Where Sorcery is the Nephilim bread and butter and Summoning is the Nephilim big stick, Alchemy is the particle physics of the Nephilim universe.
Alchemy is quantum weirdness and super string theory and math applied to the mystical realms. It allows Nephilim to dig around in the superstructure of the universe beneath the ley lines of Ka and mess with the fundamentals. In the right hands – or, more to the point, the wrong hands – Alchemy is powerful.
The roots of Alchemy starts, much like Summoning, in the Jewish communities of the Levant in the 1st century AD after the Coming of the Fool. It slowly spread down into Alexandria and into the Arabian Peninsula. Mostly developed in the burgeoning explosion of science in the new Muslim Caliphate centered in Iraq, the core research was laid down first by Geber the Arab (721-815) and later the Persian Avicenna (980-1036). Alchemy spread back into Western Europe through Moorish Spain where it was pushed and pulled and manipulated into its current form. Albert Magnus (1193-1280) codified it in his book Liber Mineralia. Once Western European Nephilim laid hands on the core foundations of Alchemy, many disappeared into their laboratories convinced it was the key to unlocking the power of the Universe without needing to ascend to Agartha. Infinite Godlike power in the here and now.
Where Summoning is about angels and demons and Enochian language and spirits and religious trappings, Alchemy is cold, clinical and mathematical. Alchemists consider themselves the true scientists of the Nephilim underworld using tools and experiments and hypothesis to slowly build the science of Alchemy. They have an alchemical liturgy not unlike higher mathematics to describe their work and turn alchemy into repeatable, reusable formulae. Alchemists believe if they come up with the right mathematical formulae describing magic, power and substance, they can manipulate a universal spirit underlying all things – the Spiritus Mundi.
The center of the Alchemist’s world is the Athanor, a mystical oven used to burn down powders and forge substances used in Alchemical formulae. The Athanor is a small, brick domed square tower, about five feet tall. Inside the Athanor is a small egg-shaped glass vessel in a sandbath over a fire. Whenever a Nephilim Alchemist reincarnates, he first finds a good place to work with decent ventilation, and then he builds a new Athanor.
In practice, Alchemical spells are pre-prepared powders the Nephilim carries around in vials in a pocket of a jacket or a bag. Instead of needing to murmur the words of a Focus, as in Sorcery, or drawing a Pentagram to Summon a creature at the time of casting, the Alchemist uses “Just in Time” casting with powders to evoke prepared change.
Alchemy is special because it requires an Aspect. Only Alchemy requires an Aspect; the other modes of Magic need Stunts. The Alchemy Aspect represents the character’s Athanor and Alchemical Laboratory and Alchemical trappings. Unlike Sorcery (a funny hat) and Summoning (chalk), Alchemy requires gear and specialized, one-of-a-kind gear requires an Aspect.
Alchemy also isn’t cheap from a Stunt point of view. One either is an Alchemist or isn’t.
|First Circle||Black Stone||-3|
|Second Circle||White Stone||-4|
|Third Circle||Philosopher’s Stone||Infinity|
No one has attained the Philosopher’s Stone. But if someone does, they claim it’s the ticket to turning lead into gold, to crafting the Elixir of Life, to living forever within a Simulacrum without needing to Reincarnate ever again, to attaining Agartha on Earth. And if anyone has attained it, they haven’t bothered to write it down or mention it to anyone else. The Philosopher’s Stone is the unattainable. For now.
Alchemists may inscribe a formulae on their souls (Stunt: -1, can be taken multiple times) to have formulae pass with them through Incarnations just like Sorcerers.
Making It Work
If the Alchemist has the Formula or knows the Formula…
If the Alchemist has the Formula for the mixture, he needs his Lore equal to or greater than the Complexity of the formula. He can find helper tomes and use Aspects to help him get to the Complexity in the form of research. If he can get his Lore to the Complexity of the formula, it indicates the Alchemist understands the mathematics, mixture, and steps involved in the concoction.
The Alchemist must roll his Discipline to synthesize the formula. Much like controlling power in Sorcery, the Alchemist may split this into multiple rolls until he gets the number of successes equal to Complexity + Modifiers. Each roll takes time (roughly an hour for white stone and a day for black stone) so if a cautious Alchemist has a Complexity: 6 formula and decides to make 6 Discipline rolls, it takes about six [hours|days] to synthesize the powder in the Athanor. But the time can flux depending on dramatic necessity.
– If the Alchemist wrote the formula, he must roll shifts up to Discipline = Complexity.
– If the Alchemist found the formula in a book, the Complexity is +1 shift due to the formula likely being wrong.
– If the formula has the same Element as the Nephilim, the Nephilim receives a free (+1) shift to his Discipline rolls.
– The Nephilim may toss in Aspects, Foci, or other bonuses to make the Discipline rolls.
Once the Alchemist has synthesized the Alchemical formula, he now has a batch. The number of castings of the formula from a successful synthesis is 1 + Total Successful Shifts.
If the Alchemist creates the formula…
Alchemy is new and a research magic. An Alchemist can break free of the strictures of dusty old books and pentagrams and Enochian Angel names to create all new magic. To create a new formula:
The Alchemist works out the Complexity of the formula (1-3 for Black Stone, 4-7 for White Stone, depending on the level of weirdness and set by the GM). Then the Alchemist must make rolls with Scholarship to get shifts up to the Complexity of the spell. This may take a while as this involves research, experimentation, and the frying off of eyebrows.
Once the Alchemist puzzles out the new formula, he can create it with Discipline as above without taking any penalty for transcription errors. He walks off with a number of castings equal to 1 + number of total successful shifts.
A Quick Note on Alchemy
From a GMing standpoint, Alchemy requires all sorts of gear and glassware and space and materials along with the Athanor. In general, the GM should assume an enterprising Nephilim can tap into their Simulacrum, prod the curled up soul within until it coughs up the directions to Target, and lay hands on whatever they need. It just gets tricky when the neighbors call the FBI because the Nephilim’s garage smells eternally of sulfur and the neighbors are convinced he’s a Jihadi Terrorist. These Things Happen.