|"Cauldron" by MysticArts on Pixabay
Last article, I shared an excerpt from my home-brew system Ær: An Adventure Game of Dragon-Riding and Aerial Heroics detailing the Pacts and Blades-inspired Pact Magic system that I created for it. In this article I will be sharing the Alchemy system made for the same campaign.
I have always liked Alchemist protagonists , although most of the ones I enjoyed appear in books like The White Castle by Orhan Pamuk (very topical these days) Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garçia Marquez and The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Perhaps arguably Frankenstein by Mary Shelly (especially the original 1918 Ed. ) They were hardly Appendix-N adventure story hero material. More the subject of fantasy medical dramas.
When Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition offered the option to buy a selection of cool alchemical items, I siezed on it and built a custom class based on the Expert NPC class with some bonus feats, access to the black powder items from the DMG, and weak spellcasting that ran as a sometimes-present Cohort all the way into Epic Levels.
When Pathfinder introduced an Alchemist class in their Advanced Player's Guide, I was both thrilled and disappointed. Like my experimental class it could chuck bombs, and brew potions, but at best had a limited relationship with the alchemical items, and a slightly less-muddled version the not-spellcasting of Eberron's Artificer class.
The more recent Pathfinder 2e makes a much more sensible Alchemist: a character that makes a selection of bombs, potions, and gadgets to solve problems. However the class is so complex that it took me forever to get a feel for it. The PF2e manual is painfully opaque to me, overall, though. It is as if someone studied my information-processing schema and wrote something specifically designed to scramble my Brain.
With PF2e and my ow older designs as a guide, I've built my own Alchemist class that serves as a healer and support character, much like a Cleric. However, it is a character that requires careful resource management and planning, and has an arsenal of options to create tactical advantages, rather than being a strong combatant. I am hoping that this design will encourage a lot of creativity from players.