Homunculi are a race of alchemically created humanoids with green veins flowing with caustic chemicals and acids.
Green veins are required on all exposed areas of skin.
Homunculi have no specific attire but are commonly observed in whatever is most befitting of their assigned task. If they are not dressed by profession, they are commonly seen wearing the garb of Sardia and Nastal, the shards from which Homunculi most often hail.
Homunculi that have escaped slavery are typically seen with a black "86" brand on the back of their hand and take great care to cover it around others.
A Homunculi life is based around it's purpose of being or "commission", the commission being the creator's purpose. These commissions are varied ranging soldier, farmer, builder, etc.
Typically homunculi are used for types of remedial labor and commonly as cannon fodder soldiers in conflicts.
The quality of a Homunculi influences many aspects of their life such as social standing and life expectancy. A low-end, poorly produced Homunculi will never obtain wealth, earn respect, or be able to achieve good health.
Newly produced Homunculi are blank slates ready to be given purpose upon first waking. Throughout their lives most are denied basic education and lead a naive existence; however, they are not inherently unintelligent.
Even though they are made in the image of humans they are infertile and thus do not have much stock in traditional family values. Since they cannot pass on possessions to offspring wealth is usually gain and dies with the individual either producing a very generous or very greedy personality.
With the diminished life spans of homunculi comes a level of apathy for thing that don't concern them in the immediate future.
Homunculi are quite a recent addition to the shards with the first documented sighting less than a century passed. While many aging alchemists claim they materialized the first Homunucli, no evidence has been produced by any to support their claims. Most believe that the idea of Homunculi productions originated in the swamp lands of Nastal where an observed magical phenomena known locally as "Scorn" has produce Homunculi from unfortunate denizens in and around such areas. First accounts of this phenomenon are sketchy and a precise date cannot be determined.
Since witnessing the effects of "Scorn", alchemists across the shards have worked to achieve the same effect scientifically.The shard of Sardia has been producing Homunculi in some shape or form for around 50 years. While it can be presumed that Homunculi have existed before this time none have been produced in such scale. A good portion of Sardia's slave labor are Homunculi; as a result, most are created, used, and recycled there.
While lacking any form of heredity due to impotence, Homunculi can be grouped by the quality of their compounds.
The various qualities of Homunculi are listed below by "Potency".
- Delta 1-24%: Very poorly produced Homunculi are lacking in many exotic compounds and are typically not in good health. Most have a shelf life of only 5 years and are typically used as slave labor and soldiers.
- Gamma 25-49%: Mid range produced Homunculi are better suited for jobs requiring learned skills and are produced and kept as servants frequently. Generally they have a shelf life of 15 to 25 years.
- Beta 50-75%: High end Homunculi are very well made and are best suited for trade jobs. Some have even been created for the purpose of being life mates. Possessing superior shelf lives of 25 to 45 most develop into self-serving roles.
- Alpha 76-99%: Premium Homunculi are made using the best compounds available and are very high performance models. Most are used as assassins and shock troops or produced as status symbols. While being made of such exotic compounds produces a superior Homunculi they "burn out" quickly and possess a shelf life of a meager 10-15 years.
- "Scorned": These Homunculi are an oddity in that they are produced from a natural phenomena in Nastal and are not artificial but transformed from locals and passerby that venture into said areas and are chemically changed. While studies on this phenomenon are inconclusive, they exhibit a fluctuating quality and are not distinguishable from other artificially created Homunculi. Scorned typically view their condition as an ailment and most seek to "cure" themselves.
While typically treated as slaves or to a greater degree tools in Sardia, some rise above their stations and are veiwed as second class citizens. However, most remain in roles of servitude and, as tools, are viewed as property to be treated poorly or graciously depending on their owner who controls many aspects of their lives.
Areas such as Nastal who have sparse populations are more or less treated as they were previous to their "illness", but some have been known to form small communities.
Interestingly enough in the circles of Homunculi there exists a relaxed hierarchical structure based on commission and quality. Homunculi are often given more or less respect by their peers based on their intended purpose and the quality of their build.
Being a young race, Homunculi have few traditions and customs; however, due to the short nature of their life spans, generations have existed over a single lifetime and have developed a interesting culture.
Homunculi having a strong sense of duty; they often view themselves as a means to an end producing very loyal, hard-working personalities. Because they are produced with purpose, they value their word as a promise. They also know the value of their work and rarely do they do something for free. Apathy is also a common trait; if an issue doesn't pertain to their task or doesn't immediately effect them, they don't care and will openly express the fact they won't live to see the outcome of major conflicts or social shift. This is almost paradoxical with their curiosity with new aspects of life; this curiosity will often lead to a temporary obsession and devotion that can be used at a later date leading to longer lived Homunculi being multi-talented.
Most Homunculi possess little in material wealth. In the eyes of Homunculi, wealth is power, and they seek to obtain wealth whenever possible.
Since Homunculi cannot produce a family, they care little for family values and can be viewed as a crude sort as there are no children in their enclaves. Some Homunculi try to emulate family life as much as possible and consider all other Homunculi their kin.
Homunculi have a distaste for magic as most are created in a very anti magic environment, and more still in a soldiering trade are trained to fight magic users with extreme prejudice. Many view magic as lazy, and that viewpoint leads to few understanding magic and fewer still learning to command it.
A rare but much celebrated event in a Homunculi community is the purchase of freedom. This is a very rare occurrence as most owners don't pay their workers in more than food and shelter. This usually entails a celebration as they are free to spend the rest of their lives as they see fit and most will return near the end of their time to tell stories to those not fortunate enough to escape or earn freedom. There are even accounts of owners giving discounts on freedom for those who pledge to come back before they expire so they may be recycled.
Celebrations, while few in number, are usually celebrated not with ale, as would usually be expected, but with milk. Due to the unique physiology of Homunculi, they are impervious to most forms of distilled spirits and toxins and cannot become inebriated by normal means. However, milk has a low enough acidity level to cause a temporary chemical imbalance and produce a drunken effect that is not exhibited by water.
When a Homunculi nears their expiration period or has completed or outlived their commission, they are "recycled" in large vats of very basic mixtures which take 86 steps to process for new materials. Those meant for "recycling" are typically branded with an 86 on their hand to show it is time for disposal. Some view this as a somber time while others attempt escape for a slice of freedom in their very short lives.
In most instances Homunculi are distasteful toward highly magical species due to their upbringing. This prejudice is detrimental to most Homunculi attempting to develop outer species relationships with those not of human or near human appearance.
One relationship that is commonly observed is kinship blossoming from Gnomes as they share similar hard working values and shared curiosity.
Most other species view them similarly to humans but with more condescension as most observed examples have most likely been naive and exhibiting a subservient nature.
Most Homunculi worship immortals they are told to worship by their owners.
There are a few in most groups that worship Hexadus in a acknowledgement of their servitude.
Scorned homunculi are commonly seen worshiping Avaren and Istensia in hope their affliction will be healed.
Most Homunculi that escape slavery and recycling or have bought their freedom will adventure to learn more about the world and experience things they never imagined. Vary rarely a Homunculi will be created without a purpose and roam until one is found. Scorned Homunculi are usually out to find a cure for their illness and will seek out powerful alchemists and healers.
Being created for purposes ranging in ability, there are very few observations of Homunculi lacking specialization. Common are swordsmen and ranged combatants using projectile weapons. Assassins and spies are a common classification for Homunculi as Alphas are usually produced for such a purpose. While they do exist, magic practitioners are rare mainly due to environment. If a Homunculi is taught magical arts, its usually for use as a volatile spell tester owing them powerful abilities.
A long-adventuring Homunculi will be knowledgeable about many subjects mainly dealing with anything from construction to infiltration diplomacy to destruction. Their highly varied nature is usually due to a life of fleeting interests; this never allows them to be a master at the subject in comparison to some much more long lived and skilled persons, but it does enable them to think outside the box
So Basic: To be predictable or lack quality.
Coin kept: In indentured servitude.
Of low quality and commission: Likening it to a piece of fecal matter
Batch brothers: To be of a similar commission.
Delta to Alpha: An unrealistic goal.
Built not Born: Remind someone they have a purpose.
Milk Blooded: To call someone a coward.
Long in the tube short in the field: Inexperienced to a painful degree.
Fad fancy: A new obsession that will be quickly abandoned