Monday, April 16, 2012

Daruna - Alchemy

My Daruna game is a low-magic setting. In the distant past a magical cataclysm corrupted magic, making anything beyond minor spells dangerous to the caster. Despite the threat of permanent corruption, the benefits and advantages granted by even minor spells make such usage an accepted part of society. In addition there are two magic-like spheres on knowledge that are intrinsic to the setting, Alchemy and Artifice. I'm going to talk about Alchemy today, since one of my player's has actually expended character points into learning the skills involved, granting me the opportunity to go down the 'complex system no one but me will ever see' rabbit hole.

Ingredient gathering table - used to determine base
success of a gathering attempt
Alchemy is a combination of chemistry and herbalism, with a dash of magic thrown in. The focus though, is on the mundane aspects rather than the mystical. The base alchemy process involves four things:
  1. Alchemy Gear - mortar and pestle, glassware, charcoal burner, tongs and molds. A basic kit costs 20 GP. More advanced kits may be available at the GM's discression.
  2. The Alchemy Skill - the craft / intelligence based skill used in the alchemy creation process. Skill ranks also provide access to alchemy recipes, one recipe per rank.
  3. Alchemy Recipes - the ingredients, processes, and special directions for creating alchemy items.
  4. The Science Skill - the knowledge / intelligence skill used to gather or purchase ingredients.
Creating an alchemy item is a two step process:
  1. Gathering materials required by a recipe using Science skill checks to purchase or gather ingredients.
  2. Preparing the recipe using an Alchemy skill check.
There's also a feat characters can obtain that allows them to make poisons via alchemy. From the player-perspective, that's all there is to it. There's some bookkeeping on the player's part to track the recipes they know and the ingredients they have, but it's no more complex than tracking spells known / spells cast type information.
Gather type table - use type value from ingredient gather table
plus a roll of 4 Fudge dice to determine type

Of course that's too easy, so I added some stuff.

Ingredients have three attributes, a numeric quality that determines potency, a type, organic, inorganic, or supernatural, and a nature, acid, base, metal, salt, catalyst, or fuel. The combination of quality, type, and nature determine where ingredients can be found, how hard they are to obtain, and how they can be used.

Gather nature table - use nature value from gather table
plus a roll of 4 Fudge dice to determine nature
Recipes are a list of ingredients, typically three to five, plus a series of processes used to combine them. The processes, combine, refine, dissolve, extract, leach, vaporize, catalyze, distill, crystallize, fuse, fractionate, and pyrolysis, affect the difficulty of the recipe.

And of course there are the tables. The three shown here are used by the GM when a player attempts to gather ingredients.

A single gather attempt represents about four hours of roaming about looking for materials. It has a base difficulty of 12, modified by the ingredient gathering table entry/entries that apply. If the player succeeds, they gain one or more ingredients, the number being determined by how well they succeeded, they type and nature determined by subsequent rolls on the type and nature tables.

Ingredients in hand, the alchemist can now attempt to make a recipe. The creation process is simple, because I want to be sure players using Alchemy can actually succeed without jumping through hoops if they've done the prep work. The creation process is a test of the Alchemy skill, with the difficulty determined by the recipe. A simple recipe, say, common acid, has a difficulty of 12 and requires three ingredients. Of course success and failure have their own rewards, as outlined in the tables here.

Success and failure have their own rewards

Invention allows the alchemist to create new recipes via trial and error. To practice invention the alchemist determines the ingredients they will use and the process involved at each step. The GM will use this outline as a way to determine the potential result of the experiment and the DC of the invention attempt. All invention attempts suffer a -4 Alchemy skill check penalty. All experiment failures are treated as +2 ranks of failure when determining consequences.

A successful experiment reduces subsequent Alchemy skill check penalties by one (cumulatively). Should the attempt result in a Discovery result on the exceptional success results table, the alchemist has successfully created a recipe.

Alchemy Items

Of course no post on Alchemy would be complete without some examples. Here are a few of the items a budding alchemist in Daruna can create. There are other items available of course, but these are a representative sample. With little or no magic available, they fill an important role in the game, especially in regards to healing.

Healing Salve
  • Item Cost: 15 GP
  • Ingredient cost: 12 GP
  • Alchemy DC: 13
  • Special: Requires 1 rank Heal skill to make
A Healing Salve can be used to treat wounds and injuries. When applied to a wounded character it provides a +2 HP bonus to normal healing rate and a +4 bonus to Heal skill checks when testing for medical care. Each application lasts 24 hours.

Lumina Oil
  • Item Cost: 12 GP
  • Ingredient cost: 9 GP
  • Alchemy DC: 11
  • Special: Requires DC 10 Heal check to apply (see below)
Lumina Oil is a two-part liquid that glows with a pale greenish-yellow light when combined. The substances are inert when stored separately. Once combined one dose will illuminate a 3 square radius for 6 hours. Typically the combined liquid is held in a glass container.

As an alternative usage, Lumina Oil components can be applied to the eyes to provide the ability to see in the dark for 1 hour. This usage requires a DC 12 Heal check. Failure of the Heal check has no effect, but a critical failure results in temporary blindness for 1d4 hours.

  • Item Cost: 15 GP
  • Ingredient (count / value): 13 GP
  • Alchemy DC: 13
  • Special: N/A
Stonetar is made from a mixture of tar and distilled alcohol mixed with other substances and stored in clay flasks. A flask of Stonetar covers a 2 square area if thrown and broken or a 4 square area if carefully poured out. The area covered by this liquid becomes very sticky. Creature entering this area are slowed, based on their size. Creatures below Small become completely stuck (Reflex DC 12 to break free). Small creatures have their speed reduced by 3, Medium creatures have their speed reduced by 1. Larger creatures are unaffected. The slowing effect lasts even after the creature leaves the area of effect, persisting until the creature spends a full action cleaning the sticky goo off themselves.

Vitus Draught
  • Item Cost: 10 GP
  • Ingredient cost: 9 GP
  • Alchemy DC: 11
  • Special: Requires 1 rank Heal skill to make
A Vitus Draught instantly restores 1d8 health to the imbiber. Using a Draught places a great strain on the body. Drinking more than one dose in an 8 hour period inflicts a -1 Con penalty on the imbiber (Fort DC 15 ends, 4 hours per check).

So there you have it, the way too deep rabbit hole of Alchemy in Daruna. Usually I'm the only one that gets to see the behind the screen stuff, since my players only see what affects them. At least now someone else can laugh at the amount of stuff I write that no one ever sees.

1 comment:

  1. I'll have to read this in depth.
    --It looks really nice! :D


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