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The Fury
2016-02-12, 11:57 PM
Something that various DMs I've played under have attempted but never got very far with was giving commonly encountered potions distinct flavors. I always thought it would be a cool idea, in theory even a non-caster could identify a potion that they'd previously encountered if they took a little taste. I suspect most DMs never got very far with the idea because it is a little tedious.

So what do y'all think? What are some common potion flavors? Would a potion of Remove Disease taste like chicken soup? Would a potion of Haste taste like Red Bull? I'd like to hear your ideas on this.

Talar
2016-02-13, 12:52 AM
Depending on the campaign this could be very entertaining, but yeah tedious. Depends on the people you are playing with as well.

Anyway healing potions I always thought would taste incredibly sweet. I think a potion of barkskin would taste bad. A potion of invisibility would probably taste bland like poorly cooked chicken. This could be a cool way to add flavor to a world, but would take awhile to actually do and implement in a game.

Slipperychicken
2016-02-13, 01:59 AM
I like to imagine curing potions taste like medicine. Sort of like that grape shoepolish stuff they used to give out for colds. Tolerable, but not something you'd drink if you could avoid it. Nobody's sitting around tipping back healing potions for fun.

Speed potions could taste like coffee or energy supplements.

Endurance and strength potions might taste like some of the nastier protein shakes. Or they just taste like raw egg.

Swimming and water-breathing potions might taste salty or like seafood.

Heat-resist and cold-resist potions would have a cinnamon-like flavor and make you feel warm. Sort of like Fireball Whiskey, if you've ever had it.

Fear-resist potions are actually just very strong drinks, but don't tell the customer that.

goto124
2016-02-13, 02:25 AM
Chicken, as usual.

Everything tastes like chicken!

Madbox
2016-02-13, 02:58 AM
Chicken, as usual.

Everything tastes like chicken!

Beat me to it!

I imagine a lot of potions taste vaguely alcoholic, with herbal flavors. Absinthe, jaegermeister, gin, that sort of thing. Fire resist is spearmint. Invisibility is vanilla, obviously. Cold resist is hot cocoa.

TheThan
2016-02-13, 03:01 AM
All my potions taste like grape flavored medicine.

goto124
2016-02-13, 03:05 AM
Not orange-flavored medicine? At least the supplements tend to be orange-flavored. Seems to be the universal flavor.

critfumbles
2016-02-13, 03:11 AM
I change the taste of potions based on the creator. A potion of cure light wounds made by priestesses of a goddess of beauty might have a slight fragrance of fruit and flowers that leaves you refreshed, while an orc one is a black, oily mess that looks like it was scraped out of a chamberpot, and tastes like it too.

I find that my players tend to refrain from using potions I describe as unpleasant until they need to, even though their Perception or Spellcraft check already told them that the potions are mechanically the same.

lacco36
2016-02-13, 04:03 AM
I was also wondering about something like that and I really liked the "try it to find out" approach in ADOM.

And then I found this (http://recedingrules.blogspot.sk/2010/06/potion-traits.html)link...

...my players are veeeeery veeeery careful of potions now :smallbiggrin:

Gallade
2016-02-13, 06:09 AM
I really have to strain from making a pun about flavor. But anyway, if you wanted to make potions have a "realistic" taste, wouldn't it be the taste of the components for their equivalent spell? And a potion correspondent to a spell with no focus or material components would taste bland or vague...
For instance,
a potion of False Life would taste like blood
a potion of Sleep of dried crickets (Ew)
a potion of Reveal Undead of grave dirt (Double ew)
Touch of the sea -> fish (a bit better)
Share Languages -> paper (weird)
Slow -> Molasses (Definitely yummy)
Haste -> Licorice root (Now that's good!)

Âmesang
2016-02-13, 07:49 AM
I want one that's distinctly different, one that tastes like Moxie—the sensible potion!

Amphetryon
2016-02-13, 08:07 AM
My Players rarely ask, but in general, potions with deleterious effects taste either sweet or bitter (not bittersweet, which often indicates a helpful potion with a consequence), while potions with helpful effects taste either sour, salty, or savory (umami).

Logosloki
2016-02-13, 08:41 AM
They taste of apples. Well, mainly apples.

goto124
2016-02-13, 09:04 AM
or savory (umami).

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-lab5PJJ0fLU/UdXj2X59DpI/AAAAAAAACeM/pmzxRcR7x6Q/s500/4+unagi.jpg

Darth Ultron
2016-02-13, 09:10 AM
I've always done this on small scales, as I hate the idea that every potion of healing in the multiverse tastes the same. So each culture/group/organization or such has their own flavors. This makes it easy for members of that culture/group/organization to identify potions, at least the one created for them. The gnomes, in general, have been trying to make an official world wide potion taste list....but are still working on it.

It is a ''lot'' of book keeping, but it is fun book keeping.

DigoDragon
2016-02-13, 09:11 AM
Chicken, as usual.

*Snerk*


In low magic campaigns where Identify spells aren't common, I tended to give hints in flavors. Sweet tastes like Apples and strawberries were attributed to healing and restoration, while necromancy stuff (like false life) would be more like sour licorice flavored.

Then the cleric asked what poisons taste like. Took 15 minutes to recover from the laughter.

Necroticplague
2016-02-13, 09:13 AM
In the system I usually play (dnd 3.5) under, potions are only an ounce of fluid. Hard to really taste anything when there's that little of it. This is generally a positive thing, as potion mixing is a magical process, and the ingredients are based on alchemical and magical significance, generally including things that don't really qualify as food (and thus they tend to taste horrible in quantities big enough to taste).

goto124
2016-02-13, 10:27 AM
Poisons taste like PAIN and DEATH!

The Fury
2016-02-13, 11:29 AM
Anyway healing potions I always thought would taste incredibly sweet. I think a potion of barkskin would taste bad. A potion of invisibility would probably taste bland like poorly cooked chicken. This could be a cool way to add flavor to a world, but would take awhile to actually do and implement in a game.

I thought Barkskin might taste like oatmeal. Y'know? Fiber.




Fear-resist potions are actually just very strong drinks, but don't tell the customer that.

Liquid courage, right?



...while necromancy stuff (like false life) would be more like sour licorice flavored.


Licorice flavor has a potion assigned to it in my imagination, though it's because of an in-game conversation--

Loonin: "Hey, The Fury! Can I have your potion of Jump?"

The Fury: "Uh, yeah. Here you go."

Loonin: "Mmm! This one's my favorite, it tastes like licorice!" *swig* *BOING!*

JAL_1138
2016-02-13, 08:12 PM
They taste of apples. Well, mainly apples.
If so, never let them touch metal...

Alternatively, to reference a different great British writer with a fondness for footnotes, "like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick."

Vitruviansquid
2016-02-13, 09:14 PM
I imagine magic potions taste awful because the ingredients are there to give you giant's strength or invisibility or whatever, not to make it a delightful beverage.

In fact, if your magic potion doesn't taste like a horse's butthole, you would be suspicious about its quality. It's the bitterest medicines that are, after all, the msot effective.

Aliquid
2016-02-13, 09:59 PM
You could work with smell instead of taste, if you want to really involve the players...

i.e. have a bunch of little bottles with you as a DM, each with a strong smelling substance in it. Hand it over to the player, and say "you find a potion that smells like this". Let the player try to remember what the smell is associated with.

Medicine is always a good one as mentioned above. Buckley's has a potent odor, typical "cherry" or "grape" flavored medicine has a distinct smell too. Then there are various spices (cloves etc), that have a strong odor that you could use.

Of course you would have to use things that have a good shelf life... so it doesn't go rotting alongside your D&D supplies.

Mastikator
2016-02-13, 10:36 PM
Orcs taste bitter and salty, goblins taste sour, elves taste bittersweet, dwarves taste musky.

Milo v3
2016-02-14, 02:37 AM
I had a character who acknowledged this by prestidigitation'ing all the potions he drunk to make them taste however he wanted.

N810
2016-02-18, 04:32 PM
It taste, not entirely unlike, a desperate attempt a cherry flavoring.
Also it has the viscosity of burnt motor oil.

Feddlefew
2016-02-18, 07:47 PM
I used to randomize my potion, poison, and oil descriptions. So I'd make a three tables of 50 values for color, texture/mouthfeal, and taste/smell, and then each time they found a new potion I'd roll and record the results. I'd describe the bottles based on what made sense based on where they were found and who made them.

On the other hand, I made the most common potions always be the same. Cure potions were universally described as "tastes [intensity] like cough syrup", and potions of harm were universally described as "tastes [intensity] like cherry cough syrup".

REVISIONIST
2016-02-18, 09:17 PM
You could work with smell instead of taste, if you want to really involve the players...

i.e. have a bunch of little bottles with you as a DM, each with a strong smelling substance in it. Hand it over to the player, and say "you find a potion that smells like this". Let the player try to remember what the smell is associated with.

Medicine is always a good one as mentioned above. Buckley's has a potent odor, typical "cherry" or "grape" flavored medicine has a distinct smell too. Then there are various spices (cloves etc), that have a strong odor that you could use.

Of course you would have to use things that have a good shelf life... so it doesn't go rotting alongside your D&D supplies.

This is a way better answer. The sense of smell is way more refined than the sense of taste, and why risk a taste when the sense of smell can give you so many more clues? What can your average human "taste"? Five maybe six things? (IFIRC sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and unami, and I think I'm
missing one) Smell provides the rest. Your potion smells of honeysuckle, with a hint of asphalt, do you drink it? Hmmm... honeysuckle = good, asphalt not so much. Good honeysuckle smell and asphalt smell = fire protection?

goto124
2016-02-18, 09:21 PM
Taste depends on smell, by the way.

REVISIONIST
2016-02-18, 09:30 PM
Taste depends on smell, by the way.

How so? They are two different senses. A person who is sick may be able to taste salty, but not smell the orange. As if if their sinuses are plugged
they lose their sense of smell but can still taste with their taste buds?

The Fury
2016-02-18, 10:10 PM
How so? They are two different senses. A person who is sick may be able to taste salty, but not smell the orange. As if if their sinuses are plugged
they lose their sense of smell but can still taste with their taste buds?

I'll have you know that I taste everything by first jamming it up my nose. For some reason nobody wants to have lunch with me.

Feddlefew
2016-02-19, 12:56 AM
How so? They are two different senses. A person who is sick may be able to taste salty, but not smell the orange. As if if their sinuses are plugged
they lose their sense of smell but can still taste with their taste buds?

Both are chemical detecting senses. If you plug your nose, you lose a lot of your sense of taste. You basically have 5 types of taste buds:

-Acidic
-Basic
-Salty
-Sugary
-Savory

Your sense of smell, however, is a bit more refined, and can can distinguish between more chemicals.

Edit:
Before anyone asks: Humans have an excellent sense of smell. It's just adapted for distinguishing between many different kinds of smells, rather than detecting very small amounts and variations in intensity of smells.

Telonius
2016-02-19, 01:03 AM
From the SRD (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/potionsAndOils.htm#identifyingPotions), Cure Moderate Wounds tastes something like almonds.

I'd suppose that if the potion's spell had any material components, it would taste kind of like those.

Feddlefew
2016-02-19, 01:05 AM
From the SRD (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/potionsAndOils.htm#identifyingPotions), Cure Moderate Wounds tastes something like almonds.

That seems.... Dangerous.

inuyasha
2016-02-19, 01:09 AM
That seems.... Dangerous.

"No no no! I said potion of neutralize poison! Who gives somebody a vial of bloody arsenic??"

"Well... I uh... thought it was a dwarf thing... given the bonus against poisons and all... I'll fetch a cleric immediately!"

"...well... as long as a cleric's coming."

*He died three sips later*

sktarq
2016-02-19, 02:57 AM
few issues.

Firstly playing with taste is usually I do more my Vampire Games and the local foods of my DnD/PF games. . . so while I am used to using taste/smell I had never thought of extending it to potions much. So why potions when most of the time potions are used in combat when it seems as if it would be the most distracting and off focus. There seems like better ways to focus on the rich world of taste.

Secondly if you are going to do it i would generally say - be willing to go a bit weird. Smoked flowers, metallic bacon, two things that don't belong. Tastes that no human can taste without magic being involved. Also this is a chance to have fun. . . Neutralize poison that tastes like chili pepper chalk. . .

Finally-potions effect the character so just as much as mouthfeel - bodyfeel would be a things. How does a
protection from fire potion FEEL as is spreads from your mouth and throat to your skin. That would be another nifty world of description.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

And on the smell/taste complex.. . . . yeah they are VERY related. Most of what you "taste" is actually what you smell as you chew. so in a liquid most liquids smell very clearly -Think how wine, balsamic vinegar, coffee, tea etc are judged. I would expect a lot of "identifying" potions with skills (knowledge arcana, alchemy, religion, spell-craft, what have you) vs magic would be very similar to a wine sampling.

and finally if your healing potions taste of cyanide (which tastes like almonds/peach pits) then that would be terrifying.

Feddlefew
2016-02-19, 04:02 AM
and finally if your healing potions taste of cyanide (which tastes like almonds/peach pits) then that would be terrifying.

Cyanide doesn't taste or smell like peaches or bitter almonds. Some common cyanide bearing compounds do, which is an important distinction.

I don't know if cyanide (CN-) actually has a taste or not. My organic chemistry professor (who is from back before fume hoods were a thing) has said that Potassium Cyanide smells similar to burning almonds, but not actually like almonds, if that makes sense.

-----

One of my friends once stated that he pictured potions of Bull's Strength as having the taste and constancy of a raw beef smoothie.

goto124
2016-02-19, 07:58 AM
Also this is a chance to have fun. . . Neutralize poison that tastes like chili pepper chalk. . .

"It's as if Crayola went nuts, decided to put Tabasco chilli and black pepper together to create the Chilli Pepper crayon, and you're now eating that crayon."

Madbox
2016-02-19, 03:28 PM
"It tastes purple."
"What?"
"You heard me."
"But you said it was green!"
"Yes, but it tastes purple."
"Sooo.... grape?"
"No. Just purple. Maybe a hint of plaid."

Telonius
2016-02-19, 03:48 PM
"It tastes purple."
"What?"
"You heard me."
"But you said it was green!"
"Yes, but it tastes purple."
"Sooo.... grape?"
"No. Just purple. Maybe a hint of plaid."

That's ... surprisingly close to how I'd describe kiwifruit. (I have a bit of synesthesia...)

Bear's Endurance tastes exactly like one of those 4-hour energy drinks.

N810
2016-02-19, 04:03 PM
Oh the brown potion, it smells like... feet wrapped in leathery, burnt bacon. :smallamused:

Âmesang
2016-02-19, 05:43 PM
Would a potion of Haste taste like Red Bull?
Fly tastes like Red Bull, haste tastes like Mountain Dew. :smallbiggrin:

sktarq
2016-02-19, 05:53 PM
Cyanide doesn't taste or smell like peaches or bitter almonds. Some common cyanide bearing compounds do, which is an important distinction.

I don't know if cyanide (CN-) actually has a taste or not. My organic chemistry professor (who is from back before fume hoods were a thing) has said that Potassium Cyanide smells similar to burning almonds, but not actually like almonds, if that makes sense.

If you want to get highly technically accurate CN- is odorless. However not only do many sources of cyanide smell of almonds or stonefruit pits so do many of the results of storing cyanide compounds. Thus finding cyanide without the strong smelling adulterates (which vary in smell but have similar themes) is very rare. So it is like "smelling gas" - you are not smelling the methane but additives. Technically they are different but it works fine in most of the real world (counter example-coal mines)

Feddlefew
2016-02-19, 08:38 PM
If you want to get highly technically accurate CN- is odorless. However not only do many sources of cyanide smell of almonds or stonefruit pits so do many of the results of storing cyanide compounds. Thus finding cyanide without the strong smelling adulterates (which vary in smell but have similar themes) is very rare. So it is like "smelling gas" - you are not smelling the methane but additives. Technically they are different but it works fine in most of the real world (counter example-coal mines)

That is what I said, yes.

FocusWolf413
2016-02-19, 08:39 PM
*Snerk*


In low magic campaigns where Identify spells aren't common, I tended to give hints in flavors. Sweet tastes like Apples and strawberries were attributed to healing and restoration, while necromancy stuff (like false life) would be more like sour licorice flavored.

Then the cleric asked what poisons taste like. Took 15 minutes to recover from the laughter.

https://media.giphy.com/media/ApEe3sVnOcHde/giphy.gif

Or maybe make poison taste like bubblegum.