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Improvised Golems

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Wouldn't we all...

"This is a golem made out of the remains of a collapsed mineshaft, complete with broken support-beam arms and legs, and the howling souls of the miners who died trapped inside it. Also, a pissed-off zombie canary. It just goes to show that some people will make a golem out of anything."

Crafting a proper Golem takes time, effort and often magical runes. However, in a pinch, many bad guys can take whatever is at hand, make it into a useful shape, and sent it off against their enemies. Things like water, sand, dirt, snow may be used, often illustrating that the creator can easily make more if they are destroyed.

Closely linked to summoned creatures, although in this case its only really the "binding force" that has been summoned/created.

Distinct from Golems and Snowlems in that they are (often)

  • Quick to assemble, almost instant in some cases.
  • Totally loyal.
  • Made from whatever is at hand.
  • Somewhat unreliable/unstable and not that smart.
  • Likely to collapse without a constant energy supply from their creators. (No Ontological Inertia)



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Yuuri in Kyo Kara Maoh! sometimes summons improvised golems when he's channeling the demon king.
  • In Slayers, there are spells to create these ones. "Golem", "Vu Vraimer" and "Mega Vraimer". They can also be used to animate existing statues.
  • Corona of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vivid has her Creation spell, which allows her to instantly build her golem Goliath from out of the ground.
    • The Yonkoma Spin-Off ViVid Life shows that golem creation is actually part of the standardized curriculum at St. Hilde Academy of Magic and appears to be their equivalent to art class. This leads to the running gag of Rio's "Chibi-Rio" golem, which looks like a very simplistic Waddling Head but is frighteningly powerful (a Snowlem version made during Winter Break was powerful enough that Vita ultimately had to be the one to take it down).
  • Sherry of A Certain Magical Index can create Golem Ellis from any material she has marked with its spell formula, ranging from concrete to steel to human limbs.

    Comic Books 
  • The horror anthology The Sleep of Reason features a writer in a creative slump creating a golem out of manuscript pages, forcing it to write her next book. She eventually destroys it and writes it by herself by turning herself into a golem.

     Fan Works 
  • The golem guy in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World apparently has the ability to create golems out of whatever material is handy. Not that that does him the slightest bit of good against Paul (who looooves fighting golems, since they're not alive) or John (who takes out a dozen mud golems almost without thinking about it). And yes, the various floor-material golems he'd placed in Gothmarik Citadel fell to bits once he was removed from the scene—much to Paul's disappointment.

  • In the last Fablehaven book one of the obstacles faced in the Dreamstone is a statue of a warrior. The group have only a short time to sculpt themselves a "champion" from the available clay; both statues are then animated and do battle.
  • In Galatia in 2-D, the heroes build some golems from the contents of their pockets, including keys and a zippo lighter. Luckily, they had a lot of chewing gum to hold them together.
  • Judah Low from China Miéville's Iron Council can make golems out of anything. Even time.
  • In Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Strange creates several impromptu golems over the course of the book. He makes horse-shaped sand golems to tow a ship, animates a set of stained glass to put out a fire, and when the fire destroys them simply creates golems of water to throw themselves directly on the fire. It's mentioned that the Raven King used to create a huge golem out of ravens.
  • In Terry Pratchett's I Shall Wear Midnight, the urban witch Mrs Proust improvises a golem from a civic statue of a famous general, reasoning that as she was being chased by an angry mob, a fast horse was just what she needed.
  • Golems in the Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. Verse tend to be short-lived and prone to crumbling apart. One of Robin's legal cases in the second book is brought against a necromancer who staffed his sweatshop with golems slapped together with cheap clay and a much-photocopied bootleg animation spell; when the cheap ink on the photocopies smeared or faded, the corresponding golems would disintegrate.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Lord Zedd era of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, as well as the Kamdor episodes of Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, the Monster of the Week is arguably this, with everyday objects being brought to life by the Big Bad, turned into monsters, and sent to attack. Sometimes they get to be careful and smart about the choice of object, but sometimes it's a spur-of-the-moment monster creation, so you get... killer inner tubes, purses of doom with weapons made from whatever items happened to be inside, and evil brick walls. In fact, since Kamdor was often on the move instead of sitting back in a castle, monsters were usually made in an "Oh, crap, Rangers might get the MacGuffin. Let's see, what's the nearest blue object - ah! That purse/amplifier/camera/etc!" moment. However, a computer monster was part of a plan Zedd wishes he could have thought of.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dungeons & Dragons spell "Animate Objects" works like this in 2nd and 3nd edition. In contrast to creating an actual golem, which takes weeks of work and hugely expensive materials, the spell allows the caster to make a candlestick or rock sprout arms and legs and do its master's bidding. They're short-lived constructs, fragile and usually not great at fighting. On the other hand, the incident where a a Big Bad was slain by a table makes for a great story to tell the grandkids.
  • Mutants & Masterminds has the Animate Objects power which offers this explicitly, although part and parcel to it is that the objects do not actually gain any kind of humanoid form. Rather, you get the situations of tables rocking themselves across the room, carpets slithering, millstones rolling...
  • The old TSR comic book superhero game Marvel Super Heroes had superpowers that could be used this way. Animate Matter: Solid would allow a character to manipulate homogenous solid matter (even things like adamantium if the power was strong enough), and there was a power that would allow similar effects with machines (including doing things with functional machines, which was explicitly disallowed with Animate Matter).
  • The GURPS supplement GURPS Magic Items 3'' includes rules for creating golems out of any material the GM allows, including garbage and Bakelite.

    Video Games 
  • The necromancer in Diablo II is all over this. Aside from insta-summonable earth, blood and fire golems, he can also make metal golems out of any equipment, which then takes on the enchantments and traits of their raw materials.
  • The first Boss Fight in Drakensang 2: The River of Time is against a golem made of scrap parts, including wooden planks, a chest, an anvil and several oversized sickle blades. Predictably it's extremely vulnerable to flames.
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game, of course. Throughout the game, you'll have to contend with the likes of Book Golems, Coal Golems, Black Slime Golems, a Kitchen Golem (in the very first level, natch), and Graveyard Golems.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has a whole bunch of these. The only golem made out of actual clay is fought during the KOLHS Special Challenge Path, in the Art Class zone.
    • Played with, though, by the Black Crayon Golem, which the description notes is not "a golem made out of a bunch of black crayons. It's a magically-animated black crayon drawing of a golem. I'm sure your mundane mind has trouble wrapping itself around that, huh?"
  • Legendary features a gigantic golem made of cars, freight containers, chunks of concrete and random pieces of metal acquired from the surrounding area.
  • There's an DnD adventure in the Planescape setting where the players face a person with the ability to create golems out of objects at hand.
  • Golems in Vindictus instantly assemble a body out of surrounding debris when cast. Notably, if there isn't enough junk lying around, the golem must limp or crawl around until it can assimilate enough for a proper body.
  • Minecraft allows players (and sometimes Endermen) to build Snow Golems out of blocks of snow and Iron Golems out of blocks of iron, topped off with pumpkins for heads.
  • You can do this in Nethack, by zapping a wand or spell of polymorph at a sufficiently large collection of similar items. Though in most cases, you'll be trying to avoid this.
  • On some servers, the wizard player-characters that appear as antagonists in Space Station 13 are capable of animating chemical compounds into golems. While golems made of ammonia or salt are possible, given the nature of the game you're more likely to encounter golems made of pure methamphetamine or thermite-based incendiary compounds.
  • The Forlorn Junk Heap from MOTHER 3 is a malfunctioning Clayman that threw itself into a junkyard, and merged with various bits and pieces of scrap metal. It no longer seems to follow work directives that other Claymen do, instead mindlessly attacking anything that comes near it (including, as it happens, your party).
  • Nioh: The Umi-bozu is a shambling slime golem made from drowned debris (and a spirit crystal) that gained sentience. The boss Umi-bozu is made from entire wrecks of ships, which it can throw at you. There is also an umi-bozu made from used blades and needles, and an umi-bozu made from... let's just say you find them in the sewers.

    Web Comics 
  • Dominic Deegan shows us a Improvised snow golem
  • One Knights of the Dinner Table strip had the players complaining about to the GM (Jonnny Kizinski) about the villain being able to assemble a golem out of components he found in a broom closet.
  • Hitmen for Destiny has a Maythorn experiment by starting with Play-Doh. It's loyal, but since it can't hear instructions and is from an ultra-weak material, it kills itself by trying to move.
  • The Beast Legion has Gorgorath who fits into this category. After being crushed his soul & body remains were linked to a giant suit of armor.
  • Erfworld has many types of golems, from cloth (giant stuffed animals) to metal (including soft, hard, and acid), to — as Sizemore is discussing with Bogroll in the page image — crap.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, at a point when everyone's living in one crowded apartment among the heaps of stuff from their previous larger house, the guys manage to piss off Gwynn (which is not hard, but their method would have worked on anyone), and she uses her magic to create the humanoid Clutter Monster from all the random stuff lying around to punish them.

    Web Original 
  • Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG: Mr. Welch has used this several times, such as creating animated balloon animals and even Tequila Golems.
  • In the Whateley Universe story "Christmas Elves", a somewhat desperate Hekate goes into serious magical debt (in terms of promised future sacrifices) to turn a jeep, a fighter jet, and a bunch of spare parts into improvised "metal golems" once her captives manage to break free and start rampaging through the Syndicate base where they were being held. (It doesn't really help much.)
  • In the Counter Monkey episode "The Age of Manure", there's a story about a race of "majic dogs" [sic] with magical poop. A mad wizard named Hinsty David decides to try building a golem out of the stuff, presumably as a prank.
    Bennett: The results were devastating.
    Spoony: I bet they were.

    Western Animation 
  • In a Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons, they use Play-Doh to make a bride for the Golem of Prague.
  • Wakfu:
    • Adamaï summons a stone golem from some rocks laying around in both episode 15 of the first season, and episode 1 of the second season.
    • The demon Rubilax can create stone clones at his image to swarm an opponent. They are much less sturdy than his true form, of course.
  • The Sand Castle: The sand man has eccentric taste in helpers. He creates a weird creature that consists of three legs that meet at a common point, with a duck's head on the top. He creates two more little creatures that might be best described as heads with arms attached.
  • Many of the golems Angor Rot makes in Trollhunters manifest from random objects around them, ranging from mud to broken glass to crystals.

Alternative Title(s): Improvised Golem


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