Kryx RPGThemes

Alchemist

Alchemist

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.

Quirks

Alchemist Quirks
d4Quirk
1You tend to lose track of things that are not your work. Pretty much as soon as they stop talking to you.
2Your solutions to problems make most people prefer the problem.
3You are convinced that if all parties behave rationally, there is always an equitable solution to any problem.
4You 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?

Archetypes

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.

Health

Health Dice: 1d6 per level
Health: 1d6 (or 4) + your Constitution per level

Aptitudes

Armor: You are capable with Leather, Hide, and Chain.
Saving Throw: You are capable with Fortitude saving throws and either Reflex or Will saving throws.
Skills: You are capable with Alchemy, Weapons (Crossbows), and five skills, one of which must be Weapons.

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • Leather armor

  • (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 dagger

  • A formula book

  • Alchemist’s supplies

  • (a) a scholar’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack

Alchemical Disciplines

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.

The Chemist

LevelAptitude BonusFeaturesDiscoveriesCatalystsCatalyst Limit
1st+1Alchemy, Alchemical Research, Second Wind, Specialty221
2nd+1Alchemical Adaptation, Alchemical Crafter, Alchemical Inspiration, Alchemical Resilience, Alchemist’s Stone, Feat (1), Minor Alchemy431
3rd+1Abilities Increase (1), Skilled (1)651
4th+1Feat (2)861
5th+2Skilled (2), Armored, Extra Action1082
6th+2Feat (3), Resilient1292
7th+2Abilities Increase (2), Skilled (3)14112
8th+2Feat (4)16122
9th+3Skilled (4), Alchemical Weapon18143
10th+3Feat (5), Resilient20153
11th+3Abilities Increase (3), Skilled (5)22173
12th+3Feat (6)24183
13th+4Alchemical Inspiration, Skilled (6), Alchemical Weapon, Eschew Mortality26204
14th+4Feat (7)28214
15th+4Abilities Increase (4), Skilled (7)30234
16th+4Feat (8)32244
17th+5Skilled (8), Alchemical Weapon, Alchemical Stone, Awakened Intellect34265
18th+5Feat (9)36275
19th+5Abilities Increase (5), Skilled (9)38295
20th+5Feat (10)40305

Features

Alchemy

You can create alchemical concoctions.

Themes

You know one theme of your choice and the Life theme.

Formula Book

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. Remember that a formula book has 100 blank vellum pages suitable for recording concoctions and a concoction takes up one page per catalyst cost.

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 copy so another alchemist can learn from it or to make a backup of your formula book. For each catalyst cost of the concoction this uses 1 catalyst, takes 5 minutes, and costs 20 sp.

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.

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.

Preparing Concoctions

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.

Discoveries

You gain two discoveries as shown on the Discoveries column of the Chemist table. A discovery grants one of the following options:

  • 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 catalyst 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.
  • You can use two discoveries to learn a new theme.

When you gain a level, you gain additional discoveries as shown on the Discoveries column of the Chemist table and you can choose a concoction in your formula book and replace it with another concoction from a theme you know.

Starting Concoctions

You know four concoctions from the themes you know. Your formula book contains the concoctions you know.

Volatile Concoctions

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.

Catalysts

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 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.

Catalyst Limit

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 Catalyst Limit column of the Chemist table.

High catalysts concoctions

Concoctions using 4 or 5 catalysts are particularly taxing to create. Once you create a concoction using 4 catalysts, you can’t create another concoction using 4 catalysts until you finish a short or long rest and once you create a concoction using 5 catalysts, you can’t create another concoction using 5 catalysts until you finish a long rest.

Alchemy Ability

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. The Alchemy skill describes how to create a concoction.

Alchemical Research

d20Complication
1Your experiments have drawn unwanted attention from someone or something who will make your life more difficult such as a demon, a higher power, a noble of the land, a thief, an alchemist hunter, a wild monster, a rival alchemist, a zealous acoloyte, a furious naturalist, or an angry mob.
2–3There was a small fire and you accidentally singed your formula book. Lose one random concoction from your formula book (or the formula book itself if you have no concoctions to lose).
4–8Your experimentation has caused an accident. You owe 2d10 × 10 sp per catalyst cost to cover the damages.
9–20Your experimentation caused strange results. Roll on the Wild Surge table.

As a student of alchemy, you are able to learn concoctions through careful study, research, and experimentation. To perform alchemical research, there are four basic steps:

1. Choose a topic

Choose a concoction that costs equal to, or less than, your catalyst limit.

2. Research and experimentation

To conduct research and experiments, you need access to your formula book, inks, any material components required by the concoction, and a relatively stable environment to experiment. This process uses 5 catalyst, takes 8 hours (which can be done as a downtime activity), and costs 50 sp for each catalyst cost of the concoction. This represents attempting to cast the concoction several times with different environments, materials, or targets to learn how it works.

For every hour of research and experimentation, make an Alchemy check. You must be proficient with Alchemy if the concoction costs 2 or more catalysts. The Difficulty is 18 + 2 × the concoction’s catalyst cost. For every additional 5 sp for each catalyst cost of the concoction that you spend every hour by hiring assistants, buying equipment, buying materials to test on, etc, you gain a +1 bonus to this check (up to your catalyst limit).

Add 5 to the difficulty if the concoction is from a theme you don’t know or if the concoction costs 2 or more catalyst and you don’t know a number of concoctions from the concoction’s theme equal to the concoction’s catalyst cost minus 1.

On a success, the time counts toward your research. If you have completed the time to research the concoction, you can transcribe the concoction into your formula book, which costs 50 sp for each catalyst cost of the concoction. You can learn a number of concoctions from a theme you don’t know up to your catalyst limit + 1.

On a failure, the time is wasted. If you fail by 4 or less, you gain a research credit. If you fail by 5 or more, you are unable to try again for 24 hours and roll a d20 and compare the result to the complications table.

3. Determine complications

Roll a d6. If you roll less than or equal to the catalyst cost of the concoction then there is a complication. Roll a d20 and compare the result to the complications table.


Research Credits

During your experiments you may make some advancements and during your adventures you may find research notes made by other alchemists. These research credits can help you during your experimentation. When you make a research check, you can spend a research credit to add 2d4 to the result.

During your adventures you could discover a formula recorded on a scroll in an alchemist’s formula book, in a dusty tome in an ancient library, or you could discover a concoction that is already made. While you have the concoction or concoction formula accessible, you can gain the benefits of a research credit to learn that concoction without spending a research credit. A concoction that is already made is only partially sufficient to learn from so research credits from it are partial credits which add 1d4 to the result instead of 2d4. If you learn the concoction, the original concoction formula or concoction dims as the energy contained in it is absorbed.

Second Wind

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 (minimum 1). 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.

Specialty

Choose one theme, the gold and time you must spend to copy concoctions from this theme into your formula book is halved.

Alchemical Adaptation

On a short rest you can choose a number of concoctions you know up to half your Aptitude Bonus (min 1) 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 Aptitude Bonus.

Alchemical Crafter

You can craft alchemical items twice as quickly as normal. For example, if it normally takes a non-alchemist 2 days to craft an alchemical item, you can craft the same item in a day.

Alchemical Inspiration

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 that is in your formula book as if you know it. 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.

Alchemical Resilience

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.

Alchemist’s Stone

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 aptitudes. 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.

Minor Alchemy

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.

Abilities Increase

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. As normal, you can’t increase an ability above 5 using this feature.

Increase your abilities again at 7th, 11th, 15th, and 19th level.

Choose a skill to become capable with, or proficient if you are already capable and are 5th level or higher.

At 5th level, you choose three skills to improve instead of one.

At 3rd and 7th level, you also choose a Weapons skill to improve. At 5th level, you also choose two Weapons skills to improve.

You can only become proficient with simple weapons and weapons from the Crossbow weapon group.

Armored

You become proficient with armors that you are capable with.

Extra Action

Reminder

There are some limits for what can be done with two actions. See Actions in combat section.

You can use two actions on your turn instead of one.

Resilient

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.

Alchemical Weapon

You can create a contraption that can automatically apply a reservoir of liquid to each bolt you fire from a crossbow. As two actions, you can attach or remove the contraption to or from a crossbow. Choose one theme you know to determine the damage type the liquid deals:

  • Acid. acid damage.
  • Fire. fire damage.
  • Ice. cold damage.
  • Light. radiant damage.
  • Poison. poison damage.

Each bolt fired from the crossbow deals extra 1d4 damage of the chosen type.

The damage increases to 1d6 at 13th level and to 2d6 at 17th level.

Eschew Mortality

Your research has led you to uncover the very secrets of immortality. You cease aging naturally, and you can’t be aged magically.

Alchemical Stone

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.

Fast Healing

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.

Major Transformation

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.

Panacea

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.

Restore Life

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.

Restore Youth

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.

Awakened Intellect

Your Intelligence increases by 2. Your maximum for this ability is now 7.