Excerpts 11/10/2006


Cityscape Excerpt
By Ari Marmell and C. A. Suleiman



Even as urban areas can have a much different set of challenges than frigid plains or arid deserts, each city (and even area of a city) can have its own special qualities and atmosphere. Find out a bit of what you have in store in these excerpts from Cityscape, which includes information about Blackwall, various districts, new spells, the villain called the Symbol, and the siege golem. If you're curious about the topics covered in this book, please take a look at the Table of Contents we provided earlier!

Golem, Siege

The earth shakes as an enormous four-legged contraption of wood and metal lumbers forward, two large arms reaching upward to load the great catapult atop its back.

Siege Golem CR 12
N Gargantuan construct
Init +1; Senses Listen +0, Spot +0; darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision

AC 26, touch 7, flat-footed 25
(-4 size, +1 Dex, +19 natural)
hp 148 (16 HD); DR 10/adamantine
Immune magic
Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +5
Weaknesses phase door, repel wood, warp wood, wood shape
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee 2 slams +18 (4d8+10)
Space 20; Reach 15
Base Atk +12; Grp +34
Atk Options boulder (6d6+10), trample (4d8+15)
Abilities Str 30, Dex 12, Con --, Int --, Wis 11, Cha 1
SQ construct traits, immunity to magic
Feats --
Skills --

Boulder (Ex) A siege golem can launch a boulder from the catapult atop its back, dealing damage equal to 6d6 points + Str modifier (usually 10). This does not qualify as a standard ranged attack, but instead uses the rules for siege engines (DMG 99). The golem must succeed on a roll of 1d20 + its base attack bonus (usually 12) against DC 15. The boulder has a range increment of 200 feet, and range penalties apply as normal.

If the roll succeeds, the boulder hits the targeted square, dealing damage to all creatures or objects in that square (Reflex DC 15 half). If the roll fails, determine the direction of the miss as described on DMG 100.

It takes the golem two move actions to reload the catapult from a store of boulders it keeps slung to its underside, so it can fire every round if it does nothing else, or less frequently if it moves or takes other actions. The average siege golem carries 3d4 boulders.

Siege Golem Lore

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcana) can learn more about siege golems. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs. Optionally, if siege golems have seen previous military use in the region, a character can substitute a Knowledge (history) check.

Knowledge (Arcana)

DC Result

26 A siege golem is an enormous war machine, built to destroy cities. It carries a massive catapult on its back. This result also reveals standard construct traits.

31 A siege golem is vulnerable to certain magics. This result reveals the spells to which it is vulnerable, but not their precise effects.

36 This result reveals exactly what each of those spells does to a siege golem.

Immunity to Magic (Ex) A siege golem is immune to any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell resistance. In addition, certain spells and effects function differently against the creature, as noted below.

A warp wood or wood shape spell slows the golem (as the slow spell) for 1d6 rounds. A repel wood spell drives the golem back 120 feet and deals 3d12 points of damage. A phase door spell cast directly on a siege golem negates its damage reduction and immunity to magic for 1d3 rounds. The golem gets no saving throw against any of these effects.

Trample (Ex) Reflex DC 26 half. The save DC is Strength-based.

Siege golems are enormous machines of war. Although certainly capable of posing a threat to a group of adventurers, they are designed for laying siege to entire cities.

Strategies and Tactics

Siege golems are most frequently used as one element of a larger military force. They might be deployed in groups, and are often accompanied by other creatures that defend them from attack, allowing them to focus on the wall.

As with all golems, siege golems are mindless, and follow the orders of their creators in the most straightforward manner possible.

Sample Encounters

Siege golems are most effective when paired with other forces, but the expense involved in creating one means they often work alone.

Individual (EL 12): A lone siege golem might be intended to terrorize a small city, or it might be waiting while a larger force is assembled.

EL 12: A single siege golem appears during the night and lobs boulders at the city walls. Even if adventurers from the city can stop it, they are left wondering who sent it, and why. Could it have been a diversion from something worse?

Military Assault (EL 14-16): Siege golems are often deployed in groups, the better to break down a defender's walls more swiftly.

EL 15: A trio of siege golems march in advance of an undead horde (treat as a separate encounter), and focus their attacks on one particular section of the wall.

Battle Group (EL 11-20): One or more siege golems might be accompanied by other creatures -- perhaps giants, or other golems -- intended to protect anyone from interfering with the siege golem's operation, and perhaps to assist it in demolishing a city's defenses.

EL 16: A pair of siege golems are surrounded by a crew of eight stone giants. So long as nobody draws near, the stone giants hurl boulders to enhance the effectiveness of the golems' attacks on the walls, but they move to intercept anyone who approaches the golems.

Ecology

Siege golems have no biological needs.

Environment: Siege golems can function in almost any environment. They are most frequently used on open plains, fields, deserts, or tundra, because their size makes it difficult to move through narrow mountain passes, caves, or thick forest.

Typical Physical Characteristics: The siege golem's appearance varies, but the need to function as a mobile battle platform means they have some features in common. They are built primarily of wood, with some metal and leather parts. A siege golem stands roughly 10 feet in height, 20 feet long, and 15 feet across. It weighs upward of 20,000 pounds.

A siege golem's body is relatively flat, resembling a four-legged scorpion lacking a head. It has a heavy catapult atop its body, and a pair of large arms capable of loading that weapon or smashing anything nearby. They carry their ammunition slung beneath them or in a special compartment built into their structure.

Advanced Siege Golems

In some instances, a military power might wish larger and more powerful golems for its forces. A siege golem up to 30 Hit Dice remains Gargantuan, while a siege golem of 31 to 49 Hit Dice becomes Colossal. If the golem increases in size, its boulder advances to 6d8 base damage.

Siege Golems in Eberron

Siege golems were created during the Last War by House Cannith. They never saw as much use or popularity as the warforged, but they did turn the tide of several sieges. Today, they exist in the armies of all of the Five Kingdoms, but are rarely used. Because they are so blatantly offensive in nature -- serving little, if any, defensive purpose -- each side fears that mobilizing them might inspire a preemptive strike by a neighbor.

Siege Golems in Faerûn

Siege golems are relatively recent creations of the Red Wizards. Thay has sold only a few of these devices, but their customers include Cormyr and Zhentil Keep.

For Player Characters

A siege golem's body must be crafted from enormous amounts of high-quality hardwoods, with iron joints and leather fittings, costing a total of 3,000 gp. The catapult requires masterwork craftsmanship. The body must then be engraved with mystical sigils, and treated with rare tinctures worth another 3,000 gp. Assembling the body requires a DC 15 Craft (carpentry) check.

CL 14th; Craft Construct, geas/quest, fabricate, limited wish, caster must be at least 14th level; Price 100,000 gp; Cost 56,000 gp + 4,000 XP.

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