Saturday, June 7, 2008

Borgesian Bestiary: Two Metaphysical Golems

Two recent posts at Monsters and Manuals took Jorge Luis Borges as their inspiration. Here's my contribution to a so far hypothetical Borgesian bestiary for D&D, based on "Two Metaphysical Beings:"

Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 10** (60 hp)
Move: 60' (20')
Attacks: 2 fists (and see below)
Damage: 2-16/2-16
Save As: F5
Morale: 12
Alignment: Neutral

The wizard Suligrebos died before he could solve the ten thousand formulae of his magico-mathematical proof of consciousness. The parchments on which he sketched and scrawled his theorems are incomprehensible palimpsests, black with symbol upon symbol and crumbling from the scraping knife and the eraser. Two of Suligrebos' creations survive, a pair of strange golems used to test his formulations. They are gaunt 10' humanoids sculpted from marble, attacking with powerful fists. They are able to see the invisible, and are never surprised. Magic weapons are required to hit them.

Five has a nearly human appearance, with disproportionately large eyes, ears and nostrils, and broad, flattened fingertips. A snakelike tongue forks from its mouth. It hungers for sensation; the room it guards is littered with objects both exotic and mundane: bones and polished stones; scraps of fur, leather and scale; blocks and cubes of wood and glass; jars of dried fruit, spices, aromatic herbs and essential oils; brilliant bolts of fabric; bells, chimes and rattles.

This golem radiates despair. All beings within 30' of Five with greater than animal intelligence must save spells or be so overwhelmed with hopelessness that they suffer -2 to hit and damage while in the golem's presence.

Five is immune to most spells. However, it will be distracted from attacking for one round if presented with a novel sensory experience; if the golem is attacked during this round it will respond in kind. Illusion magic can be used to this effect.

The other golem, One, is more bizarre in appearance, lacking facial features save for a gaping mouth frozen in a silent howl. A whip-like 10' long appendage projects from its forehead, in constant restless motion. Though this is the golem's only means of perceiving the world the antenna whip moves with such incredible speed that it has complete awareness of its surroundings and can attack and defend normally. The golem attacks only one opponent per round, lashing with its antenna and striking with its fists.

The whip does no damage but any foe it hits must save versus paralysis or be stricken with synaesthesia: he or she perceives the world for an instant as the golem does, a blur of fleeting sensory impressions. His or her senses are scrambled, so that color is heard, sounds are tasted, etc. Effectively, the victim is feebleminded and incapable of any action till the next round, when a new saving throw may be attempted. If a victim manages to shake off the synaesthesia, he or she is thereafter immune to the effect for the duration of the encounter.

One is unaffected by most spells. Silence, darkness, and stinking cloud can each prevent the golem from acting for a single round.

MP3: Quartango, Vassalean (Compact Disc - Downloads)
The Charles Mingus tune also known as 'Weird Nightmare,' performed as a tango.

1 comment:

noisms said...

I like it! You've inspired me to stat up a few more Borgesian monsters over the next few days.