View Full Version : DM Help LE gnome alchemist looking for guinea pigs

2016-04-28, 06:27 AM
I intend to have a nasty gnome alchemist in a campaign I'm building at the moment. One thing I need is a standard contract for the guinea pig to sign, which will allow the gnome to get away with it, even if the experiment kills the guinea pig (though the likelihood of that is low; but the side-effects include...). Of course, if this is not readily apparent to the signatory, then that would be best. And no getting paid if you can't collect yourself, of course! Cuts down costs nicely.

It would not be inherently illegal in the city the gnome lives in to make such a contract, just to be clear. Mercenaries often face far worse odds, and the law never complains about that.

The experiment is double blind, of course, so you won't know what you drank until you collect. A big table with weird results will be worked up, probably with something like 1d100+gp paid (to a maximum of 100gp or something), and the higher you roll, the worse the result. And of course, you can only apply, say, once a month, to be sure everything is out of your system, and you won't get a false result due to reaction with an earlier experiment.

Any thoughts, suggestions, etc.?

2016-04-30, 02:10 PM
"Until this contract is explicitly nullified by [the alchemist], you will try your best to not allow anyone other than those designated in this contract to know about what happens in here."

The alchemist then tells the subject(s) that he has a system of speakers rigged up to blare out what is happening inside of the test chamber, set to activate when he issues a mental command or is incapacitated. He then tells them to sign a different contract that tells them to obey him to the best of their ability (to his intent, not his literal wording, if they conflict), or he'll push the button. After they sign the newer contract, the alchemist nullifies the old contract and enjoys the services of his new slaves.

The alchemist should do this remotely (until the first contract is nullified), so that the subjects won't try to kill him before he explains his contingency systems.

Red Fel, Red Fel, Red Fel.

2016-04-30, 02:42 PM
*snicker* Thanks!

I was hoping for something verbally complicated, but not so practically complicated, though. Maybe I should talk about what I'd like to hear from people:

Suggestions with the contract first and foremost.

Suggestions for amusing, embarrasing, annoying and debilitating effects that the experiments could have.

I've been thinking that people arrive at the alchemist's, and sign the contract before anything else. Then a random substance is chosen and ingested, and the gnome will take any notes of immediate effects. Then the guinea pig goes elsewhere, and comes back 24 hours later. Here they fill in a questionnaire about effects they've experienced, and then get their pay.
The really interesting thing for the gnome is the initial effect. The rest is good too, but if the guinea pig never comes back, it's no great loss - especially since they don't get paid then.

Honest Tiefling
2016-04-30, 03:09 PM
Even if such a contract is legal, what is the force behind that? Such a place might not place such a high priority on investigating why some crazy mage was murdered (that's probably a commonplace thing, really), especially if by one of his experiments. So, what connections/power does the gnome have to make sure his contracts are upheld in such a way to actually intimidate people? I ask this also because presumably, the PCs are either trying to stop him or muscle in on his territory so knowing what his leverage is in advance is probably good.

Secondly, why does the city tolerate such a potential problem? Alchemical experiments going awry is bad for business. This is related to the first query, but also because a PC is likely to take the gnome up on the offer and then start rampaging for one reason or another. Does the gnome get into trouble for this? Are the guards equipped to handle this? Why is the city tolerating this, or do they not even know it exists?

Thirdly, who is getting offered this? The duke is not going to be happy if his favorite nephew grows another head and loses his fiancee that happened to own most of the ships docking into his city. The disenfranchised are going to be great because they neither have the ability to complain in a way that matters, nor will anyone miss them. So who is it? As a twist, maybe gnomes hate a certain race, and the city is gnome-controlled so if members of that race go missing no one cares and everyone will blame that race for taking the contract to begin with. Humans are alright, my second cousin married one, nice lad, but those uppity elves will pay for keeping all of the magical secrets to themselves...

2016-04-30, 03:43 PM
Have you taken a look at the Spelltouched feats?

There was a Dragon Magazine article with 3.0/3.5 stats for the Red Curse, which gives a random ability (from only a 1d12 table, though, IIRC) to those who contract it.

Idea for random potion effects:
Go to dndtools's spell list, and find out how many spells are in it. Go to a random number generator, and roll a dX, where X is how many spells dndtools has. Find the spell that corresponds to that number. If it's from a book that you don't have, the potion has no effect. If the creature that drinks the potion isn't a valid target for the spell chosen, have the potion cause a similar effect to what the spell does (I.e. Rope Trick would cause the subject to be stuck in a pocket dimension for [potion's CL] hours, Summon Monster X turns the drinker into a random monster from the table for that Summon Monster level for [potion's CL] rounds, etc.). The CL of the potion is 1d20. The potion still works if its CL is too low to casts its spell; the spell is cast as if it could be cast with the potion's CL.

The potion might not take effect immediately. The potion takes effect 1d24-1 hours plus 1d61-1 minutes after it is drunk.

Red Fel
2016-05-01, 10:41 AM
Red Fel, Red Fel, Red Fel.


I intend to have a nasty gnome alchemist in a campaign I'm building at the moment. One thing I need is a standard contract for the guinea pig to sign, which will allow the gnome to get away with it, even if the experiment kills the guinea pig (though the likelihood of that is low; but the side-effects include...). Of course, if this is not readily apparent to the signatory, then that would be best. And no getting paid if you can't collect yourself, of course! Cuts down costs nicely.

The short version? You have three options. The first is obtuse legalese. Basically, a string of legal jargon that is explicit enough to hold up in court, but arcane enough to shut off most brains. Example.

The undersigned (hereinafter "the subject") agrees to waive all claims resulting from injury, sickness, or any other consequences of the experiment, foreseen or unforeseen, and the study and any of its employees shall not be held liable for any damages resulting from such injury.
If you actually managed to read that, you probably saw that it disclaimed liability. Fairly standard language, and easy to inflate to triple or quadruple its size through the standard trick of synonymizing. ("Agrees to waive, forbear, and abstain from bringing any claims, charges, or other legal actions resulting from injury, sickness, or any harm, biological, psychological, or otherwise, to person or property...") Add enough words and people will just rush to the end and click the "I agree" button.

The second option is money. Offer enough cash and people won't bother to read the fine print. Remember how much the average commoner makes in a day, a year. That's peanuts to an adventurer. Offer them a year's salary and they'll slice themselves open for you.

The third option is desperation. Where a person is already sick, dying, or otherwise desperate, it's easy to get them to agree to something potentially life-threatening if it could also fix all of their problems.

2016-05-01, 11:07 AM
So you are simply looking for a clinical trials contract? I don't know where to find one, though. http://www.ivanhoe.com/smartwoman/p_swstory.cfm?storyid=21769 http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rearvision/the-risks-and-rewards-of-participating-in-clinical-trials/7195942

2016-05-01, 05:37 PM
Obviously you need to make the contract sound as similar to modern liability waivers as possible, abd in order to maintain the gnome's security he should have a contract with the city guard to be their exclusive supplier for buff/healing/torture potions and use them as his primary source of income, and they have a vested interest in keeping him alive, because he makes the guard stronger.

This also creates for an interesting lawful neutral to lawful evil city guard who will be using strange potions with odd side effects to make them more effective in case the heroes get in trouble with the guard.

2016-05-01, 07:44 PM
Going off Red Fel's obtuse legalese suggestion, here is a liability waiver I mocked up to take into account additional factors of a fantasy setting.

I, [name], hereby waive and release LE Gnome Alchemist from liability pertaining to the matters set forth below.I understand that by signing this Waiver and Release, I expressly and from my own free will agree to assume complete and sole responsibility for any risk of injury or death that may arise from the below related activity. On behalf of myself, my heirs; both devisee and legatee, my assigns, and next of kin, I waive all claims for damages, injuries, loss of my immortal soul, or death sustained to me or my property, that I may have against the above named Released Party relating to the conduct of his research. I accept that the experiments I might participate in are inherently dangerous and may cause serious injuries including bodily injury, damage to personal property, loss of my immortal soul, and/or death. By this waiver, I assume any and all risk and take full responsibility and waive any and all claims of personal injury, including severe bodily injury, damage to personal property, loss of my immortal soul, and death relating to all activities associated with LE Gnome Alchemist, including but not limited to the ingestion or injection of drugs, potions, tinctures, herbal infusions, and/or other products prepared or administered by LE Gnome Alchemist. If I am injured or harmed in any way by or from said activity I will not hold the Released Party responsible even if the injuries were caused by my negligence or that of the Released Party, or any other party under, affiliated, related, or in association with the aforementioned Released Party.

I have read and agree to the terms of this waiver and release. I understand and confirm that by signing this waiver and release I have given up considerable future legal rights. I have signed this waiver, freely, voluntarily, under no duress nor threat of duress, without inducement, promise, threat, nor guarantee being communicated to me. My signature is proof of my intention to execute a complete and unconditional waiver and release of all liability to the full extent of the law. I am of the age of legal adulthood as defined by the law of [Jurisdiction] for [species/race of the individual granting the waiver]; [age in years] or older and am mentally competent to grant this waiver.

I declare that the forgoing is true and correct. Signed on this day [ ] of [Month],[Year], in [Jurisdiction].

Obviously this only goes for civil lawsuits and won't protect your Gnome if he straight-up murders people or violates any other laws, but you said that his government wouldn't have a problem with what he's doing.

Disclaimer: I am not qualified to dispense legal advice in fantasy jurisdictions that don't exist, nor, indeed, in any jurisdiction.

2016-05-03, 01:16 AM
Thanks again, everyone. Particularly to Hoosigander, for taking the time to write that up! :smallsmile:

2016-05-03, 03:52 PM
To make it more legalese, add lots of redundant bits. Like repeat the harm thing a few times, and add some terms that might be foreignish but part of your campaign such as "ihan" for the heirs bit.

And some potion effects:

Grows a third arm. If the character fails a DC 12 +CL Will save, the arm will attempt to strangle the character until destroyed. It has the defenses and stats of the PC, and will be destroyed once said character lose 1/4 of HP. If the pass the save, they can wear an extra ring

Eyes change color

Tongue grows a mouth

Also, look at WFRP Chaos mutations.

2016-05-04, 05:13 AM
Thanks for the thoughts! I think I can borrow some Warhammer books off a friend or two.