View Full Version : Partial Potion Drinking Idea?

The Glyphstone
2009-01-11, 10:50 PM
I just came up with a minor and potentially interesting idea off the top of my head. Right now, potions are an all-or-nothing deal - you have to drink every last drop of the bottle, at which point the spell is complete. It's fine for game balance, since if you didn't have to drink the entire thing, munchkins all over the place would be taking teeny tiny sips of their potions and breaking WBL into pieces - but there are rules for partially used wands, so why not semi-consumed potions?

Partially Drunk Potions

Sometimes, an adventurer has need of a magical potion, but only for a short duration - the spell in question might take effect much longer than would be necessary or desired. Consuming less than the total potion's contents allows for the liquid to be rationed out, but with a marked decrease in the magic's effectiveness. A potion is always consumed as a standard action, but the amount of potion consumed changes the effect's duration:

-If the entire bottle is drunk, the spell functions as normal with its intended duration.
-Drinking 3/4 of a bottle allows the spell to function, but at one "duration level" shorter than normal. If the spell has an instantaneous duration, its effect is 3/4 of normal.
-Drinking 1/2 of a bottle allows the spell to function at two duration levels shorter than normal. If the spell has an instantaneous duration, its effect is 1/2 of normal.
-Drinking 1/4 of a bottle allows the spell to function at three duration levels shorter than normal. If the spell has an instantaneous duration, its effect is 1/4 of normal.

Duration levels are defined as followed: Hours/Level --->10 Minutes/Level --->1 Minute/Level --->1 Round/Level --->1 Round. A potion's effect can never have a duration shorter than 1 round unless it is already instantaneous.

Example 1: Bob the Halfling Rogue is attempting to disarm a Fireball trap. He's fairly confident in his skills, but doesn't want to take the chance of becoming Roasted Rogue if he messes up. There's a Potion of Resist Energy in his pack, and he'd normally just drink it and get to work - but the party has seen small piles of red scales in the hallways, so they know there's a dragon around somewhere that Bob would prefer to have a backup defense against. He take the potion, but only drinks half of it, saving the rest for later. This reduces the duration of Resist Energy by 2 steps, from 10min/level to 1 round/level, easily long enough for him to disarm the trap or get Fireballed.

Example 2: Unfortunately, Bob wasn't as lucky as he hoped, and got a bit singed by the fireball. His Fire Resistance helped block most of it, but he's still down a few HP, and rather than bother the cleric for a healing spell, he decides to drink some of his Cure Moderate Wounds potion. Being almost full to begin with, he takes only a small swig of the drink, consuming 1/4 of the drink and leaving the rest for later. This heals 2d8+3 *.25, an average of 3 HP instead of 12.

Example 3: Bob again, but this time he's not doing anything so heroic as raiding a dungeon and killing a dragon. No, he's trying to reach the top shelf of the pantry, and lacks a Ring of Jumping +20 to do it with. What he does have is a Potion of Enlarge Person, but what if he gets hungry later? Drinking half of this potion will give him 1 round of Medium size, enough to grab his snack, and leaves enough liquid for one more swig later. However, he could not drink 1/4 of the potion to save the majority for a fight the next day, because three duration level drops would reduce the 1 min/level Enlarge Person to below the 1 round threshold.

It'd add more bookkeeping, but some people don't mind that sort of thing. The question is, how can it be broken or abused? Dischargable spells like Protection From Arrows come to mind, but there's not a whole lot of them...

2009-01-12, 12:56 AM
In DnD, potions are very small and are in sealed vials. They aren't stoppered with corks generally and are only a mouthful at most.

If you wish to make potions larger for this feature to apply, then that's fine. However, I do offer this counterpoint.

What if someone wants to drink 10% of a potion? or some other percentage?

Another counterpoint, in the heat of battle, how is someone going to be able to accurately tell the difference between .75, .5 and .25 of the potion?

Innis Cabal
2009-01-12, 12:59 AM
It would take a feat for sure, and the above would be the mischance option no doubt. I would say you can only drink half and save the other, no other %'s

2009-01-12, 06:40 AM
I think it is quite some difference between a partially charged wand (1-49 charges) and a potion (always one charge).

Therefore I think you cannot drink half of the one charge from a potion, or use a half of a scroll, nor can you use half a charge to fire just one missile from the cl-3 wand of magic missiles.

You could make extra large potions and that would cut down on the actions (instead of drinking 4 potions in a row in battle, swig one big) but then you would start to change the way scaling works (in regards to effect/cost).

Very nice breakdown however, while some creative things can be done with it (the trap example effectivly doubled that potions use, as it can be used for two traps) the rules for breaking down its efficiency are substantial and simple to use.

Morph Bark
2009-01-12, 08:41 AM
I personally think it's a great idea, but I would have it down to three options: full potion, half of it, and just taking a sip, with the last option being 1/4 of the potion.

2009-01-12, 09:32 AM
I like the sound of this... the way the duration reduction is handled it would be difficult to cheese it all that much... as in your example, Min/Level -> Round/Level is a huge gap, and shorter-duration spells can't be split up much at all. I would require a feat, though... "Partial Potion Consumption"? Maybe have a % roll to accidentally drink more than you intend, but allow a second feat, "Partial Consumption Mastery" to eliminate that, and perhaps allow finer increments at the same time.

2009-01-12, 12:28 PM
I think it's more bookkeeping than necessary, and as Khanderas said, potions are "1 charge", so there's no much splitting it.

The best I can remember is that in AD&D, healing potions were always divided in parts. A typical potion could be taken a third part, healing 1d8+1 each sip, and downing the whole thing would give you 1d8+3 HP plus some bonus, like an extra 5 HP.

2009-01-12, 04:58 PM
The "Sip -> Swig -> Complete" idea would seem to work best as 1/4 -> 1/2 -> 1 and nothing in between.

There wouldn't be much more to deal with than usual, and it could definitely help make a campaign more difficult.

Instead of buying the potions they need and then resupplying as needed, potions could be found and would therefore have to be rationed, like water in a desert. Yes, they are convenient, but when you come across so few of them, can you afford to use the entire thing at once.

If you do use the entire potion in one big gulp, however, than a bonus would probably be in order. Assuming most of the time you take a swig, then you take all of it, your body's getting more of the effect. It'd be like a cup of ale vs a pint. Sure most people would drink several cups with no problem, but have them drink the same number of pints and they're bound to feel stronger effects than they're used to.

2009-01-13, 01:41 AM
In my games, there are usually several potions of the same type poured into one larger phiole, making a phiole a potion with say 4 charges.
But increasing the effect by drinking more than one dose is interesting. Maybe extending the effect like the potions caster level would be 2 higher for every additional dose taken. (Which is usually is not as effective as drinking the second dose after the first one expired, so it's less likely to break the game.)

2009-01-13, 04:09 PM
However, he could not drink 1/4 of the potion to save the majority for a fight the next day, because three duration level drops would reduce the 1 min/level Enlarge Person to below the 1 round threshold.

Or rather, he could drink just 1/4 but would find out it had no effect!

The Glyphstone
2009-01-14, 12:07 AM
Or rather, he could drink just 1/4 but would find out it had no effect!

This is technically true, but I was working with the assumption that characters are aware of what happens when they imbibe less than the recommended daily dose of potion.