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The pharmakis is a tradition of witchcraft that finds its roots in the origins of Circe and Medea, the daughters of Hecate. Both sorceresses were masters of their art, fully versed in transforming men into pigs and in the intricacies of poison. Indeed, the word “Pharmakis” is where the modern word “pharmacist” originates.

As a goddess, Hecate is not formally recognized as part of the Olympic pantheon, and yet she is still a driving force that influences many supernatural events. Although she has no hiereus, the pharmakis honor her.

Pharmakis are experts at brewing potions and crafting wands. They also are quite vain and are not above using their wiles to get what they want.

The art of the pharmakis is illegal in some city-states.

Thus, pharmakis are always on the run for one reason or another. They often seek out powerful kings to influence them and change the course of history. Alternately, heroes might seek them out and take them along as counselors and concubines.

Pharmakis are chosen at birth. They are uniformly female and beautiful. Her mother indoctrinates each pharmakis in her art. Some pharmakis will sleep with powerful heroes, only to leave and give birth to a daughter who will one day be a worthy successor.

Expanded Spell List

Spell Level Spells
1st animal friendship, ray of sickness
2nd alter self, phantasmal force
3rd bestow curse, hypnotic pattern
4th dominate beast, polymorph
5th geas, mislead

Hecate’s Touch

Starting at 1st level, when you hit a creature with a melee attack, you deal extra poison damage equal to your level. If the creature is incapacitated or poisoned, the creature instead takes poison damage equal to three times your level. You can use this feature only once on each of your turns.

Brew Elixir

Beginning at 6th level, whenever you finish a long rest, you can magically brew an elixir in an empty flask you touch. Roll on the below table for the elixir’s effect, which is triggered when someone drinks the elixir. As an action, a creature can drink the elixir or administer it to an incapacitated creature.

Brewing an elixir requires you to have alchemist supplies on your person, and any elixir you create with this feature lasts until it is drunk or until the end of your next long rest.

When you reach certain levels in this class, you can make more elixirs at the end of a long rest: two at 6th level and three at 15th level. Roll for each elixir’s effect separately.

Each elixir requires its own flask.

You can brew additional elixirs by expending a spell slot of 1st level or higher for each one. When you do so, use your action to create the elixir in an empty flask you touch, and you choose the elixir’s effect from the table below.

d6 Effect
1 Medea’s Healing. The drinker regains a number of hit points equal to 2d4 + your Charisma modifier
2 Medea’s Speed. The drinker’s walking speed increases by 10 feet for 1 hour.
3 Circe’s Defense. The drinker gains a +1 bonus to AC for 10 minutes.
4 Medea’s Boldness. The drinker can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to every attack roll and saving throw they make for the next minute.
5 Hecate’s Flight. The drinker gains a flying speed of 10 feet for 10 minutes.
6 Circe’s Transformation. The drinker’s body is transformed as if by the alter self spell. The drinker determines the transformation caused by the spell, the effects of which last for 10 minutes.

Restorative Reagents

Starting at 10th level, you can incorporate restorative reagents into some of your works:

  • Whenever a creature drinks an experimental elixir you created, the creature gains temporary hit points equal to 2d6 + your Charisma modifier (minimum of 1 temporary hit point).
  • You can cast lesser restoration without expending a spell slot and without preparing the spell, provided you use alchemist’s supplies as the spellcasting focus. You can do so a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of once), and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Pharmakis Mastery

By 14th level, you have been exposed to so many chemicals that they pose little risk to you, and you can use them to quickly end certain ailments:

  • You gain resistance to acid damage and poison damage, and you are now immune to the poisoned condition.
  • You can cast greater restoration and heal without expending a spell slot, without preparing the spell, and without providing the material component, provided you use alchemist’s supplies as the spellcasting focus. Once you cast either spell with this feature, you can’t cast that spell with it again until you finish a long rest.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

5E RPG: Ancient Adventures. Copyright 2020, Mal and Tal, LLC; Author Michael Tresca.