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by Ohad Shaham

The Alchemists, scientists of days gone by, are icons of fantasy as well as of real history. Thinkers and tinkers, they work tirelessly to improve our (or their) life and wellbeing, finding ways to extend (or create) life, turn led into gold and control the material world. In the magic rich Principalities of Glantri, alchemists are alive and kicking, grouped in an ancient organisation called The Secret Craft of Alchemy.

Becoming an Alchemist of the First circle

All Alchemists of past and present have been wizards of some repute (5th level) before joining even the outermost 1st circle of the secret craft. Specialist wizards are equally welcome but remember you need to have a good understanding of transmutation magic so it cannot be your banned school.
In other campaign worlds, sorcerers and bards (generic D&D), magewrites and artificers (Eberron) are also possible choices.
The initiate must be sponsored by an Alchemist of the second circle to join, and also must already have a working laboratory. A laboratory must be at least 100 sq meters in size, and new equipment must be added before entry into the next circle (5000gp per circle), So most alchemist start off as being fairly rich.

Entry Requirements:

Skills: Craft (alchemy) 8 ranks, Appraise 4 ranks
Feats: Brew Potion
Spells: Able to cast 2nd level transmutation spells
Special: Must be admitted to the first circle of the Secret Craft of Alchemy. Must build a laboratory worth at least 5000gp per circle, materials cost at least 500 gp per month. A field laboratory costs an additional 3000gp per circle, and restocking it costs 500 gp per month. Must be sponsored by Alchemist of the 2nd circle.

Class Features:

Hit Dice: d4
Weapon and Armour: Gains none.
Class Skills: Appraise, Craft (any), Concentration, Heal, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (nobility), Spellcraft

Lvl BAB Fort Ref Will Special Spells
1 +0 +0 +0 +2 1st Circle, Find Component +1 arcane spellcaster level
2 +1 +0 +0 +3 Alchemical Preparation +1 arcane spellcaster level
3 +1 +1 +1 +3 2nd Circle, Magical Preparation +1 arcane spellcaster level
4 +2 +1 +1 +4 Find Magical Component +1 arcane spellcaster level
5 +2 +1 +1 +4 3rd Circle, Transmute Matter +1 arcane spellcaster level
6 +3 +2 +2 +5 Craft Construct +1 arcane spellcaster level
7 +3 +2 +2 +5 4th Circle, Transcend Energy- wake construct, recharge +1 arcane spellcaster level
8 +4 +2 +2 +6 Transcend Energy- Raise Dead, Revitalize +1 arcane spellcaster level
9 +4 +3 +3 +6 Living Matter +1 arcane spellcaster level
10 +5 +3 +3 +7 5th Circle, Mutate Lifeform +1 arcane spellcaster level

Find Component: Using his special laboratory (or field kit) an alchemist can essentially analyse all of the material components in a given object. The experiments take 1 hour and require a DC 15 Craft (alchemy) skill check per piece of information. Information may include: type of material, source of material (such as remains from a creature), presence of poison, type of poison and so on. The DM may set a higher DC for exotic or rare materials. In addition, an object analysed with this experiment grants the alchemist a +4 circumstance bonus on Appraise skill checks.
Alchemical Preparation: Starting at 2nd level an Alchemist of the Secret Craft of Alchemy adds his class level to his Craft (alchemy) skill check whenever using his special laboratory or field kit. This is a circumstance bonus that replaces the one from a standard alchemical kit. In addition, the alchemist can create alchemical (non-magical) preparations that mimic the following potions: delay poison, cure light wounds, sleep and purify food and water. These preparations last only 1d4 days (becoming inert non-toxic liquid) Costs are the same as brewing a potion with the brew potion feat.
Magical Preparation: Using a laboratory appropriate for a 3rd circle alchemist allows brewing a magical potion, oil or balm even without knowledge of the appropriate spell. However, before the first time such a potion is made, a formula must be researched for 1d4 weeks and a craft check (DC equals 17 +2 per spell level) made. Failure means another check may only be made when another level of Alchemist is reached. Once a formula has been researched, additional potions are brewed normally.
Find Magical Component: This one-hour long experiment mimics the spell Identify. No material components are needed in addition to regular monthly costs of maintaining the laboratory.
Transmute Matter: An alchemist of the 3rd circle may use his special laboratory (but not a field laboratory) to transmute one material into another. 2 lb of solid or liquid material can be transmuted per class level of the Alchemist as a week-long experiment. A Craft (alchemy) skill check must be rolled at the end of the week (DC 25). The worth of the product must be no more than 100gp per level (up to 2000gp), excess material is lost. Failure means the work and source material is wasted and another must be made at the end of another week. On a natural roll of 1 the experiment is lost along with the entire laboratory which explodes in fireball doing 15d6 points of damage (5d6 of which is fire damage; reflex save DC20 for half).
The transmutation can be made easier (+2 bonus or higher, DM's call) by choosing a source material that has close attributes to the product (such as silver to gold, sand to glass and so on). This ability, although very dangerous, is the source of wealth and prestige for alchemists.
Craft Construct: The Alchemist gains this feat as a bonus feat at 6th level, even if he lacks other prerequisites. If he already has this feat, he may choose a wizard bonus feat instead.
Transcend Energy: An alchemist of the 4th circle can utilise magical or natural energy with miraculous outcomes. But first the alchemist must build a transducer (an antenna, a huge crystal and a magnifying lens). The construction costs 12,000gp and takes one month to complete. For each transcend energy experiment additional material costs of 2,500gp must be spend. In addition, an electrical energy source (such as natural lightning or a 100 hit points from a signal source of electric damage) must be aimed at the transducer at the end of each experiment, and a Craft (alchemy) check (DC 30) made. A natural roll of 1 destroys the transducer.
Wake Construct: At 7th level, an alchemist can use transcend energy to power a construct such as a golem. The construct must be created with the Craft Construct feat (additional skills and materials may be needed for the actual construction). The Energy used by the transducer replaces all spells and XP needed for the construct. The actual crafting and awakening can be performed by different wizards.
Recharge: Also at 7th level, transcend energy can be used to recharge a wand, staff or similar magical item by a number of charges equal to the alchemist's class level.
Raise Dead: At 8th level, the target of transcend energy can be a dead body not older than 1 week per level of the alchemist. The body is affected by a Raise Dead effect (including level loss, and possibility of soul refusing re-entry). On a failed skill check, the body rises as a lightning zombie outside the alchemist's control.
Revitalize: Also at 8th level, the target of transcend energy can be a living body. A successful experiment takes away 1 year of age away from the target body. On a natural roll of 1 the target body is instantly slain. And cannot be raised by transcend energy (it can only be raised by divine means).
Living Matter: An alchemist that has managed to get so close to be a high master of the secret craft gains a knowledge that bridges the gap between organic and inorganic material. At 9th level an alchemist can use his Craft Construct feat to create an organ (usually a limb), made from any solid material, to be grafted on (or to replace a limb of) a living subject. Creation of the limb takes about month (costs differ according to material. The procedure of grafting takes one week and requires a craft (alchemy) check (DC 35). A roll of 1 destroys the graft, and causes 3d6 points of damage to the subject. Upon receiving a graft, the subject must succeed on a will save (DC 17) or become a NE half golem under the DM's control (Monster Manual II). A graft functions as a normal limb and also grants special abilities depending on material:
Stone (+2 to strength, Damage Reduction 5/bludgeoning; 10,000GP)
Steel (+2 to strength, Damage Reduction 5/adamantium; 20,000GP)
Silver (+2 to dexterity, electric resistance 10, damage reduction 5/-; 50,000GP)
Mutate Lifeform: The High Master of Alchemists gains a true understanding of the alchemical and living worlds. Using his special laboratory the alchemist of the fifth circle can change the composition of flesh of living creature (or parts of) into that of practically any material.
With a DC40 craft (alchemy) check, 24 straight hours of work, and 50,000gp worth of materials, an alchemist can alter the consistency of a willing or helpless medium creature body into any material he can think of. He can also transmute only parts of the creature's body. Solid material organs are under complete control of the creature and give it hardness (damage reduction) as appropriate for the material. The subject may also be transformed into liquid/gaseous form. In such forms, the subject gains advantages of the Gaseous Form spell such as immunity to critical hits, and damage reduction but can still cast spells (but not wear any armour).
Finally, a creature mutated with the flesh of a creature gains the extraordinary (but not supernatural) physical abilities of that creature- damage reduction, regeneration, poison touch, camouflage and so on. The DM can (and should) set limitations and guidelines on this ability. On a roll of 1, the target dies and becomes inanimate material of the type used in the transmutation.

Playing an Alchemist

You have a scientific approach to magic, and always strive to expand your knowledge. Good or evil does not matter, there are truths hidden in the core of the world outside the realm of sentient ideas. Because of this, some alchemists are considered anti-social or workaholics. Try to emphasise the "mad scientist" persona, and address problems in an analytical fashion.


The Alchemist prestige class does not offer any powers that directly enhance your combat ability. However, you are still a fully functioning arcane caster and can dish out the normal amount of damage with your spells. As an Alchemist, you have access to much more potions and alchemical weapons than most wizards. Use those whenever the need arises as it makes no sense to hoard them. Later in you career you can sit back and let your constructs do the dirty work. Keep out of melee! If you die, no one will be able to use your transducer to save you, and your life time researches are ruined.


The Craft has high demands in terms of time and money. Only at mid levels does it start to pay off (at least in terms of cash). Obviously, you should keep your Craft (alchemy) skill at top ranks as it is the key ability for most of your powers. Your intelligence score should be highest for the same reason. Invest in several craft skills as you are likely to build stuff during your career (leatherworking is a must for flesh golems!). Take feats that either enhance your alchemist powers such as Skill Focus, or invest in item creation feats. At the highest levels, try using your abilities to enhance your body or that of your allies so to gain magical abilities on top of those granted by magical items (essentially gaining new item slots-there is no "prosthetic arm" slot).


The Secret Craft of Alchemy is a loose group of allied researchers, not a guild. The different members exchange knowledge and resources when it suites them, so you can expect for some support finding rare materials and formulas but usually with a price. Almost all Alchemists in Glantri are from noble houses and may have access to facilities outside the reach of commoners.

The Secret Craft of Alchemy in the World
"That tower houses one of those wacky Alchemists. I would not get close during a thunderstorm. In fact, if I were you, I'd stay clear altogether. "

Wizards are the top notch of Glantri society and Alchemists are no exception. They are treated with respect seasoned with a bit of fear, as they are known to be the centre of mysterious explosions and disasters. Outside Glantri, things might change considerably. Most societies, especially religious ones have no love for the mad scientists, their laboratories or their frightening mechanical constructs.


The Secret Craft of Alchemy has it origins deep in the past of another world. On Laterre, persecuted wizards have developed blend of subtle magic and science to hide their nature and advance their power. On Mystara, the most powerful Laterran family, the d'Ambrevilles, created La Confrérie Occulte de l'Alchimie et de l'Arcane d'Averoigne which in the days of the early Glantrian republic consolidated into the Craft, based in the great school of magic. The Craft is currently headed by Geneviève de Sephora, a powerful ally of the d'Ambrevilles. Only a select few are allowed into the Craft, which is very lucky, as the economical impact of gold producing alchemists can be disastrous. There are only a few dozens of alchemists around Mystara, almost all of them remaining in the Principalities of Glantri.
The alchemists are strongly opposed by The Free Anachronistic Society of Aalban a purist organisation of powerful nobles set to rid the world of technology and magical contraptions.

NPC reactions

As the Craft is basically secret, the general populace recognises them as scientifically inclined wizards and treats them appropriately. However, rumours of the Alchemist's power to turn led into gold and extend life may incite emotions of greed and fear.

Alchemist Lore

Characters with Knowledge (arcana) and Knowledge (nobility) may learn these bits of information about the secret craft of Alchemist:
DC10: Alchemists are mad scientist who search for the secret of turning led into gold. Their failures result in large explosions.
DC17: Alchemists form a secret academic organisation known as the Secret Craft of Alchemy, stationed in the Great School of Magic. They have perfected alchemical skills to the level that they can identify and create any material, chemical or potion.
DC25: Alchemists have the power to manipulate matter and energy. They CAN create gold and reverse aging.
DC30: Alchemists are even able to bring back the dead. They can also create all sorts of magical and mechanical constructs, and replace lost limbs with those of golems.

Sample Alchemist

Rolf von Graustein, Viscount of Blofeld, Alchemist of the 4th circle.
{This character is detailed Glanti:Kingdom of Magic (p29). These are the D&D3.5 statistics for Rolf for the year AC1019.}
At the age of 79 Rolf is in top shape and ready to take over the Secret Craft at the first sign of weakness from Geneviève the Sephora and Jissel de Gheyn. Rolf does not travel alone, he is usually accompanied by a band of 4 iron golems for protection.

Rolf von Graustein: Male Human Wizard7/Alchemist9
Medium Humanoid; CR 16;
HD 16d4+16; hp 56;
Init +1; Spd 30 ft/x4;
AC 16 (+1 armour, +1 dex, +4def), touch 11, flat-footed 11;
Base Atk/Grapple +8/+8;
Full Atk +9/+4 One-handed (1d4+1;19-20/x2, +1 Dagger);
AL NE; SV Fort +9, Ref +9, Will +14;
Str 10(+0), Dex 12(+1), Con 13(+1), Int 20(+5), Wis 12(+1), Cha 8(-1);
Skills: Appraise¹ +7, Concentration¹ +7, Craft (alchemy)¹ +27, Craft (blacksmith)¹ +12, Forgery¹ +8, Gather Information¹ +2, Handle Animal +12, Heal¹ +3, Knowledge (arcana) +11, Knowledge (arch & eng) +13, Knowledge (history) +14, Profession (herbalist) +7, Ride¹ +4, Speak Language +3, Spellcraft +15.
Feats: Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Skill Focus(Craft (alchemy)¹), Brew Potion, Craft Magic Arms and Armour, Craft Wondrous Item, Forge Ring, Maximise Spell, Craft Construct
SQ- Alchemists abilities 4th circle.
Possessions: Cloak of Resistance +1, ring of protection +4, bracers of armour+1, dagger+1, figurine of wondrous power(owl).
Spells normally carried (4/6/5/5/5/5/3/3/2)
0 level: Read Magic, Mage Hand, Mending, Open/Close
1st: Alarm, Hold Portal, Unseen Servant, Floating Disk, Cause Fear (DC 16), Erase
2nd: Resist Energy, Detect Thoughts, Locate Object, Scorching Ray, Fox's Cunning
3rd: Dispel Magic, Nondetection, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Suggestion, Gentle Repose
4th: Minor Creation, Detect Scrying, Scrying, Phantasmal Killer, Stone Shape
5th: Private Sanctum, Teleport, Cone of Cold (DC20), False Vision, Permanency
6th: Maximised Lightning Bolt (DC18), Legend Lore, Chain Lightning (DC21)
7th: Greater Teleport, Mass Hold Person (DC22), Body of War (Spell Compendium)
8th: Discern Location, Lightning Ring (Spell Compendium, DC23)