Hi, I like to help people GM by making drag and drop resources. For this offering, I thought, every party needs potions, so every campaign needs an alchemist. Here are a few that I've used throughout my time as a GM. Each comes with tips for roleplay, as well as a plot hook for an adventure.
An alchemical empire begins with naught but a dream, and a hot cauldron.
Etteo Ambellos is an alchemist extraordinaire, if you ask the right people. He can certainly brew a health potion, and he's getting the hang of the potion of resistance, but don't ask for anything too complicated. That isn't to say he won't try to sell his less successful creations, an entrepreneur has to eat after all!
Concept: Snake Oil Salesman
Perspective: Etteo views the PCs cautiously. If they buy his successful potions, he'll hype up his budding "alchemical empire". If they ask about his non-effective offerings, he'll start looking to make a hasty escape after the sale.
Mannerisms: If the PCs take too long to browse it will become immediately clear Etteo is impatient. Whistling, toe tapping, fidgeting. Play him like a pushy car salesman.
Heh, sooo… You can go ahead and take your gold back for that faulty potion. No charge, on the house, friend discount, no need for blades ok? But hey, hey, heyyy maybe you could help me out. I know where to get the real recipe, but the old codger wanted to charge an arm and a leg just to copy it! Maybe you could pay him a visit and borrow his alchemy book? I'd pay you fair and square, and get you the real deal as soon as I can. He lives just outside of town, it'll be a cinch. Believe me.
Objective: Steal the alchemy tome from the old codger.
Level Adjustment: Etteo can give the PCs some actual potions to make it easier, and if they ace the dungeon they can stash them. Meanwhile the wizard is simply as strong and prepared as he needs to be to challenge your PCs. "Wizard" encompasses both fledgling necromancers and archmages with menageries of golems and monstrosities.
Suggested Challenges: Rune traps, arcane locks, investigation and stealth. Summoned creatures such as elementals and fiends make great guards, as well as constructs (animated objects, golems) or magical creature such as Nothics. For the puzzle inclined you could utilize teleportation circles and rooms full of mysterious potions to hinder your group.
Mynen the Mad
Boil toil boil and toil boil toil boil and toil! Trouble! Bubbles!
Mynen the Mad was once an esteemed professor at an arcane academy, and then he pickled his brain. Most unfortunate that his elixir worked fine on dwarven constitution but not his own gnomish body. Now he lives in a small hut in the woods, extremely wealthy thanks to his old station, but relatively unhinged. He would be a great ally to any group of adventurers, if they could only get him to focus. Thankfully his familiar Algernon tends the shop, and makes sure none take advantage of the old gnome, who despite his condition is still a powerful mage.
Concept: The Mad Hermit
Perspective: Mynen likely mistakes the PCs for students at the academy, unless they frequent his "shop" and befriend him.
Mannerisms: Mynen constantly mumbles to himself. Parts of recipes, random thoughts, counting. He'll pace as if looking for something. Just let loose and say whatever comes to mind.
A Moment of Clarity
You enter the pungent cabin to find the usual mess, and Algernon, staring you down. Mynen greets his students and asks for just a minute to prepare for class, he is running a touch late today. The old alchemist dodders off into his garden, but Algernon leaps from his perch and onto the floor, coming to sit before a note fallen to the floor. Picking it up, you see two words scrawled by an uncertain hand, "please, fountain."
Objective: Discover what fountain Mynen wrote about, and bring him there. If the PCs don't care for him, it can be a recipe he remembers. If the PCs develop a bond with Mynen over their visits, it could be a personal memory he was searching for. Or its restorative waters could heal poor Mynen's mind, indebting the alchemist to the party.
Level Adjustment: Algernon can help the party if they don't have skilled investigators. The guardians of the fountain can be nearly anything. Elementals have great options for any level.
Suggested Challenges: A skill challenge where the PCs comb the cabin and talk to Mynen for answers. The fountain's location might be difficult to get to. Is it in the Underdark? Atop a mountain? In a ruins of a city?
Grind. Mix. Heat. Distill. The secrets of the cosmos hide within these simple tasks.
Goldrom Ain is a traveling alchemist, proffering potions and tinctures from the large trunk he carries on his back. Ain sells many of his alchemical creations to support himself as he travels, but his true passion is discovering rare recipes and the reagents to make them. Thus you may often find him digging around an old ruin or picking mushrooms deep in a forest. He often uses invisibility potions to slip away from threats, but he will always reveal himself to reliable customers.
Concept: The Alchemical Seeker
Perspective: Goldrom Ain views the PCs first as clients for simple potions, but will in time view them as mercenaries to help him with dangerous exploits.
Mannerisms: When bargaining, Goldrom will often remain silent for a moment and raise his eyebrows to make him seem aloof to the offer. Sometimes, he actually could be. If you were a wandering alchemist, would you sell your last resistance or invisibility potions?
Liver & Onions
I've stumbled upon a fascinating recipe that I've yet to test, a potion that lends you the strength of giants. As I understand it, I need the liver of a giant. I myself barely managed to fell an ogre, and the resulting brew failed. I need your help to hunt down something closer to the true giants, perhaps an ettin or a troll. Trust that your efforts will be rewarded, you will receive the first batch of elixir.
Objective: Hunt down an Ettin and harvest its liver for Goldrom's potion.
Level Adjustment: Trolls, Cyclops, and True Giants can substitute for higher level parties.
Suggested Challenges: Net and pit traps in the Ettin's hunting grounds, 1-2 dire wolf pets, the Ettin begins hunting them for a possible ambush. Natural challenges such as river crossings & dense bramble thickets can work to a Giant's advantage.
I hope these fellows can help keep your party alive!
- None Found
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