Topic: Alchemists vs. Scholars

While perusing the latest no art Rules & Magic book, I found some odd rules regarding Alchemists and Scholars.  Alchemists cost 250 sp / month, and the rules state, "An alchemist reduces the amount of laboratory time needed for any magical research by 1d6 days per project."  Scholars cost 100 sp / month, and the rules state, "A scholar reduces the amount of laboratory time needed for any magical research by 1d4 weeks per project." (Emphasis mine.)

There are a few explanations I can think of:

  • Scholars really are a bargain, and alchemists are overpaid.

  • "Weeks" should be "days", or vice versa.

  • Alchemists and scholars can only help with certain types of research (e.g magic-users vs. clerics, potions vs. spells), which the rules neglect to mention.

Any official errata?  Any unofficial errata?

Last edited by fmitchell (2013-06-22 13:17:42)

Frank Mitchell
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." -- Anatole France

Re: Alchemists vs. Scholars

And, on a following note, do these two reductions stack if you're lucky enough to have both an alchemist and a scholar?

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Re: Alchemists vs. Scholars

Or several alchemists or scholars.

Re: Alchemists vs. Scholars

At those rates you want 2 scholars instead of 1 alchemist.

As far as I understand it, in the middle ages pursuit of alchemy was seen as trying to set up your retirement through playing roulette - the short path to bankruptcy.

Re: Alchemists vs. Scholars

My best guess (maybe just a house rule?) is that alchemists are correct for researching spells/creating potions, and scholars are 1d4 days for writing/transcribing a scroll. Also it doesn't say if the effect is applied before or after multiplying for level.

e.g. Researching a third level spell is either 3 x (4d6 - 1d6 [alchemist]) or (3 x 4d6) - 1d6 [alchemist]]

No matter how you slice it though, everyone should have an alchemist and scholar in their pocket!

Re: Alchemists vs. Scholars

Now that I think about it, I guess both the scholar and the alchemist could help with the research, and could even combine, since the numbers are pretty high for research (3d6 to 4d6 days, which would be reduced by at most 1d6 + 1d4)

Re: Alchemists vs. Scholars

Resurrecting this thread.

Can/did we get clarification on this? It seems like a min/maxer's wet dream.

Re: Alchemists vs. Scholars

My ruling is that the scholar aids with any activity involving the library, not the laboratory. Therefore, the scholar's bonus of 1d4 weeks applies to activities 1-5 and 7 on the list of magical activities found in the book. Furthermore, a scholar and alchemist could both help for staves and wands, but not for potions. Also, I would rule that multiple scholars and alchemists could be employed. My reasoning is below.

The rule book says that the scholar helps with activities in the laboratory, which doesn't make sense given the other context elsewhere in the book. On page 82, it distinguishes between activities which require the library and those which require the laboratory. The first 5 activities listed all have to do with research and writing and are hampered by the lack of a library. Therefore, they are scholarly activities. Potion creation requires the laboratory and is obviously in the domain of the alchemist. Furthermore, on page 83, it is stated that every time the laboratory is used there is the chance that a dangerous explosion injures the ``Magic-User (and alchemist, if present)'', further providing evidence that the alchemist is the only retainer normally present for laboratory activities. The creation of magical items such as staves and wands requires both the library and laboratory, and therefore, both scholar and the alchemist can help.

I haven't used this ruling yet, but this is how I intend to play if my players ever decide to create some magical items.

Re: Alchemists vs. Scholars

Hi there,

I would suggest to place an eMail with the publisher (using the contact info found at Personally, I think it should be "days" instead of weeks, and that´s it smile

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