A basal golem was a type of living golem created using a bloodforge. Able to generate magical power and be transformed into a variety of structures and creatures, they formed the bedrock of bloodforge armies in the Utter East. They were often called followers by those who commanded these utterly loyal and unquestioning servants.[note 1]
Seemingly carved of stone, a basal golem had a muscular and masculine humanoid shape and size, and was bald and with empty eye sockets. Its body color depended on the color of its bloodforge, typically blue or red or some other color (with different hues to better distinguish factions in a battle). Each wore a purplish-gray tunic and loincloth with a yellow belt.
In obelisk form, it was a four-sided steep pyramid of the same height, with a capstone of the same color. The sides were carved with cryptic designs.
In metapod form, it was a cylindrical transparent tank reinforced with metal bars. It was filled with bubbling goo of the same color, in which the golem could be glimpsed, growing like a fetus.
A basal golem that stood idle transformed into an obelisk and meditated. In this state, it generated or gathered mana, which it then transferred back to the bloodforge; it could only do this as an obelisk. Mana was transferred in pulses once a certain amount had been accrued (but less could be transferred early). It turned back into a basal golem when required to move or defend itself.
A basal golem standing upon a friendly bloodforge would be strengthened in attack and defense.
A basal golem was a very basic foot soldier, attacking only by pummeling foes with its stone fists. In obelisk or metapod forms, it could not move or attack, but was more durable. If threatened, a basal golem would activate (when in obelisk form, but not while held in a metapod) and approach and attack an enemy.
The first and most basic transformation was into a "turret". The basal golem turned into a small stone fortification marked with the image of an obelisk. It could not generate mana, but was much more durable. A series of such turrets would link into a defensive wall. A turret could not be reverted into a basal golem.
When four basal golems occupied a special foundation, they could transform it and themselves into a mystical site. This process erected a sacred shrine to a god: for the goddess of nature Chauntea, an Arbor Lodge; for the god of renewal and virtue Lathander, a Temple; for the goddess of magic Mystra, a Runestone; for the god of the dead Myrkul, a Crypt; and for the god of war Tempus, a Barracks.
When a basal golem came to a friendly mystical site, it could, for an expenditure of mana, transform into a more powerful, higher-level creature. First, it transformed into a metapod, and inside was slowly transformed. If the metapod was destroyed prematurely, the basal golem was slain. When they emerged, they took on a more natural form, often looking completely human or as the creature they mimicked, but with clothing, armor, or body parts displaying their faction's color. However, these did not always closely match the genuine creatures they were based on.[note 2]
- Arbor Lodge
At an Arbor Lodge, a basal golem could be transformed into a creature of the wild. These included:
- Druid: Like a druid, this was a zealous and bestial defender of nature, clad in bear skin with claws. It was able to freely traverse difficult natural terrain and was partially protected against fellow creatures of nature.
- Ranger: Like a ranger, this was an able woodland hunter armed with a bow, capable of freely traversing difficult natural terrain and attacking at a distance.
- Griffin: Like a griffon, being half-eagle and half-lion, this was a fierce flying predator, able to go over any obstacle, though it could not carry or wield items.
- Nymph: Like the nymph, this was a beautiful nature spirit, able to freely traverse difficult natural terrain and protected against fellow creatures of nature. The nymph had a mana power to seduce civilized foes into following her into danger without harming her.
At a Barracks, a basal golem could be transformed into a hardened warrior. These included:
- Warrior: A capable veteran swordsman.
- Ranger: As from an Arbor Lodge.
- Paladin: Like a paladin, this was a noble and fearless crusader who was partially protected from creatures of evil. By spending mana, they could also heal a living being.
- Goblin: Similar to an orc or hobgoblin,[speculation] this was a swinish raider generated only in the Kingdom of Nix or by another who controlled one of their cauldrons. At home in marshes and swamps and fearless, they could throw their spears to attack at range.
At a Crypt, a basal golem could be transformed into a creature of evil and dread. These included:
- Zombie: Like a zombie, this undead warrior was hard to harm but also impossible to heal and was at home in marshes and swamps.
- Gargoyle: Like a gargoyle, this was a fearless, fiendish flying monster, able to go over any obstacle.
- Ghoul: Like a ghoul, this undead warrior was hard to harm but also impossible to heal and was at home in marshes and swamps. However, by attacking living opponents and eating their flesh, it would be healed of its injuries.
- Wraith: Like a wraith, this was an undead scythe-wielding phantom warrior that floated over rough terrain. It could only be damaged by creatures of faith or with magic, or by other wraiths. The wraith had a mana power that frightening nearby opponents and forced them to flee.
- Harpy: Like a harpy, this was a winged huntress able to fly over any obstacle. They could only be generated in the Kingdom of Nix or by another who controlled one of their cauldrons. The harpy carried a magical net, with which it could capture a ground-based creature and carry them off, often dropping them into a cauldron to be cooked and reverted to mana.
At a Runestone, a basal golem could be transformed into a creature of strong magical essence. These included:
- Wizard: Like a wizard, this mage hurled lightning darts that bypassed a foe's armor and defenses.
- Gnome: Like a gnome or a goblin,[speculation] this was an artificer who commanded mechanical things. They moved easily through ruins and over structures, and partially resisted the attacks of stone golems. By spending mana, they could magically repair a structure or constructed creature like a stone golem.
- Stone Golem: Like a stone golem, this was a powerful creature of stone that was hard to harm or heal, instead needing to be repaired. It plowed through most difficult terrain.
- Wyrm: Similar to an oriental or gold dragon, the wyrm was a winged serpentine dragon that was immune to fires and could spit a ball of flame that ignited an area.
At a Temple, a basal golem could be transformed into a creature of great virtue. These included:
- Cleric: Like a cleric, this was a staff-wielding priest who resisted assaults from evil creatures and could heal his living allies by using mana.
- Paladin: As from a Barracks.
- Fury: An angry winged female angel of vengeance with a flaming sword, the fury had a unique purpose: to reach, attack, and destroy one single creature. It was immune to many spells and all attacks except those from its target and other furies. However, its great power came at a cost: from the moment it was born, its life steadily ran out, and could not be restored by any means. If a fury managed to slay her target before her time ran out, she turned back into a regular basal golem.
- Enchanter: Like a goblin mage,[speculation] this was a magical trickster available only to the Kingdom of Nix or by another who controlled one of their cauldrons. Uniquely, for a great cost in mana, it could magically convert an enemy into a loyal ally.
Although they were manufactured golems, they were apparently capable of faith. They meditated to gather mana and were believed to erect the sacred shrines to honor the gods. By paying the gods homage at these shrines, they could transcend their humble forms.
Basal golems were the most basic yet most versatile troops in a bloodforged army.
The Great Mage taught a number of principles of warfare related to the function and philosophy of the bloodforge and its use in battle. His adherents viewed basal golems as "the children of battle". They were commonly called "followers" and even "Acolytes".
In the Year of the Haunting, 1377 DR, a group of basal golems was summoned via a mysterious wedding gift of magical candles to abduct Eidola of Neverwinter during the wedding ceremony with Piergeiron the Paladinson, the Open Lord of Waterdeep.
- In Blood & Magic materials, the basal golem is described as a "living golem", implied to be spiritual and intelligent, and can turn into living creatures. This seems to fit the terms of a living construct, though this classification was invented several years later for other creatures in D&D, namely the surprisingly similar warforged of the Eberron setting. Therefore, this article assumes the basal golem is a living construct.
- Many creatures in Blood & Magic, while being stock fantasy creatures, do not necessarily match their standard D&D representations.
- Tachyon Studios (November 1996). Designed by Brian Fargo. Blood & Magic. Interplay.
- (1996). Blood & Magic Interactive Demo README.TXT , link:. (Interplay).
- (1996). Blood & Magic Instruction Manual (PDF). (Interplay).
- Interplay “Blood & Magic game advertising”. Dragon #236 (TSR, Inc.), p. 27.
- Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 94, 95. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
- J. Robert King (February 1998). The Abduction. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 81. ISBN 0-7869-0864-5.
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