Thursday, November 29, 2018

Potion Brewing, Poison Making and Other Foolish Hobbies

Alchemy is super cool, but generally it feels like spells in a bottle, or super specific item crafting. I wanted an alchemy system that allowed players to really fiddle with their potions, while also being relatively simple.

The Four Humors and You

The world is comprised of four humors, this is just a simple fact. These four humors are: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. They correspond with the elements: air, water, fire, earth respectively. Everything contains these humors in different amounts, most things generally being pretty balanced. 


An aspiring alchemist can try to create a distilled version of a humors essence, this is called an extract. To create an extract you must follow these very simple steps 
  1. Find a sample of whatever you want to create an extract from. Generally look for exotic materials of the living variety, but definitely experiment. Better materials will have a higher potency(We will get back to this later) 
  2. Place sample in a bottle filled with a base spirit. Spirits can be acquired in many a town, they don't need to be fancy liquors, just strong enough to be infused with the essence of the sample.(Beer and wine are not going to cut it)
  3. Wait a week, and your extract will be finished. Make sure to take care with your , distillations you want to keep them safe and away from the sun, as that can slow down the process. 
Depending on what you distilled from the extracts will be of a corresponding humor and potency. An extract should be labeled as: Humor:Potency (ex. Black Bile: 1)  
Extracts can be used for two processes: Research and Brewing


The Alchemist Michal Sedziwoj by Julian Tuwim
It's not enough to simply put extracts together and hope for the best, you've got to actually figure out how they work. This means you've got to do some research. 
  1. Select an extract to use in your research(Higher potency means a higher chance of success, the extract will be consumed). Make sure you also have somewhere to actually record the results of your research, this is generally a book, but if you'd like to tattoo it on your arm or carve it in clay so be it. 
  2. Make a check with your alchemy skill: 6 - potency. My skill system is based on an increasing dice chain d4 - d6 -d8 - d10 - d12, with a 4 or more generally counting as a success. This means that someone who is untrained(d4) in alchemy cannot just use any old substance to learn potion effects, but must find something with at least potency 2. 
  3. If you make the check roll a d20 on the corresponding effects table, this will get you a new effect. If you roll on something you've already learned you do not get to roll again, you just don't make a new discovery. 


This is the fun part. There are two types of mixtures you can brew: Potions and Poisons.
Poisons are comprised of solely negative effects.
Potions are made with a combination of positive and negative effects.(Positive effects are quite unstable and need to be combined with a negative effect to keep them potent) 

The Process:
  1. Chose a recipe for an effect(You must have it in writing on you) and a corresponding extract
  2. Brew the mixture over a fire for 2 hours. You can use any sort of vessel you wish, including the bottle you will put the mixture in
    • (For Potions) Take the still boiling mixture and combine it with an existing poison, the potency of the new potion is equal to the average of the two extracts
    • (Optional) Combing multiple positive/negative effects is possible, follow the process for potion brewing, but substitute it with whatever you want to add. A potion must have at least as many negative effects as positives (else the potion will destroy the vessel it is in and create a harmful poison gas). The potency of the mixture will always be equal to the average total potency 
  3. Let the mixture cool and you are finished. It will remain potent indefinitely as long as it is not stored in sunlight.  

Effects Tables

x = potency 
Blood Effects Table:

Explosive - Negative
The mixture explodes when exposed to air dealing xd4 damage to anything within range. Anyone hit by the explosion is affected by the potion as if they were imbibing the potion.
Lust - Negative
Uncontrollable lust for the first living thing the imbiber sees for x hours
Truth- Negative
The imbiber must answer any question asked of them truthfully for x minutes
Headache- Negative
The imbiber suffers from a debilitating headache for x hours. Any skills that require knowledge are made with disadvantage
Stains- Negative
The lips and tongue of the imbiber are stained for xd4 days
Laughter- Negative
The imbiber suffers from uncontrollable laughter for xd8 minutes
Weakening- Negative
The max health of the imbiber is decreased by xd4 until they sleep. If the HP decrease is more than their max health they permanently lose 1 HP and are decreased to 1 HP
Pain- Negative
The imbiber becomes incredibly sensitive to pain for xd6 minutes. Any attacks that hit require them to save or go into shock.
Hunger- Negative
The imbiber becomes overcome with hunger and must consume the equivalent of xd4 rations in 2 hours or their stomach will consume itself
Smoke- Negative
Whenever the imbiber talks or breathes they will exhale dark clouds of smoke, this lasts for x hours.
Purifying - Positive
The imbiber is immune to all effects and curses for x hours.
Tongues- Positive
The imbiber can speak all languages for x hours, but cannot understand them
Sight - Positive
The imbiber gains the ability to see things based on heat(Thermal Sight) for xd10 minutes
Fire Resistance - Positive
The imbiber cannot be burned by fire for xd4 minutes
Speed - Positive
The imbiber moves at double their normal speed for xd6 minutes
Animal Friendship - Positive
All animals in a 30’ radius around the imbiber, treat the imbiber as a friend for xd10 minutes
Athletics - Positive
The imbiber gets advantage on all athletics checks for the next xd10 minutes
Telekinesis - Positive
The imbiber gain the ability to move objects with their mind up to x*10 pounds for the next 30 minutes.
Healing - Positive
The imbiber heals xd4 hp
Youth - Positive
The imbiber grows xd4 years younger, if this would age them younger than their age they cease to exist, and everyone loses all memory of them.

Part 2 will contain the final three tables, as well as my collected thoughts on the system.  
System is heavily Inspired by Arnold K.'s Alchemy system