|Description||“Too... many... eyes...”|
The Beer Golem is a creature best known for its hypnotic and traumatic effects on heroes.
Little is actually known of the origins of the Beer Golem, and what the lore relates largely falls into the realms of rumor, myth, and innuendo. The usual story begins in the business of a rabbinical brewer and purveyor of beer, in a quiet, studious part of town. The day the heroes discovered his pub, the day they discovered all unflavored beers to be kosher, and the day they got too drunk to understand or retain the concept of resting on the Sabbath... those three days were the worst of his life. The next Sabbath, while the people of the neighborhood were resting, heroes and heroines began to wander down the street in search of the rabbinical brewer’s wares.
The brewer, a gentle soul, tried to warn the heroes off, turning them away because they were certainly not angels to be entertained unaware. As the afternoon and evening wore on, heroes who were already a bit soused began to show up. These were not to be reasoned with, could not be reasoned with, and possibly were fully deaf to the tones of reason, dulled as their wits were by drink and good cheer. The rabbinical brewer found himself in his own public room, surrounded by heroes trying to cadge a drink from him, while other heroes found ways into his storage cellar. Glass bottles shattered, wooden staves splintered, corks and iron bands alike were torn from their moorings to fall into the dirt. The people of the neighborhood agonized, wanting to come to the rescue and defense of their rabbi and publican, but unable to reach him to beg permission to break the Sabbath.
Morning dawned on wreckage. The heroes and heroines had drunk their fill (the fact that the rabbinical brewer had had enough for that is, in itself, a miracle) and left the pub empty of all beverages and comestibles. The brewer sat in the center of the sparkling shards and jagged spars, contemplating his hands and their work which had been undone. Replacing the lost wares would pose little problem, the rabbinical brewer’s brother having vested himself solely in the production of bitter hop beverages, but the repetition of the preceding day’s events in a week’s time had to be prevented, even at great cost.
The rabbi had never held with the more mystical sects of his faith, but as he sat, sifting crumbles of glittering silica through his fingers, he was struck with the memory of a tale from his childhood. The tale concerned a rabbi in a village who made a large, magical servant to protect the people. So the rabbinical brewer rose from his seat and went to purify himself, put on sack-cloth and ashes, and fell on his face to plead for guidance.
Guidance he received. It was in the spray of diffracted light from a prism. It was in the iron fretwork and sturdy leading of the synagogue windows. It was in the fine wood of the altar, the grain strong and straight. He put off the sack-cloth and returned to his cellar to mix glass and wood and beer, ground together in a paste and shaped into a solid form, which he fired to a high glaze in an oven that did not touch the thing’s core. On its forehead, he etched truth, and in its mouth he placed shem, and when it woke, he gave it detailed orders to protect his people from the heroes and heroines, even disobeying the Sabbath if it must.
The creature, which came to be known as the Beer Golem, served its creator in perfect, faithful obedience for many, many years. But, in time, as priests and craftsmen and publicans are neither hero nor monster and so are not eligible for resurrection, the rabbinical brewer was gathered to Abraham’s bosom. The brewer had neither son nor daughter, nephew nor niece, and his brother had preceded him into that good night, so a distant relative with no interest in the village redeemed and closed the pub.
Heroes and heroines no longer attended to the village. Without a pub, what was the point? But the Beer Golem remained under orders to protect the people from heroes and heroines, still had the truth on its forehead and shem in its mouth, and was armed with the perfect obedience common to all its kind. It set off from the village in search of the heroes and heroines.
Nobody knows quite who it met first, that day. Nobody knows quite what happened to it first, that day. But everyone knows who it met second, that day. Everyone knows what must have happened to it second.
The entity known as the God of Monsters was walking the land that day, and came upon the remains of the Beer Golem. Its glassy faience shell was shattered. The beer from its sodden heart seeped through the cracks like tears of agony. The shem was but ash in its mouth. The thing was clearly dead, in obedience to its absent creator to the end. The God of Monsters was moved to pity, then to vengeance. He raised up the broken creation, and he remade it, instead of in man’s image, in his own. Of the faience, he made plates of armored glass. Of the ashen shem, he made a phoenix of burning anger. Of the message on the Beer Golem’s forehead, he erased one letter with a wave of his claw and declared, “You are become death, and as such, you will destroy the heroes and heroines who enter your path.”
To this day, the Beer Golem stalks the spiral road, gazing upon its prey with too many eyes, and heralded only by a whiff of beer and scorched timber.
Because of the profound impact it has on the heroic psyche, whether by irresistible hypnosis or by visually and olfactorily tapping into all of the heroic set’s most visceral fears, the Beer Golem is believed to inhabit the realm of the nightmare. As for the Beer Golem’s preferences of landscape, nothing is known, not even rumors.
Nobody knows, except the blighted minds of heroes and heroines who have seen it, and they have repressed the memory so hard that even guided hypnosis cannot uncover it. The most that psychiatrists have managed to reveal before their patients dissolve into abject and gibbering terror is, “Too... many... eyes!” Whether this means the creature actually has many eyes or it has the right amount of eyes somehow refracted is a topic of heated debate between the Lostway Academy Cryptid Extension (LACE) and the Beerburgh Order of Guided Ushabti Studies (BOGUS). BOGUS Dr. Treadway and Dr. Chantilly of LACE famously came to blows over their theories during the only golem panel ever held at the annual meeting of the Cryptozoology Conference.
Alternative Theories of Appearance
Though experts at LACE and BOGUS insist that eyes are a major component of the Beer Golem’s appearance, and this theory is the most frequently cited among academic papers, the Amateur Naturalists’ Khlub (ANKh) that meets at The Mended Drum in Bad Gateway on Thursdays has advanced three alternative theories drawn from a tipsy afternoon’s discussion. Transcript as follows:
- Bort the Ungainly: ”Who’s to say that those heroes are saying ‘eye’?”
- Keeper K'targ: ”Ac’demicians, dat’s ’oo, da stuck up nits.”
- [Sound of slurping] Snort. [Sound of scraping]
- Bort: “Granted. But what I mean is, what if the heroes are saying ‘I’s,’ like in ‘dot your I’s and cross your T’s.’ What if the Beer Golem is covered in markings that look like a lower-case I?”
- K'targ: ”Ooh! Ooh! Or! [Sound of sloshing] Or maybe it says ‘I’ all the time. Like, ‘I want this. I need that. I’m going to do the other to you.’ Like, you see?”
- Snug Asa, Bugbear: ”Bah! You two are redicurrous. [Clank. Sound of a hiccup-belch.] If da heroes are anyding like you, dat monster is rubbing its eyes and going, ‘Ai-ai-ai-ai-ai, dis agen.”
Charter members of the Cryptozoology Conference have not yet debated the merits of these theories, as they are hesitant to give Dr. Treadway and Dr. Chantilly a chance at round two.
- Constitution more stubborn than iron.
- Madness AoE (Area of Effect -- namely, getting close to the monster drives the heroes a little more batty than usual).
- Preceded by a distinctive odor.
References and Footnotes
- This is as far as heroes get before shuddering and falling unconscious, according to records collected from both psychologists and publicans.
- Some bards hold that this must have been in Beerburgh, but others relate that it was in the mythical Port Stout-on-Rye. Archaeological and anthropological studies conducted in Beerburgh have uncovered no evidence that events within its walls inspired or generated the tale or creation of the Beer Golem.
- Elias the Wintervoice, The Khaki-colored Dragon (north Bumchester branch), 691 g.e.
- The Blunderbuss Singer, Dunquestin’ (east Last Resort branch), 2187 g.e. (Recorder notes that the bard was terribly drunk at the time of telling, so may not be a reliable source.)
- Lucille the Melodious (also known as “the Malodorous”), The Sword & Sandal (woods branch), 1222 g.e.
- Such permission is not normally thought to be necessary, even in the uniquely Godvillian observance of the Sabbath. Perhaps the people were just being overly cautious.
- This strange embellishment attributed to the Mad Caperer by Jumbuck of Harmony, who added that the Mad Caperer sometimes tacked on “and do the work of lighting torches.” Interview, The Khaki-colored Dragon (south-south-west Last Resort branch), 946 g.e. (Interviewer included reference to the Mad Caperer as a former jester and a bard who favored the kazoo, but as prone to satirical comment.)
- The Blunderbuss Singer, The Rumrunner’s Rest (defunct), 27 g.e.
- Unknown Bard, Boatmurdered (Dogville branch), 3001 g.e.
- Plum, The Battle Toad (Godville central branch), 774 g.e.
- Lucille the Melodious, The Sword & Sandal (woods branch), 1222 g.e.
- The Clay Boy, and Other Stories of Rampaging Porcelain, fifth scroll, archives of the Potters’ Guild of Godville (PoGOG), consulted 2323 g.e. Note: The accompanying commentary to the scroll includes a discussion of the art and theory of faience that posits that such an oven could exist that would fire glaze onto an overly large object without baking its core, but that that would really also depend on the percentage of wood in the mixture, which would necessarily burn in an anoxic manner and bake the thing from the inside out.
- The shem is one of the secret names of God. In this context, it refers either to the written letters of one of these names or to an object on which they are written (such as a piece of paper or a tablet). The shem is the magical object that brings the golem to life.
- Detail disputed between Jumbuck of Harmony and the Blunderbuss Singer.
- Unknown Bard, Boatmurdered (Dogville branch), 3001 g.e.
- Van Der Schlossen, Dr. S., The Expanded Ushabti Myth. Vector Field University Press. Vector Field, 3002 g.e.
- Repeater Tauer, Caravanserai, 1959 g.e.
- Lucille the Melodious, The Battle Toad (Laplandville refreshments tent), date unknown.
- The Practical Guide to Mystical Ceramics, archives of the PoGOG, consulted 2323 g.e.
- Cryptozoology and You: Volume 8, Artifice and Edifice, Third Edition. Private Collection of the Mayor of Monstro City. Consulted 2849 g.e.
- Not to be confused with the Amateur Naturists’ Club (ANC) that meets on the enclosed patio of the same pub on Tuesdays.