Controlling an already created Flesh Golem


This came up last night. the party met a Flesh Golem in a room in a dungeon. To cut a long story short they were having problems defeating it (all 3 PC's were either invisible, in obscuring mist or hiding form it, the creature could not see what was hitting it or where it was coming from so it has no idea the party was a threat). They eventually decided to retire to another room to re-think options. The rouge carries a skull in which he makes it talk using ventriqusim and decided he would throw the skull into the room and talk through it to pacify the beast. It worked and the Golem carried it around like a doll. He then, using bluff and ventriliquism told the Golem to go outside the dungeon and wait, which it did.

The player has now decided he would like to try and control it and take it back to their ship (we are playing skull and shackles) to use as a slave/heavy hitter/shock troop.

My question is how does the party gain control of the beast? The original master died a long time ago and it has been stuck in the dungeon for years. The party consists of 3 players all 6th level, a swashbuckler, a storm druid and a wizard. I can see references on how to create one but nothing on how to gain control of one.

Anyone know what they need to do or where I can find the reference for this?

5th level spell: Apparent Master
7th Level spell: Control Construct

Or be creative and use a form of mundane or magical disguise like they have been doing.

Or forget control, and just toss it into the midst of the enemies and let it fight wildly.

As a note, the magic item crafting rules let you craft an item that uses a spell above your own abilities, if you make the spellcraft checks. Read carefully.

Would it be safe to say then that with the skull they are already there or at least halfway there? I'm leaning towards this as the idea was very creative anyway.

As far as I know, unless the original master of the Flesh Golem told it to follow the commands of talking skulls (or just anyone who happens by), which is highly unlikely, it would not obey their commands.

If ordered to attack intruders, it would likely smash the skull if it was acting reasonably like an intruder.

The only real way I can see for the skull thing to work is if the skull was the original master of the golem and the golem has a reasonable way to recognize it (probably not, since the creator was unlikely to look like a skull or be fleshless). I only use the recognize part because while a golem's master doesn't have to be recognized normally, just seen and heard (60'), it's not really the master talking, it's a trick.

So, while it seems clever to try and trick the golem, it's mindless. If its last command was to guard a room against any orcs, it will attack anyone resembling an orc (and probably a half-orc). You could trick it with a disguise, but not a bluff check by trying to explain that you aren't really an orc, only under the illusion of being an orc.

Also, while you could disguise yourself as its master, assuming you knew what he looked like, that wouldn't let you command the golem. It would be a useful tactic if the golem's last command was "Attack anyone but me coming into this room." but it wouldn't let you give it commands. Theoretically the master could command the golem to obey anyone who looks like him, but it's very unlikely, since he can command it no matter what he looks like at anytime as long as he's seen and heard (I might even just allow heard for some instances).

Unless you're giving this golem some sentience, it shouldn't act like some neglected beast, it doesn't care if its master is alive or dead or if it was in a closet forgotten and dusty for 200 years. Unfortunately if you've let them command it already, it might be hard to backtrack.

The spell Control Construct seems to be a likely way to get control of it. In my opinion, it seems reasonable for its level and what it allows.

While also only my opinion, Apparent Master seems too powerful and too much like a clear attempt to get around a golem's immunities and abilities (similar to the rash of orb-type spells in 3.5). It's basically a charm spell and it isn't clear if it will actually work on 95% of golems. It says it can affect 'golems' but unfortunately most are specifically immune to it because it allows Spell Resistance. An argument could be made that the spell trumps this, but unfortunately since there are at least three golems (carytid, ooze, and mummy golems) that don't have strict magic immunity (and this spell would work on them), the spell would have to explicitly state that it affects those which would otherwise be immune to it.

Otherwise, the only other thing you can do is have a specific item that allows control of this particular golem, like the master's magical ring, or an amulet hidden in the dungeon, or a gem. Most such things lose their power outside of the dungeon or location and restrict the golem from similarly leaving the area to prevent people from permanently gaining control of such constructs, which otherwise they couldn't. If you think it's cool and acceptable, just go with it, but what's to stop some enemy with a better Charisma check or bluff from doing the same thing and turning it against the party.

"As you have the skull command the golem to attack the pirates, a nearby coconut with the monocle and wax lips tells the golem to smash the skull instead, over your heads. It's pretty persuasive..."

Brambleman wrote:

5th level spell: Apparent Master

7th Level spell: Control Construct

Or be creative and use a form of mundane or magical disguise like they have been doing.

Or forget control, and just toss it into the midst of the enemies and let it fight wildly.

Apparent Master is strange, it has SR and Will Save but constructs are immune to magic so I don't think it will work... also its not core books.

plus how does he know what the original master sounded like in order to imitate his voice.

OK, this is the text in the module:

"A thick tattoo across the golems chest reads “Davey.”
The golem attacks any living being that enters the cavern who is not dressed in pirate fashion or does not know the password, “maelstrom”.
If Captain Quimby happens to be with the PCs when they enter this chamber, he recalls the password and staves off the golem’s attack. The Captain may command Davey as he wishes."

That's all there is. The master is now an undead pirate that the players will be facing later on after leaving the island (its basicaly a mix of a necromancer games adventure and skull and shackles book 2, the ghost ship in that ap im using as the undead captains ship).

The party are dressed as pirates so the Golem won't see them as a threat. They have his name but as they have not met or have Quimbey with them they will not know the password. The adventure does not state if Quimbey is the Golem maker only that he knows the password. Below is the only info on him

"Captain Quimby is a fifty-year-old sea dog that once made the mistake of crossing the pirate captain Cho Sun, and found himself set adrift on a life boat with ten of his men."

I like to reward my players for inventive thinking hence why the skull kind of worked. I assumed that the Golem cherished the skull as a kind of doll or plaything and as it had some contact with humanoids it would know on an instictive level it was speaking.

I like the idea of the spell but they are on an island and have no access or way of gaining access to the spell.

I would like them to at least have a shot at having the Golem as sometimes the rule of cool and player initaitive I think should be rewarded in some way even if the rules don't really allow it.

How about having the password in a log book or something in the final room? Then as they have his name, the are pirates and have some kind of link with the skull they can control without the need for spells?

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