Since my ideas about Runic Magic didn’t scare you off, it must be time to bring up another fascinating field of wizardry… Alchemy!
Like runic magick, the ideas behind alchemy are closer to traditional spellcraft in that an alchemist casts spells designed to affect material things. The whole art of Alchemy revolves around the idea of almost a primitive chemistry – materials can possess magical energy.
In the beginning, wanna-be alchemists tried the ever popular “lead to gold” trick and other variations on altering the properties of one material. Some focused on the appearance of change while others worked deeper, seeking answers to the mystery of what makes a material *that* material. And magic had to be the answer – it works as an agent of change in other ways, so why not combine the mystical and the physical to create the change they wanted?
Changing rock to mud, changing the color of an item, and many other low-level attempts were made. Over time, this alteration of a single property proved to definitely be in the realm of possibility. But ultimately they discovered that bombarding a material with magical energy wasn’t the answer. That proved disastrous in a few instances. Instead, they found that using more focused energy to slowly control the desired alterations worked more effectively, even if it was slower. Haste and mistakes caused explosions. Success, even slow progress, meant they were on the right track.
From there, alchemists attempted to change the form of an item rather than just a property or two. Such control proved that they could exert their will over an item. Some gained the ability to more reliably repeat certain experiments, even granting certain items a limited mystic “memory” of sorts as an enchantment to hold certain forms for longer amounts of time.
This led to attempting to force an item to hold a spell for one use (scrolls) and multiple uses (magical items). The logical conclusion of some of this research went so far as attempting to make such changes permanent, so items might remember energy patterns forever.
The field is in constant flux as one alchemist explores one avenue of research while another goes a completely different way. And knowledge is lost as such individuals lost control of certain experiments and destroyed themselves (and their notes) in the process.
A few spells…
Of course, every Alchemist has to have a few spells under their belt – right? There are a few common ones I’ll mention here:
- Color (1st level) is very handy. The Color spell adds color to any organic or inorganic item(s) specified by the alchemist. The number of items colored is limited to the alchemist’s level and the weight is limited to a number of pounds equal to 5 times the alchemist’s level. For example, an alchemist with level 4 Alchemy will be able to color as many as 4 items weighing a total of 20 lbs.
- Also Hydrate/Dehydrate Liquid (1st level) can be quite useful. Hydrate/Dehydrate Liquid allows an alchemist to dehydrate liquids and rehydrate them (if they were dehydrated using the Dehydrate spell) at a later time. One pint per level may be Dehydrated/ Rehydrated. Any liquid may be dehydrated this way including magical potions. However, a dehydrated liquid must be rehydrated before it can be used. (Dehydrated potions weigh less in the pack than do hydrated ones.)
- Restore Iron or Steel (2nd level) can be quite useful if your party fighter is always breaking weapons. Restore Iron allows the alchemist to mend 1 pound of iron per level. The mend will take the characteristics of the original iron- or steel-work down to the finest detail. Half the weight of the original item must be whole to be mended.
- Change Item (3rd level) might be of use to the party who occasionally steals things in broad daylight. Change Item changes the targeted item into another item of the alchemist’s choice. It only works on items made of inorganic/ non-magical materials. The transformed item will retain its original size and mass. At the time the spell is cast, the wizard must decide what form the item will take and the item holds the new shape for the duration of the spell (2 minutes per level).
There are others, of course, but a good Alchemist can’t give all his secrets away in the first meeting…