The Homunculus Dispenser

The Homunculus Dispenser

Erevan and Aradane were growing tired of the rude little homunculus they had discovered in the dining room of this strange complex. He seemed to know more than he was letting on but talking to him was taxing their patience and neither had any left to draw on. Erevan snapped first and struck the tiny human which helped the wizard feel better. The vile minion, now put properly in his place whispered, “I see you are a stern master mister Erevan and I won’t disappoint…” A surprising thunk sounded and one of Aradane’s four remaining arrows was sunk deep into the eye socket of the small creature, killing it instantly.

Erevan whirled around in frustration, “I had finally gotten through to the creep and you go and do that! We needed a guide to this place and that was probably our best chance.”

Aradane shrugged off the complaint. At least the foul mouthed creature wouldn’t be bothering them again and they can get on finding a way out of here or at least a storeroom of sorts. He needed some more arrows and some strong drink.

To their surprise, in walked another homunculus and in his grimy, squeaky voice spoke, “as I was saying Master Erevan, I won’t disappoint you again.”

Description

This large glass vat is 6’ in diameter and 8’ in height, barrel shaped and sits on an a sturdy three legged stand. The stand is made out of a silvery metal with identical runes carved into each of the three legs and holds the glass vat about two feet above the ground. The glass is thick, distorting somewhat the contents inside. When examined in good light, players can see, floating in a thick greenish fluid, small, odd shaped balls of flesh that resemble some (3d6) creatures curled up in the fetal position. The top of the vat is also glass and without any distinguishable seam. If the characters squeeze below the vat and look up, they will see what looks like an opening larger than any single balled up creature inside. The opening is covered with a strange thick black ooze that becomes as hard as steel when touched but appears malleable if observed for any length of time.

Usage

The homunculus (5e MM pg. 188) curled up inside are identical and exist in a dormant state. There will always be one outside the vat wandering around which the party usually encounters first. The magic of the Homunculus Dispenser maintains a link to the active homunculus and when it detects its death, revives one of the dormant copies, imbibes it with the collective conscious they all share and releases it out of the port at the bottom. The link is maintained across the entire plane.

Due to its extraordinary life cycle, the homunculus (or any creature you want to use) probably has several memories of dying and can be more easily coerced into taking risks. It however knows it is not immortal and it’s attitude may in fact swing the other way (due to numerous death experiences) as the count of spare bodies dwindles. The active homunculus may have knowledge of his bond with the device and the other hosts but never seems to give it that much thought.

The Homunculus Dispenser and associated creature was most likely the creation of a powerful wizard who himself lived in a dangerous area and grew tired of losing and retraining assistants. The homunculus would have memories of such a person in his life and may be able to provide as much or as little info as needed by the current storyline. At the least, he can describe in detail the cleaning work he did for his old master and the punishments he received when he didn’t do such a good job.

The Homunculus Dispenser can be moved although it is very heavy. If broken (AC: 18, HP: 200, vulnerable to fire and cold damage), the lifeless dormant creatures and their sticky fluid they are suspended gush out covering a 40’ square area. If that were to happen, the current living homunculus becomes the last.

If the dispensing process is observed, the party sees a balled up homunculus slip through the black ooze and land safely in the area below the vat and in between the three legs of the stand. It is covered in a thin layer of fluid. It begins to stretch. After blinking a few times, it crawls out from under the vat, stands up and begins to get back to his tasks as he sees fit.

Creation

If the DM allows, a side quest could be written and run that allows the party to collect the necessary parts to build such a device. Among that which would need collected would be a highly specialized long lost (presumably) ritual and a candidate creature. The ritual would take care of cloning the creature (3d6 again), putting the clones in a dormant state and dispensing the first to reenter the world.

DM Notes

The Homunculus Dispenser is a great way to introduce a local NPC to a dungeon, tower or keep that isn’t much affected by the usual results of such a creature being around a party that finds themselves in life or death combat every other room.

Before the discovery of the dispenser, it is usually comical watching the party trying to figure out how this little creature keeps showing up, death after death after death.

I usually make the homunculus somewhat of a rude masochist as that is likely to get him killed (by the party initially) and spring on them this strange phenomenon.

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