If I can hate computer RPG's for one thing, it's the over abundance of potions. When you have players that come from that sort of background, they just seem to expect every town to have one dude whose sole vocation is to constantly crank out healing potions in the hopes that maybe, some day, a group of wounded or soon-to-be wounded adventurers will show up.
It makes no Godsdamned sense, and I hate it.
I like my worlds low-magic, and that goes for potions too. When things like magic and potions are common, they are no longer special.
The Magic Potion becomes the band-aide and is no more special than the 10 foot pole. Less, even, because the magic potion has an obvious use, is disposable, and generally uninteresting. No one every gives a healing potion a second thought.
Additionally, when a player is toting around a bag of healing potions, he knows, he fucking knows that he only has to give up a single combat round and he's got hit points back. If the roll is good enough, maybe he'll drink another next round. All the while, the orc is smashing him in the face.
Furthermore, think of the applications to the world if healing potions were plentiful? All war would be almost constant stalemate, and alchemist facilities would be huge targets. Furthermore, the market for materials used in the preparation of potions would also be huge. An entire industry.
Fuck healing potions. /rant
All potion hate aside, my world has Alchemists. Though not available as a character class, alchemists have an in-game history.
Before the Consolidation, when magic was wild and free, The Alchemists were a brotherhood of thinkers and experimenters who specialized in the mundane sciences. Many of the members of the Alchemists were mages, but the group was dedicated to unlocking the secrets of the natural world without the use of magic. Their pursuits were not limited to just science, however. Mathematics, philosophy, architecture, and many other fields of study were explored inside their lodge halls.
Their arguably greatest creations were forged by a group known as the Hyperzenians. The Hyperzenians crafted the deadly firelances, unparalleled weapons of terror.
However, when the Alchemists opposed the Consolidation, they were destroyed and many of their secrets, including the methods used to construct the firelances, were lost.
The ancient lodge halls of the Alchemists can still be found scattered throughout Skovorod, however these ancient ruins are perilous to say the least. Many an experiment was left half finished and the promise of forgotten knowledge has undoubtedly lured foul things to these haunted sites.