Most golems are created to serve as security systems and tomb guardians. They are built to last and built to crush—not always in that order.
Obsidian golems, on the other hand, are made to cut people the hell up.
Obsidian is brittle, so it has a lifespan, as weapons (and constructs) go. Obsidian also comes from volcanic areas, and people who live near volcanoes have to have a certain comfort with transience and uncertainty. In other words, the mage who is making an obsidian golem is probably making it because obsidian is what’s handy, not what’s best or most durable. But that doesn’t matter, because the mage who’s making an obsidian golem has other things in mind than crafting an eternal protector. The mage who makes a golem out of volcanic glass intends that golem to be used—with all the bloodiness and pain of a macuahuitl.
Don’t believe me? Look at those abilities: Bleed damage. Jagged Body (Ex). Obsidian Spray (Ex). Death Throes (Ex).
Sure, Bestiary 6 says, “Obsidian golems often are used as deterrence against tomb robbers.” But you can bet we’re not talking lonely pyramids far from civilization. We’re talking tombs or mausoleums in active necropolises located in or near major cities. Victims of an obsidian golem are meant to leave a bloody spectacle, and the few survivors are meant to have an agonizing tale of horror to recount to other would-be thieves.
The most famous authority on surgery in the last age was also a necromancer. More cosmopolitan than his magical colleagues—and well aware of their propensity for grave robbing—his tomb relies on finely crafted constructs for protection, rather than flesh golems or the unquiet dead. The obsidian golem that guards his corpse was actually his surgical aide during life, its sharp fingers serving as ideal scalpels during the necromancer’s lectures.
Having been caught sneaking into a forbidden temple, adventurers are forced to play ōllamaliztli for the nobles’ entertainment. If they lose, they will be sacrificed. If they win…well, the high priest has an obsidian golem positioned at the shrine at the entrance to the locker room to ensure that the blood price is paid either way.
A shaitan lent a portion of her power to aid in the creation of an obsidian golem. Now she wants it back. She hires adventurers to smash the construct and free the animating spirit shard inside. In the intervening decades, however, the golem ended up being buried in ash after a nearby volcano erupted. Amid the shattered remains of the lava-damaged city, two xorns of unusual size now regard the golem as theirs, and they are loath to give up their prize.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 6 141
Last Tuesday was my “Best of 2017” show on The New Indie Canon, featuring my favorite new and important songs from this year. There’s only about half an hour left to grab it, so stream/download it now till midnight (Monday, 12/18/17, U.S. Eastern). And thanks for listening all year long!