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Old 09-27-2017, 10:50 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2017
Default Several questions on alchemy (and/or herb lore)

So I've been perusing the rules in GURPS Magic and Thaumatology (and Pyramid 3-28) for alchemy, and I'm trying to figure out how playing a serious alchemist or herbalist would work out in-game, especially with Quick Gadgeteer.

(Sorry if any of my questions are unclear. I keep having ideas and I hope I've organized them appropriate.)

1. A quick technique for an elixir is different from a conventional technique and must be learned separately (per GURPS Magic page 211); the roll is made at the elixir's full default penalty, "in addition to any penalty remaining for an unmastered elixir," plus the -1 for improvised tools. Does this mean an alchemist who has mastered the conventional technique but not the quick technique suffer the -6 penalty for quickly making an "unmastered" elixir? Or is it still mastered for that purpose?

Example: A Quick Gadgeteer alchemist has mastered the conventional recipe for the elixir of Speed, which defaults to Alchemy-1 (so he spent 2 points on the technique). When he needs to brew one up quickly, is he rolling at -2 (-1 for the full default penalty, -1 for improvised equipment) or at -8 (-1 for the default, -1 for improvised equipment, -6 because the quick recipe is still unmastered)?

2. Is mastery of the conventional technique for an elixir prerequisite for buying up the quick technique? An alchemist has to "know" an elixir to brew it quickly, but one could argue that if an alchemist has sufficiently high Alchemy skill to successfully brew a potion despite not having mastered it, he can plausibly claim to "know" it.

One the other hand, the rule making quick techniques separate from normal techniques seems odd to me, if in fact Quick Gadgeteer alchemists don't need the conventional techniques and would never spend points on them.

3. GURPS Magic says (page 211 again) that an alchemist with the Gizmo advantage can whip out a dose of "any elixir that he knows" at a moment's notice. Is there a limit on this? When I first read this, I thought it meant the elixir was effectively free, but given how Gizmos normally work that seems unlikely.

I'm guessing the most reasonable way to interpret this is that the alchemist still expends the recipe cost and rolls as if quick-brewing, but does so retroactively (i.e. "wow, glad I whipped an extra Battle potion up this morning!")?

4. Can multiple techniques bought separately "stack" on a single roll? Bear with me here, this question gets a little complicated.

Suppose an alchemist has mastered the Speed elixir. He's spent 10 points on the Speed/Extra Dose technique (per Pyramid 3-28), effectively buying off the -10 penalty for applying the Extra Dose enhancement to his Speed elixir (although it still takes twice as long and costs twice as much, since Extra Dose is a +50% enhancement etc.). He's also spent 4 points on the Batching (Speed/Potion) technique, effectively buying off up to a -3 penalty for making (up to) three additional Speed elixirs in one go.

Could he then proceed to make a batch of four Speed potions with the Extra Dose enhancement at no penalty, or would Batching as applied to the enhanced version of the Speed elixir be something he has to buy separately ("Batching (Speed/Extra Dose/Potion)")?

If the alchemist is also a Quick Gadgeteer, would techniques like Extra Dose need to be bought separately for quick-brewed Speed elixirs, since the quick-brewed version is officially a separate recipe? Or could the alchemist, once he'd mastered the quick-brewed Speed recipe as well, go ahead and apply his other Speed-elixir techniques to both versions of the Speed elixir?

(Batching seems less important if you're brewing each elixir in a matter of minutes anyway, but still.)

5. Pyramid 3-28 also has rules for reducing the cost of an elixir recipe if the alchemist has access to certain magic spells, but "neither the cost nor time may ever be reduced below 80%." Does that mean you can't ever pay less than 80% of the full normal cost (which is how it sounds to me in plain language), or does it mean you can't ever get more than a -80% discount (meaning you'd never pay less than 20% of the normal cost)? The latter seems more consistent with the usual rules on limitations being capped at -80%.

6. Are there guidelines anywhere for the costs, default penalties, etc. of new elixir recipes, or is it pretty much down to a GM call? Of course, there are rules for applying enhancements to the existing recipes, but if a player really wants to invent a Greater Strength elixir that adds 2d to ST, is there any rule of thumb one might use (based on, e.g. the point value of the temporary advantage granted by the elixir)?
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