A Necromancer's Grimoire - The Wonders of Alchemy is a role playing game supplement published by Necromancers of the Northwest for use with Paizo Publishing's Pathfinder role playing game system. This is one in a series of similarly named supplements published by Necromancers of the Northwest intended to expand the game system. The supplement is covered by the Open Game License and some parts are therefore Open Game Content.
The supplement is available as a PDF. The normal price of the supplement is $1.25; however, this was purchased at the discounted price of $1.06. There are two PDFs included in the purchase; the first is a full colour version with page backgrounds whilst the second is a printer friendly version greyscale without page backgrounds. This supplement can also be purchased as part of a bundle with two other products, both on herbs.
The book introduces two new types of alchemical items, called Infusions and Serums. The section on each has instructions on crafting, applying, purchasing and removing them, as well as many examples of each laid out in a standard format.
Following the sections on Infusions and Serums, there are also a number of new poisons, also laid out in a standard format.
Finally, there are a number of new Wondrous Items, again laid out in a standard format, and a Sidebar entitled What About Potions?
A Necromancer's Grimoire - The Wonders of Alchemy in Review
The PDF is bookmarked, and quite thoroughly, with links to each new item, but there is no table of contents or index though, which would have been helpful, and it doesn't have a typical chapter format. It also doesn't seem to be properly searchable, which is a problem. There are a number of full colour, and appropriate, stock art illustrations throughout the book, which do fit in well. The supplement doesn't, as it states, alter the Alchemist class; instead, it provides new options for the Craft (alchemy) skill and new items to create with it.
The Alchemist class within the Pathfinder/D&D 3.5 game systems is quite poor, and doesn't really have much in common with traditional fantasy alchemy. Alchemists don't make potions, and this book doesn't change that, the reasons why being given in What About Potions? There aren't any rules on using Craft (alchemy) to create items from the core rules. There is an optional rule given for creating potions using alchemy, should that be wanted, and should it be allowed.
The supplement has a lot of new items, and these can be created using the alchemy skill. The Infusions have a permanent effect, making them potentially powerful; however, each infusion also has a negative effect too, balancing them out, and only one can be applied at once. The serums can also be powerful, and again, there are potentially negative consequences for using them, but there effects are not permanent.
What this book primarily does is introduce a large number of new items, and there really are a lot of items, many with interesting descriptions that can add colour, and a method of creating them using the Craft (alchemy) skill, as well as by more traditional methods in the case of the Wondrous Items. What it doesn't do is sort out any problems that exist with alchemy within the system as a whole. For those who want a more traditional alchemist, one suggestion, unrelated to this book, would be to adapt and update the AD&D 2nd Edition Alchemist class from Dragon #130. The Wonders of Alchemy does add a whole lot of new items, and alchemical ways of making them, that do add some depth to an otherwise problematical skill, and it is really cheap for what it is.