This material is meant to be modular and flexible. The adventures and encounters presented within it (at some point) can be easily tweaked to match your style of play and the amount of alchemy and Glonkard you want in your party’s lives. Its nature should also help it fit into most fantasy worlds with relative ease.

To be on the same page, I want to clear up and define a few points that are important to the world view that Glonkard’s proposes. None of them are set in stone, of course. Just take it as what I based this idea upon. There is nothing here that cannot be modified to fit your needs better.

This is part of Glonkard’s Manufactory, a Slow burn Sourcebook.


Alchemy is often described as a liquid kind of magic. And while that makes for a good slogan, it is not entirely true. Smart alchemists use solid and gaseous ingredients as well. Seriously, though, you may wonder whether there is a place for alchemy in a world where magic can literally make wishes come true. The answer is yes, there definitely is.

a tightly packed alchemist's laboratory filled with glasware and colorful liquids. Equipment is just as modular as alchemy and the adventure itself.
Image made with Midjourney.

Not only does alchemy supplement magic through a wide array of potions that work just as well for non-magic-users. It also functions a lot more like a craft than the art that most high mages consider the arcane to be. Thus, progress is being made by a much larger number of individuals working together, as opposed to a few experienced arcane practitioners keeping their newest spell inventions to themselves.

And on top of that, alchemy can be used for much more than mere potion brewing. Perfected by the Gnomes of Okapeka, the Mobile Alchemy Kit allows the skilled user to find trace amounts of subsctances, identify any kind of liquid, and upgrade food and drink to new levels of tastyness. This kit is not of vital importance for this book. I might write about it at some other point. Just know it exists.

Alchemy without Magic

While alchemy is most at home in a fantasy setting that also features magic, it is possible to have Alchemy without any magic whatsoever. If you are playing in a world without the arcane (or bereft of it for any reason), Alchemy can still work and provide both a cool effects as well as an opportunity to add Glonkard’s to your setting.


Gnomes are far from the only alchemists, but they are certainly the most numberous ones. Through a mixture of luck and available resources, they became widely known as masters in the craft of Alchemy. A reputation which the growing production facilities in and around the capitol of their land were all too happy to foster.

Not every gnome is an alchemist, but most of them have learned the basics at some point. There are few whoa re not at least familiar with the Mobile Alchemy Kit. On the other hand, not every alchemist is a gnome, but most of those who made an impact were, either through skill or marketing.

The Manufactory

This sourcebook is focused on one of those large production centers for alchemy. Such an endeavour would not only be found in a big town. It would likely be one of the major reasons why the town grew big in the first place. While it does not necessarily have to be the capitol of the land, nor does it need to be a land comprised mainly of gnomes, both those aspects would help to explain the Glonkard’s rise to power – until the incident happened.

Glonkard’s Then

As the craft of Alchemy grew, so did the production facilities. This developement away from master craftmen residing somewhere at the edge of a village, taking on one or two students at a time, to large manufactories in dedicated districts in larger cities, culminated in Glonkard’s. It was at its peak not only the largest such facility, but it managed to incorporate a business frontend that dripped splendor and social proof.

A huge pompous industrial building with a sales front and a lot of smike rising from chimneys.
Image created with Midjourney.

While Alchemy was being performed in countless laboratories in the back, a gleaming sales area offered everything that potions could offer to anyone who had the coin. It was a dream facade in a quarter full of smoke and weird smells, but it flourished and kept growing bigger and even more successfull over the years.

Over time, a separate sales room was added for less performative potions. Here, you could find anything from perfume to love potions, with alchemically enhanced flowers being sold whenever they were in season.

Until something went wrong Until…

The Incident

Everyone knows that Alchemy can be dangerous, but nobody really knows what happened that day. Glonkard’s prided itself on a splendid track record in terms of safety, but it ended up with the greatest alchemical desaster in living memory.

Experts assume that something caused one of the mass market scale reactions to go critical and exploded. But the Incident was not just an explosion. As the theory goes, this explosion in turn triggered a number of follow-up reactions. Either it damaged equipment that caused dangerous leaks, or its leftover reagents contaminated surrounding reactions.

Either way, a series of events over the course of a few minutes created an unprecedented amount of smoke and an assortment of unidentified reagents and energies that enveloped the building.

Glonkard’s Now

When the air cleared, it left behind a shadow of the formerly glorious manufactory. Most of the building was still intact, and people naturally sought to help – or plunder. Most brought back stories of broken furniture and equipment, spilled reagents, and odd things lurking in the shadows. Some spoke of ghostly voices in the walls. Others did not come back out at all.

Glonkard's after the Incident, a ruin of a building surrounded by debris and a tall wooden fence.
Image made with Midjourney.

Thus, the city authority decided to place a high wooden wall around the manufactory, with a large guarded gate to facilitate eventual cleanup and research efforts. This is the state that Glonkard’s is in today. The fence is being maintained, as rogue alchemical energy can decay single boards over night. The markings on the building change every now and then, but nobody has been able to discern a pattern.

And time and again, mysterious figures hire adventurers to retrieve items, information, or leftovers from within Glonkard’s.

Modular Alchemy Adventures

Further along in this Slow burn Sourcebook, you will find several adventure paths as well as single encounters that can take place inside the fenced-in corpse of the Manufactory. They, too, are meant to be modular, for you to pick and chose, mix and match.

Check out the other modular content for Glonkard’s Manufactory, and the other Slow burn Sourcebooks as well! And if you enjoy what you find, join my Discord to discuss it!