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08-22-2014, 01:04 AM
Originally posted on 08-22-2014 01:01 AM at koboldquarterly.com (http://www.koboldquarterly.com)

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Master Pett’s Your Whispering Homunculus presents only the finest in British gaming. Indeed, you are not likely to find a more comprehensive assortment of miscellany anywhere. (So much more than just another bloke in a dress.) Art by Mike Lowe
The odd quirks of spending altogether too much time with a familiar or homunculi and the perils thereof…
“So, dear master, this is the end. The magic jar is readied, and the spellbook is before me, yet still you snore.
“How sad it has to come to this. I only hope my trotter will not hamper my casting. Let the gods of magic and familiars and pig parts be on my side.
“So, goodbye cruel master, prepare to be my slave…”
Although we say it and shouldn’t, this whole master/familiar/follower/companion relationship is odd. It can’t be healthy, spending all that time together; one party giving out all the orders, the other doing exactly as instructed. Surely at some time one party is going to rub off on the other, or worse, rub the other up the wrong way?
The chart below gives you a few suggestions about the quirkier behavior exhibited by familiars and homunculi. It could also, if you wish, be extended to other close relationships such as animal companions, animated undead followers, or animated objects that spend just that little too long in human (or elf or gnome or goblin) company. Some of these traits may not suit particular familiars of followers, adjust them or assign them as you wish.
As ever, consider the YWH ideas as gentle suggestions to sprinkle like a delicate seasoning into your adventures. If you like your adventures a little more hot and spicy, consider adding a few traits to each familiar, or have familiars take on odd quirks with each other, or better, have them take on unwelcome habits of the PCs themselves.


Has a tendency to stand at the side of one sleeping character, not necessarily its master or mistress
Is prone to making odd metallic pets from bits of metal and bones and giving them names
Sings odd songs without words during darkness
Tends to etch the previous day’s events into any unblemished flat metal or wooden objects when master is asleep
Often disturbs character’s sleep by sobbing quietly
Has long conversations with an imaginary friend called Kettle
Stares at the stars
Fidgets as though trying to sleep and fails abysmally
Loudly counts the number of seconds a particular character sleeps
Sighs and moves about impetuously as though bored at times of inactivity
Takes on and overuses a particular trait of their master
Frequently catches imaginary fleas
Is schizophrenic, and takes on the personality of an awakened badger called Grudd as an alter ego
When alone or bored, argues about the day’s events and how it could have served its master or mistress better
Scalds itself harshly and loudly overnight for any perceived failures in service
Catches and eats flies constantly
Scratches obsessively
Collects flowers and decorates itself with them
Stands guard atop its master’s or mistress’s head as he or she sleeps
Swears obsessively to itself in darkness
Has an odd fascination with spoons and cannot help wanting to touch and collect them
Stares at red-haired characters or creatures
Moans about money for no apparent reason
Picks its nose obsessively
Cries and whimpers if sent anywhere further than 20 ft. from its master or mistress
Is terrified of mice
Makes wigs from straw and moss
Dresses itself in raggedy objects resembling its master’s or mistress’s clothes
Nods in understanding at everyone nearby, no matter what the subject
Tries to interject the word hamster into every sentence it speaks
Steals sausages whenever it sees them and hides them for an imaginary dog
Lurks in rafters
Lurks in hay or straw whenever it is nearby
Pretends to sleep and snores loudly
Is terrified of thunder
Obsessively searches for and collects four-leaf clovers
Is jealous of any other familiar or companion
Apes the behavior of any other familiar or companion
Belittles the behavior of any other familiar or companion
Sings hymns at inappropriate times
Belches whenever its master or mistress has eaten
Agrees with absolutely everything its master or mistress says, loudly
When in front of strangers, announces its master or mistress every time they are about to speak
Takes a shine to babies and seeks to comfort them and cuddle them but knows it will be punished if found out
Smokes a pipe
Obsessively trims its nails, claws, or teeth
Refers to itself in the third person
Refers to itself as her ladyship
Is convinced it is a resurrected saint called Saint Lutheria who is in the familiar’s body as punishment for an unknown transgression
Tries to ride any pig nearby
Collects wool from sheep a little too enthusiastically
Wears a hat or other head covering at all times, convinced it is going bald
Is pretentious or over-fawning to one particular character
Scribbles nonsense poetry
Cannot bear to see blank paper and draws monkey figures on any such surface
Collects shells, and when it cannot carry any more, deposits them in any available friendly pocket, pack or other receptacle nearby
Collects dead mice, and when it cannot carry any more, deposits them in any available friendly receptacle nearby
Collects earwigs, and when it cannot carry any more, deposits them in any available friendly receptacle nearby
Cannot abide the smell of cheese
Lectures its master or mistress on healthy eating every time he or she eats, obsessively convinced the character is about to die of some terrible bowel illness
Drinks beer whenever it sees it
Milks any cow it comes within 30 ft. of
Completely ignores one character at all times
Sleeps hanging upside down and fails to do so
Somehow always seems to be immediately behind its master or mistress
Turns all its master’s daily tasks into epic poetry
Sings constantly about its master
Has an obsession with dirt and is constantly cleaning up
Has a pet spider called Horatio
Is convinced one of its master’s associates is destined to die horribly, and ponders it constantly
Drops in words in Draconic, thinking it makes it sound sophisticated
Seems to collect mud and smells
Insists its name is Albert
Wears a dress
Wears a nightcap after dark
Has its own familiar or companion; a corn doll hedgehog it commands to carry out dangerous imaginary missions
Every time master or mistress eats, comments on how good the food is and starts salivating
Is terrified of geese
Spends its idle time making model carts from twigs
Makes maps of all its exploits, including the most mundane ones
Cannot abide being near anything lilac
Is always arranging imaginary parties to celebrate its master’s or mistress’s achievement and sending out pathetic homemade invitations
Loudly confirms at dawn that today is going to be a great day
Loudly confirms at dawn that it has a very bad feeling about today
Speaks in seven different voices
Sits, heels, and plays dead like a dog
Moos at inopportune moments
Wears a cape of rags which it tosses contemptuously when leaving a room
Wears a monocle
Refers to its master or mistress as the Great One
Constantly perches on its master’s or mistress’s shoulder and examines his or her inner ear
Whenever its master or mistress is still, perches itself on his or her feet
Is obsessive about a particular sort of food and begs for it constantly
Catches and torments mice
Has a pet moth
Wears a wedding ring and insists it is married to a handsome prince in a far-away kingdom it constantly wishes to reach
Curls up in front of any fire so close that it begins to smoulder
Brings discarded objects back to characters that threw them away, sometimes several days after the event
Somehow always seems to end up in one particular character’s bed at night
Somehow seems to end up in one character’s clothes every morning whilst he or she is dressing





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