Sunday, 27 July 2014

DCC: Alchemical Tonic

Having bought the Dungeon Crawl Classics book recently, I've been thinking about running some games. Naturally (naturally!) I would expunge the cleric class from existence. I am renowned for my grudge against clerics of all creeds and am not about to tarnish this reputation now.

Clerics in DCC seem pretty healy. The death toll of the game seems pretty high. Put those two facts together and, without clerical healing, you get a blood bath, I would imagine. So, with maximum mercy, I propose the following substance:

Alchemical Tonic
A class of rejuvenating fluid produced by many alchemists, each having his or her own secret formula. A vial costs 40gp. Imbibing it has the effect of restoring one Hit Die. Other damage effects (like critical hit gruesomeness, diseases, paralysis, whatever) are not affected.

Adventurers with a few lucrative jaunts under their belts will, of course, be able to purchase great stocks of this miracle juice. Ingesting alchemical substances of this kind is, however, not without side-effects -- especially when the compounds of multiple doses mix in a character's intestines. Upon imbibing the first tonic of the day, a player must roll 1d6 and consult the following table. For each subsequent dose consumed, the die type increases by one, up to the mighty d30 of almost-certain alchemical doom. Rolls on the table are inversely modified by Luck (bonuses subtract, penalties add).

0 or less: No side-effect.
1: Tingling. A pleasant sensation in the extremities.
2: Chills. Rising up and down the spine.
3: Flush. Cheeks flush hot red.
4: Rush. A sensation of courage and renewed vigour pervades the character's consciousness for 1 hour. Can lead to foolhardy decision making.
5: Tipsy. Has an effect similar to alcohol.
6: Mind-numbing. 1d3 Intelligence damage.
7: Over-stimulation. Character cannot sleep for 48 hours.
8: Rejection. The tonic is vomited back up. Healing factor reduced by 50%.
9: Hyper-sensitivity. A frothing sensation in the belly. The die type used on this table for subsequent doses is increased by two steps.
10: Faint. Wakes up naturally after 1d6 turns. Slapping has no effect but application of another dose of tonic does the job in 1d6 rounds.
11: Fire breath. A chemical reaction causes a gout of flame to burst from the character's lips. A random character or object within 5' takes 1d8 damage and must make a DC 10 Reflex save to avoid catching on fire (p.96).
12: Addictive. The compound has a habit-forming effect. The character must make a DC 15 Will save or do whatever he can to consume a second dose within the next hour, whether he needs the additional hit points or not.
13: Fearless. The compound inspires courage to the point of recklessness, for 1d6 hours. The character is immune to fear effects during this time but cannot take any course of action out of caution.
14: Where am I? Partial amnesia for 1 hour. The character knows who he is and recognizes companions, but has no memory of how he got into the current situation or what he is doing there.
15: Glow. A strange chemical reaction causes the character's skin to glow some psychedelic hue for 1d6 hours. This makes stealth very difficult.
16: Alchemical taint. The character's lips are permanently stained with a garish colour and his breath takes on an acrid odour.
17: Sensory black out. Blinded or deafened for 1d10 minutes.
18: Vision. An odd collusion of chemical elements triggers a psychedelic episode. The character has an out-of-body visionary flash lasting 1d6 rounds (although the vision may, subjectively, appear to last much longer), followed by a 1d6 hour period of sensory distortion and hallucination.
19: Pain insensitivity. Bodily sensations numbed for 24 hours. Judge tracks character's hit point total and gives no clues as to its status.
20: Intolerance. On subsequent days, the character's first dose of tonic starts with a d8 on the side-effects table.
21: Who am I? Complete amnesia for 24 hours.
22: Tonic-head. Highly addictive elements of the tonic get a grip on the character. Henceforth, he must consume a dose every day or lose a point of Strength.
23: Frazzled. The character's nervous system is damaged by continued abuse. Hit point maximum reduced by one, permanently.
24: Knockout gas. Noxious fumes erupt from the character's digestive system. All within 20' (including the one who drank the tonic) must make a DC 13 Fortitude save or fall unconscious for 1d6 turns.
25: Digestive polymorph. Character's digestive system is permanently altered, such that he can only subsist on an unusual, unnatural diet (gold, rocks, shadows, elf-flesh, etc).
26: Allergic reaction. Roll again. Character's system has become extra sensitive to the effects of tonic. Henceforth, every dose incurs two rolls on this table.
27: Brain damage. Mixed compounds take to the character's brain, causing unconsciousness for 1d6 hours and a permanent 1d12 points of Intelligence damage.
28: Rainbow vomit. Colours, chemical formulations, geometric crystals, and chunks of decimated organs spew from the character's mouth. Dies within 1d6 turns unless some miracle intervenes.
29: Stomach disintegration. Like drinking acid. Instadeath.
30 or more: Alchemical explosion. An unfortunate mixture of esoteric compounds triggers a powerful explosion in the character's gut. Instadeath. All within 10' must make a DC 12 Reflex save or suffer 1d6 damage from the blast.


  1. Have you looked at:

    1) Backswords and Bucklers and
    2) Grey Matter

    For alchemist ideas? Two different systems but both with good substitutes for clerical heal-bots

    1. I've never heard of either actually! Thanks for the tips...

    2. Yes. Both freeware too. Be well sir. I read you regularly.