Potions are primarily the province of wizards, although priests can prepare
those potions relating to healing and cures. (Priests of other mythos may or may
not be able to prepare such potions, depending on the spell spheres available
to them.) Healing and curing potions are beyond the ken of wizards.
As with other magical items, the character must identify and gather the
materials needed to brew a potion before he can begin work. The formula can be as
straightforward or bizarre as the DM desires. It may require the blood of a rare
creature, powdered gems, the sweat of a mare, or the breath of a dying hero.
In addition, a potion requires a number of mundane ingredients. The basic cost
of these ingredients ranges from 200 to 1,000 gp. The DM should decide this
based on how common the potion is, its power, and the nature of the ingredients
he has specified. A potion of dragon control is a rare item of great power and so should cost the full 1,000 gp. A potion of healing is a fairly necessary item, something the DM may want to be readily available
to the characters. Therefore, it should be cheap, costing no more than 200 gp.
Wizards must do more than acquire ingredients: They also need a complete alchemical
laboratory. Potions are not something you can brew up over the kitchen stove!
This laboratory must be furnished with furnaces, alembics, retorts, beakers,
distilling coils, and smoldering braziers—in short, all the trappings of a mad
scientist's laboratory (circa 1400 AD).
The basic cost for such a laboratory is at least 2,000 gp if all the skilled
craftsmen are readily available to construct the equipment to the wizard's
specifications. And this cost covers only the furnishings; the wizard must also have
an appropriate place to put all these things and to conduct his work. Given
the strange noises and foul smells that issue at all hours from such a
laboratory, many a landlord may be less than willing to have his rooms used for such
Once the laboratory is established, the wizard must pay 10% of its value every
month to maintain the equipment, replacing things broken in experiments and
minor ingredients that lose potency with age.
Priests do not make use of a laboratory—such equipment smacks of impious and
heretical learning. Instead, the priest places his faith in greater powers to perform
the actual transformations needed to blend the potion. As such, he uses an altar
specially consecrated to the purpose. When constructing such an altar, the
character must be ready to make some sacrifice of worth, either a monetary
sacrifice or, even more significantly, a special service to his deity. Thereafter, the
priest need only respect the altar as would be normal for his faith.
Creating the Potion: With all this equipment assembled, the wizard or priest is ready to begin. The
cost already determined, the time to brew, infuse, distill, decant, and
extract the potion is measured in days equal to the cost divided by 100. During this
time, the character must remain uninterrupted except for the normal needs of
sleep and food. If the work is disturbed, the potion is hopelessly ruined as are
all ingredients used in it.
After the work is done, the DM secretly rolls percentile dice to determine if
the potion has taken. The base chance of success 70%. For every 100 gp worth of
ingredients, 1% is subtracted. For every two levels of the spellcaster (or
fraction thereof), 1% is added to the base.
If the percentile roll is equal to or less than the chance of success, the
potion succeeds. If the potion fails, the spellcaster has unwittingly brewed
either a deadly poison or a potion of delusion, at the DM's discretion. Of course, the player won't know whether a potion is
good until it's too late. In any case, the wizard or priest is wise to label
his creation, for there is no sure way to distinguish between different potions
by sight alone.
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