A couple of weeks ago I offered a look at the Runic Wizard – a possible new class for the OSR-themed Mazes & Perils game.
Now I’d like to talk a bit about the Alchemist, which may be premature but I am going to give it a stab anyway.
We all know those people who can’t keep from trying to combine different ingredients to see what happens. Alchemists have simply managed to harness that ability into a career. The successful ones survive the longest with a bit of luck. But these wizards have managed to harness the magical energy inherent on physical substances. With each new ingredient and recipe, they find ways to help (and hinder) their friends (and enemies).
Alchemists can make ordinary items into magical objects, give a handful of dust or a glass of water amazing powers, or transform one item into another before your eyes. But though consuming such items can be done in the blink of an eye, the actual creation of such wonders takes time and a great deal of trial and error.
Your average Alchemist thrives in an environment of labels, measurements, and careful notes. Each experiment reveals something about the nature of a substance or the product of the combination of any number of substances. Every note about a particular ingredient or singular recipe becomes a valuable addition to the Alchemist’s Notebook, which is guarded with a passion.
Many Alchemists have been known to rig their Notebooks to vanish if they fall into the wrong hands. Some books may even explode, taking those hands with them. Never doubt the creativity of a wizard with the knowledge of how to create flash paper!
New recipes are tough to come by and Alchemists work tirelessly to add to their available list of options. Each recipe represents a usable item they can offer for sale or use themselves in the field.
Alchemy is more than simply the creation of potions and powders. It is also the art of imbuing objects with power. Experienced Alchemists can not only create magic items, but recharge them for use later.
A few basic rules have been discovered about the alchemical processes of substances both organic and inorganic, natural and not-of-this world…
- Each ingredient has a charge and a purpose. Some potion or powder bases will work better than others depending on the energies they are combined with.
- Different combinations can create different results.
- Consistency is king. Without it you don’t have reproducible results.
- Power is never lost, but it can be redirected.
Though Alchemists will have great power, they must work with other practitioners to expand the scope of what they can accomplish. By themselves, they can’t do much – but in concert with others the sky is the limit…
Alchemists gain new abilities at certain levels.
- Alter Liquid
- Alter Solid
- Create Potion
- Create Powder
- Create Scroll
- Create Item
Certain abilities require the cooperation of spellcasters of other disciplines. Though an Alchemist can create a scroll holding an Alchemy spell, they can be much more useful when capturing the spells of Magic-Users, Clerics, and other arcane or divine practitioners.
Alchemists also have the ability to cast various spells. Here are a few from the traditional Alchemist spell book:
- Charge Item (1st level) – Enables the Alchemist to take a spent magic item (such as a Wand of Cold or a Wand of Fireballs). The number of charges an item will hold is limited to the level of the Alchemist who created the item.
- Restore Stone (2nd level) – Enables the Alchemist to mend 10 pounds of stone per level. The mend will take the characteristics of the original stonework down to the finest detail. Half the weight of the original stone item must be whole to be mended.
- Merge (3rd level) – Enables the Alchemist to merge two enchanted items to form one item with the properties of both. The powers of each of the enchanted items are accessible in the merged item. Merge may be used multiple times to create a conglomerate of several individually enchanted items. For example, a ring of Flaming Orbs may be merged with a gem of Veil to create a gem-studded ring that allows the wielder to cast Flaming Orb and Veil. Note: Charge would have to be cast multiple times to recharge individual powers of the merged item one at a time.
Imagine how useful an Alchemist would be to have around… recharging magical items or creating them. I can see an Alchemist creating a wand of Restore Stone that could be used during a siege to repair castle walls after a bombardment. How humiliating would it be to see the wall you just damaged with a catapult suddenly repair itself before your very eyes?
Let’s take your average party with a Cleric and an Alchemist working together. What can they achieve?
- Potion of Cure Light Wounds
- Potion of Neutralize Poison
- Powder of Create Food – just add water to activate
Or maybe your Magic-User and Alchemist are teaming up for a double-magic duo?
- Potion of Invisibility
- Wand of Knock
- Powder of Infravision
Over the next few weeks we’ll see other magical classes come to light and you can see how flexible this class will truly be. The Alchemist may be an NPC, but I think you may want to include one of these in your party before too long.