Prospector Henkins, Dwarf Alchemist - 2nd Edition Ally

Earlier this month I did a post about my 2nd Edition AD&D Alchemist Rogue Class , but I didn't show an example of a character designed using the special rogue class. Until now.

In the case below, the character is actually designed to be a NPC ally in my Friday game. He is a member of the local adventurers guild, which the party all recently joined, and as such can be used as a recurring ally. I am also a fan of using henchmen and hirelings in my games, but allies are different as they can team up with PCs temporarily and then leave later on when their goals no longer coincide.

In the case of Prospector Henkins, he has arrived at the same dungeon the party is currently at, following the same wanted poster from the Adventurers Guild - and being members of the same guild at the same dungeon, it makes sense they would team up.

In the past I have used henchmen regularly for when a PC gets knocked unconscious, severely injured, killed, etc - and then you hand the player the henchman's character sheet and say "Here you go! Play this until your character wakes up." And if your player still is hesitant remind them that any XP gained while playing the henchman goes to their regular character.

With henchmen however there is a tendency for players to try and use the henchmen to cast curing spells, detect magic and other things. This can be abused unfortunately, and thus having ally characters who can come and go, and not be abused by the "They are there, why can't they cast this for me?" argument.

Abusing a henchmen in that way just encourages the DM to eventually retire the henchman, have the henchman become a villain instead, kill off the henchman, etc. But with an ally who can come and go, the DM has more power to simply say no. The ally isn't available today. Gone fishing.

Prospector Henkins, level 6 Dwarf Alchemist CG
Greedy loudmouth, smokes pipe, strokes beard, dwarven quotes.

Str 11
Dex 15
Con 16
Int 15
Wis 10
Chr 12
Com 11 (Yes, I do use Comeliness in my game. It is worth it for the laughs alone.)

Windlass Heavy Crossbow, Spd 10, 1d12+1 dmg, Rate of Fire, 1 every 2 rounds!
  • Ammo 10 regular crossbow bolts
  • 10 ceramic crossbow bolts with poison powder
Note - I use house rules for different kinds of crossbows. See my 5th Edition Crossbow House Rules. For 1st/2nd Edition I use different damage values because the editions scale damage differently, but the concept is the same.

Grenade Type Weapons, Spd 6, Damage Varies (see items further below).


  • Alchemy 15
  • Appraising 15
  • Brewing 15
  • Mining 7 (Yes, I find it ironic that he is a prospector who actually sucks at mining.)
  • Pottery 13
  • Set Snares 14
  • Swimming 11
Thief Skills

OL 45, FRT 50 (Only when not wearing armour. If wearing armour negatives apply.)

AC 2
HP 36

Thrown Grenade Type Weapons (2 of each)

2x Acid, 1d6 dmg + 1 splash, 5' radius.
2x Burning Oil, 1d4+1d4, no splash damage
2x Drowsy Dust, poison save vs Exhaustion.
2x Explosive Black Ball, 6d6 damage, 10' radius - takes a round just to light it and for the fuse to burn partially.
2x Poison Powder, save vs poison, 10 dmg.
2x Stink Bomb, save vs poison, nausea.
2x Sleep Smoke, save vs poison, only effects 5 HD or smaller creature.

Tools (2 of each)

2x Oil of Acid Resistance
2x Oil of Fire Resistance

Dwarf Quotes:
"I bet my beard..."
"Two broken hammers don't make a sword!"
"More than one way to break an anvil."
"If there is gold in there, I want some!"
"Don't count your gold before you find the goldmine!"
"I am Prospector Henkins, Grim Servant of Death... and Explosions!"
"Only a gnome would be that foolish!"
"Its a saying! Shutupaboutit!"


Looking for a nice mine to settle down with and retire.
Looking for mercurial weapon designs.
Looking for ancient alchemical recipes.

Special Note

Yes, Prospector Henkins is totally ripped off from Prospector Jenkins of Puffin Forest. I just made him a dwarf, gave him the Alchemist rogue class and suddenly explosives made sense.

2nd Edition AD&D Alchemist Rogue Class

Alchemist, Rogue Class

Ability Requirements: Dexterity 12, Constitution 9, Intelligence 15
Prime Requisite: Intelligence
Races Allowed: All

The alchemist is a craftsman whose primary goal is to study the nature of substances, learn the properties, and combine them to make useful tools / weapons. Some alchemists even delve into the study of trying to turn lead into gold - which is believed to be possible by creating a Philosopher's Stone. While other classes can learn Alchemy as a skill, the Alchemist takes the craft more seriously as their primary profession.

Any race can learn the intricacies of alchemy, and there is no limit / max level to what they can achieve. They are only limited by their Intelligence, and thus Intelligence is the prime requisites of all Alchemists. An Alchemist with a 16 Intelligence or more gains a 10 percent bonus to the experience points he/she earns.

All Alchemists gain one six-sided Hit Die per level for levels 1 to 10. After 10th level they gain 2 hit points per level and no longer receive additional hit point bonuses for high Constitution scores.

Alchemists use the Rogue Experience Level chart, the same as Thief and Bard.

Alchemists use Rogue Thac0 progression, the same as Thief and Bard.

Alchemists use the Rogue Saving Throw progression chart.

Thief Skills

Alchemists dabble in Opening Locks and Finding/Removing Traps. They start play with a base 10% chance in each of these two thief skills, and they gain an additional 5% to both skills every time they reach a new level. Racial, Dexterity and Armor modifiers also apply.

When finding and removing an Alchemical Trap the Alchemist gains a 5% bonus to their FRT roll. If trying to open a lock which uses some kind of alchemical substance as part of the locking mechanism, they also gain a 5% bonus to their roll.

Like Thieves, the Alchemist can also Backstab opponents using a well-placed attack or grenade-style weapon. When backstabbing with a grenade-style weapon the Alchemist still needs to take their opponent unawares, but since they lack Move Silently / Hide in Shadows this will rarely be used. Rather their efforts are often more successful due to trickery rather than stealth.

Furthermore, the Alchemist's Backstab bonus only applies to their primary target, and only if they score a successful hit. Normal rules for grenade style attacks apply. eg. If attacking with Holy Water or Acid, the target successfully hit takes double, triple, quadruple or quintuple damage based on the Alchemist's level. Creatures that take splash damage are not effected by the Backstab effect.


Weapon Proficiencies: 2
Non-Weapon Proficiencies: 6

Alchemists can learn any kind of weapon, but start play with only 2 Weapon Proficiencies and one of them must be "Grenade Style Weapon", which is useful for throwing Acid, Glue Bombs and similar alchemical concoctions at enemies.

Note - Alchemists are thus proficient at throwing Holy Water, even though they cannot make holy water. Only clerics or paladins can make Holy Water.

Alchemists are also fond of using other types of weapons to deliver their alchemical attacks. eg. Smoke Bomb Arrows.

The Alchemist starts with 6 NWP / Skill slots, but two of them are automatically used to gain the Alchemy Skill*. Learning to Read/Write is also recommended, but not mandatory. Various skills like Appraising, Brewing, Engineering, Herbalism, Pottery, and Set Snares are also useful.

eg. Pottery is very handy for creating containers just to store alchemical items within, and is suitably breakable when they need to be.

The Alchemist can choose NWP skills from the General, Priest and Rogue NWP lists.

Alchemists gain additional WP and NWP based on their level, at the same rate as other Rogue classes Thief and Bard.


The Alchemist starts play with an Alchemy Tool Kit, which contains everything they need to create acid, alchemist's fire and other items. If they ever lose this tool kit and supplies and need to replace it, a new kit costs 100 gp.

* Alchemy Skill *
Slots Required: 2
Relevant Ability: Intelligence
Base Check Modifier: 0

The Alchemist is accomplished and well versed in alchemical recipes to create a variety of alchemical substances. They are also adept at recognizing alchemical substances, alchemical traps, and recognizing alchemical formulae.

Like a wizard who is memorizing spells daily, the Alchemist will likewise be making new alchemical items daily. At 1st level they should be able to make 3 small jugs of acid (or similar item) every morning while the wizard is memorizing his/her spells. The number they can make each morning improves at levels 3, 5, 7, 9 and every 2 levels thereafter.

The Alchemist also pays a materials upkeep based upon what they are making. The upkeep is their level multipled by their level in gold pieces. eg. A level 4 Alchemist pays 16 gp per day for materials to make their items. If they run out of materials, they cannot make any more items that day.

** The DM should give the alchemist some leeway (but not complete leeway) seeing as alchemy is their primary weapon. They should not however let the PC go hogwild with their creations. Alchemy items should never replicate magical effects. It should also never replicate Herbalism and both the DM / PC should be vigilant about making sure they are never making any alchemical substances that replicate something that a Herbalist could do instead.

The Alchemist starts play at 1st level knowing a number of Alchemical Recipes based on their Intelligence, equal to the number of Bonus Languages. eg. An Alchemist with a 15 Intelligence knows 4 recipes. An Alchemist with a 18 Intelligence knows 7 recipes.

Each time an Alchemist gains a level they learn 1 new recipe. They can also learn extra recipes by trading recipes with other alchemists, and by finding new recipes in books/scrolls/tablets/libraries/etc. If they are willing to spend gold, they can also research a new recipe in a similar manner that a wizard researches a new spell.

Not all alchemical recipes are available to a low level Alchemist. The DM should adjudicate which recipes are available to the Alchemist based on their level. Some of the items below are listed in the DMG as magical items, but for our purposes these items are actually non-magical. A few items are creations of my own.

So for example a 1st level Alchemist might start play with 4 recipes: Acid, Alchemist Fire, Smoke Bomb and Sleep Smoke.

Alchemist Recipes

  • Acid
  • Alchemist Fire
  • Drowsy Dust (causes exhaustion)
  • Dust of Sneezing / Choking
  • Explosives (something similar to dynamite perhaps, but the DM should adjudicate just how explosive this substance is)
  • Freezing Bellows (compressed CO2)
  • Glue Bomb
  • Laughing Gas
  • Mercurial Weapon (+1 weapon damage - Requires the Alchemist to partner with someone with the Weaponsmithing skill.)
  • Oil of Acid Resistance
  • Oil of Fiery Burning
  • Oil of Fire Resistance
  • Oil of Slipperiness
  • Philosopher's Stone * (The DM should allow this to 18th level Alchemists only)
  • Poison Liquid / Gas / Powder
  • Sleep Smoke (1 target must save vs poison or fall asleep)
  • Smoke Bomb (oil + sugar)
  • Smoke Powder** (Arquebus item - The DM may not allow this recipe.)
  • Soap of Massive Bubbles
  • Sovereign Glue
  • Universal Solvent

Character Class Creation Notes
(See the 2nd Edition Dungeon Master Guide)

1.0 Race, Any.
-1 Rogue Thac0.
0 Rogue Saving Throws.
0.75 Hit Dice 1d6.
-0.5 AC 5 Limited (Chainmail or worse).
0 All weapon types allowed.
1 Hit Points beyond level 9 = 2 per level.
1.5 Skill / NWP Proficiencies x6.
0.5 Weapon Proficiencies x2.
1 Backstab
1 OL

Total 6.25

6.25 = Rogue XP Progression Chart.

Townsends - Food for 18th Century Nerds

Okay, so if you go to the official Townsends website they say they are:

"Townsends is dedicated to exploring the 18th century living, cooking, clothing, and much more."

Frankly the "and much more" covers a lot of territory. They aren't limiting themselves to just the 18th century either, but rather the 18th century and any of centuries during the colonial period and sometimes the rare recipe dating from before then.

If you are the type of person is into recreating 16th century, 17th century and 18th century clothing, food and the lifestyle then Townsends is certainly up your alley.

Speaking for myself, I mostly just watch the Townsends YouTube channel, which has over 822,000 subscribers, and covers topics like how to make your own ale/beer, recipes for fried chicken, and what kind of rations soldiers, sailors and other people got to eat during the time period.

Here are a few videos as examples:

18th Century Fried Chicken Recipe

18th Century Brewery

18th Century Sailor Rations, Burgoo

So a few things...

#1. High production value. Townsends, as a cooking show goes, is on par with any television cooking show.

#2. Yes, they will try to sell you on the recipe books and other products they sell, but frankly buying the recipe books is unnecessary as they tell you everything you need to know during the episode anyway.

#3. The costumes. Really adds to the authentic experience of watching the videos.

#4. I could see someone making a themed restaurant based off of this, where all the waiters and the decor is done in the 18th century, and all the recipes are period recipes.

Post Updated - April 2019.
Publishing a fantasy book? Make sure you get a professional fantasy book editor.

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