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Your Whispering Homunculus (PFRPG)

***** (based on 4 ratings)
OPDYWT

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Richard Pett’s Your Whispering Homunculus is the GM’s humble servant and guide to the vile, whimsical, disgusting, bizarre, horrific, odd, skin-crawling, and mildly disturbed side of fantasy gaming.

Your Whispering Homunculus provides wonderfully lunatic ideas and encounters to keep your players on their toes‚along with tips on how to make ordinary creatures and locations truly memorable.

Within its 150+ pages of essays, lists, and random tables, the homunculus whispers of:

  • Unsettling Moments and Strange Entertainments
  • Pointless Objects and Mangled Monsters
  • Trog-Kin and Troll-Touched
  • Daft Bets and Dismaying Delicacies
  • The Curious Contents of Dungeon Toilets
  • And so much more...

Buy it today and get your very own Whispering Homunculus!

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Product Reviews (4)

Average product rating:

***** (based on 4 ratings)

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Most valuable game aid yet

*****

One of the best web columns I’ve ever encountered is Richard Pett’s “Your Whispering Homunculus” on the Kobold Quarterly website. Up until now it has had only one drawback: Being a web column, it is darn hard to keep track of the individual articles. That problem has now been solved. Herein nearly three dozen articles have been assembled, so I can have them all in one place at last.

Why is “Whispering Homunculus” so valuable to me? Because it is a shortcut to adding a rich, verdant third dimension to my campaign world. Do you remember that section of the 1E Dungeon Master’s Guide called “Dungeon Dressing”? It was a long list of random stuff, odds and ends that could be expected to litter the floors of a dungeon. Instead of empty rooms being sterile, barren, and uninteresting, a bit of leftover flotsam and jetsam gave a sense that the room had history. It added depth and interest to the corners of the dungeon.

“Your Whispering Homunculus” does exactly the same thing, not just for a paltry few dungeon rooms but for the whole game world! In a well-written novel, not every character is concerned with the success or failure of the protagonist, and not ever bump in the road is a clue to solving the mystery. These lists give you, the Game Master, hundreds of wonderfully diverse ways to round out your world just like a well-written novel.

Of course, these lists contain more than just ways to dress up the corners of your campaign world. They also contain things that can be used to consternate your players. Especially if any of your players are particularly paranoid. Naturally, those are among my favorite items.

The articles collected herein are:
* Twenty Daft Bets and Dares
* Fifty Topics of Conversation
* Thirty Unsettling Moments, Asides for the Worrisome
* Fifty Passersby
* Fifty Strange Entertainments
* Twenty Quick Village Legends
* Twenty Strange Days and Festivals
* One Hundred Curious Emporiums
* Twenty Malfunctioning or Disappointing Magics
* One Hundred Pointless Objects
* Twenty Holy Days
* Fifty Local Delicacies
* Random Topics of Local Conversation
* Fifty Strange Treasures
* A Plethora of D12 Tables
* It Came from the . . . Toilet?
* One Hundred Goblin Features
* Twenty Humanoid Treasures
* A Strange Night Out - Twenty Curious Characters
* The Homunculus and Its Master
* At the Horse Fair
* For One Night Only - Heavy Rain and Wind in Urban Environs
* When You’re Alone, You’re Alone
* For One Night Only - Troll-Touched
* The Admirable and Seldom Encountered Art of Dwarven Infused Ale
* For One Night Only - Heavy Snow in Urban Environs
* Mangled Monsters
* The Undiscovered Bestiary: Ankhegs
* Man’s Best Friend
* The Undiscovered Bestiary: Basilisks
* Malignant Magic
* Adventure Seeds
* For One Night Only - Trog-Kin
* Random Encounters with a Twist

Sadly, nothing is perfect. One of the articles has a typo (it’s “ewe”, not “yew”). Also, there are some mysteriously blank pages. (I have the .pdf version, not the print version.) Don’t worry, nothing is missing; no information has been omitted. Looking at the page numbers I’m guessing that it was done so each article/chapter would start on the left-hand page in the print version. That’s fine, but it looks odd in a .pdf document. Despite the superfluous blank pages, the material presented here is grand.

This is certainly one of the most valuable game aids published in recent years – maybe even recent decades. I am already yearning for “Your Whispering Homunculus, volume II”.


4.5 stars - excellent GM-aid with some rough edges regarding organization

****( )

This pdf is 169 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 2 pages ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 162 pages of content, so let's check this out!

"Your whispering Homunculus", or YWH, for convenience's sake, is a column in KQ written by Richard Pett, one of the undisputed masters of creepy adventures and perhaps one of the greatest adventure writers of our current generation. But what exactly do these columns cover? Details. Any DM worth his salt is aware that details go a LONG way to making a given setting immersive and believable and YWH provides exactly that, in spades. Being a collection of articles with added new material, the articles herein run the gamut of crunchy to being primarily fluff-concerned and cover quite an interesting breadth of topics - and interesting may mean hazardous and at the same time amusing: the first article features 20 dumb bets - which include swallowing coals, balancing axes handle down on your chin or eating raw potatoes. If you ever needed to drive home that the commoners around here aren't the brightest lights in the sky, this will be a godsend. Of course, once the PCs have succeeded in besting a local, their gathering information endeavors may be thwarted by something different - like 50 topics of conversation that may be used as hooks to create your own adventures, red herrings, or just spicy fluff. Later in the book, we also get a neat little local-topic-of-conversation generator.

Horror is hard to pull off, as are weird moments and thus, 30 weird moments are provided for your convenience that range from creepy singing children to strange occurrences and mass hysteria, which could be easily tied to the 20 new village legends.
Of course, not only occurrences can serve as fluff - 50 characters passing by and 50 weird circus/freak-show-style performances are also included in this book. Of course, the PC may also spend their coin in 100 strange new shops and emporiums and potentially purchase 100 new pointless objects that may very well serve as either red herrings or adventure hooks at your discretion or one of 50 strange treasures (which come with GP-values). If the PCs buy one of the magic items for sale, they should beware - while not cursed, there are 20 malfunctioning magic items which add a bit of spice and unpredictability to the world and magic - which is always good. Predictable magic disenchants me.
After having had a magical mishap, the PCs may want to dine and 50 local delicacies can add a certain twist to the local menus, perhaps being available only on one of the new 20 local holy days also contained herein. Perhaps they are trying to sell one of the 20 humanoid treasures or even forget about one of the 27 strange things they could encounter in the sewers. And should they go out at night, they might e.g. meet Tarb Rustwind, who is convinced the PCs are haunted by an invisible demonic pig named Sabdyne - and he's only one of 20 strange fellows!

Friends of our often neglected d12 will rejoice, for there are a lot of neat "dozen" tables - from barkeeps to insides of pit traps, weather changes, starting disposition modifiers in conversations, minor afflictions, battle-scars on monsters, watch captains, goblin chiefs, unusual rooms (e.g. a sludgery...) and village squares provide quite some food for our poor d12 to be used. Oh, and if your PCs are in the city, be sure to make sure of the new 12 consequences of bad rain and 10 instances of bad snow in the city! And if afore-mentioned goblin chiefs need some servants - there are 100 goblin features make them distinctive!
If you want the PCs to go to the horse fair (perhaps due to owning 4WFG'S "Phantasia Zoologica" or NNW's "Steeds and Stallions", a sample one, including a race, is provided, as is an article on (un-)common breeds of dogs and advice on how to freak out players and play to their sense when their PCs are alone, but they obviously aren't.
There is also an article that uses the troll-touched template to introduce us to a variation on the concept of adaption/degeneration. More on the appetizing side is the new feat and 20 sample ales that add magical effects to dwarven ale.
I already mentioned monster scars, but in this book, we also get mechanical rules for monsters that have actually been mangled - from disfigured nymphs to hydra-stumps to an extremely cool mini-bestiary on one of my favorite critters Ankhegs! I'm not sure whether it should be worrying, but this section contains content I have also used in my campaign with variants prior to reading this. Pett is in my mind! AHHHHHH.....Oo The Bestiaries also have a section on variant Basilisks and the trog-kin template.
A short article explains a subschool of malignant magic, variants of regular spells that impose a toll on their casters but are also more effective than their regular versions - I would pay for a malignant treatment of ALL spells in the Core/APG/UM/UC, as they make for a great take on magic that is inherently...taxing and potentially corrupt.

Random encounters and adventure seeds also get the patented Pett-advice on increasing their details and potential creepiness-factor. And have I mentioned the stats for the master, his homunculus and the homunculus's familiar stirge?

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the standard-paperback one-column standard and artworks, where applicable, are stock. While the print version is nice, there is something jarring in the pdf: Pages 31, 35, 41, 51, 63, 77, 81, 87, 93, 111, 115, 121, 129, 151, 157, 163 are empty in the pdf. While I get that you want new chapters to start on the left when holding a physical copy, I found the blank pages to be irritating in the pdf - if you print out the book, you'll have a lot of blank pages. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks. What can I say about a book that compiles perhaps one of my favorite series of articles from one of my favorite authors? The content is top-notch. Unfortunately, the organization of the content is not flawless - why e.g. not put the variant monster-entries back to back, the templates back to back, the random weather entries back to back etc.? Organizing the book according to themes would have made it much more user-friendly. Instead, the book opts to present the articles as they've been written. While ok, this makes the feeling of the overall book rather disjointed and potentially harder to navigate than necessary. Don't get me wrong, I think ANY GM can benefit greatly from the lecture of this book - it's a smart, cool set of tools to enrich your game with details, details, details and even some cool rules here and there. However, I also think that the organizational decision and lacking structure hurt the book and that the blank pages in the pdf are unnecessary at best and potentially very irritating at worst. Thus, while I want to give this book the full blown 5 stars plus seal of approval, I just can't. Instead, I'll settle for a verdict of 4.5 stars for the print version (in which the blank pages make sense) and a verdict of 4 stars for the pdf due to them making no sense there and the lack of organization of the articles. Still: Go ahead and check this out! Chances are you'll gibber with glee!

Endzeitgeist out.


One of the best GMing aids I've ever seen.

*****

There always seem to be a plethora of GM advice products in the market. This may well be the best of them. Between the monster variants, the clever little touches like random passerbys and the rumor mill, and the high strangeness of things like the goblin behavior quirk chart, there's enough in here to spice up any campaign. Add in the fun of the overarching homunculus arc, and you've got some fun stuff. I recommend it to any GM that wants to spruce up his campaign with fun character/ NPC interactions, new threats, and the like. Excellent product.


A Fun Read and a Brilliant Muse

*****

Got my hard copy in the mail today, and it is everything I could have hoped for. A quality print product, well laid out, easy to reference.

The content? Brilliant. I've read YWH since the first post on the KQ blog, so much of this was not new to me (though some of it is). Every entry is not only useful flavor, but has some great mechanics for putting into a game. It also has the stats for both the Master and the Homunculus.

Get it . . . now.




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