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5/01/2014 5:20 am  #1


Alchemical Warfare

I was just going through the equipment list and noticed that there seems to be a lack of nonmagical gadgets, with the exception of oil and marbles. I looked up the equipment in AD&D (which I never actually played), and there doesn't seem to be anything else either.
D&D 3rd Edition has a number of alchemical items that can be used against enemies. Alchemists fire, vials of acid, smoke bombs, caltrops, bags of instantly hardening glue, flash grenades, and stuff like that.
Is there anything like that in AS&SH, or did anyone made items of that kind to share them?


"Steel isn't strong, boy. Flesh is stronger. What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?"

Spriggan's Den
 

5/01/2014 10:34 am  #2


Re: Alchemical Warfare

I think the general idea is that alchemical skill (and the number of available alchemists) is a lot lower in Hyperborea than it is in a "medium fantasy" world like the one assumed in most versions of D&D, so fancy alchemical preparations aren't available for sale on the open market.  There's no reason you couldn't add some, of course.


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

5/01/2014 10:55 am  #3


Re: Alchemical Warfare

There's incendiary oil. That stuff sure keeps the players happy.

 

5/01/2014 11:31 am  #4


Re: Alchemical Warfare

I agree there is room for expansion of the equipment list, but I get worried about it being taken too far for the core game. I think much of the mundane is covered, but something like a vial of acid is possible. Ideally, I would like to one day have City-State of Khromarium as a full supplement. It would contain all manner of speciality items and services that are available no where else in the world.
 


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

5/01/2014 12:30 pm  #5


Re: Alchemical Warfare

Personally, I would be opposed to doing very much of this because IMO it allows other classes to impinge too much on what should be the province of the magician classes.  If you can buy "web in a can" or "hold person in a can" or "darkness in a can", then why bother with the low hit point spell-casters at all?  This kind of thing was part and parcel of the later D&D editions that blurred the distinctions between the classes until everyone was a combat monster and everyone had either spells or spell-like powers.  To me, this is antithetical to the Old School model of well-defined classes cooperating to achieve success.  At least IMO, those kind of alchemical preparations should either be only usable by magician classes, or should be grossly dangerous with a fair chance of backfiring and exploding in the user's face (which has the added benefit of being good for a laugh every time).  Let's give the magician classes a fair chance to shine in their chosen field. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

5/01/2014 1:38 pm  #6


Re: Alchemical Warfare

While alchemical items never got that bad, it's certainly something to watch out for. I would avoid any items, both magical and alchemical, that do certain tricks of sorcerers equally well. Though the big concern are not the fighters and thieves, but rather sorcerers who stack up on wands and scrolls do maximize their combat spell loadout.
Items that are readily available to the masses should be less powerful, more limited, and with a shorter duration than spells with similar effects. Smoke shouldn't be nearly as good as darkness and a flash bomb not getting near to hold person.
But I like the idea of using low power items as part of an ambush or to cover your retreat. A bit of smoke to cover your dash down the corridor from ranged attack for a round or two, stuff like that.


"Steel isn't strong, boy. Flesh is stronger. What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?"

Spriggan's Den
     Thread Starter
 

5/01/2014 4:39 pm  #7


Re: Alchemical Warfare

Yora wrote:

A bit of smoke to cover your dash down the corridor from ranged attack for a round or two, stuff like that.

Light a dude on fire!

 

5/01/2014 8:09 pm  #8


Re: Alchemical Warfare

I've always thought alchemy was a neglected aspect of fantasy RPGs, but I've also never really seen an implementation that's very satisfying. I guess maybe an expanded rules set for making potions and poisons, available primarily to magic-users and maybe clerics, might work, I don't know. In AS&SH, I could see it as a secret society of alchemists hiding ancient Hyperborean knowledge and equipment thought lost, for example.

Alchemical items as equipment regularly available at the general store (like rope, torch and pole), I would probably not welcome. Creative use of flasks of oil is encouraged, of course.


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

5/01/2014 9:52 pm  #9


Re: Alchemical Warfare

From how the sorcerer classes are set up, I infer that alchemists don't really do much on their own in Hyperborea. To really get into the thick of things they need a sorcerer. I guess they've spent all their time learning how to mix things and have never been brave or strong or foolish enough to really mess with magic. So they could just make Greek fire (which, if most adventurers are like my players, could make for a nice career), or, if they really want to get into the meat of things, they need to hook up with sorcerers, who can unlock the real potential in these reagents. Science without magic is blind, and magic without science can't make a gaseous form. Abraham Lincoln said that.

 

5/02/2014 3:21 am  #10


Re: Alchemical Warfare

Or go the other way with it:  Sorcerers are alchemists.

I've never really felt that the D&D-style "fireballs on tap" magic user was a good fit for S&S.  But an alchemist throwing bottles of explosives around?  Yeah, that seems much more appropriate.

 

5/08/2014 10:56 pm  #11


Re: Alchemical Warfare

This is tricky, as I totally agree that alchemical items would dwarf the need for low level sorcerors, yet I can't help but feel like magic esque one shot items would almost be the more common type of "sorcery" people witness in the world of assh.  I would say, in association with a higher and higher cost, all alchemical items have a good chance of not working or backfiring, and only the truly priceless ones are even considered reliable.  This should give them a worthwile pressence, and represent the nasty price of not haveing a capable sorceror, both in gold and risk.

 

5/08/2014 11:27 pm  #12


Re: Alchemical Warfare

Ghul wrote:

City-State of Khromarium 

Mmm.
 

 

5/08/2014 11:46 pm  #13


Re: Alchemical Warfare

RedJowel wrote:

This is tricky, as I totally agree that alchemical items would dwarf the need for low level sorcerors, yet I can't help but feel like magic esque one shot items would almost be the more common type of "sorcery" people witness in the world of assh.  I would say, in association with a higher and higher cost, all alchemical items have a good chance of not working or backfiring, and only the truly priceless ones are even considered reliable.  This should give them a worthwile pressence, and represent the nasty price of not haveing a capable sorceror, both in gold and risk.

Abso-fricking-lutely. Whenever I let "consumables" fall into the hands of the characters I make it pretty explicit that it's the real world equivalent of making home-made fireworks and if somebody rolls a fumble there are going to be some pretty disastrous consequences.

To my mind, alchemy in play isn't "science" so much as it's the byproducts of curious, but ignorant dabblers messing around with forces and substances and quality is never assured.

Last edited by NAJones (5/09/2014 7:31 pm)

 

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