A gnome charges headlong across a bloody battlefield, screaming defiance at her enemies. A vial tumbles free of her fingers as she moves with supernatural speed across the chaos. She perches atop a small rise and spies four enemy soldiers in the trench beneath her. With deft hands, she mixes and then throws a cluster of bombs. She runs off to another part of the battle even before the thunderous reports of the explosions stop echoing through the trench.
Axes rise and fall as screams fill the air. In the back of a caravan wagon, a hin sees a band of orcs butchering townsfolk. Steeling himself, he smears a cold, greasy paste onto his neck and feels a sheath of frost cover his body from head to toe. Blowing out a sigh, he trips the trigger in his mind and wills his grim, alter ego to take control as his entire body violently shifts and contorts. Vicious claws and teeth rapidly grow out of his small features. With a sneer, the monstrous figure leaps out of the wagon and sinks its fangs into a passing orc.
A drow crouches quietly in a small, dark room with an array of bottles, pouches, and small crossbow bolts spread out before him on a table. With great care, he dips the bolts into several substances and places them into a carefully crafted leather bracer strapped to his forearm. Packing away his things and drawing his hand crossbow, he quaffs a small vial of clear liquid and fades into invisibility, then slips into the hallway. Far at the end, he spots the guard and raises the first envenomed missile to deliver silent death.
Alchemists are scientists who research and study to understand the world around them. Whether secreted away in a smoky basement laboratory or gleefully experimenting in a well-respected school of magic, the alchemist is often regarded as being just as unstable, unpredictable, and dangerous as the concoctions it brews. The alchemist captures its own potential within the concoctions it creates, infusing them with catalysts to grant impressive skill with poisons, explosives, and all manner of self-transformative effects.
Scholarship and Discovery
An alchemist is part student, part adventurer, and part mad scientist. They seek to understand the world and how it works by using their prolific intellects to conduct experiments and study the results. While mages study and treat it as an academic pursuit, alchemists are, on the whole, more interested in understanding the nature of the world, the multiverse, and reality itself. Alchemists tend to focus on the interaction of the many variables that conspire in any given situation.
To an alchemist, there are many factors in the grand equation that makes up reality, and truth can be found through combination of flesh and blood, steel and stone, or even sentient thought. Alchemists use all of the tools at their disposal to hunt down new discoveries about the forces which keep existence in motion.
Hands on Experience
Scholars, students, and researchers typically do not evoke the image of an adventurer when one thinks of them. Though, there is only so much that can be learned in a classroom. Most alchemists have some degree of formal training, perhaps from a school or a personal mentor, but there comes a time when even the most stalwart bookworm realizes that their studies cannot effectively advance without experience in the real world. The world outside of the classroom is a varied and often dangerous place full of apparent randomness. While the controlled conditions of a sterile laboratory are often helpful for conducting experiments, most alchemists reach a point where they welcome this unpredictability in order to broaden their horizons.
Every situation one encounters while out adventuring forces one to look at a situation while in different states of mind and from new perspectives. Each crisis is an opportunity to learn some new secret that is just waiting for some visionary or pioneer to stumble upon it. The laboratory cannot produce the same opportunities for greatness that a life of adventuring can, and so it is understandable why many alchemists take up the mantle of the adventurer as they attempt to further their educations.
|1||You tend to lose track of things that are not your work. Pretty much as soon as they stop talking to you.|
|2||Your solutions to problems make most people prefer the problem.|
|3||You are convinced that if all parties behave rationally, there is always an equitable solution to any problem.|
|4||You will go great lengths to get your hand on ancient relics of past civilizations. For museums, of course. Eventually.|
To add some texture to your alchemist, consider the quirks your character has acquired. These behaviors have no game effect, but your character might become irritated or upset if forced to break them. They’re a great roleplaying tool to add character to the game. You can roll on or pick from the table below, or create your own quirks. Aim to create two quirks, to give them more of a chance to come into play. Finally, consider why your character chose these behaviors. What do they say about your character’s personality or background? Are they based on a specific incident or a belief?
Creating an Alchemist
When you create an alchemist character, the first piece of the puzzle that makes up your character’s identity is determining where they got their start as an alchemist. Alchemy is a fairly esoteric pursuit, and its practice is not typically common knowledge.
Did your character attend a school of some sort which imparted the secrets of alchemy? Or did you perhaps have access to a private tutor provided by your wealthy family? Or maybe you befriended a local hermit near your village who had more than a few tricks up his sleeve. In any case, knowing how you got your start down the path of the alchemist is critical to your character’s background.
What was your relationship like with your teacher(s)? Are you still in contact with them? Perhaps you work for them. Perhaps you were cast out by them. How does that relationship affect who you are, what you are doing, and why you are doing it?
The next important question is, what is your character’s motivation to study alchemy? What is it that you hope to discover or learn from your career of study and experimentation? Is there a particular goal you’re after, or is the pursuit of knowledge alone enough for you? In any case, what is it that drove you out into the world and a life of adventure? What is it that you want to learn so badly that you are willing to risk life, limb, or worse just to catch a glimpse of it? Or do you just welcome the challenge as something to test your skills against?
Choose an archetype, which grants you features.
You train to exercise your talents in the thick of battle. You learn methods of creating explosive alchemical reactions and become more adept at using alchemical bombs.
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
(a) a crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) any simple weapon
(a) one vial of alchemical fire (b) one vial of alchemical acid or (c) one minor healing potion
A formula book
(a) a scholar’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
The study of alchemy is ancient, stretching back to the earliest mortal discoveries of science. It is firmly established in fantasy gaming worlds, with various disciplines dedicated to its complex study. Alchemists through the ages have cataloged thousands of formulas.
Choose an Alchemical Discipline
Choose an alchemical discipline, which grants you features.
Some alchemists dedicate their studies to the science and art of healing. While all alchemists are driven to uncover the mysteries of alchemy, apothecaries focus their work toward the art of preserving and restoring the living. They see the study of life and how it might thrive as the best means of achieving discovery and revelation.
|Level||Proficiency Bonus||Features||Discoveries||Catalysts||Catalysts Limit|
|1st||+2||Alchemy, Second Wind||2||2||1|
|2nd||+2||Alchemical Adaptation, Alchemical Crafter, Alchemical Inspiration, Alchemical Resilience, Alchemist’s Stone, Feat (1), Minor Alchemy||4||3||1|
|3rd||+2||Abilities Increase (1), Skilled (1)||6||5||1|
|5th||+3||Alchemical Weapon, Extra Action, Skilled (2)||10||8||2|
|6th||+3||Feat (3), Resilient||12||9||2|
|7th||+3||Abilities Increase (2), Skilled (3)||14||11||2|
|10th||+4||Feat (5), Resilient||20||15||3|
|11th||+4||Abilities Increase (3), Skilled (5)||22||17||3|
|13th||+5||Alchemical Inspiration, Alchemical Weapon, Eschew Mortality, Skilled (6)||26||20||4|
|15th||+5||Abilities Increase (4), Skilled (7)||30||23||4|
|17th||+6||Alchemical Stone, Alchemical Weapon, Awakened Intellect, Skilled (8)||34||26||5|
|19th||+6||Abilities Increase (5), Skilled (9)||38||29||5|
You can create alchemical concoctions.
You know one theme of your choice and the Life theme.
Your formula book
The concoction formulas that you add to your formula book as you gain levels reflect the research you conduct on your own, as well as intellectual breakthroughs you have had. You might find other concoction formulas during your adventures. You could discover a formula recorded on a scroll in an alchemist’s formula book or in a dusty tome in an ancient library.
Copying a Formula into the Book. When you find a concoction formula, you can add it to your formula book if you can decipher the unique system of notation used by the alchemist who wrote it, it is from a theme you know, it costs equal to (or less than) your catalyst limit, and if you can spare the time and costs to copy it. To understand the concoction, make an Alchemy ability check. On a success, you can understand it. On a failure, you are unable to try again for 24 hours.
Once understood, copying that concoction formula into your formula book involves reproducing the basic form of the formula, practicing the concoction until you understand the chemicals and composition required, then transcribe it into your formula book using your own notation.
For each catalyst cost of the concoction, the process consumes 5 catalysts, takes at least 2 hours, and costs 100 sp. The cost represents materials you expend as you experiment with the concoction to master it, as well as the fine inks you need to record it. The original formula is not altered by this process.
Replacing the Book. You can copy a concoction formula from your own formula book into another book—for example, if you want to make a backup copy of your formula book. This is just like copying a new concoction formula into your formula book, but faster and easier, since you understand your own notation and already know how to create the concoction. You need spend only 1 catalyst, 1 hour, and 20 sp for each catalyst of the copied concoction.
If you lose your formula book, you can use the same procedure to transcribe the concoction formulas that you have prepared into a new formula book. Filling out the remainder of your formula book requires you to find new formulas to do so, as normal. For this reason, many alchemists keep backup formula books in a safe place.
The Book’s Appearance. Your formula book is a unique compilation of concoction formulas, with its own decorative flourishes and margin notes. It might be a plain, functional leather volume that you received as a gift from your master, a finely bound gilt-edged tome you found in an ancient library, or even a loose collection of notes scrounged together after you lost your previous formula book in a mishap.
Design note on the availability of formulas
Concoctions can be made available to an Alchemist character through enemy formula books, formula scrolls, or possibly a form of alchemical research if your GM desires such a system. Keep in mind that if many concoctions are available, the Alchemist will be significantly more powerful as they can keep rarely used concoctions in their formula book for immediate use when needed and use their concoctions known for the commonly used concoctions. For this reason, I would recommend limiting the amount of concoctions that an Alchemist can add to their formula book. An average of 1 concoction per level is a good guideline.
You have a formula book containing formulas to create concoctions. Each time you gain a level you can write the concoctions you learn from that level into your formula book without expending any sp, though you still must spend time writing them. Choose one theme, the gold and time you must spend to copy concoctions from this theme into your formula book is halved.
You prepare the list of concoctions that are available for you to create. To do so, choose a number of concoctions from your formula book equal to your Intelligence + the amount of concoctions you can prepare based on your Discovery choices.
For example, if you are level 3 with 3 Intelligence and you have chosen 3 concoctions, your list of prepared concoctions can include six concoctions. Creating the concoction doesn’t remove it from your list of prepared concoctions.
You can change your list of prepared concoctions when you finish a short or long rest. Preparing a new list of concoctions requires time spent brewing chemical bases which catalysts can be added to: at least 1 minute per catalyst cost for each concoction on your list.
You gain two discoveries as shown on the Discoveries column of the Chemist table. A discovery grants one of the following options:
- Learn a new theme
- You can prepare an additional concoction when you finish a short or long rest. Additionally, add a new concoction from a theme you know to your formula book. The concoction is added to your formula book without expending any sp, though you still must spend time writing it. The concoction must cost equal to, or less than, your catalysts limit. If the concoction costs 2 or more catalysts, you must know a number of feats or concoctions from the concoction’s theme equal to the concoction’s catalyst cost minus 1.
When you gain a level, you gain two additional discoveries and you choose a concoction in your formula book and replace it with another concoction from a theme you know, following the restrictions above.
Your formula book contains four concoctions of your choice from the themes you know.
Concoctions are inherently short lived. If a concoction is not used or consumed within 24 hours of being created it loses its power. A character can expend resources to add preservative chemicals which make it last much longer as detailed on Alchemical Creations.
The Chemist table shows how many catalysts you have to create concoctions. To create a concoction, you must expend catalysts based on the concoction’s cost.
You regain half your total catalysts (rounded up) when you finish a short rest and all expended catalysts when you finish a long rest. If you have any unused concoctions, you regain fewer catalysts equal to the amount of catalysts unused.
There is a limit on the amount of catalysts you can spend to create a concoction. The limit is based on your level, as shown on the Catalysts Limit column of the Chemist table.
Concoctions using 5 catalysts
Concoctions using 5 catalysts are particularly taxing to create. Once you create a concoction using 5 catalysts, you can’t create another concoction using 5 catalysts until you finish a long rest.
Intelligence is your alchemical ability for your concoctions since you learn your concoctions through dedicated study and memorization. You use your Intelligence whenever a concoction refers to your alchemical ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence when setting the saving throw DC for a concoction you create and when making an attack roll with one.
Alchemical save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence
Alchemical attack = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence
You have a limited well of energy that you can draw on to protect yourself from harm. As an action, you can spend up to half your Health Dice. For each Health Die spent in this way, roll the die and add your Constitution. You can decide to spend an additional Health Die after each roll. You regain health equal to the total.
Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.
On a short rest you can choose a number of concoctions you know up to half your proficiency bonus (rounded down) and replace each of them with another concoction in your formula book from a theme you know, which must cost equal to, or less than, your catalyst limit. On a long rest you can choose and replace a number of concoctions equal to your proficiency bonus.
You can craft alchemical items twice as quickly as normal. For example, if it normally takes a non-alchemist 3 days to craft an alchemical item, you can craft the same item in a day and a half.
You can call a concoction to mind that suits your needs. On your turn with your formula book in hand, you can create a concoction in your formula book. Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.
You can use this feature twice between rests starting at 13th level.
From repeated exposure to dangerous toxic substances and constant experimentation using yourself as the test subject, you develop a resistance to poisons. You have resistance to acid and poison damage and advantage on saving throws against being poisoned.
You can spend 8 hours creating an alchemist’s stone that stores alchemical energy. You can benefit from the stone yourself or give it to another creature. A creature gains a benefit of your choice as long as the stone is in the creature’s possession. When you create the stone, choose the benefit from the following options:
- Darkvision out to a range of 10 meters. If the creature already has darkvision, its range increases by 10 meters.
- An increase to speed of 2 meters while the creature is unencumbered.
- Capability, or proficiency if they are already capable, in Fortitude saving throws.
- Resistance to acid, cold, concussion, fire, or lightning damage (your choice whenever you choose this benefit).
Each time you expend catalysts to use a concoction, you can change the effect of your stone if the stone is on your person. If you create a new alchemist’s stone, the previous one ceases to function.
A feat represents an area of expertise that gives a character special capabilities. It embodies training, experience, and abilities beyond what a class provides.
You gain a feat of your choice from the general feats or from a theme you know.
You gain additional feats at 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th, and 20th level.
When you gain a level, you can choose one of the feats you know and replace it with another feat that you could have learned when the replaced feat was chosen.
You can temporarily alter the physical properties of one nonmagical object, changing it from one substance into another. You perform a special alchemical procedure on one object composed entirely of wood, stone (but not a gemstone), iron, copper, or silver, transforming it into a different one of those materials.
For each 10 minutes you spend performing the procedure, you can transform up to half a cubic meter of material. After 1 hour, the material reverts to its original substance.
Increase two abilities of your choice by 1 and one of your lowest two abilities by 1.
If multiple abilities are tied for one of your lowest abilities, you can choose any of them.
Increase your abilities again at 7th, 11th, 15th, and 19th level.
As normal, you can’t increase an ability above 5 using this feature.
Choose a skill from your skill list or a skill that you are capable with to improve your proficiency with. If you are untrained, you become capable. If you are capable, you become proficient.
At 3rd level, 9th level, and 15th level you can choose a skill that is not from your skill list.
You can create a contraption that can automatically apply a reservoir of liquid to one bolt you fire from a crossbow each round. Choose one of the following concoctions from a theme you know. The contraption contains the concoction liquid and is created without expending catalysts.
At 13th level the concoction is augmented to 2 catalysts and at 17th level the concoction is augmented to 3 catalysts without expending catalysts.
Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.
You can apply corrosive oil.
You can apply envenomed oil.
You can apply sharpness oil.
You can use two actions on your turn instead of one.
Choose Fortitude, Reflex, or Will saving throws to become capable with, or proficient if you are already capable.
Choose another saving throw at 10th level.
Your research has led you to uncover the very secrets of immortality. You cease aging naturally, and you can’t be aged magically.
You have unlocked hidden secrets in your Alchemist’s Stone. As an action, you can use the stone to cause one of the following effects.
Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.
You touch the alchemist’s stone to a willing creature, and at the start of each of its turns for 1 hour it regains 5 health if it isn’t incapacitated.
You can transmute one nonmagical object that you touch with the alchemist’s stone—no larger than a 2-meter cube—into another nonmagical object of similar size and mass and of equal or lesser value. You must spend 10 minutes handling the object to transform it.
You remove all curses, diseases, and poisons affecting a creature that you touch with the alchemist’s stone. The creature also regains all its health.
A creature that has died within the last minute that you touch with the alchemist’s stone returns to life with 1 health. This effect can’t return to life a creature that has died of old age, nor can it restore any missing body parts.
You touch the alchemist’s stone to a willing creature, and that creature’s apparent age is reduced by 1d6 years, to a minimum of the age of a late teenager. This effect doesn’t extend the creature’s lifespan.
Your Intelligence increases by 2. Your maximum for this ability is now 7.