Twilight of the Dominions
Alchemist-Mercenary of Gis
Gis, Free City of the Alchemists
There is a legend saying that the day Fabron, the Iron Priest of Faberterra, discovered iron, on the shores of the Drowned King Sea a wandering warlock built the first hut of what, centuries later, would become Gis, the Free City of the Alchemists.
The initiators of the Alchemists were a group of foreign mages, probably from Lhoban. Today, life in Gis revolves around the business of the supernatural. Cairnlord relic sellers have their stalls next to those of the Caldeian Lotus masters, and Valk prophets of the steppes offer their visions side by side with black-skinned dancer witches, worshippers of Etu. There is only one law in Gis: all magic is possible, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone and isn’t detrimental to the business, of course.
Of the many forms of magic practiced in the city, the most common is alchemy. The Alchemists, also named Master Alchemists, are the rulers of Gis. Their skills are far more powerful than the knowledge of Lotus mastered by Lotus masters. They can produce fire that burns on the water and cannot be extinguished, magic oils that make a barren land fertile again, and many other wonderful things. But their services are very costly and only kings and nobles can afford them.
The Alchemists are a very reclusive corporation. They live in great mansions which they also use as laboratories, protected by their servants and apprentices, and they rarely give audience to common people, unless, of course, a large pile of gold is involved. The identity of the Alchemists is not made public. They always wear long robes, special metal masks and gauntlets that bestow them great powers. The Master Alchemists have always been twelve and their number cannot change, because only twelve metal masks exist. The rules for succession aren’t very clear. Some say that, when an old master alchemist dies, the other eleven choose a successor from among his apprentices. He will take the mask and continue to rule the mansion laboratory. Yet, others believe that the Master Alchemists are immortal.
Gis is a place of wonders, but it is also full of supernatural dangers. The Battlefield of Greenmelt. Gis was born as a free city and no foreign power, not even the Iron Empire, has even tried to subdue it. None except the Valk. After Dhaar’s death, rumors claimed that the mighty warlord had been killed by the Alchemists’ magic. A great number of Valk clans gathered outside the City of the Alchemists, ready to destroy it to avenge their lord. But that very night a strange, greenish fog spilled from the mouths of the metal statues along the walls of Gis. The fog silently sneaked into the Valk’s camp and everyone enveloped by it died in a horrible way, his flesh melted, as if burnt by an incredibly powerful acid. At dawn, the
Valk camp was a cemetery. But the fog never went away. Still today, dozens of years later, there is a large area of green fog, called the Greenmelt, where the half corroded shapes of the Valk encampment can be seen. Nobody knows if the air is still poisonous, because nobody is foolish enough to venture there.
Lotus masters are skilled men who spend their life studying the incredible effects of Lotus, the strange plant appeared in the Dominions after the fall of the Dread Star. Many Lotus varieties exist: Gray, Red, Green and so on. The color usually identifies a particular type, but different parts of the plant (flower, root, pollen and so on) are used in potions to achieve different effects, allowing a virtually endless number of combinations.
The Lotus cannot be used in its pure form: it is toxic and, in some cases, even lethal. Instead, it must be refined and mixed with other ingredients, and special rites and spells must be recited to produce a batch of powder, a vial of elixir, pills, or other alchemical concoctions.
To create a concoction, a Lotus master needs his Lotus bag, a sort of miniature lab containing raw materials and basic tools. The process requires one hour per Rank of the Power he wants to imbue (so a Seasoned Power requires two hours of work).
At the end of the preparation time, the Lotus master rolls on the Lotusmastery skill and pays the necessary Power Points. These Power Points aren’t recovered until the potion is used or destroyed (burnt, dispelled and so on). Then, the Lotus master regains his Power Points at the normal rate.
If the skill roll is successful, a Lotus potion is prepared. It lasts indefinitely, until used, can be taken by any living being with an action. So a Pearly Lotus of Relief, a sweet potion that cures wounds, works exactly as the healing Power, while a Gray Lotus of Hollow Dreams, a powder with terrible hallucinogenic effects, induces fear in the individual targeted with it.
Raises work as normal, increasing the effects of the Power. Before a scenario starts, a Lotus master can choose to prepare as many Lotus potions as he wants, ignoring time requirements. It is assumed he had enough time to prepare what he wished.
Range: The Lotus must come into contact with the target to work. So spells with a range of Attribute (as Smarts x2), Sight, Self or Touch require the Lotus to be ingested, injected, or delivered with a Touch Attack.
Ingestion is self explanatory: the potion must be drunk or eaten (not necessarily as a voluntary action). To inject a Lotus potion, the target must be at least Shaken by damaging attack (a dagger scratch, or something similar). Touch needs a Touch Attack (+2 to the Fighting roll). Despite being more difficult to accomplish, ingestion or injection are more potent, especially for offensive Powers. The skill roll receives a +2, but only on opposed rolls.
The exact mode of administration is decided by the Lotus master upon creating the concoction. Powers with range brackets mean that the Lotus must be put into a vial to be thrown at the target. It is done with a Throwing roll and the ranges are reduced to 3/6/12.
Alternatively, a concentrated quantity of Lotus can be delivered with a blowgun dart (a Shooting roll using the blowgun ranges: 5/10/20).
Duration: Extra Points can be spent as usual to increase duration.
Laboratory: A Lotus master with access to a good laboratory, something bigger and better stocked than his basic Lotus bag, gains +2 to his rolls. Access to an even bigger facility, like the House of an Alchemist of Gis or another fully equipped workshop, grants a +4 bonus.
Backlash: A Lotus master rolling 1 on the skill die during the creation of his concoction inhales dangerous fumes or poisons himself in some way. He suffers an automatic Wound.