The Fanatasy Role-Playing Game of Medieval Germany



Playing Darklands


About Alchemy


Alchemical skill allows a character to create potions. However, the character must also know alchemical formulas, have the ingredients specified in those formulas, and have sufficient time to actually mix the potions.

Knowledge of alchemical formulas is one of the most precious things in this era. Formula knowledge cannot be traded among characters. However, ingredients, the "Philosopher's Stone" catalyst, and the resulting potions are items easily exchanged. Therefore, whenever a character makes potions, the ingredients carried throughout the party are available for use. In addition, the resulting potions can be transferred from maker to any other character in the party.

Alchemists of varying competence can be found throughout Germany. It is possible to buy potions from them, rather than making them yourself. However, this can be costly, assuming you find alchemists with appropriate skills.

Some alchemists potions can be used to improve a characters attributes and/or equipment. Alchemical potions can be used as weapons in battle to discomfort, demoralize or actually injure enemies.



Go to character information to see a summary of any formula a character knows(see "Character Information, Alchemical Formulas" {** "pp26,"} for details).

NAMES: Each formula has a general descriptive name, plus the name of the original inventor. There are multiple inventors possible for each general name, which means there are various formulas for the same potion! Actually, the potions are not exactly the same--they too vary somewhat, as indicated by their quality value.

MYSTICAL NUMBER: Each formula has a "mystical number." The higher the number the more difficult the formula, and therefore, more alchemical skill is required for success. However, higher mystical numbers also mean either a higher quality potion or a more powerful effect.

EXAMPLE: Galen's Eyeburn and Nicole Flammel's Eyeburn both produce blinding effects, but the ingredients are subtly different. Galen's formula has a lower mystical number, but results in potions of lower quality.

Of course, both Eyeburn formulas have a far lower mystical number than any formula for Breath of Death, because those potions are far more powerful than Eyeburn.


The Philosopher's Stone

The "Philosopher's Stone" is actually a fine mineral powder that is a universal catalyst. It is shared equally among the party, and is only valuable to alchemists. It cannot be bought or sold on the open market. The party's Philosopher Stone has a quality level, starting at zero (0); this value can increase during play. Many alchemists use a "stone" of levels 5 to 15; level 20 or more is quite exceptional. See "Notes" on the Party Information Screen (tapF6) for the current quality of "stone" carried by your party.

A higher quality "stone" increases the chance of success when making potions. An alchemist always uses a little "stone" in every process. However, because it is a catalyst, the "stone" is not consumed. Instead the alchemist recovers it for reuse. Therefore, the only issue that concerns you is the current quality of your "stone."


Making Potions

Creating potions takes time. The party must take up residence for at least one entire day to permit the making of potions. Typically this is done by either camping in the wilderness or taking up residence at a city inn.

When you take up residence, you see the "Staying Here" options (see "Travel & Interaction, Staying Here" {** ", pp29,"}). If a character selects "Alchemy work," you begin planning which potion to create.

SELECTING FORMULAS: Your first option is which formula to use. First left-click on one of the abbreviated formula names on the scroll (to scroll the list, left-click on top or bottom of the scroll). If using the keyboard, move the highlight with a cursor and tap Return.

Now left-click on one of the options that begins with a crimson letter:

Use this formula: This makes the selection and begins potion creation.

Do something else: This aborts any alchemical work and returns you to the "Staying Here" options.

POTION CREATION: When you "use this formula," the scroll closes to show a detailed explanation of the formula selected.

Across the top of this view is an equation that depicts the character's chance of success with this formula. The chance of success is calculated as 100 plus the quality of the Philosopher's Stone (ps), plus the alchemist's intelligence (int), plus his or her alchemical skill (alch), minus the mystical number of the formula. Making more than one batch at a time may reduce the chance of success.

Below this summary, to the right, is a list of various ingredients that are used to make the potion. In parenthesis is the number of ingredients that will remain among the party after you mix the potion. Since everyone in the party shares ingredients, the totals reflect those in the entire party, rather than just the ingredients carried by the alchemist.

More batches: Left-clicking here or tapping the "m" key allows you to make more than one potion simultaneously. Although an alchemist can only mix one formula per day, the amount he or she mixes can be small or large, depending upon the amount of ingredients you wish to consume. Larger batches may reduce your chances of success.

Fewer batches: Left-clicking here or tapping the "f" key allows you to make fewer batches.

Different Formula: Left-clicking here or tapping the "d" key returns you to "Selecting Formulas," above. There you can select a different formula instead, or you can forget about formulas entirely and return to "Staying Here" to choose another option.

Satisfied with this: Left-clicking here or tapping the "s" key saves your alchemical plans for the day and returns you to "Staying Here," where you can select options for other characters.

FINAL CREATION AND RISK: When you return to "Staying Here," your potion creation plans are summarized for the character. The potions are actually made until you select "Spend a day, doing the above." At that point, success or failure is judged.

Potion creation includes an element of risk. If the risk is low, then failures usually have modest affects; the ingredients are wasted, but nothing worse happens. If the risk is moderate or high, then failures can result in larger disasters. Characters and/or their equipment may be damaged, the camp or the inn may become uninhabitable, etc.

If the creation is successful, the creator now has those potions among his or her equipment. They can be transferred to the other members of the party, as desired.


Using Potions

Potions can be used either as part of character information, during interactions, or during battle. Potions can be used either from character information, during interactions, or thrown in battle. Typically, different potions are used in different places.

POTION USE DURING CHARACTER INFORMATION: Only potions that improve a person or improve a piece of equipment can be used here. Typically, these potions add to a character's attributes, or to equipment quality, for one day (24 hours).

If you are using a mouse, left-drag the potion from the equipment scroll onto the in-use board (like a weapon or armor). This applies the potion to the character, or to the appropriate piece of equipment on the armaments board. Naturally, make sure the desired piece of weapon or armor is on the armaments board before using the potion!

If you are using the keyboard, use the cursor to highlight the potion, then tap "p". This applies the potion to the character, or an item on the armaments board, as appropriate.

You cannot directly use a potion on another character. Instead, you must first transfer the potion to that character, then select character information for that character, then transfer the potion from the character's equipment to the in-use board.

POTION USE DURING INTERACTION: When interacting, certain options may "pop up" a sub-menu of various characters and their alchemical potions. The sub-menu shows the potions possessed by the character. Simply select (by left-clicking or cursoring the highlight and hitting return) the specific potion of the specific character.

At lower difficulty levels, the sub-menu may include faded potion names. These are potions that could be used, if only you had them! At the lowest difficulty level, some potion names may appear in red. These represent potions that could be used, and for which you know the formula. You can't use them because you haven't mixed up any (this is a hint to find the ingredients and start mixing!).

POTION USE DURING BATTLE: When fighting, you can give characters orders to throw certain potions. See "Battle, Fighting: the Attack Pull-down Menu," {** "pp37,"} for details.

While in battle you can also go to character information and use a potion on the character or equipment from that view. While this has no effect on the enemy, it may aid your character. {** "See pp25 for details"}

VIEWING CHANGES: When the "Show changes" option is on (see "Universal Controls and Menu Bar, The 'Game' Pull-down Menu," {** "pp18,"}), any attribute and skill changes caused by potions appear in character boxes. However, if this option is turned off, the changes simply happen. You must look at the appropriate character information to see the current state of the character.



Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995 by MicroProse Software, Inc. All rights reserved.