Golems are automatons of great strength created through the combination of powerful magics and specific materials. Athasian golems are different in nature and type than those found on other worlds, reflecting the unique culture and mythos of this desert world. There are eight different types of Athasian golems: ash, chitin, magma, obsidian, rock, salt, sand, and wood.
Background: The true origin of golems on the world of Athas has been long-since lost in the annals of history. Regardless of their origin, the process by which one creates such a being is still undertaken by sorcerer kings, powerful templars, and high-level wizards who jealously guard the secrets of the process, just as a dragon protects its hoard.
Theory: The creation of a golem requires not only powerful magics, but specific elements, as well. The need for whatever specified elemental material stems from a link to the quasielemental and paraelemental planes of existence. The elemental form of the golem on Athas acts as a conduit for the awesome energy possessed by the spirits on those planes. Each spirit, attuned to a specific element, imbues life within the concoction of material and arcane magic. Only through exacting craftsmanship can the creator establish this link between spirit and golem, forging a union that stays with the creation until it is broken by equally tremendous forces.
Even most sages do not fully grasp the process of trapping an elemental spirit within the body of a golem, though many have tried. Perhaps more terrifying is that the sorcerer kings and templars who create golems at whim, and with considerable effort, do not completely understand the risks they are taking. An elemental spirit, bound to Athas via the corporeal link of the golem, is not necessarily appreciative of its captivity. In fact, such spirits not only despise the one who forges the golem, but all life found upon the material plane of existence. Consult the specific listings of each golem type for how the bound spirits react to commands from beings on Athas.
The actual creation of the golem's physical body is extremely complicated. The ability is far from common and the creation of golems often requires multiple makers, some for the body and others for the process of enchantment.
Common Characteristics: All golems possess several traits that distinguish them from other types of golems, but all share multiple characteristics that define them as golems. Because of their magical nature, golems can be damaged only by magical weapons of +l or greater.
Golems have a variety of immunities, including all mind affecting spells (such as charm, feeblemind, sleep, suggestion), poisons, disease, and suffocation. Similarly, they cannot be affected by the psionic powers of most disciplines, except for telekinesis and psychoportation, that affect their physical being as opposed to their psyche. Golems exhibit no psionic tendencies themselves. A particularly useful spell when combating golems is dispel magic. The spell does not destroy the magical bonds that hold the golem together, but makes the golem fall to the ground, seemingly lifeless, for a number of rounds equal to the caster's level. To avoid this, golems must successfully save vs. spells. The elemental spirit is still bound within the golems if the spell succeeds; it is simply free from the creator's bidding during the duration of the dispel magic's effect, though it cannot force the golems' bodies to react during that time.
Golem Creation: Golem Creation: Below are the basic requirements for the creation of all the types of golems found on Athas. In addition to the requirements listed, those creating Athasian golems need to be knowledgeable in the arcane magics which allow the link between elemental spirit and golem body to be formed. These secret magics are known only to the sorcerer-kings and their most trusted templars.
Ash Golem Creation
Only a wizard of at least 16th level can create an ash golem. The body is composed of a mixture of ash and the blood of an Athasian fire drake; it is cast in a mold carved into the form of the golem. Other materials and components needed cost 2,000 gold pieces and are consumed in the casting. The spells required are wish, burning hands, polymorph any object, and geas.
Chitin Golem Creation
Only a defiler of at least 17th level can create a chitin golem. The body is formed of pieces of insect carcasses laid in the shape of the golem. The body is then coated with an ointment created from the blood of an Athasian earth drake. Most spell casters use the bodies of dead kanks in the creation of chitin golems, though any insect carapace will suffice. Other materials and spell components cost 2,500 gold pieces and are consumed in the casting. Among these materials are an elixir made from the juices of fruit potions of animal control and vitality. The spells required are wish, animate dead, polymorph other, and geas.
Magma Golem Creation
The creation of a magma golem requires a defiler of at least 18th level. The creator must collect enough raw material from the Ring of Fire and shape it within a mold of diamond. Though most of the other materials - flint, sulfur, and volcanic ash - are comparatively inexpensive (100 gp total), the diamond mold costs 10,000 gp. All the components but the mold are consumed during the enchanting process. After six months of extensive shaping and casting, the finished golem is ready. The spells required for the construction of a magma golem are geas, meteor swarm, stone shape, and wish.
Rock Golem Creation
Only a defiler of at least 16th level can create a rock golem. The body is carved from a solid piece of rock weighing at least 2,000 pounds and takes two months to complete. The required materials and spell components cost 2,000 gold pieces and are consumed in the casting. The spells needed are wish, polymorph any object, move earth, and geas.
Salt Golem Creation
Any wizard of at least 18th level can forge a salt golem. The body is carved from a 2,000-pound chunk of rock salt during a two-month process. The required material and spell components, which are destroyed during creation, cost 2,000 gp. The spells necessary for the creation of a salt golem are geas, move earth, polymorph any object, and wish.
Sand Golem Creation
The creation of a sand golem requires a wizard of at least 15th level. The body is formed by placing damp sand within a clay mold, shaped in the form of the golem to be animated. The process requires other materials and components that cost 1,500 gold pieces and are consumed in the casting. These materials include among them one cubic foot of silt taken from the Sea of Silt. The spells required are the same as those needed for a stone golem, namely wish, polymorph any object, geas, and slow.
Wood Golem Creation
Only a druid of at least 15th level can create a wood golem. The golem's body is made up of pieces from no less than five different wood types, one for each limb and one for the torso and head. The pieces are lashed together with prepared vines. A wood golem can only be created from wood that has been dead for at least one month. The other materials and spell components needed cost 1,000 gold pieces and are consumed in the casting. The spells required are entangle, plant growth, animate object, commune, imbue with spell ability, prayer, and bless.