Oddities for an Alchemist's Laboratory

William T. Thrasher

There's more to an alchemist's workshop than a pestle and mortar and 1d10 bubbling beakers. The laboratory is a wonderland where miraculous cures and pseudoscientific abominations are spawned from the minds of geniuses in varying degrees of madness and torture. With that in mind, the arcane brewers behind the popular "100 Oddities" series of system-free sourcebooks bring you another ever growing, ever evolving table of random objects, encounters, and NPCs to enrich your campaign. So if your party is raiding the lab of a mad alchemist, hunting for secrets in the workshop of a brewer of potions, or they've tracked a flesh golem to its lair, you now have just the table to roll on to spice up the encounter.

1. A lump of leaden metal, little more than slag. However, this byproduct of a failed experiment randomly changes into another metal ever 1d6x minutes, randomly changing to gold, iron, platinum, copper, or any other pure metal. There is a cumulative 1% chance each transformation that the lump will turn into murcury and will flow away if not properly stored.

2. A pestle and mortal made from hematite. It serves its purpose well. However, if a paste of powder is placed into the mortal and worked over with the pestle, the substance "un-grinds" back into its original form.

3. A mangy old dog dozes on a pillow in the corner. It is aware of the party's presence, but would rather nap than investigate goings on or protect the lab. Do to an accident involving an experimental youth potion, the dog ages backwards throughout the day, eventually becoming an energetic puppy before aging forward back into an old mutt. This cycle takes 1d100 hours to complete each time.

4. The heart of a chicken floats suspended in a briny solution, beating lazily. If the heart if removed from its vat and begins to grow like a monstrous tumor, covering an consuming all the realm unless slain.

5. A table is dominated by what appears to be an elaborate and active chemistry set. Different colored fluids flow through glass tubes, churn in retorts, and bubble in schlenk flasks. However, this is an "ooze farm", a self-contained habitat where oozes live, play, feed on trace elements, and reproduce for the entertainment and edification of dedicated hobbyists.

6. A well-word tome sits on a table edge. However, the pages inside are blank. This in an alchemist's journal written in alchemical ink on trated paper. Only when the pages have been exposed to the proper elements will the writing appear. This single volume contains several tomes worth if information, as different elements can cause different writing to appear on any given page. All the alchemist's secrets are contained within.

7. A tiny humanoid paces back and forth under a bell jar, occasionally banging on the glass to gain the party's attention. The figure is either a would-be thief shrunken by an alchemical trap, an unruly apprentice being punished for insolence, a small homunculus yearning for freedom, or an illusion meant to lure trespassers into an alchemical trap that shrinks its victims and imprisons them in bell jars.

8. A shimmering, irregular stone rests in what appears to be a golden box. The stone is a flawed philosophers stone. Anything touching the stone turns to iron pyrite, commonly known as fool's gold. Even casual contact triggers this transformation.

9. A block of elder wood taken from an ancient treant is gripped in a large iron vice, the immense pressure of the vice squeezing golden sap from the wood. The sap collects in a small flask under the vice.

10. A set of false teeth made from alchemical gemstones rest in a glass filled with mild acid. Anyone wearing the false teeth can chew any substance, no matter how hard. Once thoroughly chewed, the wearer of the teeth can swallow said substance and gain nutrition from it as it it was real food.

11. A coal scuttle made of alchemical mettle rests in the corner. Any vegetable matter placed in the coal scuttle transmuted into coal. Natural coal placed in the scuttle transmutes into diamond. However, a natural diamond must be placed in the scuttle every new moon for it to maintain its enchantment. This diamond is consumed by the scuttle. Somewhere in the laboratory is a black velvet pouch containing 1d6x small diamonds for this purpose.

12. A peculiar serpent coils in a terrarium. The snake has the hood of a cobra, the markings of an adder, the scale texture of a cottonmouth, the head of an asp, and the tail of a rattler. The serpent can produce any natural venom or toxin, along with its antidote, and has been trained to do so on command.

13. A humanoid form lies under a white linen sheet. Under the sheet rests a young noble of high rank trapped in an alchemical slumber. Somewhere, a flesh golem resembling the noble has taken their place in court.

14. A volcano made from papier mache sits on a table, along with a bottle of vinegar, a carton of baking soda, and dropper of red food coloring. Adventurers with some knowledge of geography may notice that the volcano resembles a nearby mountain. If the three substances are mixed in the volcano, they bubble forth in a mild simulation of an eruption. At the same time, a nearby mountaintop bursts, spewing hot ash and lava over the surrounding countryside.

15. A pair of bellows hangs from a hook near an alchemical kiln, its nozzle blocked with a cork. A vengeful spirit of the blazing hot southern wind is trapped within.

And that's only the beginning! Check back as this list of oddities continues to grow. And while you're here, why not add your own in the comments?