Saturday, October 5, 2019

Yoon Suin: a GLOG clockwork golem player character.

In the Yellow City, the art of Golemology is highly advanced. Clockwork golems are a somewhat recent development. Many are simple, somewhat fragile devices while others are hulking machines of war, powered by a human soul. The second variety are tightly controlled by enchantments and runes so that they do not turn against their masters.

But sometimes golemists working on practice golems make models with advanced cognition but, not being the potent, hulking versions, neglect to install rigorous control mechanisms. Some of these models escape their masters or are simply abandoned, and make their own ways into the world.
Credits: Chrono Trigger design team (akira toryiama I'm told)
For each template (ie level) of Clockwork Golem, your HP goes up by 2. AC starts at 12, goes up 1 per level (max of 15 at level 4). 1 Energy Dice (ED)/level

A: Iron Fist, Clockwork Cannon, Surge of Strenght
B: Eye beams, Rocket Fist
C: Shocking Burst, Overclock
D: Analyze, Energy Beam

Energy Dice:  A clockwork golem can build up stores of excess energy to be used at critical times to performed extraordinary feats.  These regenerate after every long rest, and (like an MD) are retained on a 1-3 and expended on a 4-6 (see exception below).

Iron Fist:  A golem dislikes weapons and prefers to attack enemies with its metal fist (1d6 dmg).

Clockwork Cannon:  Instead of a left hand, a mechanical weapon shooting iron balls at bone breaking speeds.  Range increment 30 feet, dmg 1d6, 6 shots - reloading it is a slow affair, taking about 10 minutes.

Surge of Strenght: With a roar and a billow of smoke, the clockwork golem fires his engines for maximum capacity.  Strenght increases by [sum] for [dice]X2 minutes.

Eye Beams:  Project light from you eyes, range 30 feet, 10 foot wide cone (a mediocre flashlight) for [sum] hours.

Rocket Punch: Launch your fist ahead of you, range 20 feet, to inflict a punch attack doing [sum] damage. The fist is attached to your arm by a strong chain. It can be used as a powerful winch, as a grappling hook, a way to bring an item to you etc.

Shocking Burst: Release a massive discharge from your capacitors. Everyone but you within 15 radius takes [sum] damage, dex save for half.

Overclock: Once per day, you can increase the size of your Energy Dice(s) for one use from 1d6 to 1d8. You only regain the dice on a 1-3, so the chances of getting to re-use the dice(s) are smaller The regained die are normal (1d6) sized. At level 4 the increase is to a d10.

Analyze:  You shed light similarily to the Eye Beams.  This light last [sum] minutes and reveals invisible creatures/object, illusions, etc (essentially True Seeing).

Energy Beam:  Your clockwork cannon becomes the weapon it was meant to be, and burns a single target with a terrible light.  Range 300 feet, damage [sum]+dice (no save).  This spell doesn't impede normal clockwork cannon function.

General notes:  A clockwork golem is not a biological being.  For instance it cannot swim, but it cannot drown either.  Clockwork golems speak in the tongue of their creator, and one random language (the mother tongue of the soul used to create it).

Sleep and encumbrance:  A clockwork golem does not need sleep like a living being does, but it does need about 4 hours of self-diagnostic and repair every day. In that state, the golem is highly distracted and unmoving. A clockwork golem that has not performed self diagnostic for more than 2 days has disadvantage on all rolls. Clockwork golems are immune to magical sleep.  As long as its rest and fuel needs are met, a clockwork golem will not tire.  There are limits to what it can carry, and it has the same number of equipment slots a human of equivalent strenght would have.  Its iron fist and clockwork cannon do not take slots however.

Food and water: A clockwork golem does not eat, but it does consume fuel in its burner. Coal or charcoal is preferred, but wood will do fine, and in a pinch it may use dried hay or straw, paper, clothing... it consumes fuel at the same rate that a human would eat (in "rations") but the bulk of the fuel required depends on its quality. High quality (coal, charcoal, oil) fuel is 3/encumbrance, medium quality (wood) is 1/encumbrance and low quality (bark, dried leaves etc) is 1 load/2 encumbrance. Exotic fuel may have … consequences. A clockwork golem needs about 1 litre of water per day for its boiler. The water intake is equipped with filters so it can "drink" water that a human would find unacceptable. After 3 days without fuel or water, a clockwork golem will fall into a dormant state - it may wake up for a few minutes to take a few steps or say a few sentences, but that's it.

Healing:  Medical skills are useless when it comes to a golem.  However, a golemologist, or even a skilled and clever mechanic, can effectuate repairs.  Natural healing for a golem parallels humans, by resting (running diagnostics) and burning fuel.  Upon reaching zero or negative hp, the golem will shut down, and will remain so until magically healed or repaired.  To do the latter, requires the skills of a proper golemologist, but this will only be possible as long as the negative HP are not greater than double the original max hp.  These repairs are liable to be very expensive (use cost of resurrection magic as a guide), and care must be taken that the golemologist does not repair or install control runes that would overpower the will of the clockwork golem.

Many thanks to Words for Yellow for the design assistance.  This is clearly inspired by Robo from Chrono Trigger, but I removed the healing abilities entirely.   I believe that the result is a tough caster with both utility and combat ability, and *massive* roleplaying potential.   I do note that the overclock ability will have to be carefully monitored for potential OP, this is not play-tested material.  Troika did something similar with the Thinking Engine.  I also note that you could use this class for a modron.

This class was part of an OSR Discord server challenge.  So far participants are
- The Oblidisideryptch, with Aztec inspired, multi sensorial mechs (they are the holder of the "official list" so be sure to check there in case I missed one)
- Words for Yellow, with Magical Mechs - awakened temples, colossal demons, wizard towers on wheels and much more, it's fantastic stuff.
- Nuclear Haruspex with Evangelion-inspired rules.
- Octarine Tinted Glasses with the mantle, a class for an engineer who infuses parts of their soul in a machine - and rules about how this machine feels about its creator.
- Coins and Scrolls with a late but *hilarious* goblin entry


  1. Ooh, this looks awesome. Reminds me a lot of a class I was thinking of writing myself (Pseudo-Golem). Gives me tons of inspiration.

    1. Thank you. It's... probably not going to get used, but if it helps you, it was worth it :)