Hearth Minions (HD 1, +4 AC for the head, uses small weapons)
Morale- 8, defends Creator to the death
Hearth Minions are small, reddish-dirt colored creatures with an animal skull for the top of their head. All of them have short stumpy tails and bright colorful eyes; the color of the eyes depends on their creator and all minions made by the same person will have the same color eyes. Hearth minions do not have a gender, and do not reproduce naturally. They are a construct of magic and do not exist on any plane except where magicians have created them.
Hearth Minions imprint strongly on the person who created them, and bond with them instantly, not wanting to spend time apart and wanting to spend all their energy helping that person. They usually perform physical labor and act as an apprentice for the Magician who created them. They can be taught some magical powers. Some Hearth minions can also seemingly understand animals of the skull used to create them, but they cannot speak any mortal languages and must use hand motions and writing to communicate. Hearth minions will always defend their creator to the death.
If the Hearth Minion's creator dies; the minion will feel devastated, and tales of suicidal minions who defend their creator's corpse or jump off cliffs in despair are common. However, occasionally minions may be treated poorly by their masters and once they are “freed” from their influence by being killed, they can imprint on a new, kind person who takes up that role in their life. Despite their loyalty, Hearth minions still show signs of fear and pain when being abused by their masters. No Hearth Minion has ever lived in a non-submissive relationship with anyone, as they greatly prefer having a master then living on their own.
This is the Hearth Minion creation spell. In order to create a Hearth minion, one must dig a hole in the ground and place an animal's skull upside down at the bottom of the hole. This will become the minion's upper skull. It cannot be removed from their body without killing them, it is fused. The hole is filled with magic clay and water, a layer of dirt and leaves is spread on top, and a drum made of wormskin must be banged rhythmically for several hours to give the minion its “heartbeat”.
Then, the womb must gestate for one year, until which the Hearth Minion must be dug up to be “born”. Since the Hearth Minion cannot dig itself out of the hole, but is in a pre-birthed state, it does not need to breath or eat while waiting to be dug up. The person who dug it up will be considered the minion's master, who they will serve as long as they live. Hearth Minions will be as living creatures from then on, and require food, and sleep. Hearth minions also age, but not in the same way humans do. Their skin starts to become very old and cracked as dried up mud does, and their skull will show severe decomposition. It is said that a Hearth Minion's master can free them at any time or age by simply placing a hand on them and telling them to be freed of their service, in which case the Hearth minion and the skull used to make it will crumble to dust.