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  • Alternate Alchemist rules

    OK; this will hopefully be short and sweet. Quick note: I'm not assuming that alchemists prey on Prometheans. They certainly have incentive to do so; but the rules are intended to cover the ones who don't every bit as much the ones who do, and in fact do not assume that there's anything resembling a clear line between the two.

    Distillations don't come naturally to alchemists the way they do to Prometheans. This manifests in two ways: first, the Alchemist must learn the Distillations of an Alembic in order, at a cost of three Experiences each; second, every ability in the Alembic costs an additional point of Pyros to use. The Persistent effect of an Alembic is not persistent for alchemists: they must spend one Pyros per scene to activate it. Distillations that would cost a Promethean one Pyros to activate costs the Alchemist two; Distillations choosing a Promethean two Pyros costs the Alchemist three; and Distillations that require a Promethean to spend three Pyros require the Alchemist to spend four.

    Alchemists don't have Magnitude. On the downside, this means that they don't get any Supernatural Resistance bonus. On the upside, there are no caps on the number of Distillations they can learn. If there's a cap on how many Alembics an Alchemist can study, it's determined by his rank in Occult (which, for an Alchemist, represents his study of Alchemy).

    They also can't generate of store Pyros within themselves. However, they can create Reagents: alchemically potent materials that are invited with Pyros. Doing so from scratch requires an alchemical laboratory and a day's worth of work, at which point the Alchemist makes an Intelligence + Occult roll to determine whether he successfully created one Pyros worth of Reagents; on an exceptional success, he generates multiple Pyros. If the Alchemist can find a source of Pyros (such as a Promethean or a Firestorm), he can attempt to harvest from it considerably faster than trying to generate Pyros from scratch. Harvesting Pyros from a Promethean requires Intelligence + Medicine, and one roll takes an hour (and inflicts damage to the Promethean in a manner similar to Lacunae). Harvesting Pyros from a Firestorm requires Wits + Occult and can be done once per scene. This is the most lucrative means of harvesting Pyros: each success harvests one Pyros. It's also the most dangerous method: you must expose yourself to a Firestorm.

    An exceptional success when harvesting Pyros from a Promethean doesn't necessarily harvest multiple points of Pyros: if the Alchemist chooses, he can have the Promethean instead serve a catalyst. The Alchemist generates a Pyros worth of Reagents, and the Promethean keeps its Pyros. Using a Promethean in this way is still painful for the Promethean (it still suffers damage), and it only keeps its Pyros if the Alchemist achieves an Exceptional Success; so there aren't many Prometheans who are willing to volunteer to serve as an alchemist's catalyst. But the option is there.

    Reagents tend to go bad unless carefully preserved, which requires a storehouse. A storehouse is rated by how much Pyros-worth of Reagents it can store safely; excess Reagents risk triggering a Firestorm. Reagents not kept in a storehouse lose their potency in a day. An Alchemist can safely carry five points worth of Reagents on his person; more, if he has suitable gear (e.g., a satchel that serves as a sort of “mini-storehouse”: it won't keep the Reagents from going bad, but it can increase the amount that can be safely carried without risking a Firestorm). If a Firestorm breaks out, it consumes all Reagents in the area, save only for those Reagents created by harvesting the Firestorm. Storehouses and satchels are represented by Merits, rated according to how much Pyros they can contain.

    Alchemists fuel their Distillations by releasing Pyros from their Reagents, which get mixed together with suitable preparations (which requires an Intelligence + Occult roll). Unlike a Promethean's Distillations, an alchemist's Distillations take place within the resulting mixtures rather than inside the person; as such, they affect whatever the mixture is applied to rather than affecting the Alchemist himself. In many cases, this is a distinction without a difference: Distillations that are designed to affect people or things other than oneself will generate their effect on whatever the mixture is applied to. But Distillations that are designed affect oneself likewise affect whoever the mixture is applied to. The mixture doesn't have to be applied to a subject immediately; it remains viable for a full day (or longer, if placed in a storehouse) just like Reagents. The choice between carrying Reagents and caring mixtures is a matter of flexibility vs. convenience: mixtures are ready to go right away, but the Distillations they represent have already been determined; Reagents can be used to mix together any Distillation that the Alchemist knows, but actions must be taken and rolls must be made in situations where the Alchemist might not be able to afford the time or effort.

    A Promethean might also choose to study Alchemy. Doing so potentially gives him the best of both worlds: he can channel Pyros through his Alembics into a mixture with a successful Intelligence + Occult roll, and he pays the Promethean cost rather than the Alchemist cost to create the mixture. He can supplement his Pyros with Reagents, and/or can expend Pyros to more rapidly create Reagents (although that involves some self-inflicted wounds) which he can then share of store. Using Reagents isn't as efficient as using one's own Pyros; pay the Alchemist's price if any of the Pyros comes from Reagents.

    I'll get to Vitriol next. The essentials are that alchemists cannot generate Vitriol; they must harvest it. And they use it to transform themselves, eliminating Conditions or gaining/improving traits. The specifics of what that means and how they do it are yet to be determined.

    Thoughts?



  • #2
    I actually liked the alchemist rules pretty well, but I have to say I'm liking these a bit more. I especially like the removal of the power stat, it's always a bit awkward when minor templates have those.

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    • #3
      Noting this for future reference It might help when I revisit my own House Rules for Alchemists.


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      The Kingdom of Yamatai

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      • #4
        I'd probably tweak these to be compatible with the canon ones - by which I mean, making the canon ones a subset of these (eg making Magnitude available to by with harvested Vitriol) - but otherwise, I like these.

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        • #5
          Umm, yeah! I was planning on doing that when I got around to the Vitriol section, honest! (Seriously, that's a good idea: I intend to steal it.)


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          • #6
            So, if I'm understanding correctly, an Alchemist can learn Distillations from as many Alembics as they have dots in Occult? I'm assuming that the Specialty (Alchemy) and the Area of Expertise Merit could boost this particular limitation.

            Overall I like these, especially with the idea of mixtures being a thing, and how they gather Pyros outside of harvesting it directly from a Promethean. I'm not too sure about Alchemists needing to spend more Pyros to use Distillations, I'm inclined to dislike it if only because it makes it harder for an Alchemist to match up against one of the Created in terms of wielding Alchemy. Of course, Alchemists learn Alchemy while Prometheans are Alchemy, but it still takes a bit of the bite out of Distillations, especially since they're reusable in a scene so long as the Alembic maintains its charge, and there's only a few Alembics I can think of that lose their charge after using certain Distillations.

            I imagine a storehouse would build off the Safe Place Merit, much like Hovel, and would probably end up, in terms of utility, somewhere between Herd and Bounty from the Changeling 2E spoilers. Perhaps a satchel or bandolier of some kind could be represented with prepared alchemical tools via the Azothic Object Merit? One of the potential benefits to the object that you can spend Merit dots on is that it can be used as a Pyros battery.

            In this hack, I'm assuming Alchemists with Magnitude would be considered significantly more powerful than regular Alchemists? They gain a Power Trait, they (slowly) generate their own Pyros, they can maintain as much stolen Pyros as they can carry, etc. What else do you think an Alchemist could do with Vitriol? Obviously the original rules mentions taking Merits for which you don't possess the appropriate prerequisites representing intrinsic traits and not training, but could this extend to "Character Creation Only" Merits?
            Last edited by Arcanist; 10-18-2016, 09:34 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
              So, if I'm understanding correctly, an Alchemist can learn Distillations from as many Alembics as they have dots in Occult? I'm assuming that the Specialty (Alchemy) and the Area of Expertise Merit could boost this particular limitation.
              I'm not even sure if this particular restriction is needed, which is why I prefaced it with “if there's a cap…”. Remember that a Promethean gets two whole Alembics for free, and can calcify them for the low, low cost of one Vitriol per Alembic. By contrast, alchemists learn Alembics the way vampires learn Disciplines, at a cost of three Experiences per Distillation. That's twelve Experiences to fully unlock a single Alembic. Further restricting them to no more than five Alembics (twenty Distillations) seems pointless.

              Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
              Overall I like these, especially with the idea of mixtures being a thing, and how they gather Pyros outside of harvesting it directly from a Promethean. I'm not too sure about Alchemists needing to spend more Pyros to use Distillations, I'm inclined to dislike it if only because it makes it harder for an Alchemist to match up against one of the Created in terms of wielding Alchemy. Of course, Alchemists learn Alchemy while Prometheans are Alchemy, but it still takes a bit of the bite out of Distillations, especially since they're reusable in a scene so long as the Alembic maintains its charge, and there's only a few Alembics I can think of that lose their charge after using certain Distillations.
              Note that I didn't increase the costs as a “not a Promethean” tax; I did it because Alchemists shouldn't have Persistent abilities from their Alembics — but neither should they be barred from the entry-level abilities. So give them the entry-level stuff at the cost of one Pyros per scene. But Alembics are set up so that you activate each Distillation in turn by spending another Pyros on top of what you already paid for the last one; so if the “Persistent” ability now costs one Pyros, the next step up from that should cost another Pyros, and so on up the ladder.

              Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
              I imagine a storehouse would build off the Safe Place Merit, much like Hovel, and would probably end up, in terms of utility, somewhere between Herd and Bounty from the Changeling 2E spoilers. Perhaps a satchel or bandolier of some kind could be represented with prepared alchemical tools via the Azothic Object Merit? One of the potential benefits to the object that you can spend Merit dots on is that it can be used as a Pyros battery.
              essentially, yes; the satchel is a Pyros battery by way of safely storing Reagents.

              Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
              In this hack, I'm assuming Alchemists with Magnitude would be considered significantly more powerful than regular Alchemists? They gain a Power Trait, they (slowly) generate their own Pyros, they can maintain as much stolen Pyros as they can carry, etc. What else do you think an Alchemist could do with Vitriol? Obviously the original rules mentions taking Merits for which you don't possess the appropriate prerequisites representing intrinsic traits and not training, but could this extend to “Character Creation Only” Merits?
              Absolutely. And it could be used to remove Conditions, such as the ones that represent infirmities: you can use this to make the lame walk or the blind see. I could also see it being used to incorporate an Alembic into the alchemist's body, making the starting ability Persistent the way it is for Prometheans and thus lowering the costs for the subsequent ones.

              Maybe even start taking on some of the positive aspects of the Promethean condition, such as Transhuman Potential. That said, I'd be inclined to say that Supernatural Merits, Dread Powers, and inhuman capabilities should come with a cost: an alchemist who seeks to acquire all of a Promethean's benefits may well cross a line at some point and find that he's turned himself into a Promethean and now suffers all of the drawbacks as well as acquiring the benefits.


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              • #8
                Y'know, I could see desperate Prometheans "selling" Pyros in exchange for esoteric knowledge or some cold, hard cash to make transitioning after the New Dawn easier.


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                • #9
                  Okay, I see where you're going with the Alembics. The pricing still seems just a little bit... off, for some reason. I mean, Pandoran Dread Powers only cost a Vitriol per dot, and they treat Flux Distillations as one-dot Dread Powers per Distillation. On the other hand, playing an Alchemist and spending only one Experience or something for a Distillation seems fairly cheap. Maybe they get a discount on buying Distillations if they use Vitriol in the way that Prometheans get a discount on Azoth if they buy it with Vitriol as opposed to regular Experiences?

                  I'd be inclined to say that Transhuman Potential is just a thing that Pyros does. Prometheans do it, Pandorans do it (albeit limited to Physical Attributes), qashmallim do it, I just assumed Alchemists can do it even if it isn't explicitly spelled out in the book. I also assumed they could pull the Shock Absorption trick, since the text implies it's something inherent to the Divine Fire (though the text notably omits mention of Shock Absorption in relation to Pandorans).

                  Perhaps the drawbacks kick in on an Alchemist who pursues the path of Magnitude? The text suggests, but doesn't outline, that certain levels of Magnitude are inclined to impose a Promethean-like drawback on the Alchemist, like their own version of Disquiet or the ability to waken Pandorans with a weak Azothic Radiance. I'd assume most Pandoran Dread Powers would impose Social Penalties, as most of them are body-horror warping of flesh to do something terrifying.

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