Alchemy is a science. Alchemy is an art. Alchemy is a religion. Alchemy is a spiritual practice. Alchemy is the quest for enlightenment. Alchemy is a practical everyday skill. Alchemy is...
Alchemy is the practice of refining your soul and your morality to touch the Divine Fire without being burnt. It is in equal parts both spiritual and scientific. It is spiritual because an Alchemist must seek to purify themselves or else they would burn in the presence of the Fire. It is scientific because the recipe for every elixir and potion is discovered through research, experimentation and applied theory.
In the laboratory an Alchemist combines both disciplines. With pestles and mortar, bubbling glassware and exotic ingredients he brews an elixir. Yet as he works he meditates and says chants and mantras over his equipment. He allows the Divine Fire to flow through him without ever taking hold, turning his work into a reflection of his own soul. If his soul contained impurities so will his creations, but should his soul be pure his creation will be perfect.
Alchemy (O - OOOOO)Edit
The Alchemy trait is the very heart of an Alchemist's power. An Alchemist's progress in fortifying her soul – and thus how much of the Divine Fire she can safely direct – is measured by her Dots in Alchemy. Her progress unlocks the ability to master the Principles, an Alchemist gains one free dot in a Principle every time she raises Alchemy and she cannot have more dots in a Principle than dots in Alchemy. Yet it is also of practical use in the lab, for the more an Alchemist has fortified her soul the longer she can channel the fire safely.
The Alchemy trait is available to both the Created and to Mortals. Nearly all the Created know something about Alchemy, even if only how it is reflected in the Refinements and it is not that rare to find that a Promethean is a practitioner. Yet the human population outnumbers the Created by such a number that even though few humans practice Alchemy in absolute numbers the majority of Alchemists are mortals.
There is no mechanical difference between alchemy performed by a Created or a Mortal but there are innumerable differences that take place behind the scenes. Some are game changers - A Mortal's rolls to create a Formula are limited by the dangers of chanelling the fire. A Promethian can channel the fire safely, but has the same limit on their rolls to avoid tainting the Formula with her humours. Others are minute details that only affect the most advanced Alchemy: A Promithan may have to account for an inhuman body temperature when holding the glassware.
The Four Principles (O - OOOOO)Edit
The Four Principles define what areas an Alchemist has studied, each formulae uses one of these four principles as a base. An Alchemist cannot use a formulae of a rating higher than his mastery of the relevant principle.
If an Alchemist creates a formulae that transforms something, the applicable principle is whatever covers the starting point rather than the end product.
The Principles are:
- Chemistry - the principle of inanimate matter. Chemistry can transmute matter from one material into another, enhance objects, dissolve them entirely, and even empower robots.
- Medicine - the principle of living matter. Medicine can heal the sick, or create deadly poisons. It can improve a person, or turn them as helpless as a babe.
- Philosophy - the principle of the mind. Philosophy can enhance the power of a healthy mind, or heal a sick one, and it can do the reverse.
- Theology - the principle of the Divine Fire. Philosophy can affect Pyros itself and the strange angels that travel in it's wake. It is Theology that covers Prometheans, no matter what they were Created from.
Merit: Alchemical Laboratory (O - OOOOO)Edit
An Alchemist needs a Laboratory. It is a place in spiritual balance with the Alchemist and the Divine Fire that lights the world and it is a place where you can keep the glassware, ovens and ingredients needed to prepare your Formulae. An Alchemist without access to a Laboratory cannot concoct Formulae.
An Alchemical Laboratory has three bonuses, firstly add your Laboratory's dots to all rolls to prepare a Formula. Secondly a good Laboratory is a well stocked Laboratory. The more dots you have in a Laboratory, the more likely you are to have any ingredients you need on hand, or at least the ability to make them in short order.
Special: Multiple Alchemists can work together and pool their dots into a shared Laboratory. However if they part ways each takes the Dots they contributed -1 representing the time and effort it takes to move out.
Merit: Internal Alchemy (O - OOOOO)Edit
Not all Alchemists work with bubbling crucibles and elegant glassware. Some Alchemists use their own bodies as a tool, transmuting their own flesh, blood and spirit into something greater.
Internal Alchemy is more limited than brewing potions in a laboratory, it cannot be used to affect anything but the Alchemist himself, and Internal Alchemy can never be stored or produce multiple doses in batches. The formulae is "consumed" at the moment of it's creation. However Internal Alchemy Internal Alchemy is far more portable, and free from expensive equipment. Nothing prevents a practitioner from learning both paths.
Transmutation: Reagent Extraction (O, Alchemicus)Edit
Alchemists need a lot of Reagent and mostly it gets brewed in the laboratory, however Prometheans have an advantage: Their Athanors create Reagent on a daily basis. A simple Transmutation allows the Promethean to spend Reagent in their Athanor on in the laboratory.
There is no cost for this ability, it is a permanent change to the Promethans abilities.
Research and DevelopmentEdit
For the supernatural Alchemy is a very scientific process. Much of Alchemy is too unique to the quirks of an individual alchemist's soul, other parts cannot be measured and quantified beyond estimates and intuition. Yet large parts of Alchemy and alchemical theory can be codified, empirically tested, and taught to the next generation of Alchemists. New formulae and possibilities are discovered as each generation of alchemists performs their own studies, scientific developments bring a greater understanding of the world, and communications technology unites distant scholars.
To support this theme, here are four possibilities for ground breaking future discoveries. Any one of these would massively improve the abilities of Alchemists and they should be treated as such; combining them could potentially allow Alchemists to move from laboratory experimenters to supernatural powerhouses. The Alchemists themselves may grumble that it would attract a new generation more interested in power than enlightenment, players who find their own characters overshadowed would most likely agree.
Sublime Internal AlchemyEdit
Minimum perquisites for discovery: Alchemy 5, Internal Alchemy 5, Occult 5, Medicine 5.
Internal Alchemists think of formulae as a perfect whole. Sublime Internal Alchemy is a ground up revision that thinks of formulae as an assembly of interchangeable parts. It is a whole new way of designing formulae, built on a a new theoretical background. You could compare it to the jump from classical to quantum physics.
Sublime Alchemists begin their day by ingesting quantities of the Alchemical Metals as well as sulphur and salt. These ingredients, combined with the biological and spiritual resources present in a healthy human body, can perform any feet of Internal Alchemy the practitioner desires. It is advisable to transmute any left overs into water at the end of the day, that stuff is toxic.
External Internal AlchemyEdit
Minimum perquisites for discovery: Alchemy 5, Internal Alchemy 5, Occult 5, Medicine 5, Iron Stamina 3, Toxin Resistance.
The common wisdom says that Internal Alchemy can change your own body but every Alchemist knows it can change the world as well. Turn your sweat into potassium and touch water. It's not always a good idea, but turning parts of your body into a catalyst is a basic way to affect the world with Internal Alchemy.
External Internal Alchemy takes this further. Rather than producing potassium, turn your skin into an Alchemical formulae. To invent External Internal Alchemy would require a new science of determining how to create formulae in the wet and chaotic environment of the human body rather than the clean controlled laboratory. Preferably without poisoning yourself.
Minimum perquisites for discovery: Alchemy 5, Occult 5, Science 5, chemistry speciality.
The Principle of Chemistry lets Alchemists change matter, but they're are limited by their understanding of matter. To create iron requires some iron to study in an alchemical laboratory, or at least some published texts by an Alchemist who studied iron.
Exotic Alchemy is the ability to bring Alchemy and mundane chemistry together (closer than it already is). With it an Alchemist could develop a formulae from a theoretical understanding of mundane chemistry alone. This would allow the ability to transmutate hypothetical elements and compounds that chemists have predicted but cannot create.
The stock of the Alchemical trade is Formulae. A series of steps, some applied chemistry and others applied spiritualism, that create a supernatural potion, powder or elixir in the Alchemist's own image. Creating a Formulae requires four steps:
Experimental Formulae and Codified FormulaeEdit
As with other ritual magic traits, Alchemists can purchases formulae or the player can improvise an effect that is not on the charachter sheets.
When using Alchemy improvised magic is referred to as experimental formulae, while any formulae the player has purchased with experience is referred to as a codified formulae.
Step One: The Design Edit
The player chooses what effect they wish the formulae to perform, she makes a not of which principle applies.
In addition the player chooses which formulae factors they wish to use from the following list:
If an Alchemist can make a elixir that can cure diseases, then with a bigger pot they can make five elixirs that cure diseases.
Doses Produced: Target Number
- One Dose: None (basic success)
- Two Doses: +1 Success, requires a two dot laboratory.
- Four Doses: +2 Successes, requires a three dot laboratory.
- Eight Doses: +3 Successes, requires a four dot laboratory.
- Sixteen Doses: +4 Successes, requires a five dot laboratory.
Sixteen Doses is the maximum.
Note that each does is enough for one living being, or around eight meters of inanimate matter such as a lead cube two meters across.
Shelf Life Edit
Chemistry is the study of change, so is alchemy for that matter. Even when it's sitting on a shelf a potion changes, in time it can no longer be used for it's origonal purpose. A formula's shelf life defines how long can go between it's creation and it's use.
Shelf Life: Target Number
- Dots in Alchemy hours: None (basic success)
- One Day: +1 Successes
- One Week: +2 Successes
- One Month: +3 Successes
- Each additional month beyond the first: +1 additional success
By default an Alchemical potion needs to be drunk, and an oil used on inanimate matter requires a constant rubbing motion. An Alchemist can make their creations easier to apply.
- The elixir must be drunk: None (basic success)
- The oil must have physical contact with inanimate matter: None (basic success)
- The oil must have physical contact with animate matter: +1 Success
- The concoction is a gas that will spread by itself: +2 Successes
Note that gasses can spread to an area of around two cube meters per dose released (so nine doses affects four cube meters, and so forth).
By default alchemy is pretty obvious, it has unusual colours and tastes terrible. With effort an Alchemist can make his concoctions appear normal.
This only applies to the concoction itself, not it's results. An oil which transforms lead into gold may be glowing and obviously unusual, but once it's been used the result would be completely ordinary looking gold.
- Obvious: Anyone looking at the product can tell it's unusual, if not that it's unnatural. Tasting, smelling or touching the product will probably work too. Basic success.
- Unobtrusive: The alchemical formulae can be disguised as a normal substance but not perfectly. If it is examined closely, or if it is tasted or otherwise affects a target, a Wits + Composure roll may be made to realise it is not what it seems. +1 success.
- Invisible: The result is indistinguishable from a natural and common substance such as water or orange juice. The effects however may still be completely obvious. +2 successes
Duration is used for an effect that must persist longer than a single turn. Note that wounds, whether healed or caused, and other lingering consequences of the formulae persist even after the duration ends. Living beings have a separate duration to inanimate matter.
Duration (living beings): Target Number
- One Turn: None (basic success)
- Caster's Alchemy Dots turns: +1 Success
- One Scene: +2 Successes
- One Day: +3 Successes
- One Week: +4 Successes
- One Month: +5 Successes
- Each additional month beyond the first: +1 additional success
Duration (inanimate matter): Target Number
- Caster's Alchemy Dots turns: None (basic success)
- One Scene: +1 Successes
- One Day: +2 Successes
- One Week: +3 Successes
- One Month: +4 Successes
- Permanent: +5 Successes
Materials or objects created with a Permanent duration are completely natural and mundane. There is no magic within holding the object in it's present form, and no magic can be used to "dispell" the alchemy, because you can't "dispell" a mundane object.
Potency represents the strength of the concoction created; it is used whenever the ritual has an incremental effect. Formulae that add or subtract dice from dice pools use Potency to determine the dice by which to modify the pools. Formulae that inflict damage use Potency to determine how severe the wounds are.
Potency: Target Number
- 1: None (basic success)
- 2: +1 Success
- 3: +2 Success
- 4: +3 Success
- 5: +4 Success
- Each additional point of potency beyond five: +1 additional Success
When turning lead into gold or otherwise changing inanimate matter the question of how much can be changed is sure to come up. Living beings do not use the Size modifier.
Size: Target Number
- 1: None (basic success)
- 2: +1 Success
- 3: +2 Success
- 4: +3 Success
- 5: +4 Success
- Each additional point of Size beyond five: +1 additional Success
Step Two: Ingredients Edit
Every Formula requires Ingredients ranging from things you'd be surprised not to find in a chemistry Laboratory to stranger things like the horns of an ox or a bezoar from a goat's stomach. An "ingredient" for Internal Alchemy could be a waterfall to meditate under, as well as consumables. The possibilities are endless.
Each formulae requires one rare ingredient per dot, however the alchemist may well have some in stock, or be able to create the ingredients within the laboratory. Roll Laboratory Dots or Internal Alchemy, each success reduces the required ingredients by one.
If the Alchemist is working from a codified formulae then the roll is much more generous, if you work with eagle feathers a lot you may as well buy in bulk. Roll Formulae Dots - Laboratory Dots or Internal Alchemy, each success is one missing ingredient, do not roll any chance dice.
Prometheans have an alternative, which is useful since their ability to get hold of rare or expensive ingredients: Reagent. Each point of Reagent can substitute for any ingredient.
Step Three: Brewing Edit
Once the player has designed the effect they wish for, and the Alchemist has acquired the nessacary ingredients the time has come to make an extended roll to create the elixir. Every formula requires five traits to create.
The first trait is a physical deftness of the hand, the ability to pour precisely and stir a bubbling crucible constantly. Technology can help, but only so much for every product of Alchemy must be the creation of the Alchemist's own hand and a reflection of the soul. This trait is Dexterity.
The second requirement is a knowledge of Alchemical theory. Any tom, dick or harry can follow the instructions in a formula; but the Alchemist who understands why it calls for the beak of an ibis and not a heron is the one who can adjust and work around challenges ranging from an uncomfortably hot day to differences between his soul and the soul of the Formula's author. Alchemical theory falls under the skill Occult.
Third is the principles of Alchemy, an Alchemist who feels the flow of the universe will find it much easier to channel that flow. This trait is whichever of the four principles applies to the formulae at work.
A lot of Alchemy speaks of purifying onself, for a pure soul will make an Alchemist's work all the easier and his creations all the greater. It is Humanity (or Morality for Mortal Alchemists) that measures the potency of a soul, but the requirements for Humanity are strict. For every dot of Humanity above 7 there is a +1 bonus, but for every dot of Humanity below 4 there is a -1 penalty.
The final trait is the tools of a trade. Most Alchemists use a Laboratory, stocked with ingredients and covered in apparatus for experiments and the creation of elixirs. Others use their own body. The better the quality of equipment and ingredients the easier it is to complete a formula. Of coarse more advanced formulae require more advanced equipment and more exotic ingredients so the final trait is Alchemical Laboratory or Internal Alchemy - the Formula's Dots.
All together the dicepool to create a formula is Dexterity + Occult + Principle + Alchemical Laboratory or Internal Alchemy + Humanity/Morality Modifier - the Formula's Dots.
Creating a Formula is an extended action with one roll per hour. The Alchemist must achieve the required successes in a number of rolls equal to their Alchemy trait before it becomes too dangerous to continue working with the Divine Fire.
When working with experimental formulae there is always a possibility that the Alchemist's calculations are off, that the procedure she has created isn't going to work. If the Alchemist rolls two failures in a row then there is a fault which requires her to start over. All competent Alchemists know that some experimentation is required, and try to acquire enough ingredients for a few tries.
If the Alchemist makes a number of attempts equal to his dots in Occult, and fails them all, then clearly the experimental formulae is a pure dead end. He will have to start from scratch, and almost certainly needs different ingredients for the second attempt.
Codified formulae, are of course thankfully free from both these hassles.
Alchemy and PandoransEdit
An Alchemist is not part of a Pandoran's diet, but the works they create are. What's worse for the Alchemist is that the act of channelling the fire can rouse dormant Pandorans. Mechanically so long as the Alchemist is following a Formula they emit an Azothic Radiance equal to half the Formula's dots, rounded up.
[Here goes 90% of the Alchemy text]