Sunday, January 22, 2023


In my wuxia sandbox campaign using the Sons of Lady 87 book, one thing that has started to come up is the use of external alchemy to create transformative substances. These are very setting appropriate but present balance issues the more open I am as a GM in adjudicating their creation (and I like to be open to things the players try to do in game).

Transformative substances are one of the more interesting parts of play for me in Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate. They can work in a variety of ways but basically use external alchemy to produce pills, elixirs, etc that can change things at a fundamental level. Usually the changes are temporary but can increase over time with regular use (there are some substances though that produce more long term effects). An example of a transformative substance is the Human Forming Essence, which can be used by animals, demons and other creatures to take human form. 

Recently one of the players has been using his Alchemy skill to produce a substance that improves the performance of his minions by radically accelerating cultivation (in mechanical terms his aim would basically increase Qi Ranks). 

The 1993 film Green Snake 

There is precedent for this in the system because I introduce a pill based on Monkey King's background in Journey to the West. This item is called the Heavenly Pill and there are extraordinary conditions surrounding its use, so that will be a very big natural limit should the player pursue making this substance. But this got me thinking about ways to introduce a table to use when players want to make a very powerful substance that could achieve great benefit but might be counterbalanced by some of its side effects (generally speaking I like to give transformative and longevity substances side effects). 

This table is meant to be used anytime a powerful transformative substance is created as its inherent drawback: 

Like the tables I shared the other day this one is still very preliminary. I will likely make some adjustments over the course of my Celestial Plume Masters campaign. 

I am still working with the player to determine what this might look like in the end (and not settle whether this table would apply to the substance he is attempting to discover). It will likely have heavy side effects or be temporary, granting an increase in Qi that goes away after a period of time and is followed by recovery (perhaps through lost Hardiness points). 

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