The Monster Manual describes a humunculus on p188.

A homunculus is a construct that acts as an extension of its creator, with the two sharing thoughts, senses, and language through a mystical bond.

If I were to find a way to create one, could it be turned against me?

Fortunately it is immune to the charmed condition, which eliminates many threats. But is there some way control of the homunculus could be seized by someone else, and it could be caused to act in a way contrary to the control normally exerted by its creator?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Interesting question. By the way, when you say "can it be turned against me" do you mean "can it be made so angry at me that it murders me in my sleep," "can it be tricked into believing some suspicious medicine is actually sugar for my tea" or "can it pressure me into going to the dentist, even though keep telling everyone I don't need to and the pain will go away on its own eventually?" There's a big difference between choosing outright betrayal, being tricked into harming you, and doing things you don't like for your own good. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Mar 9 '16 at 23:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe - yes, any of the above! As for the dentist, regenerate seems like a better idea. \$\endgroup\$ – Jack Mar 9 '16 at 23:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jack, could you edit in some of the points from the comments by GMJoe that you consider apropos? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 10 '16 at 13:34

Not with normal means and abilities

As the question states,the homunculus shares its creator's thoughts, so it would be hard to "get between" the two with mundane persuasion, etc.

From the MM p.88, Homunculus entry, Shared Mind. ability:

A homunculus knowns everything its creator knows...Everything the construct senses is known to its master, even over great distances, provided both are on the same plane.

A shared mind and mystical bond aren't things that can easily be subverted with a little deception.

Not with common spells

Even spells like Dominate Monster don't work, as they rely on the charmed condition:

While the creature is charmed [you can] issue commands (PH)

Trickery while they are on Different Planes

Tricking it while its mentally separated from its master by being on a different plane may be possible. (A homunculus has an Intelligence and Wisdom of 10 each, so deceiving it is quite possible.) Perhaps this could most easily happen if the creator or homunculus were in a demiplane created by Rope Trick or a similar spell or magic item.

Possibly with Madness

If madness were inflicted upon the homunculus and/or its owner, the homunculus might "attack the nearest creature" or "do whatever anyone tells him or her to do that isn't obviously self-destructive" (DMG p.259, Madness Effects)

Demons can inflict other violent forms of madness, as described in Out of the Abyss.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm. Those are some things to think about. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – Jack Mar 10 '16 at 2:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that homunculi can be tricked into unknowingly acting against you by the 'normal ability' of lying, which is both common and relevant to the OP, as per a comment to that effect. That being said, pretty much any minion is vulnerable to that kind of deception. So are wizards. Basically, undetected lies are everyone's kryptonite. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Mar 10 '16 at 2:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe, I'd admit they might be tricked into doing something against your interests. (But heck, you could be tricked into doing something against your interests.) Tricking a homunculus isn't tantamount to turning it against its master. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Grant Mar 10 '16 at 2:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @timster The OP has clarified in a comment that tricking a homunculus into unwittingly harming its master does count for the purposes of this question. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Mar 10 '16 at 4:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since the homonculus and the master share thoughts, wouldn't the master immediately know the homonculus was being tricked? In that case, the homonculus would also know it is being tricked, and the plan fails. The only cases where this is possible are: when they (homonculus and master) are on separate planes, or when both the homonculus AND the master are tricked (but then, this is the same thing as simply deceiving the master and cutting out the homonculus). \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Mar 10 '16 at 14:32

As a general concept, yes.

A homunculus is a construct that acts as an extension of its creator, with the two sharing thoughts, senses, and language through a mystical bond.

A homunculus is a separate creature (a construct), which:

  • knows everything its creator knows
  • conveys everything it senses to its master (if on the same plane) - it is slightly ambiguous if this is "always on" or if the homunculus can choose when this happens
  • has a two-way telepathic link to its master

There is nothing in this that says that it is loyal to its master or will not act against its master's interests either of its own volition or because it is compelled in some way. Given the other factors of its existence, it would be difficult for it to keep this a secret from its master, however, as a great adventure idea that I just had: how about a homunculus that teamed up with a medusa to get its master petrified so that it could pursue the homunculus equivalent of a good life?

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Extension of its creator" sounds like it should contradict "separate creature". \$\endgroup\$ – Sebkha Mar 10 '16 at 1:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Per the conspiracy with the medusa, how does the homunculus keep that a secret from its master, since the two share thoughts? It doesn't, based on "the two share thoughts." A plot like that can't work if that secret can't be kept. With that thought foremost, how can creatures who share thoughts keep secrets (like intended betrayal) from one another? As soon as someone or something tries to influence the homunculus, the master will know because the two share thoughts telepathically. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 10 '16 at 13:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ "There is nothing in this that says that it is loyal to its master or will not act against its master's interests either of its own volition or because it is compelled in some way." Except for the part where it is literally an extension of its creator and is therefore completely loyal to itself (which is an extension of the creator). The only way I can see this being true is if the creator had a split-personality and some serious self-doubt, and the homonculus sided with one half over the the other. Hmm... sounds like a good adventure hook. \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Mar 10 '16 at 14:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast "sharing thoughts" is clarified to mean telepathy (communication) and using the homunculus' senses - not "it thinks what I think"; if that were the case it couldn't act independently and it clearly can. Notwithstanding, even if conspiracy is not possible, immediate open rebellion is. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Mar 10 '16 at 19:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LegendaryDude a prosthesis is an extension of its creator/user but has no loyalty. Note that the homunculus is neutral in alignment which may not match its user's alignment; apparently, being an "extension" doesn't extend to having the same moral outlook on the world. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Mar 10 '16 at 19:28

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