I hope that Role Playing gaming is continuing in the directions such as the one that Tangent Games have taken their gem and alchemy products.
Even More Damage through Alchemistry is the sequel to their first book, More Damage through Alchemistry, and further empowers the gamer who put ranks into his Knowledge Alchemy skill. Just as the first, the book seems geared toward OGL, but can be used with any system that has an alchemy type skill.
It is hard to call a book original the second time around, but Even More Damage introduces enough new items, chemicals and concoctions that it has managed to make the skill as potent as ever and still stay within the realms of balance. All of the items can be created by any character with the alchemy skill. It makes the skill so useful, its no wonder why other companies have not come out with supplements to add balanced uses for skills, particularly knowledge skills.
The 30 page PDF begins by explaining alchemy to the reader then moves into the four types of alchemy products that can be produced. If you have grown accustom to the 1d6 acid introduced in other books, you have realized its somewhat limited and basic use. The superacids. As do the bases, gases and alchemical metals, have different results depending on if it was splashed to the ground, inhaled, ingested or thrown in the eyes. Bases are the answer to creatures with acid immunity. They are slightly more difficult to make and a little less potent, but provide extra arsenal and usefulness. Gases are quite deadly but most deadly. A PC used one of the gases in a session a couple weeks ago, and it blew up half a city block and a PC. Finally, there is Alchemical Metals, powdered forms of combustible of elements that are cheap, yet dangerous to make.
For the Player
The great thing about skills is that they can usually be learned by anyone who puts ranks in them. Sure this book works great with the typical wizard alchemist, but if you are a player who dares to be different, try adding knowledge alchemy ranks to a barbarian or fighter and use items from this book. Acids and Gases work the best for this type of character. Especially use gases if you are going for the medieval demolitionist.
For the Dungeon Master
Gamers expect magic in Dungeons and Dragons, they do not expect barrels of nothing but inert gas underneath a sewer. So if you have those nosy types of players placing a few mislabeled acids hear and a few containers of what looks to be nothing there will really surprise your PCs. The cool thing about Even More Damage is that the pain is not just relegated to damage. Because the acids, bases, gases and inert material all have different effects depending on how they are used, it will be difficult for parties to anticipate. Hyena Gas lulls players to sleep and is colorless and odorless. Priest Gas only has a slight odor and causes blisters and sickness.
The Iron Word
My biggest fear is that one day, players will play RPGs and wonder why they need Knowledge Alchemy when they have “super tornado flip on your mama attack”. I hope that day is far, far, far away. Even More Damage Through Alchemistry introduces a couple of new types of alchemistry that add to the chaotic and unexpected nature that alchemy should bring. Even if your character or NPCs are not going all out alchemistry, a few of anything in this book in their pouch will be a fun little surprise.
[4 of 5 Stars!]