Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thoughts on an Alchemist Class (for Swords & Wizardry)

This is untested and unfinished, so please feel free to criticise.

Alchemists have the same XP requirements, Hit Points, weapon and armor restrictions, and attacks as Magic-Users. Their Prime Requisite is Intelligence.

They start with a Saving Throw of 15 (like Magic-Users), but gain +2 vs poison rather than vs spells (edit: if using Fortitude, Reflex and Will, they should have a good Fortitude save. I find Basic/AD&D-style saves quite difficult, and I'll do them in the next draft).

They start play with two potions, which are rolled randomly as if generating treasure.

In areas with the proper facilities (usually large towns and cities), they may make potions when not adventuring. It costs them 500gp to make a potion of their choice, or 300gp to make a potion which is randomly rolled.

Their bonus against poison increases as they gain levels: +3 at level 2, +4 at level 3, and so on.

(What else happens as they go up in levels? I'd say that making potions becomes cheaper, but adventurers should have more gold anyway. Maybe they gain access to poison, or the ability to create other types of magic item).

Optionally, they can create and start with miscellaneous items as well as potions.


  1. Maybe further abilities might include being able to make some kind of simple bombs or flashpowders, skill at identifying new potions found, or being able to make very simple potions in the field from slain monsters. I've been playing The Witcher a bit, so I've had alchemy on the brain actually.

  2. Thanks! I'll try and use your ideas in the next draft.

  3. At some point, they have to be able to turn lead into gold...

  4. I'd give them an identify potion/substance ability. At low levels they can fail and sometimes misidentify potions; at medium levels they fail but never misidentify; at high levels they automatically succeed.

    I'd also not let them make potions of their choice, but rather give them options to "reroll" which potion if they don't like what they come up with (but they have to identify it first). They get one extra reroll if they have made the potion before, and one extra if they have a sample of the potion they seek on hand to compare it to. Things like Dust of Disappearance should also be possible.

    At higher levels, they can create potions or ointments that duplicate the effects of transmutation or polymorph type spells that aren't already covered among existing potions.


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