I gave out a bit of loot to a player and they asked about my alchemy rules. Near a week after that, here they are. Long time viewers may recall an older version of the rules, that was 6 pages long. I cut it down to 3, mainly by simplifying how a few parts of it work, easing some of the wording, and, in general, by being more awesome.
Ideally, players can create a
potion Concoction that can do ANYTHING they can think up, but I’ve not had anyone do that yet. These rules have not yet been stress tested. I would love to see where they can lead.
Alchemy x Eberron
It should come as no surprise that a world so full of magic has worked extensively with all sorts of alchemical components. While big, flashy infusions and artificery make the news, its small concoctions and potions that keep the world moving right.
While it may look like chemistry, Alchemy is a magic, not a science. That means it’s unpredictable. Recipes and ingredients vary from alchemist to alchemist, and those being trained are taught the process of how to experiment and research the wonders of the world for themselves, not given a recipe to follow.
This experimentation is why potions cost so much, yet alchemists are usually so poor. Their profits go towards materials for their research. The cost of that Healing Potion might be paying off the debt the alchemist had to go into to learn that Script. Or it may be subsidizing experiments into a potion of flight.
Alchemy is not cheap, nor is it quick. The benefit to alchemy compared to other forms of magic is that a Concoction can be used by anyone, anytime. They don’t have expiration dates and once the creating is done, the Concoction is predictable. They aren’t quick to make, however. Alchemists measure their work in weeks, not in hours. And even with a week of attention, a Concoction might not be finished.
The Costs of Alchemy
To work alchemy effectively, there are some requirements. The first is for an Alchemy Station. This is a set of various beakers, cauldrons, knives, cutting boards, etc. designed for the creation of Concoctions. Most arcane laboratories have at least one Station that is likely in some use.
A week’s worth of work at an Alchemy Station consumes 25 gp worth Generic Components. These are all sorts of plants, animal parts, fuels, liquids, and so on. All of the ingredients are special in some way, but not that special. Part of the uncertainty of Alchemy is the variance of ingredients.
You aren’t limited to tending one Alchemy Station during your workweek. You can tend a number of Stations equal to your Intelligence modifier + your Proficiency in Alchemy Supplies. Each Station requires its own set of Components.
There are some items that don’t get placed in the general Components, because they’re more innately powerful than the run of the mill stuff. Things like the blood of a troll, the venom of a basilisk, or the flame sack of dragon. Ingredients can be added to potions that make sense. Trying to add troll’s blood to a potion of flight doesn’t sound like it would help, but adding it to a potion of healing would. Adding a relevant ingredient to a potion adds a bonus d6 when Creating a Concoction or performing Alchemical Research.
Providing a similar benefit as True ingredients, an alchemist can distill Essences. Creating an Essence takes a week on an Alchemy Station, consuming the standard components. At the end, make an Intelligence (Alchemy Supplies) check. You create one Essence with a result of 15, and an addition one of the same type for each 10 points you get above that.
Essences can be of all sorts of elements. Healing, Fire, Air, Anger, and so on. They should be general and usable in a few different Concoctions, but not broad enough to be used in all or most of them.
Before you can create a Concoction, you need to have an idea of what you are doing. This is represented with a Script, your personal recipe for the Alchemical Concoction. Being trained in Alchemy Supplies starts you out with a Script for a Complexity 1/Common item, normally a potion of healing, antitoxin, or a vial of acid or alchemist’s fire.
You can develop a Script with Alchemical Research.
Over a week, you can study an Alchemical Script that you know or wish to know. Make an Intelligence (Alchemy Supplies) check, with disadvantage if you do not have a set of Alchemical Supplies with you. You can only be Aided in this check if the assistant has the Alchemical Script you are studying. The concoction’s complexity is subtracted from your check result. (Common -1, Uncommon -2, Rare -3, Very Rare -4, Legendary -5.) Also, subtract the number of Secrets you have already discovered for this Script.
You can gain bonus d6s to the roll for each of the following
- Consuming a completed Alchemical Concoction that you’re trying to study.
- Consume a True Ingredient the DM approves of being related to the Concoction
- Consuming a Refined Essence the DM approves of being related to the Concoction
|9 or less||You acquire no new information.|
|10-17||You gain one success towards developing or improving a Script for this substance|
|18+||You gain two successes towards developing or improving a Script for this substance|
In addition to developing Scripts, your research will also uncover Secrets. Each Secret you’ve discovered for a Script will give you a bonus d6 when Creating the Concocting.
Scripts can also be developed for True Ingredients. Researching the properties of Dragon’s Blood, for instance, will allow you to use it more effectively. If you have a Script for a True Ingredient, add an additional bonus d6 when creating an Essence or Concoction. Each Secret you’ve discovered about this ingredient also adds a d6.
Each Concoction has a Complexity, ranging from 1 to 5, describing how much work it is to create. The Complexity sets the DC for Creation. The complexity is directly related to a potion’s rarity. Any idea for an Alchemical Concoction can be created, provided the DM approves. Upon hearing the idea for the concoction, if they approve the idea they will assign it a Complexity.
Creating a Concoction
Make an Intelligence (Alchemy Supplies) Check, adding all bonus d6s based on Secrets and Ingredients used. All ingredients are consumed. For every 10 points you exceed the DC, you create an additional Concoction.
You can gain an additional d6 after your roll and in exchange, the GM will determine a side effect that happens when you use the Concoction.
If you don’t succeed, compare your result to the required DC; if you failed by 10 or less, you created a Half-Concoction. If you immediately starting another workweek to create the same Concoction, you can use the Half-Concoction as your base, reducing your DC for Creating the full version by 10. If you don’t immediately continue, your Half Concoction turns into a Dud. You can’t do anything with a Dud, but you did learn from it. Mark one success towards researching the Script.
If you Failed by more than 10, the Concoction is a Dud.
The proper way to get rid of Duds is to spend a week and 25 of Alchemical Components to neutralize the alchemical components. There’s no check, it just costs time and money. If you don’t Neutralize, make sure you tell the DM where you’re dumping your Duds.
|Concoction DC||Successes for Script||
Success for a Secret
2 +3 per Secret
4 +6 per Secret
6 +9 per Secret
4 (Very Rare)
8 +12 per Secret
10 +15 per Secret
I’d be lying if I said my Patrons got this early, but they normally get things a day before it goes on the web. They got an ugly PDF of the rules tho, so that’s nice. <3