His hands where blue from all the spores. His tongue felt numb from all the taste tests. He felt strangely light headed from the fumes. But it was done. He closed his notes and put the flask to his lips. For a few seconds nothing happened, but after a while the world began to turn a strange hue of purple and the spirits stepped forward. "You can see us now. Or is it your head playing with you? Or is it us playing with your head?" The alchemist answered slowly "I don't know" and the spirit replied with a grin "Would it matter if you did?"
Alchemy is the art of purifying, mixing and testing ingredients to reach a certain wanted effect on the body. It is a strange mixture of magic and science and a highly local affair. A travelling alchemist almost always needs to come up with new recipes based on the local ingredients.
This is a complex domain. It is not as complex as primordial magic but comes close. The various steps one might(!) undertake in making a potion are the following:
- Gather information about the local ingredients by reading in character documents.
- Find where the local ingredients grow.
- Gather (or direct others to gather) a few of the ingredients to test with.
- Wear plant parts on your skin or (when you are feeling daring) consume some small portions to see if you can gather hints about their effects.
- Test the ingredients with testing substances that are more accurate than wearing them on your skin but are more expensive as well.
- Test the ingredients on animals, which might give you additional clues... but animals work slightly different than the fifteen races.
- Test the ingredients directly on a person... the only way to be sure.
- Cut, cook, mortar, filter, press or distil the ingredients to make sure you have a concentrated ingredients, with as limited side effects as possible.
- Mix the ingredients with known catalysts to increase the speed at which the effect will take hold. - Mix the ingredients with known anti-catalysts to suppress the speed at which the side effects arrive, or to eliminate them all together.
- Test your newly mixture in any way you want before consuming it yourself or letting one of your friends consume it.
- Try the new recipe. (After this test you will receive full information from the DM's on your newly created potion)
- Write down the recipe, name the new potion, and formalize this process by gathering a lot of ingredients and creating a lot of the potions.
- Use preservation substances to keep the potions from spoiling so you can sell them after the event or use them on later events.
Of course you could disregard this careful method and simply gather various dangerous plants in a cauldron and hope the mixture doesn't kill your client or yourself.
If you play an alchemist you will need a stock booklet in which you write down how many of each ingredient or mixtures you have. If you mix two ingredients together you do not need to consult a GM. Simply write down the new mixture in you stock booklet and note how many you mixed.
This is an example of how you could write a short entry into a stock booklet (and some personal notes):
- Polistrum plant: 0 (I cut them all up and don't have any raw plants anymore... should gather some)
- Polistrum roots: 10 (gained by cutting up Polistrum plants... I threw away the rest of the plants because only the roots have an effect I want)
- Cooked Polistrum roots: 3 (Gained by cooking the roots. The fumes that came from it contained some of the side effects that I wanted to get rid of).
- Filtrate of distilled polistrum roots oil: 6 (After pressing oil from the roots I filtered and finally distilled the oil. Now it should have the most concentrated form of the effect I want).
- Filtrate of distilled polistrum roots oil + filtrate of Hypotrem leaves oil mixture: 6 (I added the filtered Hypotrem leaves oil to counter some of the nasty side effects. The side effects are not gone completely... but at least they will only kick in after the positive effects of the potion are long gone anyway.)
You can mix ingredients freely as long as you note the mixture in your stock booklet in such a way that you can reproduce your steps (as seen in the above example).