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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    So, Herbalism/Alchemy stuff. You can buy stuff like Antitoxin or Healing Potions at half-price, to represent your character buying the ingredients and making it on their own during Downtime.

    One of my players took issue with this- asking, "I'm a Level 10 Druid. Can't I just go out and find the ingredients?"

    Guy's got a point. Especially in the part of my campaign setting they were in at the time, there's no reason why he shouldn't be able to find the ingredients on his own- which is why I want to try homebrewing some kind of Resource collection subsystem.

    Imagining some kind of resource collection system fitting into 5E seems easy enough- this lends itself to something players can do during Downtime, or while traveling at a slow pace through the wilderness. Rangers would be better at it in their Favored Terrains. The player would make a Survival check, and a success (DC varies by terrain) would get a roll on some kind of "Local Flora" chart.

    Naturally, there needs to be enough drawbacks to make it worth, well, 25 gold pieces, since the whole process is meant as a way to bypass having to pay any money at all for crafting potions.

    A few drawbacks are built in to the idea I pitched above:
    • The system is situational- some ingredients won't be available in certain regions- and finding the right ones is luck-based.
    • The system requires spending more Downtime than crafting the items normally.
    • If done during a journey, the party must move at a slow pace.
    • Maybe foraging for resources increases the chances of a Random Encounter?


    Are these enough drawbacks?

    Spoiler: Now, if you REALLY want to get your hands dirty...
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    Some other things to consider are that if players are gathering ingredients, that kicks down the door on a whole dungeon full of possibilities. Crafting ingredients and advanced recipes can be used as treasure or loot. Alchemical items and Poisons could also be made using this system. Certain combinations of ingredients can make more effective (or less effective) concoctions. (Less effective versions would be relevant when the region you're in doesn't have the right materials for a normal or better recipe.)

    In theory, collecting resources only slows down the game by two die-rolls (a survival check, and a random chart roll). It's not terribly complex, unless the list of ingredients gets too long, or the recipes get too convoluted.

    If you wanted, recipes could be tracked like a Wizard's Spellbook- a Herbalism Kit includes the Potion of Healing and Antitoxin recipes, Alchemist's Tools include Acid and Alchemist's Fire, and Poisoner's Kit includes well, the basic PHB Poison. Unlike a Spellbook, GP would not have to be spent to transfer a recipe, but the only way to learn new ones is actual, in-game trial and error with the ingredients you've collected, or buying them from NPC's. There might be a feat that would allow you to learn a few extra recipes.

    With the proper, incredibly rare ingredients, it could be possible to craft magical potions in this way, too. But I'll hold off on any rules for that until I get a copy of the DMG. Which, in all likelihood, already has a much easier system for doing this.


    What do you all think?
    Last edited by Freelance GM; 2014-11-27 at 08:18 PM. Reason: More ideas.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    I think it should use perception or survival.

    I don't know offhand if 5e has anything like 4e's bloom, but I think a druid could magically farm a plant once they find it.

    You need to make a lot of mineral ingredients to get around this. Of course, there's nothing stopping the druid from farming rare flowers for money. There's also no non-arbitrary way to rule against this.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by bloodshed343 View Post
    I think it should use perception or survival.

    I don't know offhand if 5e has anything like 4e's bloom, but I think a druid could magically farm a plant once they find it.

    You need to make a lot of mineral ingredients to get around this. Of course, there's nothing stopping the druid from farming rare flowers for money. There's also no non-arbitrary way to rule against this.

    I chose Survival because that skill has more to do with actually understanding which plants are which, while Perception would be more like, "Oh, that matches the description the Ranger gave me!"

    Bloom's not in 5E, but the Level 3 spell Plant Growth could be problematic for the same reason. I like the mineral component idea. It's possible monster components could be a thing, too- but those wouldn't be harvest-able without finding and killing the monster.

    Plant Growth would double the amount of resources you can harvest from a half-mile area, if you spend 8 hours casting it. Seems fair enough to allow until testing proves otherwise. Besides, the spell was made for doing stuff like this.
    DM Fiat can say that the other use- immediately suffocating everywhere in a 100-foot radius with plants to block movement- causes the quality of the ingredients to plummet sharply from the sudden, violent growth. Or something.

    Also, on the topic of spells, Locate Animals and Plants suddenly becomes extremely relevant, if this subsystem is in play. Which is fine- because I don't think I've ever seen a player use that spell before.
    Last edited by Freelance GM; 2014-12-01 at 04:35 PM. Reason: Misunderstanding.
    Check out my 5E Foraging/Alchemy Rules!

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  4. - Top - End - #4
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    Thumbs up Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    I'm planning on writing my own setting with a TON of rules based on foraging and salvaging from flora and fauna, so I fully agree with and support the notion that D&D has long needed this, and 5e seems both especially needful and well set-up for it.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Ok, I have something testable.

    There are six types of "essences" that can be pulled out of various materials- Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Positive Energy, or Negative Energy. (These might get more creative, alchemical-sounding names later, like Fulgur, but that makes it harder to remember which is what.) Ingredients use the same degrees of rarity as Magic items: common, uncommon, rare, very rare, and legendary. The rarity of an ingredient increases its effectiveness.

    Those are the only two values you need to keep track of: its Essence type, and its rarity. For every degree of rarity above Common an ingredient is, it counts as one additional ingredient. For example, a Rare Fire ingredient would count as three Common Fire ingredients. As a result, using rarer ingredients is more efficient when a character is making more advanced potions.

    Spoiler: Sample Ingredients
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    What are the ingredients? Well, technically, with 6 types of Essence, and 5 degrees of Rarity, there are 30 possible combinations. However, in my opinion, even as many as 30 ingredients are not enough to capture the opportunities for flavor, so I'd encourage DM's to improvise ingredients as they are found. For example, a Black Dragon Tongue could be a Very Rare Earth ingredient. However, an incredibly rare flower that grows in the Underdark could also be a Very Rare Earth ingredient. They are mechanically identical, but the flavor- and the means of acquiring them- are different.

    True to classic alchemy, I'm seeing ingredients as being more about associations with elements than literal relation. Herbs that can be used to heal have Positive Essence, but so could blood. Toxic substances could have Negative Essence, but something with Fire Essence isn't necessarily flammable- maybe it just tastes spicy. An ingredient with Earth Essence could be a crushed gemstone, but it could just as easily be a sour fruit or a subterranean mushroom.

    Rarer ingredients can be increasingly exotic or bizarre, like the petals of a flower that only blossoms once every hundred years, or the eye of someone who has been petrified by a Medusa.

    Example Ingredients:
    Athelas, Common Positive Ingredient.
    Orc Pepper, Uncommon Fire Ingredient.
    Wyvern Stinger Venom, Rare Negative Ingredient.
    Black Dragon Tongue, Very Rare Earth Ingredient.
    Goddess's Tear, Legendary Water Ingredient.


    Spoiler: Recipes
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    Each potion, poison, and alchemical item in the game has a Recipe- a specific combination of Essence required to create the desired substance. Recipes are kept in a Recipe book. When a character buys Alchemist's Suppies, Herbalism kits, or Poisoner's Kits, it includes a Recipe book with the following recipes included:

    Alchemist's Supplies: Acid, Alchemist's Fire

    Herbalism Kit: Antitoxin, Potion of Healing

    Poisoner's Kit: Basic Poison

    At your DM's discretion, you may buy new Recipies from select NPCs. The price is an amount of gold equal to 10 x the potion's rarity. Otherwise, the character can attempt to craft potions through trial-and-error during Downtime. Intelligence checks to craft a potion without a recipe have disadvantage. If the player accidentally guesses a valid Recipe, and succeeds on this check, they may add the Recipe to their Recipe book. Otherwise, the ingredients used in the experiment are wasted.


    Spoiler: Crafting Process and DC
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    Crafting a Potion requires an Intelligence check; characters may also add their Proficiency bonus at the DM's discretion. As a general rule, characters proficient with Alchemist's Suppies, Herbalism kits, or Poisoner's Kits can add their Proficiency bonus to checks when they are making potions relevant to their field. In unusual circumstance- like a herbalist creating a poison- the character only adds half of their Proficiency bonus.

    The DC to craft a potion, alchemical substance, or poison out of foraged ingredients is equal to...
    10 + (Desired potion's rarity x2) + (Total number of ingredients used).

    Desired Potion's Rarity x2: Common potions add +2 to the DC, while a Legendary potion adds +10.

    Number of Ingredients Used: Using rarer, more potent ingredients is more efficient, and makes crafting a potion easier. Conversely, trying to make a Legendary potion out of many common ingredients is more difficult. The DC to craft the potion increases by 1 for every ingredient used to create the potion.

    A successful check creates the desired potion. On a failed result, no potion is created, and the ingredients used are wasted.



    Spoiler: Sample Recipes
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    Potion of Healing: Positive + Positive. A Potion of Healing is Common, so crafting this out of two Common Positive ingredients would be DC14 (10+2+2), while using a single Uncommon ingredient would be DC13 (10+2+1).

    Potion of Fire Breath:
    Air + Fire + Fire. This potion is Uncommon, so it would be at least DC 16 to craft, if you used an Uncommon air ingredient and a common fire ingredient.

    Potion of Invisibility: Air + Air + Air + Earth + Water. Notice that rarer potions require more ingredients. A very rare potion of Invisibility would be at least DC21 to craft, or DC23 if you only use common ingredients.

    Potion of Storm Giant Strength:
    Air + Air + Earth +Earth + Water + Water. This is the only Legendary potion in the DMG, and therefore the hardest to craft out of foraged ingredients. Using the minimum amount of ingredients, it would still be DC23.


    Alright, that's what I got. Nice and organized, so you aren't blinded by a wall of text.

    What do you think? Is it simple enough to prevent slowing the game down? Is it complex enough to satisfy your cravings?

    I'm still working on recipes for every Potion, Poison, and Alchemical substance in the PHB and DMG. I'll post them when I'm done.
    Last edited by Freelance GM; 2014-11-30 at 08:35 PM. Reason: Formatting.
    Check out my 5E Foraging/Alchemy Rules!

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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    My group had been brainstorming on how to work with creating such items, and I like where your going with it. I'll take a closer look at the mechanics once my party gets underway.
    Necromancy is not blasphemous desecration, but eco-friendly recycling. Get with the times and help nature by stopping body landfills, and stop global warming by cutting back on cremation . Go green and donate your corpse today!

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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    I definitely like the direction you are going. Having a chart to roll against keeps the randomness of the "I went looking, but I only found a bunch of ****" aspect of actually hunting for ingrediants, while allowing for the possibility of finding things quickly depending on die rolls.

    I also agree with your choice for survival as skill of choice, it made most sense to me as well. Perhaps you could flesh out your chart to have the more "Key" ingrediants as the higher numbers, and your more mundane garbage materials be lower on the chart, that way survival proficiency can add to the roll made - helps to emphasize a player building up that particular skill. Basically giving them better odds of finding materials.

    My only concern with this would be to either make multiple charts depending on terrain and recipes (you'ld want different charts to roll against with different ingrediants on them) or make one single generic chart.

    Another option is to say that if they have prof in survival - they can roll vs the chart with advantage, and take whichever roll they want.
    Quote Originally Posted by bloodshed343 View Post
    If they get a +3 maul, it should hit like a truck being thrown by a bigger truck. It's a LEGENDARY weapon. This ain't a random boulder on a stick. This is Kord's right nut.
    Quote Originally Posted by MrUberGr View Post
    There are 10 rays, and you roll a d10 to determine what rays it uses. However, this seems totally stupid, since it isn't a 3 Int monster that will just fart rays from its eyes when it gets angry.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Orc in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Alright, I hadn't seen the post about "essences" before I posted last. Now I'm torn - that is a very intriguing method of going about this, and I like the ability for a DM to make an ingrediant up on the spot if needed.

    Hmmmmmmm
    Quote Originally Posted by bloodshed343 View Post
    If they get a +3 maul, it should hit like a truck being thrown by a bigger truck. It's a LEGENDARY weapon. This ain't a random boulder on a stick. This is Kord's right nut.
    Quote Originally Posted by MrUberGr View Post
    There are 10 rays, and you roll a d10 to determine what rays it uses. However, this seems totally stupid, since it isn't a 3 Int monster that will just fart rays from its eyes when it gets angry.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Got the recipes. I arbitrarily chose rarities for the poisons based on their price. If you're wondering how I came up with the recipe combinations, it basically boiled down to loose association.

    For example, with Dust of Dryness: It's Uncommon, so it needs 3 ingredients. It's dust, so Earth and Air need to be in there. It evaporates Water. Fire is Water's opposite. Add Fire to the recipe. Resulting recipe: Air + Earth + Fire.

    I didn't exactly proofread this- it all kind of runs together when you look at it, so please let me know if you stumble upon any duplicate recipes.

    If you're curious, math suggests that there are 28 possible Uncommon recipes, 108 Rare recipes, 243 Very Rare recipes, and 461 Legendary recipes I haven't used yet, so there's plenty of room left for homebrewing stuff. (Is that a pun? I think it's a pun.)

    The next thing I'm going to work on are some sample "Ingredients by terrain" charts. Should be fun.

    Spoiler: Potion Recipes
    Show

    Animal Friendship: Uncommon, Earth + Earth + Positive

    Clairvoyance: Rare, Air + Air + Water + Water

    Climbing: Common, Earth + Earth

    Diminution: Rare, Earth + Earth + Negative + Water

    Elixir of Health: Rare, Earth + Positive + Positive + Water

    Fire Breath: Uncommon, Air + Fire + Fire

    Flying: Very Rare, Air + Air + Air + Air + Air

    Gaseous Form: Rare, Air + Air + Air + Water

    Hill Giant Strength: Uncommon, Earth + Earth + Earth

    Frost/Stone Giant Strength: Rare, Earth + Earth + Earth + Water or Earth

    Fire Giant Strength: Rare, Earth + Earth + Earth + Fire

    Cloud Giant Strength: Very Rare, Earth + Earth + Earth +Earth + Air

    Storm Giant Strength: Legendary, Earth + Earth + Earth + Air + Air + Water

    Growth: Uncommon, Earth + Positive + Water

    Healing: Common, Positive + Positive

    Greater Healing: Uncommon, Positive + Positive + Positive

    Superior Healing: Rare, Positive + Positive + Positive + Positive

    Supreme Healing: Very Rare, Positive + Positive + Positive + Positive + Positive

    Heroism: Rare, Positive + Positive + Air + Water

    Invisibility: Very Rare, Air + Air + Air + Earth + Water

    Invulnerability: Rare, Earth + Earth + Positive + Positive

    Longevity: Very Rare, Earth + Earth + Positive + Positive + Water

    Mind-Reading: Rare, Air + Negative + Water + Water

    Philter of Love: Uncommon, Fire + Positive + Water

    Poison: Uncommon, Negative + Negative + Water

    Acid Resistance: Uncommon, Earth + Water + Positive

    Cold Resistance: Uncommon, Positive + Water + Water

    Fire Resistance: Uncommon, Fire + Fire + Positive

    Force Resistance: Uncommon, Air + Positive + Water

    Lightning Resistance: Uncommon, Air + Fire + Positive

    Necrotic Resistance: Uncommon, Positive + Negative + Negative

    Poison Resistance: Uncommon Positive + Earth + Negative

    Psychic Resistance: Uncommon, Positive + Negative + Water

    Radiant Resistance: Uncommon, Fire + Positive + Positive

    Thunder Resistance: Uncommon, Air + Air + Positive

    Speed: Very Rare, Air + Air + Earth + Earth + Water

    Vitality: Very Rare, Earth + Positive + Positive + Water + Water

    Water-Breathing: Uncommon, Air + Water + Water


    Spoiler: Poison Recipes
    Show

    Assassin's Blood: Uncommon, Earth + Negative + Negative

    Burnt Onthur Fumes: Rare, Earth + Fire + Negative + Negative

    Carrion Crawler Mucus: Uncommon, Earth + Earth + Negative

    Drow Poison: Uncommon, Earth + Negative + Water

    Essence of Ether: Rare, Earth + Negative + Water + Water

    Malice: Uncommon, Negative + Negative + Negative

    Midnight Tears: Very Rare, Negative + Negative + Negative + Negative + Negative

    Oil of Taggit: Rare, Earth + Earth + Fire + Negative

    Pale Tincture: Uncommon, Air + Negative + Negative

    Purple Wurm Poison: Legendary, Earth + Earth + Earth + Negative + Negative + Negative

    Serpent Venom: Uncommon, Earth + Earth + Water

    Torpor: Rare, Earth + Air + Negative + Negative

    Truth Serum: Uncommon, Air + Positive + Negative

    Wyvern Poison: Very Rare, Air + Air + Earth + Negative + Negative


    Spoiler: Alchemical
    Show

    Acid: Common, Earth + Water

    Alchemist's Fire: Common, Air + Fire

    Bomb: Rarity varies by DM and setting. In mine, Very Rare, Fire + Fire + Fire + Earth + Earth

    Dust of Disappearance: Uncommon, Air + Air + Earth

    Dust of Dryness: Uncommon, Air + Earth + Fire

    Dust of Sneezing and Choking: Uncommon, Air + Earth + Negative

    Gunpowder (1 Horn): Rarity varies by DM and setting. In mine, Rare, Earth + Earth + Fire + Fire

    Oil of Etherealness: Rare, Air + Air + Air + Air

    Oil of Sharpness: Rare, Earth + Earth + Water + Water

    Oil of Slipperiness: Rare, Air + Water + Water + Water

    Sovereign Glue: Legendary, Earth + Earth + Earth + Water + Water + Water

    Universal Solvent: Legendary, Water + Water + Water + Water + Water + Water
    Check out my 5E Foraging/Alchemy Rules!

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  10. - Top - End - #10
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by MadGrady View Post
    I definitely like the direction you are going. Having a chart to roll against keeps the randomness of the "I went looking, but I only found a bunch of ****" aspect of actually hunting for ingrediants, while allowing for the possibility of finding things quickly depending on die rolls.

    I also agree with your choice for survival as skill of choice, it made most sense to me as well. Perhaps you could flesh out your chart to have the more "Key" ingrediants as the higher numbers, and your more mundane garbage materials be lower on the chart, that way survival proficiency can add to the roll made - helps to emphasize a player building up that particular skill. Basically giving them better odds of finding materials.
    Thanks for the advice! The fact that multiple people have said they "like the direction I am going" is a good sign, IMO. Glad to have dragged another one of you down the rabbit hole with me.
    Check out my 5E Foraging/Alchemy Rules!

    God help me, I've made a 5E Magical Girl and people liked it.

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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Freelance GM View Post
    Thanks for the advice! The fact that multiple people have said they "like the direction I am going" is a good sign, IMO. Glad to have dragged another one of you down the rabbit hole with me.
    I was already in the rabbit hole to begin with

    I much prefer discussions of this nature vs the "this build is better than this build" discussions.

    Less......shall we say......confrontational
    Quote Originally Posted by bloodshed343 View Post
    If they get a +3 maul, it should hit like a truck being thrown by a bigger truck. It's a LEGENDARY weapon. This ain't a random boulder on a stick. This is Kord's right nut.
    Quote Originally Posted by MrUberGr View Post
    There are 10 rays, and you roll a d10 to determine what rays it uses. However, this seems totally stupid, since it isn't a 3 Int monster that will just fart rays from its eyes when it gets angry.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    I too like what you guys have done here. Great stuff.

    What are your thoughts on reverse engineering potions to gain the materials. Would you allow it?

    Example:
    Potion of Healing: Positive + Positive. A Potion of Healing is Common, so crafting this out of two Common Positive ingredients would be DC14 (10+2+2), while using a single Uncommon ingredient would be DC13 (10+2+1).

    I would assume that there is some sort of loss when you break the potion down. Perhaps you only get one of your positive essences back (or a random number of a random smattering of the initial ingredients).

    EDIT: On the potion recipes: Should Fire Resistance Potion not have Water as the main ingredient as it opposes fire?
    Last edited by Safety Sword; 2014-12-01 at 06:41 PM. Reason: Double post dodge
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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Freelance GM View Post
    Ok, I have something testable.

    There are six types of "essences" that can be pulled out of various materials- Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Positive Energy, or Negative Energy. (These might get more creative, alchemical-sounding names later, like Fulgur, but that makes it harder to remember which is what.) Ingredients use the same degrees of rarity as Magic items: common, uncommon, rare, very rare, and legendary. The rarity of an ingredient increases its effectiveness.
    So you're cribbing the alchemy system from The Witcher? Because this is essentially how it works in that game. Everything single collectible resource for alchemy has at least one essence that can be used in different combinations to craft potions.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Safety Sword View Post
    I too like what you guys have done here. Great stuff.

    What are your thoughts on reverse engineering potions to gain the materials. Would you allow it?

    I would assume that there is some sort of loss when you break the potion down. Perhaps you only get one of your positive essences back (or a random number of a random smattering of the initial ingredients).

    EDIT: On the potion recipes: Should Fire Resistance Potion not have Water as the main ingredient as it opposes fire?
    Eh... I'm not sure that I'd let my players break down potions. However, I'm one of those people who like options over choices, so there should be an optional rule for DM's who'd like that option.

    I like your idea of handling it through a single "extraction" check. I feel like the DC for breaking down a potion should be higher than crafting it... Perhaps the Crafting DC+5? The player can choose one type of Essence within the potion and get half of it back, rounded up. So, you could still break down something like Alchemist's Fire (Fire + Air) and get something out of it.

    Great, now my opinion's changing about allowing it- maybe I will allow it in my games. Breaking down potions you don't need could be a good way to get ingredients that aren't available in the region your character's currently in.

    I chose Fire over Water for the potion of Fire Resistance recipe because of the way I imagined the potion working. Ultimately, it depends on the DM's headcanon on how the potions work. In my mind, the Potion of Fire Resistance is some kind of hot orange liquid that's practically boiling. Drinking it magically increases your tolerance for heat.

    However, it could just as easily be a thick fluid with condensation gathering on the bottle. It's ice-cold and refreshing, and magically increases your tolerance for heat.

    Spoiler: Variant Resistance Potions
    Show

    I didn't check to see if these clash with any other recipes, but here's some "opposite recipe" potions of Resistance.

    Acid Resistance: Uncommon, Water + Water + Positive

    Cold Resistance: Uncommon, Fire + Fire + Positive

    Fire Resistance: Uncommon, Positive + Water + Water

    Force Resistance: Uncommon, Air + Positive + Water

    Lightning Resistance: Uncommon, Earth + Earth + Positive

    Necrotic Resistance: Uncommon, Positive + Positive + Negative

    Poison Resistance: Uncommon Positive + Earth + Water

    Psychic Resistance: Uncommon, Positive + Negative + Water

    Radiant Resistance: Uncommon, Positive + Positive + Water

    Thunder Resistance: Uncommon, Earth + Negative + Positive
    Check out my 5E Foraging/Alchemy Rules!

    God help me, I've made a 5E Magical Girl and people liked it.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    So you're cribbing the alchemy system from The Witcher? Because this is essentially how it works in that game. Everything single collectible resource for alchemy has at least one essence that can be used in different combinations to craft potions.
    I thought I mentioned the Witcher II in one of the posts- looking back, it looks like I didn't, so I guess it's debatable plagiarism.


    I should fix that.

    If you're curious, this is a summary of the process I used for brainstorming the system, as well as a comparison.
    Spoiler: Design Process
    Show

    When I was thinking of how to make an alchemy system for 5E, I started looking at how games I had played handled it. I decided on the Elemental + Positive/Negative Energy association early on, as well as ingredients having Rarity like Magic items. That would have given me 30 possible ingredients.

    The next step was actually deciding what those ingredients were. I actually started with Skyrim and Dragon Age, and seeing what kind of resources their systems used, but I decided that the "essence" categorization of the Witcher and the Witcher II would allow DM's the freedom to create their own ingredients, instead of being tied down to just 30.

    The main differences are that in Witcher 2, there were 7 or 8 essence types, plus the "-edo" para-elements in Witcher 1 and mutagens in Witcher II. Multiples of the same essence were rarely necessary in a recipe, but some ingredients were better and rarer than others- allowing you to create slightly different versions of the same potions.

    In this one, better ingredients count as multiple ingredients, but do not alter the effectiveness of the potion. But yeah, definitely from a narrative perspective, it looks alarmingly similar to the Witcher's.

    Do you have any ideas on ways to decrease that similarity? Or do you think it's different enough to be okay?

    Even if this is never getting published for profit anywhere, I'd still like to avoid the opinion that I completely stole this from the Witcher, even though the game's system was the primary source of inspiration.
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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Freelance GM View Post
    Do you have any ideas on ways to decrease that similarity? Or do you think it's different enough to be okay?

    Even if this is never getting published for profit anywhere, I'd still like to avoid the opinion that I completely stole this from the Witcher, even though the game's system was the primary source of inspiration.
    I wouldn't make it that much different. I was actually going to suggest The Witcher/2 (presumably 3 as well) as a good source of inspiration for this sort of thing. The other option is to go the Avernum route and just have a set list of generic ingredients like spiritual herbs, healing herbs and a few uncommon specifics (greymold, wolfsbane as examples) that can be used but the specifics only appear in certain places or are harder to find by region.

    I personally like the Witcher system since actually follows a more medieval alchemy model where the nature of the plant/item is more important than its actual chemical makeup. I'd personally go for power modifiers as well, so throwing some fire essence into a healing potion makes is a potion of fire resistance in addition to a healing potion, but the healing isn't as effective.

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    I wouldn't make it that much different. I was actually going to suggest The Witcher/2 (presumably 3 as well) as a good source of inspiration for this sort of thing. The other option is to go the Avernum route and just have a set list of generic ingredients like spiritual herbs, healing herbs and a few uncommon specifics (greymold, wolfsbane as examples) that can be used but the specifics only appear in certain places or are harder to find by region.

    I personally like the Witcher system since actually follows a more medieval alchemy model where the nature of the plant/item is more important than its actual chemical makeup. I'd personally go for power modifiers as well, so throwing some fire essence into a healing potion makes is a potion of fire resistance in addition to a healing potion, but the healing isn't as effective.
    The DMG actually has rules for mixing two magic potions together- it's a D% roll that can neutralize one or both potions, keep both effects, or explode violently. That seems fun enough, so I don't think homebrewing something different for that is necessary.

    As far as potion customization... I was going to hold off on working on it until I had the "Random Foraging by Region" charts done. I was thinking adding more Essence to existing potions would alter their effects in minor ways.

    Using your example- adding Fire essence to a potion of Healing- might make it more "intense," upgrading the healing from d4's to d6's, but it would not grant fire resistance. Water could dilute it, splitting the potion into two Healing potions that heal 1d4+1 HP, instead of the normal 2d4+2. In other cases, it could halve the duration of something like a Potion of Growth.
    Adding Earth could "stabilize" the potion- instead of rolling at all, you just take the average result. Adding Air would "destabilize" the potion, causing rolls of a 4 to explode Shadowrun-style, making it possible to heal more than normal.

    Not sure about adding Positive or Negative essence. Since I associated Negative essence with poisons and toxic substances, I can't really see it adding any benefit.
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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Freelance GM View Post
    Not sure about adding Positive or Negative essence. Since I associated Negative essence with poisons and toxic substances, I can't really see it adding any benefit.
    Negative could be a more powerful effect, but a small change to have instead do poison damage.

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    In terms of actually gathering the ingredients, a proposition:

    1) Print off a random wilderness map from a place like http://www.gozzys.com/wilderness-maps and have two copies of it. You could also do this all digitally if you're concerned about paper and ink costs.
    2) On one copy, notate spots where ingredients exist, using whatever method suits you- rolling a die for the quantity of them, picking ingredients appropriate to the area, or whatever else you want to do. You can also add areas of difficult terrain if you are so inclined.
    3) Give the forager the other copy. They make a Survival check, and the result impacts the speed at which they travel through. They draw a line on the map showing their search path. Based on their survival roll, they move X inches per hour (with the rate determined largely by the scale on which you printed the map and how thorough you want them to be able to be in one pass). They must leave enough time to head back before nightfall, unless camping in the woods that night. Movement rate is of course halved through difficult terrain unless they possess a class feature which negates that.
    4) The forager makes a perception check. Any ingredients within X inches of the line are potentially spotted, with X being based largely on the scale, and modified by their perception roll.
    5) Have them make a number of Knowledge (Nature) checks equal to the number of ingredients they potentially spotted + X (where X is ideally a D6, but can be a larger or smaller amount depending on how cruel you are). The DCs are set by the rarity of the ingredients in question., and obviously the bogus checks (ideally sprinkled in between rather than all at the end) are automatic failures. The ingredients successfully located and identified are obtained, and you can mark on their map where they were found.
    6) If they continue to harvest in the same wilderness area (let's say people are at a city and they're doing this in the forests immediately outside said city) the same map is used, which means that an area can be "tapped out" over time. If you are using this idea, it is also a good idea to have the ingredients "respawn" at a rate appropriate to the material in question (days or weeks for many herbs and other plant based items, except in winter, potentially much longer or never for other items). The main idea behind this is that the forager in question, in addition to their books detailing recipies and such like that, might keep their maps and create the most efficient routes to harvest things when in area X. It also means you need fewer total maps, which saves on ink, which is never a bad thing.

    This in practice:
    The Raw Map
    Spoiler
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    As advertised.

    The DM's Version:
    Spoiler
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    The DM's version, with blue being common, purple uncommon, and red rare. Pink areas are difficult terrain. The Yellow arrow is the entry point from where the forager is staying.

    Day 1:
    Spoiler
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    The forager walks south, clearing the area near the river. He rolls well on the survival check, so he can make the full trip. The choice to check the river was a wise one, as a common and uncommon ingredient are within the perception distance. Rolling 5 times for Knowledge (Nature), he passes both checks for the real ingredients.

    Day 2:
    Spoiler
    Show

    Less luck this day. He rolls poorly for his survival check, but doesn't want to go back emptyhanded, and knows that he has two days to get back before the party leaves this area. He set out on the northern path, but between a poor survival roll and trudging directly through difficult terrain, can't get anywhere near as far as he wants to. Camp is made for the night at the star. He also rolls poorly on the perception check, which means that both the common ingredient, and the rare ingredient right at the end of the day's journey, were not spotted. He makes 5 knowledge (nature) checks, but fails the one for the uncommon ingredient, and as such, doesn't find a single thing that day. Poor luck indeed.

    Day 3:
    Spoiler
    Show

    Day 3: He makes a great survival roll, and can easily finish the rest of his intended path as well as getting back to camp before his party departs, despite trudging back through the difficult terrain. His perception check is adequate to spot the common, uncommon, and rare ingredients. Making 5 knowledge (nature) checks, he makes the check for the common ingredient, misses the uncommon ingredient, but succeeds at the one for the rare ingredient! He heads home having gathered two common ingredients, one uncommon ingredient, and a rare ingredient. There are still vast tracts of the map that have not been cleared, and ingredients within his existing search area that were missed, but that's not a bad start.


    The best thing about this is it can be totally customized to suit your needs- you as the DM are in ultimate control of what is or is not present to be gathered, so you can have as many or as few ingredients as you like. Not all ingredients are natural? Replace some of the knowledge (nature) checks with other knowledge checks as appropriate to identify the ingredients. It also feels much more interactive for the player than just a set of rolls, and it takes almost no time to put together, so you're not significantly increasing your prep work. Obviously this whole thing was inspired by the game Battleship, turned into a foraging mini game, so I'm not going to claim this is an entirely original idea, but I think it could be fun. Anyone who chooses to run with this, let me know how it goes!

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Freelance GM View Post
    Eh... I'm not sure that I'd let my players break down potions. However, I'm one of those people who like options over choices, so there should be an optional rule for DM's who'd like that option.

    I like your idea of handling it through a single "extraction" check. I feel like the DC for breaking down a potion

    should be higher than crafting it... Perhaps the Crafting DC+5? The player can choose one type of Essence within the potion and get half of it back, rounded up. So, you could still break down something like Alchemist's Fire (Fire + Air) and get something out of it.

    Great, now my opinion's changing about allowing it- maybe I will allow it in my games. Breaking down potions you don't need could be a good way to get ingredients that aren't available in the region your character's currently in.
    At least you're more reasonable about it than many on these forums who stick to their "guns" no matter how ridiculous or poorly thought out their ideas are pointed out to be. I think we can all learn a lot from each others' experiences if an open mind is kept.

    I agree with you that it should be harder to break a potion down than create one. It also makes lower level potions have some sort of use when their effect would otherwise be discarded as useless.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freelance GM View Post
    I chose Fire over Water for the potion of Fire Resistance recipe because of the way I imagined the potion working. Ultimately, it depends on the DM's headcanon on how the potions work. In my mind, the Potion of Fire Resistance is some kind of hot orange liquid that's practically boiling. Drinking it magically increases your tolerance for heat.

    However, it could just as easily be a thick fluid with condensation gathering on the bottle. It's ice-cold and refreshing, and magically increases your tolerance for heat.
    I tend to subscribe the elemental opposites sort of thinking, so your second option is how I would do it.

    Eating fire to stop fire hurting you seems somewhat illogical to me.

    Also in a world building sense it would seem to me that collecting ingredients in a region filled with fire type creatures should not allow you to help you resist those same creatures. However, your way is totally valid and I see the advantages. The other complication, I guess, is that you don't have two recipes that have the same ingredients for different effects, your way would be marginally easier to keep all the "fire stuff" together for ease of reference.
    "If I went around saying I was an emperor just because some moistened bint threw a scimitar at me, they'd put me away..." - Dennis, aged 37 - Executive Officer of the Week, Anarcho-syndicalist commune, somewhere in Britain.

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by GiantOctopodes View Post
    In terms of actually gathering the ingredients, a proposition:

    They make a Survival check, and the result impacts the speed at which they travel through. They draw a line on the map showing their search path. Based on their survival roll, they move X inches per hour (with the rate determined largely by the scale on which you printed the map and how thorough you want them to be able to be in one pass). They must leave enough time to head back before nightfall, unless camping in the woods that night. Movement rate is of course halved through difficult terrain unless they possess a class feature which negates that.
    The forager makes a perception check. Any ingredients within X inches of the line are potentially spotted, with X being based largely on the scale, and modified by their perception roll. The ingredients successfully located and identified are obtained, and you can mark on their map where they were found.
    This is actually a pretty solid way of gathering ingredients, but it's a bit too specific, if that makes sense, for me. The idea I'm going for is gathering resources during Downtime- players can resolve it in two or three rolls, then get on with the adventuring. However, if there ever was an instance where the whole party has to thoroughly search an area for anything- from ingredients to traces of a missing caravan- this could be a more interactive way of doing it than just rolling Perception. Especially if there was a time limit, this method could make a search much more frantic and tense. Thanks for the idea!

    Quote Originally Posted by Safety Sword View Post
    I tend to subscribe the elemental opposites sort of thinking, so your second option is how I would do it.

    Eating fire to stop fire hurting you seems somewhat illogical to me.
    I think of it like a vaccination, or "building up an immunity to iocane powder."

    Anyways, a sample chart:

    Arctic: Forage DC 20
    1 8: 1d4 clumps of Pale Moss (Water 1) This greenish-gray lichen typically grows in colder climates. It's edible and nutritious, but has a bitter taste.

    9 14: 1d6+2 clumps of Pale Moss.

    15 18: 1d4 Salix Willow (Positive 1) These red or yellow shrubs are extraordinarily long-lived. Their leaves can be used to make simple medicines.

    19+: 1d3 Remorhaz Teeth (Fire 2) Frost Giants typically take these as trophies, but every once in a while, it's possible to find a frozen Remorhaz carcass that still has a few of its teeth.
    Last edited by Freelance GM; 2014-12-02 at 07:09 PM.
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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    I find this an interesting idea. I too prefer gathering ingredients.
    Just my two cents: I think an intelligence Nature check is more appropriate for finding ingredients. Herbalism is something you have to learn. It's the lore of plants. Survival is a more basic/ intuitive skill that makes it easier to survive the wilds. Sure at some point you will know to avoid some plants as inedible or poisonous, but that doesn't mean you know you could use them as ingredients for potions. It's like the difference between knowing how to drive a car, and knowing how to fix it.

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Edenbeast View Post
    I find this an interesting idea. I too prefer gathering ingredients.
    Just my two cents: I think an intelligence Nature check is more appropriate for finding ingredients. Herbalism is something you have to learn. It's the lore of plants. Survival is a more basic/ intuitive skill that makes it easier to survive the wilds. Sure at some point you will know to avoid some plants as inedible or poisonous, but that doesn't mean you know you could use them as ingredients for potions. It's like the difference between knowing how to drive a car, and knowing how to fix it.
    Perhaps checks to find ingredients could use Wisdom (Survival), while potion-crafting checks use Intelligence (Nature)?
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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Edenbeast View Post
    I find this an interesting idea. I too prefer gathering ingredients.
    Just my two cents: I think an intelligence Nature check is more appropriate for finding ingredients. Herbalism is something you have to learn. It's the lore of plants. Survival is a more basic/ intuitive skill that makes it easier to survive the wilds. Sure at some point you will know to avoid some plants as inedible or poisonous, but that doesn't mean you know you could use them as ingredients for potions. It's like the difference between knowing how to drive a car, and knowing how to fix it.
    Perhaps checks to find ingredients could use Wisdom (Survival), while potion-crafting checks use Intelligence (Nature)?

    That way, finding the ingredients is based on the character's ability to survive in the wilderness, and basic knowledge of what is and isn't useful. Actually making potions out of the ingredients, however, requires some level of education concerning the specific properties of the ingredients.
    Last edited by Freelance GM; 2014-12-03 at 09:23 AM.
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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Could be. Maybe a survival check depending on environment to see if you find anything useful, then make an intelligence check to craft something from it. Instead of buying the raw materials, you make the intelligence check to see whether you can extract enough ingredients from the stuff you find to craft the potion. The check should be derived from the market value. The time that it takes you is the same as any crafting to keep it fair. This way you don't need so much a table for essences, just keeping it simple with two checks. What I find difficult is, what's a fair DC. First I thought market value/5, the same you use for how many days it takes to create an item. That would mean that the DC for a potion of healing would be 10.. and basic poison 20. However, for anything more exotic, you'd be looking at impossible DC's
    Last edited by Edenbeast; 2014-12-03 at 11:56 AM.

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Freelance GM View Post

    Anyways, a sample chart:

    Arctic: Forage DC 20
    1 8: 1d4 clumps of Pale Moss (Water 1) This greenish-gray lichen typically grows in colder climates. It's edible and nutritious, but has a bitter taste.

    9 14: 1d6+2 clumps of Pale Moss.

    15 18: 1d4 Salix Willow (Positive 1) These red or yellow shrubs are extraordinarily long-lived. Their leaves can be used to make simple medicines.

    19+: 1d3 Remorhaz Teeth (Fire 2) Frost Giants typically take these as trophies, but every once in a while, it's possible to find a frozen Remorhaz carcass that still has a few of its teeth.
    I really like the simplicity of this chart, but it also has some nice fluffy background to balance it out.

    I may have missed it - but is the intention that they roll Forage DC 20 with whatever skill you choose as a DM. If they succeed - they roll again vs the ingrediant chart?
    Quote Originally Posted by bloodshed343 View Post
    If they get a +3 maul, it should hit like a truck being thrown by a bigger truck. It's a LEGENDARY weapon. This ain't a random boulder on a stick. This is Kord's right nut.
    Quote Originally Posted by MrUberGr View Post
    There are 10 rays, and you roll a d10 to determine what rays it uses. However, this seems totally stupid, since it isn't a 3 Int monster that will just fart rays from its eyes when it gets angry.

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by MadGrady View Post
    I really like the simplicity of this chart, but it also has some nice fluffy background to balance it out.

    I may have missed it - but is the intention that they roll Forage DC 20 with whatever skill you choose as a DM. If they succeed - they roll again vs the ingrediant chart?
    Correct. Two Wisdom (Survival) checks- one to see if they find any ingredients, and another to determine what ingredients they find.
    Check out my 5E Foraging/Alchemy Rules!

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    I personally use the idea that finding enough herbs and roots for a potion is about the same as feeding yourself for a day (you're selecting for toxic potion ingredients instead of nutritious foods). That accumulated herbage has a GP value equal to rations. Craft: alchemy treats this as "Raw Materials" for creating potion components, which means when you get 10 gp of "herbs", which you craft into 20 go of "reagents" which are 20gp worth of material to use for potion crafting (which makes 60gp worth of potion if you've got the XP).

    Not time effective really, but then most professions and such work across a week so you're not doing too bad making GP/day.

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Safety Sword View Post
    Eating fire to stop fire hurting you seems somewhat illogical to me.
    I actually like the idea of magic being illogical. Sometimes I even like to go all the way and make it logically impossible, yet still work. (I've probably just read too much Neil Gaiman.)

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    Default Re: Foraging Potion Ingredients/Alchemy Mini-Game Idea

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeJ View Post
    I actually like the idea of magic being illogical. Sometimes I even like to go all the way and make it logically impossible, yet still work. (I've probably just read too much Neil Gaiman.)
    Besides, this is a multiverse populated with magical elf game worlds, who says physics acts the same way on all of them

    Or....enchanted dwarf game worlds. Your preference really
    Quote Originally Posted by bloodshed343 View Post
    If they get a +3 maul, it should hit like a truck being thrown by a bigger truck. It's a LEGENDARY weapon. This ain't a random boulder on a stick. This is Kord's right nut.
    Quote Originally Posted by MrUberGr View Post
    There are 10 rays, and you roll a d10 to determine what rays it uses. However, this seems totally stupid, since it isn't a 3 Int monster that will just fart rays from its eyes when it gets angry.

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