Non-Magical Alchemy

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Sir Viliulfo
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Non-Magical Alchemy

#1 Postby Sir Viliulfo » Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:15 pm

I am working on a Homebrew Setting, and wondered if anyone had ideas on a non-magical alchemist. I know that it will require ingredients, cost determined by the effect's power; it will have effects that aren't available as powers; and alchemists will need potion recipes (think Dragon Age: Origins and such). Any ideas on other things that might be needed?

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Re: Non-Magical Alchemy

#2 Postby SeeleyOne » Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:29 pm

Really, it would be like magical alchemy, only that you change the "trapping" somewhat. I guess it depends on how fantastic that you want to get. You could keep it to more minor effects, like maybe something like smelling salts to wake someone up from being unconscious. What role are you wanting it to have? What tech level? You could get pretty crazy with it, even by not calling it "magic". For example, steampunk is not necessarily magical in nature but depending on the setting it can become pretty impressive, rivaling modern technology or even futuristic technology.
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Re: Non-Magical Alchemy

#3 Postby Sir Viliulfo » Tue Jan 12, 2016 1:33 pm

It will have effects like increasing attributes slightly, healing, protecting from environment, creating light, etc. It will mostly be low-powered. The setting is medieval, but with flintlock pistols (no rifles), cannons, and such. Also, magical alchemy requires Power Points. The skill used will be Knowledge (Alchemy), but should I do the rolls like a dramatic task or just a regular roll, should there be anything beyond just ingredient cost to limit the number of potions made in a certain period, etc.

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Re: Non-Magical Alchemy

#4 Postby SeeleyOne » Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:13 pm

The way that alchemy works in the Fantasy Companion has been debated in several threads. It is not meant for alchemy in the general scheme, but for a PC to make or have available on short notice.

What you describe is basically, to me anyway, that it is basically gear and weapons. It will give you an excuse to give a bit beyond what the "default medieval tech" normally gives. So it is materials and labor costs which is the same as how other gear, weapons, armor, and items work. Make up what you want things to do and what they will cost. Someone can buy a torch, or they can by a nifty glow stick. The costs will reflect its rarity, the materials, and how specialized the skill was at making it.
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Re: Non-Magical Alchemy

#5 Postby SeeleyOne » Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:19 pm

Forgot about your question on rolls. Personally, I hate there to be rolls when making things. That is tedious. Many things can be fixed if going awry while being built. It might take more time and/or materials. If there are rolls, having it a dramatic task is good because it lets you fix things during the process and not have an all-or-nothing at the end.

On the other hand, something that might be fun for potions and some devices is to roll when it is first activated. For a quick way, this is basically like a casting roll. You can have a potion be rated in its skill level. "Master Potion" for d12 or something like that. Alternately you could have the dramatic task results determine how reliable it is. Potions are assumed to have a d8 rating, for example. Perhaps it requires 3 successes, but in reality it only requires one, but you roll three times. Each success grants a die step, the first being d4. A raise might increase it by two steps instead.
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Re: Non-Magical Alchemy

#6 Postby Sir Viliulfo » Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:34 pm

The little beyond the medieval tech level isn't because of alchemy, but science. I want it as a roll because there will be a limit on the number of recipes you can memorize (but can carry a book around to have more) and the roll means that there is a chance to go wrong. If you are in chemistry class and you add things in the wrong order, you can't go back and fix it later. Alchemy will basically represent chemistry with more extreme effects.

Note: The setting will have runecarving (think Dragon Age) and rituals. All three of them don't require magic, require memorization, and are linked to Knowledge (").

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Re: Non-Magical Alchemy

#7 Postby Jounichi » Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:48 pm

SeeleyOne wrote:The way that alchemy works in the Fantasy Companion has been debated in several threads. It is not meant for alchemy in the general scheme, but for a PC to make or have available on short notice.

What you describe is basically, to me anyway, that it is basically gear and weapons. It will give you an excuse to give a bit beyond what the "default medieval tech" normally gives. So it is materials and labor costs which is the same as how other gear, weapons, armor, and items work. Make up what you want things to do and what they will cost. Someone can buy a torch, or they can by a nifty glow stick. The costs will reflect its rarity, the materials, and how specialized the skill was at making it.

He could always adapt the No Power Points setting rule and make alchemical creations without worrying about tying up power points. They would need some other limiting factor, however, like costing raw materials, but that should be easy enough to figure out using the costs of some magical items from the companion. I forget how much a healing potion costs, but if creating one cost half of what it cost to outright buy one then I'd think the cost was appropriate.
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Re: Non-Magical Alchemy

#8 Postby Sir Viliulfo » Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:26 pm

I was going to have the cost to buy equal the cost of ingredients + 50 silver per time interval it took to make (like real world services). Therefore, buying low level potions are only slightly more expensive than making, but being able to make high level potions saves a lot of money.
Last edited by Sir Viliulfo on Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Non-Magical Alchemy

#9 Postby SeeleyOne » Thu Jan 14, 2016 1:59 pm

Why would high level things be cheaper? Higher level skill costs more, not less. Things usually cost less to make yourself than to just buy, but only if you have the necessary skills. I say usually, because it depends on several factors. For example, it is cheaper to buy eggs than to buy a chicken coop, chickens, and care and feed for the chickens. For alchemy, a large part of the cost is materials, and acquiring those materials. There is also lab equipment and maintenance. Paying the wages for a skilled worker is in addition to all of this, and the different skill levels will demand a different pay -- usually. Some lower skilled people demand a higher pay than their skill would dictate.
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Re: Non-Magical Alchemy

#10 Postby galu » Thu Jan 14, 2016 2:55 pm

Quick idea:

For NOT flavor items:

The basic potion:
1. choose effect: heal 1 wound, heal 1 fatigue, increase attribute 1 step, decrease attribute 1 step, give edge*, applies specific power, applies 2d6 damage
2. if there is a duration, it is 3 rounds (DM's option)
3. costs 500 worth of materials (DM's option, but shouldn't be too cheap)
4. requires a successful skillcheck
5. requires a basic laboratory (can be fit into a big box/trunk/small wagon)
(6. optional: may blow up)

For the first and second raise, choose one:
- if possible, better effect (heal 2 wound, apply 2d8 damage, etc.)
- duration is 10 rounds
- you make two potions of the originally specified type of the materials
(- optional: may not blow up)

For flavor items (tobacco, smelling-salt, weak lye or acid, etc.)
- skill check is enough, maybe 10$ worth of materials. (the alchemist has to tote around his big luggage all the time)



*meaningful only. tough as nails, elan, brave, fast healer if fine with me, from a potion, connections, followers or linguist not so much.

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Re: Non-Magical Alchemy

#11 Postby Sir Viliulfo » Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:25 pm

SeeleyOne wrote:Why would high level things be cheaper?


You misinterpreted what I wrote. I am fairly bad at fully expressing my ideas, so I will try an example. Not a proper example with finished stats, but one that expresses the overall idea.

Making a low-level potion may cost 50 silver in ingredients and take 5 hours. Say for a low-level potion, the time cost is 15 silver per hour. The potion costs 125 silver to buy, 50 silver to make. This is a difference of 75 silver, or 60% cheaper.

Making a high-level potion may cost 200 silver in ingredients and take 12 hours to make. As the work takes more skill and has more risk, the time cost is 100 silver an hour. The potion costs 1,400 to buy, 200 silver to make. This is a difference of 1,200 silver, or approximately 85.714% cheaper.

Being able to make your own high-level potions is much cheaper than buying them, and you save more than with the lower level potions.

* Remember, all numbers subject to change, but the overall effect will not.

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Re: Non-Magical Alchemy

#12 Postby SeeleyOne » Fri Jan 15, 2016 6:01 pm

Thanks for clarifying that, it makes more sense now. :) Yeah, making your own stuff and not having to pay yourself is a good thing. This brings up an interesting question. When I have made magical items for party members in the past I never charged them for labor. I probably should have, and sometimes used it as a bargaining chip when trying to get my way. I wonder how many groups just assume that their PC friends will give them free labor. In most cases this is the assumption, as most players do not charge the rest of the party for spells that they cast. I have seen healers charge for their services a few times in the past. I think that I might have done so as well, just to be different, but if I did, it did not last, as it is better to just have a "I save your butt and you save mine" agreement.
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Re: Non-Magical Alchemy

#13 Postby Ilina_Young » Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:51 pm

i have played a healer who charged for components, but she charged interest on the components. 50% above base market price if you wanted to use her components to be healed. so you sign you want to be brought back from the dead, you better be willing to spend 7.500 gold coins to use her 5,000 gold topaz because well, it isn't like you can find that quality of topaz in most hamlets. and maybe she would charge an additional tax for having to use the tools needed to crush the topaz. so you would pay up to double the component prices.

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Re: Non-Magical Alchemy

#14 Postby SeeleyOne » Sat Jan 16, 2016 3:51 pm

And that is how prices go up. If you slap on the word "medical" to anything the price is multiplied by 100.
Just about every kid today wants to be Batman, Spiderman, or Superman. Maybe if we were better parents they would not want to become orphans.



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