Wednesday, June 20, 2018

GURPS Alchemy Redux

Alchemy and Herb Lore are well setup in GURPS but I needed something a little different for the Chalice World which uses a mix of Chinese and Indian elemental systems rather than the Western one.  It is primarily based on the Chinese 5 elements but mixed with the Indian system in that I added two ideas from Indian culture and changed them somewhat. Air and Void are not treated as traditional elements but as Chi/Life force and the absence of energy (Void).

Magnum Opus from Pyramid #3/109 came up with a colorful way to decide what components you need to make a potion that can add more flavor for players. Its based on the classic 4 western elements and you mix and match for the desired result.
Blackening: Earth, body, maturity, resilience.
Reddening: Air, personality, creation, avoidance.
Yellowing: Fire, spirit, growth, action.
Whitening: Water, mind, decay, adaptation.

For the Chalice World setting I needed something a little different and below is the starting point. To use this system you will need to understand the Magnum Opus article.  However with that in hand the notes below should help my players figure out what to use.  If I get a PC Alchemist we will start a formula and material listing.

*References GURPS Thaumatology Chinese Elemental Powers, GURPS Thaumatology
NOTE: Ill review non game sources later. I have some Feng Shui books I can use to add to what is below but they are not as handy as the above referenced sources.

All materials can thus be categorized by thier elemental natures and the standard order in books on the subject is...
Red (Fire) Green (Wood) Yellow(Earth) White (Metal) Black (Water) Gray (Void)
The article expresses every material as having a value from -2 to +2 but as this is a high fantasy setting I choose to rank them as -3 to 3.

  • Mundane materials are -1 to 1
  • Exotic and supernatural materials are -2 to +2
  • Legendary materials are -3 to +3

Earth, Element of Balance

  • Body: Mouth, Heart, Spleen, Stomach
  • Mind: Desire, Intelligence, Love
  • Taste/Smell: Sweet/Fragrant
  • Animals: Oxen, Hairless Animals
  • Plant: Panicled Millet
  • Direction & Number: Center, 5
  • Season & Weather: Adulthood, Thunder
  • Location: Internal Courtyard
  • Paths: Earth effects
  • Other: 

Fire, Element of Greater Yang

  • Body: Heart, Small Intestine, Tongue, Lungs
  • Mind: Joy, Insight, Passion
  • Taste/Smell: Bitter/Burning
  • Animals: Fowl, Feathered Animals
  • Plant: Beans
  • Direction & Number: South, 7
  • Season & Weather: Youth, Summer, Heat
  • Location: Hearth
  • Paths: Elements (Fire/Heat effects)
  • Other: Growth, Speech, Virtue

Metal, Element of Lesser Yin

  • Body: Nose, Kidneys
  • Mind: Sorrow, Speech
  • Taste/Smell: Acrid/Rank
  • Animals: Dogs, Hairy Animals
  • Plant: Hemp
  • Direction & Number: West, 9
  • Season & Weather: Old Age, Autumn, Cold
  • Location: Outside a Door
  • Paths: Gadgets
  • Other: Fulfillment of Oaths, Smell


  • Body: Legs, Wings
  • Mind:
  • Taste/Smell
  • Animals:
  • Plant:
  • Direction & Number:
  • Season & Weather:
  • Location:
  • Paths:
  • Other:

Water, Element of Greater Yin

  • Body: Bladder, Ears. Kidney, Liver
  • Mind: Fear. Perceptiveness
  • Taste/Smell: Salty/Rotten
  • Animals: Pigs, Shelled Animals
  • Plant: Millet
  • Direction & Number: North, 6
  • Season & Weather: Winter, Rain
  • Location: Well
  • Paths: Elements (Water effects)
  • Other: Death, Hearing


  • Body: Eyes, Gall Bladder, Liver, Spleen
  • Mind: Anger, Overall Personality
  • Taste/Smell: Sour/Goatish
  • Animals: Sheep, Scaly Animals
  • Plant: Wheat
  • Direction & Number: East, 8
  • Season & Weather: Spring, Birth, Wind
  • Location: Inside a Doorway
  • Paths: Health, Nature (Plant effects)
  • Other: Charity, Sight

No comments:

Post a Comment