The wording of the card "When you request support from the Council, add 2 stacks to your hand instead of one." seems to imply that using the power is mandatory when you use the Request Support action. This can be a drawback in the Kraken expansion if there is one stack you want and another with a lot of Kraken cards inside you don't want. Is this intended or is the use of semi-permanent powers always optional?
On the other hand, there is the note in the rules that reads, "A player who controls a Lord decides at which point during their turn the Lord’s semi-permanent Power is applied." "At which point" is not the same as "if", but it could be argued that you would be able to choose not to apply its power during the appropriate phase.
Yes, exactly. The text is pretty unambiguous, but I wondered if you could derive a general rule that semi-permanent powers are always optional from the rule Peter S. quoted. Also at the time the card was written, there was no case in which taking two stacks could have been a disadvantage, so there was no need to put a "may" into the text.
On the other hand, if the power of the alchemist were optional, following the same principle you could argue that when activating the Ship Master ("Gain 1 Pearl for each different Race that you send to the Council.") and sending f.e. 3 races to the Council you could choose to only take 2 pearls, so that you can get rid of your 1 Nebulis the next turn and that would go a bit far.