Sunday, December 20, 2009

I share Alchaemical Correspondence.

A little while ago, I posted a character class for AD&D called the Alchaemist. It's a magic-user subclass devoted to physical magic, magic captured in potions, dust, powders, etc.

A blog reader sent me an email with his groups version of the Alchaemist, and I thought he had some great ideas. I've been meaning to continue with an update of the Alchaemist, but the time just hasn't been available.
Since I planned to include alot of the ideas in his email into my own enlargement of the class, I'm going to quote here, with Reagan's kind permission, the emails he sent me.

I've also included the pics he sent me of a model of the moathouse from the Temple of Elemental Evil that one of his players built for the game.

I have to say here that I'm jealous of Reagan's players. Usually it's the DM who has to do all the work and preparation for a game. Having a player so into the game that he devotes the time to build a model of this quality reflects well on all involved.

Here is some of the first email Reagan sent me.

"First of all, congratulations on a most excellent blog. There are a great number of clever, and inspiring posts within, and your use of language often harkens back to the way Gygax himself wrote. I wish I could write in that way!
In any case, attached is a different version of the lovely Alchaemist class you posted. It is still very close to the original, but leans a bit closer to chemist than magic-user in a few ways. As for the formula, I tried to use OSRIC/1E spells to gauge power level equivalency, and, in a few cases, directly lifted effects. I’ve tried to combine a few spell effects or alter them in ways that makes the formulae different, and often equivalent to the spell in question; in this way, one would hope, there would be a use for both the potion and the spell in the same adventure. We’ve only gone through level 3 thus far, but I have a few ideas for some formulae past 3. Luckily, the alchemist player character in my game is not nearly high enough to cast those un-created spells yet. In my game we use the low-magic healing rules at Beyond the Black Gate, so many of the healing poultices come from there.

Your formula ‘Prul’s Eraser’ was quite a boon; it inspired us to create our own set of revered Master Alchemists, each with his own particular quirks and fetishes, much in the same way that magic-users have their Mordenkainen, Otto, Tenser and Melf-created spells. They are:

· Jorderchar - who focuses on potions to aid the summoning of demons, devils, and ectoplasmic things

· Prul - who prefers to mix his potions into a variety of alcoholic beverages, has a fascination for writing and language

· Garnak - enjoys manipulating gases and finding ways to use alchaemy to improve alchaemical processes (like the 3rd edition concept of meta-magic)

· Megnammon - an evil necromancer

· Dimo - a version of Indiana Jones if he were an alchaemist; his mixtures (typically pastes) help people explore, navigate, and survive the dangers inherent in dungeons and other dark, mysterious, and ancient places

· Drasar – an alchaemist who focuses on manipulating the four elements; he has a childish sense of humor and likes to name his formulae in comedic ways, especially in reference to bodily fluids

· Scifres – this is a magic-user player character in my 1E game who is going to be re-worked into an alchemist for the next session. His character is fascinated by the necromantic side of things, and has an unhealthy fixation on Megnammon, his hero. Scifres’ formulae are initially intended to be necromantic in nature, but often he creates a number of formulae that are inherently worthless, or useful only in certain specific situations.

One thing that I have yet to do is work up a nice, loose set of rules for the harvesting of alchemical ingredients from slain creatures. The idea of a Herbert West-type D&D character carving into the slain Naga to retrieve its still-warm vomeronasal gland is too good to pass up.
I apologize for any grammatical of formatting errors contained within the spreadsheet; it is indeed late and I think I got most of them! Also, in combining all the various tables and paragraph chunks, I might have left something out, so please let me know if something seems amiss. I look forward to seeing what you come up with next for the Alchemist; I may have a bit of a playtest report to get back to you after our next session on the 14th.
Keep up the fantastic work!

There are so many good ideas in this, it irks me that I haven't had the time to really chew over my own Alchaemist expansions. A group of famous master alchaemists is just what was thinking of myself.


One of Reagan's players decided to convert his magic-user over to an Alchaemist and sent him this list of ideas for fleshing out the character's abilities and formulations.

"I was wondering if I could have some additional mundane items that would have little game effect, other than just role-playing the mystique of being an alchemist.

I figure these could be mundane dusts, oils, salves, etc that are produced at little cost from the occasional rare find..."oh hey, here is some fairy wing residue, I can mix up some Flash-pellets":

· Everrose Salve - a sweet smelling oil that is rubbed lightly under nose to ward off unpleasant odors (exploring a city sewer or foul-smelling dungeon). Will not protect against stinking cloud or other like affects.

· Glitterstrike Dust - a faint ash that sparkles as it falls lightly to the ground. Will remain airborn for a few moments, and if drawn in a small arc through the air, it will carry a flame from one end to another...suitable for lighting a candle, lantern, torch or pipe from about 12 inches away. Unlikely to light large fires (oil, campfire, etc)

· Fermanist Rootdrops - changes the flavor of any beverage to cinnamon, also enhances color.

· Everstink Poultice - horrible smelling oil/tar, will not wash off for several days. Absolutely repulsive to dogs, but won't impair their tracking.

· Darkblade Tar - a slick grayish tar that keeps blades from reflecting light (may provide a +2% hide in shadows for a rogue). while slightly irritating to skin and organs, and may produce a strong burning, does not do damage

· Water Pellet - a grainy blue dust that can be sprinkled over any water-based liquid (water, ale, holy water, but not oil) and immediately absorbs said liquid, forming a small pellet that can be stored. A strong impact (hammer strike, dropped onto stone floor) causes the pellet to release the stored water. One application is good for the equivalent of a pitcher of ale or water.
· Scifres Heating Reagent - an oil that heats any metal when applied and exposed to air for 1 round. Metal becomes uncomfortable to the touch, but will not impair, for example, ability to wield a dagger or shield.

Other items, varying level:
· (1) Firemaster - essentially the same as affect normal fires, a mixture that will either increase or snuff out fires. Very useful and a precursor to mastering elemental potions of all kinds.

· (1) Fjiorhall Fumes - wide-body potion with a thin neck and stopper is inhaled through the mouth. Grants additional 2d4 hp for 10 minutes. Also tends to increase anger and irritablility for several hours after comsuming. Damage incurred to bonus life is not temporary, and death is possible when affects end.

· (1) Inferior Regeneration - regenerates 1d6 hp at 1hp per round. Can be consumed with other regeneration brews without fear of cross contamination, but stays in the system for several hours after effects wear off and will certainly cross-contaminate with any other potion consumed during this time.

· (2) Ruckhuster Brew - unpleasant tasting, chunky, frothy mixture consumed hot. Will delay poison effects for a brief period. Useful for buying time to analyze poisons and preparing antidote.

· (2) Magnetic Salve - this thick salve is stored in two phials with an activator stored in a third phial. When mixed with the activator, the two salves become magnetically opposed to each other, regardless of substance and distance. Distance is controlled by amount applied and weight of opposing objects. One application is sufficient to levitate 100 lbs/alchemist level up to 100' + 10' per alchemist level (expertise in pyrite sublimation creates more purified activator)

· (2) Scifres Enervating Respiration - this necromatic potion is stored in ceramic jars painted black, topped with a wooden handle. They break easily upon impact, and release a cloud of noxious fumes that decay the lungs causing severe breathing impairments, loss of vision and disorientation.

· (2) Mask of Living Death - Scifres discovered the instructions for this salve in the Mascontin Mines south of Verbobonc. It is a white powdery paste applied to the face that conceals the aura of the living from lesser undead.

· (2) Unblemished Regeneration - regenerates 2d6 hp at 2hp per round.

· (2) Spectral Form - This clear glass potion is milky white, with strong sweet smells and flavors. Imbiber immediately assumes a ghostly form that can pass through small cracks and apparate across gaps up to 20'. All gear falls to the ground.

· (3) Consumption Neutralizer - Scifres devised this potion to allow multiple potions to be consumed in rapid succession. It reduces the chance of volatile mixing effects by 50% for combining 2 potions, 25% for 3 potions, and 10% for 4 potions.

· (3) Conspicuous Regeneration - 3d6 hp at 3 hp per round.

· (3) Breath of Necrosis - a thick gooey sap that is applied to the interior of the mouth and blown, dispersing a horrid cloud of supernatural wilting rot. Living tissue rots and decays instantaneously, causing 1d6 dmg per level to creatures in the cone of dispersion (save vs breath weapon for 1/2).

· (4) Chitinous Armor of Aldiajarkan - A skin of thick chitinous scales grows painfully from the imbibers skin, and absorbs physical damage before being chipped and torn away. Will absorb 10hp per level.

· (4) Wraith Form - Like the spectral form potion, but black and seething, with thick black fumes emanating from the container. Imbiber immediately assumes a sub-ethereal state, retaining his posessions, and gaining immunity to normal/non silver weapons.

· (4) Magnificent Regeneration - 4d6 hp at 4 hp per round

· (5) Phenomenal Regeneration - 5d6 hp at 5 hp per round

· (6) Demonic Filcher - a greusome looking flask of thick frosted glass with something dark squirming inside, bound with iron and marked with protective wards and odd symbols. A command word deactivates the wards when thrown, and upon impact fills a 10' -15' area with enormous, writhing black tentackles that grapple and rend creatures within reach. If a creature is grappled, they are pulled underground and left to suffocate. Works best on sandy and dirt ground, but will function (albiet slightly less effective) on stone. Will only grapple on metal surfaces.

· (7) Scifres Ghastly Transformation - a horrible, twisted concoction that grants the imbiber horrific powers commonly seen among the walking dead. The creature is granted DR, AC bonus, increased HP, paralyzing attacks and is subject to the will of the potion's creator. "

I've told Reagan he ought to start his own blog, I'd love to read his play reports. It sounds like he runs one heck of a game.

I'd also like to ask if any of you readers out there in the blogosphere have used the Alchaemist, or facets of the class in your own game. I'm always interested in feedback.

And thanks again to Reagan and his players! It's very gratifying to see fellow gamers having fun with stuff I've cooked up.

1 comment:

Zak Sabbath said...

stop producing useful gaming material, I am running out of shelf space.

also--that castle is depressingly gorgeous. I made two foamcore rooms yesterday while the girls were painting and thought I was hot shit.