A Necromancer's Grimoire: The Wonders of Alchemy (PFRPG) PDF

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Alchemy Like You’ve Never Seen It Before!

While alchemy has long been a major staple of the fantasy genre, it has never been a particularly powerful or even relevant ability in 3.5 or the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. The items that can be created with Craft (alchemy) tend not to be worth the effort once one gets past the first few levels of the game (and even before that their value is questionable). The alchemist class has almost nothing to do with Craft (alchemy), and its extracts don’t feel alchemical so much as they do like spellcasting by another name. For years, players who wanted a character who toiled away crafting mad concoctions and brewing strange potions had to accept that such activities would never be of any real use in the game.

A Necromancer’s Grimoire: The Wonders of Alchemy aims to change all that, by providing a huge assortment of new things to make with Craft (alchemy), and introducing a new approach to the skill that greatly increases its relevance. This book introduces two new kinds of alchemical substances: infusions, which are alchemical concoctions that permanently alter the physical makeup of those who use them, and serums, which are potent alchemical substances that can be pumped directly into a subject’s blood, and whose effects can be stacked for greater efficacy, but which carry a risk of negative side-effects if too high a dose is taken. Beyond that, the book contains 50 new alchemical wondrous items (mainly in the form of elixirs, oils, and tonics, but with a few others as well), which can be crafted either through the normal process for wondrous items, or through a new application of the Craft (alchemy) skill.

So, whether you’ve always wished that your alchemy was a little more magical, or if you just want over 100 new poisons, wondrous items, serums, and infusions, this is the book for you. From the creators of Advanced Arcana and Secrets of the Witch, this book will ensure you never look at a potion shop the same ever again.

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Love Letter to a Skill


This is NOT a supplement restricted to our beloved Alchemist class. It's better than that. Yes, it has all sorts of goodies; Serums and Infusions (a new class of alchemical boosters), poisons, and wondrous wondrous items of an alchemical nature. But these aren't just for Alchemists. You want to play a chemist wizard? This is a great supplement so your bunsen burners pop out items a bit more immpressive than sun rods or Potions of Bear's Endurance. We now have a glorious collection of items that can be churned out by any devotee of alchemy. Bravo.


This book introduces several new forms of alchemical items. Which is a huge plus for me! with so many books with all kinds of magical items and spells regular ole alchemy gets left in the dust with very few alchemical items that are mainly useful until you hit mid levels. So what's in here?

Infusions; Injections that give a permament buff but comes at a risk. Infusions require a heal check from the applier to not mess it up and a fort save from the creature receiving the injection or else they suffer some con damage. Also each infusion has some sort of drawback relating to the benefit discouraging players from injecting themselves with everything like a drug addict.

Serums; Another kind of injection that is temporary and has stacking effects per dose but as they stack they gain increased drawbacks. There is even a serum injector that allows you to pull of a Bane from Batman.

Poisons; which work like normal poisons.

Wondrous Items; That can only be crafted with alchemy.

Now you have some late game applications for your alchemy crafting whether you take levels in Alchemist or not and I love it. Alchemy is often just a low level way for mundanes to deal with swarms but now you can go long and far with them. The effects go from mild buffs and immunities to injecting yourself with magical gamma rays and hulking out. I recommend this wholeheartedly to add some pazaz and wonder back into alchemy so I'm giving it five stars.

3.5 stars - great potential, but feels rushed


This pdf is 40 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 35 pages of new content, so let's check this out!

After a one-page short story about a mad scientist, we delve right into the subject matter, but what exactly is that? Well, alchemy in D&D and subsequently Pathfinder has always felt at least a bit like magic's little brother - complimentary and sometimes useful, but nothing to write home about. Paizo has already done a lot to make alchemy feel more distinct and this book seeks to expand that even further. The first way in which the pdf tries to do this, is by adding two new item categories: Infusions and serums. Infusions are permanent ad change the bodies of those under their effects, but every person can only benefit from one infusion at a time. Infusions require ranks in alchemy, a certain minimum constitution of the person to which they are applied and also require skill-checks when they are applied. Infusions can also be flushed from the system and range in market price from 10.000 GP to 72.000 GP. 20 sample infusions are provided and each of their write-ups comes with individual drawbacks for the respective infusions - if you e.g. become immune to acid via acidium, you also lose 1 HP per HD you possess. On the more interesting side, the Buoyar-infusion enables you to fly, but penalizes your CMB and CMD due to quite literally becoming a lightweight. All in all, a well-crafted, innovative section that utilizes its drawbacks well to prevent any form of significant power-creep.

The second new class of items, serums, are usually directly injected into one's bloodstream, via a syringe or the new serum injector, a wondrous item, which makes it possible to have multiple serums ready on the fly. The 20 serums range in price from 50 GP to 500 GP and, as with the infusions, rules to craft them etc. are provided as well. In contrast to infusions, though, serums grant their benefits temporarily. Even cooler though, you can actually swallow additional doses for enhanced benefits - generally, 6 steps of consecutively higher benefits for the intake of a specific serum are given, though these bonuses come at a price: If you "overdose" on serums, you get consecutively nastier penalties depending on the serum. From bonuses to attributes, saves and skill-checks to DRs, the serums are interesting to say the least. Even cooler, some unstable versions are part of the deal: While they offer significant bonuses, they also come with e.g. risks of petrification by wild growths of bone or similar unpleasant demises.

12 new poisons are also at the beck and call of ambitious alchemists. The poisons all come with a lack of full stops, cpital letters in their effect description, but provide an interesting, high-level poison: Anti-panacea gets rid of foe's immunities. Ouch!

And next is a chapter which provides wondrous items... that can be crafted via alchemy, at 1/3 of the price instead of 1/2. A one-page explanation is given for this option, though it contains a duplicated paragraph. A total of 50 such items that blur the line between alchemy and magic are included in the pdf and provide requirements to create them by magical and alchemical means. From a draught that causes amnesia to artificial pheromones, vapors that increase combat prowess, elixirs to temporarily grant you racial abilities and attribute boosts to e.g. ever-burning salts to temporarily ghost-suppressing bombs and intensifying lenses, the chapter provides a neat selection of new tools for your alchemy-inclined character.

Editing and formatting are not up to the highest standards: From missing commas and colons to double paragraphs and caps-errors, I've seen quite a bunch of them. The pdf adheres to NNW'S parchment-style 2-column standard and features stock-art, which is nothing to write home about, but also not required at this price-point. The pdf comes with an extra version that is printer-friendly and is extensively bookmarked. Once in a while, the Necromancers of the Northwest create a pdf that is not only useful, but at their constantly low price point, a total bargain. This is one of them. The expansions on the options of alchemy with the two new item-classes rock hard and if you like e.g. the "Witcher"-games and novels, a potential godsend. Especially if you're playing in a rather low magic world, this pdf is a treasure-trove of coolness and the content herein can be considered to be top-notch. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the quality-control that went into editing and in said discipline, the pdf unfortunately loses some of the favor its great ideas have built up, at least with me.
It should also be noted that the "craft-via-alchemy"-rules could have been expanded further and made more unique, but that may be just me. More grievous is something potential buyers should be aware of: If you're looking for new mutagens, extracts or bombs for your ALCHEMIST-class, this pdf will sorely disappoint you by providing none. Yes. The alchemist gets no specifically-designed new class-features. While the pdf provides content galore, I would have loved to see the at best mediocre poison-section be cut in favor of options for the class - after all, alchemist players are probably one of the target audiences for this pdf. That being said, serums and infusions still feel like they complement the class well, though some advice of e.g. the way in which mutagens, extracts, serums and infusions interact would have been appreciated. It is the lack of said information that costs the pdf further points. In the end, we're looking at great new item-classes with some problems in their interaction, a lack of new features for the alchemist-class and some editing glitches - which is a pity. Were they included, in fact, were there a bit more fine-tuning, perhaps some content for the alchemist-base-class, this would be a stellar book, a 5 star + seal of approval recommendation. As written, though, it feels rough on the edges and somewhat rushed. Adding up the gripes, I find myself unable to rate this higher than 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform. At the low asking price, though, I wholeheartedly encourage you to check this out.

Endzeitgeist out.

Dark Archive

Sounds interesting.

Reviewed here, on DTRPG and sent out to GMS magazine. Cheers!

You know, I was going to say that Endz' review convinced me to buy it.

But then I saw I already bought it.

Dark Archive

Good review and while I understand and agree it should have had a little blurb on how this interacts with the alchemist abilities. But I am actually glad it didn't have new abilities. I was hoping for a more mundane alchemy book and it sounds like that is what this is.

Thank you very much, Cheapy and D_M!

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