Everything is alive and bears its own intelligence. Alchemy is the art that studies the life behind what most people consider “inanimate”: plants and stones, and how it relates and alters one’s own life.

Alchemy teaches one to alter the metabolic processes of the body, change the way the very human nature works, by infusing it with parts of the nature of other lives.

Alchemy, in fact, goes beyond that: it allows a mage create new life, by mixing nature’s elements in specific ways, the alchemist can create an energetic signature that is not found anywhere else in nature: a new element.

Although most alchemical operations are, still, in the realms of art, it is the most scientific of all magical arts, and explains, philosophically, how chemistry works. It improves common Herb Lore knowledge, and allows the creation of compounds that no poison can compare to.


Alchemy’s most noticeable product is its potions, with its supernatural effects. Most of an alchemist’s life is spent on his laboratory, concocting new bizarre drinks. We present here a list of potions that alchemists strive to create and use, and each of them have their own set of parameters:

Penalty: The penalty on the Alchemists “Brew Potion” skill. No roll is necesary to determine if the character can or cannot create such a potion: if the character’s skill, with the penalty, is 10 or greater, then he is able to create this potion; If not, he isn’t. However, he may choose to roll in order to create a potion more quickly, or to alter its formula a little.

Cost: Usually, the confection of a potion requires many bizarre ingredients. Instead of having the character control a tiring list of dozens of different herbs, we translate it into a “cost” parameter: the cost to purchase the necessary ingredients for the brewing of that potion. A character can transfer some of his money into a “compounds” slot, and assume that his character went shopping on town and got himself a nice set of herbs. When he wants to create a potion, he reduces his “compounds” value by the potion cost.

Rarity: Instead of spending money purchasing alchemical ingredients, the character may opt to try to find them in the nearby region. To that, he must roll against his “Herb Lore” or “Naturalism” with a penalty given by this attribute. He must spend one day searching for the required compounds. On a success, he increases his “compounds” level by the potion cost. Each 4 successes allow him to increase his “compounds” level by another “Potion Cost”. A potion’s “rarity” always equals its “Cost” divided by $250.

Toxicity: Potions are toxic. While under the effect of a potion, a person’s body is ran with foreign chemicals that may alter his perceptions and motor skills. This is represented by the “Toxicity” level.

Duration: Some potions have an instantaneous effect. Others have prolonged duration. Most last for a full day.

Brewing Time: How long it takes to brew the potion.


Stuffing one’s body with strange and esoteric chemicals is not something one can do without its consequences. Each potion has a level of Toxicity, which is the amount of alteration to one’s biorhythm that it performs.

Every person has a different tolerance to drugs. This is represented by a “Tolerance” value, which equals one’s HT. If at any point, a character’s toxicity overcomes his tolerance, he will suffer drawbacks.

A character’s toxicity equals the sum of the toxicity of all the potions running through his body at any one time.


When a character’s toxicity overcomes his HT, make a HT roll check with a penalty equaling the margin by which the toxicity overcame the HT. In a failure, check the result on the table below:

 Result:   Effect: 
 success   Character is dizzy for 2D turns and will vomit the potion he just ingested. He will not suffer its effects. 
 –1, –2   Character faints and his body spasms all over. He will vomit the potion at the end and not suffer its effects. This lasts for 2D minutes. 
 –3, –4   Character hallucinates and begins to see unreal things that are not there. He suffers the full effect of the potion he ingested. 
 –5, –6   Character enters a fit of uncontrollable rage that lasts 1D minutes. In this blind rage, he may attack just about anyone. He suffers the full effect of the potion he ingested. 
 –7, –8   Character suffers unbearable pain. His blood seems to boil within. He will not faint, and his desperate screams will put terror on the hearts of demons. Not for the whole world will he want to repeat that experience. This lasts 2D minutes. 
 –9, –10   Character’s body shuts down and he enters a deep coma. He needs a special potion to get out of it, or to cleanse his body of the toxicity on the next 5 minutes. 
 –11 to –13   As above, and the character gains a physical deformity. 
 –14 to –16   As above, and the character gains a mental deformity. 
 –17 or more   The character dies. Taking that potion was too much for him. 


Deformities are the result of going too far in messing up with one’s tolerance to toxic substances. They are everlasting scars left on one’s body (and mind) due to indiscriminate use of Alchemy.

Deformities can be physical or mental. Physical deformities are mostly gross and very easily noticeable. Some are only cosmetic, but nevertheless, mark the character as something quite unnatural. Mental deformities twist one’s mind for the rest of his life, and usually lowers some attributes.

The GM should choose the character’s deformity. If a character already have a specific physical feature that imitates a deformity, he does not gain it twice, instead, choose another.

The list below is not exhaustive: new deformities are welcome, but it should give a feel of how strong they should be. It is recommended that the character should first gain low-cost deformities, and only then progress to more drastic ones.

Physical Deformities:[]

Colored Eyes (-10 points): The white of the character’s eyes turns to some other color, like black or blue (-2 in social interaction rolls).

Crippled Limb: One of the character’s arms or legs becomes crippled and loses all function.

Eyeless (-10 points): The character loses his pupils and irises: his eyes become all-white (or all-one color, if he also has “colored eyes”. -2 in social interaction rolls).

Hemophilia (-25 points): Due to a chemical imbalance, this character needs to frequently drink the blood of other sentient humanoids in order to survive. He loses 1 point of HT (not HP) per day if he does not drink blood. However, as blood naturally contains a lot of nutrients, this provides him with 80% of his nourishment needs.

Impotence (-5 points): The character loses all sexual drive.

Partial Blindness (-15 points): The character becomes blind of one eye.

No Body Hair (-5 points): The character loses all body hair, even his eyebrows.

Photophobia (-25 points): This character’s skin is averse to sunlight, and hurts horribly when in direct contact with it (-5 in all actions).

Scarred Face (-10 points): The character’s face becomes horribly scarred (-2 in social interaction rolls).

Sterility (-5 points): The character loses the ability to bear children.

Unreal Skin (-10 points): The character’s skin takes on an unnatural appearance. Examples: white with all veins outlined in black, texturized like a rock, constantly cracking, always full of pustules, covered in eerie tattoos, etc (-2 in social interaction rolls).

White Hair (-5 points): Character’s hair becomes snow-white (-1 in social interaction rolls).

Mental Deformities:[]

Blackouts (-10 points): The character sometimes blacks out and only comes back to himself hours later, not knowing what he did, or why.

Blinding Headaches (-10 points): The character is plagued by blinding headaches that render him completely helpless. They come and go sporadically, and last only for a few minutes, but these few minutes are hell.

Bipolar Disorder (-20 points): Sometimes he is very happy, sometimes he is very sad. This character is always on extremes. He is quick to anger, and quick to please. He is unpredictable and is often deeply depressed, or deeply high. He lives on an emotional roller-coaster.

Dark Compulsion (-15 points): The character is consumed by a deep desire to do one specific, very awful thing. Examples include: slicing peoples mouths open, eating human flesh, maintaining a relation to a corpse, etc.

Delusions of Grandeur (-10 points): This character has lost it: he believes that he is at the top and everyone should pay homage to him. He absolutely knows he is the best, the chosen, the greatest being alive, and he alone knows what is best. He saves no time in trying to convince others of this obvious Truth.

Dread (-15 points): One specific, common, innocuous item or occurrence, scares this character to death. Examples include: mice, the sound of bells, wine, naked people. When faced with his dread, the character is rendered completely helpless and will attempt to flee at all costs. If he is unable to, he will cower and tremble uncontrollably until the dread is removed from his presence.

Fits of Rage (-15 points): The character is prone to uncontrollable fits of rage in which he loses all sense of right and wrong.

Hallucination (-10 points): Sometimes, this character hallucinates and is unable to differ truth from reality. It may be a simple hallucination: seeing someone who isn’t there, or an object which is not real, but at the wrong time, they can be deadly…


The physical body is a truly marvelous piece of equipment. Versatile in the extreme, it goes to great lengths to preserve its own ability to function. Specifically, it can adapt itself to various chemical imbalances, in order to balance out external stimuli.

Therefore, it is possible to train one’s body to produce, constantly, the same kind of chemicals that an alchemical potion, thus, allowing a person to experience the effects of a potion permanently, for a price.

People thus altered are called “mutants”.

Mutants are, in short, people who are constantly under some alchemical effect (even while asleep). However, the body cannot cope with such alterations without making some twists and turns of its own, and for each effect chosen, the character must also choose a deformity (either physical or mental).

Being a mutant costs 5 character points for each level of “toxicity” that the potion would have if it were taken normally. However, a mutants’ body toxicity is normally 0, just as for normal people.

Potion effects stack on mutants. Thus, if his strength is increased due to a mutation, and he takes a potion with further increases his strength, the increase occurs normally.

Alchemical Skills:[]

Below, the list of Alchemical skills and their uses. Note that almost every respectable alchemist must have a decent “Herb Lore” skill, as well as “Chemistry” and “Poisons”:

Brew Potion (IQ/VH + Magery)[]

This is the skill used to brew a potion that the character knows and for which he has enough reagents. He needs not roll. If his ability level equals or overcomes 10 + the potion’s Penalty, he can brew it in its “Brewing Time”. If his skill level is greater than this value, he can brew additional doses of the potion at the same time: one for each point by which he overcomes 10 + the potion’s Penalty.

However, a character may wish to roll against this skill to brew the potion more quickly. If he does so, he may reduce the brewing time according to the able below:

 Success by:   Brewing time: 
 1   90% 
 2   75% 
 3   50% 
 4   40% 
 6   30% 
 8   20% 
 10   10% 
 12   1 hour 
 15   5 minutes 
 20   1 minute 

Identify Potion (IQ/A)[]

Faced with an unknown chemical, alchemists use this ability to identify what he is dealing with. If he has one hour at his disposal to test the compound, he can identify it without having to roll, if his ability level overcomes 10 + the potion’s Penalty. If he wants to identify it in a one-minute inspection, he can roll against the potion Penalty.

Alchemical Lore (IQ/A)[]

This ability tells the character how many potions he knows how to brew by heart. With access to an alchemical library, an alchemist may be able to brew any potion, providing he finds its instructions. But to brew a potion by heart, or with a minimal reference, he must study it.

The character knows as many formulas by heart as twice his skill level in Alchemical Lore – 10. So, for instance, with a skill level of 13, he knows 6 formulas by heart, and with a skill level of 17, he knows 14.

Mix Explosive (IQ/H)[]

Potions are not the only domain of the alchemist, he can also mix explosives. Gunpowder itself was discovered by alchemists.

Mixing an explosive is tricky and dangerous, at best, and, in a failure, may cost much more than the time lost in mixing it.

First of all, the player must decide on how much explosive he is going to mix:

 Size:   Base Damage:   Mixing Time:   Compound Cost:   Penalty: 
 A pinch*   2D   1 minute   $30   -3 
 A small vial   4D   5 minutes   $150   -5 
 A handful   6D   15 minutes   $500   -7 
 A 1l bottle   12D   1 hour   $1500   -9 
 A barrel   30D   1 day   $10000   -11 

The character may try to make a more pure explosive, for higher damage and a higher penalty, or a less pure one, for a decrease in damage and penalty. Basically, by each die of damage that he wants to increase or decrease the explosion, he adds or subtracts 2 from the mixing Penalty and 10% of compound cost.

The character always has to roll when mixing explosives.

The character may try to mix explosives more quickly, just as he does for potions, for the same modifiers.

If he fails an attempt at mixing explosives, however, there may be consequences:

 Failure by:   Effect: 
 1, 2   Spoiled attempt. No further consequences. 
 3, 4   Explosive goes of at the beginning of the process. Alchemist takes 1/5 damage. 
 5, 6, 7   Explosive goes of at the middle of the process. Alchemist takes 1/2 damage. 
 8 or more   Explosive goes of at the end of the process. Alchemist takes full damage. 

Explosive damage decreases by half for each hex of distance from its source.

Creating Potions:[]

Every alchemical potion grants their user an effect which must be translated into a GURPS advantage. These advantages can be either physical or mental, but not social. Technically, no supernatural advantage can be granted either, and exotic advantages can only be granted with GM approval.

Advantages which depend on the use of extra organs, such as winged flight or claw damage, cannot be granted through alchemy: alchemical potions do not alter a body’s structure, only how it works.

It is also recommended hat advantages granted through alchemical potions have as little enhancements as possible, and no limitation.

One exception must be made to these rules regarding “Unaging” and “Extended Lifespan”. No potion can confer these advantages: they are, in fact, the crowning achievement of all alchemical efforts, and require a prolonged research.

Every potion has standard values for its parameters. These can be altered within certain limits. Rules below are used in determining a potion’s parameters in-game. Characters cannot use these rules at any given time, they are only used when a character intends to develop a new formula, and this activity requires time and money.

Toxicity: A potion’s toxicity equals 1/10 the point cost of the advantage it confers, round up. This value cannot be altered.

Cost: A potion’s money cost equals the character point cost of advantage it gives times the base cost of $50. Each minus 1 in its penalty decreases its base cost by $10 (up to a base cost of $10), and each plus 1 in its penalty increase the base cost by $10.

Penalty: The standard penalty for a potion equals 1/5 the point cost of the advantage it confers, round up. “Penalty” can be exchanged for “Cost”. Each plus or minus 1 in penalty alter the base cost by plus or minus $10, to a maximum of -4 in its penalty, with no maximum limit of penalty increase.

Rarity: A potion’s rarity is its cost divided by $250.

Duration: A potion’s duration is one day. The potion formula can be altered to last more or less time than that, according to the table below:

 Duration:   Penalty: 
 1 minute   -7 
 10 minutes   -6 
 30 minutes   -5 
 1 hour   -4 
 2 hours   -3 
 4 hours   -2 
 12 hours   -1 
 24 hours   0 
 2 days   +2 
 4 days   +4 
 1 week   +8 
 1 month   +12 
 1 year   +16 

Brew Time: A potion’s Brew Time is 1 hour. This value can be altered according to the table below:

 Brew Time:   Penalty: 
 1 minute   +6 
 10 minutes   +4 
 30 minutes   +2 
 1 hour   0 
 3 hours   -1 
 9 hours   -2 
 24 hours   -3 
 1 week   -4 
 1 month   -5 
 1 year   -6 

Each alteration in a potion’s Penalty, for more or for less, counts as 1 modification point. Modification points tell how easy or how hard it is for an alchemist to deviate from this formula.

Example: creating a potion of Dark Vision:

As an example of this process, let’s create a formula for a potion of Dark Vision to a character. This is a 25 points advantage, and as such the potion’s Toxicity is 3, Penalty is 5 and cost is $1250. Rarity is 5.

Let’s make it easier to be prepared. For that, let’s increase the base cost in $20. With this increase, it now costs 25 x $70 = $1750 per dosage, and its rarity is 7. Since we are just going to use it by night, its duration is going to be only 12 hours, which reduces the penalty in an additional 1 point.

At the end, this potion has the following statistics:

Toxicity: 3
Penalty: 2
Cost: $1750
Rarity: 7
Duration: 12 hours
Brew Time: 1 hour
Modification Points: 3

It’s perfectly possible for an alchemist to create a potion which prevents or masks the effects of a physical or mental disadvantage.

Potion Development[]

If an alchemist wants to improve on his knowledge of known formulas, and there is no one nearby to teach him, he may want to develop his own formulas using the rules above.

To that end, he needs a laboratory properly equipped as the one described under “Brew Potion”. You cannot, however, research a new potion’s formula without having all required instruments.

The alchemist has to determine the parameters of his new potion, including, and specially, its modification points.

Developing a new formula is a task which takes 1 month to complete. In this month, he must spend 5 times the potion cost in alchemical compounds. At the end of this time, he rolls his “Alchemical Lore” + Magery skill level with a penalty that equals the potion’s penalty plus its modification points. In a success, the new formula is developed, and he may add it to his list of known formulas. He also gains 0,25 character points in “Alchemical Lore” because of the study he made in that time.

In a failure, he may roll again, with the same parameters, next month, but he still gains his 0,25 character points in “Alchemical Lore”. He also gets a cumulative bonus of +1 in his next roll for developing that formula in all his further attempts.

List of potions:[]

Below, a list of example potions that an alchemist may be able to brew:

Balance of a thousand cats

Toxicity: 2
Penalty: 3
Cost: $750
Rarity: 3
Duration: 1 day
Brew Time: 1 hour
Modification Points: 0

This potion confers perfect balance (15 points) to who drink of it.

Vial of Eternal Sleep

Toxicity: 7
Penalty: 7
Cost: $1750
Rarity: 7
Duration: 1 year
Brew Time: 1 month
Modification Points: 21

This potion causes whoever drinks of it to enter a suspended animation: an eternal slumber, in which he does not age, does not get sick, doesn’t have to eat or drink. Any poison or disease currently ongoing are suspended for this potion’s duration.

Call of Lightning Speed

Toxicity: 12
Penalty: 7
Cost: $6000
Rarity: 24
Duration: 1 day
Brew Time: 1 hour
Modification Points: 5

This potion increases a target’s base speed, allowing it to move 3m/s faster. This also increases his dodge value.

Call of the Battle Paragon

Toxicity: 2
Penalty: 0
Cost: $700
Rarity: 2
Duration: 1 day
Brew Time: 1 hour
Modification Points: 2

Whoever drinks of this potion will completely ignore wound penalties in combat.


Toxicity: 5
Penalty: 5
Cost: $1250
Rarity: 5
Duration: 1 day
Brew Time: 1 hour
Modification Points: 0

This potion grants the user the ability to see in total darkness, although in this ondition he does not see colors.