Turns Lead Into Gold

Published January 11, 2017 by


You have mastered chemistry.  You can analyze or create exotic materials, and at the pinnacle of your art you can even change one substance into another.  You have a solution – or a compound – for every problem.  You can only affect nonliving matter directly, but your formulations can affect living things.

Some alchemists are nanos, but jacks can find many uses for chemistry – acids to break locks, formulas to create obscuring smoke, and a wide variety of poisons are all part of the alchemist’s arsenal.


GM Intrusion: The formula does its job too well; the effect is increased in such a way that it includes you and/or your allies.


Pick one other PC. That person, through long exposure, has acquired resistance to the products of your work. Reduce the difficulty one step for any task to resist the effects of your damaging formulations.

Additional Equipment:

You have an apothecary’s kit containing glassware, mixing bowls, and an assortment of chemicals.

Minor Effect Suggestions:
Your effort produces an extra dose of medicine or poison; the shelf life of your formulation is doubled.
Major Effect Suggestions:
In this particular instance all of your allies have the resistance that your connection usually has, and your connection is immune.
Tier 1:

Lesser Alchemy(1 Intellect Point): You can perform minor tricks that can distract someone or impose small penalties – formulations at this level can never inflict damage. Treat this as the Hedge Magic esotery except that effects are limited to things that can be accomplished by mixing chemicals. The advantage of Lesser Alchemy is that you can place the effects into vials that you can hand off to an ally or set with delays to go off after you have left the area (a number of minutes up to to your tier x 5). Creating the item takes one minute. Items created by means of this ability have a shelf life equal to your Intellect pool in days; after that time the formula goes inert. Action.

Litmus Tester: You are trained in chemistry; you can analyze and formulate chemicals.

Tier 2:

Antidote (2 Intellect Points): You can formulate medicines and antivenins. Making the item requires a task with a difficulty equal to the item’s level and takes time equal to one minute (level 1-3), one hour (level 4-6), or one day (level 7+). An Antidote neutralizes a disease or poison of its level or lower, but will only work on a limited range of ailments or toxins (i.e. parasite-borne illness, reptile venom, or plant allergens). Items made with this ability have a shelf life equal to your tier in days. Action.

Noxious Brew (2 Intellect Points): You can mix a damaging chemical – a poison to use against living things or an acid for use against creatures or objects.  The formulation does damage equal to its level once per time increment for a number of increments equal to your tier. Instant items act in rounds, fast items in minutes, and slow items in hours (example: at tier 2 a level 3 instant item does 3 damage per round for two rounds). Poisons must be insinuated into a wound, injected, or ingested. It is possible to stop the damage by washing off an acid or taking an antidote. You must roll an Intellect task with a difficulty equal to the item’s level to make it; compute the time and shelf life using the same methods as for Antidote. Action.

Tier 3:

Demolitions (4 or 6 Intellect Points): You can create explosives.  The explosion does damage equal to its level +5 to everything within immediate (4 Intellect) or short (6 Intellect) range. Creation time is the same as for Antidote and Noxious Brew, but the shelf life is measured in weeks. Action.

Insidious Brew (+1 or 2 Intellect Points): You can make a Noxious Brew in the form of an inhaled or contact poison. For +1 Intellect the item affects one target. For +2 it can be a cloud or splash that affects all targets within immediate range. Enabler.

Tier 4:

Expert Chemist: You are specialized in chemistry.

Quick Mix (3 Speed Points): You work quickly and efficiently when formulating chemicals. You can finish a task that would normally require a full day’s work in only one hour, do an hour’s worth of work in one minute, or complete a minute’s work in a single action. You can use this ability on higher level powers of this focus. Enabler.

Tier 5:

Transmutation (6 Intellect Points): You have achieved the power of the legendary Philosopher’s Stone; you can convert one substance into another. The difficulty of the task varies according to what kind of substance you are converting the target to – level 1 for different forms of the same substance, level 2 for inorganic base matter, level 3 for organic matter, level 4 for valuable matter (i.e. semiprecious stones or rare earth elements), level 5 for rare matter (precious metals or stones), or level 6 for exotic matter (antimatter, strange matter, or the products of the next power). You can affect an amount of mass up to about human size, and the operation takes an hour. Action.

Tier 6:

Greater Alchemy (8 Intellect Points): You now combine chemistry knowledge with the power of the Numenera to fundamentally alter matter. You can transfer qualities from one substance into another. The GM chooses the difficulty of the task based on how different the materials are – making lead as electrically conductive as copper would be level 3, for example, while making steel as transparent as glass would be level 5 and making wood lighter than air would be level 7. Creating a roughly human-sized mass of the altered material takes a day’s worth of work. Action.