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In the description portion of flesh golem, I found this passage:

Elemental Spirit in Material Form. The construction of a golem begins with the building of its body, requiring great command of the craft of sculpting, stonecutting, ironworking, or surgery. Sometimes a golem’s creator is the master of the art, but often the individual who desires a golem must enlist master artisans to do the work.

After constructing the body from clay, flesh, iron, or stone, the golem’s creator infuses it with a spirit from the Elemental Plane of Earth. This tiny spark of life has no memory, personality, or history. It is simply the impetus to move and obey. This process binds the spirit to the artificial body and subjects it to the will of the golem’s creator.

Which would mean that the "soul" of a golem is actually an Elemental spirit. The Clay golem has the exact same passage, and Iron Golems talk of "the power of the elemental spirit bound within them".

So while the stat block for a golem in Construct, would spells and effects that target elementals also work on golems?

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2 Answers 2

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Well, no

By the mechanics of the game, spells that affect a very specific type of creatures affect them and only them, as all other spells do. Golems have a construct type, so they are unaffected.

You can be tempted to say that lore-wise, this is not the case; as you already provided information that golems are made using spirits from the Elemental Plane of Earth. But this does not conclude that their type would be different. Nothing says that a spirit from the Elemental Plane of Earth is a elemental altogether. Humans and other humanoids have spirits, yet their type is not humanoid, but undead, and we really are not given any clarification what type they are. We can take this even further; consider the following: a galley is an object, even though it is operated, or "powered" by creatures, but you cannot say that it can be subjected to spells like Command or dominate monster. Would you say that spells that can affect beasts would work on iron golem if it would be powered by a hamster running in a wheel? No, that is unlikely.

So definitely no from mechanical perspective of the game, and almost certainly no from common logic.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Basically its magic it can defy any form of logic. If it would be logical it would be called technology or something. \$\endgroup\$
    – joojaa
    Mar 10 at 14:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ By the same token, "hold person" doesn't work on a ghoul or zombie because they have the undead type, despite being still basically a humanoid body animated by unholy forces. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 11 at 22:05
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The golem is a construct, not an elemental

I'm not really sure what else to say about it. When the rules specify a spell or effect targets a specific creature type, the type of that creature in the Monster Manual (or other published source) is what determines if the creature is affected or not.

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