In times of old and in lands far away, demons and undead creatures of untold horror plague the people and kingdoms they lived in. Knights and heroes alike tried to brave the dangers and exterminate these evil beings but none survived. Either being killed in battle or possessed/reanimated into an undead being, adding to the ranks of the unholy army. Slowly as each kingdom fell, people grew more and more desperate for a solution to their plight. From protection spells to deadly traps, they only seem to delay the inevitable. Then one day, in a kingdom still standing, a group of three offered an idea. A priest, a mage, and a crafter spoke of their idea to create soldiers that would help ward off the approaching horde and, in time, cleanse the land of this evil.
"They will be resilient to most forms of attack as well as fire. They will be incapable of being possessed by demons or evil spirits. They can fight tirelessly without food or water or rest. They will, above all else, protect the kingdom." The king listened to this idea and decided to hold a meeting with all other members of royalty of other kingdoms to discuss the idea of creating such warriors. After a heated discussion and arguments of creating life, the majority comes to the conclusion. They allow the creation of these “puppet warriors.”
And so in the span of a week, the priest, the mage, and the crafter begin constructing these beings. The crafter created the bodies of the constructs; everything made from woven wood and straw with metallic pieces of plating protecting the joints. A stone mask to hold the spirit inside, with an eye painted on it’s forehead to give it sight. Cured, hollowed gourds, and bundles of tied grasses used as limb parts. Long, dexterous fingers for skilled handling of the weapons it will use. A long, whip-like tail. Feet made of Spry and strong saplings for balance and stability. The mage uses his powers to give the constructs life and power. While it is known he uses special runes to give the constructs immunity to fire or most magicks and toughening the bodies against any normal strike or cut, he manages to give them life using a secret method. He will not speak what it is. The Priest gives the constructs knowledge and protection in the forms of teachings and blessings, making sure they will only strike the wicked and not the innocent. Also giving them the skills necessary to interact with other people as well as read and write. He also given each their own name as he believes it’s important that they be given as such. The final day of the week, five Puppet Warriors were created and ready for battle. Just in time as the forces of darkness slowly came. Once into battle, the constructs took to action and swiftly cut down the first wave of demons and undead. The first battle finished the Puppet warriors stood victorious. While only experiences minor injuries and a broken arm, the 5 puppet warriors were still standing and ready for the next battle.
The people of the kingdom were joyous as they finally have hope. The King himself was proud of the trio’s work and ordered more to be created for their neighboring allies. Each one having 5 warriors like the ones they have. Soon after many weeks of work and battles to hold off the evil forces, the warrior’s number keep increasing. Each one with slightly different traits and weapons. In just a month, 40 warriors were created and that’s all it took to hold off the horde. In another month, they slowly pushed the creatures back and back. After a year passes, cutting their forces down to almost handful. The warriors themselves hardly suffer loses, but the ones that do get destroyed are given proper funerals. Once the war against the horde had been won, the warriors were kept in their respected kingdoms. Given tasks of law enforcement or protection as a guard. The 5 original puppet warriors, however, were given the task to cleanse the land of the remaining evil horde. Each going in 5 different directions to find any possible trace of the evil horde. And so they journey far, seeking to complete the task.
As the wooden heroes march on their crusade to eradicate the evil menace and towns rebuilt themselves, other Kingdoms began requesting more Puppet warriors as well. Even after the war, the warriors proved useful and dedicated to their duty. The King makes a visit to the mage to ask for more to be created. Strangely, the mage refuses this request. King, confused, asks the reason why it can’t be done. The mage says he will not create any more as the cost to make them was too high. At first the king offered to fund the mage and his friends the gold needed to work the process, but the mage states the cost isn’t made in gold. The price is much higher.
The mage, in a private room within the tower, tells the secret to make the Puppet Warriors: Human Sacrifice. Giving life to an inanimate object is one thing; it would do one or two simple tasks without complications. However, to give it the intelligence and skill necessary to fight an army is impossible without spirits or souls. Through the use of blood magic and a group of willing volunteers, he took the souls of the men and women to be placed within the stone masks of the constructs. Thus creating sentient beings, bringing life to the lifeless. If the mask were to shatter, the soul would be vulnerable and force to leave the construct. At first the warriors will have little to no knowledge of their past lives other than their names. If enough time passes, they will slowly regain their memories. It might take weeks, months, even years before they would be able to do so. In the meantime they will learn and listen from the first person that gives the constructs life. Because all vollenteers were "killed" during the process, they can't make more.
The King stands in shock. He realizes that if this becomes public, there will be controversy among his people and allies. They will start seeing them as the same light of undead creatures they kill. Even worse, others might try to misuse the methods and recreate the warriors themselves. In the wrong hands, it could cause untold distruction or civil war! He couldn’t kill the mage. That would arise too much suspicion and unjust hatred against him. So the mage introduces another idea to the King. He would send word to the allies that the material necessary to create these puppets depleted in making so many in such short amount of time. While not the whole truth, it wasn’t a lie either. Though to be sure no one would try to find out the method, a red herring in the form of a rare material was named as the means to create the constructs. Not only would it be hard to find it, but also made the story believable to the public. This left the King with little choice but to accept this purposal. Thus the real secret of creating these Puppet Warriors is kept safe. At least, for now.
- human-level intelligence and learning
- Immunity to fire
- Above average resistence to Magic and physical attacks.
- The ability to heal in water or rain
Destroying the stone mask will remove the soul inhabiting the Puppet Warrior and rendering it harmless. It can be broken if enough force is used such as repeated blows with a hammer or blunt object. Removing the head will also disable the body, but the soul will still be trapped inside the mask. If it reattaches back to the body, it will be revived.
Another interesting effect is the water it uses to heal itself. Should the construct in question try to heal itself using water that has been tainted or poisoned in some way, it will have different effects on the construct. At first will heal the injuries, but if the water had been lethal then the body will slowly start to rot away. Bark will peel off like an onion, limbs will break off more easily, and performance will falter. If it can't find a place with clean water in time, it will fall apart. Though that's not always the case with all liquids. There is one reported incident where a Puppet Warrior accidently absorbed a pool of beer. It caused the construct to act erratically and stumble about in a rather humorous manner.
Another weakness is the puppet's state of mind once memories resurface. There have been reported cases where some Puppets recover memories of their past. Depending on the soul within the mask, the various results from these memories include increase aggression, depression, suicide, fear, as well as the need for social interaction. The worse case scenario is a Puppet with psychopathic tendicies in it's past life.
Has a habit of collecting trophies from defeated and fallen foes with reconizable skill. If the opponent doesn’t have any interesting or unique items, it’ll just take the head.
~The secrets of the Puppet Warriors have gotten lost in the sands of time. The Evil Horde has returned and are growing in strength. Heroes must find the Journal of the King and find a way to make more Puppets before it's too late.
~Unfortunately, when these beings were created, time was of the essence, so prisoners were used. Most volunteered in return for favors and their families being taken care of, but one of the masks is occupied by the soul of (take your pick):
- A particularly dastardly criminal
- An evil wizard, sorcerer or shaman
- An ambitious traitor
- An old rival of the King (perhaps done away with illegally)
- A regular person in life, who is now slowly going insane within their new prison and wants revenge
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? Responses (11)
I like the story, the puppets, their creators, and overall how it was written. However, the puppets are a bit overpowered and as per the back story, they are protecting everyone... basically they're doing the average PCs job. I think to make these creations more usable in a roleplaying setting, they need a flaw. Whether that be a weakness that the forces of evil use to turn them against their creators or a weakness that makes their current victory short lived. Another interesting idea would be to use them in a different kind of an adversarial role. Make the PCs some of the last bad guys and have them try to survive the puppet menace. If running an evil campaign, I still think the puppets need a weakness. Finally, as you are talking to us as GMs using your idea, it might be nice to share with us the wizard's secret. Otherwise, an interesting twist on mass produced wood golems, limberjacks, or homunculi. I would love to hear more. Keep on writing.
Ah yes, the weaknesses. Forget to include that. Thanks for reminding me. I'll be sure to add a little section to possible plot hooks. It'll be a nice idea. Rogue warriors, evil villains having to fight a group of them in a dungeon, even finding the method in creating them.
I'll keep revising it for better use. Thanks against for the advice.
Userful but a bit uberpowerful.
Update: Added Extra information and more on the creation of the warriors.
Kooky and sinister at the same time. I particularly like the weakness and the flaws.
Welcome to the citadel numbered mimic!
Looking forward to more
Interesting. I like the soul masks. Needs editing.
As a suggestion,if the Puppet Warriors are made (in part) of wood and water heals them, it might be that they wood is still in part alive ('Resurrection Wood' or some such.) In that case any spell that harms plants could still damage them, provided it got through their magical resistance. That's still a pretty rare weakness so not unreasonable.
Another cool idea is presented to me in the description of the soul masks (and Redgre's comments above.) The adventurers enter a new land, only to find out they are not needed (so it seems) because the Puppet Warriors fill that role.
Unfortunately, when these beings were created, time was of the essence, so prisoners were used. Most volunteered in return for favors and their families being taken care of, but one of the masks is occupied by the soul of (take your pick):
~ A particularly dastardly criminal
~ An evil wizard, sorcerer or shaman
~ An ambitious traitor
~ An old rival of the King (perhaps done away with illegally)
~ A regular person in life, who is now slowly going insane within their new prison and wants revenge
Now this person is slowly regaining memories of their past life. Perhaps it can control the other Puppet Warriors somehow.
Lucky those adventurers are around....
Nice idea, well presented. The only thing I noticed was that the tense of the submission would shift on occasion, going from current tense to past tense, and back again. The correct tense is past tense, so:
The king listens to this idea and decides to hold a meeting with all other members of royalty of other kingdoms to discuss the idea of creating such warriors.
The king listened to this idea and decided to hold a meeting with all other members of royalty of other kingdoms to discuss the idea of creating such warriors.
Yeah, I kind of got this habit of of switching tenses and not realizing it until much later. Which is why I would often need someone to actually point that out to me. Though I'll try to fix the grammar errors when I can.
Update: Added and changed a few words
Update: Plot hooks
This strikes me as a take on Robocop, with many of the plot ideas that revolve around it. A good solid sub that could play the part of a legend.