Sunday, January 11, 2009


Friday's post about Gygax's suggested ways to break an artifact drew some good comments, including some great chitchat about the "triple iron golem", Talos. Jamie Mal reminds us that the bronze Talos of Greek myth appeared in the 1963 adventure film Jason and the Argonauts.

Harryhausen effin' rules.
Take away the sweet beard on that dude and you end up with someone who looks a heckuva lot like the Sutherland illo of the iron golem from the 1st edition Monster Manual.

That dude is hosed.Note the radical difference in size between Talos and the canonical iron golem. I think Gygax's version of Talos made an uncredited appearance in the old D&D cartoon, as in one episode the kids tackle a MUCH bigger animated iron statue that otherwise resembles the Sutherland illo. Hank the Ranger fires energy bolts from his magical bow that wrap around the statue's ankles. It trips and when it hits the ground the dude falls apart into a bunch of hallow pieces. I'm pretty sure Hank's bow shoots the same shiny yellow plot-energy that Black Vulcan of the Superfriends uses.

Incidentally, according to my Googling the mythological version of Talos also made an appearance in the Gargoyles cartoon series. I wish I had caught more of that when it was on the air regularly. That show frequently used mythological characters from lots of cultures. Here's the Gargoyles version of Talos:

I know it's been used a million times, but I still dig glowing red eyes peering out of a darkened helmet.
Gameblog reader jamused brought up the possiblility of "triple iron" being an heretofore unknown metal with treble the qualities of ordinary iron. I like that a lot. In the future I may have to describe some magic weapons or armor as being composed of triple iron. And Ian Sokoliwski suggested the perfect model for my idea of what a triple iron golem might look like: the Tri-Sentinel, an old once-off Marvel Comics menace created by an irate Loki and destroyed by Spider-Man while he was serving a stint as Captain Universe. Dig it:

BAsed upon the MM entry for iron golems, here's Labyrinth Lord stats for a triple-faced, triple-armed, triple iron Talos:

# Encountered: 1 (unique)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 60’ (20’)
Armor Class: 1
Hit Dice: 54 (240 hit points)
Attacks: 3 or 1
Damage: 5d12 (punch) or 10d10 (stomp)
Save: Fighter 20
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: none

In combat this unique construct normally strikes with three fists, but it can instead opt to stomp any single creature orge-sized or smaller. In addition to striking with three of its six arms, Talos may breather a cloud of poisonous gas 30' in diameter every other round. Anyone caught in the cloud of gas muct save versus poison or die. Only magic weapons of +3 or greater enchantment may harm Talos. The only magic effects that work on Talos are electrical. A lightning bolt has the effect of a slow spell for 1-3 rounds. Magical fire actually heals Talos. Being constructed of Triple Iron rather than ordinary iron Talos is immune to rusting effects.

Hephaestus constructed the orginal Talos. Loki magically merged three Sentinels to create his triple monstrosity. I think my Talos will be the product of those guys from the first Star Trek pilot, the Talosians.

Maybe ol' Captain Pike can help the PCs break the Wand of Orcus.


  1. "Triple iron golem" always put me in mind of Geryon the three-bodied ogre cowherd (the six-armed, three-headed brute was the cover boy on my old UK edition of Roger Lancelyn Green's "Tales of the Greek Heroes").

    The multi-faced, multi-armed monstrosity take seems right.

  2. Anonymous1:51 PM

    OK, Jeff, now you REALLY got my attention with this post for a couple of reasons:

    1. Jason of the Argonauts is my favorite fantasy film, and the scenes on Talos's island are my favorites.

    2. When we were kids, I simply multiplied most of the AD&D stats by three to make "our" Talos. When first encountered, he would boom out, "I AM TAAAAALLLLOOOOOS!" Needless to say, he was never beaten.

  3. Anonymous2:07 PM

    Talos a product of the Talosians...

    That, my friend, is exactly why I am an avid reader of this blog.

  4. Note to self - when playing Jeff's games, figure out a way to trap rust monsters for later use.

    Fantastic post and I wonder if there are any mythological similarities to the inhabitants of the Island of Talos and the ST:OS Talosians. I'm going to have to read up on my Greek mythology now.

  5. Oh, yeah.

    I'm famous now.


  6. Hey, I just noticed something!

    The Tri-Sentinel has three fingers on each hand!

    Coincidence? :D

  7. Anonymous10:32 AM


    which Version of Dark Star are you watching? I understand there is one with another opening, and I never got hold of it.

  8. The disc I have has two versions on it. I've never seen the flick before and I'm not sure which one I just watched. I hope to watch the other version later today.

  9. Triple Iron? Scooped for my new homebrew world. Thanks!

  10. Nerd-moment wise, I believe that the D&D cartoon encounter was, as usual, cooperative for all the kids, but that ball bearings from Presto's hat were the deciding factor.

  11. And that bitch Uni didn't do jack.