“Master, help! I can’t get this pot off my hand. I was only feeling inside for spiders. Help me remove it, please!”
“It is too late, sluglet. Once you’ve placed your hand inside a gnashing scarab pot there can be only one ending.”
“You lose whatever you thoughtlessly thrust into it, of course, in a little under a minute from now if it follows the usual pattern. That’s the trouble with pharaoh objects, they are almost always horribly trapped, or cursed, or both. Now, hand me my catalogue of pharaohic artifacts I asked you to find over an hour ago, and get some mint tea ready for my visitor. He has bulging pockets and an obsessive love of things looted from pyramids. And be quick about it. You have only fifty seconds left.”
Treasures come in all shapes and sizes—and from a variety of places. With treasure, variety is almost always a good thing. Our list this week is 50 outré or disturbing treasures found in the land of the pharaohs. These objects need not be looted from pyramids and temples, however. They can be found in any collection, perhaps as part of a vast trove of someone who has an unhealthy love of pyramids and tomb robbing.
“Master, have pity. I meant no harm. I only cast magic jar as a jest! Please let me out of this beer bottle. It’s very cramped.”
“Get used to it, traitorous rat-bride. You’ll be spending a year and a day in there at the least. That’s if I don’t decide to dispense with your services altogether. I still haven’t decided.”
“Lordly master, have pity. I’ll do anything—wash your smalls, iron your wizard’s hat, alphabetically arrange your nick-nacks—anything.”
It sits there staring: the last blank item on your most splendid statistic block. After all the feats and powers and appearance, it’s the one thing left. Gear. Gear can be tricky. Once you get beyond that powerful array of magic items and quirky armor, what else can you use to make a character stand out?
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.
“I’m not going to argue with you, cockroach, nor engage in tittle-tattle with a creature unable to beat a slug at snap or a hedgehog at cribbage. I’m referring to the thing you just put in the cupboard.”
“Oh that, ’tis nothing master, just some stray kitten I found.”
“I see, then let me have it.”
“Yes, master, here it is.”
“Kitten, you say. How odd. I thought they normally had four legs. Tell me, how would you describe this kitten of yours?”
“Unpleasing to the eye.”
“I see, and how many legs would you say it had?”
“Thirteen. Yes, I must confess, slimeslave, that I have yet to hear of any kitten with thirteen legs, pale flesh, and two heads. Not to mention the wings. You’ve been at my transmutation spellbook again haven’t you?”
“If I said yes would you punish me less for being honest master?”
Anyone can have a cuddly kitten, a funny gerbil, or pet snake. These creatures are commonplace, but what kind of animals might appear in a pet shop where a manticore is a common sight, or in a world that breeds chokers and gibbering mouthers? Such places would surely have more exotic creatures than a slobbering collie dog or a purring fat cat.
Here is a list of exotic pets, together with a brief description if necessary. These creatures can become the basis for odd familiars, or even odder animal companions, the stuff of menageries or the servings at table. Some are less exotic and more tragic, some may defy logic, and others may in fact be fake. Some are very real, yet to look at them you’d think someone would have to make them up. Have fun with all of them, and be prepared to be surprised about just which are real and which are fantasy.