View Full Version : Quintessence Alchemist (Outline of a magic system further down)

2009-10-01, 03:50 AM
Quintessence. The Luminiferous Aether. The Weave. Allflood. There are many names for it, the medium through which magic manifests itself.
Centuries ago, Alchemists found a procedure, deceptively easy in execution, through which the substance could be distilled, liquefied, filled in bottles. But it proved to be extremely dangerous. It's volatile, explosive, it distorts magic by it's mere presence, it's a lethal poison to magicians and sickening to others.
Alchemists and mages tried to drink it, and they died, spectacularly. Golems infused with it went berserk and tended to explode.
But then, through an accident at first, one man drank it and survived. A young man, unskilled in magic, but healthy enough to survive the side effects. And he became what is now known as the first Quintessence Alchemist...

So, this idea came about when we were discussing magic systems tied to different attribute scores. The idea behind this one is to create a system with magic tied to constitution.
The quintessence alchemist ingests raw magical essence, gaining powers through it. His constitution (and probably level) determines how much he can drink before incapacitate himself.

Now: my basic idea was that the class gains passive powers depending on how much essence is consumed. Here, I would put stuff like an aura that distorts magic, spell resistance and probably several immunities. On higher levels, Spell Reflection or Absorption and, maybe, a shapechange to a form of pure, incorporeal magic. Elemental subtype, probably.
The way I imagined, the alchemist prepares himself, similar to a wizard, by first drinking essence, and then pretty much passing out in meditation for an hour, trying to fight down the effects to a level where they become useful.
I think, to show the dangerous nature of the substance, there should also be negative effects to this. Stat drain may be too extreme, but check penalties might be a good start.

Then, there should be powers that require the alchemist to use up some of the stored essence. Here, I would place things like force bursts of various kinds.

Now, the purpose of this thread is idea-gathering: I have the bare skeleton of an idea that could, probably, become quite cool, but I need some help coming up with enough ideas for essence application to make this class playable.

So, the question to you: what else could happen if one drank pure magical essence? What kinds of power would one gain?

Realms of Chaos
2009-10-01, 05:42 AM
What would raw magic give you, eh?

magic-enhanced senses
boosts to ability scores
an explosive death throw
fast healing
an explosion of elemental energy that errupts when injured (harming the creature to attack you)
damage reduction
energy resistance
a conduit that actually bends magic towards/away from you.

One possible disadvantage is that when you are reduced to 0 health, you are no longer to conciously hold back the quintessence, destroying your body completely. this would be in addition to skill check penalties, I think.

2009-10-01, 06:03 AM
Hmm. These are a few good ones. Let's go over them and write down a few suggestions...

Magic-enhanced senses

Here, I would mostly put something like detect magic. Perhaps as an at-will ability, similar to the warlock.

Boosts to ability scores

Probably mental ones, perhaps Charisma, or perhaps a strenght boost for a cost of essence.

An explosive death throw

Interesting, but dangerous. The class shouldn't be unplayable in a group.

Fast healing

That's something I already thought about. Actually, to make it slightly more interesting, how about the ability to absorb spells that fail against spell resistance, gaining health in the process?


Would probably be bundled into an ethereal form, but an option to keep open.

Damage reduction and Energy resistance

I can't really see resistance to energy for this class, to be honest. And damage reduction... well, it would be DR/magic, which becomes useless soon. Perhaps, as a new idea: DR/nonmagical? Might be unbalancing, but is interesting.

a conduit that actually bends magic towards/away from you

Bending magic around is a nice idea. Perhaps you can project a field in a certain radius around you, which gives a 20% concealment effect to everyone against all spells which have line of sight pass through it. Another thing I thought about was forcing concentration checks on all nearby casters.

2009-10-01, 07:54 AM
For the flying, it could take place as in the spell Gaseous Form, maybe an at-will 1 or 3/day... but maybe a little faster than 10 feet, seeing as a human Quintessence Alchemist would have a base speed of 30 feet or something to that effect. The duration could, instead of being 2 mins per level, be 2 mins per CON bonus.

2009-10-01, 02:15 PM
You could have the magic replace his essance. he could gain a few spell-like abilities, but he has to sacrifice some health.

2009-10-03, 04:01 PM
Okay, here's my suggestion for a system based on the idea above:

The Quintessence User, or Alchemist, can, every morning, consume a number of doses elemental essence equal to his constitution modifer, plus a bonus dependent on his alchemist level.

The essence come in four types: fire, earth, water, air. The alchemist chooses how many of which kind he wants to consume.

The alchemist has two kinds of powers: continuous powers, which still need a name, and releases. Each power belongs to one of the four elements, or is a quintessence power.

The strenght of a continuous power, which will be mostly defensive powers, such as elemental resistances, armor bonuses and spell resistance, is dependent on how many doses of the corresponding essence the alchemist has left in him. Quintessence powers are weaker, but their power is dependent on essence of all four elements.
Example: the alchemist has an earth essence power which grants him +1 natural armor bonus/3 points of earth essence he has left in him. If he has 18 constitution and consumed only earth essence, he would have a natural armor bonus of +6.

To use a release power, the alchemist uses up some of the essence he has saved inside him, giving him a one-shot power with a strenght corresponding to the number of essence points used to power it. Same as above, quintessence powers can use essende from all four elements.
Example: the same alchemist as above, still with 18 con, has, on a different day, four points of fire essence in him. He has a release power which deals 1d6 points of fire damage per point of fire essence released. He can, therefore, deal between 1d6 and 4d6 points of damage, depending on how much essence he releases.

What are people's thoughts on this? It's only a basic suggestion, but I think it allows the user to make a few nice choices between flexibility and specialisation (do I put all my points in one element, or in several?), as well as a trade off between novaing by using up a lot of essence in a blast, or to conserve it to keep up the weaker continuous powers.

Of course, the powers outlined above are very basic. I think sensory powers, like detect magic for quintessence or scent for air could be added, movement powers like swim speed for water or more varied buffs and debuffs.

2009-10-03, 05:19 PM
nice idea Eldan. what happens though if he decides to consume more essance than he can handle?

2009-10-04, 12:21 AM
I would believe if one drank pure magic, your body wouldn't be able to contain the awesome power and you would burst in a blue-blinding light.

2009-10-04, 05:17 AM
Hmm. I don't think instant nova-like death would be quite the way to go, but the penalties should be substantial. Fort saves or falling unconcious, mental ability burn, perpetual slow damage and heavy penalties to all stats for every overdose?

2009-10-04, 07:54 AM
If you drink to much without first using some off that is, its also a nice way to clear rooms.

Edit: Overdosing should have some bonuses too though.

2009-10-04, 08:10 AM
It has bonuses, the way I wrote it up: all your "spells" get stronger, after all.

What about:

Per point of overdose:

1 damage/round and 1 point of charisma burn? It seems fitting and is quite dangerous at low levels. Now I need something that also scales to higher levels.

2009-10-06, 03:10 AM
Okay, now I've been working on a few possible powers in the last few days, and one additional idea that came to me was the one of the alchemist infusing objects with some of his power. Now, I've come up with infusions for some elements, but some I still have no idea what to do with.

Water: Infusion of Purity. Infuses a weapon or natural weapon of the alchemist, which is treated as alchemical silver as long as he is holding it.

Air: Infusion of Weightlessness (needs a better name). Infuses a suit of armor, which has it's weight reduced, along with an increase in max dex and a reduction of ACP as long as he is wearing it.

So, these, I think, work rather well. However: what about fire and earth? Fire could just deal more damage, but that is slightly boring. For earth, either Adamantine (bones of the earth) or Cold Iron could be fitting, similar to what I'd do with water, but Adamantine seems a tad overpowered compared to the others and would have to be a higher level.