Sanctum Security

The singular entrance and exit to Za’Ul’s Sanctum is protected by a squadron of highly specialized hero-killing golems. These guards attack any creature that enters Za’Ul’s Sanctum without his express permission. 

The problem with golems is that there is a maximum level of complexity that can be jammed into a single unit. Make a golem more durable, it slows down. Make it capable of generating an electromagnetic field, well now there isn’t enough space left in its programming to calculate trajectories.

The designs of the transmuters of Yarta eventually coalesced around a brutish design. They made their golems dumb, big, and sturdy. Za’Ul started here, but found that adventurers were good at hitting things really hard and that even in this form that maximized sturdiness, they did not thwart intruders well.

Years of experimentation on infiltrating adventurers set on “freeing the known world” have allowed Za’Ul to continuously optimize. Each time he needs to deal with intruders himself, he counts another failed experiment and tries different modifications. Each time the golems eliminate a gaggle of murder hobos without his current project getting disrupted, Za’Ul tallies a success.

Interestingly enough, Za’Ul found that by diversifying his golem sentries and making them fragile, but highly specialized, the golems could effectively confound heroes (simple as they are) and kill them before they could determine their individual weaknesses. 

When the players arrive in Za’Ul’s Sanctum, they are greeted by a magic mouth spell and Za’Ul’s servant, Bernard. They are asked simply,

“What is the passphrase?”

If a character answers with anything other than the current valid passphrase, known only to Za’Ul’s allies, then the Golems attack the players.

If the characters move from the entry teleportation circle without first speaking a valid passphrase, the golems attack. 

If the characters attempt to cast a spell, a counterspell glyph of warding activates near the circle (the glyphs of warding in Za’Ul’s sanctum will be covered in another article).

A Puzzling Combat

Each of the Golems are explicitly “unbalanced” in a way so as to create an almost puzzle combat. 

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The Fortress Golems don’t deal much damage at all, but get in the way. They are meant to draw the attention of the party and obstruct their mobility.
  • + Melee attacks that target AC
  • + Ranged attacks that target AC
  • - Effects that target saving throws
The Missile Golems are snipers that can gun foes down at a distance, but are very difficult to hit from a distance themselves. They are very bad at avoiding melee attacks.
  • + Ranged attacks that target AC
  • - Melee attacks that target AC
  • - Effects that target saving throws


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The Magnemancer Golems are meant to be able to shrug off magical effects, but are very susceptible to physical damage
  • + Magical Effects
  • - Attacks that target AC
The Murder Golems are meant to hunt down spellcasters that are concentrating on spells. Their multiple smaller attacks may force numerous saving throws making it hard to maintain concentration. Characters with low Wisdom will have trouble spotting them in the chaos of the battle
  • + Low wisdom characters
  • - High wisdom characters
  • + Effects that target dexterity
  • + Foes that are concentrating on spells

In tandem, these golems present a puzzle to the players. For example, if the monk only attacks the 30AC fortress golems, and the wizard only casts spells against the magically resistant magnet golems, the adventurers' efforts will find little purchase. However, if the monk were to use their high mobility to close with and attack the AC 15 Magnemancer Golems and the Wizard were to chuck a fireball at the two 60 hp, -2 dex fortress golems, they will find the encounter easier than most. Of course the golems are aware of their own deficiencies and will do their best to block optimal match ups.

P.S. Statblock Assets

Astute observers may notice that these statblocks look a little bit different from those you might find on Homebrewery, GM Binder, or from other templates. I really want our products to have a fresh feel that meshes well with the lighthearted, DIY feel that a lot of our assets have. To create the scroll background for these blocks, I took the parchment asset that I illustrated that serves as the background for Emery's Log and illustrated the wrapped up header and footer assets. You might notice that the ripped edges of the parchment look similar to the ripped parchment edges of the purple parchments in Emery's Log. 

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