Golem Species in The Matrioshka Multiverse | World Anvil


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In the parlance of The Substrate, a golem is an entity which, while closely resembling a blank, is actually animated by a system of algorithms rather than a sentient mind or other biomorphic artificial intelligence. Golems may be differentiated from construct blanks and amalgams by the lack of true sentience or self-awareness and from corrupted blanks - specifically shamblers - by the intentionality behind their creation.

Basic Information


A golem, like a blank, is morphologically indistinguishable from an undifferentiated skyphoform. Golems never develop any sense of self or accrue personalities from their experiences, so they never differentiate as such. Various markings may be applied to the face and body of a golem to indicate its status as an automaton rather than a sentient being. Golems which must work within instances may be disguised as unassuming people or cloaked in light-bending illusions to conceal their true forms, but their lack of speech and inhuman physical abilities usually make them unsuited to this role except in emergencies.


Golems are artificial intelligences in the academic sense. The automatons may be controlled by very advanced machine learning algorithms and may engage in sophisticated problem-solving to ensure that the commands of their creators are carried out, but they lack consciousness, self-awareness, self-preservation instincts, self-reflection, emotions, pain responses, behavioral individuation, or other aspects of what might be considered a 'soul.' Importantly, any golem that shows signs of possessing one or more of the aforementioned faculties can no longer be used as such and must be assessed for re-classification as a construct blank with all the rights and responsibilities attendant theretoo.   Golems carry out their orders to the best of their abilities and with minimal interpretation, relying on the creator or summoner to exercise caution when issuing such orders. By Substrate regulation, golems are not to be given the ability to use The Word to reduce the danger to bystanders and to prevent self-modification that might allow for bootstrapping. Many golem creators choose not to implement the ability to speak at all as an additional layer of protection against liability.

Additional Information

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Golems are most commonly used by their creators as messengers, workers, and bodyguards. The automatons are easy to summon and command and take well to even complex sets of instructions. Different creators create different styles of golems, making each a statement of its creator's practical and aesthetic considerations. In an emergency, a golem can be used as the basis for creating an amalgam to save the consciousness of a blank undergoing corruption, forma molt, or reactant instability.

Civilization and Culture

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

The use of golems in the day-to-day workings of The Substrate is a perrenial source of political and philosophical debate among blanks - particularly among choir blanks, many of whom were once skyphoforms of Defected descent. Opponents of golem use see distressing parallels between the golems and the skyphoforms in that both groups have historically served as involuntary workers beneath stronger people who regard them as little more than means to an end. Proponents argue that the difference between golems and skyphoforms is that the latter is clearly a sentient species - with motives, desires, and emotions all their own - while the former lack any such faculties and are more analagous to tabulating machines or construction equipement in their functioning. As many of the elder blanks were once Evermornan humans, they retain their former (biological) selves' cultural distaste for the enslavement and, thus, are vigilant in regards to such philosophical distinctions. Indeed, creators who develop a reputation for 'botching' their golem servants into legal sentience may find themselves subject to severe corrective measures - including being forced to spend cycles in an instance to learn appropriate respect for their fellow sentients.

Genetic Ancestor(s)
Related Ethnicities

Cover image: by Ferdinand Stöhr


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