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So, way back in the day (1992, to be exact), there was a computer game called Darklands, and it was the first (and, IMO, the best) open-world sandbox computer game ever developed. In Darklands, the player created a party of adventurers who wandered around medieval Germany in the 1400s. There was a meta-plot, but for the most part you journeyed around, getting quests from merchants, saving caravans from bandits, and destroying robber barons preying on the citizenry. It was a blast.

 

Anyway, the character creation options were strict. You basically chose careers, each career giving you some skills but also advancing your character's age -- go too far and aging starts to take its toll on your stats, end too early and your character is woefully incompetent and likely to die.

 

There was no real "magic" in the game, per the standards of ordinary fantasy. Instead, people could call upon saints for aid at certain times (not reliable, but of definite help when the circumstances called for it). And instead of wizards, alchemists would brew potions you could throw to cause an explosion, a cloud of smoke or gas, or improve your stats for a time.

 

I always liked the alchemy system in the game. You weren't limited by "power points" -- instead, you had to pick up alchemical ingredients in the markets, and then spend an evening making what you wanted. Having a good alchemist in your party is a key part of winning the game, since a bad one will ruin components and potentially cause expensive messes at the inns where your party stays.

 

A while back, I adapted the alchemy system for my 5E fantasy game. When 6E came around, I wasn't running fantasy anymore so I left it unconverted. Since I'm putting all of my stuff on the website, I figured I'd polish off the prefab file and post it.

 

The system works in two parts. On the Equipment tab are the actual potions, some of which are really potent. In order to avoid legal issues, I give only a brief one-sentence description of the potion's effect, although it should be obvious what it does from the power block. On the Powers tab are the alchemical formulas. These are what the alchemist character actually buys with points.

 

Once he has a formula in his repertoire, the alchemist must purchase the necessary ingredients (given in the formula description) and then find a nice, quiet place in which to do alchemy; inns will do, although if the roll is failed for a Medium or High Risk potion, it is likely damage will result, always including exposure to the effects of the potion itself. All alchemical operations carry some risk, although Low Risk formulas are unlikely to cause harm to passers-by. The alchemy roll is made at -1 per 5 Active Points, as all potions are tricky to create. The END cost for the formula is in Long Term END. The Extra Time modifier has been applied to each formula, reducing the time increment from 1 Day per 10 Active Points, to 1 Hour per 5 Active Points, essentially making it the same as the penalty to the Alchemy Skill roll -- in the game, alchemists can make one attempt per night. In a game adhering closely to the computer game, the GM should allow the player to try to make more than 1 potion of any given kind per night (but only one Alchemy attempt per night), at a penalty. I'd use the Charges chart on 6E1 368, and for each step down I'd modify the Alchemist's skill roll penalty by -2, so an alchemist attempting to make 6 potions at once would be at -8.

 

This prefab makes use of the "Alternate Enchanted Item Creation Rules" on page 320 of the Fantasy Hero 6E book.

 

The package includes the prefab file, an alchemy document (giving real point costs, Alchemy Skill roll modifications, and Long Term END costs for all of the formulas) and a potions document (giving the effects of each potion, price and weight). The package can be found here.

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Darklands was a FANTASTIC but little-known game that I wish had been extended.  I think it was German in origin? Great ideas, great setting, great feel.

They were planning a potential expansion set in Italy, which would have been AWESOME. They already established the Medici merchant house, imagine the players having to square off against a Satanic Borgia -- or maybe a Pope? Pope Callixtus III was a Borgia, as was Pope Alexander VI. LOTS of possibilities...

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Come to think of it, while the tabletop realm has quite a few RPGs set in (quasi-)historical locations and periods, that was really, really rare in CRPGs. Then again, that's a pretty conservative genre all over. Levels, treasure, elves.

 

I did like Darklands a lot back then, although I pretty much stopped playing it once Ultima VII arrived the same year.

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