I am currently playing an on-and-off-again Vampire: the Masquerade campaign. I am playing a thin blood character. I have the thin blood alchemy merit. I was wondering: as the merit works differently than disciplines, i.e. a formula or recipe can be written down, could I, through the progress of the story, trade a boon or service in exchange for a new formula?

It seems to make sense to me as these recipes have a cost, and need hoops to be leapt through for some of these ingredients. But for balance, I think it is probably relegated entirely to spending Exp. I would like other peoples' opinions.

(Just to clarify. I'm not saying if I have level one TB alchemy. I could trade for, awake the sleeper but possibly get my hands on a recipe/formula for haze or far reach.)

In case anyone is interested, I am playing a three-man campaign. I am the only thin-blood, though.


3 Answers 3


The book doesn't say outright. But here are some relevant quotes:

To learn a new formula requires research time, whether the Alchemist spends it poring through libraries or in meditation or on tasting expeditions or performing laboratory experimentation. […] A character receives a formula for free for each dot in Thin-Blood Alchemy and can purchase additional formulae with experience and experimentation.

So the "standard" way of getting a new formula takes both experience points and a lot of in-game time.

Each thin-blood alchemist develops their own proprietary formulae, often writing the recipes down in code just as the medieval alchemists did.

In other words, the formulas are to some extent unique to the alchemist; I take this to mean that every thin-blood's Vitae works slightly differently, so the process is never quite the same between different alchemists' workings.

The Storyteller can rule any other power off-limits to Alchemy if they worry about game balance or the plausibility of the fiction – and reverse themselves later if they wish, or hint at unique recipes developed in Switzerland or hidden in a Cairo library.

And yet finding another alchemist's recipe can still be helpful, even if it needs to be adapted.

In the end, of course it'll be up to your Storyteller—but I would say, based on these passages, that getting a formula from another alchemist would reduce the time cost but not the experience cost. You still have to spend the experience points to represent your own adaptations and adjustments to the recipe, but knowing how another alchemist did it will make that experimentation take hours instead of weeks.


By rules, you gain recipe by spending XP to acquiring them.

But, as a storyteller, I would say that you get the recipe from favors or trying things until it work... But, to allow your character to use it, you'll have to spend xp on it with both way. The only difference between the two method of acquiring those recipes would be the time spend on acquiring it.

Another way of thinking would be to say XP is the "trying things until it work" way, while favors is another way to get them.

So, the final answer will be up to the Storyteller.


You can, but you'll still need to pay XP.

In Blood Sigils, the blood sorcery and thin-blood alchemy sourcebook, it says this on page 46:

Value and Currency

Dot for Dot, Level for Level. When in doubt, use the dots or level on a character’s sheet to determine how much to charge or sell something in game terms. Learning the first dot of Blood Sorcery might cost a Resources dot for a few sessions; learning a new Level 3 formula might mean giving up the use of your 3 dot Mawla for the rest of the story, or trading for a grimoire holding a Level 3 ritual. Just performing a ritual or brewing up an elixir without teaching it costs half the dots of teaching it, rounded up or down to fit the customer’s urgency. (The player still has to pay the cost in Experience; the above is just the cost for the character.)

…and then:

Boons. The common currency of many cities, use boons when nothing on a character sheet feels appropriate for the exchange. Teaching a Level 5 ritual or formula almost always requires a session’s worth of action (at least) to pay off.

So, yes — on a fiction level, you can absolutely learn new formulae by trading for them, whether by boons, goods, services, or haggling. However, mechanically, you'll still need to pay three times the formula level in XP, as per page 65 of the Player's Guide.


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