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Experimental Alchemy (Alchemist rule thread)

Discuss new Rules for HeroQuest.

Experimental Alchemy (Alchemist rule thread)

Postby Count Mohawk » Thursday June 16th, 2016 4:13pm

If you've ever read my previous post detailing my 4 alternative Heroes, you might know that I like the concept of an Alchemist Hero who uses potions in addition to magic.

The most obvious way to simulate an Alchemist's powers is, of course, to let him take a few Potion cards each Quest and use those in lieu of Spells. If you follow the above link, you'll find my current rule for that sort of thing, which generates 2-4 Potions of varying potency per Quest, on average. More recently, however, I have started to consider alternative uses for all the potions an Alchemist would accumulate over the course of a campaign - hence this topic. Alchemy involves the combination of various materials to create new ones, ultimately pursuing the eventual creation of the Philosopher's Stone. What if an Alchemist Hero could do the same?:
Image
Basically, if the Alchemist has some spare time in between rooms full of monsters, he can do a little alchemy on the side and create various minor artifacts by using up some of the group's minor potions. Some recipes will be relatively simple to complete, while others will be more complicated (four or more specific potions, for example), although the power of the item thus created would be proportional to the effort required to make it.

The card pictured above, while using my personal templates, is certainly not complete yet (not least because it lacks any sort of artwork). Any suggestions on how I can improve or simplify this mechanic?

End note: The winged chalice icon is part of a secret update to HQModern I did a couple of days ago which adds a dozen or so new icons to the back end of the font.
End note 2: Is anybody interested in downloading blanks of the card templates I use? If so, I can make those available...


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Re: Experimental Alchemy (Alchemist rule thread)

Postby Gold Bearer » Thursday June 16th, 2016 4:30pm

Nice idea, I'd like to see what else you come up with for making magic items. Maybe holy water with another potion could make an elixir of life.

You could house rule that a hero can only drink one potion per turn but an alchemist can mix them together before hand so you get a two in one effect. They won't be able to separate them again but it would be handy for boss type fights. Courage + Heroic Brew for example.

You could also do what I did with spell combining to create all new potions.

Count Mohawk wrote:End note 2: Is anybody interested in downloading blanks of the card templates I use? If so, I can make those available...
Yea, that would look nice with my winds of magic cards. I wanted them to look different. |_P
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Re: Experimental Alchemy (Alchemist rule thread)

Postby StratosVX » Thursday June 16th, 2016 10:18pm

I like this idea. This would make "garbage treasure" such as daggers that the Heroes find in later quests more useful.


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Re: Experimental Alchemy (Alchemist rule thread)

Postby cynthialee » Thursday June 16th, 2016 10:43pm

I really like the concept, but the character is not powerful enough I fear.
1 spell deck and a couple potions isn't enough.
Maybe if he had a nice modest stack of things he can make...with the understanding he is not likely to be able to use all his recipes in a single game.

I'd take out the potion of Speed and just have the requirement being the card Powder of Seeking and a Dagger.
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If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
~Sun Tsu The art of War~


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Re: Experimental Alchemy (Alchemist rule thread)

Postby slev » Friday June 17th, 2016 2:36am

Certainly an interesting system Mo. Got me thinking. I'll get back to you...


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Re: Experimental Alchemy (Alchemist rule thread)

Postby Goblin-King » Friday June 17th, 2016 2:38am

If I were doing this I would make a chart of recepies, but cards for the components.
I think for the character to be really interesting, he would need quite a few recipies.

You could even make it so that the result of some recipies can either be used in the game OR be a component for another recipy.
The result of that recipy could then be the component for yet another "higher" leveled recipy.
He would have the choice of using his creations to, you know, survive... or he could save them and create even more powerful items.

Of course this idea all depends on your powerscaling... If you are using the vanilla cap, this is probably not a good idea.
I honestly can't keep track of everybody's playstyles in here. Quite a few of you has added a lot of scaling to the game |_P


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Re: Experimental Alchemy (Alchemist rule thread)

Postby slev » Friday June 17th, 2016 6:09am

Having looked at this, and the original, I’d make a couple of small changes.

The first is the core Alchemist, instead of getting to roll on the table, gets to draw from a deck of cards. These potions will be slightly different from the standard potions, and will NOT last game-to-game. Optionally, any unused potion can be discarded at the end of the Quest for an amount of money, say 5GC.

3x Aqua Ratio (ignore one damage causing Spell)
3x Aer Ratio (Increase one movement by +1D6)
3x Terra Ratio (increase one defence by +1CD)
3x Ignis Ratio (increase one melee attack by +1CD)
3x Quinta Ratio (change one Item into 50GC)
4x Ignis Vitae (Heal 2BP)
2x Aqua Vitae (Heal 3BP)
2x Terra Vitae (Heal 5BP)
2x Aer Vitae (Heal (lowest of 2D6)BP)
1x Quinta Vitae (Heal up to 4BP and 2MP)
3x Terra Nobilis (ignore one spell that doesn’t cause damage)
4x Aqua Nobilis (Heal 1BP OR 2MP)
1x Qunita Nobilis (Figure who died in the last or current turn restores up to 1MP and 1BP and is restored to life)
4x Ignis Nobilis (Alchemical Bomb,1CD ranged, no defence)
2x Aer Nobilis (teleport)
3x Aqua Summa (Bonus Action)
3x Aer Summa (Alchemical Bomb, 2 white ranged)
3x Terra Summa (may pass through one wall when moving)
2x Ignis Summa (increase one ranged attack by +1CD)
3x Quinta Summa (Alchemical Bomb, 2CD ranged, MP damage)

The second is the “recipe” cards.

Using the above, there are now four types of potion (Ratio, Vitae, Nobilis, & Summa) and five elements (Aer, Terra, Ignis, Aqua, & Quinta). It makes it easier to pick two of these words and use them in a card.

For your example recipe, you could have a Dagger, an Aer and a Summa.

You’d likely want to change the template to make a new card without illustration, so you can better explain it.

Content would be something like:

Imbue With Flight

Ingredients:
One Aer Potion
One Summa Potion
One Dagger

╏, ╱, discard the cards for the above ingredients: Gain one Magical Throwing Dagger Magic Item


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Re: Experimental Alchemy (Alchemist rule thread)

Postby Count Mohawk » Tuesday June 21st, 2016 3:16pm

Wow, look at all these replies! I would have replied myself earlier, but I had things to do, not least of which was further development of this idea.

The Alchemist's one Spell Group is basically there as a baseline he always has to fall back upon if his potion-making doesn't quite get him all the way there in the middle of the Quest. If you play vanilla spell sets, this doesn't add all that much to him, but taking Water or Earth gives the group one more Healing spell right off the bat, which is not insignificant. Of course, I have my own magical system which is leagues more potent than the standard 3-cards-per-group setup.

5 Body and 5 Mind is slightly burlier than the Wizard, but I currently have him stuck with the same weapon and armor restrictions. There should be an intermediate step between "Wizard equipment restrictions" and "no equipment restrictions" to account for this increase in strength, but I don't know what that would be. Maybe he has to use Wizard-class armors, but can use any weapon at a -1 CD penalty - so Broadsword becomes 2 attack dice, and the Battle Axe a two-handed 3-die option? Although that might be a little too much brawn for a magic class; by no means would I mandate this rule for other forumites who want an Alchemist.

cynthialee wrote:I really like the concept, but the character is not powerful enough I fear.
1 spell deck and a couple potions isn't enough.
Maybe if he had a nice modest stack of things he can make...with the understanding he is not likely to be able to use all his recipes in a single game.

Good points. My current mechanic for the Alchemist's Potion-generating may be a little too weak. Sure, the average Quest will have 12-15 rooms and corridors in it, giving him 12-15 chances to find some Potions... but in the meantime he has to waste 12-15 turns doing the searching, which will either set Zargon up with all sorts of Evil Wizard cards (if you play them) or cause the Alchemist to slow down such that he can't contribute to the other Heroes fighting in the next room. Not to mention, the odds of actually getting a potion are rather small at present (20% for base Alchemist). What if...?
  • First we need to decide on the mechanic whereby the Alchemist obtains his potions. There's really only two ways to do it: either he start each Quest with a bunch of them (based on Mind Points, perhaps?), or he collects them over the course of the Quest. Both have advantage and disadvantages, which is why the ideal system would use a combination of both. Perhaps he starts with a small handful, and draws one more each turn? I dunno... More feedback would be appreciated on this one.
  • One alternative for my current system (roll dice equal to MP; get potion if :blackshield: :blackshield: is rolled) would be to alter it so that the Alchemist gets one "weak" potion if he gets :blackshield: , one "medium" potion if he gets :blackshield: :blackshield: , or one "good" potion if he gets :blackshield: :blackshield: :blackshield: .

Next: the composition of the potions themselves:

slev wrote:Having looked at this, and the original, I’d make a couple of small changes.

The first is the core Alchemist, instead of getting to roll on the table, gets to draw from a deck of cards.
Generally, drawing cards instead of rolling on tables matches with the Hero Quest theme much better. |_P

slev wrote:These potions will be slightly different from the standard potions, and will NOT last game-to-game. Optionally, any unused potion can be discarded at the end of the Quest for an amount of money, say 5GC.
Not sure I agree with this suggestion, though (and I'll get into a bit more detail further down below). If the Alchemist only has the one Quest to gather materials for his many alchemical formulas, it's going to be a lot harder to complete them, particularly for the harder recipes.

slev wrote:*snip* 20 NEW POTIONS *snip*
First of all, those look great! Writing proper fantasy board game stuff is as much about the vocabulary as it is the gameplay. (The Vitae potions are easily the strongest subset out of the ones you listed, but that's nothing I've never fixed before.)
However, I also like your approximately 40 potions from HQR. My initial idea for the Alchemist's formulas actually involved mixing those ones together, which has the benefit of allowing random finds from the Treasure deck to be available as ingredients for the Alchemist. To make categorizing them easier, I would assign each Potion a color (red, blue, green and yellow are the obvious ones) and subdivide each color of Potion based on their cost in Gold Coins. (so a formula might require "one Red potion worth 200+ and two of any other potion").
I might eventually just relabel all the Potions, because if I'm being honest your system is much tidier, but I'm still in the "investigation" phase so I won't be doing that yet.

And finally, the alchemical formulas themselves! (The card back art is older than 1700, which means it's public domain!)
ImageImage

Rather than write out each formula on a card, I opted to just show you a screenshot of my current Excel notes file, as that was faster:
Image

And there they are. Some simple, some complex. Some complete, some WIP. But hopefully all good!
The last four formulas, i.e. the Four Alchemical Processes, were designed partly in inspiration from Goblin-King's suggestion that certain formulas be required as pre-requisites to get to more advanced ones.
The Sphere of Banishment, by the way, is one of my favorite designs.


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Re: Experimental Alchemy (Alchemist rule thread)

Postby Anderas » Wednesday June 22nd, 2016 12:47am

Straight and simple, the alchemist could discard two potions to draw a card from a slightly stronger potion deck. Means, you will need two potion decks.

Second option,
I have already seen systems where there was a table added for each type of furniture so that you can find fitting things in each of them, plus a list of recipes what to do with all the stuff. Also, some are putting tokens into a bag to draw from. Suddenly you are not only finding stuff from the treasure card stack, but apples, worms, spider legs, à jar of eyeballs, a sack of rice, all that stuff.
It's not my favorite.

Or you use Slev's potions. Take the ones from here and from HQR, that makes about 60 of them. Give the alchemist exclusive access to them when searching or buying. When searching, you could also do a take three keep two mechanic...


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Re: Experimental Alchemy (Alchemist rule thread)

Postby slev » Wednesday June 22nd, 2016 4:22am

Number of potions:
Say a starting number (3?), then the rest generated through the quest.
The starting number could even be, say, draw six, discard three.

If you want the alchemy to stay from quest–to-quest, I’d put a hard limit on how many Potions the Alchemist can start the Quest with, say equal to MP. Also, make the generated potions from the deck not worth as much as the “full” potions.

Glad you like my words. The HQR potions are labelled to give a fantasy feel to them. The Alchemical compounds are labelled to give a feeling of historical alchemical theory. If you want to add my HQR potions to the “Alchemical Compounds”, you just add a handful of cards that allows the Alchemist to gain one “full” potion from a list. You can then, if needed, add a subtitle to my potions with their alchemical name.

Potion colours, you don’t want both green AND red, as some people are colour blind. Red, Blue, Yellow and Purple are generally your best options here.

I’ll try and have a detailed look at those recipes of yours….


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