Over the weekend I was pondering our alchemical students and wondering about not only their successes, but their failures. Would a failure in transmuting one material agent to another lead to any unfortunate side effects? And that thought led to a couple of beasties we may have to flesh out…
When practical alchemists at one of the many wizard guilds decided they needed to find ways to dispose of the waste products of alchemical experimentation in the laboratory, they contracted to have a Black Pudding captured and placed in a stone-lined well in the basement of their facility. For several years they had their students take failed experiments and toss them down the well until one of those students noticed that the monster was missing. The guild launched an investigation and discovered that the creature had not been destroyed, as they had hoped, but had actually escaped. Somehow it had managed to burn a hole in the side of its prison and find its way outside.
When they finally tracked it down, they discovered that it had gained the ability to not only consume any kind of material or liquid, but the ability to cause its outer layer to ripple with different types of magical energy. The Chromatic Ooze, unlike its more common Black Pudding counterpart, has the ability to change color and do the following types of damage to its surroundings:
- Red – Fire 3d8
- Black- Acid 3d8
- White – Cold 3d8
- Green – Poison 3d8
Though the monster’s pursuers valiantly attempted to subdue and destroy this aberration, the Chromatic Ooze managed to divide and a portion escaped. It’s multiplied several times since and continues to cause issues in many parts of the world.
There are tales about a talented alchemist by the name of Yzoras. One details a time when he was working to perfect the magical dehydration and hydration of liquids and was distracted by an assistant, Vagast. At a critical juncture in the casting, Vagast bumped Yzoras and was turned to dust. Panicked, the alchemist rehydrated his assistant and continued on as though nothing had ever happened. But of course, something had happened.
Vagast discovered that being magically broken into your component pieces and then put back together again created a huge rush of adrenaline and endorphins. This particular event happened once more before his master banished him from the tower. Unfortunately, Vagast was addicted to the rush and had enough alchemical knowledge to reproduce the effects.
He used his newfound addiction as a bartering chip and became the “inside man” on several jobs for thieves’ guilds around the world. They would take him into a location in a pouch of dust, pour a specially-concocted mixture on him to hydrate him and he would become whole again. Though he was unable to steal any inorganic items, he found he could kidnap important figures, steal strange holy artifacts, and other things. Eventually he perfected his methods and was able to keep their secrets while sharing them with a small group of dedicated individuals who joined him for the rush.
The “Dust Men” are an elite group of madmen who are thought to have perpetrated some of the most daring heists in history.
There are rumors that Vagast is suffering from repeatedly “dusting” and is missing parts of his anatomy. All it takes is a slight breeze and a few pieces of the dust that makes the whole are moved out of spell range. When enough pieces go missing, the whole suffers. All of the “Dust Men” are thought to have visible afflictions similar to leprosy…