A gloom golem was a planar golem powered by woe and despair, created in the Gray Waste of Hades in the Great Wheel cosmology or in the Barrens of Doom and Despair in the World Tree cosmology.[1][2][3]


It had a crude and misshapen, ogreish body, some 10 feet (3 meters) in height and around 950 pounds (430 kilograms) in weight. Its gray flesh was taut and had a clay-like feel under a membranous hide. Disturbingly, faces in torment pushed out of this hide, as if trapped and struggling to escape. Stranger still, it had no head or face of its own, but rather a swirling black orifice that howled constantly in pain. It exuded a foul stink.[1][2]


True to their name and nature, the evil gloom golems inflicted despair and misery on their victims and absorbed their feelings of misery, sadness, and woe. They throve on such feelings, which appeared as the suffering faces beneath their hides; gloom golems did not absorb the bodies of their victims as might appear. They were otherwise mindless things.[1]

They did not speak or communicate—they could only howl unceasingly.[1] If anything, the noise increased as they drained the joy of their victims.[2] And they didn't just howl: even standing idle, a gloom golem would constantly mutter, moan, and shriek as well.[4]

As planar golems, they were incredibly difficult to control and carried the traits of their plane.[3] Solitary monsters, they lurked in the Gray Waste of Hades or in the Barrens of Doom and Despair.[1]


A gloom golem typically attacked with its two claws, which were tainted by evil and could damage the morale of their victims. But they could also wield weapons, favoring mundane spiked chains, even able to use them to disarm and trip their foes.[1][2] It fought with no regard for tactics or what its foes did.[2]


The unending howl of the gloom golem induced devastating despair in those who heard it. Within 30 feet (9.1 meters), those who lacked the will to resist were demoralized and impacted in all areas, their despair only alleviated when the gloom golem was slain. This could be countered by a good hope spell.[1][2]

The touch of a gloom golem's claws inflicted a permanent loss of happiness and hope in its victims. Those who couldn't resist grew despondent and withdrawn, ultimately falling into a coma wracked with nightmares.[1][2]

Howling constantly, it was hard for a gloom golem to be quiet when needed.[1][2]

Like other golems, they had total resistance to many kinds of magic and spells. Their evil clay flesh reduced damage inflicted on them, except from weapons of goodness.[1][2]


The maker of a gloom golem needed moderate ability in spellcasting, deep knowledge of planar lore, a mastery of planar essences, great skill in sculpting, and, most of all, an evil heart.[1][3]

First, clay was dug out of the banks of the River Styx where it flowed through any of the three layers of Hades or the Barrens of Doom and Despair. The clay had to comprise a single block, over 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms) in mass and valued at 10,000 gold pieces. The planar matter was difficult to shape and work had to be done on the plane itself.[1][3]

Animating it involved trapping a spirit of the plane with a powerful magical item and binding it to the maker's will. The difficult of working with planar matter meant the magical item was inevitably destroyed in the process. The necessary spells for this were crushing despair, limited wish, planar binding, and polymorph any object. The total cost of this stage was 25,000 gp.[1][3]

A whole gloom golem was worth 40,000 gp to a very specific buyer.[1]

Notable Gloom GolemsEdit

Black Chapel

A gloom golem guarding a shrine to Cyric.

The Cyricists under Skull Servant Bineera Ethar once obtained a gloom golem, among other constructs and monsters, and intended to gift it to their Sharran allies in Despayr's plot to tear apart the Weave. However, in the Year of Lightning Storms, 1374 DR, they still had the gloom golem at their camp in the Monastery of the Ebon Dome, under Ethar's control. She had it guard the shrine to the Black Sun there—and incidentally keeping the noisy thing far from where she slept. It would attack all intruders to the Black Chapel who did not utter a prayer to Cyric or make a secret sign of the faith. It may have been destroyed when adventurers in service to Mystra thwarted the plot in early Eleint.[4]




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