Before getting to this week’s blog post, quick announcement for all the Kickstarter backers: a recent update post was sent out reviewing current status and completion expectations for Fort Alice, Saurids on the Grosvenor Express, and Ha’Penny Pie volume 2. In addition to some art previews, we let you know that the backer surveys should be coming out soon (they’re expected to release later today, if they haven’t already by the time this blog post goes up). Please make sure to get those filled in and returned to us as quick as you can, so we can get you the smoothest possible delivery of the books once everything has fully wrapped. Also, if you haven’t already, please make sure to make an account on the web store at in order to get your downloads when they become available.

With that out of the way, let’s get on with today’s post, wherein we’re continuing our theme on Weird Scientists and discussing the Newtonians.

As one might expect from their name, Newtonians are followers of Sir Isaac Newton, in his work, his beliefs, and in many cases, his mannerisms. His work in physics and mathematics is well known even into the modern day, though some may not be aware that he also dabbled in alchemy, as this was largely done in secret, and one of his tendencies was to not publish material until he was absolutely certain of both its validity and it’s usefulness to science (a trait which many Newtonians have also adopted). Given what has transpired since his time, many believe his alchemical studies may have been on to something that he simply wasn’t able to finish (possibly because it required the higher mana levels that are now present since the opening of the Rabbit Hole), and have made it their goal to complete and further his work.

Newtonians will largely focus their enchanting abilities on potion brewing. This means a lot of searching for new materials and potion components, brewing techniques, and looking into ancient alchemical lore that may have failed in the past but might just work now. An NPC Newtonian might send a group of players out to find such materials or documents, might be able to identify exotic materials and possibly find a use for them in a potion, or might be contracted to come up with a brew to get the players through a particular situation.

This is making me realize I should have included an image of Wile E. Coyote for the Herons

As player characters, Newtonians might be adventuring to go out and look for new materials, or might be looking for a way to sustain themselves and further their research without staying in place long enough for the High Street Chemists and other such critics to come around and try to devalue or destroy their work. Newtonians frequently run afoul of the Explosives Act of 1875, so staying on the move with a player group can be to their advantage. Given their close association with Newton’s tendencies, they often also pick up his anti-social behavior, and may have a hard time finding allies – getting in good with an adventuring group and proving themselves useful despite their often insufferable behavior might work to their advantage if they end up in a sticky situation and need some backup.

In game mechanics terms, their focus on alchemy and potion crafting means Newtonians are mostly going to function as support characters and buffers in the group dynamic. Potions are intended to be quick or temporary effects that can be deployed quickly and easily by most anyone. Healing potions are one of the most obvious uses, but there are also antidotes to poison and disease, potions to resist particular effects such as extreme heat or cold, and boosts to natural abilities. They can also be used offensively, such as with splash potions that generate some sort of area effect like fire or acid, poisons that could be used to anoint a weapon or be delivered through something like a dart gun or more stealthy means, or debuffs to inhibit an opponent.

As you’d expect, the heavy focus on alchemy means that will be the Newtonian’s primary method of enchanting. They’ll do a lot of more conventional alchemy crafting (for a given definition of ‘conventional’) to make established potions in the books, poisons, and any new effects that a player might come up with. These could directly influence abilities and skills that a character would roll for, or it could be used to eliminate or reduce an environmental factor and prevent a roll from being needed. In addition to those potions already described in the books, a few ideas for possibilities:

  • A potion to temporarily give a character low light vision or heat sight
  • A boost (or penalty) to perception tests using one of the character’s senses
  • A potion to allow the subject to ignore penalties from effects such as fatigue, hunger, or thirst for a certain duration (though the effects would still accumulate; I believe we all know that something like caffeine is no replacement for actual sleep)
I think every gamer can relate to this on a personal level

They can also use the enchanting techniques described in Part 2 to cast a spell into a potion in order to mimic it’s effect. Theoretically, they could also Name a spell to make it permanent, using a potion as the delivery method for casting the spell. This would, however, mean the spell is then permanently cast on the subject directly rather than an object external from them, so think carefully about how that would play out before using it in your game. Some examples might include:

  • Using Skill Boost to either bolster a skill roll or grant the character use of the skill at a rank equal to the bonus for the duration
  • Using Thought Link on a potion that two characters then both drink from to establish the telepathic link
  • Using a debuff spell like Deny Karma, and delivering it with something like a dart

Of course, potions don’t have to be applied only to a character. Any surface or object you could apply the potion to is a viable target. Some examples of this might include:

  • Creating a potion to speed up oxidization and applying it to a lock or metal bars in order to make them rust rapidly (or using the Entropy spell to mimic this effect)
  • Using Freeze Area on a thrown potion to create a frozen surface
  • Using Plant Growth on a potion that could be applied to plants encountered in the field (for various purposes)
Or do the opposite if you’re suddenly beset by muppet-style weeds (you never know, the Gruv does have all sorts of strange plants in it)

True Elements would be harder to incorporate into a potion, and given their cost would likely not be the most sought after option for components for something with a temporary effect. Though in certain circumstances there may be ways around it, one would also have to contend with the difficulty of incorporating an element into a base substance that is antithetical to its nature, such as True Fire into a liquid that normally quenches fire (unless it’s something like alcohol), True Earth into fluids that would normally just make mud (though it could be more easily made into a salve), and True Wood just really doesn’t play all that nicely with anything someone would imbibe. However, if desired by the player or Game Master, one could conceivably come up with a few effects such as:

  • Using True Fire to create a potion with a warming effect to resist cold for a long duration.
  • Using True Water for a purifying effect to remove a variety of effects (or possibly a very specific and nasty one)
  • A powder using True Air that is inhaled and used to allow the wearer to breathe more easily at high elevations.

Do you have other ideas for concoctions that a Newtonian might be able to come up with? Can you think of other delivery methods they might use, or some unique ways of applying a potion that haven’t been covered here? Let us know on Discord, and we’ll see you next week where we’ll be covering the last of the Weird Science schools, the Prometheans.