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Construct Companion
A Combat Miscellany

Copyright © Nicholas HM Caldwell 2003

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

Construct Companion presents rules and source material for creating a wide variety of artificial entities including Golems and Constructs. But what happens if your character just wants to defeat a Golem or a Construct? This article expands on guidelines, which (subject to space considerations) will be found in the upcoming Construct Companion.

Heroic versus Realistic Combat

To quote from Construct Companion, "A Golem is composed of a single piece of a particular substance, which can be wood, clay, stone, crystal or metal", while "Constructs are artificial creatures, whose bodies consist of numerous separate, interlocking parts and sliding pieces, giving them an exterior appearance reminiscent of a suit of plate armor".

From a truly realistic perspective, a human warrior who attacks a Large Golem made of iron or steel will find himself easily outmatched. Even magical weapons would be hard pressed to cleave through solid steel. Of course, if we were adhering to true realism, there wouldn't be any golems or constructs to fight!

Construct Companion makes the assumption that Rolemaster gamers adhere to the heroic conventions of fantasy where PCs can battle it out with giant monsters with at least some chance of survival, if not victory. To this end, Constructs and Golems fashioned using the Construct Companion rules do not have thousands of concussion hits. Instead the creation magic is only able to convert a fraction of the material hardness into concussion hits. For really huge entities composed of the strongest materials, that fraction may be considerable, however.

All Constructs and Golems benefit from immunity to stuns and bleeding injuries. Beyond that, many of these entities do have critical reduction abilities. The default level of this varies by the entity's size, although creators can adjust this upwards or downwards when making the entity. As critical reduction is incorporated into most of these artificial beings, there is no need for imposing further limitations on the types of weapon (slashing, crushing, or piercing) that can damage them.

Martial Artists versus Constructs and Golems

While a conventional warrior can battle it out with a Golem or Construct, how fares the martial artist?

A martial artist, who has specialized in Sweeps and Throws, is most disadvantaged. The sheer weight of most Golems and Constructs makes attempts to throw them a herculean task. Instead the martial artist should concentrate on Sweeps based attacks, which will affect Tiny and Small Golems as well as Constructs of up to Medium size normally. To fight Medium Golems and Large Constructs, the monk must be in an environment where he can utilize natural obstacles such as walls, rocks, etc., as objects for the entity to smash into. Against Huge Constructs, Large Golems, and Huge Golems, Martial Arts Sweeps attacks are ineffective unless the attacker uses a weapon kata such as a long chain to entangle the entities' legs.

A martial artist, who has specialized in Strikes, may fight Constructs without hindrance as their piecemeal construction and mostly hollow interior provides many potential weak points. Golems are a different matter. Many Golems are formed of materials which are so hard that there is an increased chance of conventional weapons simply breaking on any successful attack. Attacking such a Golem with "bare" hands and feet is therefore liable to hurt the monk more than the Golem. A Strikes expert would be well advised to use a weapon kata or protective magic to harden his body to avoid self-injury.

Any martial artist who insists on using "bare hands" against a Golem must make a Resistance Roll (with a penalty of -10 times the Golem's Breakage Number increase) against the Golem's level. If the RR is failed, the martial artist suffers the same injury as inflicted on the Golem, but without the benefit of the Golem's critical reduction and similar abilities.

Example: Masami attacks a Large Iron Bear Golem with her Martial Arts Strikes skill and successfully connects with a result of 6A. Now Masamai must make an RR (with a -20 penalty [Iron Golems raise Breakage Numbers by 2]) versus the Golem's level of 10. Masami fails the RR and suffers 6 concussion hits and an "A" critical. The Golem having "Large" critical reduction shrugs off the critical and the six concussion hits barely scratch it. And the Golem still has 394 hits left!

Go for the Glyph!

According to legend, Golems were animated using a combination of letters imbued with mystical significance written onto a piece of parchment and either placed in the Golem's mouth or affixed to its body. In Construct Companion, this becomes a Glyph of Control used by cautious alchemists both to prevent rogue spirits from taking up residence in artificial entities and to ensure total obedience of these beings to their creators and masters.

Since destroying the Glyph will either result in the entity temporarily deanimating or free its resident spirit from control, targeting the Glyph can be a shrewd move. Of course, enchanters are well aware that placing a Glyph on an entity is asking for attack, so many confuse opponents by carving, etching or painting multiple sigils on the being's surface. Damaging the dummy symbols has no effect.

The minimum size of a Glyph of Control varies according to the entity's size, but even the largest Golems require relatively small Glyphs. The sizes are summarized in the table below.

Entity Size

Glyph Size

Tiny

1 sq. inch

Small

1 sq. inch

Medium

4 sq. inch

Large

9 sq. inch

Huge

16 sq. inch

In order to deface the Glyph, an attacker must make a successful hit with a -50 penalty to OB and deliver a critical to the entity.

Is there an Entity Hunter in the Party?

The Entity Hunter is a lifestyle training package introduced in Construct Companion. Entity Hunters may specialize against Constructs and Golems or Amalgams, Simulacra, and Changelings. Even a low-level Entity Hunter with access to the Entity Control spell list can accurately locate a Glyph of Control - higher level Hunters can temporarily inhibit or even erase a Glyph without getting into melee.

Entity Hunters can do more than simply identify Glyphs. They can analyze a Golem or Construct to reveal its strengths and weaknesses as well as uncovering the nature and powers of any resident spirit. It's always useful to know whether the Construct bearing down on you is possessed by a berserk demon or the soul of a long-lost comrade imprisoned in an artificial body against her will. Hunters can also selectively suppress or negate entities' magical abilities and weaken intelligence-enhancing enchantments. Finally powerful Hunters can defeat even the most deadly entity without a single blow by subverting the bonds of obedience connecting creature to creator.

Conclusions

Golems and Constructs can be fierce and terrifying opponents, presenting challenges for even the most puissant heroes. However, with courage, talent, and a little luck, determined player-characters can triumph over even the most dangerous artificial being.

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