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Magic Items and Rules for Alchemical Research

Derek Holland

I have many supplements that are either on alchemy or have it as a section or chapter. As I was recently rereading some of them, I found somethings lacking. The first are magical equipment for alchemical processes that can also be handy for adventurers (there is a very few out there) and the other rules for discovery. Here is my take on both.

Heat batteries have several settings, each with its own command word- absorb, release and a temperature limitation (such as do not absorb heat if the air temperature is below 50 degrees F). Alchemists use them to absorb waste heat from ovens, sunlight and warm days for use in reactions. PCs use them in place of fires to keep warm as the battery does not produce light as well as melting things and protection from heat and fire based attacks. They can overload and explode or meltdown.

Membrane bubbles are used to contain reactions and either reduce or mitigate explosions. The device that makes them just needs some soil and water as raw materials. With an epic aim, a bubble can contain a fireball, snuffing it out. One could hold a creature and suffocate it, depending on the duration of the membrane.

Antigravity chambers are handy for making usual materials. They could also be used to contain creatures and objects that are dangerous to touch.

Pressure chambers compress material, potentially causing reactions without heat. They also crush unwanted things into oblivion.

A material duplicator is very expensive and requires raw materials but it does the job perfectly (no skill rolls needed). It may or may not be able to reproduce magical potions, oils, dusts, etc.

Hazard detectors are important to the survival of the alchemist. Poison, heat, pressure (i.e. an explosion or implosion), radiation (weird energies), etc.- each has its own detector.

Self mending and self cleaning equipment is actually rather cheap and very popular with adventurers who get very grimy in their travels.

Inert tools do not react with anything. Some may even be immune to Disintegration and similar effects. Expensive but worthwhile for those alchemists working with highly dangerous reactions and products.

Preservatives stop a reaction cold and can be used to keep midproducts, those materials that were going to make further changes. It can be used to preserve other things, like a gentle repose spell.

Energy retaining flasks can hold much more than the standard forms of energy. Any ephemera, such as shadows, emotions, concepts, etc. can be held in such a flask.

Element removers are usually dehydrators but can include removal of earth, air, fire and whatever other elements exist in a setting. The result can be weird and potentially reactive to the element removed.

Astrology shade filters allow the light of a specific planet, star or constellation through even in the day time or wrong time of the year. Mages that use such energy to enhance their spells would find this the ultimate tool.

Safety goggles prevent damage to the eyes from splashes, bright light or even gaze attacks.

Dross and slag collectors are both safety equipment and a potential source of new raw materials. They can be used to purify water and other liquids.

Elemental blades are made from all 4 (or more) and are used to cut any non-living matter or energy. The cut material gains a solid nature, at least for a while, so it can be used to make blocks of air or water for transport as well as cut through walls, even walls of force.

A fluid animator turns alchemical products into animated objects or even golems. It may or may not work on something as simple as water.

A quintessence infuser adds life force to a reaction. This is needed for any alchemical material requiring XP (or whatever in other editions/games). I have no idea how much quintessence is in a plant, pig or goblin, but that is something to keep in mind.

Analysis paper records the results of a reaction, step by step. With the right education, an alchemist can read the paper and potentially see short cuts, reducing the amount of time needed to make something.

For those who don't want to waste money on analysis paper, as it records useless reactions in addition to those with desirable effects, alchemical lenses can be used to study reactions. The results are the same, but the alchemist needs a swift hand or strong memory to put the relevent data to non-magical paper.

A radio transmitter may seem an odd thing for alchemy, but it can be a power source over long distances (search for crystal radios). An alchemist could heat and light homes and businesses through the power of earth and air alchemy. It could also be used by a master alchemist to control his subordinates (via direct communication or cutting off a vital energy source).

Elemental kennel. The size of the container depends on the size of the elemental. Having a creature on hand that can make basic materials (or perform basic transmutations) can make alchemy much cheaper.

Glass tree or alchemy tree. The latter is alive and both can produce large amounts of product. The amount of time for the reaction isn't reduced but as long as the raw materials are imputted, the tree can continue to create the end product. In the case of living trees, the leaves have to be harvested and processed to remove the desired substance. Every time the tree's roots are exposed to alchemical raw materials, it grows another set of leaves as it goes through the process.

An atomizer turns solids and liquids to gas. It may or may not work on magical potions, dusts, etc.

A lightning rod collects the electrical energy needed for some reactions. It can also be used to help direct electrical spells, hitting targets while avoiding others in the area of effect.

A chain of control is used by those alchemists working with mutagens. In the case of a rampaging enlarged bacterium, insect or other bystander, the chain prevents it from rampaging in the lab.

I have no idea what to call this one so I will go with the easiest- an undo button. A device that undoes a reaction so that the alchemist can try again with a different process. Another expensive tool, but one that helps a lot in research. Adventurers can use it to restore broken objects (erosion/decay is a process).

And speaking of research, as far as I know, there are no rules for alchemical research and the potential of discovery. How many famous medicines and materials were discovered by accident? Whenever an alchemist makes a critical success or failure on their check (as per a combat crit for d20 [and its reverse] and 1 or 20 for NWP skills), roll on the following charts:


1-10/1-2 Positive Result

11-18/3-11 Neutral Result

19-20/12-20 Negative Result

School of Effect

1 Abjuration

2 Conjuration/Summoning

3 Divination

4 Enchantment/Charm

5 Evocation

6 Illusion

7 Necromancy

8 Alteration (Transmutation)

Power Level (this should be setting dependent so please change it as needed)

1-10 0 level spell

11-14 1st level spell

15-17 2nd level spell

18-19 3rd level spell

20 4th level spell

The exact effect is up to the DM with some possible imput from the player. If the alchemist has analysis paper, reproducing the product should be easy, otherwise it will take a skill penalty (DC +2 per spell level, +1 for 0 level spells or -1 per spell level for a NWP system).