What are Tinctures?

An alchemist opens her coat, takes out a flask, downs it, and a few seconds later she's breathing fire and pulling the triggers of firearms a hundred metres away. That's what a tincture does.

What a tincture is, however, is a liquid, made by an alchemist, with the intent- usually- to drink it. Potions, philtres, elixirs, tonics, whatever your word for them, the alchemic world by default calls them Tinctures. Tinctures are made from two things: a batch of hooch, and one or more purified ingredients. An alchemist mixes these together on top of a specially designed Hermetic Diagram, and the result is a tincture. When drunk, a tincture gives the user supernatural abilities. These abilities only last for a short time, and should the user drink another tincture in the same time the first tincture is overwritten, but for that brief period the alchemist is a terrifying and incomprehensible entity.
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The Mechanics of Tinctures

This section deals with tinctures in two parts. The first part is on how to use them, and the second part is on how to make them.
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How to use a Tincture

A tincture counts as a consumable, and can be used as an action. When used, it imbues you with the abilities noted in the tincture. The potency also depends on the tincture, not on you. Every tincture has a duration, placed down when it's made- you gain those powers and can use them as much as you like until the end of the duration, although you can reset the duration to max by consuming a unit of hooch. You can look up the effects of a tincture by consulting the ingredient chart below.

You can only benefit from one tincture at a time. If you consume a tincture whilst already under the effects of a tincture, then the new tincture overwrites the old one. This is because tinctures areā€¦ Toxic. Look at the ingredients list. Arsenic, mercury… The purification keeps them from being lethal, but two tinctures at once is too much.

Some abilities from tinctures are always in effect, and don't need to be activated. Some however require actions to activate. Most of the time, these actions mimic one of the standard combat actions. If they don't they'll explain themselves in the ingredient profile.

One thing to note is that with these abilities, you can either use them normally, or you can choose to 'Surge' them. Surging can't be comboed and takes an extra action, but provides an extra bonus of your choice to the action. Whilst some abilities have unique surges, most abilities can benefit from the following generic surge bonuses:

  • Efficacy boost. Abilities increase their Efficacy by your Alchemy Rank, minimum 1 if you don't have a Rank.
  • Wound boost. Abilities that deal damage, should they wound a target, deal an extra wound to all targets.
  • Test boost. Abilities that require passing a test to use may add an Advantage to the test.
  • Range boost. Abilities increase their range by 100%.
  • Duration boost. Abilities with a duration increase that duration by one round.

Some Abilities can be used with an Area of Effect (AoE) Surge, which has the ability affect an area. It will list which AoE Surges it can use, but all of them are listed here:

  • Burst. This acts like an Attack with the Burst quality, but with no ammo requirement or depletion.
  • Multi-Target. The user nominates a single target within range and Line of Sight, then makes the listed test. On a success, the user strikes the target, but for every DoS strikes a different target, so long as that target is in range and hitting them would be no harder than hitting the original target. Any DoS in excess of targets produces wasted hits.
  • Arc. This acts like an attack with the Arc Quality.
  • Wave. This attack acts as though it has the Wave quality
  • Blast. This attack acts as though it has the Blast quality.
  • Line. This attack acts as though it has the Line quality.

Power Duration.
Some active abilities remain in play even after they are used. When this happens, they remain in play until certain conditions are met- for most abilities, it's a number of turns to pass.

When calculating how long an ability lasts turn-wise, start counting at the end of the user's turn, and tick down one at the end of their subsequent turns. So if a character uses a 3-turn ability on Round 1, the ability will apply for Round 2 and 3, before ending at the end of the character's turn on Round 4.

If the ability has the Ailment keyword, then the Duration refers to how long the Ailment persists.

Some abilities 'cancel' another ability out, often competing augments and hexes. When an ability is cast and cancels another ability out, they are both negated instantly, meaning that your effect does not apply, and the other ability's ends.

Abilities often have Keywords. Keywords tell the user about the ability's behaviour in a way- its role, its element and so on. By and large, keywords don't do anything by themselves (with a few exceptions), but are important for interacting with other abilities: if a user has a passive ability that adds +2 damage to all abilities with the 'Fire' keyword, for example, then any abilities with the Fire keyword benefit from that ability. A list of common Keywords is below.

  • Element. This is actually a family of keywords that state the spell as belonging to one of the five classical elements: Fire, Earth, Water, Air or Aether.
  • Restoration. This means the spell restores wounds to the target.
  • Augment. This means the spell augments the capability of its target.
  • Hex. This means the spell applies a penalty of some kind to the target.
  • Ailment. This means the spell inflicts the target with an ailment.
  • Mental. This means the spell counts as a 'mental' attack.
  • Duration. This means the spell remains in play after cast until certain conditions are met (usually turns running out).

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How to Make a Tincture

Tinctures require three things to make:

  • A unit of hooch, to serve as a base.
  • An alchemic flask.
  • At least one purified substance besides the hooch.

Tinctures have to be made during Long Downtimes- they can take days or weeks of preparation to make, after all.

Once you have the hooch and an empty flask, two steps remain: choosing an ingredient and choosing that ingredient's alignment.

There are twenty ingredients to use, and all of them fall into one of four categories, based on the Four Classical Elements: Fire, Earth, Water and Air. (Aether is also the fifth element, but no ingredients belong to it). Each element has five ingredients, each divided into Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3 or Grade 4. The higher grade, the rarer the ingredient and theoretically the more powerful it is. Every Element also has itself as a Grade 1 ingredient.

The four Elements and their ingredients are:

  • Fire. Associated with passion, recklessness, power, destruction, energy, masculinity and will. Associated with the Might Score. Opposed by Water.
    • Grade 1: Fire, Sulfur
    • Grade 2: Iron
    • Grade 3: Phosphorus
    • Grade 4: Gold
  • Earth. Associated with stability, life and death, gravity, the body and heaviness. Associated with the Toughness Score. Opposed by Air.
    • Grade 1: Earth, Salt
    • Grade 2: Lead
    • Grade 3: Magnesium
    • Grade 4: Diamond Carbon
  • Water. Associated with intuition, calmness, mutability, mystery, the feminine and fluidity. Associated with the Grace Score. Opposed by Fire.
    • Grade 1: Water, Mercury
    • Grade 2: Copper
    • Grade 3: Arsenic
    • Grade 4: Silver
  • Air. Associated with sociability, unpredictability, social power, alloying, action and energy. Associated with the Presence Score. Opposed by Earth.
    • Grade 1: Air, Tin
    • Grade 2: Antimony
    • Grade 3: Zinc
    • Grade 4: Platinum

Every ingredient is associated with an External effect, an Internal effect and an Intangible effect. When adding your ingredient to your Tincture, you select one of these effects to put into your Tincture. For example: Fire (External). Whoever drinks the Tincture will then gain the benefits listed in that ingredient's profile.

You can add multiple ingredients, and each ingredient can have its own alignment. You even even put in the same ingredient multiple times, so long as they're in a different alignment. There are, however, a few rules about adding ingredients:

  • Your tincture can't have ingredients from opposing elements. You can't mix a Fire element ingredient and a Water element ingredient, for example.
  • The sum of the Grades of all of your ingredients can't exceed your Alchemy Rank. Thus at Rank 1 you can only add a single ingredient, and it has to be a Grade 1 ingredient.

Once you have chosen your ingredients and their alignments, you then make an Alchemy test for each ingredient, using the appropriate Alchemy focus if you have it- so if an ingredient is in the External alignment, you use the External focus. If you have the help of another alchemist, they can test and use their focuses in your place whenever they're happy to do so.

If you pass all of the tests, then you successfully brew the tincture. Congratulations!

The test for each ingredient may be difficult, but the important thing is that once you have brewed a tincture, you don't need to make it again, or even gather the ingredients to make it again. One of the great things about hooch is that it's 'impressionable'. If you take a batch of hooch and drop a single drop of a tincture into it, the entire batch becomes 100% that tincture. Meaning once you have made a tincture, you'll keep a few drops safe and can make it over and over again, easy.

In fact, during a Short Downtime, you can spend a unit of Hooch to replenish all of your alchemic flasks with tinctures of your choice, from your personal library.
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The List of Ingredients

Below is a list of ingredients, ordered firstly by element, and then by grade from lowest to highest. Each ingredient has three special abilities- an External ability, an Internal ability and an Intangible one.

The Fire Element

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Fire (Grade 1)

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Sulfur (Grade 1)

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Iron (Grade 2)

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Phosphorus (Grade 3)

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Gold (Grade 4)

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The Earth Element

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Earth (Grade 1)

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Salt (Grade 1)

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Lead (Grade 2)

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Magnesium (Grade 3)

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Diamond Carbon (Grade 4)

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The Water Element

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Water (Grade 1)

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Mercury (Grade 1)

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Copper (Grade 2)

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Arsenic (Grade 3)

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Silver (Grade 4)

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The AIr Element

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Air (Grade 1)

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Tin (Grade 1)

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Antimony (Grade 2)

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Zinc (Grade 3)

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Platinum (Grade 4)

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