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Alchemy is magic at its most scientific. Spells are reduced to their component parts, then reproduced in the form of powders or potions. Alchemists can concoct potions that imbue the drinker with superhuman powers. They can mix powders that will throw you into a world of pink clouds and flying hippos. They can produce bombs and explosives of terrifying (if unpredictable) destructive power. It is said that a decent alchemist can reproduce any spell he has ever seen or heard of, and could construct a magic item that will cast that spell for anyone who can remember the magic word. An army of alchemists could easily take over the world.

Luckily, the chances of any alchemists forming an army are slim. Endless mucking about with potent chemicals and illicit powders quickly take their toll, and alchemists tend to spend their lives in a drug-induced state of intoxication. It is rare for them to remain rational for the length of time necessary to remember their name and address, let alone undertake any real political machinations. It also means that their concoctions have a notoriously erratic behaviour, and are alarmingly likely to explode spontaneously. The alchemists guild is as much a place for preventing alchemists from hurting themselves as it is for protecting the structural integrity of the town.

Alchemical concoctions come in four varieties.

Usually administered by throwing at an opponent, although the exact administration technique depends on the the powder. Examples include itching powder, sneezing powder and blinding powder.
Adminstered by consumption. Examples include potions of strength, of sleep and of healing.
Administered by being nearby. Examples other than the obvious include concussion, sonic and stun. Powders and potions can be turned into explosives.
This is the purest form of magical spell. As it has no physical form, it must be stored within a Talisman. Usually administered in a point-and-shoot fashion, although this may vary with the manner of spell and the form of talisman.

Each type of concoction can be regarded as being a seperate school. Knowledge of each school must be learnt in turn before you can start mixing concoctions. Thus, you must first learn "Mix Powder", then you can start learning to mix whatever powders take your fancy. Then you may learn "Mix Potion", and finally "Mix Explosive". However, before you leap in and start stirring things together with gay abandon, some preperations are needed.

Storing Alchemicals

Before you even think about mixing up any of these wonderful and bizarre concoctions, you need to have something to put them in. You need a storage container.

Many alchemists simply buy containers in bulk from the Alchemists' Guild, but it is always useful to learn the skills for making them yourself. More important skills to learn however are the skills required to protect the containers and their contents against the effects of water and fire.

Alchemical concoctions being as unstable as they are, are very susceptable to ruination. If any container gets wet (eg you fall in a lake, or some swine casts a waterball at you), the contents will be rendered unusable. Similarly, the concoctions have an alarming tendency to be highly flammable. If they come in contact with a largeish flame (you get fireballed, your lab burns down), they will explode, and will do at least a point of damage to anything in contact with them. Never store unstable concoctions in trouser pockets.

Protecting against fire is done by stabilising the concoctions before storing them. Protecting against water is done simply by sealing the container.

The Containers

A piece of cloth stitched together, with a drawstring attached, sealed against water with a wax coating. Used for holding powders.
A glass test-tube like object with a snugly fitting cork and a rubber seal to protect from water. Used for holding potions.
The explosives for which alchemists are most notorious need special care in their containment. "Bomb" is a collective term for the box, fuse, detonater and other bits and pieces that make up a controllable explosive device. Bombs have a tendency to explode spontaneously unless the contents are stabilised.
Any item can be made into a Talisman provided it is of good quality (i.e. Quality 4 or 5. See quality ratings). Typical examples are wands, rings or amulets. Talismans do not need sealing, and their contents do not need stabilising.

Alchemy spell points

To determine how many Potions and explosives you can carry into battle, Alchemy uses a system not dissimilar to spell points. It is completely artificial, I admit, but it is necessary for preventing eager young alchemists wandering into a goblin encampment laden with enough explosive to level a forest.

Alchemy points are bought at a cost of 1ep each, multiplied by your Craft list-multiplier. They are used in the same way as normal spell points, except Alchemy points can only be spent before the adventure begins.

They can be thought of as representing how many concoctions you can wip up in a week. Concoctions can not be mixed during the course of an adventure unless in very special circumstances.

It costs:

  • 1 point to mix a powder
  • 3 points to mix a potion
  • 5 points to mix an explosive

The Basics

Consult a grimoire, find a recipe that interests you, and learn how to make it. If you want to make a powder, you must first learn Mix Powder (and similarly for Mix Potion and Mix Explosive), but otherwise that's it really. The only catch is, you must join the Alchemists Guild.

To learn Mix Powder costs 20eps, then every recipe you learn costs 10eps. For potions it's 30eps for mix Potion, then 15eps per potion recipe. For explosives, its 40eps and 20eps each.


Alchemical research is where the science really comes into its own. Given the time and the resources, a good alchemist can duplicate any effect, natural or magical, that he has ever seen or heard of. Being as how research is so intrinsic, Alchemy is the only magic that includes research skills.

The process for research is as follows. First, you must establish the source of the effect you are trying to copy and obtain a sample for your studies. If it is an intrinsic ability of some beast or other, you need the beast or at least the part of the beast that seems to produce the effect. If it is a spell, you must get someone to cast it into a Talisman for storage. This step requires no skills or ep's, but can be the most tricky.

Next, you must analyse your sample, and attempt to ascertain exactly how the effect is produced, and what properties you need to duplicate in order to reproduce it. This may take anything from hours to years, depending on the complexity of the effect.

Once you have pinned down exactly what properties you need, you must extract them from your sample. Again, this may take some time, and it's possible that you will need to replenish your stocks of sample.

When you have successfully extracted the desired property, you must store it. This is most easily done by binding it into a Talisman, but with a little further work you could distill it into a potion or condense it into a powder.

If you are trying to create an entirely new effect, you must build it up by combining properties you have already extracted.

The minimum required for spell research are the skills Analyse, Extract and Bind.

The Cost of Research:

Assuming you've acquired your sample, the first cost is in ensuring you have bought all the research skills you will require for the task in hand. Note that Alchemy research skills have both a cost in ep's and a cost in banes (while the ep cost is affected by the Craft list-multiplier as normal, the monetary cost is not affected). This is to reflect the fact that Alchemy research requires equipment (and insurance). Of course, once you have bought all the research skills (a bargain at 110 ep's plus 110 banes), this step can be skipped.

Next you must spend the same number of experience points that the original possessor of the spell or whatever had to spend. This may have to be estimated by the ref if the effect is an intrinsic ability or something. This cost need not be paid all at once. Once paid, this will complete your research into how the effect is reproduced.

However, at this stage your knowledge is purely theoretical. You must now pay a number of experience points so that you are able to reproduce it. First you need to ensure you have bought at least one of Mix Powder (20eps), Mix Potion (30eps) or Mix Explosive (40eps). Then you need to spend the eps to make the recipe itself. Generally it costs 10eps to be able to create a given powder, 15eps to create a potion, and 20eps for an explosive. However, if the spell is particularly powerful it may be decreed to cost more.

Only now can you add it to your recipe book and start mixing it at the normal cost in Alchemy points.

This may all seem a little pricey and unfair, but when I point out that a novice alchemist can theoretically duplicate the spells of a Grand Vizier Elementalist, and then sell them on the black market for any thug to use, it kind of puts it in perspective.

Certain very basic uses of research skills do not require all this rigmarole. For example, if you can already mix Itching Powder and Sneezing Powder, and wish to mix them together into a single Itching and Sneezing Powder, you need only buy the research skill Mix, and spend the amount of ep's that the ref decides Itching and Sneezing Powder is worth. You can then add it to your reportoire and recreate it at will.

Similarly, the skill Identify requires only time and equipment.

See also : Charm
  : Divine
  : Elemental
  : Hermetic
  : Shamanism
  : Petty Magic
  : Alchemy Tables
  : The Alchemists Guild
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