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Grand Defender

This mighty golem made of polished iron resembles a keeneyed dwarf. It carries a warhammer and a large shield bearing Torag’s symbol.

Grand Defender CR 15

Source Pathfinder #62: Curse of the Lady's Light pg. 88
XP 51,200
LG Huge construct (extraplanar)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +20


AC 32, touch 7, flat-footed 32 (–1 Dex, +20 natural, +5 shield, –2 size)
hp 157 (18d10+58)
Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +8
DR 15/adamantine; Immune construct traits, magic


Speed 30 ft.
Melee warhammer +27/+22/+17/+12 (3d6+11/×3)
Space 15 ft., Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks breath weapon, hammer storm


Str 32, Dex 9, Con —, Int 15, Wis 14, Cha 13
Base Atk +18; CMB +31; CMD 40
Feats Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Great Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Stand Still, Throw Anything, Toughness
Skills Knowledge (dungeoneering) +11, Knowledge (engineering) +11, Knowledge (history) +11, Knowledge (local) +11, Knowledge (nature) +11, Knowledge (religion) +11, Perception +20
SQ ablative adaptation, defender’s shield, dwarf traits


Environment any land (extraplanar)
Organization solitary
Treasure standard

Special Abilities

Ablative Adaptation (Su) As a standard action, the Grand Defender can cast off its outer layer of metal, revealing a slightly smaller version of itself underneath. This new form may be made of cold iron, mithral, or iron, and its appearance may change with each use of the ability, altering its apparent genders, hair style, and so on. In its cold iron form, the Grand Defender’s DR changes to DR 15/cold iron and its attacks count as cold iron for the purpose of bypassing damage reduction. In its mithral form, its DR changes to DR 15/silver and its attacks count as silver. In its iron form, its abilities revert to normal. If the herald is brought to 0 hit points, it becomes inert; 1d4 hours after it last took damage, it sheds its outer layer and reanimates at half its normal hit points. Regardless of how often it uses this ability, the herald never changes size categories, as if it slowly grows to its normal size between transformations. Once shed, the outer layer decays into worthless powder 1d4 minutes after the transformation, though before this occurs it can spend 1 full round consuming the discarded metal to recharge its hammer storm ability.

Breath Weapon (Su) As a free action once every 1d4+1 rounds, an iron golem can exhale a 10-foot cube of poisonous gas that persists for 1 round. Any creature within the area when it is exhaled (as well as any creature that passes through the cloud during the remainder of that round) is exposed to the cloud’s poisonous effects. This poison is magically created each time the golem uses this power. Breath weapon—inhaled; save Fort DC 19; frequency 1/round for 4 rounds; effect 1d4 Constitution damage; cure 2 saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Defender’s Shield (Ex) The Grand Defender’s shield is a +3 heavy steel shield, though it becomes nonmagical if the herald is destroyed or is no longer holding or wearing it.

Dwarf Traits (Ex) The Grand Defender has the following dwarven racial traits: defensive training, hardy, hatred, stability, stonecunning, and weapon familiarity.

Hammer Storm (Ex) Once per day as a full-round action, the Grand Defender can expel a volley of warhammers from its mouth in a 30-foot cone that deals 15d6 points of bludgeoning damage (Reflex DC 19 half). If the herald is in its cold iron or mithral form, these hammers count as cold iron or silver. The Grand Defender can exclude any number of squares in the cone’s area, preventing the hammers from striking those squares. The attack also counts as an awesome blow, though the Defender makes a single combat maneuver check, applying that result to the CMD of all creatures in the area, and affected creatures can only be knocked directly away from the Defender. The hammer storm actually creates 24 physical warhammers that persist after the instantaneous attack and may be used by creatures (though they are normal warhammers, not masterwork, cold iron, or mithral). The Grand Defender can spend 1 minute eating 24 warhammers (or an equivalent amount of metal) to recharge this ability.

Immunity to Magic (Ex) The Grand Defender 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 Grand Defender (as the slow spell) for 3 rounds, with no saving throw.
  • A magical attack that deals fire damage breaks any slow effect on the Grand Defender 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 herald to exceed its full normal hit points, it gains any excess as temporary hit points. The Defender gets no saving throw against fire effects.
  • The Grand Defender is affected normally by rust attacks, such as those of a rust monster or a rusting grasp spell.


Created by Torag to serve as his herald, the Grand Defender is a powerful golem animated by the collective will of dozens of great dwarf heroes. The heroic souls within the golem consider it an honor to lend their knowledge and love of battle to this mighty shell so it can protect dwarves in the mortal world. These heroes control the golem for anything from a single manifestation to several consecutive months of tasks, and afterward return to their reward in the afterlife. These multiple identities contribute to its varying appearance in each incarnation, even changing its apparent gender. The above statistics describe a typical manifestation of the herald, though if it is summoned for a specific purpose, the individual spirits within might have greater knowledge pertaining to that purpose. In general, the herald is friendly toward followers of Torag and focused on defending individuals or communities.


The spirits within the Grand Defender retain all their mortal memories and knowledge, and when in the mortal world they have been known to recognize or call out through the herald to old friends, relatives, or offspring with an unexpected familiarity and affection. If visiting a place one of its spirits had been as a mortal, the golem might know secret exits or caches of materials long forgotten by the current inhabitants. Without the heroic spirits, the herald barely has a will of its own and acts in a programmed fashion like a common iron golem; however, Torag never sends it to the Material Plane that way, and existing knowledge of its “empty” state only comes from rare visitors to Torag’s planar realm who encountered the herald.

As a construct controlled by dead heroes, the Grand Defender has no need for rest or sustenance. However, the controlling spirits may enjoy the company of other creatures, and the golem can consume materials, though its sense of “taste” is certainly altered to suit its magical abilities. For example, most of the heroic souls report mild intoxication after eating metal in order to recharge the hammer storm ability.


Since followers of Torag respect the knowledge of crafting and defense, most are in awe of the herald for having multiple lifetimes of learning and experience. In idle times before or between battle, mortal dwarves have been known to ask it for lost secrets of forging and engineering, and the hero spirits have Torag’s permission to pass on this lore as long as doing so doesn’t hinder his herald’s purpose for that visit. Other dwarves hope to speak with a dead ancestor in order to pay their respects, apologize for some old offense, or recount a descendant’s achievement. In this capacity, the Grand Defender takes on a role similar to an oracle or spirit mediator for ancestor-worshiping cultures, acting as a bearer of messages to the afterlife and strengthening a community’s connection to its past. Because of these connections, Torag prefers to include spirits with ties to the intended community or location rather than members of a rival clan or outspoken heroes whose opinions and prejudices have grown less quaint and more embarrassing over the centuries.