A golem is an indefinitely animate construct fashioned from abiotic material, given capacity to act and understand instructions via magic. Unlike a robot or automaton, the golem's body does not possess actual mechanisms to provide motion; rather, the magic which gives it life permits the material of its form to act as a living body would.

Golems have little in the manner of sentience beyond that which is necessary to serve the task they were constructed to perform. Their instructions must be simple, but care must be taken by the creator, as the golem will act literally upon the information it has been given. Golems typically express the senses of sight and hearing; a golem with more senses than these is extremely rare, though uses for golems who can taste or smell do exist. Golems also possess a sense of proprioception; that is, they can detect contact with and damage to themselves, and are aware of their own abilities and consequences that will arise from their use.

Golems may be made out of virtually any material, with many different forms of enchantment, though the classical golem is formed of solid stone or clay. The animating spell on a golem is typically either a set of runes on its forehead or a scroll with the spell of animation slipped into its mouth. The maker of a golem will often imbue additional powers into his creation beyond the traits afforded by the animation and the material itself, and the magical potency of the animating spell results in a formidable, nigh-unstoppable entity.

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Golem on Wikipedia
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