Sunday, December 14, 2014

HMS Apollyon Player's Manual - Alchemist Subclass

The practice of Alchemy is at once one of both the most practical and the most mystical of the schools of magic.  A rigorous academic study Alchemy seeks to transform and modify the objects and elements of the everyday world (as opposed to controlling, binding and allying with their essences – the goal of elementalism)  for the benefit of the Alchemist’s individual body and soul as well as the creation of the “Magnum Opus”, a great work, most often an artifact of great power: The philosopher’s stone, offering eternal life, the universal solvent, capable of dissolving the bonds of magic and reality or Azoth, a universal medicine capable of raising the dead and curing any ailment.

Beside their contributions to the great work, Alchemists practice a form of magic less dependent on syphoning power directly from ley-lines or their own will and capable of using less power to gain similar effects by magically altering everyday objects.  Where an elementalist would bind a fragment of fire to an enemy causing him to burst into flame, and an thaumaturge lash out with a hard won tendril of pure unreality as a weapon, an alchemist will fling a specially enchanted dagger or sling bullet that seeks out and strikes the target (perhaps triggering some sort of chemical combustion reaction on impact).  As a result of the importance of mundane items in their work, Alchemists have many useful skills related to machinery, poisons and technology.  The Alchemist’s practicality is often lampooned by other magic PR actioners, and the caricature of an Alchemist, crushed under the burdens of his tinker’s tools, engineer’s kit, chemist’s glasses and disorganized research notes is a stock one amongst the schools of academic magic, mocking those with lesser talent for wielding raw power  but perhaps greater adaptability and genius.  It is a rare group of scavengers that doesn’t prize an Alchemist’s presence as his magic is no less effective for being tied to mundane objects and his broad knowledge of the sciences is often proves more helpful at avoiding danger then the puissance of a more focused sorcerer.

An Alchemist’s first and most basic spell is Arcane Research, and in addition to this basic spell the Alchemist gains one of the following spells, determined randomly.

Arcane Research
Alchemists are researchers and scientists in addition to being mages, and the first spell that an Alchemist learns is to determine the properties and nature of magical objects and writings.  Les of a spell and more a set of practices, and Alchemist use their time between game session to identify magical items previously recovered.  This process costs 20 GP per item for research and materials, but will identify details regarding unknown magical artifacts.  This spell may also allow an Alchemist to create magical items by infusing the power of spells they already have along with some of their own life energy (modeled with a varied amount of permanent HP and CON loss) into specially prepared objects crafted from expensive and magically charged materials.
Tin addition to Arcane Research a newly trained Alchemist will have one of the following spells scribed in his spellbook or research notes:

Introductory Alchemical Magics
Flaming Goblet – The alchemist may create a pot of vile smelling liquid from the chemicals in his kit.  This magical substance combusts upon exposure to air, burning white and hot and sticking like glue.  Kept in a sealed goblet, the traditional way to use this essence of combustion is to fling it quickly at nearby foes, as holding onto the container is a sure way for the alchemist to burn herself.  An attack with the flaming goblet will harm all foes in melee with the alchemist and does 1D6 damage, with a save vs. spells for ½ damage.  The essence of combustion is extremely volatile and while it can be used to set small fires, an alchemist (even in heavy gloves and a mask) will have little control over it once the essence has been exposed to air.
Secrets of Combustion  – The alchemist has made an especial study of flame and immolation, and he cannot directly call to the element, the alchemist’s knowledge of fire allows him to sing to and cajole small natural flames in their own crackling language either encouraging it to flame up into a greater inferno or damp it down reducing its heat.  With this spell an alchemist can cause a campfire to suddenly sink to mere embers or flare into a bonfire, twice its current size. After these magical changes a flame will grow, shrink or exhaust fuel normally, a bonfire rapidly burning the wood laid out for a small campfire, and the coals catching and reigniting available fuel.  Damage producing uses of this spell will rarely do more then double the damage of the fire they are effecting (for example turning a torch into a 1D6 as opposed to 1D6/2 weapon). 
Stupefying Dust  – A sachet of magically charged dust that the alchemist may blow at opponents (usually with a small bellows or pump) while making the proper incantations to various spirits.  The dust has a dulling and stupefying effect on 2D8 hit dice of opponents who will be caught in the cloud.  Any creature that breaths the dust (and is effected by charms or other mind altering spells) will fall into a docile state of immobility, stupidity and placidity for two “spell exhaustion” results on the exploration die.  The spell may be resisted with a successful Save vs. Spells, and life threatening physical pain (at least 1HP worth) will jar victims from their trance.   
Regal Glue  - With this spell the Alchemist temporarily enchants a vile smelling pot of glue that will bond any non-organic materials together so strongly that only magic can part them until the spell wears off after one “Spell Exhaustion result on the Exploration Die, after which a successful “Force” check will break the bond.  Most commonly used to seal doors.
Purification – With the application of variously magically charged regents the Alchemist can purify water or food that has been contaminated or poisoned, making it harmless.  This spell may also be used to inflict serious injury on elemental creatures of water and some forms of demonic corruption in melee.
Illumination – A strange paste that glows with terrible brightness when exposed to air.  An application of this paste can brightly illuminate an 80’ circle.  The glow will last for two “Spell Exhaustion” results on the Encounter Die.  The paste is poisonous, causing blindness (with failed save) if ingested.

Class Abilities
Tier 1
Nigredo – The first stage of the great work, ‘blackness’ the process of decomposition and putrefaction and the corresponding spiritual self-examination of the Alchemist’s failings.   In doing so the Alchemist also conducts numerous experiments on himself with poisons, drugs and other dangerous chemics.  This experimentation  grants a +2 to all saves vs. poison.
Chemic -3, Tinker – 2, Engineering -1,
Tier 2
Albedo - The second and final physical stage of the Alchemical project, the “whiteness” a purification of the corruption and poisons introduced into the Alchemist and his works during the Nigredo.  Through this process the Alchemist comes to some sort of spiritual awakening usually antithetical to any existing religion and cleanses both their body and soul of corruption.  This process of purification grants a +2 to all saves against spells as well as a permanent +1 to Wisdom and +1 to Constitution.
Alchemy – Alchemist gains the ability to make minor ingestible magic items, however these potions, drugs and tonics tend to be somewhat unstable and prolonged or excessive use is very dangerous.
Chemic -4, Tinker – 3, Engineering -2, Piloting -1
Tier 3
Citrinitas – The abandonment of the “lunar soul” discovered during the Albedo, the “yellowness” is a stage of the great work where the alchemist becomes filled with unnatural vigor energy through the creation and consumption of various tonics, potions and elixirs including a great deal of molten gold.  These noble elements are transformed by the alchemist’s spiritual furnace into bodily strength and beauty.  The resilience and energy of an Alchemist who has passed through the Citrinitas  grants a +2 to all saves vs. Petrification, and a permanent +1 to Strength and Charisma.
Transmutation – With a successful Chemic’s check, a laboratory prior to each session the alchemist may convert small quantities of one base metal or element into another.
Chemic -5, Tinker – 4, Engineering -3, Piloting -2
Tier 4
Rubedo – Sometimes called the reddening or purpling, symbolic both of the Alchemist’s mastery or ‘kingship’ over magical substance and herself.  Upon reaching the Rubedo the Alchemist is ready to begin their Magnum Opus” and has purified their own being as well.  As a result of this process the Alchemist will gain a permanent +4 Intelligence (Up to 18) and become highly resistant to all forms of elemental damage – normal flame, cold, electricity, poison  and acid will not harm the Alchemist and the Alchemist receives a three point per die damage reduction from magical elemental attacks.
Magnum Opus – The Alchemist may create a Magnum Opus, a process of great expense and magical resources.  The Alechmist will be required to invest at least 100,000 GP in the creation of a powerful artifact
Chemic-6, Tinker – 5, Engineering -4, Piloting -3

Transmutation - Lead can be transmuted to gold, or even rare magical metals such as ancient ‘tool steel’ or orichalcum. Normal ‘pure elements’ may even be converted into their magically infused ‘true elemental’ variety through this process. This process is very costly, involving both complex scientific apparatuses, regents and  materials that will always cost 1D6 times the value of the metal or elements produced.

The Magnum Opus – At the highest level of their artistry the Alchemist has the knowledge and skills to craft a magical artificat.  This Great work is the culmination of all that has come before.  For Every 100,000 GP invested in the creation of the artificat there is a 1 in 6 chance of successful creation.  Examples of such items include the Philosopher’s Stone that allows the alchemist to store and cast spells, regenerate damage and raise the dead, The Universal Solvent capable of dissolving even the bonds of reality and moving the Alchemist freely between planes and universes (and potentially escaping the Apollyon) or Azoth, a simple tincture of immortality that will transform the alchemist into a golden ageless being. 

Alchemy – The process of turning regents and chemicals into magically potent elixirs, tonics and drugs is the pinnacle of the Alchemists art of chemistry, a far greater accomplishment then the mere brewing of poisons or other mundane items like explosives, oils and caustics.  This process allows the Alchemist to create a batch of identical magical ingestible (usually potions, but not always) that will have minor beneficial magical effects when used moderately.  The Alchemist must spend 100 GP per dose attempted on materials and equipment, decide on an effect and make a chemic skill check.  On a successful skill check the Alchemist can creates 1+ their margin of success dose of whatever potion they sought up to the limit they bought materials for.  For example: Boils Jeepson, the Alchemist seeks to make some healing tonics, light effervescent fizzes that will cure 1D6 HP upon ingestion.  HE’s 4th level, and hence has a Chemics  skill of 4, and figures such a useful item will be in great demand, and spends 400GP knowing that he can’t succeed his D6 skill check by more than 3.  With a roll of 2, the process goes well, but not perfectly, and Jeepson begins the next session with 3 (1+ the 2 pip margin of success) health tonics, for the cost of 400 GP.

Typical Alchemical potions/items include:  Healing Tonics (1D6 HP recovery), Poison Antidotes (allows a reroll of a failed poison save if taken immediately), Vivification Dust (+1 to initiative and +1 attack for 1 combat), Heroism Potions (+2 attack bonus for 1 combat), Salves of Resistance to Fire, Cold, Lightning or Acid (-2 point per die from a specific kind of elemental damage).  The use of these Alchemical agents is somewhat dangerous, and while the first dose per session is always side effect free subsequent doses will require a Con Check (at a cumulative -2 per additional dose taken) to avoid the one of the following deadly or deeply destructive, permanent side effects:

Terrible Alchemical Overdoses
Brain boils and explodes – Instant Death.
Blood turns to liquid fire, igniting the body from within – Instant Death.
Endless severe convulsions that rapidly break every bone and rupture organs, ceasing only when the victim’s muscles have torn themselves apart – Death in D4 rounds.
Hideous homunculi, antithetical to terrestrial life (1HD Outsider) burrows its way free of victim’s chest before fleeing – Instant Death.
Body desiccates and shrivels into a dusty husk – Instant Death.
Body is covered with hideous boils that reappear frequently.  Carrying capacity reduced by ½, CHR reduced by ½ (death by infection if below 3) and preventing the use of armor due to pain from chaffing.
Flesh and muscle liquefy and dribble from every orifice as a pus like slurry.  The long-term withering effect results in the loss of ½ STR and ½ CON.  If this drops either below ‘3’ the result is death.
Character becomes a compulsive and excessive eater of just about anything.  This is necessary for their radically altered biology and results in hideous, stinking obesity.  -2 to CHR, loss of ½ DEX (if under 3, death by cardiac arrest results) and -2 to initiative.
The nervous system of the imbiber becomes supercharged and highly sensitive.  While the ability to feel slight drafts as if they were strong gusts and hear the rivets creeking a mile away in the hull grants a 5 in 6 search skill, it also makes the character almost incapable of suffering injury.  Any blow will cause excruciating pain, and even with a strong will and training the character must save vs. wands whenever struck or collapse defenseless in excruciating pain for a full turn.
Body shrivels and atrophies over the next few rounds while emitting a fierce light.  After the light fades the victim is hunched and weakened having lost ½ their STR.
Eyes begin to glow and heat like coals.  When the searing pain is over the victim’s eye sockets are carbonized hollows and they are blind.
Over the course of the next few turns the imbiber’s skin becomes grey and translucent and they develop an allergy to magic.  All saves vs. dangerous magic are at -6, and beneficial magic cast on the character does 1D6/2 points of damage per application.
Victim begins to glow, creating a 5’ circle of sickly yellow light and result in a -2 to AC vs. missile weapons.
Violent Insanity has wormed its way into the potion abuser’s diseased mind.  In battle they no longer have full control over their actions randomly striking any target in range, including their friends (GM rolls target randomly each round).  Additionally, unless restrained or sedated (with lotus or mad kelp perhaps) the character will now charge into combat with any creature or person that seems remotely threatening (including Steward guards and Vory thugs back in Sterntown). 
Nothing happens, at least not right away, but when the party returns to safety the overindulgent PC will bud a sinister and evil clone in their sleep.  This creature will have the character’s abilities and class levels and steal out into Sterntown (likely taking the character’s equipment) to commit acts of bloody mayhem which will quickly lead back to the character and result in bloody revenge  from the aggrieved and outraged factions.
One of the imbiber’s arms turns to brittle stone.  Besides being wary of shattering, this reduces DEX by 4, STR by 2 and prevents the use of shields and two handed weapons.
Victim falls into a coma or magical slumber for the rest of the session and the next 1D4-1 sessions.
The victim’s voice turns into the pop of molten metal, the clack of crab claws or the grinding of gears, they may still speak to friends and companions, but cannot cast spells or communicate with strangers.
Drinker falls into severe convulsions for 1D6 turns and save vs. wands or do 1D6 points of damage in strains and snapped bones.
Skin turns an unnatural color (purple, blue, red or green).

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