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SWADE FC Alchemist Preview (a crafting question)

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  • SWADE FC Alchemist Preview (a crafting question)

    I read through the Alchemist preview from the Fantasy Companion. This was of high interest to me because a player in a 50 Fathoms game I ran a few years back really wanted to play an alchemist, but the game system never really delivered on the promise. This version looks almost pitch perfect: a nice blend of standard spellcaster and artificer. However, it does gloss over one detail: brewing potions for sale.

    Now, once I stepped back and thought about this, it really is a no brainer. If an alchemist sells a potion to a buyer and gains no further magical benefit from it, you don't really need to track PPs. In play, PP costs for potions are more useful for tracking inventory (kinda like ammo). Once you run out of PP, you are out of potions. Oops! But if you sell them? ::shrug:: No real need to track PPs. It's more about time investment : profit. So I guess my question is, are there any crafting guidelines that a player and GM can use to figure out how much a working alchemist can make? Is that possibly discussed in PFSW's downtime rules?

    Thanks!
    Tom

  • #2
    Trading a functionally infinite resource for currency is a good way to break the economy of your campaign (and possibly your setting). This is related to, but different from, the way being able to turn currency into Power Points can break the combat balance of an arcane background (and campaign).

    Which makes me think that alchemists won't be able to turn their potions into cash without major caveats. I expect a limit on either total amount or by quantity for a time period - or the inability to know when those PP will be freed up by a customer actually drinking the dang potions.
    I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

    Comment


    • #3
      In our Savage Pathfinder game, we have been doing the opposite. That is, you pay for Power Points worth of materials. They way their Power Points works for the Arcane Background is as a limit to what they can do in a batch.

      Comment


      • #4
        You're dealing with two completely different things here:
        1) Managing Power Points as a utilitarian function of the game
        2) Generating income

        So the solution is to treat them as two completely different things.
        When the character wants to create potions to help the party, use the published rules. If the character wants to sell alchemical creations to earn a profit, use a more abstract method, such as borrowing the rules for Performance, but rolling the arcane skill instead. As you mentioned, there's no need to track PPs since whatever is "sold" has zero impact on the resource management aspect of the magic system. It's essentially no different if the character earned an income playing a lute or mucking out stables. Selling potions is simply a narratively appropriate way for an alchemist to make money.

        That being said, a GM should regulate when the character can or cannot brew for profit. Ideally, it should be reserved only for downtime activities, since it involves not only the act of creating enough potions to bring to market, but also the legwork necessary to find customers. This may involve going to various shops and negotiating terms, or setting up their own little table in a bazaar. In either case, the character should not expect to receive retail value on an item. If a shop sells a potion for 25 gold, they very likely purchased it for much less from the creator. Likewise, selling privately is an abstract endeavor with costs of its own (renting table space, marketing, buying signage, etc.), which cuts into the overall amount a player should reasonably expect to make from what is basically no different from mucking a stable. If you want to earn more, consider making a custom Edge that increases how much can be earned as a downtime activity.
        Last edited by Deskepticon; 04-25-2022, 12:54 AM.

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        • #5
          Previews? Where?

          Comment


          • #6
            It is here: SWADE Fantasy Companion - Alchemist Preview - Pinnacle Entertainment | Savage Worlds | Savage Worlds Adventure Edition | DriveThruRPG.com

            Comment


            • ValhallaGH
              ValhallaGH commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks! I was having a doozy of a time tracking it down. For some reason I didn't think to look on drivethru.

            • paladin2019
              paladin2019 commented
              Editing a comment
              I did look on DTRPG, but the preview hasn't been uploaded to our libraries.

          • #7
            Originally posted by ValhallaGH View Post
            Trading a functionally infinite resource for currency is a good way to break the economy of your campaign (and possibly your setting). This is related to, but different from, the way being able to turn currency into Power Points can break the combat balance of an arcane background (and campaign).

            Which makes me think that alchemists won't be able to turn their potions into cash without major caveats. I expect a limit on either total amount or by quantity for a time period - or the inability to know when those PP will be freed up by a customer actually drinking the dang potions.
            I was able to handle this by giving potions expirations. basically saying they only last die type in days. Then adding material cost to creating the items.

            Comment


            • ZenFox42
              ZenFox42 commented
              Editing a comment
              In the preview, potions that the Alchemist doesn't keep on his person "expire" after 48 hours, and they get the PP back from the potion.

            • blusponge
              blusponge commented
              Editing a comment
              In the preview, potions that the Alchemist doesn't keep on his person "expire" after 48 hours, and they get the PP back from the potion.
              That makes sense in a sort of meta-capacity. And I suppose you could easily apply it in an "in-game reality". But again, it really doesn't matter since most of the dealings we would be talking about would be off-stage.

          • #8
            Originally posted by blusponge View Post
            However, it does gloss over one detail: brewing potions for sale.
            ...
            So I guess my question is, are there any crafting guidelines that a player and GM can use to figure out how much a working alchemist can make? Is that possibly discussed in PFSW's downtime rules
            After looking over the relevant documents, the alchemist would be using the Pathfinder downtime activity Earn.
            Success earns her 100 gp if she's Novice rank, 200 gp if Seasoned, 300 gp if Veteran, 400 gp for Heroic, and 500 gp if she’s Legendary. Double the reward with a raise.
            I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

            Comment


            • blusponge
              blusponge commented
              Editing a comment
              That's perfect! Thank you!

            • AndrewKennett
              AndrewKennett commented
              Editing a comment
              Yeah this is the way I've run it, my thinking is that Brewing potions is basically expensive (high raw material cost and high cost of maintaining a facility) and risky (explosive raw materials etc) so the earning capacity of an alchemist is limited and not much better than troubadour.
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