaining on your indenture. You have an expense fund of 50 gp to spend on your own maintenance and equipment. As long as you remain in good standing with your owner this stipend is renewed with 50 gp per level each time you advance a level. If your relationship with your owner ends for any reason, replace this with the Runaway trait.

Purpose Built Attachment (Race) You have one or more pieces of purpose-made equipment in a compartment(s) in your body. Examples include thief's tools in your fingers and blades sheathed in your arm. You gain one such attachment for free with this trait, further attachments cost 250 gp beyond the price of each item and cannot be larger than a one-handed weapon. Wielding or concealing such an attachment is a swift action. A Purpose built attachment count as masterwork items to you and improvised items to others. You gain a +4 modifier on Sleight of Hand checks to conceal such items and you cannot be disarmed of them.

Runaway (Race) You have broken free of your indenture and are a fugitive, wanted by your former master. You are not actively pursued, but if you get in trouble with the law you might be recognized and apprehended. You have learned to mask your identity and gain a +4 trait modifier on Disguise checks to appear as a generic spirit golem. Your starting age is 1d12 years lower than normal. You can buy off your contract at a cost of 5,000 gp. This means you are no longer a fugitive, but you keep the Disguise bonus.

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