Caustic Chemicals & Bases

Caustics fall into one of two categories: acids and bases.  Acids are chemicals whose first atom is hydrogen, and whose pH value is less than 7.  Bases are chemicals whose molecular chain ends with an oxygen-hydrogen pair, and whose pH value is greater than 7.  By comparison, distilled water, whose chemical formula is H2O, has the structure H-O-H, and is thus an acid and a base at the same time, and therefore has a pH of 7 (which is considered "neutral".)  Human blood is somewhat acidic, which is why an alkaloid poison (a strong base) is so deadly if ingested.  Rainwater is also usually slightly acidic hence rust is possible. [Caustics|Buffers]

Text Box: Adrena, Student of Brik, carried with her several vials of the strongest alkaline. Today, she was faced with the necessity of its use.                  
"We've come for you, young thing!" the Crystallin Legion gloated.  "What a fine time I shall have with you in my bed -- before I cut your throat, that is.  It will only be a shame that your blood won't feed the Mother.  But after all, I'm entitled to my pleasures, eh?"                
Adrena uncorked the vial of caustic and with careful aim threw its contents into her attacker's face.  He wailed in agony.  The flesh on his face churned, gushed blood, then fell off completely, leaving behind only a grinning, eyeless skill.         
"Sorry, chump," Adrena gloated, "My dance card's full tonight."               

In combat situations, throwing an acid or base at an enemy can be fairly destructive.  Acids have a detrimental effect on armour and weapons crafted from metal.  The hydrogen component temporarily separates from the solution and causes the metal to become a metallic oxide. Despite popular myths, acids don't actually "eat" anything, but instead rapidly oxidizes whatever they come in contact with. Thus sometimes a vial of caustics is the best way to even the odds against an opponent who is armored like a Sherman tank.  And acid will oxidize through metallic armour at the rate of 1 AC per intensity per round.

A base, on the other hand, will have a similar detrimental effect on organic items (leather, hide, etc.) as well as armour, wooden doors, bows, and so on. 

Characters whom have had acids or bases thrown at them do not start taking damage until their armour has been destroyed.  A caustic chemical has a primary damage effect that lasts for 1d4 rounds and a residual damage effect that lasts for 2d4 rounds thereafter.  The "dose" for an acid or base is six fluid ounces.  armour takes damage only during the primary effect.  While rare, these fluids are actually fairly cheap. The cost is measured in glass pieces.

Table: Effects of Caustics
Intensity Name Primary damage Residual damage Cost (gP) Availability
1 Weak Acid 1d4+1 1 40 Common
2 Moderate Acid 2d4 1d3 70 Hard to find
3 Strong Acid 2d6 1d4 100 Very rare
1 Weak Base 1d6 1d2 50 Common
2 Moderate Base 1d6+3 1d3 80 Hard to find
3 Strong Base 1d6+6 1d4 120 Very Rare
 As always, characters wishing to make acids or basis must have skill in Chemistry equal to the intensity of the fluid in question. Thus, a character that wishes to concoct a strong acid must have chemistry (3) and the appropriate ingredients.


All acids and bases can be counteracted by the application of buffers.  Buffers are inert chemicals that have the property of neutralizing acids or bases.  Each intensity of a buffer reduces the intensity of an acid or base by 1.  Thus a buffer of intensity 2 would neutralize intensity 2 acids, and would reduce intensity 3 acids to intensity 1.  A buffer versus acid will not function against a base (and vice versa).  Buffers cost only what their respective caustics cost. The effective "dose" is 12 fluid ounces.