View Full Version : Alchemic System - (PEACH)

2008-02-07, 03:21 PM
During DnD sessions I played, I've never seen taking the Craft (Alchemy) Skill seriously. That's a pity, since collecting components and crafting potions is a nice idea to me.
So I decided to create a system that could make Alchemist a good job for players. I need comments, suggestions and ideas.

How Alchemy works

Basically, that's the thing: to create a whole list of ingredients that matches with your setting and could be used to craft potions, oils and special alchemic objects. You can collect this ingredients all around and, with alchemic apparatus and other tools, modify, mix, alter this ingredients to obtain what you need.

Of course, different ingredients have different effect, methods of processing, uses and prices. Many ingredients have multiple uses, and sometimes negative effects if not used correctly.

The point is this: to obtain the effect you want from a potion, you have to mix two different ingredients that have the same effect. You can't mix two parts of the same ingredient, and you can't get all the additional effects the ingredients could grant if their are not shared between the two ingredient.
(This method is inspired by MORROWIND game, in which Alchemy worked like this).

You also need some tools to do this, like mortar and pestle, alembics and so on.
To craft a potion, you have to use your Craft (alchemy) skill. There is no magic involved: you can do this with any class if you put degrees in Alchemy.

Hoe to make ingredients

Making ingredient seems a boring a difficult stuff using this system, but remember that you don't really have to create them all from the beginning. You can add them slowly during your campaing, adapting them to the setting you are and give a new flavor to the fauna and flora of it.

Basically, an ingredient could be averything. Mushrooms, flowers, leafs, shells, theet, skins, bodypart, stones, strange stuff... Anything you could imagine. Of course, you can't obtain ingredients from everything. But 30-70 ingredients in your campaing should be enough to create all the potions listed in the Dungeon Master Guide.

How to recognize an ingredient.
Ingredients can be recognized as they are using skills. You can use either your Survival or Knowledge (arcana) skills. Survival fits most for ingredients common in nature, like plants or parts of animals. Knowledge (arcana) is better for ingredient more misterious, magical, directly linked to magic sources or particular races. Knowledge (arcana) can be changed to other kind of knowledge if you want, whatever fits most in your campaing. Craft (Alchemy) skill should not be used as a mean of recognizing, since is about crafting potions, but this can be used if you want to.

Ingredient's effects.
An ingredient has one or more effect known. You can make an ingredient with more effects, but every effect requires a DC to be known. Use the Survival, Knowledge and Craft (Alchemy) in this case.

It's better to make ingredients that have minor effects and more powerful effects. Every effect has a different DC to be known (raise the DC to match with the power of the effect). In this way, an ingredient could be used at low levels to make stuff like heal minor wounds and later to make a remove curse potion.

Do not make ingredients that share exactly the same effects, to avoid to make potion that have additional effects together with the intended ones (even if they are unknow).

Creating a Ingredient.
Decide what in your campaing can be cosidered as an Alchemic ingredient. Give it a proper name, and a description. Then, decide how it works, compiling the proper stats for it:

-DC for recognizing: Set the DC and the skill used to perform this. The DC should depend to the ingredient effect: the more powerful, the more difficult to recognize.

-Effects: Make a list of the effect and the proper DC to know them. The effects more powerful should have an higher DC.
The more effect it has and the more powerful they are, the more should be the ingredient's value.

-Terrain/Source: Where you can found it. Terrain is for plants and stones/minerals, source is for bodyparts or other stuff.

-Rarity:The chances to found it. While searching into the terrain/source for the ingredient, the players can found it. The chances are expressed in precentages: use the d100 to see if they found it or not. If the players are looking for a specificall ingredient by purpose, raise the percentage by 10%.
If they aren't looking for anything, they can still found something by chance, lower by the 25% in this case.
If a rarity check fails, it can be done again, but only if the players move and change to the zone of the search. This is up to the DM.
An ingredient's rarity affects is value, of course.

-Processing: What requires to be done for use an ingredient's effect. Sometimes make different processing for diffent effects of the same ingredient, to avoid undesired or unknow effect.

-Value: How much does it cost. Consider the effects, the rarity and how difficult is to get it. The ingredient should not cost more than a already made potion with its effect. If a low cost items has a powerful effect, remember to make the other item that has the same powerful effect to cost a lot, to balance it. An ingredient, of course, can be selled unprocessed to other alchemists.

Alternative: If you're out of ideas or don't want to make every single ingredient by yourself, just use the material component described in the spells. Use them as a source of inspiration or make their spell correspond to the effects you want.

Ingredient Examples

A strange fruit that grows in the deep caverns dwelled by dwarfs. Its roots are attached on cavern's wall, and it glows of a feble light. It good to eat, and its sugary flesh is usable in alchemy.
DC: Survival 5
-remove fear- DC 15
-daily light - DC 25
Processing: root (remove fear) - peel (daily light)
Terrain: deep caves
Rarity: 45%
Value: 5 gold

Moonlight Flower
A blue flower that grows on the dunes of desert lands. He is resistant to heating and dryness. The flower opens only at night, and can be collected only during the night, otherwise it won't be usable.
DC: Knowledge(arcana) - Survival 10
-heal minor wounds - DC 10
-darkvision - DC 15
-resist fire 20 - DC 20
Processing: dust
Terrain: sand deserts
Rarity: 30%
Value: 50 gold

Displacer's beast thoot
A thoot from the displacer beast. Difficult to get, but valuable.
DC: Knowledge(arcana) - Survival 20
- blur - DC 20
- greater magic fang +5 - DC 30
Processing: dust
Source: Displacer Beasts
Rarity: 100%
Value: 1500 gold

A small white flower that grows right in the middle of snowy lands. It's fragile and almost impossible to get, but his powers are really strong.
DC: Survival 30
- greater restoration - DC 35
Processing: paste
Terrain: snow deserts
Rarity: 10%
Value: 5000 gold

How to make potions

To make a potion, you have to make a Craft (Alchemy) roll, mixing the two ingredients with the same effect. You have to use the proper tools to do it. The DC for creating a potion is 15 plus the spell level that the effect of the potion has. You can decide to increase the difficult for particular potions.
An failed attempt destroys the ingredients. You can make a potion with mutiple effects, adding three or more ingredients that have effects in common, but add +5 to the DC for every other ingredient more than two.
Xp cost: Yes or no. Decide what fits better.
Otherwise: stick with the old alchemy rules.

Additional stuff

Be creative. Make alchemic tools for every process you need (adding a bonus to the Craft (Alchemy) check), make an Alchemic travelling kit (to be used in the wilderness), create generic manuals that give bonuses to the Survival or Knowledge check to recognize the ingredients or specific manuals that says everything about some ingredients. Calculate their value, of course...
And start make quest for the players to seek for specific items, for example.

I hope that this system is not too complicated or too boring. Please comment and give me advices.

2008-02-07, 08:00 PM
Seems similar in concept to how alchemy works in The Elder Scrolls series. Was that your inspiration, perhaps? But aside from that, I think it's a nice new look at alchemy. If I wasn't so darn lazy busy, then I might try to stat up some ingredients for you.

2008-02-07, 08:07 PM
Seems similar in concept to how alchemy works in The Elder Scrolls series. Was that your inspiration, perhaps?

It's almost the same. As I say in the first spoiler, I took inspiration from them.
About the lazyness: just stat a ingredient every time you have an idea of it. Even during a session. Then, give the player a bunch of ten ingredients to start working and add them slowly and continuously. After a while you'll have a whole book of this.

2008-02-08, 05:02 PM
It's almost the same. As I say in the first spoiler, I took inspiration from them.

Darn, I've got to learn to skim more efficiently.