Monday, February 18, 2013

Noqual Golem

Today’s a double whammy!  First, the noqual golem:

I used to get real excited about magic metal, minerals and materials, but I’ve grown much less enthralled over time.  Don’t get me wrong; I love my mithral and darkwood.  But to someone raised on Marvel comics, adding adamantine to the table just felt like we were jumping the Wolverine (even if Wikipedia informs me it’s a totes legit thing).  The more settings you read about/play in the harder it is to remember what does what, so after a while using too many made-up metals just becomes an exercise in looking about up bonuses and forgetting them two seconds later.

That said, Golarion takes its starmetals seriously, so it’s no surprise the Inner Sea Bestiary served up a noqual golem.  These greenish constructs are even more dweomer-resistant than the usual golem—and that has the interesting side effect of making them lethal against other constructs and certain undead as well. 

Of course, if you’re feeling cranky like me (“Hey you kids—stop harvesting starmetal on my lawn!”) there are plenty of real-world stones that were reputed to have antimagic properties, too…

The Unopenable Doors of Kadith have been opened.  A trove of lost magic awaits.  But the noqual golem whose dweomer-resistant fists smashed down the doors now guards the site against intruders…likely awaiting the advent of its master.

Advances in clockwork creatures are driving down the price of constructs.  As armies begin to field more and more magimechanical warriors, cutting-edge generals have turned to researching noqual golems.

In the Cold Lands to the north, witches and hags wield powers of cold, darkness and death magnified by the unforgiving elements.  Huddled in their walled cities, the wealthiest priests and wizards in those lands have taken to crafting golems from agate, the stone peasants use to ward off the evil eye.  These golems have protected more than one city gate from spell-boosted giants, wicker-made constructs, and the shambling dead.

Inner Sea Bestiary 18

No radio show this week to post for you.  Are you sad?  I’m sad.  But Katsucon was fun!  Here are pictures.  I did not take them, but I’m happy to give anyone with a blog called Girls With Comics (especially one from Baltimore!) some traffic.

So runemage14 (whose name I really like—I picture a twisted children’s book where terrible things happen to runemages 1–13, and only #14 is left standing)… 

Wow, that was a tangent even for me.  Let me start over: runemage14 writes: “Stumbled onto your blog today.  I'm curious as to your take on the Cerberus.”

Thanks RM14!

Bestiary 3 wasn’t out yet when we last tackled the letter C, and since we won’t get back to it until 2014 (maybe ’15?...) it seems a shame to make him wait.  Here are my initial thoughts: What sets the cerberi apart isn’t the three heads; it’s what those heads represents—a pedigree.

Every cerberi comes from the mythical Cerberus (who we can assume is a unique Advanced and templated-up paragon of the race).  So even the wild examples are special.  Roving packs of them might be a nuisance to devilkin, who would have to guard prize souls and slaves against…but like the gray wolves in today’s American West, they’re too special to just dispose of like you would a coyote (or hell hound).

 The vast majority of cerberi, though, are going to have owners.  So most aren’t going to show up randomly—they’re going to be guard dogs or pets.  If you kill one, someone is going to come looking. 

Also—again, because of pedigree—they might be incredibly useful gifts.  A devil might give one to powerful mortals, axiomites, daemons, fey…even archons or angels as a calculated provocation.  The recipient likely can’t refuse the offer or risk offending the giver…and the cerberi’s power to scent souls is just too useful to dismiss.  But now they’ve got a repulsively skinless, too-smart, ticking time bomb in their courts.  So into the kennel/dungeon/labyrinth/spare bedroom the infernal dog goes, ready to meet the PCs at some point in the near future.

Wild cerberi rove in packs along the outskirts of the Hell border town of Surety, eating garbage and preying on the occasional soul or hapless human.  The town’s mortal merchants complain, but the tieflings who run Surety have little incentive to eradicate the dogs.  The town used to be a staging ground for diabolitionists, but the cerberi packs have cut the number of escaped slaves and souls in half.

The cleric Brentus is famous for his zealous service to St. Kumin, the Bane of Undead.  He is even more famous for the three-headed cerberi he holds at bay on a barbed choke chain.  The hound’s ability to track even the spectral dead is undeniably useful, but Brentus’s superiors have all placed wagers either on the day the cerberi turns on him, or on the inevitable day the lawful neutral cleric goes too far…

Known wicked personages who boast a cerberi guard dog include the antler-headed sidhe lord Cerwidon (use stats for an elf with fey creature template), the Conjuror-Baron Vitus, and the ja noi (hobgoblin oni) Yamato Nine-Tongue.

—Pathfinder Bestiary 3 51

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