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Old 01-24-2020, 02:59 PM   #11
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Alchemy in a no mana world

I would still say that alchemy is just low tech chemistry. Strange incorrect beliefs and bad technique are a side effect of being low TL.
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Old 01-24-2020, 03:27 PM   #12
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Alchemy in a no mana world

Alchemy is not bad chemistry, as it would be an easier skill if it was, and it would likely be covered by Expert Skill (Natural Philosophy). It is also esoteric medicine, mysticism, philosophy, and religion under a single discipline. It was a form of magic and, even in modern time, there are people that practice modernized versions as magical systems.

Even without magic, Alchemy should probably function as a form of Esoteric Medicine and Philosophy as well as a form of Chemistry. Chemistry defaults to Alchemy-3, so I would give appropriate specialties of Esoteric Medicine and Philosophy similar defaults. Each school of Alchemy should be its own required specialty though, as Eastern Alchemy is different than Indian Alchemy, which is different than Western Alchemy, each related to its own specialty of Esoteric Medicine and Philosophy.
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Old 01-24-2020, 03:41 PM   #13
shadowjack
 
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Default Re: Alchemy in a no mana world

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
I would still say that alchemy is just low tech chemistry. Strange incorrect beliefs and bad technique are a side effect of being low TL.
I second this! :) And to add a little more:

"Alchemy", the GURPS skill, refers to the skill of mixing magical ingredients; in a no mana setting, there are no such things, so there's no such skill. Someone from a magical world who already has the skill will find it largely useless in a manaless world, because the physics are different!

"Alchemy", as a real historical practice, refers to the pre- or proto-scientific skill of mixing chemical ingredients and to a body of mystical lore -- which are the GURPS skills of Chemistry and Theology.



Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Even without magic, Alchemy should probably function as a form of Esoteric Medicine and Philosophy as well as a form of Chemistry. Chemistry defaults to Alchemy-3, so I would give appropriate specialties of Esoteric Medicine and Philosophy similar defaults. Each school of Alchemy should be its own required specialty though, as Eastern Alchemy is different than Indian Alchemy, which is different than Western Alchemy, each related to its own specialty of Esoteric Medicine and Philosophy.
This looks like a good alternative approach to me.
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Old 01-24-2020, 03:52 PM   #14
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Default Re: Alchemy in a no mana world

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Originally Posted by Refplace View Post
This part. He has Alchemy because he studied it, but having a skill does not mean it actually works or even has a practical use.
I do agree it would allow some basic Chemistry uses, likely at a penalty. However I would not give him Chemistry as his methodology and foundational knowledge is different.
Yes. I think that identifying chemical substances (for example, using a touchstone), simple extractive chemistry, and distillation would not have a penalty. More sophisticated analytical chemistry and synthetic chemistry only work properly if you have actual chemical theory, at least on Lavoisier's level; I'd give them a -3 penalty to Alchemy.
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:11 PM   #15
Plane
 
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Default Re: Alchemy in a no mana world

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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
Assuming that our Earth is No Mana (a safe assumption)
Perhaps it was written with the assumption that our world actually has some "Low Mana" areas where it might work, or might have had some in the past.

That would be where it developed. That wouldn't mean of course that Newton actually knew where to find such areas to make it work.

I don't think "Very Low Mana" existed when Who's Who was published (I think introduced in Thaumatology?) but that's an even better tool to go with.

You could even make it "Aspected Very Low Mana" so only certain colleges would work. I'm not sure how colleges work in respect to alchemy though.
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:19 PM   #16
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Default Re: Alchemy in a no mana world

I think canonically Earth is low-mana. I know it was in 3rd edition.
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Old 01-24-2020, 05:46 PM   #17
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Default Re: Alchemy in a no mana world

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Originally Posted by Anders View Post
I think canonically Earth is low-mana. I know it was in 3rd edition.
Homeline Earth was implied to be No Mana though GURPS Time Travel Adventures revealed it to be Low Mana.

GURPS Cabal was a secret magic campaign that could be our Earth but that was left up to the GM. Voodoo and Spirits used a Ritual Magic system that expressly did not use mana.
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Last edited by maximara; 01-24-2020 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 01-24-2020, 07:45 PM   #18
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Default Re: Alchemy in a no mana world

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Originally Posted by shadowjack View Post
I second this! :) And to add a little more:

"Alchemy", the GURPS skill, refers to the skill of mixing magical ingredients; in a no mana setting, there are no such things, so there's no such skill. Someone from a magical world who already has the skill will find it largely useless in a manaless world, because the physics are different!

"Alchemy", as a real historical practice, refers to the pre- or proto-scientific skill of mixing chemical ingredients and to a body of mystical lore -- which are the GURPS skills of Chemistry and Theology.
Then you run into something like Le Comte de Saint-Germain (the brackets are the old 3e point totals):
IQ 13
Alchemy-13 [8]
Chemistry/TL5-14 [6]

Which given the way GURPS 3e leaned toward our Earth is No Mana makes next to no sense.
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Old 01-24-2020, 10:42 PM   #19
Plane
 
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Default Re: Alchemy in a no mana world

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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
Voodoo and Spirits used a Ritual Magic system that expressly did not use mana.
True, Spirits 103:
Ritual magic does not depend on mana to function; it works
through the powers of the spirit world.
In 4E, T126's "Ritual Space and Mana" says mana modifiers MIGHT replace requirements for ritual space, which leaves the door open to stacking both penalties, making them super-hard.

Of course, that wouldn't mean their respective 'worlds' (although Shadow War seems like more of a distinctive world, Spirits is just more like a generic sourcebook?) would lack mana...

Voodoo 44:
If the GM and players decide to add “normal” magic to the campaign, it should
be very rare and hard to find.
In GURPS Magic terms, most of the world is a low-mana area, with pockets of no mana and a few small areas of normal mana.
S26 "The astral plane is a low-mana area"
S41: "Magical spirits may require mana constantly to exist"
S44: "At the GM’s option, spirits with Dependency (Mana) can be treated as “magical creatures.”
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Old 01-24-2020, 11:10 PM   #20
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Alchemy in a no mana world

Another alternative to mana is sanctity. Sanctity allows divine magic to function and may exist in worlds without mana without issue. Cosmic entities like gods should not require mana to exist and, quite frankly, the default spiritual templates to not depend on it either.

Yet another alternative is threshold, which involves the direct manipulation of reality. Threshold is a wonderful system for RPM or Energy Accumulating Path/Book Magic, especially if it is used as an optional energy source (though the threshold should be 0 instead of 30 in that case). Normal energy accumulation would represent subtler manipulations of reality while tapping into threshold would represent vulgar manipulations.
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