The Alchemist's Manor

The Alchemist Arnault Roftengirt passed away peacefully in his sleep. His house however, has passed into chaos and horror.

Adventure Overview

As far as is known, Arnault was something of a recluse anyway, and was never really seen around town, only his manservant, Jeeves. Recently thought, many of his house-servants have left his service, saying that he has gone slightly mad in his old age.
In truth, his obsession with Alchemy drove them away, and he came this close to achieving his Magnum Opus before old age claimed him. 
Since then, all the various bottled terrors and demons of science have broken free from their restraints, and the house is now a veritable death-trap.
Though a deathtrap that also happens to be full of the riches of a retired noble and accomplished alchemist...

Terrors of the Manor

1 - The Quicksilver Serpent
A great roiling serpent of purest mercury, it surges throughout the house when roused, engulfing and crushing with its flowing poison-flesh.
For the most part it is happy to remain in its vat, but vibrations bother it, and the greater the vibration, the greater the Serpent's anger. The source of its life is a chunk of alchemically treated stone, carved with runes, and infused with strange aethers. It cannot be subdued unless the stone is removed from its head.

2 - The Formless One
It tries its best to look human. Perhaps it was once, but not any more.
The unfortunate result of alchemical run-offs and by-products carelessly disposed of. Its flesh warps and flows, and can with only a few minutes observation, perfectly (for the most part) mimic another humanoid creature. It only lasts a few minutes, but until it breaks down, most would not be able to tell the creature apart from the original; except for one major difference. The Formless One stinks to high heaven of ammonia. It is well aware of this fact, and tries to hide this from potential prey by remaining in areas that already reek of alchemical compounds.

3 - Poor Old Jeeves
The much used and abused butler of the household in his time has had to clean up alchemical accidents, nurse the old alchemist back to health after said accidents, and quietly 'dispose' of numerous failed experiments. These days, he finds his own health in a state of some flux, though he still dutifully conducts his tasks throughout and around the chaos of the grounds.
His skin is black and brown and bubbling, more oil and grease than meat. His eyes have gone too, replaced with ever weeping pools of sickly yellow gel. He can't tell that you're a person, he just sees you as another mess to clear up, and he's awfully good at clearing away messes with his terrible, inhuman strength.
Luckily for you, he won't kill you. Unluckily for you, he'll probably dump you in with the Menagerie...

4 - The Aqua Regiad (The Acid Nymph)
She luxuriates in her steaming chamber, constrained by glass to contain the worst of the vapours she sloughs off.
An elemental spirit of some maddeningly specific facet of nature, summoned by Arnault, and contained for future conversation and general chit-chat, being one of the few people Arnault ever saw whom he wasn't paying to be there. Even now, her inhuman nature is content with the quiet, though she would certainly appreciate some actually coherent company. Even better if she could ever find a way out of her containment...

5 - The Menagerie
They are twisted and pathetic. Their skin bubbles and wriggles against their crooked bones, and their hair seems to float across their bodies. The results of Arnault's final experiments in his infirmity, they are utterly wretched, and Jeeves the Butler couldn't quite bring himself to burn them alive after blade and poison didn't kill them. Now they languish in the cellars in cages too small for them and with all possible food gone. Some have resorted to auto-cannibalism in their desperation.

These shall be the Table for generating them:
1 - Only ragged arms
2 - Many faceted legs
3 - Long, thin hooks of nail
4 - Oozing and heaving
5 - Legs like peoples', almost
6 - On all fours, animal like
Method of Attack
1 - Retractable Teeth-Spears
2 - Claws and Teeth
3 - Caustic Bile
4 - Jutting rib-cage maws
5 - Formless flesh-gloop
6 - Constriction with boneless arms
1 - Huge, weeping, and misshapen eyes
2 - Its flesh is all but gone from where its mouth can reach
3 - Bones protrude from flesh
4 - Boils and blisters cover it
5 - It spouts many useless, vestigle limbs
6 - Its flesh has all but abandoned it
Useful Mutation
1 - Gribbly insect wings
2 - Sensitive detecto-whiskers
3 - Constantly spills slippery oil
4 - Contortionist rubber-bones
5 - Poisoned gas-bladders
6 - Extra, actually useful limbs

6 - The Corruption
Like tiny feather-shreds of black glass, it creeps and grows like mold throughout a section of the Manor, contained for now by the last few efforts Arnault made before he succumbed to age. It is a result of his effort in achieving his ultimate goals [see the Magnum Opus], which he of course, never fully realised. Exposure to the Corruption is not immediately fatal luckily, but it is slow, insidious, and secretive. The explosive finale where the black flakes and spines erupt from your skin and take you over entirely will not occur until you least expect it. Its almost as if the Corruption plots against you to find the opportune moment to strike. Almost.

Hazards of the Manor

1 - Crystal-Grass
Crystals are odd things, and during his initial experiments with them, Arnault created this strange, self-replicating formation. It grows only slowly, but over the years it has infested a goodly portion of the house. It is far sharper than it looks (and it looks terribly sharp), though a good strong brush will clear it out, even if it means the destruction of the brush...

2 - Melt-Haze Mold
A spongy kind of mold that bloats itself on specially prepared surfaces, that ran rampant when Arnault, in his infirmity, spilt the mixture that would allow its spread. The air around it shimmers and shines subtely, and is dreadfully corrosive to organic matter. Luckily, all that is needed to undo this dreadful hazard, is a stiff breeze. Blowing away the vapours allows safe passsage for 10 minutes, while the Mold replenishes the dissolving mists. Alternatively, a thin film of any inorganic matter will also protect you from the mists, and applying this cover to the mold will kill it in only a few minutes, though it must be nearly airtight at least.

3 - The Tree of Life
At first, you would be forgiven for assuming that it was a tree, but the fruit it produces are too soft and meaty to be real fruit. Within each fruit-sac a fetus-thing slowly grows and develops. No-one yet can tell what they will become, but surely it can't be anything good. Damaging the sacs with an edged or piercing tool or weapon bursts it prematurely, releasing a smattering of soft flesh and acidic fluids. Other weapons deal insignificant damage to the squidgy sacs.
What lies within?
1 - Tiny people, with strong and strange telekentic powers, and a deep set hatred of humanity.
2 - Wolf-like things with tentacle mouths, they will steal babies to hatch eggs in.
3 - A thin serpent of green and pallid flesh. It can burrow into flesh to wrap around the spinal chord, and pilot the helpless person like a meat puppet.
4 - Uncountable spiders with a single hive mind, their task is to retrieve prey to feed the tree.
5 - Clones of Arnault, with dark and twisted ambitions and minds, and all his vast knowledge.
6 - Seeds of the Corruption.

4 - The Old Lab
Beakers, vials, metal boxes, glass tubes in all shapes and configurations, tomes, grimoires, incunabula; Arnault spared no expense in stocking his laboratory. Unfortunately, in his old age he left much of it in long-term experiments that he swiftly forgot about and neglected. The descent of his lab has only accelerated since his death. Even the smallest touch could have drastic effects.

5 - Vitae Storms
Clouds of ever-billowing purple-tinted smoke, shaped like people. Small arcs of lightning crackle and snap within. They don't move, unless you touch them, then they mirror you. Only strong winds can disperse them away from you once you touch them. Don't go inside them, or you'll crackle up into burnt meat.

6 - Bubbling Doom
Spilt vats of glinting powder, harmless, unless inhaled. Its effects won't manifest straight away, but in the weeks to come, you will hack up lumps of your lungs, slowly giving in to asthma, and eventually suffocation on your own liquefying lungs. There are masks which allow safe handling of the stuff in the Old Lab, and of course, its perfectly safe to handle as long as you don't breathe...

Treasures of the Manor

1 - Fool's Gold
It looks almost, but not quite like it. It would take an expert to be able to distinguish it though.
1 ounce of Fool's Gold is as valuable as an ounce of Gold, to those who can't tell the difference.

2 - Vials of Alchemical Products
Mysterious vials of equally mysterious liquids? Probably quite valuable.
What does this vial do?
1 - Heady fumes; enough to get you high for a good hour.
2 - A viscous, and terribly staining, ink.
3 - A minor explosive, enough to knock someone down.
4 - Apparently nothing... roll twice more if mixed with another vial.
5 - Bottled blood.
6 - Glows when shaken. Burns on contact with air.
7 - A powerful (if gritty) antiseptic.
8 - Steams a huge amount when mixed with water.
9 - Fizzes and sparks when exposed to air.
10 - Just water. Colourful water.
11 - Horrifyingly potent acid.
12 - Mutagenic, make a constitution save. On a fail, gain a menagerie patheticism. On a success, gain a menagerie useful mutation.

3 - Roftengirt Heirlooms
Potentially there are other branches of Arnault's family who might pay for these. At the very least, there must be collectors who would cough up for them.
Each heirloom is either a trinket, or a trophy. Trinkets take up no inventory space, each trophy takes up 1 inventory slot.
Trinkets are worth d6-1 gp each.
Trophies are worth 2d6 x 10 gp each.

4 - Arnault's Alchemical Notes
His works were extensive before his untimely demise. There must certainly be dozens of stable recipes scattered around the house, and many more pages of unfinished projects beside that still fit for fiddling with.
By using Arnault's notes, you can speed up one of your alchemy projects. The notes begin with a rating of 6. Each time you wish to use the notes, roll a d6. If the result is equal to or less than the Note's rating, you cut the time and costs required for the project by half, as Arnault has already performed much of the work for you. Then, decrease the Note's rating by 1 if it was successful.
The Note's effect can be used whenever you perform that project as well, but on subsequent attempts, it only halves the time cost of a project.

5 - The Distillation Knife
This is a rather rare and exceptionally well-made tool of alchemy. Its specific purpose is to, rather than cut things into pieces, to separate them on a chemical level into their component parts. Slicing a loaf of bread would not result in slices of bread, but piles of flour, maybe a bit of sugar, some yeast, a puddle, etc. Nothing is beyond the capabilities of the knife, though more complex materials take more time to separate. Harming a living being with one would take minutes of plunging the knife into them, slowly bubbling them away; hardly worth the effort.

6 - The Formalline Lense
The other half of a Distillation Knife, and apparently unique in all the world, Arnault's true masterpiece and legacy. It allows you to see things as their constituent alchemical parts, ripe to be separated with the Knife.

Alchemical Products

1 - Alkahest
The universal solvent, it requires a talented alchemist to construct a container that you can remove the glue from. Once applied, it indelibly binds two surfaces together. Onyl Sovereign Glue can separate them after that.

2 - Sovereign Glue
The exact opposite of Alkahest. Also requires a skilled alchemist to create a container that won't fall apart while containing it. Reverses all reactions, separates all binds, key component of Distillation Knives.

3 - Gilting Oil
When applied, leaves a material stained a slick brown. When dried, it appears to all eyes to be gold. Even to experts. It wears off after about a year, or after exposure to alcohol.

4 - Liquid Crystal-Grass
Takes a minute to set, by once poured, will harden into a slightly cloudy crystal that is just as hard as glass, but also half as brittle. Viscous enough to pour into rough 3D shapes too, but very rough shapes. Runny enough to spoil most details without great skill and/or constant tooling.

5 - Rejuvenation Salts
When dissolved in water, one dose of Rejuvenation Salts creates a tonic which has the same effects as a potion of healing. Desperately hard to create, a key ingredient is serpent scales.

6 - Withering Stone
The opposite of Rejuvenation Salts. Even mere physical contact withers and desiccates living tissues. Swallowing one would be terribly painful, and almost certainly lethal. Similarly tricky to create as rejuvenation salts, a key ingredient is ferret bone.

Alchemical Equipment

Every machine described here is present in the Manor somewhere, but only one has Arnault's masterpiece in or near it, according to his specialism.

1 - The Psuedo-Resonator
Part observatory, part crystal sphere, part dream-occulum; no-one is quite sure what it really does, or how it does it, but its uses are documented, and the instructions are followed, and the results occur, and everyone is mostly happy about it. Putting your head into it is like the most incredible high, hallucinations, strange sensations, sudden revelations, the whole bit. It also requires a saving throw or reorder your mental statistics due to mind-scrambling.
If Arnault had an Abstract specialisation, the shard of the Philosopher's Stone is within the Psuedo-Resonator.

2 - Ioniser/Deioniser
A bizarre labyrinth of crackling coils and sparking resistors, standing between the coils while they are activated (which is done by dipping the control rods in the battery-bath) requires you to make a saving throw of some sort or get blasted with lightning. Wearing metallic armour means that you take the saving throw at disadvantage.
If Arnault had an Energetic specialisation, then additionally, the False-Arnault is here.

3 - Distillation Chamber
A great vat with tubes, valves, and small localised furnaces dotted higgledy piggledy over it. Within, things are broken down, reconstituted, or refined. Getting inside would be something of a chore, but if you did, you would have to make a total of 3 saving throws. For each you fail, you lose a third of your hit points. If you succeed on all three, you actually gain a new hit die, and gain 1 point of AC as your flesh crystalises.
If Arnault had a Basic specialisation, then within the Distillation Chamber floats the Psuedo-Panacea, which will require a saving throw against the Chamber's effects to retrieve.

4 - Condensing Chamber [Aetheric - Breath of Life]
A great tank with a rib-cage of looping coils that runs underneath the vat into a freezing bath of mysteriously cold liquid. Anything dunked into the coolant the pipes loop through instantly freezes and in all probability, snaps off immediately. This is doubly certain for organic matter, and limbs in particular.
If Arnault had an Aetheric specialisation, then sat among a huge number of nearly, but not quite, identical glass beakers, is a stoppered bottle holding the Breath of Life. It is the only bottle that holds a gas, all the others have dusts and liquids and oozes and such, but you wouldn't spot it from a cursory glance.
Arnault's Breath of Life is not perfected of course, and rather than a permanent effect, it has 6 doses which provide its effect for 1 hour.

5 - Deep-Freeze Storage [Biological - False Homunculus]
A chamber, reinforced walls and stranged frosted pipes. The noise it creates is incredible, and it can be heard clearly in any room it borders, and faintly in rooms bordering those. Staying in the chamber is dangerous, and causes damage for each round beyond the first you stay within, such is the rampant cold. First, it deals d4 damage, the d6, then d8, scaling up a dice size each turn up to d20 every turn.
If Arnault has a Biological Specialisation, then the False Homunculus sits, floating in a iron chamber filled with preservatives and sedatives.

6 - The Smelter Vats [Impirical - Fool's Gold]
Basically a huge, huge furnace, with great vials of glowing liquids resting atop it, bubbling gently. A small door hinges open to reveal a deeply soot-black chamber that reeks of gas.
If the Vats are activated, almost anything placed in there will be almost immediately obliterated. If its organic and alive, it takes 10d10 fire damage each round. Most anything else will be ruined after a round, and obliterated d6 rounds after that. Its somewhat hard to get anything in there though, the aperture is only a little larger than a shovel's blade. Metal will melt in a round as well, regardless of how much is placed inside.
If Arnault had the Impirical Specialisation, then on one of the desks near the Vats is an instruction pamphlet (scribbled and rough) and a few goodly sized nuggets of Fool's gold (appearing to be worth about 100sp). From the instructions, given 10 sp of input materials, 2d10 x 10sp of Fool's Gold can be produced. It has no real value of course, it is only worth that much money to those who can't tell you aren't offering the real deal.

Arnault's Magnum Opus

Depends entirely on the specialism that Arnault held in life. Roll to determine the specialism and thus the Magnum Opus.

1 - Biological
The Pursuit of Bodily Perfection, the skill of distilling humours, and molding flesh into new modes and shapes.
The Magnum Opus of the Biological Alchemist is the creation of a perfect Homunculus, a created man. Arnault was close, but his creation was flawed, and the mind of his creation fractured at birth. It currently sleeps in an amniotic tank, but it is vastly aware of the House, its psychic powers latent, but unconsciously potent.
- Additional Terror: The Imperfect Homunculus - It is a horrible thing, diseased and corrupted, afflicted with every single result on all the menageries' tables. Somehow it is still nimble, fast, and strong...
- The Maker's Mark: The forms of the Terrors (except the Quick-Silver Serpent and The Aqua Regiad) look distrubingly close to human, but not quite close enough.
- Additional Treasure: The Nomad's Rose - A single flower, deep crimson, so deep as to almost be black. Smell its scent, and be transported briefly to a comprehension beyond comprehension. Eat it, and gain a revelation. It is also a token for a journey to the far shores of death and a safe return, for yourself at least.
- Signature Machine: The Deep-Freeze

2 - Impirical
The Pursuit of Material Perfection, the skill of refining metals and crystals, of ascending base materials to transcendent metals like Gold.
The Magnum Opus of the Impirical Alchemist is the perfection of Transformation of Base Materials, particularly into Gold. Many methods of creating materials that look very much like gold have been devised, and Arnault's is likewise flawed. It is however, new, and as such it will fool most for a while at least. Possession of it will attract attention however, both from those who wish to posses that knowledge and those that seek to destroy it. 
- Additional Terror: None - the true test is fending off rival Alchemists and Witch-Finders who want what they think you know.
- The Maker's Mark: The forms of the Terrors are somewhat metallic in patches and growths.
- Additional Treasure: A nearly endless supply of Fool's gold; almost the same thing, only detectable by a knowledgeable few
- Signature Machine: The Smelter Vats

3 - Aetheric
The Pursuit of Environmental Perfection, the skill of inducing vapours, and dictating their properties and uses.
The Magnum Opus of the Aetheric Alchemist is the Breath of Life, which would allow Man to survive most any condition, to free him of such needs as comfort, and oxygen. One of the rarest branches of Alchemy, in this result, Arnault is one of the few to dedicate himself to it, but his work was dreadfully flawed, and instead of creating a Breath of Life, he accidentally opened a gateway to the outer reaches of that Distant Night, and a Monstrous Wind came into our world. It twists and warps, much like Arnault's experiments do, and it was such that attracted it to the gateway, but for now at least it is sealed; Arnault had the foresight for that much at least.
- Additional Terror: The Monstrous Wind - Slightly yellow tinged air, it ages and deteriorates far too rapidly to be safe at all. For the most part it is quite placid, though sound disturbs it, the louder the sound, the greater its desire to hunt you down and weather you down to nothing...
- The Maker's Mark: The Terrors (except the Quick-Silver Serpent and The Aqua Regiad) have mechanical breathing apparatus incorporated into their bodies.
- Additional Treasure: 2d4 vials of Void-Vapours - A vial of void vapour does wonders for the human brain, you gain insight into the wisdom of the starry heavens for a moment, enough to ask a question, and receive a truthful, if brief and overly-literal answer.
- Signature Machine: The Condenser

4 - Base
The Pursuit of Unseen Perfection, the skill of removing flaws, of making what already is as good as it can possibly be.
The Magnum Opus of the Base Alchemist is the Panacea, the universal remedy. It is said that a few examples of it already exist in the world, and as skilled an Alchemist as Arnault was, his was not quite as perfect as those must be. His version is very close to it, once ingested, all ailments are cured and forced from the body, resulting in perfect health. There is a catch however. The removed impurities and imperfections are literally removed from the body, and will form a new instance of the Corruption whenever the Psuedo-Panacea is used. 
- Additional Terror: None - though use of the Psuedo-Panacea will recreate the Corruption
- The Maker's Mark: The terrors (except the Quick-Silver Serpent and The Aqua Regiad) bear Corruption like marks on their flesh.
- Additional Treasure: The Psuedo-Panacea - Will heal any diseases and ailments that trouble you, and even give a go of curing those of magical providence. However, the following day you will vomit up a harmless black pellet, which will sprout into an infestation of the Corruption the next day...
- Signature Machine: The Distillery

5 - Energetic
The Pursuit of Power and Potential, the skill of inducing and discharging, of making machines and controlling the obscure energies that control them.
The Magnum Opus of the Energetic Alchemist is the Machine-Mind, the Deus Ex Machina. Arnault's experimentations created many things in the world that could be mistaken for thoughts, but none were truly original. None arose from nothing, they were only ever reflections of himself. One of these reflections he sculpted in his own image, an idol of narcissism, who even now pretends control of the house and the roiling chaos within.  
- Additional Terror: The False-Arnault - Just like he used to be in his prime, only his intentions are dark, and the corruption bears no risks to him. He sees it more as... a tool to get what he wants. And his hungers range so deep...
- The Maker's Mark: Sparking rods and cables adorn the Terrors and/or their prisons
- Additional Treasure: The Charging Rod - All lightning is attracted to the rod, and stored endlessly within. Where does the lightning go? Who can say, it just does.
- Signature Machine: The Ioniser/Deioniser

6 - Abstract
The Pursuit of Splendid Existance, Eternal and Untouchable, the skill of uttermost refinement and perfection, even unto levels the human mind cannot conceive.
The Magnum Opus of the Abstract Alchemist is theorised and conjectured to be possible, but none have ever managed to produce a Philosopher's Stone of their own. Arnault had decades of his own research and the research of dozens that came before him, and the stone eluded him too. Through great personal expense, he managed to procure for himself a spent shard of a stone for his own tests, though he never quite managed to replicate it.
- Additional Terror: The Kaleido-Meister - A terrifying, long being of strange and abstract realms, he might boil you away into butterflies, or flense you with merely a touch. It is somewhat confused about being in this... simplistic world, but its confusion is deadly to us.
- The Maker's Mark: The Eyes of the Terrors are Starry Voids
- Additional Treasure: Shard of the Philosopher's Stone - can transform one object into solid gold, ever. Don't touch the ground, only a small patch would transform. Be very literal with the definition of "one object".
- Signature Machine: The Psuedo-Resonator

No comments:

Post a Comment

Recent Stuff

Cafe Prost and the Little Red Notebook

The Jackalope is here, and requires a SACRIFICE. Anne requested the following gift: The Coffee House - Cafe Prost! It is well known i...

This the gud stuph right hear