Related to this question and this question, if an appropriately preserved but soulless clone of oneself is available—probably created through the use of the spell clone but maybe generated some other way—is that body a valid target for an animate object, Craft Golem - Craft Construct, or similar effects?

The entity producing the animate object and/or Craft Golem - Craft Construct effect may or may not be the originator of the clone.

Also, we are looking forward to the possibility of using this effect for various possible sneaky and/or nefarious ideas: an age reset while keeping (most) of one's original knowledge attempt, getting rid of something specific to the original body that isn't affecting the clone body, plot to perfectly disguise self or other as another person, plot to stage the murder of someone and prevent resurrection or speak with dead attempt, mess with the pcs minds without using a mirror of opposition, committing the perfect crime and letting someone else take the fall for it... the list goes on.


2 Answers 2


An inert clone can be targeted by animate objects

The 8th-level Sor/Wiz spell clone [necro] (Player's Handbook 210), when used to create a duplicate of a creature that still lives, creates a "body [that] is merely a soulless bit of inert flesh." The Monster Manual says, "Anything that lacks Wisdom or Charisma is an object, not a creature" (298), and this should include inanimate things that were never alive in the first place despite their forms being composed of flesh. Thus the 6th-level Clr spell animate objects [trans] (PH 199) should be able to affect the body. However, ask the DM to confirm this supposition; it's likely the game didn't consider that a caster would be willing to spend 2d4 months growing a duplicate of some dude just to put puppet strings on it!

Also, keep in mind that the spell animate objects only gives only limited control over objects it affects. I mean, seriously, the spell says, "You imbue inanimate objects with mobility and a semblance of life." What does this semblance of life actually allow the affected objects to do? The game says only this: "Each such animated object then immediately attacks whomever or whatever you initially designate" (ibid.). There's no mechanism—except DM largess—for affected objects doing anything but attacking (or, I guess, not attacking) whoever the caster designates. (Presumably, it's the application of the 5th-level Sor/Wiz spell permanency [univ] (PH 259-60) to the objects affected by the animate objects spell that expands animated objects' range of commands obeyed from Attack! to any "orders without question and to the best of their abilities" (Monster Manual 13).)

Further, even if the DM goes along with this complicated, long-range, slightly shady clonepuppet plan (also a good band name), the inert flesh that's the result of the clone spell has no capacity for self-repair and straight-up "rots if not preserved" (PH 210). Finally, add to this that the spell animate objects makes no mention of imparting to affected objects the capacity for speech! Combined, this means any plans to have the animated object infiltrate an organization for an extended period must be made carefully—it could, for instance, probably join an order of pacifist monks. (Yet even they, I'm sure, would eventually wonder about its smell.)

This DM would rule that a flesh golem can't be made from clone parts

The Monster Manual on Construction says

The pieces of a flesh golem must come from normal human corpses that have not decayed significantly. Assembly requires a minimum of six different bodies—one for each limb, the torso (including head), and the brain. (136)

This DM would rule that the products of clone spells are not "normal human corpses," but, instead, that the product of a clone spell is—like the spell's description says—just a "soulless bit of inert flesh." What the wizard's grown in a vat in her laboratory certainly isn't normal, is an object not a human, and will have to be somehow given life then die to become a corpse.

Note: I know that disempowering answers are unpopular, and I hate being the bearer of bad news, so let me offer up by way of recompense one of my favorite plot hooks, the libram of flesh (178,000 gp; 5 lbs.) from Arms and Equipment Guide 134. It enables the user to make from corpses flesh golems that have the special abilities of the bodies from which they're made. It's kind of awesome even if the DM does pick the special abilities.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What about once the clonepuppetbody is considered a construct, and then awaken construct is used... a few diplomancer checks later and perhaps a lot of education, would our long range nefarious plots come to fruition? If you would like an example of these sorts of things, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miles_Vorkosigan#Mark_Vorkosigan. \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Oct 2, 2017 at 22:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nijineko This is so complicated! The spell awaken construct has an 8 hour casting time, so the animate objects spell that's on the result of the clone spell has already been the subject of permanency. Process that for a sec: that's a 5th-level, 6th-level, 8th-level, and 9th-level spell; over 2d4 months worth of work; and at least 8,000 XP… O, and a murder! Now you want to train this thing so it acts like the original, too? Dude. There must be an easier way to do what you want to do! Seriously, just wish for something already! \$\endgroup\$ Oct 2, 2017 at 22:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ ^^ so this is a patient villain. besides, think of all the poor xp!!! no, no wishes. ;D it's the cunning villains that trounce the characters time and again, twist their minds, torture their morals, and flaunt their ethics that really get the players going. They'll hunt THIS villain to the end of creation, and beyond. And just when they think they've got 'em... that's when he reveals that he kidnapped their own children and implanted his (and his minion's) phylacteries into their bones along with nasty surprises for anyone who messes with it to the party..... \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Oct 3, 2017 at 0:45

Can you target an inert clone with Animate Objects?

Yes. The target for Animate Objects is "One Small object per caster level; see text", as long as your caster high level is high enough or your inert clone is small enough, you can animate it.

Note that the created creature is a Construct without an intelligence score, so I'm not sure what you were hoping for, but you'll end up with a mindless puppet that looks like you.

Can you turn an inert clone into a Golem?

I'm assuming you meant a Flesh Golem, but even there the answer is no, because if you check you will see for the construction of a Flesh Golem:

The pieces of a flesh golem must come from normal human corpses that have not decayed significantly. Assembly requires a minimum of six different bodies—one for each limb, the torso (including head), and the brain. In some cases, more bodies may be necessary. Special unguents and bindings worth 500 gp are also required. Note that creating a flesh golem requires casting a spell with the evil descriptor.

If your question was rather "Can we use the body as part of a Flesh Golem's body", then I don't see why not; assuming you are a "normal human" anyway.

  • \$\begingroup\$ One awaken construct spell later...? \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Oct 2, 2017 at 13:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nijineko you'll have a sentient construct that looks like you, but is otherwise unconnected to you? \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Oct 2, 2017 at 13:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps, but if you manage to get someone else's genetic sample, and create a clone, or perhaps steal someone else's clone, AND assuming that you can win the construct's loyalty or at least cooperation in some fashion, all sorts of shenanigans become possible.... ^^ \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Oct 2, 2017 at 15:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nijineko it sounds much easier to just Polymorph or Disguise or Alter someone if the goal is to have someone resemble someone else... \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Oct 2, 2017 at 15:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @nijineko animating and awakening a Clone doesn't prevent resurrection either, since it's not the original creature's soul in the body. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Oct 5, 2017 at 6:27

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