Sunday, August 29, 2021

The Very Heart and Substance of Metal (Class: Cleric)

Two of Cups.

Class: Sacred Alchemist

Guilt upon the conscience, like rust upon Iron, both defiles and consumes it, gnawing and creeping into it, as that does which at last eats out the very heart and substance of the metal.

-Robert South, a cleric by most definitions 

You are a priest, a cleric, an adherent to to the cult of one of the sacred metals of creation. You are blessed with the ability to perceive, communicate with, and command motes (also known as sprites or angels) with Metal Dice, a process that functions exactly identically to that for casting spells with Magic Dice. You don't get any bonuses to-hit or anything like that.

Skills: Metalworking, Alchemy, and one of 1. Natural Philosophy 2. Logistics 3. Oratory

Starting Equipment: As per adherence.

A Adherent, Alchemy, 1 MD
B Friend, +1 MD
C Panic Brewing, +1 MD
D Secretary, +1 MD

A: Adherent
You are a member of a holy cult, and people know you as such by the garb and tools you bear. You may rely on the good nature of Kings and Men to feed and house you in any populated settlement, and may call upon your order for assistance when required.

You are also a spellcaster. You begin with the service of the mote known as Homunculus, and roll 1d6 on your cult's list for an additional spell at each template including A. If you get a duplicate, choose the next one above or below it that you don't already have.

A: Alchemy
When you come across a corpse, interesting plant, or other such thing you may spend 10 minutes gathering a reagent from it. In addition, for every watch you spend traveling outside of civilization you may gather one random ingredient from the following list:

            1. Eyebark. Causes a sample-related shift to the affected's perceptions.
            2. Ringleaf. Physically manifests a sample-related transformation in the affected.
            3. Spaderoot. Creates a sample-related vulnerability in the affected.
            4. Clubseed. Causes sample-related harm to the affected.
            5. Heartberry. Heals or cures sample-related maladies in the affected.
            6. Diamondfruit. Fortifies the affected against sample-related harm.

Each time you rest, you may combine one reagent with one ingredient in order to create a potion, salve, oil, or other alchemical substance. Negotiate its effects with your GM, then note down the recipe for future use. 

For example you might combine an owl's beak with heartberry to create a potion which cures blindness (owls have good vision), or with spaderoot to create a poison which causes those affected by it to become nightblind or gives them frail bones (owls have good nightvision and hollow bones), or with clubseed to create a damaging poison which causes small scratches to appear all over their body (owls have sharp beaks and talons). If a numerical effect is needed, healing potions typically heal 2d6 HP and damaging poisons typically deal +1d6 if applied to a weapon, 2d6 if thrown, or 4d6 if imbibed.

Whenever you have significant (more than a day) downtime in a town or city, all your collected ingredients go bad and you must restart your collection. The same does not apply to reagents unless obviously vulnerable to spoilage.

B: Friend
Choose one of your spells to become a close friend. When commanding them your MD exhaust only on a or a 6, and they are usually willing to attempt tasks outside of their normal purpose (but within their capabilities) on your behalf. You may switch which of your spells is your friend each time you level up, if you choose.

C: Panic Brewing
You may perform your alchemy and immediately apply/imbibe/etc the result in a single combat round, rather than over the course of a rest. There is a 2-in-6 chance of it causing a random mishap in addition to its normal effects.

D: Secretary
Your name is known throughout your order as a champion of your cause, and an acolyte or apprentice is sent to assist you. They are a level 2 Sacred Alchemist of the same adherence as yourself, played by the GM. Should they die, you will receive a replacement within 1d6 weeks along with a sternly worded letter of reprimand.

Orders of the Sacred Alchemist

  1. Lead
    You are a member of the death cult of Lead. It is your task to destroy Kung Fu. You are expected to remove magic from the world, by murder if necessary. You may travel with Wizards and Artists in order to hunt others of their kind, but it is your solemn duty to prevent them from escaping you at the last.
    Starting Equipment: Two flintlock pistols (1 slot each, 2d6, 30' range), 10 pistol balls (1 slot), and powderhorn with 10 doses (1 slot), blue robes, and a lead teardrop pendant.
    Perk: Incoherent undead will not attack you unless specifically directed, and you may roll CHA to give them orders. You may roll opposed MD (exhausting them as normal) in order to absorb spells that directly target you.
    Drawback: Your soul is too heavy with Lead to properly bind to Gold - you gain no experience points from treasure. Wizards and Kings will send their assassins after you should you attract too much attention to yourself (or automatically at template D if it hasn't started happening by then).
    Spell List: Homunculus, plus:
    1. Ail
    2. Bolt
    3. Cage
    4. Shield
    5. Smoke
    6. Transmute

  2. Copper
    You are a priest of the Good Church of Mother Copper. It is your task to grant succor. You are expected to feed the hungry, tend the ill, shelter the homeless, and provide other aid when asked for or obviously required.
    Starting Equipment: A copper-bladed spear (2 slots, 1d10, reach), a red and green woolen blanket which can be used as a robe, cloak, or bedroll, 3 rations (1 slot), a water canteen (1 slot), and a wine canteen (1 slot).
    Perk: Food and water multiply when prepared by your hands; you can feed up to 10 with a single ration, and vessels of water and wine you bear will never run dry so long as they are not spilled or drank from greedily.
    Drawback: You may not refuse simple aid (i.e. that which you could grant immediately) to those who ask for it genuinely; doing so causes you to be doomed.
    Spell List: Homunculus, plus:
    1. Extract
    2. Fabricate
    3. Locomote
    4. Mend
    5. Radiate
    6. Shield

  3. Iron
    You are an evangel of the Iron Church, which some call a cult. It is your task to spread the word of your Church and to save all human souls by destroying them. You are expected to argue theology, deface temples and shrines to other Powers, and desecrate corpses. But don't take any of it too seriously - Iron always wins in the end.
    Starting Equipment: A rifled musket (2 slots, 2d8, 60' range) with cruel bayonet (1d8), 10 paper rifle cartridges (1 slot), ash-grey robes including a mask or veil, and an iron spike.
    Perk: You have +1 to-hit. This bonus increases to +2 at template C. You may use Iron to destroy undead, as well as create them (it's all in the wrist).
    Drawback: The corrupting influence of Iron has left you frail and sickly and scarred. You have -2 HP per template, and the unprepared recoil when you drop your mask or veil.
    Spell List: Homunculus, plus:
    1. Berserk
    2. Bolt
    3. Cage
    4. Fabricate
    5. Locomote
    6. Ruin

  4. Silver
    You are a confessor of the Argent Order. It is your task to conduct human souls through the final stages of their journeys. You are expected to banish undead, investigate conflict, pronounce judgement, perform last rites, and (of course) take final confessions.
    Starting Equipment: A medium khopesh (1 slot, 1d8), a polished breastplate (4 slots, 4 AC), black robes, 3 vials of holy water (1 slot), and jingling silver spurs.
    Perk: You can tell how long a corpse has been dead, how it died, and whether or not anyone has performed its last rites at a glance. Civilized folk are legally bound (though not always willing) to let you poke around in their business and abide by your judgements, sort of like if you had an FBI badge in real life.
    Drawback: You must tend to every dying person or corpse you encounter unless they have already had their last rites performed; failing to do so causes you to be doomed.
    Spell List: Homunculus, plus:
    1. Bolt
    2. Cage
    3. Extract
    4. Mend
    5. Shield
    6. Smoke

  5. Mercury
    You are a student of the Mercurial Path. It is your task to reach nirvana, spiritual enlightenment. You are expected to take drugs, meditate, and respond to queries with smug mysticism or slapstick violence.
    Starting Equipment: A short compound bow (1 slot, 1d8), 10 arrows (1 slot), martial artist's wrappings, a simple white robe, 3 doses of opium (1 slot, narcotic), 3 doses of henbane (1 slot, stimulant), 3 doses of fly algaric (1 slot, deliriant), drug paraphenalia (pipe, tea set, etc, 1 slot total), and a small vial of mercury.
    Perk: While meditating, you enter a state of suspended animation during which you are approximately as aware of your surroundings as a sleeping person, require no food nor water, and are immune to environmental effects. Upon reaching template D, you also become immune to damage while in this state.
    Drawback: For each day you do not consume at least 1 dose of strong psychoactive substances, you take a cumulative -1 penalty to all d20 rolls until you get real high again.
    Spell List: Homunculus, plus:
    1. Ail
    2. Berserk
    3. Extract
    4. Locomote
    5. Smoke
    6. Transmute

  6. Gold
    You are an initiate in the cult of Gold. It is your task to achieve power, of any kind, whatever the cost. You are expected to scheme, plot, seek out secret knowledge, serve dark powers and inevitably betray them, and amass wealth.
    Starting Equipment: A heavy mace with gilded head (2 slots, 2d6), rich purple robes, a fine mink or ermine cloak (1 slot), a golden diadem or tiara, and a bottle of fine wine (1 slot).
    Perk: Your soul is porous and greedy like a sponge, binding easily to blood and gold. You gain double experience points from treasure and monsters.
    Drawback: You may not willingly give up wealth, power, or proffer aid without compensation; doing so causes you to be doomed.
    Spell List: Homunculus, plus:
    1. Ail
    2. Fabricate
    3. Mend
    4. Radiate
    5. Ruin
    6. Transmute
Twist: The monkey is the Sacred Alchemist and the old guy is the spell. ;B)

Motes of Sacred Alchemy

Where these spells refer to metal, substitute the material of the Power you serve. These are, of course, merely the motes you have immediate access to. Additional ones may be found in the wild and pressed into service.
  • Homunculus
    He is a spindly mannekin constructed from the sacred metal of the cleric he serves. Homunculi (for unlike other motes, these are markedly individual) tend to take on the prominent features of their masters—this one hunched and wizened, that one fond of wine and ostentatious dress...
    Familiar (ho, oho) to all Sacred Alchemists, Homunculus is a loyal companion and dedicated, if sometimes clumsy, helper. He may be called upon to exert up to [sum] pounds of force on objects within a stone's throw, and is easily bribed with MD to perform assorted miscellaneous tasks. Notably, his personal connection to you makes him especially useful for negotiating—or enlisting—wild motes into your service.
  1. Ail
    She is sinister in appearance, hunchbacked and wrapped in the rags of a leper. She causes her effects with the raising of a withered hand.
    Renders up to [dice] HD worth of targets within sight slow, frail, and sickly, halving their maximum HP and limiting them to one action per round. They may roll STR in order to suffer only one of the effects (their choice) rather than both. Ail lasts for a duration dependent on the number of MD invested in her:
    • 1 MD - [sum] rounds.
    • 2 MD - [sum] hours.
    • 3 MD - [sum] days.
    • 4 MD - Permanent.

  2. Berserk
    She is steel-skinned, wild-eyed, swollen with vein and muscle. Foam pours from her gnashing teeth and she moves with twitchy, erratic purpose.
    Grants the target a +[dice] bonus to melee attack rolls, a +[highest] bonus to melee damage, and a -[lowest] penalty to AC for [sum] rounds. They must make all available melee attacks, but may attempt one CHA roll per round to end the effect early. You may command Berserk without spending an action.

  3. Bolt
    She is grim of countenance, armed and armored for war. Her eyes are tired, and her hands steady.
    Fires [dice] bolts of solid metal which fly preternaturally fast and true on trails of sparks and acrid smoke. Each does damage equal to the the [sum] of one MD with no save or attack roll and can be allocated to the target of your choice. Can also be used for riveting, outside of combat applications.
    Lead bolts resemble: 1. Bullets 2. Snakes 3. Teardrops 4. Weights
    Iron bolts resemble: 1. Railroad spikes 2. Razor blades 3. Framing nails 4. Industrial staples
    Silver bolts resemble: 1. Spears 2. Arrows 3. Dueling swords 4. Bladed crescents

  4. Cage
    She is stern-featured and bears a small birdcage with a bell hung within. Metal straps are riveted across her face in a 2" square pattern.
    Encases a target that would fit within a [dice] * 10' cube in a cage of flash-forged potmetal. The cage has [sum] HP, ignores [dice] damage from each attack or other instance, and is permanent until destroyed.

  5. Extract
    She wears a simple white shift, and has kind but piercing eyes. One hand holds a scalpel and the other a long pipette.
    Extracts the named material from the touched target, and places it in a designated vessel if you desire. If used to extract something integral she deals [sum] damage, STR half, and requires a successful melee attack to use on an unwilling target. If used to extract poison or drugs, it just works. Negotiate other use cases with your GM as they occur.

  6. Fabricate
    She is clad in leather apron, toolbelts, a large rucksack, all filled with tools and trinkets and conspiring to nearly obscure her entire form.
    Creates up to [sum] inventory slots worth of low-quality potmetal items or equipment, so fragile that each individual piece will break irreparably after one use. Alternately, creates [dice] inventory slots of slightly-higher-quality objects, each sturdy enough to last until a fumble is rolled and capable of holding moderate detail.

  7. Locomote
    She is a jet-black, her massive head mounted on a roughly cylindrical body, her lower and rear parts disappearing in a maelstrom of churning levers and spinning wheels. She speaks in a piercing howl, accompanied by a deafening crescendo of pounding metal.
    Instantaneously transports up to [dice] targets (including you, if desired) [sum] * 10' in a straight line. Everything in the path takes [sum] damage, DEX half. If the transported would end up inside a solid object which was not destroyed by this damage, they take the same.

  8. Mend
    She is sturdily built, wearing a simple apron and a leather cap. She carries a rod-and-serpent in her left hand and a hammer in her right.
    [sum] + [dice] HP
     to the target, whether organic or inorganic. Alternately, can be directed to solve specific problems dependent on the number of MD invested in her:
    • 1 MD - Fix superficial damage.
    • 2 MD - Mend broken bones, reconstitute detailed surfaces.
    • 3 MD - Cure maladies such as disease and curses, mend complex details like artwork.
    • 4 MD - Reattach recently severed limbs, reconstitute ruined devices.
    • 5 MD - Regrow missing limbs or organs, restore completely destroyed objects.

  9. Radiate
    She is slender and completely hairless, clad in a loose, gauzy shift. Her skeleton is starkly visible through her skin and garment. She perceives the world in wavelengths impossible to us, and does not understand the fragility of humans.
    Causes the targeted object within a stone's throw to radiate energy for up to [sum] hours, of a type dependent on how many MD were invested in her:
    • 1 MD - Casts bright illumination out to 60', warms like a hearth.
    • 2 MD - Casts bright illumination within sight range, counts as sunlight, warms like a pyre.
    • 3 MD - Casts invisible rays of blinding heat, deals [dice] damage per round within 60', any who look at it within that range roll STR or are permanently blinded. Blocked by anything sufficiently opaque.
    • 4 MD - Casts intangible rays of poison fire, deals [dice] STR damage per round within 30' to all targets, including spells, et cetera. Only blocked by lead or stone.

  10. Ruin
    She is crudely formed, as if pieced together from scrap clay by an inexpert sculptor. Over-fond of complex plans and mechanisms. Thinks she's smarter than she is.
    Rots, shatters, withers, or otherwise destroys targeted objects within earshot, and is capable of wreaking an amount of destruction relative to the MD invested in her:
    • 1 MD - A few blows with a hammer (A handheld object, an artwork)
    • 2 MD - Two folks with tools (A door, a chest, a sarcophagus)
    • 3 MD - A half-dozen tradesfolk with block and tackle (A tunnel, a wooden building, an architectural feature)
    • 4 MD - A dozen tradesfolk with heavy equipment (A stone building or fortification, a large cavern)

  11. Shield
    She is concealed under, or perhaps comprised of, ornamented plate with complex joints, and speaks of love and care with a hard edge in her voice. Her namesake is likewise decorated, a great disk bearing reliefs of heroism in intricate detail.
    Defends you or a target of your choice within arm's reach for up to [sum] hours, granting a +[dice] bonus to AC and completely negating direct-damage spells.

  12. Smoke
    She is beatific in manner, wreathed in opaque clouds of solid white and black, clad in an unfamiliar work-uniform with militaristic detailing. Her eyes are closed.
    Creates a [dice] * 30' radius cloud of opaque smoke which lasts for [sum] hours, or [dice] minutes in strong wind. The effects of the smoke are otherwise dependent on the MD invested in her:
    • 1 MD - The smoke is sufficient to obscure details (faces, etc) and apply disadvantage to ranged attacks made through it.
    • 2 MD - The smoke is sufficient to obscure objects more than 5' away in their entirety.
    • 3 MD - The smoke is thick enough to conceal an outstretched hand, and completely opaque to supernatural vision.
    • 4 MD - The smoke deals [best] damage to creatures other than you with every breath, and they must roll STR each round or be struck permanently blind if it contacts their eyes directly. When commanded with this number of MD, Smoke instead answers to the name Cloudkill.

  13. Transmute
    She is blindfolded, four-armed and resplendent with alchemical symbolism, bearing a tattoo of each element on the palm of one hand. She is crowned with a circlet of a material that cannot be described, which bears an empty socket above her brow where a gemstone would be set.
    Transforms the touched target into something else. Regardless of change, she cannot grant magical or supernatural abilities. If an inanimate object is transformed into something living, use fairytale logic—rocks are slow and grumbly, tools are helpful and pragmatic, &c.

    For reasons unknown to all, Transmute refuses to work on any of the sacred metals. Legend holds that the philosopher's stone is key to unlocking the full extent of her power. Perhaps, in the meantime, a lesser stone might have some lesser effect?

    For each MD invested in her, choose to spend it on difference or duration:
    • Difference
      • 0 MD - Same nature, different appearance (sword to different type of sword, human to different human, pine to other pine).
      • 1 MD - Same size and type (sword to axe, human to chimpanzee, pine to spruce).
      • 2 MD - Change size OR type slightly (sword to shield or dagger, human to gorilla or baby human, pine to oak).
      • 3 MD - Similar size and type (sword to waterskin or wheelbarrow, human to dog or warhorse, pine to hawthorn).
      • 4 MD - Different size and type (sword to earring or sailing ship, human to dragon, pine to daisy).
      • 5 MD - Different size and kingdom (sword to dragon, human to silver spoon, pine to human).
    • Duration
      • 0 MD - [sum] rounds.
      • 1 MD - [sum] minutes.
      • 2 MD - [sum] hours.
      • 3 MD - [sum] days.
      • 4 MD - Permanent.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

Alchemical Complications


  1. Metal in your possession becomes uncomfortably hot, burning you for 1 damage per round until dropped or doffed.
  2. Your muscles seize and air expels itself from your lungs in great hacking coughs, stunning you for 2 rounds.
  3. You catch fire, taking 1d6 damage immediately and a further 1d6 per round until extinguished.
  4. Metals in your possession become corrupted; Gold becomes Lead, Mercury becomes Tar, Silver becomes Tin, Iron becomes Glass, Copper becomes Wood, and Lead is unaffected.
  5. You become wreathed in a sickly glow, casting light as a candle and causing undead and dumb animals to attack you on sight or flee (as appropriate) until the next time you rest.
  6. You are stricken with a mutation. Save or it's semi-permanent - the next time you get this result, lose it and roll N+1 new mutations.


  1. Your surface turns to the Power you serve, granting you +2 AC. The touch of your naked skin rots and corrodes metals, ruining them.
  2. Your organs turn to the substance of your Power, granting you a further +2 AC and rendering you immune to sleep, hunger, thirst, disease, poison, having to breathe, and aging. Your touch rots and corrodes metal even through clothing or other protectants.
  3. Your entire self turns to sacred metal, body and soul. You become an inanimate statue (or puddle, if you serve Mercury).
Your doom may be avoided by finding the elixir of lifephilosopher's stone, panacea, universal solvent, or other greatly sought-after Alchemical goal.

1 comment:

  1. "Kneel peasants, and witness my apotheosis!"

    *melts into a puddle of mercury*