Your Whispering Homunculus—The Sticky End of Those Who Play With Fire
“That jar next to the pickled dwarf eyes—”
“The one adjacent to the bladders?”
“Yes, master. What is that curious collection of distended and dislocated limbs pierced by shards of bones?”
“My last homunculus. He asked too many questions of the demon prince Sprathcrorsche, Prince of Dislocating Death. Now, lance this boil, and hurry up about it.”
Making deals with demons and devils is a risky business, and those who play with the emotions and tempers of such creatures risk a sticky end.
One of the many satisfying aspects of fantasy roleplaying is ensuring that the bad guys eventually get their comeuppance, and those who strike deals with such risky associates make great fall-guys.
The chart below gives you a few ideas for the way the leaders of such villains, or those who dare to strike bargains with the infernal, meet their final end. These effects occur only to the person or creature who has made the pact and should occur once they die, or when they reach a point where death is inevitable.
As always, do not overuse these ideas; seeing a coven-leading witch suffer at the hands of her former master is cool once, and it might be good if it affects certain villains tied by some thread, but use this end sparingly at other times so that its effect is maximized.
Obviously minor tinkering may be required to change some small details in these endings to better suit your own master villains or villainesses. Do not use the suffering of your master villains as a way to deprive your PCs of treasure such enemies may have on them; swords are dropped, flesh may change and corrode or fall away, leaving clothing, rings, boots, and other objects. Make it realistic, but make sure they get the reward they deserve.
- He glances at the fatal blow and grins broadly in disbelief, his grin suddenly draining from his face as he sees something between the two of you that only he can see. A colossal maw suddenly hurtles from the space between you, taking off his head. As the maw vanishes his screams continue.
- A shadow falls across her, and suddenly her body erupts in all directions, leaving nothing but the whiff of broken bones, blood, and a terrible infernal stench.
- She stares at you pitifully as she falls. “Save me from it! I beg you!” Her pleading eyes stare at the mortal wound you have inflicted upon her, and she suddenly stares down up in terror. “No!” she screams. “Stay away, stay away!” A warped tentacle lashes at her from the ground and she is gone, except for her pleading voice as she is taken away to gods’ know where.
- He stares at you as he falls, and a moment later, a great pit rips before him, screaming with the cacophonous miseries of the fallen. He drops into the pit sobbing, the hole vanishing with a resounding clang. He is gone.
- “No!” he screams. “Let me die, let me die!” You see your fallen foe’s soul torn from him, his body following as he is torn inside out by a limb that appears only as a scaly shadow taking what is rightfully its.
- As she falls, a bellowing voice screams, its anger tolling like a bell. “Failure!” it yells. “Failure. You will be punished.” As the broken body of your foe is sucked into the shadows, she suddenly awakens, glances at you pleadingly and is gone.
- He smiles at the final blow, laughing as though it cannot harm him. Then, with an agonized scream, his body sloughs away to nothingness, melting like snow in the sunlight.
- Her body falls, becoming a mass of writhing maggots as it does. Suddenly, a trio of mouths greedily snap the air, appearing from nowhere. They devour the maggots and vanish, with a lick of their infernal lips.
- He stares at the wound and then you, his haughty look suddenly vanishing into terror. “No!” he screams, his body decaying into a swarm of black flies and vanishing with a cry. “Pity!”
- A gargantuan black hand appears, grips your enemy and squeezes, breaking bones and flesh before taking him away.
- As she drops she stares upward. “No, we had a bargain!” she yells into the heavens. “You promised, you promised!” A voice of horror breaks from above, like shattering glass. “I lied” it says, as she is drawn away in pieces into the heavens above, screaming as she is taken apart in a bloody mist.
- His body erupts into writhing maggots with huge mouths, which feast upon each other until there is only one maggot left, which devours itself and vanishes with a childlike cry.
- As she falls, the sound of a screaming woman giving birth fills the air. There is slap and a babies’ cry. “No!” she screams, “not again, not again master!” Then she is gone.
- His blood boils before you, and as it does, a coiling tentacle grasps around him, caressing him. “Now you are mine forever!” says a voice. There is a whiff of brimstone and he vanishes, his screams clearly only just beginning.
- Her body suddenly crumples, compacting with terrible ferocity. Her bones splinter and her muscles tear. The body crushes into itself, leaving nothing but a fat, wan worm. A clawed finger thrusts from the ground, pierces the worm and what is left of her is taken, screaming with her dying voice.
- A boiling mist surrounds his fallen body, and you catch glimpses of his skin blistering. The sound of an infernal choir ring out, and then a chilling voice joins it. “Welcome,” it says. The last thing you hear of your enemy are his screams as his flesh, bones, and soul are taken to eternity.
- The unmaking of your foe goes on for several minutes as he is taken apart by shadowy forms that caress him, removing his flesh, his bones, and his soul to take with them.
- “Help me, I beg you!” he screams, his hands reaching pleading to yours. “It’s coming for me!” A shadow falls across him as he yells “It. Is—” and then he is gone, forever.
- Bones grind on bones as your enemy suddenly erupts from within. You glimpse devouring faces within his body, feasting, until only the husk is left. Seconds later, it falls to the ground like lace.
- As your enemy falls, there is a howl, and then more howls, as an infernal pack of unseen hounds come for him. His broken soul rises, seeking escape, but there is none. Somewhere very far away, the pack descends upon him and begins to feed.