Dungeons & Dragons Online

Adventurer’s Guide to Alchemy – an alchemy system for your players based on collecting and harvesting ingredients and potion recipes

Content of the article: "Adventurer’s Guide to Alchemy – an alchemy system for your players based on collecting and harvesting ingredients and potion recipes"

This is designed as a handout for players. Here's the PDF: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1h1alX_MxCiXhK_NxS1gE1tlwRXlTzDVr/view?usp=sharing

This guide shall introduce a system for harvesting materials and ingredients from plants and monsters to create powerful potions, poisons and other concoctions. This handout can be given to any player with proficiency in and possession of alchemist's supplies, poisoner's tools and a herbalism kit.

Alchemical Poperties

Each alchemical ingredient possesses three essential characteristics:

  • Potency: A high score enables the alchemist to brew stronger potions with powerful effects. It varies depending on the method of collecting ingredients.
  • Volatility: A high score may add unwanted effects to potions. Roll 1d4 upon collecting an ingredient – volatility is equal to the result of this roll.
  • Type: There are six alchemical types, but their rarity varies between environments (see table).


Collecting Ingredients

There are three methods of collecting ingredients, listed below. Each method, if successful, yields 1d4 portions of a given alchemical ingredient.

Foraging for Ingredients

Searching for a random ingredient requires a 6 hour search and a Wisdom (Perception) check. On a 7 or less, the search ends in failure. Otherwise, an ingredient with a potency equal to the check's result is collected. Determine the ingredient's type using the Types table

Locating Specific Ingredients

Searching for a specific ingredient with a known type and potency takes 30 minutes per potency point and requires a successful Wisdom (Perception) check with a DC equal to its potency.

Make the check with advantage when locating ingredients you have previously collected or disadvantage if searching in an environment where the ingredient's type is not common (see table).

Harvesting Ingredients

An ingredient's potency is equal the monster's CR + 8. Extracting the ingredient takes 15 minutes and requires a successful Dexterity (Sleight of hand) check with a DC equal to potency. The type is determined by the DM based on the monster's nature. On failure, you take 1 piercing or slashing damage and are subjected to the ingredient's stand-alone effects (see below), harvesting nothing.

Stand-alone Effects

By default, if an individual alchemical ingredient is ingested or administered (through contact or injury) or inhaled (if possible), a target must make a Constitution saving throw potency> or become poisoned for 24 hours. If the ingredient is putrid the target takes 1 poison damage per potency level.


To randomly select an ingredient type, roll a d8 and consult the table. On a 7 or 8, select the type based on the environment.

d8 Type Description Predominant Locations
1 PSY Psychoactive relates to INT, WIS & CHA Forest, Underdark
2 ERG Ergogenic relates to STR, CON, DEX & speed Arctic, Desert, Mountain
3 PUT Putrid relates to poisons, acids and diseases Swamp, Urban
4 REG Regenerative possesses healing properties Coastal, Grassland
5 TRA Transmutative changes and morphs matter Hill, Underwater
6 MYS Mystical stems from otherwordly sources Extraplanar environments
7-8 N/A <select the type based on predominant location> N/A

Brewing Concoctions

Potion Characteristics

Each potion has a specific recipe, level and brewing time.

  • Recipe: Recipes are written referencing ingredients' types. All ingredients used to make a single vial of potion must be unique.
  • Potion Level: To even attempt making a specific potion, the average potency of all its ingredients (rounded up) must be equal to its level.
  • Brewing time: Attempting to make one potion takes one hour per each potion level above 10. Only one type of potion can be made per attempt, but multiple vials of that same potion can be produced within the same attempt if recipe resources are multiplied.
  • Potion Volatility: Potion Level + average ingredient volatility (rounded up)
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Example: 2×ERG+MYS, fish scales would suggest a potion requires exactly two unique ergogenic ingredients and one mystical ingredient, as well as some fish scales.


Follow this step-by-step guide to potion-making:

  1. Choose a potion to brew, check its recipe and level and expend one portion of each required ingredient.
  2. Spend the stated brewing time on making the potion. If this period is interrupted or cut short, you gain disadvantage on the following checks.
  3. Using your tools, make a Dexterity (Sleight of hand) or Intelligence (Nature) check.
  • If the check passes the potion level and potion volatility, then your potion is brewed successfully. Congratulations!
  • If the check passes the potion level but fails against potion volatility, you still succeed, but your potion is unstable (see below)
  • If the check fails against the potion difficulty, the attempt fails. Make a Constitution saving throw against the potion level or become poisoned for 24 hours.
  1. Before an attempt fails, you may try and rescue the concoction. If possible, repeat step 3 for a lower-level potion with a similar recipe.


Standard Concoctions

Concoction Recipe (one vial) Lvl
Oil of Etherealness TRA+2×MYS 15
Oil of Sharpness 2×TRA, sharpened cat nails 16
Oil of Slipperiness 2×TRA, beef tallow, olive oil 12
Philter of Love 2×PSY, rose petals 13
Potion of Animal Friendship 2×PSY, hummingbird tongue, a cat claw, squirrel hair 12
Potion of Clairvoyance 2×PSY+MYS, tiny creature's eye 15
Potion of Climbing 2×ERG 11
Potion of Diminution ERG+MYS 12
Potion of Flying 2×ERG+2×TRA, feathers from a medium (or larger) creature 17
Potion of Gaseous Form TRA+2×MYS, incense smoke 15
Potion of Growth 2×ERG+TRA 12
Potion of Heroism ERG+PSY+REG+MYS, fine mead 13
Potion of Invisibility 2×TRA+2×MYS 14
Potion of Mind Reading 2×PSY+MYS 16
Potion of Poison 2×PUT 12
Potion of Speed 3×ERG 14
Potion of Water Breathing ERG+TRA, fish gill 12
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Potions of Healing

Potion of: Recipe (one vial) Lvl
Healing 2×REG 11
Greater Healing 2×REG, distilled spirit 13
Superior Healing 3×REG, fresh mountain spring water 17
Supreme Healing 5×REG, fresh mountain spring water 20

Potions of Giant Strength

Potion of: Recipe (one vial) Lvl
Hill Giant Strength 2×ERG 12
Frost Giant Strength 3×ERG 14
Fire Giant Strength 2×ERG+TRA, meat chunks from a large (or larger) creature 16
Cloud Giant Strength 3×ERG+TRA, giant's toe 19
Storm Giant Strength 4×ERG+TRA, giant's toe, meat chunks from a huge (or larger) creature 22

Potions of Resistance

Potion of Resistance to: Recipe (one vial) Lvl
Acid PUT+TRA 11
Cold ERG+TRA, rum or brandy 11
Fire REG+TRA, ice or snow 11
Force ERG+TRA, sponge 11
Lightning REG+TRA, electrocytes harvested from an electric eel 11
Necrotic REG+MYS, crushed garlic, holy water blessed by a cleric or monk 11
Poison PUT+REG 11
Psychic PSY+REG, tiny creature's brains 11
Radiant REG+TRA, powdered mirror shards 11
Thunder REG+TRA, one pound of wax 11


Poison Recipe (one vial) Lvl
Assassin’s Blood 2×PUT 12
Burnt Othur Fumes 2×PUT, a pinch of sulfur 13
Crawler Mucus 2×PUT, crawler mucus or black mollusk flesh 11
Drow Poison ERG+TRA, venomous spider native to the Underdark 11
Essence of Ether PSY+2×PUT 14
Malice 2×PUT+TRA 13
Midnight Tears 2×PUT+MYS, moth, red wine 13
Oil of Taggit 3×PUT, sponge 13
Pale Tincture 2×PUT 12
Purple Worm Poison 4×PUT or PUT, Purple Worm venom 18
Serpent Venom REG+TRA, ice or snow 11
Torpor PSY+2×PUT 14
Truth Serum 2×PSY+PUT 12
Wyvern Poison 4×PUT or PUT, Wyvern Venom 17

Potions with Spell Effects

These potions work as if the drinker had cast a given cantrip or spell on themselves (the direct effect is limited to the potion drinker only). Any spell-related DCs stemming from the potion are equal to potion level.

Potion of: Recipe (one vial) Lvl
Guidance PSY+ERG, mead 11
Resistance PSY+ERG, mead 11
Disguise Self 2×TRA, hair, nails or belongings stolen from a target to be impersonated 12
Feather Fall ERG+TRA, bird feathers 12
Jump PUT+REG, grasshopper legs 11
Mage Armor ERG+TRA 12
Sanctuary ERG+MYS 11
Alter Self 3×TRA 13
Barkskin 3×TRA, tree bark 13
Blur TRA+MYS, incense smoke 13
Darkvision TRA+MYS, owl eyes 12
Enhance Ability (Bear's Endurance) 2×ERG, bear fur 12
Enhance Ability (Cat's Grace) PSY+ERG, feline fur 12
Enhance Ability (Eagle's Splendor) 2×PSY, eagle feathers 12
Enhance Ability (Fox's Cunning) 2×PSY, fox fur 12
Enhance Ability (Owl's Wisdom) 2×PSY, owl feathers 12
Nondetection PSY+MYS 12
Remove Curse PSY+REG+MYS 12
Revivify ERG+TRA+MYS, healthy blood of an adolescent, horseradish 16
Tongues PSY+TRA+MYS 13
Water Walk ERG+TRA+MYS, lilypad, water strider legs 14
Freedom of Movement ERG+TRA 12
Polymorph (target form) 3×TRA, any organic matter, hair or nails belonging to the target form 16
Planeshift (target plane) 5×MYS, a sack of dirt or dust from the target plane 20
Regenerate 3×REG+1xTRA 18
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Unstable Concoctions

If you fail to stabilize the potion volatility during the brewing process, your newly created concoction becomes unstable. In your inventory, you must mark it as such, e.g. Potion of Invisibility (unstable). This means that, upon ingesting or administering a substance, the target recipient must roll on the Table of Random Effects. Unless stated otherwise, the following properties take effect in addition the the substance's original effects.

Table of Random Effects

1d10 Effect
1-2 Corruption: The substance becomes a Potion of Poison. Any previous properties are lost.
3-4 Impotence: The substance loses its effect entirely and produces a noxious stench, but is safe to consume.
5 Side Effect: Make a Constitution saving throw (DC equal to potion level) or become poisoned.
6 Overload: Make a Constitution saving throw (DC equal to potion level) or be knocked unconsious (as if affected by the Sleep spell).
7 Liquid Chaos: Roll once on the Sorcerer's Wild Magic Surge table.
8 Mutation: You turn into a beast, as if you used the Druid's Wildshape. You cannot willingly drop the wildshape. Roll 1d4 to determine the beast: 1. Frog, 2. Giant Frog, 3. Giant Weasel, 4. Triceratops
9 Boon: You gain one effect from the Enhance Ability spell, determined randomly by a d10.
10 Bonanza: One of your abilities (determined randomly by a d6) increases by 6 for 24 hours.

Source: reddit.com

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