Phasma Felis wrote:So I read the bit in Saga of the Goblin Horde about how gremlins can be mad scientists as per the core rules, and I thought, I can't really see these guys doing the whole jetpacks-and-rayguns thing. Unstable alchemy seems more up their alley.
I tend to view it as a mixture of alchemy and mechanical technology, based on a combination of magic and science. For example there's a gremlin in Sleigh Heist
who designs a "highly volatile short-range alchemical rocket", and another gremlin in Can of Wyrms
who builds an ornithopter.
The original setting book actually included Arcane Background (Alchemy) as well, but I later decided to remove all references to the Fantasy Companion. However there's certainly no thematic reason why you couldn't reintroduce alchemy.
Phasma Felis wrote:
I know there's several existing Alchemist ABs; I haven't read any of them.
I will now, probably, but I wanted to give this its own goblin-y flavor without preconceptions.
I've written a few. The Arcane Background (Alchemy) in Savage Arcanum is a fairly standard Arcane Background variant, similar to the one in the Fantasy Companion. The Alchemist Professional Edge in the Drakonheim Savage Companion adds potion creation options to an existing Arcane Background (Magic) spellcaster. And of course the Alchemist in Savage Vancian Magic uses an entirely new magic system.
However I like your solution as well, it seems pretty well balanced, while still staying quite close to the core rules.
Phasma Felis wrote:Is it balanced? The range limitation is pretty severe, and blast deviation is a bear for short-ranged weapons; even reducing it to 1d4"/range bracket, it's going to hit the deviation cap (1/2 intended target range) more often than not. I thought about reducing deviation further, like 1d3 or 1d2.
The Fantasy Companion alchemists can also throw their potions with a range of 3/6/12, but in Savage Vancian Magic I gave potions a range of 6/12/24, as I find that makes them more tactically viable as a ranged weapon, even if you stick with the RAW deviation guidelines (1-3d6"). It's not quite the same as throwing a knife or axe, after all, because it doesn't need to hit with any force or even with much accuracy. If anything, it's more like throwing a grenade (which has a range of 5/10/20 in SWD).
So I think any of 3/6/12, 4/8/16, 5/10/20 or 6/12/24 would be fine, but regardless of which you choose, I'd probably stick with the official deviation of 1-3d6". It makes alchemy very risky, but that seems rather appropriate for an insane gremlin alchemist
Phasma Felis wrote:Throwing Expertise seems like a gimme for alchemists. Should the effect of that plus Frenzy apply to alchemical powers, or is that unbalanced even with their other limitations?
Personally I'd probably allow it, it's a nice benefit but it's also an expensive investment. A regular spellcaster can shoot 3 bolts per round without penalty, while the alchemist would need three extra Edges (Throwing Expertise and Improved Frenzy) just to throw 2 bolt potions per round without penalty. Yes his bolts would fill a SBT, but they'd also have a much shorter range.
It might be more of an issue with blast (being able to throw two blast potions per round would be powerful), however the range is even more of an issue there. Blast normally has a range of 24/48/96, allowing the spellcaster to dominate the battlefield and hit enemies at a safe distance. Dropping a pair of MBT/LBT blasts at alchemist range would be extremely dangerous.
Phasma Felis wrote:Does making all powers throwable work, flavor-wise, or should some be limited to drinkable potions?
The way I handled it in Savage Vancian Magic is that you can throw the potion if the spell is normally cast at range, but have to drink the potion if the range is self/touch (or directly apply the potion, usually in the form of an oil, if the spell targets an object), and for spells that fill a Cone Template you usually drink the potion yourself, and then exhale to create the effect.
Phasma Felis wrote:How are the new trappings? Should they cost more PP?
My initial thought was that Smoky should probably cost extra, however I changed my mind after considering the drawbacks. While it does provide some additional utility, it also obscures the enemy, giving them concealment against further ranged attacks.