The alchemist is a concept that's seen many incarnations in many different gaming systems. In most cases, it's always been a secondary, NPC or prestige class rather than a primary or base class. I suspect that the reason for this is tied to both a concept that lends itself rather well to the NPC execution, and because the concept doesn't quite fit the adventuring PC that can't lug around an enitre laboratory. As such, I have to admit that I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Vigilance Press' alchemist for the OSRIC system, but I was pleased that this alchemist is a playable one for both PCs and NPCs.
Supplement #1: The Alchemist is a short 5 page pdf product presenting an alchemist class for the OSRIC system. The product contains 3 pages of content, but includes a useful cover that contains the only bit of atwork on the product. I have to admit that the artwork on the cover looks more like a wizard than an alchemist but the similarities are not lost on me. Presentation, design and layout is good, as is the editing and writing, and overall this is a neatly done product along the same lines as other products from Vigilance Press.
As one would expect, the alchemist is a master of all things potions and mixing brews. As such, the class abilities over 20 levels are aimed at building up these specific features of the class. The most noteworthy is the ability to brew three main types of substances - acids, poisons and medicins. The product has done very well to include a good range of the options available as well as expanding the craft to advanced and later master levels as the character progresses in levels. One related ability is Mixology, which allows the alchemist to mix the abilities of two potions. While this is certainly a useful tool, I thought the implementation wasn't particularly elegant and probably could've used a separate ruling. Nevertheless, the alchemist at later levels becomes a true master of his craft, and I appreciated the fact that the 20th level ability, Philosopher's Stone, was left open for the DM and Player to decide what the alchemist's ultimate craft will be.
I thought this was a well designed and well built class, with the class showing a clear path towards an ultimate goal, and the progression being evident as the class advances in level. I liked the way the abilities were staged and built upon each other, and how the alchemist at later levels becomes free from the need to have a huge laboratory. I was perhaps hoping to see some more herbology or perhaps science in with the alchemist, but I guess that can be worked into the existing class structure and flavor. Speaking of flavor, there isn't a lot of it to be found in the product and it would've been nice to see the class expanded in these areas beyond just a very broad and general blurb.
Supplement #1: The Alchemist is a good pdf that present a useful class that can find application in almost all OSRIC games. It wouldn't take much to convert this concept and class construction to d20 either, should you want to use it there. I liked the mechanics of the product, which showed good execution and staging through the class' levels. Overall, a good class and a good product that would've been better with some added flavor and one or two minor mechanical fixes.
[4 of 5 Stars!]