Surgeons

The disciplines of medicine as practiced by Physickers and Surgery as practiced by Surgeons or “Barber-Surgeons” evolved almost independently of one another. Barbers, along with Midwives, are among the overwhelming majority of health care practitioners in the medieval milieu, but the majority also equates to a very common occurrence of mediocrity in practice, which is why their skills are limited in the manner seen in their descriptions.

Physickers or Physicians trained in the universities and Surgeons of exemplary knowledge and skill form elite bands of practitioners, by contrast. Physickers are primarily university-trained theorists. When put to the test, however, in times of epidemic illness’, it is the practical knowledge and skill of the Surgeons and their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way in the streets treating the sick that allows the best of them to outshine the highly esteemed and educated Physickers, leveling the playing field between them both professionally and socially.

It is from among the ranks of Surgeons that most of the nobility traditionally hire those they wish to tend to them and their men when they head off on campaign for battle.

Anglo-Saxon kings had surgeons, but didn’t take them to battle with them.

The Plantagenets took Surgeons to battle but rarely brought them to court.

Henry III instituted the office of Chief Surgeon, the “Sergeant-Surgeon” (1233-1254) in the royal party, at a time when the norm was to take a Physicker and an Apothecary.

Armies in the field were usually accompanied by physicians, surgeons, barbers or some combination of these. Great lords typically brought such men as part of their retinues, and infantry contingents often did the same. Medical personnel doubtless gave first priority to their own employers, but it was normally expected that wounded soldiers would eventually be tended by a physician if necessary: to say someone had been struck with such force that he would have no need of a doctor was to say that they had been killed outright.

Physickers and Apothecaries are the most common and influential among healers in royal service in the royal courts. That service provides instant protection and respectability. Surgeons just as commonly patronized by the oligarchs, who are in the habit of protecting them from being disturbed by the aspirations, machinations and politics of the Barbers.

Albeit late in period for the purposes of the game, it is interesting to note that by Henry VIII (dates), the medical practitioners at the royal court were dominated by Italians, university trained and practiced in a new surgery resulting from more accurate appraisals of anatomy and physiology and integrated with Physic. Thus, those PC’s equipping their characters as both Physickers and Surgeons – and perhaps Herbal, as well – are going to be “ahead of their time”, so to speak, prepared to provide the best in comprehensive medical care (even rivaling what is available in the modern day – exceeding it where magick is also employed). 

Surgeons are the gentlemen of the Healer Trades, following the Physickers who were granted dignity equal to knights on the social ladder. To the general population, both high and low, there is little difference between Barbers and Surgeons, however. Indeed, the name by which their trade is called is often conflated into “Barber-Surgeon”, only in some cases differentiated from “Barber-Tonsor” (barbers that cut hair), especially outside the great towns and cities. The distinction between them is considered a fine line among the less sophisticated, if known at all, much less acknowledged.

Most people in the period simply couldn’t afford to pay for a Physician or Surgeon, so a viable alternative would be to go and see a local wise woman (or sometimes a man) who were skilled in the prescribing Simples of herbal medicine, or might actually be qualified Herbals. A few Surgeons made themselves notable for their “charitable works” in providing their services free of charge for poor clients in dire need.

Like the Physickers, Surgeons jealously guard their knowledge, rank and privilege, and the wealthy patrons who provide it. Their wealthy patrons protect them from those who would trample on their prerogatives. That safety killed any interest they might have had in the political aspirations of forming a company or guild, historically.

In the context of a medieval game world, it provides the possibility of a noble patron “string” by which you, as GM, might rein in Surgeon characters. Any interest a Surgeon PC might have in involving himself in the political struggles for representation and quality control in the craft by means of instituting a local or national guild, or beefing up its standards and/or authority, could be hampered, even severely, by one or more noble patrons. This provides a nice bit of drama that can easily be woven into a campaign. 

As a result, the Surgeons stood aloof through most of the history of the forming of the guilds of Barbers in medieval England, and from all of the bickering and protestations of the practitioners (Leeches, Midwives, Barbers) “beneath them” that accompanied it.

When challenged by other trades infringing on their business, the Surgeons tried to merge in companies (guilds) with the Physickers due to this common ground they shared, but such attempts were few, and failed all too soon when they finally did come to fruition.

The trouble that most bedeviled the Surgeon trade historically, and likely should also in the game world, lies in the fact that their trade occupies a gray area between scholarship and the crafts that require only a skillful hand.

Indeed, in the 1300’s, the renowned surgeon Guy de Chauliac stated:

“If the surgeon has not learned geometry, astronomy, dialectics, nor any other good discipline, soon; the leather workers, carpenters and furriers will quit their own occupations and become surgeons.”

Because of the latter, ALL sorts of tradesmen who routinely cut into bodies in pursuing their trade, including butchers, skinners, tanners and tawyers, even chandlers, felt fully justified in engaging in surgery in spite of their lack of any knowledge of anatomy (much less physiology). These were typified as carving on bodies as blind men might carve a block of wood by the period medical luminary Guy de Chauliac.

A bit late in period for our purposes but still very illustrative of the persistent mindset of medieval craftsmen, the wax makers of Bristol insisted in 1430 they should be allowed to practice surgery by virtue of the lone fact that they, “like Barbers, use wax for embalming.”

The only remedy available against these charlatans is to haul them before the courts and put them and their knowledge of the Surgeons’ mystery on trial.

When you have a Barber, Midwife and/or especially a Surgeon in the party of PC’s, this historical conflict provides another, related source for a motivational subplot to weave into the background for a campaign. What side of the conflict are the PC(s) going to declare themselves for?

It wasn’t until 1492 that the Surgeons established their own guild in England, so it is quite possible that, as GM, you might rule that no such guild has yet been established in your game world. Alternately, in view of the essentially “perpetually medieval” nature of most game worlds, the establishing of Surgeons’ guilds might just as easily already be a general practice. Specialization among the trades was just as bad historically as it is in the modern world, especially when looking at the handicrafts, one of which surgery was considered to be.

An extensive understanding of how the human body works (anatomy and physiology) is far more important for the Surgeon than manual skill or experience. As surgeons generally came to this conclusion in the period of the game, de Chauliac’s work Chirurgia magna began to serve as a standard text on the subject.

The Surgeons’ primary concern about their field (historically) was for its dangerous lack of educated practitioners. Unlike the physicians’ practice of medicine which came solely from university education, surgeons stood/stand aloof, lacking any institutional structure. The surgeon’s guild became a separate institution in the medical community in England as early as 1368, but was ironically finally merged into the United Barber-Surgeons Company by Henry VIII in 1540, after their bid to join in a company with the physicians failed.

Historically, only a few Continental universities taught surgery as a specialized field of knowledge and, when they taught surgery at all, they focused mainly on the science and not the art of surgery itself, the actual skill of hand required. 

By the 1400s, England’s medical establishments were c.100 years behind those on the Continent, where medical universities were established at Paris and Salerno by the 12th and 13th centuries. England’s first medical university wasn’t established until 1423, only to be dissolved 18 months later. It wasn’t reestablished until 1518, almost 100 years later. Prior to 1423 – and then until 1518 – English students who desired to study medicine had only two options: either enroll in a medical university on the Continent and return to England with a degree, or study medicine as a component of the Bachelor of Arts degree in the truncated fashion available in England.

At this time, medicine in England was subsumed under the study of practical philosophy, a philosophy which centered on ars and scientia (arts and sciences). Medicine was considered a less virtuous pursuit, far beneath that of theology and law. Universities still offered degrees demonstrating the student’s knowledge as a doctor (of Physick), however, illustrating that medicine did, indeed, require education.

It is possible, and perhaps even advisable, that the state of medicine in the English corner of the your game world be just reaching the flowering of the 1400’s, as a part of arriving at the apex of accomplishments of High Medieval society. If there is no isolating factor as there is in the case of England’s geography, it is perfectly reasonable to presume that advances in the practices of medicine have kept pace with those on the Continent, with the establishment of the medical schools of Paris and Salerno in the 11-1200’s.

But Surgeons themselves provide the practical knowledge, training and experience needed for surgery through traditional apprenticeships, like those also served by Barbers and Midwives, from among whose ranks Surgeons commonly rise.

In both cases, traditional apprenticeships are the norm for the passing on these Trades.

The apprenticeship of a surgeon took 6 years, just as shown on the table for determine character age.

Unlike the other healthcare practitioners, however, the candidate for Surgeon’s apprentice must be literate. To reflect this, the character must be equipped with the Literatus and Scrivener skills, as well as the Scholar’s Tongue Linguist skill, at the very least.

Where they are organized into guilds (Barber-Surgeons are the most common), the guilds function as the professional organizations through which “registered apprenticeships” are arranged. The guild requirements are more stringent due to the prestige eventually gaining membership affords. Equipping the character with Grammar School (MGram degree) is the minimum education required for a registered guild apprenticeship, but a Bachelor of Arts or, even better, the Licentia Docendi of a Magister is preferred.

The surgeon’s guilds fill the need for trained surgeons without the aid of the universities. 

Each city’s guild keeps its own library holding the secrets of its mysteries, so all the students really needs to qualify for an apprenticeship are the Literatus & Scrivener skills.

To work as a common Clerk, even in the exalted ranks in the royal goverment, itself, no degree is needed at all, just a working knowledge of Latin and the ability to read and write, so it wasn’t a matter of simple literacy – this was most likely intended to emphasize the borders between class and/or station. Formal education to the point of obtaining even a BA takes money, whereas a commoner learning to simply read and write was not so difficult to come by in and around the towns and cities where the community of craftsmen made sure that basic education was available so they could at least keep the books for the family businesses.

Guy de Chauliac refers to himself as “cyrurgicus magister in medicine,” and he received his magister in medicina (master’s degree in medicine, equivalent to the M.D. of Bologna) from the much-respected University of Montpellier, under the tutelage of Raymond de Moleriis in a program that required 6 years of study. Same as the apprenticeship.

If the apprentice doesn’t assay and pass a (guild) surgical exam within 12 years from entering his apprenticeship, he is no longer allowed to ever become a master of surgery. 

As GM, you might reasonably waive this last restriction, but having that hanging over the head of a character poised to be a “perpetual student” provides a little low-grade background drama.

Skills & Abilities

Surgeons are relentlessly trained in surgical procedures and continue to study interior anatomy and physiology, even long after any certification or degree is in hand. This gives them a wider scope of experience to draw on.

The Surgeon is confident and knowledgeable when opening the body. He knows when things are out of place and generally how to fix them by his art, if they can be.

Where Physickers (doctors of physick; physicians) are regarded as safe-guarding the general health of the patient, tending to his diet and lifestyle preventatively as well as the obvious illnesses of his internal systems (maladies, dis-ease), Surgeons are perceived as limited to more external matters, from amputating a limb to cutting hair (due their firm association with Barber’s in the public mind/perception). Surgeons defy such limitations, but have a working knowledge of the humors as it affects proper diet, essential to client health and their practices, as well.

Due to the 100 Years’ War, England had the best practical, battle-trained surgeons in Europe by 1350.

The Surgeon’s tools represent a wide array for treating an equally broad array of maladies/injuries, ranging from scalpels, probes for wounds and fistulae, sounds, dilators, mallets, threphines, catheters, hooks, chisels, saws, clamps, forceps, to cups, bowls, cauteries, and a number of other shapes, rounded and flat needles for different sorts of wounds and suturing needs, bowls, pestles, mortars, spatulae and scales. Due to the importance of Astrology, an astrolabe is considered just as powerful a tool as a scalpel to a Surgeon in the medieval game world.

The repair of hemorrhoid, fistula, cancer, cataract, amputation, nasal polyp, bladder stone, depilation, tooth extraction, fracture setting or assorted traumas each requires different instruments. Practicing surgical authors like Henry de Mondeville, Guy de Chauliac, and Ambroise Paré innovated instrument design by necessity.

Despite the common belief to the contrary, Western European surgeons of the Middle Ages seem to have been roughly on a par with their Islamic, Byzantine and Jewish contemporaries.

The bleeding of a cut artery was stopped with pressure and cauterization.

They were no strangers to splinting broken arms or legs, and cracked/broken skulls were skillfully treated by means of a procedure called trepanning.

Metal tubes or goose quills were used to cover the barbs of nastily barbed arrowheads so they could be safely drawn out.

They could even suture intestines or severed jugular veins.

The eyeglasses that first appeared in the late 1200’s extended the useful life of craftsmen beyond the early 40’s, the age at which people still commonly suffer desiccation degeneration of the lens of the eyes, making close/detailed hand-work nearly impossible. This was a great boon to Surgeons as well, for the same reason.

Staunching Blood Loss

Any overt bleeding (GM’s discretion, based on the interaction of weapons, armor and flesh) must be staunched before those wounds can be cleaned or stitched closed – from any wounded BP area suffering bleeding losses from open wounds (as described in the rules for tactical play, where those optional rules are in play).

The rate at which open wounds taper off in blood loss and BP’s heal are detailed under the heading “Open Wounds & Bleeding” and the heading “The Aftermath: Tending Wounds & The Healing Process” in the rules for Tactical Play & Armed Combat. 

The att. mod for staunching bleeding is based on the character’s CRD and STR.

The DV for staunching wounds is equal to the number of points being lost when WND is deducted for that cause. The time required to do so is equal to the DV counted in Pulses, MINUS the practitioner’s (CRD and STR att. mod’s), with a bonus based on him SL, to a minimum of one (1) full action, according to his RoA.

IF the practitioner fails all the D100 checks his skills allow, he can still reduce the WND lost due to bleeding by (1 per 4 SL’s) points, or (CRD att. mod. + STR att. mod.), whichever is less. This is modified by +/- 1 per 2 points of healer’s STA above/below 20. The modified STA score is used for this purpose.

IF he is unable to staunch the bleeding completely, any remaining losses are only deducted every (CRD att. mod.) or (1 per ÷ 4 SL’s) minutes, whichever is greater, instead of every minute and the bleeding slows and tapers off normally. 

IF he is unable to completely staunch the bleeding, the remaining points of blood loss is added to the DV to clean and then close the wound, as well. 

The rate at which open wounds taper off in blood loss and BP’s heal are detailed under the heading “Open Wounds & Bleeding” and the heading “The Aftermath: Tending Wounds & The Healing Process” in the rules for Tactical Play & Armed Combat.

Once a character takes enough BP’s in damage indicating he is wounded to the “Mortal” degree in any given BP area, the blood loss suffered from that area does NOT taper off and clot on its own as it does for areas wounded to a lesser degree.

A character wounded to this degree whose bleeding is not stopped simply bleeds out and dies, unless he can be attended to by a Surgeon.

Treating Wounds

The Surgeon must Assess Wounds for every BP area wounded so he can determine their cause (blunt trauma, laceration, fire, frostbite) as well as their severity (Light, Serious, Grievous or Mortal) before he may begin to treat them.

He must also general Assess the patient’s health. This reveals to him whether he is weakened due to some condition that, if he is also wounded, further weakens him, raising the DV for performing any procedure(s) to patch him up.

To the DV, add the POT of any poison or venom in his system, and/or the POT of any disease with which he is contending, number of attribute points lost due to malnutrition, attribute points and/or BP’s due to hypothermia, and so on.

IF the Surgeon has the talent (Spirit Skill) of Reading, add the SL as a bonus to the AV.

IF the Surgeon is a practitioner of magic and casts the Read charm (assuming he has it in his portfolio), add the SL to the AV, plus a bonus based on the POT used.

The Surgeon may only attend to the wounds of one (1) BP area at a time (Head/Neck; Torso; Rt. Arm; Lt. Arm; Rt. Leg or Lt. Leg) for purposes of staunching blood loss, cleaning and then closing wounds. 

Wounds are washed with vinegar [soured wine or verjuice] or old wine that was strong in alcohol – both effective antiseptics – as a part of the cleaning process to remove possible sources of infection (dirt, cloth, etc.),

For cleaning wounds the att. mod. is based upon the character’s AWA and CRD

For repairing, closing, binding and dressing wounds the att. mod. is based on CRD.

Repairing, closing, binding and dressing are each treated as a separate task.

The DV for repairing and closing and binding & dressing wounds is equal to the number of BP’s of damage suffered in the BP area attended for Light and Serious category wounds.

For Grievous and Mortal wounds, the BP’s of damage suffered in those categories are multiplied by 2, i.e., a character with 40 Torso BP’s suffers from Grievous wounds when the BP’s of damage he takes there range from 21 to 30 and Mortal wounds when they range from 31 to 40 so, if he suffered 25 points of damage, he would have 5 points of Grievous wounding, adding 10 (5 x 2) to the DV, on top of the base DV of 20 from the (Light & Serious) damage taken to get him to the threshold of Grievous, for a total of 30. 

In the same vein, if he suffered 35 points of damage, he would have 5 points of Mortal wounding, adding 10 (5 x 2) to the DV, on top of the base DV of 20 from the (Light & Serious) damage and the added 20 from the Grievous damage taken to get him to the threshold of Mortal, for a total of 50.

Until he achieves the Journeyman Improver LoA, the Surgeon has a penalty to treat wounds of the Grievous or Mortal classifications.

Once he has reached Journeyman Proper LoA, all penalties for treating Grievous and Mortal wounds are erased.

Extracting splinters or stingers, shards of glass or pottery, darts, arrows, or other invasive objects from a patient’s body is considered a surgical procedure, especially when the foreign object is a large one and/or has inflicted damage that exceeds the “Light” threshold. Arrows and javelins that had not gone in too deeply were usually pulled out as quickly as possible, often by the injured person.

For this procedure, the att. mod. is based on CRD.

The DV for a Surgeon to extract a foreign object from the body is Progressive, based on the number of points of damage it caused on entry.

All piercing wounds being dutifully noted by both GM and player so they are not forgotten. This way they can be properly treated by the Healers in the aftermath.

This procedure takes (DV) minutes to accomplish, minus the practitioner’s CRD att. mod. + SL), with a minimum time requirement of one (1) minute

In addition to extracting shards or large splinters, darts, arrows, or other missiles, ranged weaponry, or invasive objects lodged in a patient without causing further damage or undue additional bleeding, a Surgeon can perform the amputations sometimes made necessary by the brutal form of warfare of the period of the game, and use cauterization to stop the massive bleeding that can result.

The AV for these procedures is the same as repairing and closing any other wound.

It is assumed that in the course of the procedure the BP’s of the area in question are reduced to zero for the purposes of determining the DV’s.

A Sentry/AWA check is needed at the end of any procedure, before it is bound and dressed, to determine if it was cleaned properly and a sufficient level of cleanliness was maintained throughout the treatment. 

A failure of this check indicates a failure to notice insufficient cleaning, or internal bleeding, either of which might progress and result in gangrene and septicemia ….

Success allows the Surgeon to detect any failure in that regard so he may then clean it properly before closing and thereby avoid complications of infection and worse.

Wounds are covered with moistened lint, plasters, sterile egg whites, or lard-based [Herbal] ointments, then bandaged, often with strips cut from a [muslin/linen] shirt. Sometimes herbal poultices are also be used. Honey is a preferred wound-dressing, and both modern science and the US army survival manual agree it was very effective.

Later, the wounds would be washed and re-bandaged frequently, with any corrupted flesh being trimmed away. Soaking bandages in old wine as an antiseptic, while not common in the period, was a practice that had a following, and it makes sense to include it as a common practice in the medieval game world.

As GM, you may well require the Healers in your game to carry a flask of old wine along with them to practice their craft, as well as an egg-bearing hen to provide the sterile egg whites commonly used to dress cuts and scrapes.

Medieval medicine was far more effective than the common conception allows; in one sample of over 300 skulls dating from the sixth through the eighth century, only 12% of the wounds showed any evidence of infection.

Analgesics & Anesthesia

To spare the patients their pain, Healers commonly make use of analgesics and anesthetics made with poppy milk (opium), coca leaves, and similar soporifics or narcotics as sedatives, cannabis and other less potent substances, though this must always be done with a judicious hand. Because of the danger, many Herbals insist on administering it in person, by their hand only, but this is not always possible due to circumstances, especially when a powerful peer or noble demands the purchase for another to administer.

But healthcare costs money and such niceties are not cheap. For many commoners surgery was a last resort due to the cost of anesthesia.

The Middle English word used to name one such anesthetic potion used from c. 1200 to 1500 A.D. in England was “dwale” (pronounced DWAH-leh). One can find records of dwale in numerous literary sources, including Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” and John Keats poem “Ode to a Nightingale.”

Dwale is a concoction of lettuce juice*, gall from a castrated boar, briony, opium, henbane, hemlock juice and vinegar. This was mixed with wine [old wine, strong in alcohol OR the source of the vinegar] before being given to the patient.

*lactuca virosa, wild lettuce called “bitter lettuce” or “opium lettuce,” commonly found in England, cousin to the modern lettuce used for salads today. The juice is a white, milky substance derived from the leaves and stems that acts just like morphine on the central nervous system to suppress pain, despite not having any opiates in it.

The opium, henbane, hemlock juice alone have characteristics that make them good candidates for such use. Where properly dosed and administered, the anesthetic concoction induces a profound sleep, allowing the surgery to take place. The danger of poisoning the patient still exists, already written into the description of this preparation, especially in the hands of well-meaning amateurs.If it is too strong, the patient simply stops breathing.

Using an empirical approach to discover how they might be safely used clinically as must be the case in a medieval fantasy world, with the aid of magick, such a potion is likely to be commonly and safely administered by the hands of well-trained and experienced Herbals. This is one of the reasons dosing is detailed so thoroughly in the Herbals trade description (qv). It is the healer’s business to be able to dose his clients accurately.

The first prescription for a “spongia soporifica” was written in the 1200’s. This is a sponge soaked in the juices of unripe mulberry, flax, mandragora leaves, ivy, lettuce seeds*, lapathum, and hemlock with hyoscyamus.

*lactuca virosa, as above

After soaking up the treatment and/or storage, the sponge is heated for use, the vapors inhaled with anesthetic effect. De Chauliac’s Chirurgia magna contains a description of a similar narcotic inhalation to use as a soporific for patients undergoing surgery.

Most Surgeons prefer that the Herbal who made it administer his concoction/potion in person, by his own hand, because the POT can vary and only the maker knows his product best. On the other hand, all Surgeons are taught the proper method of administration and observation of the patient to ensure safe use.

The POT is up to the Surgeon or attending Herbal, and the choice is based on the patient’s size (STA ÷ 4) in POT – as usual for an effective POT of 1 – and state of health (CND).

The STA score used here has been modified for Build.

If an herbal concoction is to inhibit a particular sense or faculty of the patient, the POT must be equal to or greater than the score in the attribute governing it, 

such as AWA for sensory nerves,

The POT of these sorts of herbs should be measured against the patient’s AWA to determine if they are sufficient for the use to which he puts them.

To numb sensory nerves or knock the patient unconscious, the POT of the herbs’ effect must be equal to the patient’s AWA or greater. 

To deaden the motor nerves, the effective POT must equal or outweigh the patient’s  AGL or STR for motor nerves (whichever is greater or more appropriate according to the nature of the toxin), or AGL + STR att. mod. or vice versa (GM’s discretion).

IF the patient’s CND is less than his AWA or AGL, the poisonous nature of these substances must begin to hit the patient before he is rendered unconscious or completely immobile.

Those substances which affect the motor nerves, if the effective POT exceeds [(AGL) + (CND ÷ 4)] the autonomic functions such as breathing are suppressed – stopped, and the patient descends into asphyxia, leading to death if not reversed.

These herbal treatments endure for [(POT of herbs’ effect) x 10] in minutes, minus (CND att. mod.). Subtracting a negative number is the same as adding the positive integer. Low CND dictates a slower metabolism, dictating the substance move more slowly through the body. Once that time has passed, the POT of the herbs’ effect drops by one (1) every (40 – CND) minutes.

IF the practitioner is simply trying to suppress or numb the sensory nerves, the patient’s effective P-RES for any checks vs. pain due to a patient’s injuries are raised by (POT of herbs’ effect), to a maximum of the patient’s CND. 

IF the patient’s AWA is lower than his CND, he is rendered completely numb without the need to make any sorts of P-RES checks vs. pain once the POT of the herbs’ effects in his body have reached (AWA).

The Surgeon or attending Herbal can apply a preparation of this sort as a topical to affect only one BP area in the same way, or so as to paralyze that BP area, rather than rendering the patient completely unconscious as above. For these cases, the amount of herbs in grams/drams are divided by the fraction of BP’s the area(s) so treated are awarded, according to the rules for combat and tactical play. If more than one area is to be treated, but not the whole body, only the fraction of BP’s of the largest BP area are applied this way.

This can be maintained for [(STA) – (CND att. mod.)] minutes per application, but the patient can tolerate no more than (CND) such applications. More than this is treated as poisoning. The effect wears off at a rate of one (1) point of P-RES bonus per (CND att. mod.) minutes. This can be easily prorated down to Pulses for tactical situations.

The uses to which a Surgeon puts his knowledge and skills must necessarily affect his scores in Virtue and Vice.

Surgeons roused the sleeping patients by rubbing vinegar and salt on their cheekbones.

Ether (diethyl ether) was discovered in 1275 by a Spanish alchemist named Raymundus Lullius, or Ramon Llull, and known as “sweet vitriol” (until 1730). While ethyl ether was first synthesized in a laboratory in 1540 by a German scientist named Valerius Cordus , who noted some of its medicinal properties. He called it oleum dulce vitrioli (“sweet oil of vitriol”) a name that reflects the fact that it is synthesized by distilling a mixture of ethanol and sulfuric acid (known at that time as oil of vitriol).

Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (1493–1541), better known as Paracelsus, was the first to observe the anesthetic/analgesic qualities of “sweet vitriol” (diethyl ether).

“… [sweet vitriol] quiets all suffering without any harm and relieves all pain, and quenches all fevers, and prevents complications in all disease.”

He observed that chickens enjoyed sweet vitriol then “undergo prolonged sleep, awake unharmed”. However, for whatever reason(s), he never applied this discovery to people. For his human patients, he concocted laudanum, a bitter tincture of opium.

Cutting hair & Shaving

The [historically] unbreakable association between Barbers and Surgeons makes cutting hair and shaving clients an onerous burden that Surgeons (or “Barber-Surgeons”) fight daily to divorce themselves from. Their wealthy patrons can’t be bothered with such fine distinctions, however. In spite of the heights to which they might be appointed in a given noble household, a Surgeon is still expected to provide grooming services like a common Barber. This attitude persisted well into the 18th century.

The DV for cutting hair, the att. mod. is based only on the character’s CRD score.

The DV for cutting hair is equal to the number of inches of hair to be cut off, + patron’s [(CHM att. mod.) + (HRT att. mod.)]. The higher these scores the more definite the patron’s sense of style and idea of what they want and the more fussy and difficult to please and adamant they are about getting what they want.

The time required to do so is (DV) minutes.

In practice, individual (Barber-) Surgeons were themselves diversified into other trades, according to local economic conditions and opportunities, and there is usually a very real relationship behind these apparently odd combinations.

Many surgeons were also expert craftsmen in metals. 

This is evident in Henry’s second expedition in 1416 in which he commissioned Morstede to indenture as many surgeons as he wanted (23 surgeons were too few to handle the wounded in the previous year’s campaign) and to also bring along makers of surgical equipment. Doubtless, the surgeons must have been delayed by crafting surgical instruments to the detriment of the care of the wounded in the first campaign. By bringing along smiths to make tools, the surgeons on the second campaign were freed to attend to performing their medical duties.

This is why “Silver/Gold-Smith” appears on the roster of Allied Trades for Surgeons.

Trade Skills
Assessing Health/Wounds
Cleaning & Dressing Wounds
Repairing & Closing Wounds
Extracting Objects
Set Bones/Restore Dislocations
Cosmetic Surgery
Cutting Hair  

Notable Practitioners

During the Middle Ages, scientific discoveries were few and far between in much of Europe, medicine included. The scientific culture flourished in other parts of the world, however.

In 1000, Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (936-1013), an Arab who lived in Al-Andalus, published the 30-volume Kitab al-Tasrif, the first illustrated written work on surgery. In this book, he wrote about the use of general anesthesia for surgery.

c. 1020, Ibn Sīnā (980–1037) described the use of inhaled anesthesia in “The Canon of Medicine.” The Canon described the “soporific sponge”, a sponge imbued with aromatics and narcotics, which was to be placed under a patient’s nose during surgical operations.

Ibn Zuhr (1091–1161) was another Arab physician from Al-Andalus. In his 12th century medical textbook Al-Taisir, Ibn Zuhr describes the use of general anesthesia.

These three physicians were among many who performed operations under inhaled anesthesia with the use of narcotic-soaked sponges. Opium made its way from Asia Minor to all parts of Europe between the 10th and 13th centuries.

In the early 1200’s, surgical literature began to emerge, as surgeons sought to emulate their medical colleagues and raise their profession to one of comparable (scholastic) esteem.

During this period, most medical and surgical learning took place in the monasteries.

The Fourth Lateran Council forbade the clergy from practices that carried the “taint” of blood, such as cautery and incisions, in 1215, so the clergymen who previously provided those services instructed laymen to perform various forms of surgery. Farmers, who had little experience other than castrating animals, came into demand as Leeches, to perform anything from removing painful tooth abscesses to performing eye cataract surgery. Thus, the niche in which Barbers grew and thrived was born.

In the game worlds run under RoM rules, there is neither need nor reason for the “Church” to interfere in the process of or training in medical care, hoever. As GM, you are free to choose to rewrite the situation to whatever standard you prefer for your game world.

One man in particular stands out in the field of surgery in the 13th century was William of Saliceto, who helped set up a school dedicated to surgery. 

Guglielmo da Saliceto in his native tongue, an Italian surgeon and cleric, a professor at the University of Bologna.

He was one of the first to claim that pus formation in a wound was bad for the wound and the patient’s health, breaking the blind tradition following Galen on the matter. In 1275 he wrote a “Chirurgia” in which he recommended the use of a surgical knife over (Barber’s) cautery. His techniques were years ahead of his colleagues, even managing to stitch together severed nerves.

He also was the author of “Summa conservationis et curationis” on hygiene and therapy. Lanfranc of Milan was a pupil who brought William’s methods into France. William gave lectures on the importance of regular bathing for infants, and special care for the hygiene of pregnant women

John Arderne (c.1307 – 77), an English surgeon, composed medical works on topics such as the treatment of eyes and the cure of anal fistula, both of which circulated widely. Arderne’s works are fascinating in a number of respects, not least of which is the fact that the illustrations are integral to them.

Henri de Mondeville was a medieval Frenchman from Normandy, born approximately 1260,  proclaimed as the “Father of French Surgery.” He was trained in medicine in Paris and Montpellier, then in Italy with Theodoric Borgognoni (as follows), who had established a reputation for excellence in the treatment of wounds.

He served as surgeon to Philippe Le Bel (Philip the Fair) of France and to his successor, Louis X, and authored a Cyrurgia (“Surgery”) in 1312. This is but one of many European treatises on Surgery, the first being by Roger Frugard, who was eclipsed by the more famous Guy de Chauliac’s Chirurgia magna.

He died of pulmonary tuberculosis in 1316.

Theodoric Borgognoni, also known as Teodorico de’Borgognoni and Theodoric of Lucca, was an Italian who became one of the most significant surgeons of the medieval period. He is considered responsible for introducing and promoting important medical advances.

Theodoric was born in Lucca, Italy in 1205. The son of Master Hugh Borgognoni, a leading physician of the previous generation. Theodoric was a student of his father and also studied medicine at the University of Bologna, becoming a Dominican friar during that same period.

On top of his episcopal and religious duties, he became the favored Surgeon of many leading personages.

In the 1240s, after he had been practicing for about 10 years or so, he became personal physician to Pope Innocent IV.

Borgognoni’s major contribution to western medicine is his Cyrurgia or Chirurgia, a four volume treatise systematically covering the major fields of medieval surgery, written in the mid 1200’s. Borgognoni’s work duplicates some chapters of Bruno da Longoburgo’s Chirurgia, written about 15 years previously, but both he and Bruno were students of Ugo Borgognoni. Theodoric’s work contains much that is not duplicated in Longoburgo’s book, however, and some that directly contradicts Bruno, and these are the most important and innovative passages.

On the treatment of wounds he wrote:

“For it is not necessary that bloody matter (pus) be generated in wounds — for there can be no error greater than this, and nothing else which impedes nature so much, and prolongs the sickness.”

He insisted that the practice of encouraging the development of pus in wounds, handed down from Galen and from Arabic medicine, be replaced by a more antiseptic approach, with the wound being cleaned and then sutured to promote healing.

In the context of the medieval fantasy game world, magick is available as a tool to reveal the true nature of things and show the value and virtues of good treatments and reveal the dangers of bad medicine and care. 

Pus in this context should be seen as very valuable, but only as a danger sign (no matter what some “old-school” Physickers still clinging to the antiquated notion of “laudable pus” might say), and Surgeons are better versed in the procedures and standards of care for clearing up infections, which knowledge was available, in fact, in period. 

Indeed, it is not at all far-fetched to posit Surgeons being routinely called on to treat infections arising from procedures performed by their less well-educated and trained colleagues, the Barbers, Midwives and Leeches. This is a strong motivation for those practitioners who truly follow healthcare as a vocation end up seeking out a master Surgeon eventually to complete their education in the Surgeons’ practical medicine. 

Although often disagreeing with Galen, Borgognoni followed him in promoting the dry method for treating wounds, although advocating the use of wine. Bandages were to be pre-soaked in wine as a form of disinfectant.

He also promoted the use of aneasthetics in surgery. He recommended a spongia soporifica soaked in a dissolved solution of opium, mandrake, hemlock, mulberry juice, ivy and other substances held beneath the patient’s nose until he fell unconsciousness.

Borgognoni was significant in stressing the importance of personal experience and observation as opposed to a blind reliance upon the ancient sources.

He wrote on the treatment of thoracic and intestinal injuries, insisting on the importance of avoiding pollution from the contents of the gut. The final volume deals with injuries to the head and some cancers. Borgognoni’s test for the diagnosis of shoulder dislocation, namely the ability to touch the opposite ear or shoulder with the hand of the affected arm, has remained in use into modern times.

In addition to his surgical works, Borgognoni also produced volumes on veterinary medicine and falconry.

In 1262 he was made Bishop of Bitonto.

He was appointed Bishop of Cervia, close to Ravenna, in 1266.

He died in 1296 or 98, having lived to at least 91.

Guy de Chauliac (1300-1368) was one of the most prominent surgeons of the period of the game. Born to a family of limited means in Auvergne, France, Guy’s intellect was recognized early by the French lords of Mercoeur, who sponsored him in his academic pursuits. He began his studies at Toulouse.

Some time later Guy moved on to the oldest university in Europe, the University of Bologna, which had already built a reputation for its medical school. At Bologna he appears to have perfected his understanding of anatomy, and he may have learned from some of the best surgeons of the day, though he never identified them in his writing as he did his medical professors.

Upon leaving Bologna, Guy spent some time in Paris before moving on to Lyons.

In addition to his medical studies, Guy took holy orders, and in Lyons he became a canon at St. Just. He spent about a decade at Lyons practicing medicine before moving to Avignon.

Some time after May, 1342, Guy was appointed by Pope Clement VI as his private physician (Surgeon). He attended the pontiff during the horrific bubonic plague that hit France in 1348 and, although a third of the cardinals at Avignon perished from the disease, Clement survived. Guy used his experience of surviving the plague and attending to its victims in his writing.

Guy completed his landmark work on surgery in 1363, the first book on surgery to bring to bear a substantial medical background on the subject, called the Inventarium sive chirurgia magna. It served as the standard text for more than 300 years, well into the 17th century.

In Chirurgia, Guy included a brief history of surgery and medicine and provided a discourse on what he thought every surgeon should know about diet, surgical implements, and how an operation should be conducted. He also discussed and evaluated his contemporaries, and related much of his theory to his own personal observations and history, which is how we know most of what we do about his life.

The work itself is divided into seven treatises: anatomy, apostemes (swellings and abscesses), wounds, ulcers, fractures, dislocations, and a variety of other conditions and diseases, including not just surgical but medical procedures, and the complements to surgery (the use of drugs, bloodletting, therapeutic cauterization, etc.), which it discusses within a broad framework of medical (physiological and pathological) learning.

This treatise covered anatomy, bloodletting, cauterization, drugs, anesthetics, wounds, fractures, ulcers, special diseases, and antidotes. Among de Chauliac’s treatments he described the use of bandages. He describes surgical techniques such as intubation, tracheotomy, and suturing.

All in all, it covers nearly every condition a surgeon might be called upon to deal with. Guy emphasized the importance of medical treatment, including diet and drugs.

His observations of the plague included an elucidation of two different manifestations of the disease, making him the first to distinguish between pneumonic and bubonic forms. Although he has been criticized for advocating too much interference with the natural progression of the healing of wounds, Guy de Chauliac’s work was otherwise groundbreaking and extraordinarily progressive for its time.

Guy spent the balance of his days in Avignon. He stayed on as physician for Clement’s successors, Innocent VI and Urban V, earning an appointment as a papal clerk. Guy’s position in Avignon afforded him unparalleled access to an extensive library of medical texts that were available nowhere else. He also had access to the most current scholarship being conducted in Europe, which he incorporated into his own work.

John Harrow was a surgeon in royal service; made Chief of Surgeons twice during the French campaigns; was a member of the Fishmonger’s Company (as such, a Merchant also); financier; was made a judge in malpractice cases and a Searcher for the Port of London (worth £10/yr in income); he accumulated extensive properties.

Thomas Morstede, Esq. was court Surgeon, made a Searcher for the Port of London for 25 years (worth £10/yr in income); was twice made the Chief of Surgeons during the French campaigns; a war hero; a teacher and famous author (a fair book of Surgery, used as a standard text thru the 1400’s century). He was the driving force behind the foundation of a college of medicine. He had £154 in land and £200 in debts receivable at his death.

Master William was a “sergeant surgeon” in royal service and a cleric in minor orders. He received £10 a year, equal in honor to a royal physician. At his demise, he owned a house and 13 shops in London, and had an additional 50s. a year in income.

In 1251, Master William took on an assistant named Henry of Saxeby. Henry and his son, Nicholas, were gentlemen by birth. That same year, a Thomas of Weseham saved the life of the king.

In 1252, Thomas was invited to court and made the trip there.

In 1254, Thomas started serving with Master William and Henry.

In 1255, Master William died and Henry of Saxeby was made “sergeant surgeon.”

In the midst of the persecutions leading up to the expulsion of the Jews in 1290, Thomas Weseham used his position at court to buy up Jewish properties in Norwich, London, and Oxford at well below market value. He eventually received a number of annuities for his service, was knighted, and made both a royal Moneyer and a Forester.

It took 2 years after saving the king’s life for Thomas to be granted a position at court with Master William and Henry. It was common for such rewards to take a while to be decided on and then put in place. You should take note of this, as GM. The pace of life in an agrarian world in one based on the turning of seasons, not of minutes or “what have you done for me lately”.

William Hamon was prior of the Benedictine cell of Catges (Oxfordshire) and served as a royal surgeon from 1341-67, for which he was awarded a base salary of £30 a year.

Peter of Newcastle was surgeon to three kings, Edward I, II, and III.

In 1298, Peter’s own “personal valet” was also a surgeon, named John Marshal (very likely it was his apprentice, or a Journeyman he picked up to mentor). Peter was a merchant running a number of ships out of London, dealing regularly with the pepperer’s guild; he was commissioned to supply the royal court with medicines, in favor over the traditional appointment of a royal Apothecary. With his dealings with the pepperer’s guild, it is possible that Peter was actually an Apothecary and indeed a member of the pepperer’s guild, but he is not noted as such.

Despite the “taint” of blood, Philip of Beauvais, a “sergeant” Surgeon in 1304, became a wealthy courtier.

Roger Heyton served Edward III in the 1330’s and 1340’s with an under-surgeon named Jordan of Canterbury. After the Battle of Crécy, Roger was considered indispensable and given a manor in Wales worth 50£ a year, and an annuity of £20, as well. Like Philip of Beauvais, he became a wealthy courtier.

This should give the player and GM alike some idea of what sorts of opportunities can be found for advancement in the healer-Trades.

After achieving the distinguished rank of Surgeon and taking the time to establish a reputation, it is by no means uncommon for ambitious Surgeons to use the patronage of the wealthy and social contacts with Physicians to go to university to obtain a degree in Physick to further enhance their reputations and social standing. With their Master’s diploma, they can complete their climb to the apex of the trade in the eyes of society – and raise their fees as well, of course.

The more successful Surgeons and Physickers also commonly entered merchant ventures with the Apothecaries, too wealthy to be bothered with the internecine squabbles between the practitioners of medicine.

Development of the Trade & Guild

In 1199, Richard I suffered an arrow wound to the arm during a siege of the castle Chaluz, according to Roger of Hoveden. Unfortunately for Richard, his physician (surgeon?), Malger, had returned to England to become the bishop of Worcester. Without a physician, the captain of Richard’s mercenaries, a man named Marchadeus, did his best to treat the injury. It didn’t go well. Marchadeus failed to extract the arrow head and nearly amputated the king’s arm before removing the arrow. The king died a few days later.

The world’s oldest company (guild) of barbers, the “Worshipful Company of Barbers,” was founded in London, England in 1308, so relatively recently in view of the period chosen for the game. In many places, but not all, the “company” (guild) is, for practical purposes, called a barbers’ company, but this doesn’t mean that the company included no Surgeons or that the Barbers’ craft and surgery were separate, even where authorities tried to ensure that this was the case, as the history of Norwich shows.

Before 1415, it was common for aristocratic ladies, mercenaries and knights to practice medicine. Wolfram von Eschenbach’s “Parzival” clearly demonstrates that medical knowledge was common for a knight. In this tale, Gawain comes across a knight and maiden in the woods. The knight is suffering from internal bleeding into the lungs. After Gawain diagnoses the injury, he places a small linden bark tube into the knight and tells the maiden to suck out the blood. Even the 14th century surgeon Guy de Chauliac lists knights as medical practitioners.

By 1415 (late in period for the game, but not for the essentially “perpetually medieval” game world), however, surgeons began to appear as a necessary component of military campaigns. In 1415, King Henry V conscripted Thomas Morstede and 15 persons, 12 of whom were surgeons (the three others were to be archers) in his campaign against France. The Battle of Agincourt in 1415 was monumental in the development of the surgeon for military campaigns.

Besides the 12 surgeons commissioned by Henry for the Battle of Agincourt, to take care of the hurt and injured on the front line (especially with the emphasis on archers), he also commissioned William Bradwardine and 9 other surgeons to care for the sick and wounded, to remain behind the lines and care for those transported back to the camp. The latter were responsible for making surgical equipment in addition to tending to the sick and injured.

Many surgeons were also expert craftsmen in metals. 

This is evident in Henry’s second expedition in 1416 in which he commissioned Morstede to indenture as many surgeons as he wanted (23 surgeons were too few to handle the wounded in the previous year’s campaign) and to also bring along makers of surgical equipment. Doubtless, the surgeons must have been delayed by crafting surgical instruments to the detriment of the care of the wounded in the first campaign. By bringing along smiths to make tools, the surgeons on the second campaign were freed to attend to performing their medical duties.

This is why “Silver/Gold-Smith” appears on the roster of Allied Trades for Surgeons.

Morstede’s service at Agincourt led him to the job of Supervisor of Surgery for the City of London in 1423. This close proximity to the King influenced regulations concerning those who could practice medicine.

The final achievement of Morstede’s influence on the Crown was the charter for the Fellowship of Surgeons in 1435 … 20 years to attain.

The Fellowship was only the first national attempt to institutionalize surgery; there were numerous local attempts that had failed:

The mayor of the city of London appointed 3 Master Surgeons to regulate and supervise surgical practices as early as 1368. He assigned Master Thomas Stodley, surgeon, and 2 assisting clerks to the “Mistery of Surgery” in 1392, in which they were to supervise and report any transgressions to him. But this was not sufficient. In 1421, both physicians and surgeons led by Morstede petitioned Henry V that he allow only those who were educated to practice medicine. The petition reads:

Worthy Sovereign, as it is known to your high discretion, many uncunning and unapproved in the forsaid science practise and specially in Physick, so that in this Realm is everyman be he never so lewd taking upon him practise, is suffered to use it, to great harm and slaughter of many men. Where if no man practised therein, but only cunning men and proved sufficiently learned in Art, Philosophy, and Physick as it is kept in other lands and realms, then should any man that dieth for default of help live, and no man perish by uncunning.

Credits

https://www.thoughtco.com/guy-de-chauliac-1788904?utm_term=medieval+surgery&utm_content=p1-main-2-title&utm_medium=sem&utm_source=google_s&utm_campaign=adid-985d6dc2-391b-4773-85fe-cec2926f397b-0-ab_gsb_ocode-4578&ad=semD&an=google_s&am=broad&q=medieval+surgery&o=4578&qsrc=999&l=sem&askid=985d6dc2-391b-4773-85fe-cec2926f397b-0-ab_gsb

Thank you Bryon Grigsby

http://www.illinoismedieval.org/ems/VOL13/grigsby.html

Also:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_surgery

Chauliac, Guy De.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 8 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_tracheal_intubation

http://www.oddee.com/item_96620.aspx

http://svmsl.chem.cmu.edu/vmsl/genanes/ga_bg2.htm

http://www.articlesonhistory.com/medieval-medicine.php

https://www.bl.uk/the-middle-ages/articles/medicine-diagnosis-and-treatment-in-the-middle-ages

https://forum.kingdomcomerpg.com/t/battlefield-medicine-surgery-medieval-ages/21562/11

Medieval Science, Technology, and Medicine: An Encyclopedia

By Thomas F. Glick

Soldiers’ Lives through History: The Middle Ages:

 

Alchemist True

Alchemists are the proto-scientists and chemists of the period of the game. They study the ways in which the physical and spiritual worlds interact through natural science, philosophy and even a smattering of the spiritual principles of Metaphysics. Speculation on the nature of the universe, on the hidden nature of both mineral and organic substances, often absorbs them.

The work of the Alchemists encompasses both of what are known today as inorganic and organic chemistry, as well as pharmacology, geology, theoretical physics and a smattering of natural philosophy. From a very esoteric, philosophical, and spiritual point of view (to avoid confrontations of faith) they seek to classify the elements with their dialectic, Aristotelian reason and logic. Empirical test and study are considered to be neither the scholar’s method nor the medieval way of thought, except in the pursuit of specific projects (not whole, transferrable concepts). They explore the secret spiritual natures of physical things through their special skills, to evoke or imbue spiritual properties, create elixirs (derived from the Arabic for the Greek for “dry tincture”), potions, philters, powders, unguents, salves, and a wide variety of other similar unique substances, to make life a little easier or simply for the sake of accumulating knowledge.

In the pursuit of their arts, Alchemists make a common study of the physical properties of substances; the effects of applying heat and cold, their expansion with heat and contraction when cold, the fact that water is the exception to the rule, expanding as it freezes. They know of the weathering process, the properties of erosion and the resulting deposition, currents and tides, and the like, the changes that decomposition brings, the heat it generates. The lore of the earth is of special interest, too; the soil, such as that special soil used by artists to make their green-earth color; gems and stones like lapis lazuli ground for use in making the finest blue hues, rocks, metals, crystals, ores such as sulphur, cinnabar (mercury ore) ground by artists to make an intense red hue; how they interact with fire, water, and air; the nature of carbonization, the uses of ashes and soot, like the lampblack (literally soot from a lamp) used by artists as a pigment.

The Alchemist’s “Speculum”

Even though Alchemists are almost indelibly associated with scholasticism, the Alchemist True Trade can be considered as either a set of skills acquired from among the broad and diverse curricula of the universities OR the product of a formal, traditional apprenticeship, instead (player’s discretion), bringing an entirely different flavor to the character’s background. In order to have a formal university education as the source of an Alchemist True character’s Trade knowledge, the player must equip him/her also with a formal Scholastic Trade. In this case, he/she is presumed to have graduated with a PhD in Natural Philosophy & Metaphysics.

Whether a player decides his character’s knowledge of Alchemy stems from formal scholastic pursuits at university or through a traditional apprenticeship, this Trade represents no less a scholarly disposition and frame of mind.

As a reflection of the trade’s scholastic nature, every Alchemist is required to put his Linguist, Literatus, and Scrivener skills to good use during the course of his education/apprenticeship in keeping records of his lessons and lab work. By the time he completes his doctorate or apprenticeship, he has also compiled a Speculum,

The Speculum is an encyclopædic overview of the Alchemist’s art, knowledge and skills, a notebook of all known materials and substances, their appearances accompanied by meticulously rendered illustrations, their characteristics, common origins and usages, and also a wide variety of recipes or formulæ for many common substances and compounds (as follows).

This is a source book of trade knowledge kept on hand for general reference, containing knowledge to guide further exploration of the arts, and to aid in managing and coordinating the lore he gathers regarding the specific Trade Skill specialties.

The main volume of the Alchemist’s Speculum contains (AWA x 10) + [(TR) x (40 – AWA)] pages. 

Over the course of time spent earning each TR, once brought into play, the Alchemist is assumed to accumulate an additional (40 – AWA) pages (on average) of scribbled notes, thoughts, insights, theories and discoveries to add to his Speculum. 

In additional to this volume, the Alchemist is required to keep another journal or notebook for the knowledge of the specific Trade Skill specialties (chandlery; scents and perfumes; pigments and dyes; combustibles; caustics; drugs, poisons and venoms; substances prepared to carry an enchantment; etc.), a separate volume for each, but nonetheless also considered to be part of his Speculum.

Each Trade Skill volume of the Speculum has (40 – AWA) + [(AWA) x (Trade Skill SL)] pages in it. 

Over the course of time spent earning each SL in each Trade Skill, once brought into play, the Alchemist is assumed to accumulate an additional (40 – AWA) pages (on average) of scribbled notes, thoughts, insights, theories and discoveries to add to his Speculum. 

IF the Alchemist has the Herbal and/or Apothecary Trade(s) and/or the Forage Life Skill, the player must add those TR’s and/or SL’s to his Alchemist TR for the initial volume in determining the number of pages and also to the SL’s of the individual Trade Skill specialties for each additional volume of his Speculum he must keep, for these broaden the depth of the Lore the Alchemist possesses regarding the secrets of the Trade and the individual Trade Skill fields of study.

Once brought into play, the Alchemist Simple character is expected to continue to keep his Speculum after the fashion of a journal, recording his on-going work and researches, every project he has completed, his successes and failures, over the course of his career, used as a reference to consult as he formulates new projects, and to refresh his memory when he wishes to repeat old ones.

The character is responsible for maintaining all his Speculum volumes as he rises in TR and SL’s, so it’s important he makes sure the materials are kept on hand for maintaining these records, and that they are replenished when the increases in his SL’s indicate those materials have been depleted.

To exercise his Trade, the Alchemist must also have a lab to work in. This consists of a hodge-podge of beakers, vials, terracotta vessels, flasks, scales, weights, measures, alcohol lamps, mortars and pestles of various sizes, various sorts of tubing or piping, an astrolabe, alembic, furnace, crucibles, etc., as described for the Alchemist’s Lab in Appendix D.1.

Despite the fact that this Trade is called Alchemist, “Simple”, it encompasses quite a portfolio of capabilities. The above equipment is required to perform the main functions of his alchemical arts: Calcination, Coagulation, Fixation, Dissolution, Digestion, Distillation, Sublimation, Separation, Ceration, Fermentation, Multiplication, and Projection. 

Calcination involves heating a substance in either an open or closed vessel, usually resulting in oxidation, often to produce a black, carbonized substance of some kind. The process and the substances it produces are ruled by Aries, a fire sign.

Congelation and fixation are the processes used to make a substance stable and solid, non-volatile, processes ruled by Taurus (earth) and Gemini (air). These are an essential step in the pursuit of the elusive Philosopher’s Stone, as the volatile liquid mercury was thought an essential element.

Dissolution and digestion are processes of washing and purifying, ruled by Cancer (water) and Leo (fire), respectively. In the pursuit of the White Philosopher’s Stone that produces silver, these processes were used on the substance in the alembic to wash, whiten and purify.

Distillation and sublimation are used to render and recondense the vapor or essence of a substance, in reflux distillation, ruled by Virgo (earth) and Libra (air), respectively. 

Separation can include such processes as filtration, decantation or distillation of a liquid from its residue, ruled by Scorpio, a water sign.

Ceration is a process whereby a material is made soft and wax-like, ruled by Sagittarius, a fire sign.

Fermentation is the special process whereby a slow, subtle “digestive” heat is created within a substance, so the special properties of the substance can manifest, ruled by Capricorn, an earth sign. This process is essential in the working of alchemical magick, and in preparing substances to contain a magickal charm, but it is also used to describe the process by which these substances work to transfer their influence when used in the material world. In the process of creating the Philosopher’s Stone this was one of the last few steps, when the nature of the Stone truly began to manifest.

Multiplication is the process used to augment the power of the substance so it can be used many times over, generally ruled by Aquarius, a water sign. This step consists of manipulating any number of other processes to infuse additional power into a substance.

Projection is simply the name for the process of reducing a substance into the form in which its power is finally applied to its task: powder, salve or unguent, potion, elixir, etc.

These terms are not really necessary to the successful use of the Trade under the rules of the game, however. The Alchemists’ traditions and arts are cloaked in fancy, esoteric terminology and allegories to conceal their lore, as they were historically. These processes are traditionally only ever discussed in terms of not only their ruling signs but their ruling planets, and the mythological figures for whom the planets are named. All of this subterfuge was deemed necessary to protect the secrets of their Trade from the curiosity of laymen. It is included here primarily for the benefit of roleplaying the Alchemist character.

Trade Skills

While they are intimately associated with things magickal and mysterious, however, the Alchemist’s knowledge of the above processes (among others) enable him to brew, concoct, distill, render, etc. (as applicable) many of the common, mundane substances or materials used or produced by a number of different more “ordinary” trades. The Alchemist, Simple in particular focuses much on the knowledge and practices of these trades, as well as a few of the more rare, dangerous, and/or exotic substances (depending on what other Trades the Alchemist’s full portfolio includes, as follows), all described by the Trade Skills:

The craft of Chandlers, the pursuit Chandlery, is one of the more common among Alchemists, Simple, producing soap of citrus, glycerin and rosewater, or caustic soda and animal fat (tallow) or high quality olive oil, and/or candles of all qualities, bayberry, tallow or rushlights, are an easy product of the Alchemist’s skills. While there are common artisans that specialize in one or the other, it is by no means unusual for a craftsman to make both, for they both traditionally use tallow.

Lacquers, Varnishes and adhesives may include a number of such substances, utilizing the bonding properties of wheat, or egg, but commonly involving rendering animal carcasses down for Glue or spirit gum, also providing cleaning substances such as lye and fuller’s earth, highly acidic verjuice, wood ash and caustic soda (used for doing laundry).

The strength of the bond a glue makes is measured by a STR score, just like a character, equal to the POT of the substance made (player’s choice) if it is for paper, cloth, wood, and other porous organics. The STR of the glue is equal to half the POT if it is to affect china, brick, stone, or metals. 

Glues can be made so as to be water-soluble after drying, or not, but the player must state which he is making at the time and make a note of that fact when he records it on his equipment inventory, otherwise you should assume it is water-soluble.

Oftentimes the STR of a glue bond is greater than the effective strength, or Structure Points, of the items glued together, making getting them apart again impossible without extensive damage, barring the use of magick.

Drying times are equal to the STR of the bond, counted in minutes. The stronger it is, the longer it takes to set up, also. This can be shortened by as much as (Alchemist’s AV)%, maximum 60%, at the Alchemist’s option by the use of alcohol or a petroleum distillate as a solvent, but this makes it highly flammable when wet, also.

As GM, you determine the drying or setting-up times for glues using the extent of the surface area covered and the STR of the glue as discussed previously. The thickness of glue applied and how still and tightly the items glued are being held, the humidity, all affect the time to set-up and cure, especially if you feels these factors are not being adequately addressed by the user(s) in-game. 

Judging how much glue is required for each use and when a character finally runs out of the amount prepared is entirely up to you, as GM. 

Rendering dyestuffs and pigments is another area, processing, concentrating, mixing to obtain signature hues, even foraging for the substances or even raising plant matter from which pigments are obtained. While an alchemist may specialize in pigments, paints, hues for dyes, etc., it is to supply the dyers who put them to use, perhaps in conjunction with a merchant manufactory.

Cosmetics and Beauty are another area of concentration, encompassing a range of substances drawn from many disciplines, especially including pigments, like lacquer for nails; henna and other tints for hair; heavier foundations to conceal minor imperfections in the skin, or even wax-based sculpting or modeling putties to correct structural imperfections (also used in the Masquer skill); cremes, foundations, in a wide variety of tints and tones to complement and even emulate each of the humanoid races in each of the complexions from as pale and fair as a Nordic Viking to Mediterranean olive, golden as an Asian, brown as a desert-dweller, or even as dark as a Nubian, and in each of the color ranges (sallow, robust, and medium).

This specialty also includes the colors for shadowing and detailing eyes and lashes, and/or the highly colored face paints in the seven colors of the rainbow for adding fanciful motifs for holidays and special occasions (hearts, flowers, twining vines and leaves, heraldic animals and devices, etc.), even spirit gum for applying jewels or other small ornaments to the face/body.

Extracting essential oils and compounding incenses, potpourri (“rotten pot”), herb-steeped scented oils, moisturizing lotions and cremes and other beauty treatments, and/or producing actual perfumes form another area of concentration. This area of expertise is often combined with that of the Chandler and/or Cosmetics and Beauty.

Because dabbling in the more rare, dangerous, and/or exotic areas of alchemy can be very expensive, most “common” Alchemists [Simple] make their living by focusing on making one of the families of products mentioned above, represented by most of the Trade Skills, to sell for their daily bread. This supports any private researches, but such pursuits are not that common, especially among those plying the more “common” Alchemist, Simple Trade.

Most Alchemists True, capable of producing true magickal effects by their arts, generally have no interest in the common, mundane products or substances mentioned above, as far as any possible public practice for earning their daily bread, however. Such Alchemists are not considered to be in competition for such mundane business, although they may well be in the habit of engaging in their manufacture to provide for their own personal household needs.

By their arts, Alchemists True can manipulate the spiritual properties of a wide spectrum of substances in order to create what are, for the sake of simplicity, called “potion bases”. These are unguents, salves, elixirs, potions, philters, powders, crystals, magick seeds/beans, and a wide variety of other similar substances or items specially prepared to be receptacles for magick. These have no magick of their own but can accept the power of magickal charms, regardless of whether cast by the Alchemist himself or by the hand of another. These hold the power of the charms safely and keep them stable until their power is needed.

In the same vein, so long as the Alchemist is a practitioner of magick, he may make the special candles, incenses, chalks, powders, brazier fuel, and other obscure preparations that make up the consumable supplies called “ritual supplies”, needed to cast Low Magick rituals for his trade, BUT only for those charms he himself knows, UNLESS he is provided with the recipes by the client for whom he makes them.

IF he is provided with the recipes and has sufficient materials to do so, he may concoct ritual supplies for ANY magick-wielding trades and charm.

Like the ritual supplies described in Appendix D.1, those made by the Alchemist are described in terms of POT. The higher the POT of a given packet of ritual supplies he makes, the greater the POT of the ritual that can be performed with it, as charms are rated in the same points of POT. The alchemist may only make supplies to cast one specific charm at a time, but the actual amount of POT made in any given exercise of this skill is up to the player. The greater the amount made at any given time, the higher the DV.

The materials to make ritual and rite supplies cost 1s. 2d. 1hp. per point of POT in magick that can be cast with it. 

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Herbal Trade and the Forage Life Skill, he can save 4d. 3fg. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Apothecary Trade and the Forage Life Skill, he can save 9d. 3fg. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Apothecary Trade, the Caustics & Combustibles Trade Skill is also available. This includes rendering and purifying treatments for creating torches and flambeaux to flash pots and/or smudge pots. These might be combined with knowledge of pigments, so flashes or clouds of colored fire or smoke are produced.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Herbal Trade, the Drugs & Poisons Trade Skill is also available. This enables the Alchemist to bring the stability and shelf-life inherent in the Alchemist’s works to the Herbal’s healing salves, elixirs and simples, in addition to bringing the a depth of knowledge enabling him to make such things as paralysants, stimulants, sedatives, truth serums and soporifics.

This is a very dicey area of expertise to allow others to become aware of. Public knowledge leaves the character open to socially damaging accusations and law suits.

Each of the areas discussed above (Chandlery, Finishes & Adhesives, Cosmetics & Beauty, Pigments & Dyes, Scents) comprises a separate specialty defined by a Trade Skill that must be developed and tracked in SL, and maintained individually with SP’s.

The base DV for making any of the substances described is equal to the number of drams, cups, gills, or pints, or pots, that he makes in a single exercise (according to the measure in which the substance is discussed above), or gill of waterproof glue. To this, the GM should add the POT of the substance being made, such as glue. For making a glue invulnerable to water, the effective STR is equal to the POT, the base DV, and the DV should be raised by 1/2 (multiplied by 1.5). The DV should be doubled (multiplied by 2) to make it invulnerable to saltwater (sea-, brine). For every effective point by which the STR for the purposes of determining drying time of the glue has been lowered by solvents with high evaporation rates to speed drying, the DV should be increased by 1. 

For making ritual supplies, the base DV is equal to (2 per points-worth of POT) made. 

The quantity made is particularly important in determining time requirements, for it will increase the time needed when larger amounts are made. In the case of ritual supplies, the POT also IS the measure of quantity, as discussed in the rules on Low Magick (rituals) in the Grimoire. 

The time required to make any of the common substances described here, from start to finish including the processing of raw materials (as applicable), is equal to the DV for the task, read in mileways. For making ritual supplies, the DV is divided by 2 and the time read in hours.

The Alchemist’s skills also give him the ability to “can” and store those substances his Trade Skills allow him to make that have a limited shelf life and put them up. He may “can” or “put-up” as much as he can secure materials (heavy pottery or glass pots/jars) and facilities to handle. The character must have lids for each vessel, and requires 0.25 lb’s of wax to seal each one. The containers used in canning should be no larger than 1 quart in volume each.

Once put up, the canned perishables last (1 per 4 TR) years before their shelf life comes into play and they begin to age and then go bad. Once the seal is broken on a canned perishable its shelf life again commences to pass normally.

The costs for canning is 1 ha’penny per gill per pot/jar and 2 pence per jar for sealing waxes, plus the costs for whatever it is the character is canning (as applicable). The costs of the pots/jars is a one-time investment, after purchased they only need to be replaced as broken, and the character then only has to pay for the wax, and perhaps the items to be canned.

Most of the substances made by the Alchemist, even such simple compounds as cosmetics, have a shelf life of only [(AWA + CRD) ÷ 8] + (SL) weeks before they begin to separate, go rancid, or lose their potency. This doesn’t, of course, apply to such simple, stable things as tallow or fine-milled soaps, cleaning solutions, or the like.

Magickal Formulas: “Potions”, etc.

Following the mysteries of the elusive Philosopher’s Stone, True Alchemists can also concoct substances that, of their own essence and the skills of their Trade, yield intrinsically magickal effects. By combining the rare and special ingredients these formulae call for, an Alchemist can unlock the magickal power inherent in their essences to make various substances of magickal effect by means of their own procedures and incantations.

Thus, the skill of making substances that are vessels for carrying the magick of others is considered a single and totally different skill from the individualized skills of making substances whose effects are wholly magickal, in and of themselves, upon completion.

This is one of the main points on which Alchemists, Simple and Alchemists, True differ.

These are called “magickal formulas” that produce unguents, salves, elixirs, potions, philtres, powders, crystals, magick beans, and other similar substances – in the same sorts of forms described for “Potion” Bases previously – that yield inherently magickal effects when properly employed. Both are made in quantities of grams/drams.

Once they are completed, there is NO difference whatever in the appearance or effect of a substance that is the product of a magickal formula and a “Potion” Base that has been successfully enchanted.

The epitome of the Alchemist’s art is the path (Trade Skill) of Magickal Formulas, wherein lies the knowledge of transforming base metals into the noble metals, silver and gold, or discovering the means of longevity through concocting the various forms of the elusive Lapis Philosophicus, the magickal “Philosopher’s Stone”, the Red Stone and the White Stone, or their equally magickal and elusive elixirs. These are the ultimate goal of all serious True Alchemists, the apex of the his study in his pursuit of this particular Trade Skill.

The Magickal Formulas (Trade Skill) is actually made up of up to (MGA ÷ 4) charms (individual skills) that must be developed, tracked, and maintained individually in SL with SP’s, in the same manner as Languages and Musician instrument skills.

Each charm/skill chosen represents a base recipe and a series of closely related recipe variations (much like a recipe in “The Joy of Cooking”) allowing for any of the effects described in that charm’s text, and also encompassing all expressions in regards to the Ars Quintates that its description allows, enabling the Alchemist to create a substance to express any aspect of a charm presented in its description, as he wishes.

These formulas may be freely chosen from ANY of the rosters of Wizard, Witch and/or Druid charms, equally.

IF the Alchemist True is designated as having learned this Trade in university, he is limited to ONLY those charms that appear on the Wizard Trade rosters.

IF all of a Alchemist’s formulas come solely from the charms found on the Witch OR Druid rosters, that character may be designated a member of that Trade (player’s discretion, not a requirement). In this case, the character is bound by the philosophical/religious strictures of that trade. This limits the character to a traditional apprenticeship in training for this Trade, as well. 

The materials created by means of the charms that make up the Alchemist’s Magickal Formulas have only been discussed in a general sort of way, so far.

An Alchemist’s formula might result in a thin (alcohol-based) liquid to be sprayed through an atomizer – perfect to create the “Cloud of Fog” or “Circle of Light/Darkness” magicks, or possibly even one of the various types of “Darts” or other similar weapons, especially fine perfumes to carry “Beguiling” effects. The Alchemist might make powders repleat with glittering and sparkling Disney-esque effects, to be used by the pinch on or inside a fist or glove for the hand/touch oriented aspects of the “Manifest Will” charm, or perhaps on or inside the feet or shoes/boots for a “Fleetfoot” “Surefoot” or similar effect, or even sprinkled over a recipient’s head. A formula can result in an unguent to be rubbed all over a subject or on selective area(s) of the user’s body for a “Slow Blood,” “SwiftHeal” or similar effect, or a liquid to be imbibed after the fashion of a traditional magick potion, or even a bright, shining crystal to be thrown in a target’s face, or upon the ground or crushed to release a “Blinding Flash” or similar charm, or to be hurled at a target to transform in the air into a “dart” of some kind.

The Alchemist may stumble across a formula that produces a handful of special “Size Enchantment” soil providing a “Jack and the Beanstalk” or “James and the Giant Peach” type of effect, or seeds which burrow into the ground and sprout forth with a “Wall of Vines”, “Wall of Thorns”, “Vinesteed”, “Servant of Earth”, or “Plantmaze” magick, or produce little seeds or even seedlings that swiftly grow when planted to bear fruit that yields a particular magick when eaten.

It should be the fumes of the cauldron holding the substance of any “Summoning,” “Call Familiar,” “Charm of Calling” or “Woodland Call” magicks that attract the targets’ attentions and draws them to the Alchemist. The material left over after such a Calling should be useless, or perhaps – if deemed edible – lunch! In cases of formulas for such charms as “Power Cache”, the object in which the Cache is to be imbued should have to be steeped in the cauldron/concoction as it is made, for the entire Time Requirement, in order to take effect. The same process should be followed for any object to be enchanted by the Alchemist, unless you decide as GM that a stoppered recess in the object for holding the Alchemist’s brew is sufficient, or that the sprinkling of a powder over the object or rubbing an unguent or tincture into the object under some sort of involved ritual process is acceptable.

The actual form of the substances Alchemist True characters create are up to your players to negotiate with you, as GM. Some forms make sense for certain effects, where others don’t. The choice of form should be mostly up to the player, BUT only with your approval as GM.

It is your world and this expression of magick must mesh with your vision of it.

The process of concocting any and all substances of Alchemical lore, mundane or magickal, carry with it a Time Requirement to complete, in the same manner as the work of any Craftsman. However, ALL works of a True Alchemist’s magickal formulas that produce substances of inherently magickal effect are considered works of Low Magick, too. 

The CTM required to cast the charm represented by any magickal recipe as a work of Low (ritual) Magick, is ADDED to the mundane Time Requirement (above) to create it, in the same manner as the work of a Druid-Smith (Gowan, Govannon, etc.).

There is no such thing as High Magick (cantrips) or even Common Magick (spells) in the creation of a True Alchemist’s magick. All of his substances are created under ritual Low Magick circumstances using ritualistic procedures. The lab in which he must work takes the place of the traditional practitioner’s ritual kit.

The att. mod’s to prepare any of the formulas for inherently magickal substances are based on the Alchemist’s MGA and CRD scores.

The DV’s for making any of the Alchemist’s magickal formulas are determined not only by the concentration of the POT of the substance but the number of grams or drams (beans, crystals, etc.) being concocted or prepared at one time, as well as the Art by which the Power manifests.

The DV for brewing, concocting or otherwise making any of the Alchemist’s magickal formulas start with the normal base DV according to the POT, the Art to which the resulting magick belongs, always assuming “Low Magick” as the Form, and the Sphere of Power of the formula being used, normally, according to the table in “Magick in Play”. In this case, however, the POT referred to is the concentration of POT per gram/dram being made, NOT the yield.

The base DV is increased according to the volume in grams, drams, magick beans or crystals, etc., of magickal effect the Alchemist wishes to make in a batch. The more he tries to make at once, the more difficult the procedures, rising Progressively. 

In addition, the Magickal Formulas of Alchemy can be as risky as the mainstream, traditional the works of Trade of Wizardry, not only in the potential squandering of a great deal of money in materials, but in the possibility of Bumbles (where those rules are in play).

The works of an Alchemist Wizard can Bumble just as badly as any weaving of a mainstream Wizard’s charms (where those rules are in play). Under these circumstances, Bumbles are combined with physical alchemical accidents.

The various substances and materials to make any given Magickal Formula cost 4d. per gram/dram in the batch, PLUS 1s. 2d. 1hp. per point of POT, per gram/dram.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Herbal Trade AND the Forage Life Skill, he can save 4d. 3fg. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Apothecary Trade AND the Forage Life Skill, he can save 9d. 3fg. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

Because of the wild and uncertain nature of the forces with which they work in their craft, the fact that an Alchemist pays to gather a certain amount of materials to create a given number of grams/drams of a “potion” for a particular charm is NO guarantee he ends up with the amount that he started out to make. As a matter of fact, that only ever happens under certain rare circumstances.

An Alchemist only ever reaps a percentage of the formula he set out to make.

The percentage he reaps is equal to the amount by which the d100 check to determine the success of the exercise is made, PLUS his SL with the specific charm/formula OR his TR (whichever is greater).

Alchemy was always looked on as a pursuit for the idle rich, for eccentric nobles, historically. This is one of the reasons why.

The Alchemist’s percentage chance of success is determined in the same manner used for any other skill in the game, as provided in the passage headed “Task Resolution”.

For example, an Alchemist attempts to concoct 10 grams/drams of a formula with which he has SL 13 (greater than his TR) and his player rolls 30 below the number needed to succeed in his attempt. As a result, he reaps 43% of the 10 grams/drams he paid for and started out to make, or 4 (30 + 13 = 43%; 10 x 0.43 = 4.3, or 4). 

IF you are using the Heroic Effects rules, the Alchemist player should be offered the option of applying those results to the yield – while never raising it beyond that which the Alchemist originally set out to make. 

In the above example a double effect Heroic Success would allow the Alchemist to reap 8 applications rather than 4 of the 10 he set out to make, while a triple effect success would allow him to reap all 10. These are the only circumstances under which he can ever realize ALL of the batch he is making.

In the repertoire of Alchemists True are a couple remnants of ancient times when their arts were not so sophisticated as they now are. These are known as Bottle Charms and Candle Charms.

These are considered alchemical “folkways” of their craft, because they also depend on common alchemical skills, but they are also considered specialty skills that must be honed as a separate Trade Skill. This is considered a separate form from the character’s Magickal Formulas, and may be substituted as the resulting form for any of those Formulas, the results of which (potion, philtre, unguent, salve, etc.) the player must have negotiated for each Formula with the GM prior to play to determine, otherwise.

Bottles Charms are based on the “Witch Bottle” lore of the 15-1600’s. They must be they are to benefit, when they are beneficial in nature. When they are protective or otherwise beneficial in nature, they must be given to the subject and displayed along with any other knick-knacks in the room in which the subject spends the most time OR buried in the earth on the subject’s property (as applicable, not all subjects will be the owners of the property where they reside). When hostile in nature, they must be buried in the earth on the Alchemist’s own property or on the property of the target.

The effective SL an Alchemist can apply to making a Bottle Charm is equal to his SL with them (he must have the Trade Skill) and the SL he has with the Formula he is specifically brewing in the Bottle.

Candle Charms are one of the oldest folkways of magick, stretching back to the ancient Egyptians and beyond. The Candle Charms of the Alchemist True are NOT to be confused with the ceremonial candle burning that takes place as a part of many of the rituals performed by those who practice more traditional forms of Druidecht, Wizardry or Witchcraft.

What sets Candle Charms apart from most common castings of magick is that each candle (or layer of a candle) provides magick that lasts for a fixed amount of time, in total, burned from top to bottom. While the effect of the charm is set by the maker according to the Charm he is creating and the POT he is investing, which dictates the ultimate amount of time that charm may endure, the one burning the candle has the option of burning the DUR away in any manner he likes, off and on, by lighting and dousing the candle over and over according to his need until it is burned away.

The effective SL an Alchemist can apply to making a Candle Charm is equal to the average of his SL with Candle Charms (he must have the Trade Skill) and his SL with the specific Formula(s) he is imbuing in it, with a bonus based on his SL as a Chandler.

While these forms may place certain constraints on appearance and the likelihood of being recognized for what they are by nature, they have a higher yield than the fancy concoctions that the potions, philtres, salves, unguents, etc. in which Magick Formulas can be rendered. When an Alchemist sets out to make Candle Charms or Bottle Charms, he ends up with exactly what he planned to make. There is no % of loss with them as there is with the former.

Bottle and Candle Charms are optional skills in the same manner as “Caustics & Combustibles” and “Drugs & Poisons.” No Alchemist is required to have either of these skills. 

It is likely that the simpler folk who muster the courage to seek the Alchemist’s skills for magical aid are going to be looking for such items, however. These items describe the limits of the magical skills of Cunning Men and Wise Women Alchemists, who are more easily located than those that practice any sort of conventional magick, or even folkways such as Cabalism or Knot-magick (Great Weavers), so tales of Bottle and Candle Charms are freely and regularly circulated among the common free and landbound folk. Many Alchemists studying at university pick up the Magisters’ condescending attitude towards such “primitive” practices, eschewing their pursuit, but this does not diminish their effectiveness one bit.

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* This serves as a reminder that the additional areas of knowledge and skill that are the result of university training are to be represented by also equipping the character with one of the scholastic Trades described as being the result of a Masters or PhD program.

** indicates the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Apothecary Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

*** indicates the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Herbal Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

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* indicates the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Apothecary Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

** indicates the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Herbal Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

† indicates the Magickal Formulas (Trade Skill) is actually made up of up to (MGA ÷ 4) charms (individual skills) that must be developed, tracked, and maintained individually by SL and SP’s, in the same manner as Languages and Musician instrument skills.

†† indicates that up to (AWA ÷ 4) skills in number of this type or category are allowed, each of which must be developed, tracked, and maintained individually by SL and SP’s, in the same manner as Musician instrument skills.

Of this number, the character’s Native Vulgar or “Milk Tongue” tongue, the Scholar’s Tongue (analogue of Latin), and the Philosopher’s Tongue (analogue of Greek) must be included first. What slots are left after these are accounted for may be filled with other languages of the player’s choice, as desired.

The players have no obligation to equip their characters with the full (AWA ÷ 4) compliment of these skills – with the understanding that they are NOT allowed to fill them in retroactively, after they have already brought their characters into active play, just because they WERE allowed them during the Character Creation process.

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† indicates that up to (AWA ÷ 4) skills in number of this type or category are allowed.

In regards to Linguist skills, the High Druids’ Cant, the Scholar’s Tongue (the game world analogue to Latin) and Philosopher’s Tongue (the game world analogue to Greek) must be included.

The players have no obligation to equip their characters with the full (AWA ÷ 4) compliment of these skills – with the understanding that they are NOT allowed to fill them in retroactively, after the character has already been brought into active play, just because they WERE allowed them during the Character Creation process (long since finished).

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Assess & Identify

The Alchemist’s skills naturally includes the ability to Identify or Assess substances or materials and the constituents that make up compounds.

The Alchemist is best served exercising this ability in his complete, home lab, which allows him the advantage of his full TR, but also requires he have the complete collection of his Speculum volumes to consult. 

 Using his abbreviated travel/field lab, an Alchemist is only allowed the benefit of 3/4th’s his full TR, 

 The Alchemist may attempt a raw Field Assessment at only 1/2 his full TR. 

He must also have at least his main, general reference Speculum with him in order to make Field Assessments.

For identifying or assessing various substances, elements, and basic compounds out in the field without equipment, the att mod. is based on the Alchemist’s AWA score, and the TR used to find the AV, unless one of the Trade Skills is a better more accurate choice and has a SL higher than the TR.

IF working in a fully fitted lab, the att mod. for identifying various substances is based on the character’s AWA score.

The character must have at least [30 – (AWA + 1 per 4 TR’s)] drams of any given substance to test for its identity.

For concocting, mixing, distilling, or compounding any substance of the alchemical arts the att. mod’s are based on the character’s AWA and CRD scores.

The base DV for identifying substances and compounds depends on the origin of the materials. If the material or compound to be identified is common, found around the average household like tallow, lye, soap, offal, cotton, wool, flax, blood, ashes, verjuice, iron or steel, lead, copper, tin, brass, or any oxide of these common metals, various household cleaning compounds, and so on, the base DV is 1. 

Those sorts of things found around the yard or out-buildings, like hemp, different kinds of hide, common household garden vegetables and herbs, plants producing common country dyes, different kinds of woods, and so on, have a base DV of 5 to identify. The character require only a relatively small sample of these substances to identify them, just enough to get a good smell, feel, and/or taste sample of it to be sure of it (GM’s discretion), and they may be identified in the field without special tests. 

For compounds more common to towns, like commercial dyes, inks, artists’ pigments, sealing wax, pitch-based and other building sealing compounds, and the like, the base DV for identification is 10. The character requires a larger sample of these things to identify them, a handful or more on which to run tests. 

For those substances containing materials that are not native to the surrounding terrain or region the DV may start at 15. The character needs a lab to properly identify the compound, though field identification may be attempted at half AV. 

You should feel free to raise the DV if you feel the sample the character has isn’t large enough, perhaps by as much as 5, or 10 for things found outside the house, 20 for compounds. 

The time required to identify common substances and making identifications in the field is equal to the DV for the task, read in minutes; for compounds tested in the lab the time requirement is divided by 10 and again read in minutes.

When an Alchemist brews one of his Magickal Formulas, he receives SP’s towards his skill in making that formuls in the same manner described for any Craftsman’s works, PLUS the SP’s that normally accrue from casting Low (ritual) Magick.

Unlike other sorts of more mainstream practitioners of magick (Wizards, Witches, Druids, Hedge-Wizards, Hearth-Witches), an Alchemist is not confined only to the recipes in his Speculum for creating magickal substances. Any formula that he comes across in his journeys is fair game, whether he has skill in them or not. He may attempt these with an effective SL equal to his half his TR, providing that the formula attempted also lies within the Sphere(s) of Power of those skills he already has.

Every time he uses the formula without taking the time to actually learn it and add it to his repertoire, he earns one (1) SP towards actually understanding it, until he has earned enough SP’s indicating he knows it well enough to gain a full SL, establishing an effective SL of 1 with it. In this way he can eventually learn formulas on his own.

Unlike those of the practitioners of other more traditional magick-wielding trades, the Magickal Formulas of the Alchemist True are not automatically memorized and maintained in a special trade memory. They cannot be concocted without the Speculum in which the Alchemist keeps his magickal formulas, the attendant sheafs and scrolls of notes compiled in it.

Upon reaching the Warden LoA with any given Magickal Formula, an Alchemist’s skill and knowledge are considered advanced enough to allow him to execute that formula without need of referencing his Speculum. Doing so reduces his effective SL with it, however, by (SL required to reach Warden LoA).

Sensing Mana & Magick 

Due to their long exposure to the spiritual energies, the mana that powers all magick in RoM, and manipulation of it in the course of creating their various magickal formulas, all Alchemists True are able to Sense the Ambience and Sense Magick, in the same manner as a full trade Wizard, Druid or Witch (as applicable).

The Ambience permeates and overlays every crevice and corner of the Mortal World. While it is always in motion, both the drawing and release of power used in dweomercraft creates a disturbance of its own that passes through the Ambience, regardless of whether it is a Mystic expressing a Feat or channeling miraculous interventions from On High or the magickal work of a Druid (any trade), Witch or Wizard. It causes a ripple-like wave to radiate outward through the Ambience. These disturbances or waves in the Æther are created in part by tapping the Veil between Spirit and the mortal world.

The Arts of the Druid trades and of the Wizard and Witch trades, or even Mystic, affect many other aspects of the character’s life than just those providing him with the ability to manifest magickal or miraculous powers and perform extraordinary feats with it, including the ability to sense these disturbances or ripples over the course of their trade training and magick-wielding careers. This sensation encompasses a see-feel-smell-hear-taste experience that defies any meaningful description to those outside the trade.

All practitioners in the vicinity can automatically feel the gathering of mana and the process of crafting it into a dweomer if it takes place within [(MSS) + (TR)] feet of them, unless there is a barrier sufficient to dampen the disturbance (see “Shielding & Safe Havens”).

Beyond this distance a successful MSS check on d100 allows the practitioner to “feel” it.

The AV to Sense Magick is equal to [(MSS att. mod.) + (AWA att. mod.) + (TR)].

The DV for these checks is equal to the number of feet by which the casting is taking place beyond the practitioner’s prescribed range, 

MINUS the number of points by which the POT of the casting is greater than the practitioner’s MGA

OR

PLUS the number of points by which the POT of the casting is less than the practitioner’s MGA.

The ripples of Noble Sphere magick travel 5 x as far; Sovereign Sphere magick travels 5 x the Noble Sphere distance or 25 x the Common Sphere distance.

When a magical formula is finally completed (whether successfully or not), the power summoned for it crashes back into the Ambience like a stone suddenly dropped into a still pool, causing a wave radiating outward in a sphere from the caster. This is a MUCH stronger wave than the little ripple caused by the process of crafting the magick.

In the case of the True Alchemist, the same initial ripple caused by the process of casting traditional mainstream charms accompanies the process of crafting any of the substances of magickal nature resulting from his magickal formulas. The great disturbance caused by loosing a completed charm also accompanies the successful completion of any of those formulas. This wave can be immediately and automatically “felt” if it occurs within [(MSS) + (TR)] yards, regardless of POT.

For this check, the AV is [(MSS att. mod.) + (TR)], again.

The DV for the MSS check is 1 if the practitioner Sensing Magick is located within (POT) furlongs.

  • IF the POT of the wave when it reaches the practitioner is greater than his CHM or HRT (whichever is greater), the roll should be foregone and the character simply informed. It is deemed strong enough to get the character’s attention immediately and automatically.
  • IF the POT is less than a practitioner’s CHM or HRT (whichever is less) when the wave reaches him, the DV for the MSS check rises by the difference, per point, again in a Progressive manner.

The POT of the disturbance in the case of the Alchemist is equal to the total POT for all grams/drams in the batch he has just successfully completed. IF the d100 check for completing a batch is failed, there is no ripple of power through the Ambience.

After the first (POT) furlongs the wave travels from the practitioner who loosed the magick that made it, the effective POT drops by 1 point in strength every furlong of distance, until it dies out at zero (0).

This raises the DV to sense the wave when it finally reaches the practitioner, by one per furlong per furlong traveled, again in a Progressive manner, MINUS the effective POT of the wave.

Beyond this distance, EVERY magick cast causes a ripple in the Ambience that travels outward in a sphere from the site of the casting (POT x 2) furlongs, allowing the practitioner to “feel” the wave washing over him upon making a successful MSS check on d100.

Not only is a PC able to sense the ripples caused by others’ magicks, his player must understand the fact that every magick his PC casts creates the same disturbance to alert others of the trade who may be in the vicinity.

The lesser, day-to-day activity in the Ambience, those disturbances of (CHM or HRT, whichever is less) in POT or less, are normally screened from every practitioner’s consciousness in accordance with his trade training to protect his sanity, so he can maintain some sense of continuous mortal existence separate from Spirit and his magick, allowing him to interact normally with the mortal world.

Those disturbances he “feels” or senses, whether automatically or as a result of a Sense Magick check, as above, are sufficient for him to note the general direction whence it came. This can provide a link by which any direction-finding charm may be cast to zero in on the point of origin of the disturbance.

The wave of disturbance from the casting of a magick can be used by the clever practitioner to cover the loosing of subsequent magicks, provided he stays within (MGA) yards of the original casting site and is careful to keep their POT smaller than the original magick whose shadow he is trying to use.

This raises the DV for sensing the disturbance by one per point by which the following magick’s POT is less than the one it follows, per point, in a Progressive manner.

This “shadow” of disturbance following in the wake of the wave, equal to the POT of the first magick cast, fades at a rate of 1 effective point of POT per minute.

In practice, the player should be aware of the order in which he casts his magicks if he is concerned over the possibility of disturbing other folk of power, casting rituals before spells before cantrips, and greatest POT to lowest, to use the shadow of the ripple caused by the greater magick to cover those of the lesser magicks cast in its wake.

One never knows whose elbow one may unintentionally jog.

Taking advantage of this phenomenon can be a very useful tactic when one is matched on the battlefield against another practitioner, a means of catching them off guard, of denying them any notice of more magicks to come following the first.

The players and GM alike must be aware that any other practitioner of magick in the same town or its immediate hinterlands (surrounding supporting farmlands) may well note the use of any magicks cast with POT greater than c. 10-15, especially if any of them live in a location that gives them an overview of the town. Any in the closer surrounding villages might take note, as well. Caution is prudent. Careless flinging of magick, especially at high POT, can attract unwanted attention. Rival practitioners may be curious or even irritated if they are in the least bit protective of their territorial rights to monopolize the trade in magick where a character has ventured to practice his craft. Ignorance of the presence of a local rival or guild monopoly is no excuse, in the same manner as ignorance of the law.

This is simply an occupational hazard.

Rivalries keep the already small numbers of those who practice the magickal arts even smaller, and tend to insure that those of lesser power keep a low profile until they are well and truly prepared and sure of their defenses, should such a conflict of interests arise.

There may be certain places in the GM’s world where those of power gather to practice their art by tacit approval, an unspoken bond that may be as strong as any guild charter. These places gain a general on-going disturbance due to regular magickal activity that swiftly becomes evident to those who wield the Arts approaching within range to sense it. The level of activity is rated in POT in the same manner as the prevailing Ambience and added to the DV for sensing any specific magickal disturbance (as described above) that is of lesser POT than that of the æthereal “background noise”. This “white noise” of magickal activity makes sensing other magickal activity so difficult that the MSS checks described previously are required even within the normal ranges at which the Sense Magick ability is commonly automatic and immediate. The DV’s for these checks are increased by the amount by which the POT of the magick in question is less than the POT of the ætherial “background noise” using the same procedure applied when the POT of a magick to be Sensed is less than the practitioner’s CHM/HRT (as above).

Sometimes there is no better place for a character of lesser power to hide his craft than out in the open, under the cover of the disturbances created by his greater colleagues routinely exercising their own craft.

In addition, the level of the Ambience itself may actually work to betray disturbances, high-lighting them. To keep things on an even footing, the POT of the Ambience, of the mana readily available flowing through a given location, is always rated in POT relative to the Common Sphere. The greater the POT of the Ambience, the more magickal energy that is present for the wave of a disturbance to displace. In short, it amplifies the effect of the disturbance, making it more noticeable.

The POT of the Ambience is subtracted from the DV for any Sense Magick check to feel a disturbance.

Magick that is already in existence lies quietly, as a part of the natural world, doing as it was bidden when created. It is much more difficult to sense. The Wizard has the option of casting a bit of Divination to “Reveal” the presence of magicks, should the player have equipped him with that lore, OR ply his skill with a set of dowsing rods or crystal or other pendulum for the same purpose, using it as a guide if he has this Spirit Skill, OR the Wizard may slowly walk about with his hand held out before him to try to “feel” it’s presence by “Seeking” it by Divination.

On the other hand, once a Wizard touches an object which carries an enchantment, or creature or being laboring under an ensorcelment, or steps into an area which bears a dweomer, he feels and knows it and the GM must tell the player (preferably slip him a private note), without the need for a d100 check of any kind. Of course, where Banes and Wardings are concerned, his coming into contact could be rather hazardous to his health and perhaps that of any compatriots accompanying him.

Other than the ability to Sense Magick and having a thorough understanding of “Shielding & Safe Havens”, True Alchemists don’t have any other of the special trade abilities possessed by other Trade practitioners of magick.

True Alchemists have no Spirit Skills. They develop no special, meditational keyed, tiered eidetic memory for Trade Skills and Trade lore, nor do they get any bonus to their M-RES.

Because the magick they create is completely contained within the substances they make, Alchemists can never carry the DUR of one of their charms “at the caster’s pleasure”. Once a substance is used, the DUR of the dweomer is restricted, effectively “tied-off” by definition.

Thus, it is impossible for an Alchemist to get weighed down by Wind held in reserve to support the dweomers they carry, as other practitioners may.

The opening of the “The Life of Magick” is an essential a read for all players of True Alchemists, as well as the passages headed “What is Magick?”, “The Foundations of Magick” and “The Laws of Magick”.

Like the mainstream practitioner of traditional magick (Wizard, Witch, Druid), the pursuit of this Trade Skill continues up through the Spheres of Power, however, High and Low Mana areas have no effect on the compounding of magical formulas.

The Ars Quintates Magica influence the POT for determining DV’s for the rendering of magickal formula the same manner as the works of mainstream tradition castings of magick. Otherwise, the divisions of the Ars Quintates Magica don’t apply to the True Alchemists’ magickal formulas, EXCEPT insofar as the Alchemist character needs to use them to define the specific effects of the magical substances he makes. All aspects described for a charm are available to the Alchemist.

The completed form a formula takes may be varied any way the Alchemist wishes, regardless of the charm it carries and the aspect of that charm it creates, so the Alchemist had best label them carefully.

In addition, Low (ritual ) Magick is the only “form” or “method” that applies to the rendering of magickal formulas, and POT also governs the effects of magickal substances produced by the True Alchemist equally.

“Potions” in Play

When carrying the substances created by means of this Trade on the road, once completed, Alchemist practitioners must take precautions to preserve their work. Seeds should be kept dry and at least moderately cool or they may sprout spontaneously releasing their magick, crystals are going to be somewhat fragile, and powders and such things as elixirs, potions, unguents, and salves should all be kept in sealed containers of some sort, preferably water-tight ones of dark, preferably brown glass or solid crockery to prevent their deterioration by exposure to sunlight. It is up to you as GM whether water, alcohol or some other liquid may thin an elixir, potion, or salve, or dissolve a powder after it has aged awhile. Perhaps by an extra step of preparation a powder might be created that can be reconstituted in order to be used, whether to be consumed or applied topically.

IF properly stored, the substances created by an Alchemist’s Magickal Formulas have a shelf life of (skill AV) months, during which time they maintain their full potency.

IF “put-up” and sealed by the Alchemist’s canning skills, this rises to (skill AV) years, or until the seal is broken, whichever occurs first. In these cases, the (skill AV) months of the substance’s shelf life are not counted until after the seal is broken.

After the shelf life expires, the substance loses one (1) point of the POT of its power, and another every (formula SL) days thereafter until it reaches zero, useless.

Note that those substances that slowly lose their potency dry out and lose fluids vital to their effect until they are reconstituted through the Alchemist’s art. Those substances that simply lose their potency lose 1 point of POT of their effect per (SL under which made) days they age beyond their shelf life. 

In play, the minimum dose of those substances that are to be applied to living creatures and/or beings is equal to (modified STA ÷ 4) in points of POT administered. This dose allows the dweomer to manifest at a POT of only 1.

Once the (STA ÷ 4) minimum to saturate the recipient with a POT of 1 is reached, the POT of additional grams (if dry) or drams (if liquid) administered/taken by the recipient are added to the effective POT of the dweomer’s effect.

IF the recipient has a STA of 20 as a human (no Build modifier) is given 5 POT-worth of a magickal preparation of 1 POT per dram in concentration, its effect manifests with a POT of 1 (STA 20 ÷ 4 = 5).

IF the recipient then takes another 5 drams at the same concentration of POT 1, the effective POT of the dweomer rises to a POT of 6 (1 POT already established + 5 more = POT 6).

For those substances to be applied to objects, the minimum dose is equal to (sum of it’s Size as measured in all three dimensions, length, width & height) in total points of POT. 

An object’s Size Rating is roughly equal to its measurement rounded to the nearest foot (subject to the GM’s ruling), however, in this case all three dimensions are measured, not just one, as is the case with weapons.

Using this minimum dose results in the charm taking effect at a POT of one (1). 

The POT of additional grams/drams administered raise the effective POT of the magick’s effect accordingly.

For example, one dram of a tincture prepared at a concentration of 5 POT per gram/dram applied to a longbow with a Size of 6 (length alone, as width and depth of the object are negligible, being less than 6in’s) isn’t quite enough to affected it (POT 5 – Size 6 = -1).

The first point of POT of the second dram provides a POT of 1 as it finished encompassing the object, and the 4 remaining points of POT of the second dram bring the POT of the charm on the bow up to 5.

Reapplying any given magickal formula once it has been already been applied adds its POT in this manner, but ONLY up to a maximum of [(HRT) + (TR)].

Any POT applied in excess of this limit are simply wasted.

Related Knowledge

Due to the importance of having an extensive knowledge of plants, the products of the earth and animal kingdom, and their properties to creating the various substances with which the Alchemist Trade is concerned, all Alchemists are schooled in the Lore of Herbs and the Lore of the Apothecary.

Indeed, the Herbal and Apothecary Trades are closely, almost intrinsically, Allied with the Alchemist Trade.

IF a player also chooses to equip his Alchemist with the Herbal and Apothecary Trades does he also know how best to handle them the materials and substances, to prepare them, to extract their virtues, and also to render them into the forms best able to preserve their virtues for later use.

The movements of the energies and influences of the heavenly bodies have a direct influence on the work of Alchemists, especially as they are expressed by the Correspondences studied by Astrologists, which Trade is closely Allied. Researched properly, the astrological Correspondences provide a tool to lower the DV’s for making any of the common substances mentioned previously just as much as the magical formulas and the “potion bases” Trade Skills.

IF a player also chooses to equip his Alchemist with the Forage Life Skill, his Lore includes the knowledge of where to find the minerals and herbs he needs, what rock types and formations to look for, what parts of the beasts, and the habitats in which they may be found, when to pick or hunt them.

The Forage skill extends the knowledge of any Trade to which its lore may be applied to include these facets, too.

Without the Forage skill, an Alchemist cannot take advantage of the benefits foraging for his own materials provide. The Forage Life Skill may represent a convenience and greater degree of independence, but it is a convenience and independence that frees the Alchemist from the need to procure his materials from local foragers, huntsmen, woodsmen, apothecaries, and the like.

This form of practice in magick MIGHT be considered by some to be more appropriate to a NPC rather than a PC, unless the PC has one or more other trades to fall back on.

All an Alchemist’s work in his Trade must take place in a lab, so a PC Alchemist-practitioner may end up sitting out of play for large chunks of game-time working on accumulating his store of magickal substances. Their goods take time to create, and they are likely to have precious little time except short breaks in-between projects/plot lines, unless you allow them to divide their days up in the manner described in the passages concerning practicing skills and earning SP’s. The rest of the party must go on about their business perhaps having further adventures and earning more SP’s while the PC Alchemist is closeted in his lab, albeit earning SP’s of his own towards his craft.

Thus, the trade provides some logistical challenges when it comes to adventuring with the rest of the party. Maintaining a stock of substances on hand takes time but, if the party cooperates with the Alchemist, they have a ready store of magick that is guaranteed to work when used, without a hitch or surprise, sparing the difficulties sometimes associated with casting magicks traditionally, on the fly.

For a PC, it is a different style of play.

It’s fine for a NPC to sit around making potions and selling them and accumulating a store of ready-made magickal substances, on the other hand. Such a character makes for a great foil or adversary for the PC’s and dictates the form of a significant portion of the Booty, with a great deal of inherent diversity in appearance.

As a beginning PC, a True Alchemist character may well have enough money to begin play with some of his substances already in hand and have some very strong associated trade knowledge to fall back on. This is actually a very prudent means for carrying around what might otherwise be an overwhelming amount of coin.

The player should NOT be made to roll for success of these, but he must pay for them, and straight d100 rolled for each to determine the % yield realized for each one. You may determine that under the circumstances no result of less than [(d5 x 10) + 30]% is fair. Otherwise the loss in money and materials could be crushing, not at all fair to the player.

Alchemist Simple

Alchemists are the proto-scientists and chemists of the period of the game. They study the ways in which the physical and spiritual worlds interact through natural science, philosophy and even a smattering of the spiritual principles of Metaphysics. Speculation on the nature of the Universe, on the hidden natures of both mineral and organic substances, often absorbs them. The work of the Alchemists encompasses both of what are known today as inorganic and organic chemistry, as well as pharmacology, geology, theoretical physics and a smattering of “Natural Philosophy.” From a very esoteric, philosophical, and spiritual point of view (to avoid confrontations of faith) they seek to classify the elements with their dialectic, Aristotelian reason and logic. Empirical test and study are considered to be neither the scholar’s method nor the medieval way of thought, except in the pursuit of specific projects (not whole, transferrable concepts). They explore the secret spiritual natures of physical substances through their special skills, to evoke or imbue spiritual properties, create elixirs (derived from the Arabic for the Greek for “dry tincture”), potions, philters, powders, unguents, salves, and a wide variety of other similar unique substances, to make life a little easier or simply for the sake of accumulating knowledge.

In the pursuit of their arts, Alchemists make a common study of the physical properties of substances; the effects of applying heat and cold, their expansion with heat and contraction when cold, the fact that water is the exception to the rule, expanding as it freezes. They know of the weathering process, the properties of erosion and the resulting deposition, currents and tides, and the like, the changes that decomposition brings, the heat it generates, the actions of various sorts of acids. The lore of the earth is of special interest, too; the soil, such as that special soil used by artists to make their green-earth color; gems and stones like lapis lazuli ground for use in making the finest blue hues for painting, rocks, metals, crystals, ores such as sulphur, cinnabar (mercury ore) ground by artists to make an intense red hue; how they interact with fire, water, and air; the nature of carbonization, the uses of ashes and soot, like the lampblack (literally soot from a lamp) used by artists as a pigment; their properties, and how best to handle them, especially in extracting their virtues.

The Alchemist’s “Speculum”

Even though Alchemists are almost indelibly associated with scholasticism, the Alchemist Simple Trade can be considered as either a set of skills acquired from among the broad and diverse curricula of the universities OR the product of a formal, traditional apprenticeship, instead (player’s discretion), bringing an entirely different flavor to the character’s background. In order to have a formal university education as the source of an Alchemist Simple character’s Trade knowledge, the player must equip him/her also with a formal Scholastic Trade. In this case, he is presumed to have graduated as a Magister (Masters) in Natural Philosophy & Metaphysics.

Whether a player decides his character’s knowledge of Alchemy stems from formal scholastic pursuits at university or a more common traditional apprenticeship, this Trade represents no less a scholarly disposition and frame of mind.

As a reflection of the trade’s scholastic basis, every Alchemist is required to put his Linguist, Literatus, and Scrivener skills to good use during the course of his education/apprenticeship in keeping records of his lessons and lab work. By the time he completes his doctorate or apprenticeship, he has also compiled a Speculum,

The Speculum is an encyclopædic overview of the Alchemist’s art, knowledge and skills, a notebook of all known materials and substances, their appearances accompanied by meticulously rendered illustrations, their characteristics, common origins and usages, and also a wide variety of recipes or formulæ for many common substances and compounds (as follows).

This is This is a source book of trade knowledge kept on hand for general reference, containing knowledge to guide further exploration of the arts, and to aid in managing and coordinating the lore he gathers regarding the specific Trade Skill specialties.

The main volume of the Alchemist’s Speculum contains (AWA x 10) + [(TR) x (40 – AWA)] pages. 

Over the course of time spent earning each TR, once brought into play, the Alchemist is assumed to accumulate an additional (40 – AWA) pages (on average) of scribbled notes, thoughts, insights, theories and discoveries to add to his Speculum. 

In additional to this volume, the Alchemist is required to keep another journal or notebook for the knowledge of the specific Trade Skill specialties (chandlery; scents and perfumes; pigments and dyes; combustibles; caustics; drugs, poisons and venoms; substances prepared to carry an enchantment; etc.), a separate volume for each, but nonetheless also considered to be part of his Speculum.

Each Trade Skill volume of the Speculum has (40 – AWA) + [(AWA) x (Trade Skill SL)] pages in it. 

Over the course of time spent earning each SL in each Trade Skill, once brought into play, the Alchemist is assumed to accumulate an additional (40 – AWA) pages (on average) of scribbled notes, thoughts, insights, theories and discoveries to add to his Speculum. 

IF the Alchemist has the Herbal and/or Apothecary Trade(s) and/or the Forage Life Skill, the player must add those TR’s and/or SL’s to his Alchemist TR for the initial volume in determining the number of pages and also to the SL’s of the individual Trade Skill specialties for each additional volume of his Speculum he must keep, for these broaden the depth of the Lore the Alchemist possesses regarding the secrets of the Trade and the individual Trade Skill fields of study.

Once brought into play, the Alchemist Simple character is expected to continue to keep his Speculum after the fashion of a journal, recording his on-going work and researches, every project he has completed, his successes and failures, over the course of his career, used as a reference to consult as he formulates new projects, and to refresh his memory when he wishes to repeat old ones.

The character is responsible for maintaining all his Speculum volumes as he rises in TR and SL’s, so it’s important he makes sure the materials are kept on hand for maintaining these records, and that they are replenished when the increases in his SL’s indicate those materials have been depleted.

To exercise his Trade, the Alchemist Simple must have a lab to work in.

This consists of a hodge-podge of beakers, terracotta, glass and metal vessels, vials, flasks, scales, weights, measures, alcohol lamps, mortars and pestles of various sizes, various sorts of tubing or piping, an astrolabe, alembic, furnace, crucibles, etc., as described for the Alchemist’s Lab in Appendix D.1.

Despite the fact that this Trade is called Alchemist “Simple”, it encompasses quite a portfolio of capabilities. The above equipment is required to perform the main functions of his alchemical arts: Calcination, Coagulation, Fixation, Dissolution, Digestion, Distillation, Sublimation, Separation, Ceration, Fermentation, Multiplication, and Projection. 

Calcination involves heating a substance in either an open or closed vessel, usually resulting in oxidation, often to produce a black, carbonized substance of some kind. The process and the substances it produces are ruled by Aries, a fire sign.

Congelation and fixation are the processes used to make a substance stable and solid, non-volatile, processes ruled by Taurus (earth) and Gemini (air). These are an essential step in the pursuit of the elusive Philosopher’s Stone, as the volatile liquid mercury was thought an essential element.

Dissolution and digestion are processes of washing and purifying, ruled by Cancer (water) and Leo (fire), respectively. In the pursuit of the White Philosopher’s Stone that produces silver, these processes were used on the substance in the alembic to wash, whiten and purify.

Distillation and sublimation are used to render and recondense the vapor or essence of a substance, in reflux distillation, ruled by Virgo (earth) and Libra (air), respectively. 

Separation can include such processes as filtration, decantation or distillation of a liquid from its residue, ruled by Scorpio, a water sign.

Ceration is a process whereby a material is made soft and wax-like, ruled by Sagittarius, a fire sign.

Fermentation is the special process whereby a slow, subtle “digestive” heat is created within a substance, so the special properties of the substance can manifest, ruled by Capricorn, an earth sign. This process is essential in the working of alchemical magick, and in preparing substances to contain a magickal charm, but it is also used to describe the process by which these substances work to transfer their influence when used in the material world. In the process of creating the Philosopher’s Stone this was one of the last few steps, when the nature of the Stone truly began to manifest.

Multiplication is the process used to augment the power of the substance so it can be used many times over, generally ruled by Aquarius, a water sign. This step consists of manipulating any number of other processes to infuse additional power into a substance.

Projection is simply the name for the process of reducing a substance into the form in which its power is finally applied to its task: powder, salve or unguent, potion, elixir, etc.

These terms are not really necessary to the successful use of the Trade under the rules of the game, however. The Alchemists’ traditions and arts are cloaked in fancy, esoteric terminology and allegories to conceal their lore, as they were historically. These processes are traditionally only ever discussed in terms of not only their ruling signs but their ruling planets, and the mythological figures for whom the planets are named. All of this subterfuge was deemed necessary to protect the secrets of their Trade from the curiosity of laymen. It is included here primarily for the benefit of roleplaying the Alchemist character.

Trade Skills

While they are intimately associated with things magickal and mysterious, an Alchemist Simple’s knowledge of the above processes (among others) enable him to brew, concoct, distill, render, etc. (as applicable) many of the common, mundane substances or materials used or produced by a number of different more “ordinary” manufacturing trades. The Alchemist, Simple in particular focuses much on the knowledge and practices of these trades, as well as a few of the more rare, dangerous, and/or exotic substances (depending on what other Trades the Alchemist’s full portfolio includes, as follows).

The craft of Chandlers, the pursuit Chandlery, is one of the more common among Alchemists, Simple, producing soap of citrus, glycerin and rosewater, or caustic soda and animal fat (tallow) or high quality olive oil, and/or candles of all qualities, bayberry, tallow or rushlights, are an easy product of the Alchemist’s skills. While there are common artisans that specialize in one or the other, it is by no means unusual for a craftsman to make both, for they both traditionally use tallow.

Lacquers, Varnishes and adhesives may include a number of such substances, utilizing the bonding properties of wheat, or egg, but commonly involving rendering animal carcasses down for Glue or spirit gum, also providing cleaning substances such as lye and fuller’s earth, highly acidic verjuice, wood ash and caustic soda (used for doing laundry).

The strength of the bond a glue makes is measured by a STR score, just like a character, equal to the POT of the substance made (player’s choice) if it is for paper, cloth, wood, and other porous organics. The STR of the glue is equal to half the POT if it is to affect china, brick, stone, or metals. 

Glues can be made so as to be water-soluble after drying, or not, but the player must state which he is making at the time and make a note of that fact when he records it on his equipment inventory, otherwise you should assume it is water-soluble.

Oftentimes the STR of a glue bond is greater than the effective strength, or Structure Points, of the items glued together, making getting them apart again impossible without extensive damage, barring the use of magick.

Drying times are equal to the STR of the bond, counted in minutes. The stronger it is, the longer it takes to set up, also. This can be shortened by as much as (Alchemist’s AV)%, maximum 60%, at the Alchemist’s option by the use of alcohol or a petroleum distillate as a solvent, but this makes it highly flammable when wet, also.

As GM, you determine the drying or setting-up times for glues using the extent of the surface area covered and the STR of the glue as discussed previously. The thickness of glue applied and how still and tightly the items glued are being held, the humidity, all affect the time to set-up and cure, especially if you feels these factors are not being adequately addressed by the user(s) in-game. 

Judging how much glue is required for each use and when a character finally runs out of the amount prepared is entirely up to you, as GM. 

Rendering dyestuffs and pigments is another area, processing, concentrating, mixing to obtain signature hues, even foraging for the substances or even raising plant matter from which pigments are obtained. While an alchemist may specialize in pigments, paints, hues for dyes, etc., it is to supply the dyers who put them to use, perhaps in conjunction with a merchant manufactory.

Cosmetics and Beauty treatments are another area of concentration, encompassing a range of substances drawn from many disciplines, especially including pigments, like lacquer for nails; henna and other tints for hair; heavier foundations to conceal minor imperfections in the skin, or even wax-based sculpting or modeling putties to correct structural imperfections (also used in the Masquer skill); cremes, foundations, in a wide variety of tints and tones to complement and even emulate each of the humanoid races in each of the complexions from as pale and fair as a Nordic Viking to Mediterranean olive, golden as an Asian, brown as a desert-dweller, or even as dark as a Nubian, and in each of the color ranges (sallow, medium, and robust).

This specialty also includes the colors for shadowing and detailing eyes and lashes, and/or the highly colored face paints in the seven colors of the rainbow for adding fanciful motifs for holidays and special occasions (hearts, flowers, twining vines and leaves, heraldic animals and devices, etc.). Spirit gum from the Adhesives specialty can be used for applying jewels or other small ornaments to the face/body/skin.

Extracting essential oils and compounding incenses, potpourri (“rotten pot”), herb-steeped scented oils, moisturizing lotions and cremes and other beauty treatments, and/or producing actual perfumes form another area of concentration. This area of expertise is often combined with that of the Chandler and/or Cosmetics and Beauty. Having the knowledge of the Herbal Trade as well can provide the Alchemist Simple with some independence from procuring his supplies from other Herbals for use in these preparations, especially if he also knows how to Forage for his own materials, which his knowledge as an Herbal then equips him with the knowledge to process and preserve for future use.

By their arts, Alchemists can manipulate the spiritual properties of a wide spectrum of substances in order to create what are, for the sake of simplicity, called “potion” bases. These are unguents, salves, elixirs, potions, philters, powders, crystals, magick beans, and a wide variety of other similar substances or items specially prepared to be receptacles for magick. These have no magick of their own but can accept the power of magickal charms, regardless of whether cast by the Alchemist himself or by the hand of another. These hold the power of the charms safely and keep them stable until their power is needed.

In the same vein, so long as the Alchemist is a practitioner of magick, he may make the special candles, incenses, chalks, powders, brazier fuel, and other obscure preparations that make up the consumable supplies called “ritual supplies”, needed to cast Low Magick rituals for his trade, BUT only for those charms he himself knows, UNLESS he is provided with the recipes by the client for whom he makes them.

IF he is provided with the recipes and has sufficient materials to do so, he may concoct ritual supplies for ANY magick-wielding trades and charm.

Like the ritual supplies described in Appendix D.1, those made by the Alchemist are described in terms of POT. The higher the POT of a given packet of ritual supplies he makes, the greater the POT of the ritual that can be performed with it, as charms are rated in the same points of POT. The alchemist may only make supplies to cast one specific charm at a time, but the actual amount of POT made in any given exercise of this skill is up to the player. The greater the amount made at any given time, the higher the DV.

The materials to make ritual and rite supplies cost 1s. 2d. 1hp. per point of POT in magick that can be cast with it. 

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Herbal Trade and the Forage Life Skill, he can save 4d. 3fg. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

IF the Alchemist is also equipped with the Apothecary Trade and the Forage Life Skill, he can save 5d. per point of POT in the cost of materials by venturing forth and gathering some of them himself.

This allows a total savings of 9d. 3fg. per point of POT, reducing the cost of materials to 4d. 1fg. per point of POT.

The Caustics & Combustibles Trade Skill is only available to those Alchemist Simple who are also equipped with the Apothecary Trade.

This encompasses rendering and purifying treatments for creating such things as torches and flambeaux to flash pots and/or smudge pots. These can be combined with knowledge of pigments (above), so flashes or clouds of colored fire or smoke are produced.

The Drugs, Venoms & Poisons Trade Skill is only available to those Alchemists Simple who are also equipped with the Herbal Trade.

This enables the Alchemist to bring the stability and shelf-life inherent in the Alchemist’s works to the Herbal’s healing salves, elixirs and simples, in addition to bringing the a depth of knowledge enabling him to make such things as paralysants, stimulants, sedatives, truth serums and soporifics.

This is a very dicey area of expertise to allow others to become aware of. Public knowledge leaves the character open to socially damaging accusations and law suits, even if only as a means of harassing the Alchemist and damaging his reputation and thus his business.

Each of the areas discussed above (Chandlery, Finishes & Adhesives, Cosmetics & Beauty, Pigments & Dyes, Scents, etc.) comprises a separate specialty defined by a Trade Skill that must be developed and tracked in SL, and maintained individually by means of SP’s.

An Alchemist Simple is able to render quantities of these common substances according to the potency of the substance; soaps and candles of Chandlery by the pound, cleaning solutions, glues and scented oils in gills, or perfumes and cosmetics in drams.

The greater the number of units (pounds, gills, drams, etc.) the character attempts to make in any given project, the higher the DV for the exercise, and the greater the cost. The costs for rendering common substances must be determined by what it is the character is doing, according to the ingredients (GM’s discretion), the specific substances with which he is working, because the options are so varied.

The base DV for making any of the substances described is equal to the number of drams, cups, gills, or pints, or pots, that he makes in a single exercise (according to the measure in which the substance is discussed above), or gill of waterproof glue. To this, add the POT of the substance being made, such as glue. 

For making a glue that is essentially waterproof, the effective STR is equal to the POT, and also provides the base DV. The DV is raised by 1/2 (multiplied by 1.5) for the waterproof feature of the substance. 

The DV should be doubled (multiplied by 2) to make it invulnerable to saltwater (seawater/brine). For every effective point by which the STR for the purposes of determining the glue’s drying time has been lowered by solvents with high evaporation rates to speed drying, the DV should be increased Progressively. 

For making ritual supplies, the base DV is equal to (2 per points-worth of POT) made. The quantity made is particularly important in determining time requirements, for it will increase the time needed when larger amounts are made. In the case of ritual supplies, the POT also IS the measure of quantity, as discussed in the rules on Low Magick (rituals) in the Grimoire. 

The time required to make any of the common substances described here, from start to finish including the processing of raw materials (as applicable), is equal to the DV for the task, read in mileways, EXCEPT for ritual/rite supplies. For making ritual/rite supplies, the DV is divided by 2 and the time read in hours.

Because dabbling in the more rare, dangerous, and/or exotic areas of alchemy can be very expensive, most “common” Alchemists Simple make their living by focusing on making one of the families of products mentioned above, represented by most of the Trade Skills, to sell for their daily bread. This supports any private researches, but such pursuits are not that common, especially among those plying the more “common” Alchemist Simple Trade.

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*the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Apothecary Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

**the Alchemist must also be equipped with the Herbal Trade as a prerequisite for this Trade Skill.

† indicates that up to (AWA ÷ 4) skills in number of this type or category are allowed, among which the Scholar’s Tongue (the game world analogue to Latin) and Philosopher’s Tongue (the game world analogue to Greek) must be included.

Of that number, the character’s Native Vulgar or “Milk Tongue” tongue, the Scholar’s Tongue (analogue of Latin), and the Philosopher’s Tongue (analogue of Greek) must be included first. What slots are left after these are accounted for may be filled with other languages of the player’s choice, as desired.

The players have no obligation to equip their characters with the full (AWA ÷ 4) compliment of these skills – with the understanding that they are NOT allowed to fill them in retroactively, after they have already brought their characters into active play, just because they WERE allowed them during the Character Creation process.

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* This serves as a reminder that the additional areas of knowledge and skill that are the result of university training are to be represented by also equipping the character with the Magister scholastic Trade.

Assess & Identify

The Alchemist’s skills naturally includes the ability to Identify or Assess substances or materials and the constituents that make up compounds.

The Alchemist is best served exercising this ability in his complete, home lab, which allows him the advantage of his full TR, but also requires he have the complete collection of his Speculum volumes to consult. 

 Using his abbreviated travel/field lab, an Alchemist is only allowed the benefit of 3/4th’s his full TR, 

 The Alchemist may attempt a raw Field Assessment at only 1/2 his full TR. 

The Alchemist must have at least his main, general reference Speculum with him in order to make Field Assessments.

For identifying or assessing various substances, elements, and basic compounds out in the field without equipment, the att mod. is based on the Alchemist’s AWA score, and the TR used to find the AV, unless one of the Trade Skills is a better more accurate choice and has a SL higher than the TR.

IF working in a fully fitted lab, the att mod. for identifying various substances is based on the character’s AWA score.

The character must have at least [30 – (AWA + 1 per 4 TR’s)] drams of any given substance to test for its identity.

For concocting, mixing, distilling, or compounding any substance of the alchemical arts the att. mod’s are based on the character’s AWA and CRD scores.

The base DV for identifying substances and compounds depends on the origin of the materials. If the material or compound to be identified is common, found around the average household like tallow, lye, soap, offal, cotton, wool, flax, blood, ashes, verjuice, iron or steel, lead, copper, tin, brass, or any oxide of these common metals, various household cleaning compounds, and so on, the base DV is 1. 

Those sorts of things found around the yard or out-buildings, like hemp, different kinds of hide, common household garden vegetables and herbs, plants producing common country dyes, different kinds of woods, and so on, have a base DV of 5 to identify. The character require only a relatively small sample of these substances to identify them, just enough to get a good smell, feel, and/or taste sample of it to be sure of it (GM’s discretion), and they may be identified in the field without special tests. 

For compounds more common to towns, like commercial dyes, inks, artists’ pigments, sealing wax, pitch-based and other building sealing compounds, and the like, the base DV for identification is 10. The character requires a larger sample of these things to identify them, a handful or more on which to run tests. 

For those substances containing materials that are not native to the surrounding terrain or region the DV may start at 15. The character needs a lab to properly identify the compound, though field identification may be attempted at half AV. 

You should feel free to raise the DV if you feel the sample the character has isn’t large enough, perhaps by as much as 5, or 10 for things found outside the house, 20 for compounds. 

The time required to identify common substances and making identifications in the field is equal to the DV for the task, read in minutes; for compounds tested in the lab the time requirement is divided by 10 and again read in minutes.

Canning & Storing

The Alchemist’s skills also give him the ability to “can” and store those substances his Trade Skills allow him to make that have a limited shelf life and put them up. He may “can” or “put-up” as much as he can secure materials (heavy pottery or glass pots/jars) and facilities to handle. The character must have lids for each vessel, and requires 0.25 lb’s of wax to seal each one. The containers used in canning should be no larger than 1 quart in volume each.

Once put up, the canned perishables last (1 per 4 TR) years before their shelf life comes into play and they begin to age and then go bad. Once the seal is broken on a canned perishable its shelf life again commences to pass normally.

The costs for canning is 1 ha’penny per gill per pot/jar and 2 pence per jar for sealing waxes, plus the costs for whatever it is the character is canning (as applicable). The costs of the pots/jars is a one-time investment, after purchased they only need to be replaced as broken, and the character then only has to pay for the wax, and perhaps the items to be canned.

Most of the substances made by the Alchemist, even such simple compounds as cosmetics, have a shelf life of only [(AWA + CRD) ÷ 8] + (SL) weeks before they begin to separate, go rancid, or lose their potency. This doesn’t, of course, apply to such simple, stable things as tallow or fine-milled soaps, cleaning solutions, or the like. 

Note that those substances that slowly lose their potency dry out and lose fluids vital to their effect until they are reconstituted through the Alchemist’s art. Those substances that simply lose their potency lose 1 point of POT of their effect per (SL under which made) days they age beyond their shelf life. 

Related Knowledge

Due to the importance of having an extensive knowledge of plants, the products of the earth and animal kingdom, and their properties to creating the various substances with which the Alchemist Trade is concerned, all Alchemists are schooled in the Lore of Herbs and the Lore of the Apothecary.

Indeed, the Herbal and Apothecary Trades are closely, almost intrinsically, Allied with the Alchemist Trade.

IF a player also chooses to equip his Alchemist with the Herbal and Apothecary Trades does he also know how best to handle them the materials and substances, to prepare them, to extract their virtues, and also to render them into the forms best able to preserve their virtues for later use.

The movements of the energies and influences of the heavenly bodies have a direct influence on the work of Alchemists, especially as they are expressed by the Correspondences studied by the Astrologist, which Trade is closely Allied. Researched properly, the astrological Correspondences provide a tool to lower the DV’s for making any of the substances the Trade Skills allow, as mentioned.

IF a player also chooses to equip his Alchemist with the Forage Life Skill, his Lore includes the knowledge of where to find the minerals and herbs he needs, what rock types and formations to look for, what parts of the beasts, and the habitats in which they may be found, when to pick or hunt them.

The Forage skill extends the knowledge of any Trade to which its lore may be applied to include these facets, too.

Without the Forage skill, an Alchemist cannot take advantage of the benefits foraging for his own materials provide. The Forage Life Skill may represent a convenience and greater degree of independence, but it is a convenience and independence that frees the Alchemist from the need to procure his materials from local foragers, huntsmen, woodsmen, apothecaries, and the like.

Magick Charm

Art: Naming

Ruling Planet: Pluto

Sphere: Common

The “Magick Charm” brings forth the spiritual nature of any object, substance or material, opening up its spiritual aspect so it can be defined and become manifest.

In the passages under the heading “The Substances of Magick” the magickal properties associated with any number of herbs, gems and jewels, trees, bushes, bits and pieces of animals, and a number of other assorted items are provided, as passed down through folklore over the centuries. These are real and true in the context of the game and the game world, unless the GM rules otherwise, but are considered latent in nature, requiring the application of magick to awaken and make manifest.

The “Magick Charm” is the magickal means used to awaken these latent magickal properties so they may be manifested for use.

IF an object, substance or material has more than one latent power inherent in it according to its description, the practitioner must choose which one he is awakening by means of this charm. Only one may be awakened for any given object of a given material.

The practitioner may awaken as many latent magickal properties as are listed for a given object, substance or material, BUT each one must be called forth by a separate casting.

When the Magick Charm is performed by means of Low Magick (ritual), it results in (an) object(s) that is permanently “on”, so to speak, always in force, as described in the passage on “Enchanted Items & Immortal Enchantments”, unless the property awakened is more of the nature of some sort of attack magick that must be hurled or otherwise initiated at a target of some sort (GM’s discretion). In this case, the awakened magick might be tapped (POT) times at the POT of the Magick Charm that awakened it, to wither and crumble away to dust upon its final use as the last of its power is drained away.

If the Magick Charm is performed by Common or High Magick, however, the awakened power becomes subject to the strictures of DUR normally, according to the POT manifest and the practitioner’s desires, again withering and crumbling away to dust upon as the last of its power is drains away when the DUR expires.

Such objects, substances or materials have no need of being “Attuned” once their power is awakened. Their benefits can be realized by whomsoever carries it, whether trained in the Arts of magick or not.

The use of the “magick Charm must also be applied to awakening the “mortal mana” lying dormant within various sorts of natural substances, as described under “The Tools of Power”, under the heading “Natural Sources of Mortal Mana” so that their native power may be tapped in the manner of a Touchstone, but in this case it only requires the minimum POT to encompass the physical object. The POT of mana within them are dictated by their size or concentration/purity, according to their descriptions. These are the only objects/substances that can be used as Touchstones with the use of a Magick Charm of minimal POT, without the need of a Power Cache charm as well, and retain that Touchstone status permanently.

Whatever latent magickal power is awakened in the object substance or material, it manifests at a POT equal to the POT of the Magick Charm that wakened it, and that aspect of its power may be described by means of the magick that most closely expresses that power, OR in whatever manner most closely matches the described power, at the GM’s discretion.

When an existing description of a magick is adapted for use in defining the latent power of an object, material or substance so awakened, or the GM comes up with his own description of the manner in which the latent power manifests in use, it is very important that the GM make a note of this so he may be consistent with its application throughout the course of his game.

Plant matter awakened in this manner stays fresh and green (as applicable), flowers and/or fruit fresh and aromatic (as applicable), for so long as their power endures.

This charm cannot be resisted.

Reign of Gloom/Shadow/Darkness, Veil of –; Reign of Light/Glare, Veil of –

Art: Naming, Glamourie

Ruling Planet: Pluto, Neptune (Glamourie)

Sphere: Common

This charm suffuses the AoE with a shadowless polarized light creating optimal conditions for making sighting checks within the AoE, or raising the ambient light to a degree where a Glare penalty of up to (POT) is imposed within the AoE,

Conversely, it can be used to manifest a pervasive Gloom imposing a penalty of up to (POT) throughout the AoE designated,

If the Gloom or Glare penalty imposed by the charm is equal to or greater than the AWA score of any located in the AoE, the Gloom or Glare is considered impenetrable to them and they are rendered blind so long as they remain there. All skills that normally rely on sight reduced to 1/4th normal AV for those so affected, those based on the assumption of sight eliminated, GM’s discretion.

If the AoE is already subject to Glare or Gloom penalties due to pre-existing conditions (GM’s discretion) and the caster wishes to change the light level to the opposite end of the spectrum, the POT can be devoted to neutralizing the existing Glare or Gloom penalty, point by point, and the balance of any remaining POT used to push the light level into the opposite end of the spectrum (from Gloom up into Glare or Glare down into Gloom), raising the resulting Gloom or Glare to the point of penalty, again point by point.

At the caster’s discretion, this charm may be rendered as a Veil.

The “Veil of Glare/Gloom” aspect draws a Veil of gossamer shadow or light sufficient to cloak that which is located on one side of it from the sight of those on the other side. The Veil may total as much as (MGA + POT) yards in height and length and roughly (POT) inches in thickness, but may run in any configuration the caster desires.

Such is the density of the Veil that those on one side of it may only see dim, flat silhouetted shapes of the objects, creatures and/or beings on the other side of it, differentiated only by darkness of tone, as all color is essentially washed out. Only those creatures, beings or objects that are no more than [(victim’s AWA) – (Gloom/Glare POT)] yards, minimum one (1), from the Veil may be seen even this well. Beyond this distance, observers are able to see nothing but a gray or brilliant haze.

Any attempt to see through the Veil so as to recognize shapes, and especially specific persons already known, requires a Searcher/AWA check on d100 vs. [(POT) + (caster’s MGA att. mod.)], + the number of feet by which any given object, creature or being is located beyond the other side of it. This DV is lowered by the (modified) STA of creatures or beings or the Size of any objects.

The Veil works the same from both sides. Only the Glamourie form of this charm may ne made to work only from one side, after the fashion of a two-way mirror.

Only the Glamourie form of this charm can be resisted, and only within the unique parameters described for Glamourie.

Spirituality (SPT)

Represents such things as the tenderness of the character’s basic beliefs, how in touch he is with his emotions, the strength of his compassion, his ability to empathize with others, the depth of his faith in Deity, his ties and general connection to Spirit itself, as well. Spirituality indicates the character’s attachment and attunement to spiritual matters, what we in the modern day would call “superstition”, his general interest in spiritual versus physical matters and habits in his life and in the gameworld at large. It also indicates the degree to which he values spiritual connections, the strength and motivational force of his love for friends, family, spouse, children, even lord, king and country. It measures his general Grace of spirit, as well, and the strength or weakness of the gentler deity-oriented Virtues such as Faith, Hope, Charity, and Humility.

A “1” in this attribute indicates the character has no clue about the heart, the soul and their uses, and the softer side of life. He is so busy shouting and shoving with his friends, grunting and playing in bed, sweating, running and dancing good vigorous peasant dances, riding, and hunting, fighting, eating and drinking to excess, and competing in highly physical sports like wrestling, while scorning quiet contemplation, books, scholars and ascetics whose delicate sensitivities and sensibilities confound him.

Any character intended to be a Druid (any), Mystic, Witch or Wizard must have a SPT score of 14 or higher.

A character with a “25” score in this attribute is able to appreciate the most subtle nuance of feeling in his true love’s heart, to glean every iota of spiritual value from the most esoteric literature, and has a great capacity to enjoy theater, visual arts, sculpture, music, poetry and all such expressions of the beauty of the spirit within which appeal to Man’s higher nature. Such a character might attend to his religious devotions as faithfully as any priest in holy orders without having any need of making a public show of it by actually taking holy orders himself if he has other avenues that draw him more strongly to pursue. He generally has a great distaste for the brutal crudities of the physical world, excesses of physical appetites of any kind and most especially physical violence. He is driven to seek quiet places and solitude, to escape the hurly-burly of the mundane world and crowds of the brutish common run of folk.

Heart (HRT)

Heart represents the strength of the character’s personality and such things as how firm is his sense of self, how tenacious his integrity. It reflects the strength of the character’s filial ties, his love of home and country, loyalty in oaths of friendship and also of fealty – all the things he holds dear in his heart, his own sense of personal honor. HRT shows how easily the character can be distracted from or swayed in his opinions, the courage and strength of his convictions, natural stubbornness, how deeply he feels the tides of emotion flow through him when he is touched. This score also indicates the strength of the character’s fight-or-flight reflex, his will to get-up-and-go, his basic will to live, how hard he is willing to fight when the people or things he loves are threatened.

HRT is a major factor in determining the character’s ability to resist severe bodily shocks, pain, and privation, as well as magickal assaults. For those who practice the various forms of magick, it determines the amount of damage the character can inflict with any attack magick. Great HRT guards the character in tests of integrity, against temptation to indulge in the Vices, or attempts to sway the character with skills of persuasion.

A score of “1” in HRT and the character would desert his own mother or love at the first act he interpreted as being against his own interests or smacking in the least of disaffection, disloyalty, or infidelity on their parts – or even for sufficient coin. Such a character generally lacks the courage to speak in public, at least not without being spoken to first, and may even have trouble stating a firm opinion on anything. They are most likely to back down from any position when challenged. One who is this weak in HRT generally avoids looking others in the eye – and instinctively would certainly never do so to one with a HRT score higher than his own.

A character with a “25” makes a staunch friend through thick and thin, but also perhaps a stiff-backed moralist who suffers no insult to friend, family, king or country. He may have a wide “show me” streak when his back is up and probably only accept facts contrary to his own beliefs or knowledge when satisfied with indisputable proofs, and worse than difficult to sway by any who would try to persuade him on less concrete issues. These sorts swear blood oaths knowingly and intentionally, only make promises or swear fealty when they can do so with a crystal clear conscience, when they are sure there is no conflict.

The down-side to a character with great HRT is that he can carry a grudge to the grave. This can make the character difficult to deal with in play, however, so the player would be wise to save the unforgiving pig-headedness aspect of this attribute for times when he is directly and purposefully crossed, or he is directly and purposefully contradicted. Just a good idea for the sake of the game and the enjoyment of all the other players.

Charisma (CHM)

Charisma is the measure of the character’s polish and sensitivity to the sensibilities of others. It indicates the smoothness of manner, the ease with which the character rolls with the punches in social interchanges, so to speak. It is at once both the measure of a character’s raw personal magnetism and strength of personality and also the impact he makes in the world everywhere he goes, how much attention he draws.

A character with a score of “1” can’t open his mouth without saying something foul or insulting enough to start a fight, and couldn’t get a bed in the meanest hovel if he offered to pay in gold for it.

An above average score indicates a certain amount of empathy, an ability to relate, and the ability to conduct interpersonal relations with some ease.

Most players may not see a need to bother with this attribute, but every character should be within a point or two of average (13) so the character can just get along from day to day.

CHM can be of great use in attempts at persuasion, or intimidation, for interrogation, and for seduction, however. It is the character’s stage presence in performing as a Player or speaking as an Orator in public, his first impression in making contacts or friends, in attempts at persuasion, haggling, parley or negotiations. A character with a high CHM knows instinctively how to “make an entrance.” He always draws attention, gathers the limelight. He can’t help it. High CHM can also be used to inspire others in the face of danger when leading by example making a show of his Heart (resolve) in dire circumstances for others to see. In its outward effects on others in character encounters, these social skills or tools and effects are commonly referred to as aspects of the “Presence” skill.

The character with a “25” on the other hand, could charm the skin off a snake, part a merchant from his money, compromise a lord’s honor without raising a ripple of offense, or charm those even marginally inclined into his bed.

An above average BTY score can enhance most applications of the character’s CHM (Presence skills) during play.

Awareness (AWA)

This is a general score that actually encompasses three different aspects, which together describe the character mentally. The first is the character’s presence of mind, how much attention he customarily pays to or his general attunement to the flow of events going on around him, a valuable asset in one who would stand guard duty either for an employer or as a member of an adventuring party in the wilderness or infiltrating hostile territory (as described in the Sentry skill). By extension this aspect includes the speed of his mental reflexes, how quickly he recognizes and responds to various stimuli, his ability to associate and perceive through experience, particularly in situations involving Surprise, but also governing such things as his Initiative in tactical contests and especially in armed combat where life and limb are at risk.

The most common aspect of AWA that affects play is as a measure of the sharpness of the character’s senses when he is paying attention, used for sighting and recognition checks at distance, tests of the sense of hearing, smell and/or taste, how sensitive of touch and how sensitive to being touched (as described in the Searcher skill), but also in basic interpersonal perceptiveness, catching behavioral clues (as described in the Savvy skill).

AWA also measures the speed of the character’s mental processes or aptitude for cerebral activities, the degree to which he is inclined to scholastic, philosophical or technical interests and pursuits, reading, writing (composition), mathematics, and perhaps even personal introspection, even meditative activities which soothe the agitated mind, but that is where AWA bleeds over into Spirituality.

A “1” in this score is equivalent to one who wanders about the house, tearing the place apart, looking for the purse he is already wearing at his belt, or has difficulty following the thread of a conversation, much less putting a few words of his own together, barely able to get from 1 to 10 using his fingers, the ultimate in short attention span. To such a character the finest meal tastes the same as gruel, the sweetest rose smells the same as any common weed, satin or haircloth make no difference against his skin, a shriek or the flute-like note of a coloratura soprano sound the same to his tin ear, and reading by candlelight nearly impossible (IF were he so inclined).

A character with a “25” however, would notice a hairline crack in a panel of a worthless painting of some anonymous ancestor when walking casually past the doorway of the chamber it hung in, at a distance of up to 30 feet, and could amuse himself with algebraic equations in exercises of geometry to pass the time (given that level of education). The fine senses of such a character would have the capacity to discern the subtle nuances of gourmet cuisine, note the exquisite differences in the many notes juggled by a professional nose in making perfumes, discern at a touch the hairline seam of the secret door made by a master carpenter, hear a footfall on soft earth, and see clearly the plume of road dust marking an enemy’s approach on the horizon or beyond.

At the GM’s option, the AWA score can be refined into the three discreet aspects discussed: Awareness (presence of mind), Sensory Acuity, and Mental Aptitude, allowing the player to manipulate AWA to allow the character a separate and different score each. In this way the player can further individualize his character from others who have the same AWA score.

In effect, the basic AWA score is determined according to the rules presented in this step of character creation, normally. Afterwards, the base AWA score becomes the base score for each of the three aspects named. The player is then free to swap the scores around between the three aspects on a point-for-point basis, i.e. one score must be lowered by one (1) point in order for another aspect to be raised a point. The player may continue to juggle the scores in the three aspects around until he has achieved a balance he likes better. Those making Custom Method characters and those allowed to use the point-buy system for determining attribute scores might be allowed to spend points on each independently (GM’s discretion). These are considered final once the character has been brought into active game play, however, in the same manner as any of the other attributes or aspects of the character.

If in the course of play the character’s general, base AWA score is altered, whether increased or decreased, the scores in the three aspects must be adjusted commensurately. Whether this is to be done by the GM or the player depend upon the circumstances and nature of the reason for the change (GM’s discretion).

Strength (STR)

This is one of the more obvious attributes. As the name implies, it is a general measure of a character’s raw physical power, his muscle or brute force. The character’s STR score determines how heavy are the loads he can carry, how much weight he can pull, shove, lift, and/or carry under different circumstances. It also represents the amount of damage the character is able to dish out when he successfully lands a blow on foes in battle, and is a prime factor in determining the amount of actual physical punishment or damage the character can withstand when he himself is struck by a foe or otherwise injured. STR is very important for any and all characters that expect to enter into armed combat at all, in the same manner that his CND, STA, AGL and AWA scores are.

A “1” in this attribute indicates a typical 98lb weakling, or a very small child o even a small animal. A “25” in this attribute enables the character to perform great feats of strength like the folk hero strongmen, bending bars or straightening horseshoes with his bare hands, towing great wagonloads, even lifting horses and the like.