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Improvised Golems

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"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.
  • 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)

For a more modern equivalent, see Homemade Inventions.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A Certain Magical Index: Sherry can create Golem Ellis from any material she has marked with its spell formula, ranging from concrete to steel to human limbs.
  • Fate/Apocrypha: Normally Caster of Black creates his golems in his factory-like workshop, but if the situation requires him to, he can instantly form golems by implanting their gemstone cores into the required material. When Black Faction raids The Hanging Gardens of Babylonia, the material used to build the Garden is perfect for him to create decent enough golems at a moment notice.
  • Kyo Kara Maoh!: Yuuri sometimes summons improvised golems when he's channeling the demon king.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid:
    • Corona 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).
  • In Slayers, there are spells to create these ones. "Golem", "Vu Vraimer" and "Mega Vraimer". They can also be used to animate existing statues.

    Comic Books 
  • Les Légendaires: Skroa's feathers can animate rocks they are touching to quickly create golem-like creatures.
  • 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 
  • All Things Probable Series: Maze starts out making golems the old-fashioned way, but once he gets Monkey Fist's assistance he starts making golems out of petrified victims. He eventually transforms nearly all the statues in the world into golems.
  • The Chase: While bored, Bucky whips together a couple of animated, miniature ponies made from ice.
  • A Certain Holiday Season: The Snowlem in the snowball fight is made on the spot by jury-rigging typical golem spells to work on frozen water.
  • The Keys Stand Alone: The golem guy in The Soft World can 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.
  • Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami: In Chapter 33, a Khaos-possessed Light sneaks out of school by somehow making an animate doppelganger of himself out of mashed potatoes and sending it to class in his place.
  • The Marvelous World Of DC: Evil Sorcerer Mordru creates one of these from an apartment kitchen wall to battle The Phantom Stranger. The golem is also self-repairing, to make it more threatening. Thankfully, Stephen Strange is at hand, and he not only defeats the golem, but its master, too- an impressive feat, given that Mordru is a Lord of Chaos.

    Film — Animation 
  • Onward: The curse on the phoenix gem assembles a dragon from whatever junk happens to be lying around. Since it's activated right in front of a high school, this means cars, soda machines and parts of the building, with its face being that of the school's cartoonish dragon mascot.
  • The Sand Castle: The sand man creates his helpers by simply building them out of sand, with them spontaneously animating when he's finished.
  • The Secret of the Magic Potion: Getafix builds a centaur-shaped golem out of Roman legionaries and their shields to fight a giant Sulfurix.

  • Stormslayer have you trapped in a cavern with an Earth Elemental, and you can summon a Rust Golem to your aid. Said golem is made from abandoned mining tools and random debris, with two lanterns for eyes, but unfortunately it's a rather weak fighter who doesn't stand a chance against the Earth Elemental unless you found a way to weaken the Elemental before the battle commences.

  • Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.: Golems 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.
  • Fablehaven: In the last book, one of the obstacles faced in the Dreamstone is a statue of a warrior. The group only has a short time to sculpt itself 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.
  • I Shall Wear Midnight: Mrs. Proust improvises a golem from a civic statue of a famous general, reasoning that as she's being chased by an angry mob, a fast horse is just what she needs.
  • 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.
  • The Tenebrous of Knights of the Borrowed Dark can manifest bodies out of whatever matter is lying around. The first book has Grey face off against a hulking, vaguely angelic abomination formed from the concrete-and-rebar remains of a collapsed overpass. Later, Pick-Up-The-Pieces, who nearly kills D'Aubigny and Grey, manifests as four spectral cats formed of twigs, litter and debris.
  • Perdido Street Station: In Iron Council, Judah Low, an amateur golemetrist, spends the book making increasingly makeshift and bizarre golems out of whatever materials are nearby: stone, clay, corpses, smoke, dust... and he mentions having seen golems made of weirder substances, such as sound, or shadows. At the end of the book, this all culminates in him making one out of time, taking the form of an invisible but humanoid region of space where time is stopped.
  • Worm:
    • Mockshow's power allows her turn objects into humanoid minions.
    • Parian creates golems (which can be of any shape) out of cloth and fabric of various kinds. She can assemble them in under a minute provided the materials are at hand, and if she loses consciousness, all of her creations immediately fall apart. It turns out this is a misapplication of her power: it's meant to construct golems out of human flesh. If she uses it that way, the resulting golems are far more powerful, but Parian refuses to use it like that on moral grounds.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: In the Lord Zedd era, 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 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • "Animate Object" works like this in 2nd, 3nd, and 5th editions. 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 Big Bad is slain by a table makes for a great story to tell the grandkids.
    • Planescape: In one adventure, the players face a person with the ability to create golems out of objects at hand.
  • GURPS: GURPS Magic Items 3 includes rules for creating golems out of any material the GM allows, including garbage and Bakelite. The description of the garbage golem says that its usual task is seeking revenge on whoever brought the wizard so low he was reduced to making a garbage golem.
  • Marvel Super Heroes has superpowers that can be used this way. Animate Matter: Solid allows a character to manipulate homogenous solid matter (even things like adamantium if the power is strong enough), and there's a power that allows similar effects with machines (including doing things with functional machines, which is explicitly disallowed with Animate Matter).
  • 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...
  • Pathfinder:
    • Animate Object works much like in D&D, allowing a character to animate a random object to serve as a cheap and fragile minion.
    • Most golems are made at great expense of time, resources and building materials, but the immense variety of stuff they can be made out of includes some rather unorthodox choices. Book, wood, mask, rope and mushroom golems all edge into this trope, but junk golems are explicitly made out of piles of whatever worthless rubbish their creators happened to have on hand.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Seems to be the aesthetic of the "Scrap-" archetype of cards. The monsters are counted as machines but have a definite cobbled together appearance. A good example would be the Scrap Dragon, which has a partially uncovered optic and wires hanging off its wings.

    Video Games 
  • Battle Realms: Soban can create small golems out of mud, who then act as free peasant units.
  • City of Heroes: Controllers and Dominators can summon pets made out of rock, magma, crystal, fire, ice, darkness, electricity or gravity. Said pets usually have no set duration but die if the owner does.
  • Diablo II: The necromancer 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.
  • Drakensang: 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: There are a whole bunch of these, mostly made out of food such as chocolate, fruit, bread or candied yams. The only golem made out of actual clay is fought during the KOLHS Special Challenge Path, in the Art Class zone. Played with 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?"
  • Hearthstone: The Silverware Golem is the result of Medivh's enchanted dinnerware going berserk in his absence and forming a haphazard golem to try and kill you. Defeating the boss unlocks a smaller version of it as a collectible card with the effect of summoning itself for free if it's discarded, depicted as plates and cutlery flying together and forming the creature.
  • Legendary: The Box features a gigantic golem made of cars, freight containers, chunks of concrete and random pieces of metal acquired from the surrounding area.
  • 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.
  • NethackL You can do this 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.
  • 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.
  • Space Station 13: On some servers, enemy wizards can animate 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.
  • Mother 3: The Forlorn Junk Heap 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).
  • Vindictus:
    • Golems 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.
    • In Mabinogi, golems are made of floating rocks, but the rocks are somehow "unpacked" from the golem crystal itself.

  • 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 — crap.
  • Hitmen for Destiny has 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.
  • Knights of the Dinner Table: One strip has the players complaining about to the GM about the villain being able to assemble a golem out of components he found in a broom closet.
  • The Order of the Stick: Celia takes Roy Greenhilt's decomposed corpse to Dr. Grubbwiggler, who she initially thinks is a cleric who can cast Resurrection. But after seeing his creepy castle and his hunchbacked assistant, Giro, she makes him promise not to use it to make any undead. He agrees.
    Grubbwiggler: Looks a bit sparse for a Flesh Golem.
    Giro: We do have some formula mixed for a bone golem, Master.
  • Sluggy Freelance: 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.
  • Raven's Dojo has a villain in one story arc (try to) use a golem made out of "every conceivable kind of gun" to kill Rodney. The golem is named "Iron Maiden."

    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.
  • Whateley Universe: In "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.)

    Web Videos 
  • Counter Monkey: In "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 
  • The Simpsons: In "Treehouse of Horror XVII", the family uses Play-Doh to make a bride for the Golem of Prague.
  • 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.
  • Trollhunters: Many of the golems Angor Rot makes manifest from random objects around them, ranging from mud to broken glass to crystals.
  • The The Venture Bros. movie includes a pants golem formed from a magically animated pile of laundry. It has the Hebrew word מכנסיים, "pants", written across its face, and falls inert when a sock with the word נס, "miracle", is removed.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Improvised Golem