Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Alchemist

An Alchemist character class for ACKS.

Alchemist (pdf version here)

Prime Requisite:   INT
Requirements:      None
Hit Dice:               1d4
Maximum Level:  14

Alchemists follow occult traditions seeking enlightenment and mastery of physical and chemical processes, with the ultimate goal of discovering the fabled Philosopher’s Stone, a creation that is said to be able to transmute base metals to gold and grant eternal life. Known for mixing chemicals and potions, alchemists also mix experimental and esoteric practices in their search for mastery of physical and spiritual realities. Moreso even than mages, alchemists are responsible for many of the potions, unguents, oils, and tonics that heal or harm their imbibers.

Because of their devotion to laboratory work, alchemists receive limited combat training. At first level, alchemists hit an unarmored foe (AC 0) with an attack throw of 10+. They advance in attack throws only two points every six levels of experience (i.e., as mages) and in saving throws two points for every four levels of experience (i.e., as thieves). They may only fight with daggers, saps, slings, and darts. They are unable to use shields, fight with two weapons, or wear any kind of armor. For these reasons, alchemists are quite vulnerable to physical danger, and in an adventuring group they should be protected.

In exchange, alchemists develop a wide range of skills and proficiencies, including the ability to engage in magical experimentation. Alchemists will begin brewing potions much earlier in their careers than mages. 

At 1st level, an alchemist can identify common alchemical substances, potions, and poisons with proficiency throw of 11+ and can work as a specialist alchemist, earning 250 gp/month through the creation of potions and other concoctions. The alchemist may also create potions and engage in research on new potions as if he were a 5th level mage, but at twice the base time and cost. In addition, alchemists are skilled with medicinal herbs and mixtures and can treat wounds and diagnose and treat illnesses among humans and demi-humans. A proficiency throw of 11+ enables an alchemist to identify whether a disease is magical or mundane, and if mundane, diagnose it. A patient under the alchemist’s care naturally heals an extra 1d3 hit points each day. In addition, an alchemist can use salves and mixtures to neutralize poison, cure disease, or cure light wounds with a proficiency throw of 18+, once per day per patient. The alchemist can also use the recipes which cure light wounds to remove natural paralysis. If used, this counts as the use of cure light wounds for that patient for that day. This ability corresponds to the 2nd rank of the Healing proficiency, and alchemists may use open proficiency choices to raise this proficiency to the 3rd rank.

Alchemists pore over ancient lore for secret mixtures, and at 3rd level gains the ability to read languages (including ciphers, treasure maps, dead languages, and occult texts, but not magical writings) with a proficiency throw of 5+ on 1d20. If the roll does not succeed, the alchemist may not try to read that particular piece of writing until he reaches a higher level of experience.

At 5th level, alchemists develop true mastery of potioncraft. At this point, they may brew potions as a mage of their level. In addition, an alchemist’s work on his magnum opus begins to show results, and the alchemist can brew a universal antidote keyed to his physiology that makes him immune to all forms of poison, including magical poisons.

Beginning at 6th level, an alchemist can create a homunculus, a fully-formed miniature version of himself. Some homunculi perfectly match the appearance of their creator, while others are malformed in some way. The homunculus will be of the same alignment as the alchemist. The homunculus always has a number of Hit Dice and maximum hit points equal to ½ its creator’s own; Intelligence equal to its creator’s Intelligence; and a number of general and class proficiencies equal to its creator, selected from the alchemist’s class list. The homunculus can always understand any languages spoken by its creator, and the alchemist will be able to understand the homunculus’s mumbling and burbling, though no one else will without resorting to a spell such as Tongues. The homunculus may learn to articulate one of the languages it already understands by selecting the Language proficiency. The homunculus is utterly loyal to its master and will watch over his lab, perform services, act as an alchemist’s assistant (if he has the appropriate proficiencies), and generally obey his commands. While the homunculus is within 30', the character receives +1 on saving throws, but if the homunculus is ever killed, the character must save versus Death or instantly take damage equal to the homunculus’s maximum total hit points. A character cannot create a new homunculus if it is slain until he has gained a level of experience.

Upon reaching 7th level, an alchemist can read and cast magic from arcane scrolls with a proficiency throw of 3+ on 1d20. However, a failed roll means the spell does not function as expected, and can create a horrible effect at the Judge’s discretion.

At 9th level, the Master Alchemist’s magnum opus comes closer to fruition, and he may mix the powdered dust of his Philosopher’s Stone into a panacea specific to his physiology. Upon taking the panacea, he becomes immune to all forms of disease, including magical diseases caused by spells, mummies, or lycanthropes.

An alchemist may also establish an alchemical college or guildhouse when he reaches 9th level. He will then attract 1d6 apprentices of 1-3rd level plus 2d6 normal men seeking to become alchemists. Their intelligence scores will be above average, but many will become discouraged by the dangerous and difficult work and quit after 1d6 months. While in the alchemist’s service, apprentices must be provided food and lodging, but need not be paid wages. If the alchemist builds a dungeon beneath or near his sanctum, monsters will start to arrive to dwell within, followed shortly by adventurers seeking to fight them. An alchemist’s college or guildhouse follows the rules for mages’ sanctums as detailed in the Campaign chapter of ACKS.

At 11th level, the alchemist can design and create magical constructs such as golems, clones, gargoyles, and animated statues following the procedures outlined under “Constructs” (pp. 120-121) of the ACKS rulebook.

At 14th level, the alchemist completes his magnum opus, the Philosopher’s Stone, which allows him to create an elixir of life. This elixer makes the alchemist ageless, and he will enjoy a lifespan three times longer than normal. He also becomes immune to ghoul paralysis.





Alchemist Level Progression

Experience
Level
Title
Hit Dice
Special Abilities
0
1
Analyst
1d4
Alchemy III, Healing II
1,100
2
Pharmacologist
2d4

2,200
3
Apothecary
3d4
Read languages
4,400
4
Chemist
4d4

8,800
5
Distiller
5d4
Potioncraft, Universal antidote
17,600
6
Sublimator
6d4
Craft homunculus
35,000
7
Conjunctionist
7d4
Read and cast magic from scrolls
70,000
8
Alchemist
8d4

170,000
9
Master Alchemist
9d4
Panacea
270,000
10
Master Alchemist , 10th level
9d4+1*

370,000
11
Master Alchemist , 11th level
9d4+2*
Create constructs
470,000
12
Master Alchemist , 12th level
9d4+3*

570,000
13
Master Alchemist , 13th level
9d4+4*

670,000
14
Philosopher
9d4+5*
Elixir of life
*Hit point modifiers from constitution are ignored

Alchemists are restricted to magic items usable by thieves.

Alchemist Proficiency List: Arcane Dabbling, Art, Bargaining, Command, Craft, Diplomacy, Eavesdropping, Inventing (Constructs), Guild Alchemy (Identify own alchemist guild's arcana automatically, other orders and traditions 11+), Healing, Illusion Resistance, Incorporation (Create constructs as if two levels higher, reduce time by 20%), Knowledge, Language, Leadership, Loremastery, Magical Engineering, Mapping, Mystic Aura, Naturalism, Navigation, Profession, Prophecy, Sensing Power, Soothsaying, Theology, Universal Unguent (+2 bonus to all saving throws), Wakefulness

Template:
Guild Alchemist
Proficiencies:
Bargaining, Guild Alchemy
Starting Equipment:
Thin dagger, sigil-marked guild cassock, leather belt, low boots, backpack, quill and ink, satchel of herbs and powders (including 1 lb each of belladonna, birthwort, comfrey,  goldenrod, wolfsbane, and woundwort), book of alchemical recipes, 1 week’s iron rations, 45 gp
Guild Alchemist Template: This pre-generated template represents an urban guild alchemist. The Template is ready for adventure. However, if your alchemist’s INT is 13 or greater, you may pick one or more additional general proficiencies before play if you’d like (see Starting Proficiencies in Chapter 4 of ACKS).

Alchemist Attack and Saving Throws
Level
Petrification & Paralysis
Poison & Death
Blast & Breath
Staffs & Wands
Spells
1-2
13+
13+
16+
14+
15+
3-4
12+
12+
15+
13+
14+
5-6
11+
11+
14+
12+
13+
7-8
10+
10+
13+
11+
12+
9-10
9+
9+
12+
10+
11+
11-12
8+
8+
11+
9+
10+
13-14
7+
7+
10+
8+
9+

Alchemist Attack Throws
Level
Attack Throw
1-3
10+
4-6
9+
7-9
8+
10-12
7+
13-14
6+

Design Notes: This class was built with a Thievery value of 4 and a number of trade offs. The current version has .5 build points left over. These have not been spent. In addition, this class has a sanctum rather than a hideout, which it should have by virtue of its build points. If I were to revise it substantially, I might create a version of a hideout that is more guild-like and appropriate to an alchemical guild, but at this time I've gone with a sanctum for sake of simplicity.