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2016-12-25, 07:55 PM (ISO 8601)
- Join Date
- Dec 2016
Player Race: Greater Homunculus (PEACH)
Alright, here we go! This is a homebrew player race that's fairly strong for an LA+0 but gives the DM a lot of fun tools to work with. The intention is for it to grant strong buffs to relevant attributes in exchange for challenging roleplay problems.
Spoiler: Quick guide for DMs
The Greater Homunculus is a race with solid stat buffs for melee characters at the "cost" of a wisdom penalty that is partly negated by one of its class features. The catch? A single designated creature (That you, as the GM, ultimately get to decide) gets what basically amounts to a free irresistible Dominate Person at-will on the GH. If the idea of being able to give a particular player secret orders they have to follow gets both of your minds churning with possibilities, you will be in for a very good time. I highly recommend working alongside the player of a Greater Homunculus as you set up their backstory in order to establish interesting scenarios. An obvious example is a good-aligned GH with a good-aligned party but an evil master, but there's a lot of possibilities. Hypothetically, a Greater Homunculus could lose its old master and drop its new Control Orb somewhere, leaving an entirely unknown individual to pick it up...
Alternatively, your player might just like the fluff of the class and appreciates the racial abilities to boot. That's fine too! The Greater Homunculus is strong, but it doesn't have any game-breaking powers: just some good stat mods, poison/disease immunity, and about half a mind blank. It doesn't grant as many immunities as a Warforged or the incredible flexibility of a human's juicy bonus feat. If you and your player don't want to bother with having an important NPC be the Greater Homunculus' master, it's not going to ruin your game balance to have some nobody NPC order the Greater Homunculus to go grab the Plot Important Artifact that you wanted the party to get anyway and never deal with them again.
The third major option is to have a fellow player character be the Greater Homunculus' master. Use your better judgement with this one. If a Greater Homunculus' current master ever dies, they start to produce Control Orbs until someone finally touches one and becomes the new master. In an adventuring party, the people around the Greater Homunculus are going to be in prime spots to snag that orb. If you know one of your players would abuse that power to make the game less fun for the Greater Homunculus player... well, they sound like a jerk, so maybe you should stop playing with them, but if not keeping the Greater Homunculus' current master alive will prevent that situation. Also, letting another player be the master of the Greater Homunculus removes your ability to order the player with an NPC from your bag of tricks, which might not be what you want. A quest to "liberate" a Greater Homunculus PC from its NPC master is a potentially awesome sidequest though.
Basically, a Greater Homunculus is a flavorful chassis that should give you some interesting story options and your player some nice stats. I hope you both enjoy!
Busy men strive for efficiency. It is to this end that the Homunculus was first created: a pseudo-living tool designed to follow commands and assist its creator in whatever tasks they required of it. For many, this was enough. But for the eccentric, the ambitious, or the insane, they needed more. They sought not just a mindless helper, but a form of true artificial life. To achieve this goal, they created the Greater Homunculus.
The Greater Homunculus is a humanoid mass of flesh given a soul by pure arcane might and bound inexorably to a master. Though mostly free-thinking, their intelligence exists mainly to improve their ability to serve as slaves. Greater Homunculi carry out complex tasks with the strength, intelligence, and cleverness of a "real" person, but without the liability of ever being able to turn against their master.
Greater Homunculi can be male, female, or entirely sexless.
The exact nature of a Greater Homunculus' appearance can be decided by the player; perhaps it looks entirely human but with a subtle, duller than normal skin color, or perhaps it looks more like a stitched-up flesh golem than a real person. (Generally speaking, a Greater Homunculus with a higher Charisma score should look less monstrous, while a Greater Homunculus with a low Charisma score should appear more monstrous, but this is not a rule.) A Greater Homunculus is usually created with the intention of appearing as a member of a different species. At character creation, a player may designate a different race that the Greater Homunculus is impersonating. This decision cannot be changed later. If they do so, the Greater Homunculus shares superficial features with normal members of that race and gains a +4 bonus to disguise checks when attempting to pass as a member of that race. A spot check opposed to the Greater Homunculus' disguise check can identify that a Greater Homunculus is not a real member of the race they are impersonating. If that check is passed, a DC 20 Knowledge (Arcana) check can then identify them as a Greater Homunculus specifically.
Making a Greater Homunculus is generally considered an evil, unnatural act. The creation of a soul with the explicit intention of binding it to a lifetime of slavery is not looked fondly on by the majority of good creatures, though they do not necessarily hold this against the Greater Homunculus. Even still, Greater Homunculi tend to make most races uncomfortable. Druids often consider Greater Homunculi abominations of nature, having obtained their souls through arcane manufacturing instead of natural means. Clerics can often be similarly put out by the idea that mankind can create souls, an act traditionally reserved for gods, but this depends largely on the Cleric's exact beliefs.
Greater Homunculi are born True Neutral, popping into existence only with enough knowledge to understand their master's orders. Over time, they generally form a worldview matching their master's (usually Evil) as they find satisfaction in pleasing them. While Greater Homunculi that live with their masters can form a different alignment, it is more common when they are given orders that send them into the world and away from their master for extended periods of time.
Greater Homunculi are rarely religious. If a Greater Homunculus' master worships a deity that does frown on the creation of Greater Homunculi, the Greater Homunculi may pick up that religion as well. However, since most creators of Greater Homunculi consider them to be lesser creatures, few expect their Greater Homunculi to have spiritual leanings.
Medium sized (5ft/5ft space/reach)
Base land speed: 30ft
(Small Variant: A Greater Homunculus based on a smaller creature's appearance could instead choose to be small sized with a base land speed of 20ft.)
Greater Homunculi are built tough, but their upbringing as slaves leaves them foolish and impressionable.
Thrall to a Master: A Greater Homunculus is created to serve, and must live its life under the rule of some other living creature. When a Greater Homunculus is made, a fleshy blob called a Control Orb is made with it. The Control Orb permanently bonds with the flesh of the first viable creature that comes in contact with it (usually the Greater Homunculus' creator), merging into their body. The control orb is harmless and causes no visible physical changes, but bonding with it can still be resisted by a DC 14 Fortitude save. A creature cannot be bonded with unless it is alive, possesses an intelligence score of at least 8, is capable of speaking at least one language, and is not a Greater Homunculus. Once a Control Orb bonds with a creature, that creature is the Greater Homunculus' master. That creature remains the Greater Homunculus' master until they die, or until a wish spell, miracle spell, or similar effect is cast specifically to remove the effect. A master that dies and is resurrected has ceased to be the Greater Homunculus' master, and they do not automatically regain control of the Greater Homunculus. If a Greater Homunculus' bond with its master is ended, the Greater Homunculus produces a new Control Orb 1d4 days later. Control Orbs survive unbonded for 24 hours, at which point they melt into a useless puddle of flesh. The Greater Homunculus then automatically produces a new Control Orb between one and twelve hours later. This process repeats until a new master is bonded to the Greater Homunculus. If a Greater Homunculus goes more than twelve days without a master, it becomes fatigued. After 24 days without a master, the Greater Homunculus becomes exhausted instead. Both of these effects can only be ended by bonding with a master. The player and the dungeon master must work out beforehand if the player of a Greater Homunculus starts with a master or an unused Control Orb. Note: Dungeon Masters should be very careful when allowing players to designate other players as their masters.
A Greater Homunculus' bond with its master is a supernatural ability that causes the following effects:
- A Greater Homunculus always regards its master with undying affection (Fanatic attitude, see the epic Perform skill) and gives them complete trust. A Greater Homunculus is incapable of judging their master negatively, even if their master performs actions diametrically opposed to the Greater Homunculus' nature or alignment. Instead, the Greater Homunculus is forced to justify their master's actions in some way. (A Greater Homunculus that loses its master is released from this effect and is able to retroactively realize its master's flaws, but whether or not they do so depends on their and their master's personality.)
- A Greater Homunculus must always follow all commands given by their master to the best of their ability to do so. The Greater Homunculus follows commands given by their master exactly as they are given, and interprets unclear orders as best as they understand their master's intent. A Greater Homunculus cannot abuse unclear orders to perform actions they know their master would not approve of; only genuine misunderstandings can enable a Greater Homunculus to act against its master's wishes. Newer orders always supercede older orders. As such, it is not possible for a master to order a Greater Homunculus to not follow future orders. If a Greater Homunculus' master gives no orders, the Greater Homunculus will act out what it believes to be its master's desires and needs to the best of its ability. A Greater Homunculus cannot purposefully cause its master harm in any way unless specifically ordered to do so by its master. Orders can be given to a Greater Homunculus in any way so long as the Greater Homunculus recognises the order and recognises its master as the sender of the order- verbal commands, sending spells, or written orders with some clear code or signature that allows the Greater Homunculus to verify its master as the sender all function as viable methods to give orders.
- The Greater Homunculus' bond with its master allows it to automatically recognise whether someone is or is not its master. The Greater Homunculus automatically succeeds any checks made to determine if something or someone is or isn't its master. Anyone other than their master who tries to give the Greater Homunculus an order by impersonating its master automatically fails to convince the Greater Homunculus that they are its master. However, other than knowing "that is my master" or "that is not my master," a Greater Homunculus gains no other special insight with this feature. (For example, the Greater Homunculus doesn't have inherent knowledge on their master's current location or appearance if the Greater Homunculus is not currently looking at them.)
- The Greater Homunculus' master has supreme control over the Greater Homunculus and supersedes any other attempt to direct it. The Greater Homunculus has immunity to all mind-affecting abilities that would command, coerce, charm, stun, paralyze, or otherwise attempt to change how the Greater Homunculus chooses to use its actions, unless the source of that effect is the Greater Homunculus' master.
Unnatural Body: The Greater Homunculus is immune to poisons and diseases.
Favored Class: Any one. Greater Homunculi are made for many different reasons and purposes; some Wizards enjoy the idea of an apprentice that won't talk back, others desire an intelligent lab assistant that won't accidentally poison itself, and yet others simply want a slab of meat to stand between themselves and harm's way. At first level, the player picks one base class to be the Greater Homunculus' favored class. The chosen class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing. This decision cannot be changed once made.
Last edited by Thundamoo; 2016-12-25 at 08:48 PM.To leave somewhere better than when you found it... that's a pretty good goal, to start with.
2016-12-25, 09:20 PM (ISO 8601)
- Join Date
- May 2013
Re: Player Race: Greater Homunculus (PEACH)
Give rules for making them and at least one way to remove the Control Orb thing and then we'll talk gameplay balance.
As for stories, you can have the interesting storyline of the party going after the current master of the Greater Homunculus for beginning the campaign, with the constant act of duping the Greater Homunculus into helping them out with this. Once that backstory campaign part is done, you get to work on more normal campaigns, with a persistent side quest to remove the control orb functionality.