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Monday, July 29, 2013

The Apothecary

In a forum discussion about alternative classes, someone brought up the idea of a non-magical alchemist. I already have a magical Alchemist class, but I could see doing a non-magical medieval chemist, based on the Thief or the Leech class. I would call this the Apothecary. Like the Leech, probably no player character will take the Apothecary class as a stand-alone, but maybe a player will take one of the three class abilities as an add-on or "prestige" class.


Concept: Mostly mundane expert on rare substances.

Alignment: Any. Chaotic Apothecaries could make a good Poisoner class.

XP/HD: As Cleric. Prime ability is Intelligence.

Weaponry and Armor: Any armor, but only trained in weapons purchased when character is created.

Abilities: Identification and manufacture of mundane compounds, in parallel to the abilities of a Thief (cleverness, and stealth.) Instead of a Thief's surprise attack, Apothecaries can produce and administer poisons and antidotes.

Identification allows recognizing compounds and their properties, as well methods of neutralizing them. Roll d6 + level; 5+ means success.

Manufacture allows the duplication of non-magical materials, if the Apothecary has a sample or has researched or located a recipe in a formulary. It also allows the adaptation of a material to new forms. Which forms an Apothecary knows how to produce is based on level:

Apothecary Compound Formulas
1Liquid: Mix or Ingest only5 x 2d6
100 for poison
2Salves: Contact or Ingest for effect20 x 2d6
200 for poison
3Powders: Blow into eyes, nose, or mouth for effect30 x 2d6
300 for poison
4Incense: Burn to produce 50-foot diameter cloud, affects multiple targets40 x 2d6
400 for poison
5Perfume: Odor spreads invisibly, otherwise as Incense50 x 2d6
500 for poison
6Acid: Liquid does damage on contact, spreads to cover 10 foot diameter area.600/die of damage

Costs given are for ordinary substances that produce simple physiological effects (stinging, temporary blindness, drowsiness, sneezing, coughing, gagging) or simple chemical effects (color change, flavor change, odor change, texture change.) Second cost given is for poisons or their antidotes, per hit die of damage. If an Apothecary has a known recipe in a formulary, there is no die roll to create the compound in a lab, just time spent (1d6 hours x minimum level needed for formulation.) To devise an antidote to a known poison or compound, roll 1d6 + level; 5+ means success.

Any of the above forms can be mixed with the ingredients of a known formula to try to create a novel formulation that has two or more effects. This also requires a d6 roll, as for formulating an antidote.

As mentioned in the Alchemist class, powders can be blown up to 10 feet. A blowgun multiplies this range by the length of blowgun, in feet.

Poisons includes not just creating poisons and their antidotes, as described above, but also stealth and subterfuge when using them. Roll 1d6 + level; on 5+, the Apothecary can slip poison into a drink without being seen, disguise the flavor of a contaminant added to food, or otherwise avoid detection when administering a poison.


  1. This. Fucking. Rules. This is the class I was hoping for way back when you posted your alchemist. Radical, man.

    1. My only complaint, I think, is I'd like a slightly more concrete list of effects, but there's no reason I couldn't jury-rig one myself. Where, if anywhere, would incendiaries or bombs figure into the apothecaries' abilities?

    2. (a) The list of effects is open-ended. I could probably write up a list, but basically I'd just be transcribing a couple sections from Roget's Thesaurus.

      (b) I was going to give a quick answer on incendiaries, but I realize there's actually a couple different types: flammables and explosives. I'll do a separate post.