Building Your Own Constructs!

4e allows you to make magical items with ease, which is a good thing. However, there are no rules for building constructs, and this, in my opinion, is a shame. So, to address this, I have come up with the following rules...

::Caveat - these are highly experimental, and have not been play tested. See what you think and if you use them, let me know how it goes::


To build a construct, you must first possess the rudimentary skills needed to craft a variety of magical items, as well as, depending on what you want to make, other skills.

  • You must have the Enchant Magic Items ritual.
  • If you are wanting to make a construct from organic components (such as a Flesh Golem), you also need to be trained in the Heal skill.
  • If you are planning to make inorganic constructs (Such as Iron Golems) you must be trained in the Thievery skill.
  • If you wish to create a being that combines the two (for example, a living construct), you must be trained in both.
    • Artificers do NOT need the additional skills to build constructs, as they are considered to already possess the knowledge needed to create them.


  • You can only make a construct of your level or lower.
  • Unless your GM is happy to let you (See below), you cannot make elite or solo constructs. Your GM will be able to stat up standard versions of any construct you wish to make with little trouble.
  • You cannot create Intelligent constructs (Intelligence or Charisma score higher than 3).
  • You will need to obtain the appropriate materials for the construction of your creature. Usually this is part of the price (see below). However, in some cases, your DM may require you to quest for additional materials (for example, you may need to slay a potent toxic beast to give your Iron Golem its poison attacks, or have to mine Adamantine Ore from a deadly planar mine for your Adamantium Golem).
  • You will need a workshop of some kind. The cost for this is not a part of the construction costs, and again, is something your GM will decide.

Building Your Construct

  • Cost: Your construct will be a fully functioning party member, and is far more potent than a magical item. Therefore, it costs the same to build as a rare item 5 levels higher than the constructs level. For constructs of level 25+, increase the price by 500,000 gps per level above 30th.
  • Time: Whilst enchanting your construct only takes the time it takes to cast your Enchant Magic Items ritual, the preparation of its body, the summoning and binding of the appropriate entities (which your GM may rule requires additional rituals, costs and time) and similar processes takes a lot longer. A construct takes a number of days to build equal to its level +5. These are full days of work, and no other activity can be undertaken during them.

Maintaining Your Construct

  • Unlike normal constructs, the one your build has healing surges equal to its level divided by 3 (rounded down) + its constitution modifier (minimum 1).
  • Your construct also gains action points, and counts as a character when drawing Fortune Cards.
  • Your construct cannot be raised from the dead, but is considered to have rolled a 10 on all death saves (before additional modifiers) if it rolls lower than 10.
  • Levelling Your Construct: You must re-enchant your construct to increase its level, paying the difference between the two costs. This only requires the Enchant Magic Item ritual, and does not take the time it originally took to build.

Special Rules

  • Making Elite and Solo Constructs: You may want to make a golem that exactly mirrors those in the monster manuals, or which is better suited to keeping you safe when no one else is around. This is possible (though the GM must bear in mind that an elite construct is worth 2 characters, and that a solo is worth 5-6 characters).
  • Building an elite costs twice as much, takes 50% longer, and results in a construct that has an additional 3 healing surges.
  • Building a solo costs five times as much, takes 200% longer, and results in a construct with a +2 bonus to all defences, and an additional 6 healing surges.
  • A standard construct can be upgraded as written above. However, this requires that the fundamental structure be altered, and requires additional time to be spent in the process. This time is equal to the time taken to make the original construct subtracted from the time needed to make an elite or solo version.
  • Your GM will almost certainly want you to undertake additional work to build such an epic monster!
  • Your GM may let you make more intelligent or potent version of monsters for increased costs, or with the completion of additional adventures. This is entirely up to them to adjudicate.

An Example

Icarus, having reached the cusp of epic level play is getting nervous. Things are getting pretty serious and he feels he needs some additional support. He therefore decides to build himself an Iron Golem and sets about gathering the materials he needs.

Icarus travels to Lorehaven where he secures the use of a workshop for 100 gold per week. He also discovers that to build his construct he needs to spend 625,000. Furthermore, he will have to enact a ritual to summon and bind a powerful earth elemental to a crystalline heart (to drive the golem), and must seek out a elder purple worm in order to extract and study its poison sacs.

Discounting the time those things will take to do, it will take Icarus 25 days of solid work to get his golem ready for enchanting.

Having gathered everything he needs, the mage sets about his task, and nearly two months later, has enchanted his golem! However, things get even tougher than he imagined, and he decides he wishes to upgrade his golem and turn it into a solo!

This will costs an additional 2,500,000 gps (5 x 625,000 gps = 3,125,000 gps [-625,000 gps] = 2,500,000) and will take an additional 50 days of hard work. Worse, he has to obtain some pure resonant ores from a decaying dimension orbiting the sullen heart of a collapsing nether-plane, has to summon and control a 30th level elemental Lord, and has to permanently sacrifice one healing surge to awaken the thing.

In the end Icarus decides he will take his chances with his current golem and leave it as it is.

Eventually, Icarus hits 21st level, and wants to upgrade his golem (who he has named Mr Punchy). Mr Punchy can be levelled up for 500,000 gold (luckily he has some residuum knocking about by this time to throw into the mix), and with the casting of an Enchant Magic Items ritual. Simple!


  1. For some reason, even though none of my characters has ever been powerful enough to make one, I always thought that golem crafting was one of the coolest parts of D&D. It's nice to see some workable rules for it in 4e.
    I like the provision for questing for magical ingredients (like the crystalline heart and purple worm poison) - it is one of the parts of magic crafting that I miss from 1e and 2e.

    One question though. How does the golem work in the party - does it roll its own initiative and have a standard suite of actions or does it go on its creators turn using her actions like a familiar or animal companion?

  2. It acts as another party member. It's a bit more work, but it works quite well (we had a slightly enhanced Iron Defender in one of the groups from levels 12 - 18...until he got melted down in a recent game) :D


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