Demosthenes The Alchemist God


Before Time

Demosthenes is an enigmatic God; the brother of Ishtar, he dedicates himself to researching the secrets of the World. From the earliest accounts, he was always taking things apart and putting them back together again.

He did not take an interest in politics and remained totally neutral throughout the Darkness and Chaos Wars. He appears in many legends as a source of rumour, knowledge and obscure questions. He brewed the intoxicating Nectar for the Gods and the healing elixir Ambrosia. It was after consulting with Demosthenes that Selene discovered or created Moon and Than devised the vile Head spell.

These acts caused some anger among the Gods but the Alchemist demonstrated his neutrality by advising Neibelung on the fashioning of the Dwarves and researching the Head of Than for Rhadamanthus. He questioned Rhadamanthus and Humakt after all their quests and thereby learnt much of the World, though in exasperation they sometimes refused to answer him.

He was interested in all things, but particularly the origins of Chaos and its connections with Darkness, and both their links with the Moon.

He researched deeply into the nature of elements and it was upon his advice that the elements were allocated their places in the calendar and the cyclic nature of Time was so wrought.

For this alone he deserves respect from the Gods, for it was his hand that scribed the Great Pact that all the gods signed to end the Chaos Wars and Godtime.

Since Time

His cult is basically dedicated to knowledge skills and research, but several sub-cults have developed. First, the Brewers specialise in producing alcoholic drinks and the many establishments for the purveyance of such, the Brewers are the most worldly of the Demosthenes cultists but still serve as local repositories of Knowledge, Wisdom and always seek after strange tales by travellers.

The Apothecaries serve as vendors for medicines and herbs of strange properties and also as buyers, sellers and valuators of strange and unusual objects. The scribes perform a valued service in a society where literacy is rare, they read and write for others, and also draw-up legal documents, record histories, make maps and serve as professional linguists.

Finally the sages are often lone individuals who pursue some highly specialised aspect of knowledge.

While Scribes are generalists, Sages are specialists and are often nobles pursuing what was once a hobby or passing interest to the point of obsession.

Above these are the true alchemists who conduct original research having risen above the most mundane aspects of the cult.

Life After Death

Demosthenes teaches that all who die in his cult shall serve him in his laboratory and libraries wherein is stored all the Knowledge of the World. He recognises that acquiring the necessary skills, knowledge and experience must take a lifetime and so demand that his initiates be allowed to return to mortality if their deaths be untimely by either resurrection or Divint. Burial customs are usually those common in the area, but some dedicated cultists leave their bodies to science that they may further Alchemy.

Runic Associations

Demosthenes believes in using Alchemy to Order Truth. Alchemy is the primal force of curiosity, taking-apart and putting-together, Analysis and Synthesis. It is peculiar to Demosthenes. The Symbol is said to represent Demosthenes' first retort.

Nature of Cult

All aspects of the cult are essentially interested in acquiring, ordering and sharing knowledge. Even the worldly brewers are always interested in hearing a strange tale and will often reward a story teller or a bringer of news with a free drink. The cult aspects are by no means separate and it is common to find an aspiring alchemist having started as a sage, finance his research by working as a scribe, brewer or apothecary. The keyword to any Demosthenes cultist is inquisitivity, and therefore a few even become adventurers, though most prefer to ask questions of others and adventure only within their own laboratory.

Socio-Political Position and Power

It can never be said that an Alchemist cares for power, but only in knowledge for its own sake. However, cultists are widely respected for their various skills. Brewers, apothecaries and scribes all fulfil necessary functions within society. Sages appear to be solitary, introverted figures and are often ridiculed yet should an expert opinion be sought on a particular matter of lore, then the relevant sage is the person to turn to for a comprehensive analysis. The Alchemists themselves, of course, are the only people to bring an artefact to when it is desired to ascertain its purpose and function; their services are expensive, but necessary, the examination usually long and thorough.

Particular Likes and Dislikes

The cult is associated to Ishtar as she is the Alchemist's sister. It is friendly towards Humakt, Rhadamanthus and Mordrake though this is not necessarily mutual. Most other cults and people are viewed neutrally. The only thing Demosthenes hates is the destruction of knowledge and therefore Thanatar is hated, however the head-hunters are too covert and devious for the Alchemists and they fear because of their defencelessness. Aside from the head-hunters, Demosthenes cultists are known for their ability to speak to anyone in the pursuit of knowledge. Sailors and soldiers like strong drink and in return often bring news of distant places.


Brewers, apothecaries and scribes usually have a guild-structure which sees to training and regulates the profession within one town. Sages are most often found on their own, often as eccentric minor nobles, but occasionally found in centres of learning in very large cities. The alchemists are also found in these institutes, but are also found independently. Most Rhadamanthus Bridewells will retain an alchemist locally for analysis of criminal evidence, and occasionally an ordinary nobleman will maintain a court alchemist. Alchemists and sages sometimes voluntarily come together for long or short periods to confer or form particular schools of research. Monbury Abbey was one such place.

Lay Membership

Demosthenes holds that anyone who has a desire to learn a knowledge skill is a Lay Member. For practical purposes a Lay Member is usually apprenticed within the one of the Guilds of Brewers, Apothecaries or Scribes where they are trained in the skills of their guild under the tutelage of a master. In very large cities, they may enrol as pupils in the colleges to hear discourse by the Sages and of course any nobleman may hire a sage to instruct him in a knowledge skill. The title by which these laymen go by varies; prentice, essayer, pupil, student, etc.

Laymen must sacrifice a point of power each Holy Day, three on All Deities Day. Those apprenticed or acquiring a scholarship receive free room and board, others must pay. All laymen are governed by strict regulations and must obey their masters and tutors. Apprentices aspire to obtaining their professional qualifications as journeymen in their respective guilds. Pupils and students look to acquire mastery of their chosen subjects. All may purchase battlemagic at normal costs. An apprenticeship or studentship typically lasts for five years, at the end of which the laymen will be close to initiating. Training may be bought at half price in primary and full price secondary skills.

Initiate Membership

Initiatehood is ostensibly open to anyone with mastery of a knowledge skill. The Guilds all additionally require that the applicant have served his time as an apprentice whereupon they become journeymen in their guild and receive licenses to practice within their town. These people have status within their towns and will usually start practising in a company of their guild if they cannot afford to set up by themselves. Anyone with mastery of a Lore skill is a sage, but colleges will insist that a sage have passed his degree unless he has made a name for himself in his field of knowledge. Initiates must sacrifice three points of power on a Holy Day, five points on a High Holy Day.

A sage may receive full cost tuition in any knowledge skill and free access to the library provided he spends an equal amount of time lecturing; if a member of the college, he need only spend half this time lecturing. Guildsmen pay a tithe to the guild.

Initiates may purchase all Battlemagic at normal cost plus all Detection spells, Glue, Ignite, Inking, Mind Speech and Smallsee all at half price.

There is of course, nothing to stop a guildsman from purchasing training from the Sages, however the guild will not allow him to lecture in guild knowledge skills at the college and he must either pay in cash or else lecture in some other skill. As the colleges and the guilds are facets of an Harmonious, Orderly cult, the respective hierarchies will co-operate to ensure this rule is enforced.

Initiates may sacrifice for all runemagic non-reusably save for those spells labelled "Alchemists only". In addition, upon initiating they may select one Runespell to be reusable, this must be a one point spell, and they may sacrifice for as many points as they please.

Runelord Membership - The Masters

When the initiate has mastery of five knowledge skills including Read/Write in a language, then he may apply for the status of Master. The Guilds insist that the primary and secondary skills are those being mastered, the sages are of course more lax. The guilds refer to their Runelords as Masters of their respective Guilds. The Runelord sage is referred to as a Loremaster; his skills are usually Lores and knowledges rather than mundane artisan skills.

An applicant has to convince a board of examiners in a test of 10% per mastered knowledge skill plus POW, INT and CHA, there may be a bonus if he has made his mark in whatever field he has selected. If unsuccessful, he must master a new knowledge skill and wait at least one year before reapplying. If successful, he is inaugurated on the Storm season Holy Day in anticipation of the High Holy Day when he spends his time in prayer.

All Runelord Masters are expected to spend All Deities' Day in prayer and feasting, they are expected to oversee underlings and ensure their proper training. In the Guilds their activities are highly regulated but they can make some considerable money within their professions. The sages do not make money unless they can sell their knowledge skills and the colleges usually rely on charity of some form. The sages have few restrictions and those not in colleges may do as they please. Colleges usually demand a sage keeps students and writes scrolls and books on his subjects for the library.

Masters may attune iron though they only receive token items from the cult. Brewers receive ironware stills; Apothecaries, iron pestle and mortar; Scribes, iron daggers for cutting quills; and Sages receive handsome rune metal trimmed gowns. They gain Runelord divints and familiars plus all other Runelord benefits, though only their knowledge skills or those directly related to cult business may rise above 100%. Usually any small animal may be used as familiars though most cultists favour owls. There is no POW maintenance requirements and they sacrifice for all cult runemagic reusably save for those spells intended for Alchemists alone and additionally may select one type of elemental to summon reusably. All their dexterity skills are limited to DEX x 5%.

The biggest benefit to the Master status is the purchase of the skills Analysis and Synthesis. These skills make him an erstwhile Alchemist and entitle him to use the Alchemist runespells non-reusably. When he has mastered one skill, he is an Alchemist and may then use these reusably. Alchemists are at the peak of their professions and can use their skills to elucidate how things work and explore the world within their laboratories; training may occur by normal training or by research from books and experiments, the latter is double time.

Runespell Compatibility

Demosthenes masters gain access to the following standard runespells. Dismiss Elemental I, Divination, Divine Intervention, Extension I II & III, Matrix Creation, Spell Teaching and Warding. Demosthenes' Divination works only within the realms of Alchemical matters for Demosthenes is only concerned with pure knowledge. The cult also gains access to the following cult special runespells, those labelled "A" are only reusable to a master of either Analysis or Synthesis.

Alchemetical Skills - Analysis and Synthesis

These skills summarise the Alchemical processes that allow an Alchemist to take a substance and break it up into its relevant parts and discover from what it is made, or to discover how to combine elements and substances to make others. Alchemical Analysis/Synthesis requires a fully equipped laboratory with some very expensive glassware costing typically several thousand shillings. Analysis and Synthesis will take a variable amount of days to weeks, depending upon the difficulty and amount of material to work with. Simple Alchemical operations operate at normal skill, but may be penalised for more difficult operations. These skills are also used to draw conclusions from data and produce written papers.

Lore Skills

The Lores are skills concerning knowledge about fields of interest, they tend to be fairly broad e.g. Mineral Lore, Plant Lore, Beast Lore. They differ from normal skills in that they can be raised by experience only by failing or else fumbles and having the error demonstrated to the character. An unrecognised fumble means the skill may not be trained until the error is corrected. All Lore skills are 00 base Knowledge skills, training is 500/1000/2000/4000 for Lores such as above, but may be less for more specific Lores or readily available knowledge. Lore skills are esoteric and training is difficult to find, therefore Sages and Loremasters indulge in research and even go adventuring. Research can also be done from books which are written at one week per 5% up to 25%, 2 weeks per 5% up to 50%, 3 weeks per 5% up to 75%, and so on. Training from books can be up to the level of the book and is therefore somewhat more efficient than person-to-person training, especially if copies are made.