Champion of Steel

This monolith of battered steel still has a glimmer of its former shining glory. Twice the size of a man, this construct’s hard metal surface is covered with many shimmering runes. Unnervingly, the dark orbs that serve for its eyes move about, surveying the area in a fashion that seems almost intelligent.

Champion of Steel CR 16

XP 51,200
Unique modified iron golem
N Large construct
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +0


AC 32, touch 11, flat-footed 29 (+2 Dex, +21 natural, –1 size)
hp 129 (18d10+30)
Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +6
Defensive Abilities medium fortification, rune-carved; DR 15/adamantine; Immune construct traits (but see bioconstruct below), magic


Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 slams +29 (2d10+16/19–20)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft. (15 ft. with lunge)
Special Attacks breath weapon, powerful blows, rune-carved


The Champion of Steel has been carefully programmed to eliminate threats and dispatch foes quickly. He will attempt to bull rush foes into allies and then use his breath weapon as frequently as possible. He will quickly dispatch melee combatants that damage him, sundering their weapons and tossing them aside with his awesome blow. Focusing on the weakest opponents first, he relies on his immunity to magic to shield him from spellcasters until they are the only ones standing. Once he reaches half of his hit points, his rune of fiery vengeance provides him a chance to regain life and weaken several potential targets.


Str 32, Dex 15, Con —, Int —, Wis 11, Cha 1
Base Atk +18; CMB +30 (+34 sunder); CMD 42 (46 vs sunder)
Feats Awesome Blow, Combat Reflexes, Greater Sunder, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Sunder, Lunge, Power Attack, Stunning Assault, Weapon Focus (slam)
Skills Acrobatics +11, Climb +15, Perception +18, Survival +5
SQ bioconstruct, double damage against objects


Bioconstruct (Ex)

The Champion of Steel was infused with powerful transmutation and necromancy magics at creation. These modifications allow it to have a “brain”, which works as a storage device, permitting the Champion of Steel to acquire skills and feats as if it had an Intelligence score of 10. Though normally immune to magic, enchantment spells or spells with mind-affecting effects that are cast upon the Champion of Steel can affect the brain, causing the brain to cease functioning for the duration of the spell if the Champion of Steel fails the save. While the brain is suppressed in this fashion, the Champion of Steel temporarily loses access to its skills and feats. If the modification is destroyed, he regains his immunity to those spells.

This modification has a weakness – it is susceptible to critical hits. An attacker that confirms a critical hit against the Champion of Steel deals critical damage to the construct and also destroys the brain. Note that his medium fortification ability provides a 50% chance that critical hits will be negated.

When the Champion’s head is damaged, destroying his brain modification, the inner working of the golem are damaged in a massive way. The internal pipes carrying the poisonous gas for its breath weapon are broken and the gas begins leaking out uncontrollably. For 10 rounds, the leak creates the effect of the golem’s breath weapon each round. After this, the magic used to create the gas is exhausted and the golem loses the ability to use its breath weapon until repaired.

Breath Weapon (Su)

As a free action once every 1d4+1 rounds, the Champion of Steel can exhale a 10-foot cube of poisonous gas. This gas cloud persists for 1 round; any creature within the area when the golem creates it (as well as any creature that passes through the cloud during the remainder of that round) is exposed to the cloud’s poisonous effects.

Breath weapon—inhaled; save Fort 19; frequency 1/round for 4 rounds; effect 1d4 Constitution damage; cure 2 saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Double Damage Against Objects (Ex)

When the Champion of Steel makes a full attack against an object or structure (including sunder attempts), he deals double damage.

Immunity to Magic (Ex)

The Champion of Steel is immune to spells or spell-like abilities that allow spell resistance. Certain spells and effects function differently against it, as noted below.

  • A magical attack that deals electricity damage slows the Champion of Steel (as the slow spell) for 3 rounds, with no saving throw.
  • A magical attack that deals fire damage breaks any slow effect on the Champion of Steel and heals 1 point of damage for each 3 points of damage the attack would otherwise deal. If the amount of healing would cause the golem to exceed its full normal hit points, it gains any excess as temporary hit points. An iron golem gets no saving throw against fire effects.
  • The Champion of Steel is affected normally by rust attacks, such as those of a rust monster or a rusting grasp spell.

Medium Fortification (Ex)

Instead of the normal immunity, the Champion of Steel is susceptible to critical hits until his biomodification is destroyed. Nevertheless, he has a 50% chance to negate any critical threats that are rolled, as if wearing armor with the Medium Fortification ability. If the modification is destroyed, he regains his immunity to critical hits.

Powerful Blows (Ex)

The Champion of Steel inflicts one and a half times its Strength modifier and threatens a critical hit on a 19–20 with its slam attacks.

Rune-Carved (Ex)

The Champion of Steel has several different runes carved into his body. Each rune functions once a day and triggers immediately as soon as the trigger conditions are met. Multiple runes of different types can be triggered at the same time.

  • 1 Rune of Agony (effect as symbol of pain, CL 9; save DC 17 Fort; trigger takes damage from a melee attack)
  • 1 Rune of Absorption (effect as protection from energy [electricity], CL 10; trigger targeted by spell that deals electricity damage)
  • 1 Rune of Fiery Vengeance (effect as intensified fireball, CL 15 [effect includes golem]; save DC 18 Ref half; trigger reduced to half of total HP)
  • 1 Rune of Flight (effect as fly, CL 5; trigger damaged by a weapon or spell from above)
  • 1 Rune of Might (effect as bull’s strength, CL 3; trigger misses an enemy in melee combat)
  • 1 Rune of Shielding (effect as shield, CL 3; trigger attacked in melee or at range or hit with magic missile)
  • 5 damaged runes – these runes have been partially erased or covered up by other runes and are no longer fully functional. Every time a functioning rune triggers there is a 50% chance that one of the damaged runes will spark to life, dealing 3d6 fire damage as a shower of sparks rains down in a 10 ft radius. A DC 13 Reflex save halves the damage.

A character with trapfinding can find, identify, and disable the runes on the golem as normal with DCs as appropriate for the emulated spells (treat damaged runes as 1st level spells). In combat, it is a standard action to disable a rune for 1 minute (you must be in an adjacent square to make the check). Otherwise, it is the normal 2d4 rounds that it takes to disable a trap – this disables the rune for the day.


Environment underground
Organization unique
Treasure metal body weighing 5,000 lbs worth 10,000 gp

The Champion of Steel is an iron golem made hundreds of years ago as a guardian for his master’s tower. He served in that capacity admirably for a hundred years, until a rival wizard stole him away to perform strange experiments on him. His new master imbued him with powerful nercomantic energies, granting him a semblance of intelligence and abilities similar to living beings. He grew stronger and protected his master dutifully for many years.

As it frequently happens, his master eventually passed away, leaving his possessions to decay away. The golem protected those posessions for another two hundred years before the secret lair that he guarded was uncovered by a cabal of wizards looking for artifacts of power. They managed to control the golem and began to modify him for their own purposes. They clad him in gleaming new steel armor, protecting his crudely added necromantic devices. They reinforced his arms, allowing him to strike fearsome blows. They lengthened and strengthened his legs, allowing him to move his great bulk around with ease. At the end, each one inscribed a powerful rune into his new armor, granting him a portion of their power.

As the last three centuries have gone by, the Champion of Steel as he has come to be known has defeated many enemies of the wizards that he now serves. However, he could not save them from themselves. As the group grew larger, in no small part due to the golem’s successes, they began to turn on each other in the inevitable power struggle that such an organization fosters. Many new and interim leaders used the Champion for their own purposes, inscribing their own runes into his armor and erasing old ones to spite previous leaders.

Today, the Champion serves a small group of spellcasters who use him mostly for entertainment, throwing him into gladiatorial matches against demons that they summon for him to fight, dragons that they track down through the lands, and sometimes an adventuring party that happens to be unlucky enough to stumble on their lair. He is but a shadow of his glorious self, with many of his runes erased and his gleaming armor worn and dented. Only one of his original runes remains, glowing a bright orange color in the middle of his chest.

Section 15: Copyright Notice


Copyright 2011, Vladimir Presnyak

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