Golems can defy most attempts to classify their kind. This work is the result of years of research into these creatures, although there are still obvious gaps in our current knowledge.
“Know Your Golems,” by Pearl Honeywine — Being an exhaustive study into the world of the golem.
It is technically impossible for one to know all the variations that a golem can take as golems are created by high-level magic users who will naturally determine from what their golem will be created. There are some sweeping generalizations that can be made, however.
The first generalization is that golems are artificial constructs. They are animated through the use of arcane magical spells which bind their material and infuse it with the abilities to move or interact with others as necessary. As the spells to create a golem are from the higher realms of knowledge, they are time consuming and therefore not wasted on animating smaller objects.
That is not to say that smaller golems are never created, however it is in the caster’s best interest to manipulate as much matter as can be handled. A skilled caster will be able to animate numerous golems simultaneously. Some casters, however, will concentrate their efforts on one golem in particular. If more are needed, the caster will require his or her apprentices to create those.
By using apprentices, a skilled caster can concentrate on a golem leader who can in turn command lower forms of golems. This is a rare application, however, but it has been done successfully in the past and therefore, one must be vigilant in dealing with golems.
While most golems are seen in sentry or guardian positions, there is record of a golem created long ago by the Academy of Arcane Science to serve as a repository for the Academy’s research. This golem was imbued with the ability to speak and so was able to recall and present information when questioned by knowledge seekers.
The external form of a golem will vary from one to the next. Some golems are animated from simple stones and therefore look like those very stones. This can be dangerous to the unwary traveller who may accidentally trigger a golem’s defense mechanism without even knowing a golem is there.
There have been tales of golems created in the form of scarecrows, such as the simple ones found in any farmer’s fields. Bone golems are constructed of animated bones. In this latter case, the bones reanimate into any structure and are not bound by any conventional anatomical placement.
Gnomish creations have given rise to the formation of metal or clockwork golems as well. These golems are formed from bits found in any gnome village’s scrap heap. While fearsome to see, it is gratifying to know that they are animated by an outside force (magic) and not moving under their own power! That would be truly terrifying.
Methods for dispensing with golems will vary, of course, depending on the material from which that golem is constructed. For example, a clockwork golem would be weakest against attacks which destroy the metals from which they are made. Stone golems can often be dissolved with a force of water. Scarecrow golems can be burned. One must examine the target carefully to determine one’s strategy and proceed, as in every endeavor, with caution.
I hope this book provides you with enough basic information about golems that you will be able to learn more about them on your own. They are fascinating in their diversity and additional study is well worth the effort.