Somewhere in the city, there is a portico adorned with four caryatids. The locals are used to this sight, and just pass by every day, perhaps only stopping to admire the work of the forgotten sculptor. Now and then a woman, following an old tradition, whispers her deepest wish into the ear of the leftmost statue.
At night, the caryatids step off their bases. They patrol the streets, right wrongs, protect the innocent and the weak, hunt monsters and fight against dark-dark-dark magic.
But they must return to their place at dawn, or become an immobile statue – forever.
OSR rules (based on LotFP) for playing benevolent animated statues in historical urban fantasy type settings! Inspired by this post, that old Gargoyles cartoon, China Miéville's Kraken and other weird urban fantasy stuff.
Caryatids as player characters
The Caryatids are statues animated by a mysterious force. Despite being of stone, their movements are fluid and precise, like that of a human – only much, much louder.
All Caryatids are HD 3
Hit points: by class, see below
Stats: rolled as usual
Base AC: 16
Base AB: +3 or by class, see below
Natural attack: d6
Skills: Caryatids start with a 3-in-6 chance in Architecture and Open Doors; and a 1-in-6 chance in Stealth (which they can employ to muffle their otherwise very loud movements)
* “Turn-to-stone” effects can render Caryatids immobile
** Caryatids are, of course, unaffected by poisons, but corroded by acid
Caryatids don’t level up. Their attributes can only increase through magic, the help of artisans, or other in-game ways.
Movement and Encumbrance:
Caryatids move as unencumbered humans, can climb, jump, etc.
All movement is loud and noticeable. With a successful Stealth skill check, a Caryatid can move with less noise (but still audibly). Only the Maiden Caryatid (see below) can use her Stealth skill to move unnoticed.
Caryatids can carry twice as more as a human.
Caryatids sink in water, but can walk once reaching the bottom.
When standing still, Caryatids are indistinguishable from a statue.
Damage & hazards:
Bludgeoning weapons deal damage as normal.
Slashing and piercing weapons deal 1 damage, flat.
Natural perils only affect them if they would affect a statue – Referee’s discretion (e.g. stone statues can crack at high temperatures or if water freezes in their crevices).
Magic attacks deal damage as normal.
When a Caryatid drops to 0 hit points, roll 1d6 to see which part gets shattered. Any further damage triggers a new roll on the chart until total destruction.
||Arm; if both
arms are destroyed, see next result:
Movement); if both legs are destroyed, see next result:
fractured (-1 HD, adjust maximum hit points and attack bonus);
if HD drops to zero, see next result:
||Head = total
HD represents the actual structural integrity of the stone body. Caryatids can regain HD only if restored by a highly skilled human artisan or magical means.
Hit points are the force that’s animating the stone body. Caryatids can regain hit points through the Matron’s healing spells and by “resting” during the day; however these options never restore HD.
Although visually similar, each the four caryatids each represent an individual class:
Hit points: 3d8
Spellcasting as Cleric 3
Hit points: 3d10
Attack bonus as Fighter 3
Natural attack: d8
Hit points: 3d6
Spellcasting as Magic-User 3
Hit points: 3d6
Skills as Specialist 3 in addition to the base Caryatid skills