Monster Mayhem04/18/2003

Razor Golem

Taken from the Manual of Hollow Souls by Grinth Alassor

Chapter 1: The Philosophy

The creation of a golem goes beyond the mere fashioning of materials into the semblance of life. It is the very creation of life: taking the spark of existence from the gods and imbuing it in gross matter. By mastering this art, a wise man can create solutions to many of our world's ills. Automatons may be created to toil in the fields, to craft goods, work mines, and to fight our wars -- all without putting true folk at risk.

Many volumes have been written about such things. Most authors condemn golem creation, but their approaches are incomplete, misguided, or at the very least, flawed. By moving past this mediocrity, we can open up the world to a new, enlightened path. If only those too narrow-minded to appreciate this would move aside and allow wisdom and reason to prevail. . . .

Chapter 3: Manufacturing

Almost any form of solid matter may be used in the creation of golems. For centuries, stone, iron, and even flesh have been used as the vessel for the spark of life. All of these materials are well and good, and I have used them myself, but most craftsman stick to tried-and-true forms without exploring the variety available.

In keeping with the spirit of experimentation, I chose an unusual basis for my next subject. While wandering the bazaars of my home city, I stumbled across a blacksmith who had learned the art of making extremely keen metal disks, with an edge equal to that of a rapier. After a few months of training with him, I learned the technique for myself -- and put it to use on my next golem. I have spent the past year fashioning thousands of these disks. Once completed, I assembled them into a humanoid form in preparation for the ritual. I know that when I finish, many months from now, this golem will be a truly formidable opponent.

As for the methods I used to manufacture and place the disks. . . .

Chapter 6: The Test

After three months of use, I am very impressed by my creation's capabilities and martial skill. The latest target was the fortress at Il Idor, home to the Graf of Venberg -- an aristocrat who has plagued me for as many years as I can remember.

It was a simple matter to instruct The Work to walk up to the gates, ignoring the paltry rain of arrows and fiery pitch that the soldiers used in their defense. It smashed the gate in short order and soon reduced the guards at the front to mere ribbons of flesh. A company of soldiers, including a few wizards that I was not aware were part of Graf's coterie, then ambushed the golem. As I anticipated, their magical attacks failed miserably and they, along with the heavily armored soldiers, were decimated when the razor golem became a cloud of spinning disks.

Once the golem entered the fortress, I lost sight of it for a time. The fort was soon devoid of life and aflame from many misplaced shots by the flaming ballistae. When the golem came lumbering out, I immediately discerned some unforeseen weaknesses.

It seems that bludgeoning weapons can seriously dull the golem's razor edges -- many dents and broken blades attested to blows from maces and hammers. In addition, one portion of the golem suffered significant rust damage. Apparently, one of the wizards had ascertained the metallic structure of the golem and made an effective counterattack. Sadly, there is little that I can do to lessen these vulnerabilities, as the golem's completion has rendered it immune from my tinkering.

Chapter 8: Conclusion

Many years have passed since I first started this log of The Work, as I call it. I have successfully created three of the fine-edged golems, an accomplishment that fills my industrious heart with pride. One of my creations was lost when it plunged into the lava-filled forges of the dwarves of Esker, although the demise of so many of those stubborn and close-minded beings provides some sense of satisfaction that the loss of the golem was not in vain.

The weight of age has settled on my scarred shoulders and I spend most of my days in deep thought, admiring my creations. So perfect. So deadly. If only their brawn and prowess could fight off the specter of Death, who hovers so near to me these long and lonely nights. . . .

Razor Golem
Large Construct
Hit Dice: 16d10 (88 hp)
Initiative: -1
Speed: 30 ft.
AC: 28 (-1 Dex, -1 size, +20 natural), touch 8, flat-footed 28
Attacks: 2 claws +21 melee
Damage: Claw 2d10+10
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Razor wall, slashing touch, wounding
Special Qualities: Construct traits, DR 40/+2, magic immunity, vulnerabilities (bludgeoning and rust)
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +5
Abilities: Str 30, Dex 9, Con -- , Int -- , Wis 11, Cha 1
Climate/Terrain: Any land and underground
Organization: Solitary, pair, or gang (3-4)
Challenge Rating: 12
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 17-32HD (Large); 31-48 HD (Huge)

Razor golems are unusual constructs used primarily for offensive assaults rather than guarding an area. They are composed of thousands of sharp disks stacked one on top of each other. The head is a round dome with no neck. The eyes and mouth of a razor golem are mere indentations in the disks; the arms and legs are shaped to appear muscular and powerful; it has an impressively large barrel chest. Because even its hands are made of the sharp disks, razor golems tend to damage almost any object that they handle. When it walks, a razor golem makes an eerie sound of metal scraping against metal.

A razor golem cannot speak, although it does make a scraping metal noise when required by its master.


Razor golems are extremely deadly in combat, lashing out with their razor claws or slamming against opponents in order to do severe slashing damage.

Razor Wall (Su): As a full-round action, a razor golem can separate itself into its component razor disks. This attack form duplicates the effect of a blade barrier spell (set vertically) as if cast by a 15th-level cleric, except that the razor golem can move at half speed while in this state. The razor golem can transform back into its previous state as another full-round action.

While in wall form, the golem's Armor Class is unchanged, and it can be attacked normally. While in wall form, the golem can attack by merely moving through foe's spaces, which forces opponents to make Reflex saves (DC 18) or take damage from the blade barrier effect. The golem cannot make claw attack while in wall form.

Slashing Touch (Ex): If a razor golem makes a bull rush or grapples an opponent, the damage type is slashing rather than bludgeoning.

Wounding (Ex): The extremely keen edges of the razor golem's attacks cause wounds that bleed incessantly. If a razor golem damages a foe with its claw attacks, the victim bleeds for 1 point of damage per round thereafter in addition to the claw damage. Multiple wounds from the claws result in cumulative bleeding loss (two wounds for 2 points of damage per round, and so on). The bleeding can be healed only by a successful Heal check (DC 15) or the application of any cure spell or other healing spell (heal, healing circle, and so on).

Construct Traits: A razor golem is immune to mind-affecting effects, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, necromantic effects, and any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects. The creature is not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, ability drain, energy drain, or death from massive damage. It cannot heal itself but can be healed through repair. It cannot be raised or resurrected. A razor golem has darkvision (60-foot range).

Magic Immunity: A razor golem is immune to all spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural effects, except magic weapon (heals 2d6 points of damage the golem has taken) and those that cause rust damage (see below).

Bludgeoning and Rust Vulnerability: A razor golem is affected normally by bludgeoning weapons (which bypass the golem's damage reduction regardless of their enhancement bonuses or lack thereof), and by rust attacks, such as that of a rust monster or a rusting grasp spell.


A razor golem is crafted from thousands of razor-sharp steel disks, with a total weight of 2,000 pounds. The golem costs 80,000 gp to create, which includes 1,250 for the body. Assembling the body requires a successful Craft (armorsmithing or weaponsmithing) check (DC 19). The creator must be at least 15th level and able to cast divine spells. Completing the ritual drains 1,800 XP from the creator and requires animate object, bless, commune, prayer, and blade barrier.

About the Author

Eric Cagle is a freelance game designer who works for the Organized Play Department at Wizards of the Coast. Recent credits include the Arms and Equipment Guide, Fiend Folio, Urban Arcana, and design work for the Star Wars Roleplaying Game. He's a frequent contributor to both Dragon magazine and the Wizards website.

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