Content of the article: "Adventurer’s Guide to Alchemy – an alchemy system for your players based on collecting and harvesting ingredients and potion recipes"
- 1 Alchemical Poperties
- 2 Collecting Ingredients
- 3 Foraging for Ingredients
- 4 Locating Specific Ingredients
- 5 Harvesting Ingredients
- 6 Stand-alone Effects
- 7 Types
- 8 Brewing Concoctions
- 9 Potion Characteristics
- 10 Instructions
- 11 Recipes
- 12 Standard Concoctions
- 13 Potions of Healing
- 14 Potions of Giant Strength
- 15 Potions of Resistance
- 16 Poisons
- 17 Potions with Spell Effects
- 18 Unstable Concoctions
- 19 Table of Random Effects
- 20 Similar Guides
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.
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).
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).
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.
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
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.
|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|
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)
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:
- Choose a potion to brew, check its recipe and level and expend one portion of each required ingredient.
- Spend the stated brewing time on making the potion. If this period is interrupted or cut short, you gain disadvantage on the following checks.
- 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.
- 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.
|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|
Potions of Healing
|Potion of:||Recipe (one vial)||Lvl|
|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|
|Cold||ERG+TRA, rum or brandy||11|
|Fire||REG+TRA, ice or snow||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|
|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|
|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|
|Midnight Tears||2×PUT+MYS, moth, red wine||13|
|Oil of Taggit||3×PUT, sponge||13|
|Purple Worm Poison||4×PUT or PUT, Purple Worm venom||18|
|Serpent Venom||REG+TRA, ice or snow||11|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Revivify||ERG+TRA+MYS, healthy blood of an adolescent, horseradish||16|
|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|
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
|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.|
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