Your Whispering Homunculus (PFRPG)

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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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***** (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.


1 to 50 of 121 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

Oh, is this a compilation of Pett-articles from Kq or are these brand new ones?

The Exchange Kobold Press

Yes to both. :)


I've been wondering this for a while.


RRRRRR. Count me in, Kobold in chief! I'll preorder this along the Zobeck Gazetteer asap...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

YWH is the best thing on KQ.com, definitley intrigued.

Dark Archive

Sounds cool.

Liberty's Edge

Too bad there's no cover image ... ;)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Heck yea! Definitely a must buy.

Contributor

If enough of you preorder it, Wolfgang has promised me he'll stop feeding me slugs and start giving me food.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Richard Pett wrote:
If enough of you preorder it, Wolfgang has promised me he'll stop feeding me slugs and start giving me food.

Well now I can't preorder it. :)

Contributor

No, sorry, I had that the wrong way round:)


I'm a definite buy for this book. Used some Homonculus goodness last night to add a lot of character to an underdark floating magic item market. . . And one of my players spent 10,000 gp on a somewhat buggy headband of charisma. . . another Pett creation . . .

Liberty's Edge

Yeah, those Your Whispering Homunculus articles are just LOADED with great stuff! Having them all together, along with some new ones ta boot, is going to be awesome!

Can't wait :)

Dark Archive RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Most killer news!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

That cover is golden.

Contributor

I love that cover too, huzzah!


What is it?

Contributor

Denim N Leather wrote:
What is it?

What is it as in what's the product? A compilation of all the your whispering humunuculus articles and new ones, as well as one or two surprises.

If you've not seen any of the articles before go here and have a butchers.

Huzzah!


YWH is my favorite column on KQ, but that's the fanboy speaking - we need more Pett! This will be plain awesome!


Richard Pett wrote:
Denim N Leather wrote:
What is it?

What is it as in what's the product? A compilation of all the your whispering humunuculus articles and new ones, as well as one or two surprises.

If you've not seen any of the articles before go here and have a butchers.

Huzzah!

Ah, thanks. Didn't know it was a KQ article.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

What is the San loss in C of C rules for reading this?

I'd test it on myself, but I have 3 points of sanity, so I wouldn't be a very good test subject.


That is a fun cover! Which one is Rich?

Contributor

Spanky the Leprechaun wrote:

What is the San loss in C of C rules for reading this?

I'd test it on myself, but I have 3 points of sanity, so I wouldn't be a very good test subject.

You'll be fine, you have a 10% chance of surviving the d20 roll Spanky, good luck.

Mnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnar

Contributor

Ask a Shoanti wrote:
That is a fun cover! Which one is Rich?

I can see I'm going to have to start issuing the punishments again. Memories are so, so short.

Swish swish

Contributor

Please buy it or the baby unicorns start to die, one by one...


You're sayin' me buying this keeps baby unicorns alive? Damn it, now I have to rethink... ;)

Contributor

No, hang on, I had that the wrong way round. It should be please buy it and the baby unicorns start to die, one by one.

Liberty's Edge

How about ... buy it because it is an AMAZING book :)

The interesting plot hooks and great ideas contained within are just awesome! It's a treasure-trove for GMs. Honestly, each new page is just so much fun to read!

Did I mention you should buy this book?


I've been having the OBS-coupon for a while, but who an say no to dying unicorns? Purchased in print. ^^ (And yeah, I did plan to buy this ever since it was announced.)

The Exchange Kobold Press

Hurray! It is here.

All the new creatures, twisted ideas, and extras from Michael Kortes and Greg Vaughan really give the collection some added.... Warpage? Derangement? Not sure what the right word is here.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Totally looking forward to this one.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Wolfgang Baur wrote:

All the new creatures, twisted ideas, and extras from Michael Kortes and Greg Vaughan really give the collection some added.... Warpage? Derangement? Not sure what the right word is here.

Hmmm....tell me more of this "war page" that you speak of. I think that sounds promising.


Genghis Vaughan wrote:
Wolfgang Baur wrote:

All the new creatures, twisted ideas, and extras from Michael Kortes and Greg Vaughan really give the collection some added.... Warpage? Derangement? Not sure what the right word is here.

Hmmm....tell me more of this "war page" that you speak of. I think that sounds promising.

You too, huh?

Contributor

PDF and Print/PDF bundle now available. :)

The Exchange Kobold Press

Thank you, Liz!

I look forward to perhaps getting this one autographed by Sir Richard Pett in the not too distant future.


So he did get knighted for writing The Skinsaw Murders? Sweeeeet.
Did he get to meet Pippa? I like ole' Pippa now.

Contributor

Huzzah!

I don't know how he escaped Wolfgang, it must have been him in the fez, but so many people in the Derbyshire Hills wear fezes these days.

Mnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnaar

Dark Archive

Damn, I have to get this one. Just let me have a look at my gaming funds...

The Exchange Kobold Press

@Spanky, I think Her Britannic Majesty especially enjoyed the ogres in Skinsaw, but I can't be sure.

@golem101, yeah, this one is a keeper.

@Richard, your author copies are currently being seized by UK Customs and Inland Revenue.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Just placed my order for this. I'm a big fan of Rich's work and after being able to converse with him a bit on Zombie Sky Press's "It Came from the Stars" patron project, I'm glad to learn that he's also a really nice guy. I mean, he's still a demented, baby unicorn killing guy, but if can get past that, he's a good guy.


Isn't baby unicorn meat a delicacy? I think it's supposed to be accompanied by red wine, right?

I've also heard unicorn meat well-done goes well with Jager, but I don't think that was baby unicorn specifically.

Contributor

Baby unicorn goes very well with shiraz:) And thank you kindly, I hope it'll grace your GM shelf for years to come.

Those lovely people at Roleplayers Chronicle have written a review so I've set them free.

Slithers back to sharpen some more knives...


I'm currently preparing my review and haven't yet gotten my hard copy, but I hope a certain glitch is absent from the copy: There are a lot of blank pages in the pdf.

To be precise, pages 31, 35, 41, 51, 63, 77, 81, 87, 93, 111, 115, 121, 129, 151, 157 and 163 are blank, which looks somewhat bad and isn't particularly printer-friendly. Hope these get changed!

Cheers!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sounds like the censor got to it ...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Wolfgang Baur wrote:

@Spanky, I think Her Britannic Majesty especially enjoyed the ogres in Skinsaw, but I can't be sure.

Fantastic, I can just picture dear Lizzie and the fam cracking out the dice and character sheets for an evening of Pathfinder up at the palace.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is an awesome book for any GM looking to inject life (and some humor) into their games.
I believe it is best suited for GM's who design/run custom world settings, but there's treasures to be had for the pure canon judges as well!

I'm also looking forward to having my copy signed in July.
(might have to p/u a second copy-this one is going to get some use)

Liberty's Edge

Endzeitgeist wrote:

I'm currently preparing my review and haven't yet gotten my hard copy, but I hope a certain glitch is absent from the copy: There are a lot of blank pages in the pdf.

To be precise, pages 31, 35, 41, 51, 63, 77, 81, 87, 93, 111, 115, 121, 129, 151, 157 and 163 are blank, which looks somewhat bad and isn't particularly printer-friendly. Hope these get changed!

Cheers!

Regarding those blank pages ... it's definitely not a glitch :)

In chapter books like this, you want new chapters to start on a right-hand page. It's the place the eye naturally falls first when turning pages in a book. Sometimes that results in an occasional blank left-hand page (or more accurately, a blank side of a left-hand page) directly preceding a new chapter. It's actually pretty common in book publishing.

The pagination of the PDF just matches the printed book.

Make sense? :)

The Exchange Kobold Press

Curn_Bounder, thank you for the review!

Curn_Bounder wrote:

it is everything I could have hoped for. A quality print product, well laid out, easy to reference.

The content? Brilliant.

Contributor

I shall of course, be sending Her Majesty a copy:)

It made me very happy to see the homunculus rise up into the Paizo top ten best sellers, please do keep up the support so Wolfgang will supply me with more kittens and baby unicorns.

For those who aren't familiar with the homunculus, it tries to put a 'what!' moment in a GM's adventures, gives a sideways look at rules and generally tries to put the cat amongst the pigeons, giving a twisted look at gaming.

Here's a small snippet of one of the more recent editions, the first 20 of 100 endings to conversations to give you an idea:

Paranoia is a strange thing.

Gather Information checks are not only useful, but they can be fun. As well as the usual gathering of useful knowledge and tidbits of information, when your players fail their checks, you might have them gather misinformation and nonsense. Having the odd red herring and local topic of conversation can, as we have discussed before, also help to establish reality in a setting or maybe throw an adventure in a totally new and unexpected direction.

In urban settings and places such as taverns, temples, and markets, Perception checks can be useful to overhear local gossip, but they won’t always succeed. Perhaps the PC stalking the swarthy green merchant does not hear him talking to his accomplices, but overhears Reg and Torrid the local pig-breeders having a tiff or exchanging tittle-tattle.

Here’s a list of one-liners and snippets to throw at your players when they make erroneous checks in such situations, when they pass locals engaged in conversation, or when they interrupt a conversation to ask questions. These indicate the end of conversations. How that conversation began is left to you.

1. “…says all the strangers are cursed and don’t know it.”

2. “…with a dead eel.”

3. “…it’s the same sword that last hero had with him—the cursed one that stabbed him whilst he slept.”

4. “…also with fur.”

5. “…not wearing anything except his fez.”

6. “…I don’t think they know.”

7. “…is she the one?”

8. “…six kobolds, an owlbear, and a mated pair of squid.”

9. “…buried in the old meadow with his valuables.”

10. “…and a pound of pilchards.”

11. “…Xontor, the Lord of Endlessly Devouring Chaos.”

12. “…watch out, here they are now.”

13. “…heard they’re going to be dead by morning.”

14. “…the ugly one is standing right behind you.”

15. “…I’m not sure they make them that large.”

16. “…I think he’s listening.”

17. “…so that’s what he said he’d heard about the strangers.”

18. “…the one with the bad breath.”

19. “…giants will be here by morning.”

20. “…they have it with them.”

If it makes the top 5 Wolfgang has promised me a baby flumph to torment - huzzah!

Rich


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Darn you, Pett! I was trying to hold off on this one as I'm going to be taking a hiatus from running for a few months (and taking on the rare role of Player!), but you've forced my hand!

*Add Print/PDF Bundle to cart*...

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