Alchemy "Bombs"

Hi All,

So, my player has made up a bookish halfling who’s setting off on an adventure. He has no weapon skills, but he has dabbled in alchemy. I know that in BW alchemy is considered a magical skill, but we are looking at it as an antedecent to true chemistry. Basically, he wants to be able to make caustic substances in glass vials to chuck at bad guys. I don’t have a problem with this, so I was trying to come up with some sample obstacles.

Here’s what I have so far:

• A caustic smoke which blinds (Steel test): Ob 2
• A burning acid (Mark damage is 6): Ob 3
• A smoke which chokes and kills (Mark damage is 8 ): Ob 4
• A smoke which confounds: (Steel test, opponent must flee): Ob 4
• A powerful acid that melts steel and flesh: (Mark 11, Versus Armor 2, Ob 6)


Hm. The Obs seem a bit low to me. How do they compare with similar effects through Sorcery? I don’t have my book in front of me. I’m thinking they should be similar, since there are plenty of ways for an inquisitive halfling on the cusp of a new science to seriously cause problems.

This use of Alchemy sounds fun and exciting to me!

The firebomb skill for Roden in the Monster burner seems like a good fit for your concept (Ob 1 for B6, Ob 4 for B8, Ob 6 for B10 the explosive in BWG has VA). I agree that forcing a steel test should be Ob 3 (like the The Fear), and I would suggest that the confounding smoke be more like Bilious Smoke and Ob 5.

That said, the more you let Alchemy do the more you step on the toes of Sorcery, though that is not necessarily a problem.

The character concept is a good idea. With the right mix of skill he’d be a sort of Short DaVinci.

A Flashbang is a good cause for a Steel test, and Firebomb skill would FoRK well with Alchemy.

The damage of some of the effect might be a little high, but when comparing it to sorcery keep in mind that the delivery of these effects are a bit harder.

You need to invest in an extra skill (Throwing) and pass Throwing tests to use them in Fight! or Range and Cover. You also need an alchemy toolset or workshop (for anything above ob 2-3, I’d say) and need to carry dangerous incendiaries around.

Compare that to The Fear or Shards which are spells with low obstacles and easy to pass tax tests.

You might want to take a look at some of the ‘Falcon’s Eggs’ in this post:

Does he have to roll the DoF?

What happens, also, when he’s failed. Does he know? Can you expect some to be duds? Or leave the enemy’s armor smelling like a pine-fresh forest?

Neat concept for chymical stuffs, with lots of opportunity to cock up in interesting ways.

Fun potential for failures here…

Another thing that could keep this skill “in check” is of course the need for ridiculously expensive tools that often need a “refill”. These materials are rather rare - perhaps they are so rare that they need to be obtained through use of Circles or adventuring? Finding the right balance there means the character won’t walk around stacked with ammo belts full of bombs, but instead needs to prioritize.