OK, I am running a steampunk game and I am trying to create an alchemist like the manga Fullmetal Alchemist.

OK, I am running a steampunk game and I am trying to create an alchemist like the manga Fullmetal Alchemist.

OK, I am running a steampunk game and I am trying to create an alchemist like the manga Fullmetal Alchemist. Any ideas on moves and how to limit the character so they are not unbalanced would be appreciated.

12 thoughts on “OK, I am running a steampunk game and I am trying to create an alchemist like the manga Fullmetal Alchemist.”

  1. Jeremy Strandberg I do have the Artificer and I am pretty sure one of my players is going to take it. I was just working on a few other classes and I thought that an Alchemist from FMA would make an interesting angle. I found a Homebrewed one online but the person working one it got bashed by trolls over using Dungeon World and then stopped posting.

  2. Jeremy Strandberg Fullmetal Alchemist is a completely different flavor. They use a lot of occult-looking Transmutation Circles, while referring to it as if it were science and not magic. It’s pretty cool.

    As for moves… The main thing to remember about FMA Alchemy is that an alchemist is only as good as his access to, and ability to draw, Circles. The protag of that series was special because he didn’t need them (because of something he did in his backstory), but ignore that. What’s important is drawing circles and Equivalent Exchange (transmuted mass cannot increase or decrease).

    Here is my proposed base move for Alchemists: When you create and use a Transmutation circle, roll+ (INT, WIS, and CON are good candidates; maybe determined by your background? Researcher, Military,  and Talent?). On a 10+, you may transmute an amount of material in pounds equal to your (Intelligence, Wisdom, OR Constitution), times the number of minutes you spent on the transmutation circle, times 5. (These numbers are completely arbitrary and probably won’t line up with the power levels of the series.) On a 7-9, you may go through with the transmutation, but choose one of the following:

    -The transmutation damages the circle so that it cannot be re-used.

    -You are exposed to danger while performing the transmutation; the GM will tell you how.

    -The product of the transmutation is flawed in some way; the GM will tell you how.

    On a 6-, the transmutation fails, plus whatever else the GM says. Mark XP.

    For advanced moves, think of ways to improve on the basic move. Quickened Transmutation could reduce the time it takes to draw the circle or double the time bonus or something. Higher level moves could include creating/controlling Homunculi or Chimeras.

    Another thing to consider is that many Alchemists on the show have a “signature move,” a transmutation unique to them. These include Roy’s Fire, Kimbli’s body explosions, Scar’s deconstruction, Armstrong’s… whatever that is, etc. I think this can be best represented by Preparing Circles (maybe make this a level 1 corollary? I dunno). Basically, transmutations that use a prepared circle use the same Time bonus from the main move, but you have the added benefit of care and precision (as well as specialized research).

    Here’s my concept for the move:

    When you spend an hour or more creating a permanent circle (usually small and concealable), describe the circle and its intended effect. This description must be as specific as possible (“creates large bursts of flame,” “turns people into time bombs,” etc). You must also create a limitation, a condition that either must be met to perform the transmutation, or will render it useless (“doesn’t work when wet,” “must clap both hands together and then touch the target with both”).

    When you use the circle for its intended effect, take +1 on the transmutation and use the preparation time to determine maximum mass.

  3. Eric Sheldahl Thanks for the ideas, I will definitely use these. I was thinking that I would also create a compendium class for seeing the Truth, leading to transmuting without a circle. Though that may not work. Maybe make it part of the last breath move.

  4. If you are putting together an Alchemist playbook, then I think that some of the advances you could have would be special tricks that will work without the time for a circle.  Usually this is how an Alchemist gets his name.  The Flame Alchemist, for example, would be one that can summon flame with out a full circle or ranther has made a personal and portable circle to create it.  The Flame Alcemist had a sparker glove and the circle in the glove.  Snap his fingers and project flame.  The glove and area can’t be wet to work (warping of the circle and can’t get a spark).  Sorry if I got the name incorrect for those that have it fully memorized.  But my point is, your first major advance should be specialization and then “tricks” from there to refine your alchemy.  You can still do the normal Alchemy with time, a circle, and work but where is the fun in that.  We all want the quick stuff.  That comes from specialization into a psudo-sciencey reason to how it works.

  5. Stephen Grote Hmm… Honestly, making the “Truth” an add-on to Last Breath is definitely the best way to go. Really, Last Breath already covers the same things: dying, seeing the Black Gate (or, in this case, that Eye), and meeting a gatekeeper who offers you a deal. It’s just setting flavor.

    Personally, I would avoid circle-less transmutation in my games, just so that I don’t retread the same ground as the original series. But, if you want to go that route, here’s a suggestion:

    If you have Seen the Truth, then you may use Alchemy without first drawing a circle. The maximum mass that you can transmute is based on your (alchemy stat) instead of the minutes put into the circle.

    (take this move the next time you level up after taking a Last Breath)

  6. Eric Sheldahl You may be right about Truth and transmutations without circles being a poor choice. I may have to playtest the class with and without to be sure it doesn’t wreck the rest of the world mechanics.

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