Wednesday, 8 April 2015

There is Therefore a Strange Land: Alchemist Class Beginning Thoughts and Nigrido Basic List

The Alchemist can make three basic kinds of substance: potions, which are liquids usually used as grenades or sprays, oils, for anointing objects or organic substances such as limbs, and greases, which are for smearing on things.

Unlike a spell-caster he is not limited by what he can memorise. Instead he is limited by the price of the ingredients he must put in his substances, and by what he can carry. Alchemical materials can generally only be contained in glass. And glass easily shatters.

The substances he can create are divided into four categories - the nigrido substances, which do harm to living things or the environment and are easiest to learn, albedo substances, which heal or purify, citrinitas substances, which transform and mutate, and rubedo substances, which allow the alchemist to perform demigod-like powers. These categories are accessed from level 1, level 3, level 5 and level 9 respectively.

Each of these four categories has its own basic list. This is a standard set of special things that a substance can do, gaining in power according to the level of the alchemist, and broken down into potions/oils/greases. The effects can be mixed and matched, with the caveat that mixing different effects can make substances unstable: for every additional desired effect, there is cumulative 1 in 6 chance there will have to be a roll on the undesired effect table.

It is assumed that the alchemist has access to all of the ingredients required to make the substances he or she desires, except for the special ingredient which provides the key effect.

What follows is the nigrido basic list, which is non-exhaustive at the moment. Special ingredients and their costs are indicated in brackets; the cost is sometimes given 'per level' but there is nothing stopping, for instance, a level 5 alchemist making a potion having level 1 effects at a level 1 price, and so on.

There is Therefore a Strange Land uses a silver standard, with a shilling being a silver piece. A guinea is 21 shillings, and a shilling is divided into 12 pence.

The Nigrido Basic List (Access from Level 1)

Potion Effects:

Gas (creates a cloud/fog on shattering for d3+3 rounds per level of the alchemist up to level 5) [Butter of Antimony, 2 guineas per level]
Blinding (creates a blinding explosion on shattering, blinding anything within 10' whose HD is equal to or less than the level of the alchemist) [Fulminating Gold, 3 guineas, 10 shillings per level]
Staining (stains the skin a strange colour on contact, or the entire body on drinking) [Verdigris, 1 guinea]
Caustic (burns the skin and organic objects, doing d3 DMG per level of the alchemist) [Thion Hudor, 3 guineas per level]
Befuddling (causes anyone inhaling the fumes - within 20' of shattering - to be at -1 to hit and -1 morale per level of the alchemist up to level 9) [Cobalt or Kupfer-Nickel, 3 guineas per level]
Incendiary (causes flammable objects within grenade-radius to ignite, including flesh) [Brimstone, 4 guineas]
Poison (causes instant death on drinking unless the target successfully saves against poison) [Aqua Tofani, 7 guineas]

Grease Effects:

Solvent (gradually dissolves wood, metal or stone) [Caustic Wood Alkali, 3 guineas]
Slippery (causes slips as per the 'grease' spell) [Naples Yellow, 1 guinea]
Explosive (explodes when stepped on, doing d6+3 DMG to anybody within a 5' radius and d6 DMG to anybody within a 10' radius per level of the alchemist, up to level 6) [Fulminating Silver, 6 guineas per level]

Oil Effects:

Sharpness (makes a bladed weapon do +1 DMG for d3 hours per level of the alchemist) [Sugar of Lead, 3 guineas, 10 shillings per level]
Accuracy (makes any weapon perform at +1 to hit for d3 hours per level of the alchemist) [Resin of Copper, 3 guineas, 10 shillings per level]
Slick (causes hinges, locks, etc. to be easily manipulated) [Blue Vitriol, 1 guinea]
Poison (when applied to a weapon causes instant death on a successful hit unless the target successfully saves against poison; lasts d3 hours per level of the alchemist) [Mercurous Chloride, 7 guineas per level]
Flame (ignites in flame when applied, typically to a weapon; the flame spreads to any flammable object the item touches; lasts d3 minutes per level of the alchemist) [Aes Cyprium, 2 guineas, 10 shillings per level]


  1. Sounds great! To me, the slippery and staining effects seem like they might fall more under the "citrinitas" column of transformation or transmutation. I could definitely see freezing or even replacing with the "void" as nigrido effects if you're thinking of adding any more.

  2. Are you planning on writing anything more mechanically explicit than the statement "And glass easily shatters" regarding the fragility of containers?

    1. Yes. Rules for glass shattering accidentally during combat and adventuring, and also rules for throwing bottles as grenades.