Saturday, November 9, 2019

The Golems of the Yellow City

Slugmen are know for their magical skill, scholarship and mercantile acumen (along with many other, less flattering descriptors).  But with a few notable exceptions, they put little value on martial skill, preferring to hire various guards and mercenaries to do their fighting for them.  This can be problematic - highly skilled sell-swords are not cheap, and the average guard's fighting skills tends to be fair at best, due to the long hours of, well, guarding with few chances to get actual experience.

To remedy this, the noble houses started building golems.  Golems are highly resilient to magic and are easily able to defeat the average guard.  This led to somewhat of an arms race, as no House wanted to be bullied by another because they didn't have their own Golems.

Gem golem by

The initial golems were crude and imperfect, made of flesh or clay, and had a tendency to go berserk if injured in combat. This led them to be delegated to labor and guard duty.  As the slugmen's mastery grew, golems of stone, then metal, were made, and they proved much more potent and reliable in combat.  Massive sum were invested by the richer houses and the smaller ones struggled to keep up.

The arms race - and open warfare - were curtailed by the apparition of experimental golems made with unusual materials.  These often have combat properties poorly understood by the rival houses.  The house of Brass has a sea water golem.  How powerful is it?  They aren't saying.  As it became difficult for a house to know if their gollems were stronger than a rival's golems, it became too risky to deploy them.

The latest golemology trend  in the Yellow city is the use of clockwork golems, pioneered by the archmage Kwalish.  The lesser ones are useful servants and laborers, although too expensive and finnicky to ever fully replace humans and crabmen servants, and too fragile to be truly useful in combat.  The greater ones, powered by a captive soul, are known to be just as sturdy as stone golems, if not more.  Some say that some clockwork golems have escaped their masters and become independent...

The end result of all this is that the Yellow City can field over well over a hundred greater golems if required, which is a potent deterrent to any would-be conqueror.  These golem forces are challenging to deploy away from the Yellow City, but no one is willing to risk their wrath.

Slugmen golemologists are still active doing research, looking for exotic ingredients and new applications. Lesser clockwork golems are becoming more and more common.  Rumors has it that the House of the Sea wants to test a galley powered by wood golem rowers for example.  Given the slugmen's thirst for knowledge and novelty, it is all but guaranteed that new innovations in the field of golemology are on their way.

To use in play.

To be a golemist:  In the GLOG, there at least two classes that I know of, here and here.  I haven't made one myself, but those two are excellent starting points.  There are no good rules in Troika! that I know of, but surely they could be made quite easily.  In 5e that's a bit difficult, I think the most recent published Artificer class would do best (specifically the battle smith), although that's a bit war-like for the average slugman.

To BE a golem:  Troika!'s thinking engine rules would do well.  In the GLOG, I've made this class which I think would do too.  In 5e, interestingly, the battle smith I listed above really works as an advanced arcane golem with a detachable sub golem, with just a bit of re-skin!  That would be a fun character indeed.

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