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Old 05-31-2014, 10:44 AM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Alchemy

While the Alchemy skill appears in Basic, it isn't described in any detail. That's left to Magic, which has a complete chapter about it, with enough elixirs described to make a passable adventuring profession, provided you get to spend a lot of time in the lab.

Thaumatology adds a lot of supporting detail, while Thaumatology: Alchemical Baroque is a setting that uses alchemy a lot more than Banestorm or Cabal do, and connects it to Path/Book magic. Pyramid 3/28: Thaumatology II fills out the mechanics and the elixir list usefully. Ritual Path Magic has its own form of more-flexible alchemy, of course.

I find it's years since I looked at Alchemy - indeed, my clearest memories of it are from reading the first edition of Magic. In fact, I have never played or run a GURPS game where it was significant. That's a hole I'll fill sometime now I've noticed it.

What have people done with Alchemy? Since it isn't often mentioned in the threads about Magic, is it satisfactory, or just little-used?
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Old 05-31-2014, 10:50 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Alchemy

I have used and had my players use both it and its cousin herb lore.
The main weakness to it is the downtime needed.
So it is good in games with lots of social stuuf or other in town activitities.
Also saw great use in one campaign where healing was weak so people had to rest up, we also had Threshold magc in that game (part of why healing was so weak) and so there was a lot more rest time between adventures.
Making big batches helps a lot too.
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Old 05-31-2014, 11:02 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Alchemy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Refplace View Post
I have used and had my players use both it and its cousin herb lore.
The main weakness to it is the downtime needed.
So it is good in games with lots of social stuuf or other in town activitities.
Also saw great use in one campaign where healing was weak so people had to rest up, we also had Threshold magc in that game (part of why healing was so weak) and so there was a lot more rest time between adventures.
Making big batches helps a lot too.
I expect it'll see some use in my Cabal game, which will be all about slow investigations and socializing while characters prepare stuff, whether concoctions or spells.

Still, wouldn't quick gadgeteer (Alchemy Only -X%) allow you to rapidly toss together the stuff on a DF-time scale?
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Old 05-31-2014, 11:17 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Alchemy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
I expect it'll see some use in my Cabal game, which will be all about slow investigations and socializing while characters prepare stuff, whether concoctions or spells.

Still, wouldn't quick gadgeteer (Alchemy Only -X%) allow you to rapidly toss together the stuff on a DF-time scale?
yeah that would be a good setting for it, especially if you have other players doing the detective work.
ever used Quick Gadgeteer for Alchemy but it would help a lot.
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Old 05-31-2014, 01:43 PM   #5
Not another shrubbery
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Alchemy

We've had NPC alchemists a few times, but our group never seemed to want to play one, probably for the same reasons that no one wanted to be an enchanter *shrug*
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Old 05-31-2014, 01:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Alchemy

As my moniker suggests (and my multiple articles on the subject) - I like alchemy. I've read hundreds of books on the subject from the West and the East. I have maybe a dozen unsubmitted Pyramid articles on the subject as well detailing new systems, particular forms (I've got one I'm particularly proud of regarding "Eastern Alchemy"). So...I biased. Alchemy is always used in my games because I provide both time and incentive. It's not often used in game play - well - the old Magic system wasn't - but I use Time Use/Study sheets so my players devote time there between story arcs. In my current campaign, I have a player character who is shaping up to be some sort of alchemical genius (he keeps critting his Alchemy rolls with natural rolls of 3) and he's devoted lots of his points that way. I don't typically have multiple forms of alchemy in my campaigns (or magic systems) - I don't like the way it makes the setting feel branched. As for uses of alchemy, last game session one of the players created ques a form of incense thought to be invented by the Egyptians, that is an acidic corrosive to those with Nephilitic blood (angels, half-angels, some of Jewish descent, etc.) and in my games affects the Forsaken (werewolves, vampires, succubi, etc.) because they are descended from fallen angels. He wanted 6 ounces and got 3 lbs of the stuff because of multiple critical successes. Alchemy could be expanded and indeed, one of the things I'd like to do is write a supplement doing exactly that for every magic system currently supported and maybe add some new ones.
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Old 05-31-2014, 03:53 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Alchemy

You should also note that GURPS Fantasy-Tech 1: the Edge of Reality has a section on Alchemy as a pseudo-science.

I’d be careful to draw a distinction between Alchemy the skill and Alchemy the rules found in GURPS Magic. I rarely use the latter; but I use the former in numerous ways, depending on the campaign. I’m rather fond of the aforementioned Fantasy-Tech rules for Alchemy, so much so that I use them rather than GURPS Magic’s Alchemy rules as the default ruleset for Alchemy — albeit with a few augmentations: depending on the setting, I allow a variation of Fantasy-Tech’s Transmutation rules to produce materials with supernatural properties, such as Orichalcum (GURPS Fantasy, page 23); and I’ve recently been letting it also work like a subset of Chemistry, as per the “realistic Alchemy” guidelines from GURPS Thaumatology: Chinese Elemental Powers.

When I use Alchemy to produce magical effects (as opposed to its fantasy-tech uses, which admittedly can be hair-splitting at times), I prefer using it as an alternate core skill for variants of Ritual Magic, Path/Book Magic, or Ritual Path Magic: I’ve got a rather elaborate “Sage Alchemy” variant of RPM worked up for use by Sages in GURPS Monster Hunters, complete with a Lens for the Sage, in place of the limited access to RPM that they’re normally given.
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Old 05-31-2014, 07:23 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Alchemy

Also, Alchemy shows up all over the place with many novel uses in Pyramid #3/66: The Laws of Magic.
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Old 06-01-2014, 01:39 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Alchemy

I've seen used in my tables, but it's either no alchemy or alchemy at skill 25+.

One of my players is roleplaying an alchemist since 2009, his skill is through the roof, and almost all the time he make potions instantly with -10 penalty since he has gadgeteer.
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:34 AM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Alchemy

I've rarely played games in which characters have enough downtime, enough resources and enough skill to concoct alchemical potions. However, PCs have often taken the Alchemy skill and used it to: identify potions, analyze newfound substances, identify/subvert the plans of alchemist villains, etc. It ends up functioning as a kind of "Hidden Lore" for potions, elixirs, and so on.
DF2 includes rules for how Alchemy can be used to determine the general properties of a magic item.
Jason "Reverend Pee Kitty" Levine has some great house rules for Alchemy in DF here. I've never tried them, but they seem awesome.
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