There was an idea pitched at one of my play sessions earlier this week that has been gnawing at me. Suppose a wizard creates a shield guardian and gives the golem the telepathic command to put on the amulet and live a life of its own; what would happen?

Would the Shield Guardian become a sort of pseudo-warforged, following the original command? Would it just be stuck, standing there?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can this be narrowed down to a single question and situation? I think the shield guardian is sufficiently interesting and narrow to have an answer to "what would happen..." \$\endgroup\$
    – GcL
    Nov 5, 2020 at 17:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ FYI, I removed your second question to focus this on the shield guardian. YOu can absolutely ask the other question, separately. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Nov 5, 2020 at 17:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ And welcome to our stack! Please take the tour to learn more about us and you can visit the help center for more information about how we operate. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Nov 5, 2020 at 17:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm a bit confused. Your title mentions giving the amulet to the guardian and then your body mentions commanding the guardian to remove the amulet. Could you clarify the situation you are describing? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 5, 2020 at 17:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Did anyone else think of Terry Pratchett's Feet of Clay when they saw this question? \$\endgroup\$
    – BBeast
    Nov 6, 2020 at 6:56

1 Answer 1


A shield guardian that owned its own amulet would guard itself.

It would simply protect itself as that is its only focus.

A shield guardians solitary focus is to protect the amulet's wearer. The amulet's wearer can command the guardian to attack its enemies or to guard the wielder against attack.

Given it has intelligence and wisdom, that would primarily involve moving out of the way of foreseeable harm. It may not always flee as it has the capacity to assess fighting or fleeing from harm.

It would not resemble a warforged

Warforged have other varied interests, focuses, and lives to live. In contrast, a shield guardian has no other focus than protecting the wearer (itself) from harm.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So if it had a high enough intelligence and awareness of the world and could think ahead, that'd likely give it a 'semblance' of humanity, though only through decisions to protect itself. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 5, 2020 at 17:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CannedMawloc I support GcL's answer as RAW, given the narrow focus of what the amulet wearer can command the guardian to do. But I do like your idea! As a DM, I would be inclined to consider this as an interesting plot point - given time and circumstance, could such a shield guardian gain sentience? \$\endgroup\$
    – PJRZ
    Nov 5, 2020 at 17:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah... there are very few situations where the correct answer for "optimize on keeping myself alive indefinitely" is "alter objectives to now optimize on keeping X alive, even if that means my own destruction". \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Nov 5, 2020 at 17:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Obviously the best way of protecting itself from harm would be produce endless legions of golems, undead, and other mindless servants to purge the multiverse of anything that might potentially harm it in the future. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Nov 5, 2020 at 19:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ObliviousSage that's the Paperclip Guardian. \$\endgroup\$
    – GcL
    Nov 5, 2020 at 20:21

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