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d20 Modern Dark*Matter Excerpts
By Wolfgang Baur, Monte Cook

The time has come to introduce (or reintroduce) your players to the world you'll find within the pages of d20 Dark*Matter. Be "in the know" or become so through adventuring in the setting when you take advantage of Dark*Matter's conversion to the d20 Modern rules. If you aren't sure what to expect, then you're off to a good start -- perhaps your characters will be a bit more prepared for anything.

However, to make it a bit easier on you, we're providing you with some excerpts, including the Table of Contents, a list of feats, the entry about the Alchemist prestige class, and some information about the Greys.


Hermetic magic -- or alchemy, as it's also called -- dates back to the time of Egyptian pharaohs. It combines astrology, philosophy, and Gnosticism. It works through the use of complex mystic formulae, rituals, and rare ingredients. Such formulae are typically encoded, requiring intense study to understand fully.

Select this prestige class if you want to master the magical arts of the ancient Arabic world, including illusions and even the secret of alchemical transmutation itself.

The fastest path into this prestige class is from Smart hero, though many would-be Alchemists take one or more levels in the Occultist advanced class to help qualify more quickly.


To qualify to become an Alchemist, a character must fulfill the following criteria.

Skills: Craft (chemical) 10 ranks, Decipher Script 6 ranks, Knowledge (arcane lore) 10 ranks, Knowledge (history) 2 ranks, Research 6 ranks.

Class Information

The following information pertains to the Alchemist prestige class.

Hit Die

The Alchemist gains 1d6 hit points per level. The character's Constitution modifier applies.

Action Points

The Alchemist gains a number of action points equal to 6 + one-half his character level, rounded down, every time he attains a new level in this class.

Class Skills

The Alchemist's class skills are as follows.

Concentration (Con), Craft (chemical) (Int), Craft (pharmaceutical) (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Knowledge (arcane lore, history, physical sciences, theology and philosophy) (Int), Profession (Wis), Read/Write Language (none), Research (Int), Speak Language (none), Spellcraft (Int).

Skill Points at Each Level: 5 + Int modifier.

Class Features

The following features pertain to the Alchemist prestige class.

Secret of Glamour

The 1st-level Alchemist can create the visual illusion of an object, creature, or force. The range of the effect is 100 feet, and the Alchemist must have line of sight to the illusion at all times. The illusion's size can be up to one 10-foot-cube per level. The illusion does not create sound, smell, texture, or temperature. He can move the image within the limits of the size of the effect, but must concentrate on the illusion to maintain it. If he ends concentration, the illusion fades. Any person interacting with the illusion may attempt a Will save (DC 10 + the Alchemist's class level + Intelligence modifier) to discern the illusion's nature (after which the person can still perceive the illusion as an ephemeral image).

At 3rd level, the Alchemist may add sound (including intelligible speech) to his illusion. At 5th level, he may also add smell and temperature to it.

At 1st level, the Alchemist also gains the ability to see through illusions. By spending an action point, the Alchemist can perceive all illusions for what they really are. This ability functions identically to the true seeing spell (d20 Modern Roleplaying Game, page 358) except that it affects only the Alchemist.

Create Alchemical Homunculus

A 2nd-level Alchemist can magically grow a Tiny artificial life form that obeys his will. The process requires 10 consecutive days of work (8 hours per day) and uses an array of special rare materials such as a bear's gall bladder, mandrake root, shark cartilage, human growth hormones, and a small measure of the Alchemist's own blood. (The ritual materials have a purchase DC of 18 and include items restricted to those in the medical profession.)

At the end of the process, the alchemical homunculus is complete. It generally resembles an 18-inch-tall roughly formed humanoid figure. The homunculus is identical to a mage's familiar (d20 Modern Roleplaying Game, page 320), except as follows:

  • Double the Alchemist's class level to determine the homunculus's statistics and special abilities.
  • The homunculus's natural attacks deal no damage (it can wield weapons, though it has no weapon proficiencies), and it has no base save bonuses or skill ranks of its own (it uses its master's instead).
  • Use the "Familiar's Intelligence" column to determine the homunculus's ability scores (except that, as a construct, it has no Constitution score).
  • The homunculus has unbeatable damage reduction equal to its natural armor rating (for example, the homunculus of a 3rd-level Alchemist has DR 3/--). It has no ability to speak with animals.
  • Unlike a familiar, a homunculus has no restriction on the skills that it can perform, and many Alchemists use their homunculi as lab assistants (despite their limited intellect).

The Alchemist can spend action points on behalf of his homunculus, though she still can't spend more than one action point per round. If the homunculus dies, the Alchemist takes 1d4 points of Charisma damage. If the Alchemist dies, the homunculus dissolves into muck 1 round later.

Sleep of Morpheus

Beginning at 3rd level, the Alchemist can put a single living creature into a deep sleep as a full-round action. This spell-like ability functions as the sleep spell (d20 Modern Roleplaying Game, page 356) except that it only works on a single target and can affect any creature with HD equal to or less than twice the Alchemist's class level. The Will save DC to resist equals 10 + the Alchemist's class level + Intelligence modifier.

Flight of Daedalus

By spending an action point and concentrating upon complicated abstract mental equations, the 4th-level Alchemist can fly through the air at a speed equal to his base land speed (at good maneuverability). The Alchemist must spend an attack action each round to remain airborne; otherwise, he falls from the air. If he suffers damage or might otherwise be distracted, he must make a Concentration check to stay airborne. He can remain aloft for a number of hours equal to his class level; after that, he must make a Concentration check (DC 15, +1 per hour thereafter) each hour to remain in flight. The Alchemist can carry up to a medium load while aloft.

Secret of Transmutation

The most well publicized, but also most well guarded, of the Alchemist's talents is the transmutation of material from one form to another. By spending an action point, the 5th-level Alchemist can attempt to transform one substance into another. He can transmute up to one pound of material per class level in a single attempt. Gases are easier to transmute than liquids, and liquids easier than solids. Also, it's easier to transmute something into the same type of matter (gas, liquid, or solid) than a different type. The Alchemist can't affect living tissue (animal or plant), nor can he create living matter. Mass is conserved in the transmutation, so the mass of the final object equals the mass of the original object. For instance, a Alchemist who successfully transmutes a 1-pound block of lead into gold finishes with a 1-pound block of gold.

The process of transmutation normally requires a 12-hour ritual and a successful Craft (chemical) skill check (see below for DCs). The Alchemist can't take 10 on this check, because the result is unpredictable. The ritual itself requires substances with a purchase DC of 20; these are expended in the ritual regardless of its success. The duration of the transmutation varies based on the original and final substance; see below for details.

Alternatively, the Alchemist can attempt to perform the transmutation without the ritual and expensive substances. This increases the DC of the check by 10 and requires a full-round action. If the check succeeds, the duration is only one-half normal. If the Alchemist fails this check by 5 or more, he suffers a backlash of energy and takes 1d4 points of Constitution damage.

Obviously, an unethical alchemist can use this ability to grant himself occasional boosts to his personal wealth. However, since the duration of the transmutation is impermanent, characters who go around paying for goods with gold that turns into lead a few hours later will quickly draw the attention of (admittedly confused) law enforcement officials, as well as other Alchemists eager to halt the character's misuse of this ability, steal the secret of transmutation from her, or both.

Transmutation DC Duration
Gas into gas 15 1 day/level
Gas into liquid 25 1 hour/level
Gas into solid 30 1 round/level
Liquid into gas 20 1 hour/level
Liquid into liquid 18 1 day/level
Liquid into solid 25 1 minute/level
Solid into gas 25 1 round/level
Solid into liquid 22 1 minute/level
Solid into solid 20 1 hour/level


Special Defense
1st +0 +1 +0 +2 Secret of glamour +0 +0
2nd +1 +2 +0 +3 Create alchemical homunculus +1 +0
3rd +1 +2 +1 +3 Sleep of Morpheus +1 +1
4th +2 +2 +1 +4 Flight of Daedalus +1 +1
5th +2 +3 +1 +4 Secret of transmutation +2 +1

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