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One of my players, at the start of our campaign, wants to have a companion. A Homunculus to be specific. As far as I have read, only a Wizard can create the familiar which I am happy to stick with since those are the basic rules in the source books. However, my player is an Elf Warlock, meaning she herself cannot complete the ritual to create the creature.

I was wondering if it was plausible to have (When she was a child) the Wizard bestowed the gift upon the Lady of the Elves. My theory after reading the process of creating a Homunculus is that as long as it is the blood of the master - the Elf - used in the ritual, the familiar will imprint on them, rather than the one speaking the spell.

Is this a plausible creation of a Familiar?

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    \$\begingroup\$ You've tagged this with 2 different editions - which one are you playing? \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 12:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ We are doing a mixture of both. Mostly Fourth Edition but using a few encounters of a Fifth Edition nature. I wasn't sure if certain rules on the Familiars changed between the Editions. \$\endgroup\$
    – sophie
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 12:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ They did, extensively. If 4e is your base system, I would suggest using that tag only. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 12:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just a warning... Homunculi (as per 3.5E and 5E) are incredibly useful. Giving her one is a significant boost to her utility. rpg.stackexchange.com/a/111909/16358 AFAIK, they weren't really a thing in 4E... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 13:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ It may sound evil but she is new to the game and I am not sure she would utilize the Homunculus to its full capability. So despite it being pretty OP for history checks or spying, I feel like she may only use it for scouting ahead. I think as time goes on, she may 'teach' the Homunculus how to do more of what it is noted to be able to do but for now, I think she just wants a companion so that she can stay back a little from the dangers. \$\endgroup\$
    – sophie
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 13:09

2 Answers 2

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Do note that the 'Homunculus' you seem to be referring to is the D&D 3.5E or 5E homunculus. That particular form of Homunculus does not exist in the 4E ruleset.

So, to start off looking at the Homunculus you're talking about...

RAW

Wizards are the only ones who can create homunculi because they are the only ones who use magic in the 'right way' to be able to perform the ritual. As mentioned by you, this does not necessarily explicitly prohibit them from using someone else's blood in the ritual.

As Intended

Almost certainly 'No.' If a Wizard could make Homunculi for others....well....they aren't all that expensive to make. Why wouldn't a Wizard make a homunculus for absolutely everyone in the party?

Solution

Ultimately, this is your table. The DM adjudicates the rules and has full leeway to interpret them, ignore them, or add to them however they feel is necessary for the betterment of the game. If you want to say that a Powerful Wizard discovered an advanced form of the ritual that allows him to bequeath the creation on someone else by using their blood, and that he did so to gift such a creature to your player's character, then you can. You're the DM.

Since you are using the 4E ruleset, might I point you to the Arcane Familiar feat? This is the 4E way of getting a familiar, and is allowed to any Arcane Class, of which a Warlock certainly is one. All you have to do is take one of the options for familiars, reskin it into a Homunculus, and voila. Then you just make up some fluff about a Wizard, and you have a nice balanced addition.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for reskinning; this is such a great tool for supporting player/GM creativity. \$\endgroup\$
    – G_B
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 14:12
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5e Homunculus? Without houserules? No.

Answering for 5e, because that's the place where we actually have a homunculus to begin with.

There are actually a number of things preventing this. First, creation of a homunculus requires a 6th-level non-ritual spell, and the result is specifically stated as being connected to the caster. As such, RAW, it's simply not available in the normal way to people who can't cast 6th-level wizard spells. You could, of course, get around this with a Wish, or by temporarily True Polymorphing into a creature that was itself capable of casting 6th-level wizard spells (if there is such a creature). You could also reasonably houserule that there's a higher-level version that might be ritual-casted and/or shared (perhaps at greater expense), which would allow Pact of the Book, the right feat, or large amounts of money and the right friend to do it for you.

...but that all brings in the point that any of these answers, if taken reasonably, would be hugely expensive. 1st-level characters simply don't have what it takes to afford a 6th-level spell, let alone a full-on Wish. The homunculus is basically an always-on scry, and is costed accordingly. If you want to let your player have this, you can probably do it without breaking the game entirely, but it's a heck of a gift, and may well wind up handing this character focus at the expense of the other players.

On the other hand, as a warlock, both Pact of the Chain (awesome familiar) and Pact of the Book (can enable general ritual casting, including standard find familiar) are available from relatively early on. You could even "loan" them said familiar for the first few levels if the backstory demanded it, without too much disruption (...though probably best to limit it to the standard familiar. Otherwise, the level you get Pact of the Chain starts looking pretty lean.) The player can have an awesome magic pet and still be a warlock. It just can't be a homunculus

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