Michelle Mauvais, the noted French Alchemist and Hermetic scholar, first rose to prominence in the Twenty-thirties with the release of her popular Le Petit Grimoire, which contained thirty low-force, limited use and novel spells that cost next to nothing for the average magician to learn and use. Such "cantrips," as Mauvais styled them, are still very much in vogue and Le Petit Grimoire remains a popular textbook and student manual in thaumaturgical programmes throughout Europe. The fame and royalties from sale of the textbook guaranteed her

An avid writer who contributed a number of articles to various Dutch, French, English, and Italian journals dedicated to the spread of Alchemical knowledge, Mauvais' second published work, Magi, placed her as first runner-up for the 2056 Nobel Prize. Magi was a grammar that laid the basics of a universal magical language, artifically derived from a combination of ancient heiroglyphical and pictograph languages, as well as alchemical and astronomical symbolism. Ideally, the language rode midway between the artistic and symbolic Shamanic formulae and the the language-intense Hermetic formulae, facilitating an easier translation between the two. Unfortunately, while lauded loudly by many, especially the burgeoning movement that would become the Unified Magic Theorists, the language was never put to practice in any large degree and became ignored.

The following alchemical techniques, pioneered by Mauvais in her early years, are available for use by any magician with a minimum of research and practice.

Alchemical Alloys and Metalworking
Mauvais'  published articles on alchemical metalworking, describe the proper means of using the Clean Air, Alter Pressure and Alter Temperature spells to create stronger alloys or better purify metal arcana. She presents formulae for slight variations on the Control Fire spell so as to create a blow-torch quality suitable for welding, and Clean Earth suitable to rid metal ore of gross impurities (alternately, it may be used to reclaim a specific metal or mineral from a quantity of dross or slag.) Enchanters using the techniques Mauvais has specified in her works have reported higher-quality blades and weapon foci. Her works likewise contain the spell and methods required to magically electroplate metals onto objects, even orichalcum, which must normally be worked into an alloy.


Shortly before her death in 2062, Mauvais, at the ripe age 120, promised to bring forth her "triptych," a completed work in three volumes that would broach new (or ancient, as the rumors went) ground in Alchemical theory. Mauvais' death was unnatural, but not unexpected. Possessed of both a legendary constitution and legendary appetites, Mauvais was a sadomasochist who frequented a little-known club in London, where she allowed herself to become subject to multiple possession by a variety of spirits. Her last sojourn, mere hours after completing her work and submitting it to her publisher, lasted three days and proved the death of her.

The publisher carefully edited the original editions, expurgating part of the material and presented a much thinner and less impressive work to the market at large. He then printed a small number of "complete" edition sets on a private press he himself owned, no more than thirty sets, and auctioned the lot off to a daring collection of occult figures he had somehow managed to contact. None of these sets included the fourth book, which the editor kept for himself.

At least one of these purchasers scanned their set onto the Matrix, were it resides in a forgotten Magicknet database. Yet another pirated their copy, and published a butchered but thick Cantonese translation in mainland China. The original set is still at large, as it was discovered stolen at the same time as the publisher was discovered murdered...his ears, eyes, and mouth having been filled with molten gold, the charred fragments of an unidentified but apparently annotated copy of the fourth book in his blistered hands.

Below is presented the full text of the Mauvais Manuals, penned in French:

Book One: Artificial Stone
Here, Mauvais details her researches into the creation of artificial gemstones by alchemical means, citing as historical examples certain obscure asiatic religious societies said to incorporate such gems into their weapons. The expurgated editions have removed Mauvais' further notes, which hint that such weapons may possess a sort of bloodlust. Also removed where her researches on the use of bezoars in enchanting.

Book Two: True Homonunculi
An ancient goal of classical alchemists, Mauvais has recreated and refined the methods of crafting a true homonunculus. Unlike the physical constructs created and enchanted by magicians the world over to hold their ally or familiar spirits, True Homonunculi are small, mindless humanoids grown in jars from a variety of chemicals and magical substances by a sufficiently skillful and wise alchemists who make use of Mauvais’ formulae. Those few alchemists who have a copy of the work with the full formulae (which do not appear in the edited editions) and have expressed their opinions deride Mauvais for making use of Sorcery in the Enchanting process.

Rumors concerning this book abound, including that Mauvais left further, unpublished notes which chronicle her discovery and revival of an ancient homonunculus, and the formulae necessary to create a true homonunculus similar to a metahumans in size and capabilities.

Book Three: The Alchemical Rites of Mummification
Following the mystical aspects of mummification rituals worldwide, in this chapter Mauvais has condensed them to their basic components. Then, using the model of the Egyptian mummification ceremony, Mauvais details the formulae and methods by which a modern metahuman or animal corpus may be properly prepared, using alchemical reagents, to prevent reanimation.

Mauvais herself allowed, in her will, for her body to be preserved using a similar formula. Her body rests in a tank of alchemical fluids within the Black Museum of the London Occult Society.

In the unedited copies of the book circulating about is a regrettably brief section wherein Mauvais detailed a means for initiated magicians and adepts to approach “The Lands of the West,” a metaplane corresponding to the ancient Egyptian afterlife by means of self-induced near-death experience. Metaplanar mappers speculate this may in fact be similar to Guinee, the Isle Beneath the Sea in Voudoun tradition, but populated by more familiar representations.

Despite many ardent attempts, Michelle Mauvais avows she never successfully swindled, seduced, researched, or wrested the secret of brewing magical compounds, which she saw as the alchemical potions of old. However, she did discover that adepts without normal access to the metaplanes could, by overindulging in various drugs, place themselves in such a mental state that they could go on a “Vision Quest,” and thus perform Astral Quests as normal magicians.

Book 4: Potions and Elixirs

The virtually unknown fourth book of her ill-named 'triptych' contains what might be Mauvais’ greatest secret, for the tome describes her researches into the Elixir Vitae, or Elixir of Life. Mauvais spent fifty years researching the Elixir, the last ten of those as a vampire pawn to a decadent and paranoid nosferatu.

This Golden Elixir, as she calls it, may be drafted from various ingredients, some common and others incredibly rare, following an exacting formulae. The arcane text describing the proper metamagical technique to craft the Elixir Vitae itself is nearly incomprehensible save to the highest initiates.

Game Information

Alchemical Alloys and Metalworking
A magician who possesses the Alter Pressure. Alter Temperature, Clean Air, Clean Earth and Control Fire spells at a Force equal to the Force of the focus and utilizes them according to Mauvais’ techniques may, with a successful Edged Weapons (B/R) test equal to the Force of the focus, create knives equivalent to Cougar fineblade knives or a sword equivalent to an Ares monosword. Because this bonus does not stem from a technological refinement such as a monofilament or Dikote™, the blade crafted retains its bonus against spirits (such blades must still be made into weapon foci to affect critters with the Immunity to Normal Weapons power.)

To electroplate a magical metal, the magician must first possess a specialized expansion for her enchanting kit, which costs twice as a much as a normal enchanting kit. With the proper knowledge and equipment, the magician must prepare the solution that the object to be electroplated must rest in (on average, fifty nuyen per fifty square centimeters of surface area or part thereof.) For every fifity square centimeters of surface area or part thereof, the magician must craft particulate solutions of one unit worth of refined metals, metal radicals, or orichalcum (natural orichalcum must be refined before use.) Then, the magician simply submerges the part of the object to be coated and cast the Electroplate spell (formula for a Force 6 spell is presented in the book.)

Transformation Manipulation
Range: Touch
Duration: Permanent (10 turns)
Target Number: Varies, see below.
Drain: (Force)M

This spell creates a small electrical jolt, combined with magical binding energy, which causes particulate metal within a solution touched by the magician to bond with an object within the solution. The target number depends upon the metal being bonded:
Mundane metal (TN 4)
Raw metal (TN 5)
Refined metal (TN 6)
Synthetic orichalcum (TN 7)
Refined natural orichalcum (TN
Other magical metals (TN 6)
Unique alloys or ores (TN 8 or higher)

The caster or an artisan may prepare the object ahead of time in such a way that the metal electroplates in a particular pattern.

The Mauvais Manuals
Book One: Artificial Stone
Anyone who follows the instructions and formulae presented in the text may use their Enchanting (Alchemy) skill to create an artificial gemstone, suitable for use as an exotic material in a weapon focus. Crafting the gemstone requires an enchanting shop, one alchemical mineral radical for each point of force of the desired focus, and the magician must succeed at an Enchanting (Alchemy) test with a target number equal to the Force of the desired focus. The base time is 28 days, and extra successes may reduce the time. During this period, the alchemist must work for 8 hours a day, during which the magician may not do more than light reading and sleeping while tending the crucibles where the gem is being crafted. The crafted gems are usually clear, like glass, and immediately discernable to jewelers and appraisers as of an unknown type, though they may not be immediately taken for artificial.

Artificial Gems incorporated into bladed weapon foci may, at the game master's discretion, develop a "quirk" in the enchantment that prevent the user from sheathing, hiding, throwing away, or refrain from using the weapon once drawn until it is blooded...either by being drawn along the palm or thumb of the user (causing a light wound that cannot be resisted), or by causing a light wound to a living creature that possesses blood with the weapon. Magicians who try to sheathe the blade without bloodying it must undergo a Willpower test with a target number equal to the Force of the weapon focus, or go berserk and attack the nearest metahuman with the blade...or themself if they are alone.

Bezoars are artifical balls or stones created from hair or vegetable fiber, found in the stomachs of humans and animals and historically purported to have healing properties. A bezoar may be incorporated into any spell category (Health) focus or spefic spell focus of a Health spell, and reduces the target number to enchant the focus by 1. Only one bezoar may be incorporated into a given focus.

Book Two: True Homonunculi

Crafting a true homonunculus requires an enchanting shop, and one unit each of radical herbal, mineral, and metal arcana. The magician must make an Enchanting test against a target number of 6, additional successes reduce the base time of 10 days. At the end of this time, the true homonunculus, a squat and often misshaped humanoid approximately thirty five centimeters high is fully formed within its jar. To instill motive power to their creation, the magician (or another magician) must remove the true homonunculus from the jar and successfully cast the Spell of Life upon the immobile form. While a true homonunculus may last for centuries unperturbed in a sealed birthing-jar, once the jar has been cracked or open the homonuculus must be animated within 24 hours or it will rapidly decay into its basic elements, a pool of alchemical dross (which may be identified by an Enchanting test with target number 6.)

The text also contains a rite which, when performed over a true homonunculus, permits it to be possessed or inhabited by spirits. In this way, magicians bind allies or other spirits into their homonunculi to bolster them. Performing the rite costs the magician who created the homonnculus 10 good karma.

Spell of Life
Transformation Manipulation
Range: Touch
Duration: Permanent (20 turns)
Drain: (Force)D
Target Number: 8

When cast on a properly crafted true homonunculus, the inanimate form is given motive power and the semblance of life. The caster of the spell may give the homonunculus short commands (20 words or less) which it will attempt to carry out to the best of it’s abilities.

True Homonunculus
B Q   S C I W E F
1 1x2 1 1 1  6  0 Force of Spell
Initiative: 1 + 1d6

Book Three: The Alchemical Rites of Mummification
This process requires an Enchanting test, target number 4, with a base time of 10 days, and an enchanting shop. The basic materials required for the ritual are minimal--2 cc’s of blood and two small fragments of wood are sufficient. However, many choose to elaborate on the burial ceremony, which can run into the thousands of nuyen. The basic process preserves the corpse indefinitely, but prevents shedim or spirits with similar powers from entering the corpse for a year and a day. Rumors persist, however, that a mambo or houngan may still animate the body as a Corps Cadavre.

Mauvais includes the formulae for a number of scrolls and amulets which may be placed within the shroud or wrappings of the corpse. If crafted and applied (costing 600 nuyen in materials and six points of karma), treat as a quickened Force 6 Spirit Barrier spell. Removing the amulets and wrapping destroys the spell.

The procedure to journey to the Westlands, though risky, does work. An initiate (even an adept without access to astral space), must be intimately familiar with the procedure for the rite. The initiate takes a deadly physical wound--either from combat or some other source (Mauvais drank an self-brewed alchemical poison from an old family recipe-it was slow acting and quite painful, as she liked it).

If successful, the subject immediately stabilizes. Whereupon, the subject attempts the journey to the Westlands (resisting Deadly stun damage.) If at any point the subject takes both Deadly stun and Deadly physical damage, remove one box from their physical overflow permanently for each further point of damage taken. If physical overflow reaches 0 and the subject still suffers from Deadly Physical and Stun damage, they are dead, and their spirit trapped in the Westlands.

Once within the Westlands, the traveler performs a standard metaplanar quest, the purpose of which is fulfilled by finding and bargaining with one of the mythical beings that inhabit the metaplane. After they have finished (either successful or failed), they must stand before Anubis, the Judge of the Dead, who determines whether or not they may return. The subject should make either a Charisma test (Quest Rating), or tactfully bribe Anubis (Quest rating in good karma.) Failure indicates that the subject is jolted roughly back into their material body (they are no longer stabilized) or, if they can astrally project and a dead body is near enough, find themselves inhabiting a corpse and unable to leave it for one hour (one minute in the case of adepts with the Limited Astral Projection edge.) If successful, the subject is returned to their body unharmed, and is stabilized until they are treated or revive on their own.

Adepts who decide to use this dangerous and unorthodox technique must procure a quantity of recreational drugs. They then spend at least 24 hours purifying themselves by fasting, purging (vomiting, sometimes also enemas), and dwelling within a sweat lodge or the equivalent. The adept must be alone during this process, though multiple adepts may share a lodge without interference. Then, the adept partakes of the drugs, sufficient for an overdose, and immediately suffers their effects and engages in their Vision Quest. During the quest, the adept possesses the advantages and disadvantages of being under the effects of the drug for the entire duration. Once the quest is over (successful or not), the adept must test for addiction and the effects if the drug end.

Book 4: Potions and Elixirs
The Elixir Vitae is a magical compound which grants the imbiber the Immunity (Age) critter power for ten years once consumed. Thereafter, the subject ages normally, unless they ingest another dose of the Elixir Vitae. Alternatively, one dose of the Elixir Vitae may transform a Vampire Pawn back to a normal metahuman with the normal essence they would possess.

Mauvais’ potion requires an in-depth and personal understanding of the processes of life and death, combined with certain ancient recipes. The ingredients for the potion alone are many, including quantities of vampire or nosferatu blood (given willingly, as to a vampire pawn, and charged with Essence), ginseng, dragon venom, ground dinosaur bones, the sap of certain ancient trees, and the yolk of a phoenix egg; each of which must be properly refined or prepared using Enchanting. Even if prepared exactly according to the formula, the Elixir vitae is worthless unless the creator possesses both the required metamagical technique, which Mauvais called “The Golden Way,” and succeeds on an Enchanting (Alchemy) test against a target number of 20. Failure in either the prerequisites or the final test immediately inflicts the imbiber with a Deadly Stun wound, a Deadly Physical wound, and the loss of one point of Essence…no test may be made to resist this. Characters who lose a magic point due to Essence loss also gain a 1-point Mental flaw. A critical failure (all 1's) infects the recipient with HMHVV, although they retain their intellect and magical ability no matter their metatype.

To gain “The Golden Way,” a magician must have participated in ritual cannibalism with a Wendigo, shella or ghoul, been willingly possessed by a spirit, and served for at least one year as a Vampire Pawn. After this, they must research the method at a Hermetic Library with a rating equal to their initiate grade, and succeed at a Magic Background, Enchanting, or Talismongering Test (20) and base time of one year. If a being taught the way by an initiate that already knows it, the research period may be waved, but the magician must study under the teacher for at least 8 hours a day for one year.
While not physically addicting, the Elixir Vitae has been known to be psychologically addictive.