I am a huge fan of RPGs. Like actual Role Playing Games, though now typically referred to as Tabletop RPGs or Pen and Paper RPGs. I haven’t been playing for too long, being introduced with the release of D&D 5e, but it has thoroughly taken over my life. Being an aspiring game developer, I can’t help but come up with my own ideas for how certain mechanics should work or new ideas on less fleshed out mechanics. Dungeons and Dragons, while having a rule set, greatly encourages this type of behavior and a community of “homebrewing” has formed.
So I’d like to share a few of my ideas:
Alchemy and Alcohol:
In the Player Handbook (PHB) the only thing we really get about potions is how much they heal and that they’re expensive as hell. So I’d like to try and make potions a bit more interesting. I can hardly take credit for this one as it is entirely based on The Witcher lore combined with alchemic terminology. The idea is we have all potion made of an alcohol base, an alchemic base of 4 varying levels, with the combination of various plants or monster blood or whatever you can think of.
Flavor is a RPG term referring to the narrative or cinematic explanation or interpretation of game mechanics. So how do making potions alcoholic have any effect on the world? That’s for you to decided but I can help.
As alcohol is usually a big part of dwarven and halfling culture alchemy could be largely based in dwarven or halfling civilizations. Or perhaps the Elves are primarily those who see the practical use of alcohol and look down on those who would use it for such a childish reason.
Maybe alchemy is fairly new in the world and there’s a younger dwarven female scientist researching the potential uses of alcohol as she’s patronized for her strange use of it.
Perhaps a large religion bans the use of alcohol as they find its potential downsides revolting. Since they are usually able to heal themselves through divine magicks they have less of a need for alcohol’s alchemic uses.
Really its whatever you can come up with. But hopefully this gets your creative juices flowing.
There are 4 known alchemic bases (feel free to add a legendary one) and there are many more types of potions than just healing so determine which base goes to which potion based on rarity. Also feel free to just refer to them as “Common Base” or “Rare Base.”
Nigredo: Common Base, black tinted solution
Albedo: Uncommon Base, white tinted solution
Citrinitas: Rare Base, yellow tinted solution
Rubedo: Very Rare, red tinted solution. Alas classic health potion
– The drinking of potions would now come with a Constitution Saving Throw after each bottle varying based on the strength of the potion.
– The DC would increase by 2 for every potion you ingest within a short rest.
– To counteract the downsides these downsides I suggest lowering the prices or increasing their potency. I lean toward the latter.
The PHB doesn’t really mention the prices of stronger potions but don’t stress too much about prices. Although if your party is missing a cleric or druid you might wanna try and make them more readily available especially if your players are newer or if you yourself don’t have a good grasp on balancing combat for your players. Remember if you players get too many potions you can just throw more monster their way and vice versa.
Potion of Healing:
– Heals for 3d4+3
– Difficulty Check: (DC) 4
– Components: beer + nigredo + common plant roots/leaves
– Crafting Info: DC: 12, 4 hour crafting period
– Cost: 25-50 GP
Potion of Greater Healing:
– Heals for 5d4+5
– DC: 6
– Components: wine + albedo + uncommon leaves/roots or beast blood
– Crafting Info: DC: 14, 8 hour crafting period
– Cost: 50-250 GP
Potion of Superior Healing:
– Heals for 10d4+10
– DC: 8
– Components: liquor + citrinitas + rare plant leaves/roots or monster blood
– Crafting Info: DC: 16, 24 hour crafting period
– Cost: 250-1000 GP
Potion of Supreme Healing:
– Heals for 12d4+25
– DC: 10
– Components: Ancient Dwarven Liquor or Ancient Elven Wine + rubedo + leaves from the Feywild or dragon blood
– Crafting Info: DC: 18: 48 hour crafting period
– Cost: 1000-3000 GP
DC + 2 per potion ingested. DC resets after a short or long rest.
Feel free to reduce crafting periods if they rolls exceptionally higher or a NAT20.
When a character fails the constitution save, it should be considered poison. This way Dwarves and Stout Halfling would have advantage on the save which fits the races on a narrative fashion and would make those racial traits much more useful in most campaigns.
As for the effect I see it being either one of two things: the PC gets the “Poisoned” condition or they take one level of exhaustion. I prefer the latter personally as the poisoned status seems a bit too strong for the first failure and it has a prebuilt tiers for continuous failure.
I’ve tried to just wing it before and I end up letting the players have too many potions while randomly coming up with requirements and names for plants and junk Hopefully this provides some kind of structure to the potion system.
Lemme know what you think. I’m suspecting the DC’s might be a bit too high I’m gonna try it when my group meets back together in a few months.
Cover Image from PHB