“This the east wing. We’re going to have all this knocked through.”
“Impressive, potential master, very impressive.”
“So tell me again, er—possible slave, who have you familiared for before?”
“Ooo, many great masters: Dolus the Magenta, Whitly the Tarish Orange, and Murky son of Murky—to name but three.”
“I see, I see, and do you mind awfully if I ask—just what exactly are you?”
“Well I’m a type of homunculus made up of fish parts, pigs bits, and the greater portions of a gargoyle. But my former master simply called me Bruce. Tell me, potential master, if I may ask, what is in that beer bottle on top of the housekeeper’s cabinet?”
“That? Oh nothing. Just part of the furniture—an old familiar I discarded some time ago, Bruce.”
Let’s face it. We’re all surrounded by furniture, and yet, in general, it plays only a tertiary background role in adventures; furnishings, if you will. This seems to be an opportunity missed; it’s all very well having collections of dormice, trays of carefully catalogued stirge proboscis, and an unrivalled collection of flies, but where is it all housed? What does Zandooor the Magenta sit upon when he breakfasts? Does he spend his hours locked away in a strange cupboard or lost in a warehouse-sized study that would make the busiest antique shop look shabby?
“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.