For AD&D 1e And Pathfinder 2
Therefore, the idea that a wizard, alchemist, or other golem-builder would spend significant time and magical resources to build a living pun is hardly implausible in-context.
Golem, Hammerhead Shark
FREQUENCY: Very Rare
NO. APPEARING: 1-2
ARMOR CLASS: 1 (3 if on land)
MOVE: 24″ (6″ on ground)
HIT DICE: 40 hit points (9HD)
% IN LAIR: nil
TREASURE TYPE: nil, see below
NO. OF ATTACKS: 2
DAMAGE/ATTACK: Bite 3-18, Tail Slam 2-12
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Hammer Toss, Stunning Blow
SPECIAL DEFENSES: +2 or better weapon to hit
MAGIC RESISTANCE: See below
PSlONlC ABILITY: Nil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
Creation of a hammerhead shark golem requires potent magic and perhaps a little madness. It also requires a lot of hammers. Several tons of hammer heads are required, and they must not be manufactured for this purpose; they must be from hammers used in various trades for at least a year. In addition, a single hammer that has remained in active use for 100 years is required; tools of such quality are rare, and once it is known someone is seeking one, frauds are bound to turn up. This hammer must then be enchanted (by the wizard constructing the golem) to at least +1 potency, and is often called the “brain hammer” or “soul sledge”. The cost in unguents, crushed pearls, dried exotic seaweed, and skilled labor add up to 750 GP per hit point. The creator must also cast the spells polymorph any object, water breathing, geas, and wall of iron. To conclude the process, a living hammerhead shark, of at least 7 hit dice in size, must be killed — by a hammer blow1 — to fully activate the golem. All of this takes at least two months of labor, not counting any time to acquire materials, and the entire process of construction must occur with 1/4 mile of a salt water ocean, in a region frequented by hammerhead sharks.
A hammerhead shark golem is usually set to guarding some underwater location of interest to its creator. Coastal cities sometimes have 1 or 2 created to serve as defense in times of war, as their bite does 4 points of structural damage to ships. (This factors in that the damage is below the waterline; if somehow put to attacking things that can’t sink, their bite does 1 point of structural damage.)
In normal combat, it bites, using spiked pick-heads and hammer-claws as teeth, as well as slamming foes with its tail. If a natural “20” is rolled with the tail attack, the target is stunned for 1d4 rounds. If no foe is in range, it can snap its tail to hurl a hammer at an enemy within 12″, doing 1d8 damage. This suffers no penalty for being underwater.
If it kills a foe with its bite attack, it goes into a blood frenzy. It makes two bite attacks per round, foregoing the tail attack, but all attacks against it are at +2 to hit.
While it has no treasure of its own (what it guards is up to the DM), it is rumored that the “brain” hammer, the ancient tool used as the centerpiece of the ritual, can be transformed into a hammer +3, dwarven throwing, if presented to an ancient dwarf blacksmith and if proper payment and supplications are made. (This will almost invariably involve some dangerous quest.) The DM will have to decide if this rumor is true, as well as the likelihood of finding a capable smith.
Typically for golems, it is immune to most spells. Destroy Water does 1d8 damage to it. Air Breathing causes it to take 1d6 damage per round, but it can make a save vs. spell each round to end the effect. Electrical damage from any source heals it.
It does not need to breathe, but it is slow and clumsy on land, as noted above.
1: Fortunately, there is no requirement the caster themselves perform this step. Given their poor attack table and -5 non-proficiency penalty, it could take a while. (“Dammit, Magico, haven’t you hit that damn shark yet? It’s tied up, for Odin’s sake! How can you keep missing?”)
Pathfinder 2e Version
It is very possible that the hammerhead shark golem was first devised by a goblin alchemist who had never actually seen the living beast and who took his client’s request rather literally… or perhaps decided to apply a distinctly goblinoid sense of humor. Other legends include a cleric of a god whose domains were both smithing and the sea, or a dwarven craft-mage who was dealing with an invasion from a dark underground ocean and used what he had on hand. Regardless of the first formulation, the formula has spread so that such creatures are not unique, though they remain rare.
Like most golems, the hammerhead shark golem is usually charged with protecting a location or individual, almost invariably underwater. They are not harmed by being out of the water, but are slower and clumsier. As part of the ritual that creates them involves trapping the essence of a living shark, they have a few instinctual behaviors — a strong preference to attack foes in melee, and a tendency to go berserk when the waters around them froth with blood.
A central component of the hammerhead shark golem is the so-called “brain hammer”. This is a standard-grade adamantine war hammer. If salvaged, it can be used as-is, or it can become a key component of a wounding rune, allowing someone to craft it in the normal amount of time but without any cost in material other than incidental expenses… well, assuming access to a forge capable of working adamantine.
It has been rumored that at least one hammerhead shark golem was captured by a sea-devil wizard and given as a mount to a great knight of their kind, increasing the golem’s skills and abilities and giving it mount-style actions.
Particularly old hammerhead shark golems, which may have outlived their creators, can be covered with barnacles or even coral, if appropriate. If the golem has had no reason to move for years or decades or longer (which is possible if it was set to guard an obscure or hidden location), it may appear as nothing more than an oddly-shaped piece of terrain, at least not until someone touches the wrong item or crosses a border known only to the golem… then it explodes into furious action.
HAMMERHEAD SHARK GOLEM CREATURE 8
RARE | N | LARGE | AQUATIC | CONSTRUCT
Perception +14; darkvision, scent (imprecise) 100 feet
Skills Athletics +17
Str +5, Dex +2, Con +3, Int -5, Wis +2, Cha -5
AC 29 (27 on land); Fort +17, Ref +16, Will +14.
HP 145; Immunities bleed, disease, death effects, electricity, doomed, drained, fatigued, healing, magic (see below), mental, necromancy, nonlethal attacks, paralyzed, poison, sickened, unconscious; Resistances physical 5 (except adamantine)
Attack of Opportunity[Reaction]: This is lost if the hammerhead shark golem is out of the water.
Golem Antimagic: Healed by electricity (Area 2d4HP), harmed by mending (as much as would be healed/repaired – however, if the caster desires, they can use mending to heal the golem rather than harm it.)
Speed 10′, Swim 40′
Melee [one-action] Jaws +20 2d10+5 piercing +1d6 persistent bleed (fatal d10, magical, reach 10′)
Melee [one-action] Tail +20 2d10+5 bludgeoning plus improved knockdown (magical, reach 10′).
Melee [two-action] Blacksmith’s Unmaking: The hammerhead shark golem makes a strike with jaws or tail. If it hits, it does equal damage to the target and to an item worn or wielded by the target. Hardness is reduced by half against this attack. This does not affect adamantine items. (It may also target unattended items, such as the hulls of boats.)
Ranged [one-action] Hammer Toss +19 2d8+5 bludgeoning plus improved shove. (Range increment 20′).
Blood Frenzy[Reaction](rage): Trigger: Using its Jaws attack, the hammerhead shark golem scores a critical hit or reduces a target to 0 hit points. Effect: The hammerhead shark golem gains a +1 status bonus to attack rolls and a +3 status bonus to damage, but suffer a -1 status penalty to AC. This lasts for a number of rounds equal to the golem’s Con bonus (typically 3). Any time the triggering condition recurs, the count resets.
One of my goals when doing design is to create a something (spell, monster, item, whatever) actually usable mechanically, and with some grounding in the setting, even when my inspiration is a bad pun. I also want to create something that isn’t statistically identical to something else with just a name change. So I didn’t want to just tack “Construct” as a trait onto the existing PF2 shark, for example and call it a day. I wanted to, ah, hammer home the identity of the creature by giving it some powers/abilities that reflect its nature. As noted in a prior article, the formal monster design rules for PF2 aren’t out yet, so I’m hewing close to the stats for other creatures of the same level and a bit of reverse-engineered math.
I shall also note, for the record, I spent time dredging out my 1e DMG to look at the rules for ships and siege damage to ships, to arrive at what I thought was a fair figure. The odds of anyone actually using this monster in a real game are slim; the odds of them invoking the obscure siege and construction rules are even slimmer; but there is pride in a job well-done, even if no one notices it.