My skepticism of fantasy metals and minerals is well established. (Never mind that it makes no sense. Some poor author introduces, say, biron—“It’s like, twice as magnetic as iron”—and I’m all, “NOPE!”…yet apparently I can talk for hours on the mating habits of sphinxes. So basically I’m a petulant child.)
That said, a mineral that radiates darkness or death is a pretty well-established fantasy trope. (Off the top of my head Forgotten Realms has darkstone and sickstone, and mordite has popped up in at least three novels of The Dresden Files.) So lazurite/marrowstone isn’t an unreasonable creation. Plus the marrowstone golem (statted up by Russ Taylor for the Inner Sea Bestiary) is actually pretty cool. A golem that radiates a necrotic field and raises its victims as ghouls and ghasts is a pretty dope construct, especially as a guardian of a powerful undead creature or a demipower of death.
Two further pieces of interest: In the Golarion setting lazurite loses its potency outside the necropolis where it is mined…except when bound into a marrowstone golem. If marrowstone is similarly located in your campaign, marrowstone golems become a fascinating combination of ambassador, evangelist, and weapon for the undead nation that possesses them. (Imagine an undead city-state falling to crusaders, only to send out its marrow golems in all directions, like mindless, contagious Kal-Els from an evil Krypton). Second, the ghouls created by a marrowstone golem are free-willed and may even retain their class levels…so while the golem will always hew to its master’s instructions, the colonies of undead it creates might not.
Marrowstone golems don’t exist on Hearth…but they do exist in the Greymoor, Hearth’s waterlogged version of the Ethereal Plane. They guard temples to a power of mists and the restless dead who no longer seems to exist. But the ghasts these golems have created are now the Greymoor’s primary inhabitants.
A mohrg has become addicted to the necrotic field of a marrowstone golem. He leaves the golem’s side only when his unnatural desire for murder is too strong to ignore. In any other city the mohrg’s movements would have been tracked and the creature dispatched, but the mummy-worshipping drow of Daxil have no City Watch. Folk too poor to afford private guards will sometimes band together to hire foreign mercenaries to aid them, though—even surface dwellers, if they get desperate enough.
During the sack of Tesh Kumar, the Hand of Plague sent four marrowstone golems out of the subterranean city (all the ghast hierophant could spare from the defense of his inner sanctum) to continue Tesh’s legacy. One golem lies buried in rubble in the earthquake-racked Caverns of Sapphire. One has been destroyed, but not before overrunning the svirfneblin settlement of Tukh with diminutive undead. One of the marrowstone golems is now trailed by a coterie of ghoul religious fanatics—half of whom are trying to maintain their faith in the Phoenix despite their transformation, and half who have eagerly embraced Most Black Yasmet. And one remains unaccounted for…
—Inner Sea Bestiary 17
FYI, biron is also attracted to poetry and repelled by leeches.
What, too soon?
Edit: Thanks for your patience with this entry. Original post:
Alas, no entry today—travel and festivities ate up my writing time. Thanks for your patience. I’ll fill this in soon.
Speaking of festivities, any day you go to your professor’s retirement party and two women’s studies profs come up to you and say, “You don’t remember us, but 15 years ago you DJed our party and you were awesome” is a good one.