Alchemical Caster (5e Subclass)
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So you heard artifact and thought about potion bottles, huh? Well, you aren't alone. For some reason a lot of people did. (This is my separate path you could go down instead of Arcane Craftsman. There will be some similarities.)
- Neccessary for Brews
When you choose this subclass at 3rd level you gain an additional 2 tool proficencies. Glassblower's tools, and then either alchemist's supplies, brewer's supplies, or cook's utinsels.
We can't quite escape the old habits that our original interest in magic once taught us. Those without magic born in their blood seek out the instruction of those who are willing to teach. That usually means Wizards. This notebook will hold your recipes, any theories and spells you have written down before and you plan to turn them into potions later, and then doodles and notes you wrote down because you wanted to.
- Charms of persistance
Potions don't really have that long of a life span, but you can use a first level spell slot to make 10 charms which will last for 10 days. The potion you attach this charm to will last until the charm fails. If you don't think this is a good idea then you've never had an expired health potion before. You can only have 10 charms at a time. Recasting the spell will cause all affected potions to immediately become duds. When you place a charm on a potion you expend a spell slot as if you were casting the spell, this stores the magic energy like a stack of mento's being held over a 2 liter bottle of coca cola.
- Potion Time
Gotta get down to business. When you start your day the smell of a bubbling bottle is what helps you get started. It's time to mix questionable substances. You prepare some bottles that you have acquired cheaply 5sp for a small vial which is enough to hold 1 spell of 3rd level or lower. You have to purchase 2gp bottles for spells 4th level or higher. You also have to spend some time acquiring materials for your potions, be this the apothecary, the woods, or somewhere else. You will need to gather at least 1gp per spell level worth of materials. Now you might be thinking ‘wow, 5sp for a vial, 1gp for materials, i'm gonna be broke all the time.’ And you'll probably be right, but that's not the limitation here. You have charms of persistence to let you carry spells over from the days before, you don't need any verbal components and your somatic components are just ‘i stir the bottle’ material components are the big stinker and they are the worst part about being a normal wizard. But here we are. Also you could probably get multiple spell uses out of the same bottle, which would make this class worth the hassle. Potions may not last forever, but unused potions will still persist for a while. The charms are mostly free spells. Additionally, work with your DM. Your potions aren't set in stone like wizard spells. Maybe pouring your potion of fireball into a well will alter its size and shape. Maybe you can turn a potion of lay on hands into a two person spell by pouring half of it on each person. Dm discretion of course.
I'll use the same examples as Arcane Craftsman and go ahead and pretend they are being described by an arcane craftsman who wonders why anyone would want to be an alchemist.
Toll the bell. Cantrips are kind of a hitch because wizards don't write them down. You however do take notes on them, and when you mix together a thing for a cantrip you realize how… permanent it is. Unless you go mixing something into the bottle you have your cantrips potion in, it won't go bad. Additionally, you don't use the liquid from a cantrip potion, the fumes are what allow you to do the magic. For example, when you cast toll the bell you uncork the vial and take a wiff of the necrotic fumes rising from the bottle. You hear the bells toll in your head, but you direct that at an enemy. Thus casting the spell with only suffering the stench. Firebolt will likely have a spicy scent, or maybe just smell like burnt toast. Eldritch blast… well, it smells otherworldly.
Next we had catapult, this one is a little weird, but you'll throw the potion much like an upset teenage girl having a spat with her first boyfriend and all she has is the glass of water within arms reach, but instead of a young man getting doused and annoyed, the item you just poured your potion on will rumble a little as you expend a 1st level spell slot to give it direction or a target. You could, of course, feed the affected object a higher level spell slot as well.
For the consumed component example we had resurrection. So you would concoct the potion like normal, grab yourself a fancy rock, and then you'd get your dead body and put the rock on their chest pouring the potion over them and the rock. The potion would appear to dissolve the fancy rock while the person would appear to glow until the soul returned to the body.
For the not consumed component example we had goodberry. For this we could easily just dump our potion of goodberry into a bowl and with our mistletoe we would have the bowl drain to reveal the good berries. Alternatively we could have it do the same thing in someone's cupped hand.
- Concoct Solution
Finding a magic item is exciting, just not as exciting as it would be for an artificer. You can extract things from them though. With an hour of work and some materials you can get some information out of a magic item and maybe even get an idea of how to brew a replicable event. It's up to you and your DM here, i got no idea how to get numbers for this.
- I used it wrong, now what?
You already took a spell and shoved most of it into a bottle, anything you do at this point is just icing on the cake. So if you take that bottle of fireball, and drink it, you're going to feel a bit of a burning sensation, and then you'll open your mouth and everyone in front of you will feel a burning sensation as if you had used a dragon born fire breath weapon, but it doesfireball spell depending on how you cast it. You pour an oil slick spell on yourself and then run at the steep slope while people chase you. Mold the spell to your surroundings. Pour the catapult potion on your familiar and launch it into the window at the top of the castle tower. Have fun with it.
- Shake and bake
You can take that charmed bottle, the one with a ready to go spell inside, now shove another spell slot's worth of magic and chuck it at whatever you want. This does 3 things. First, it does whatever the spell inside was at the level you used at that time. Second, it does it again at the spell slot you just used. And then thirdly, it overloaded with some wild magic. So have your DM roll that table for a little extra fun. You can only do this your proficiency modifier amount of times per long rest.
- Bottles of fun
You don't prepare potions equal to your spell slots. Instead, you prepare a number of potions equal to your intelligence modifier multiplied by your proficiency bonus minimum equal to your spell slots. You do this every morning until you have 10*(intelligence modifier) minimum 20 potions. Then you have to clean out bottles to brew new potions. Potions last 20 days-expected spell level. So a spell like fireball, even if you cast it at 9th level, it would still last 17 days because it's a 3rd level spell.
- Careful Now
All of your stuff is kept inside little glass containers. Of course you enchant every bottle to be a little tougher, but there is only so much you can do without using a spell slot. Every vial has at least 3hp and an ac of 8. When the spell is level 4 and up, the bottle has 5 hp and 12 ac.
- Cooking Time
Given that you have some spare time for the cullinary arts, you can cook a spell into a meal. This can be a cake bomb with fireball cooked into the cake, or maybe you marinated some ham in a health potion. The food now carries the magic property and it has an extended life. Now go forth my pie throwing maniacs. Be the best clowns you can be.
Spell list. Everything but druid. Observation is key. If you can observe it, then you can replicate it. If you want to replicate a sorcerer spell then you might need to steal a lock of hair to put in a potion for testing before you can cook it up on your own. You might require some bardic rythm to decipher a melodious spell before you can concoct your own party time. You have your starting spells, but it's up to the dm and you to decide how you get new spells.