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After reading What rules say that summoning undead is evil, and what rules say why? and the accepted answer thereto, I wondered if there was a potential workaround to the inherent issues involved in creating undead, which would allow for those Good- and Neutral-aligned necromancers that seem to be so desireable.

In Pathfinder, to summarize the answer to the linked question, the reason that an undead is evil is because creating an undead is an evil act because... it is. The creation of a Flesh Golem however, disgusting and undead-like as it is, is not... even though you're literally dessecrating the corpses of six humanoid creatures. It does require Create Undead, but you can up the DC by +5 in order to avoid that entirely. In fact, the only version of the Flesh golem that requires an evil act to create is the Unholy Flesh Golem. Bone Golems are treated similarly, as Neutral creatures whose creation does not involve an evil act, despite the twelve humanoid skeletons required to create it.

This leads me to a natural question: can Craft Construct be used to create a Medium Flesh Golem or Bone Golem with 1 HD at greatly reduced cost, requiring only one corpse and resulting in an undead-like creation? If so, how would the price and crafting requirements change? If not, what other mechanics might be used to create something of an undead aesthetic but lacking the Evil descriptor?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If I'm not mistaken, undeath is an abomination because you're actually disrupting the flow of souls (and that really upset the gods when you deprive them of their snack - Especially Auntie Pharasma, who will whoop your ass sooner or later). Whereas, a golem is an animated construct, powered by magic but devoid of soul. So assuming a Good or Neutral spellcaster has access to the remains of some humanoids... sure, in European culture, it's considered pretty rude to toy with their bones. But it's highly subjective. (Not sure - would need to triple check, don't hesitate to correct me). \$\endgroup\$ – Nyakouai Jul 10 at 8:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought it was due to a consent issue; hence, it was fine to raise the dead if the living person gave you permission to do so in their lifetime under no duress to do so. \$\endgroup\$ – Erin B Jul 29 at 19:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ These comments are starting to veer into the area of answering "why are undead evil", which is both a highly subjective question prone to many valid opinions and not the question asked. \$\endgroup\$ – Brandon Olson Jul 30 at 1:26
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There are no rules for creating lower HD Constructs or altering the book ones except Modifications.

However, you could build them from the ground up using the rules for Building New Constructs. This section relies heavily on GM oversight for appropriate benefits, but references Monster Creation Rules as a baseline.


This is an example of what a 1HD Flesh Golem might look like. You will have to work with your GM, but based on 1HD and medium Construct HP, the CR should be at least 2. Following the Monster Creation Rules table for CR 2 (and comparing it to the CR9 Flesh Golem and how they interact with the table), you expect +4 to hit with its attacks and 14 AC. Most of the rest of it falls into place after adjusting its BAB to match it's HD and it's ability scores to reach these values.

Golem, Lesser Flesh
CR 2

N Medium construct
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +0

DEFENSE
AC 14, touch 8, flat-footed 20; (–1 Dex, +6 natural, –1 size)
hp 26 (1d10+20)
Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +0
DR 5/adamantine; Immune construct traits, magic

OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 slams +4 (2d8+3)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks berserk

STATISTICS
Str 16, Dex 9, Con —, Int —, Wis 11, Cha 1
Base Atk +1; CMB +14; CMD 14
Languages none

SPECIAL ABILITIES

  • Berserk (Ex)

When a flesh golem enters combat, there is a cumulative 1% chance each round that its elemental spirit breaks free and the golem goes berserk. The uncontrolled golem goes on a rampage, attacking the nearest living creature or smashing some object smaller than itself if no creature is within reach, then moving on to spread more destruction. The golem’s creator, if within 60 feet, can try to regain control by speaking firmly and persuasively to the golem, which requires a DC 19 Charisma check. It takes 1 minute of inactivity by the golem to reset the golem’s berserk chance to 0%.

  • Immunity to Magic (Ex)

A flesh golem is immune to any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell resistance. In addition, certain spells and effects function differently against the creature, as noted below.

  • A magical attack that deals cold or fire damage slows a flesh golem (as the slow spell) for 2d6 rounds (no save).
  • A magical attack that deals electricity damage breaks any slow effect on the golem and heals 1 point of damage for every 3 points of damage the attack would otherwise deal. If the amount of healing would cause the golem to exceed its full normal hit points, it gains any excess as temporary hit points. A flesh golem gets no saving throw against attacks that deal electricity damage.

Lesser Flesh Golem Construction

The pieces of a flesh golem must come from a normal humanoid corpse that has not decayed significantly. Assembly requires dismembering the body and reassembling it. 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.

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