Kraithan or Bust
Potion making is the primary craft of alchemists due to the variety of different useful potions that can be made for adventuring. This guide will provide a systematic approach to discovering ingredients and making potions of all types.
First, a distinction should be made. There are two types of potions, technically. The first type we will call elixirs, or potions with positive effects. This includes potions that restore health or magic, potions that heal wounds, or potions that buff the user. The second type is poisons, or potions with detrimental effects. This includes poisons that deal damage or debuff the inflicted. That being said, all types of alchemists can create all types of potions. Additionally, poisons can be made by Toxin Master, Assassin Ranger, and Venomist. Potions can be made anywhere as long as you have the stuff you need to make one; you do not need to be in a special lab to make potions.
No matter what type of potion you are working with, the composition of each potion is the same. Each potion has five parts: a liquid base, three different active ingredients, and a magic infusion. Additionally, we can classify all potions by their potency, which can create relative comparisons. Potency, from lowest to highest, goes F, D, C, B, A, and S (S potions are like masterworks).
The liquid base determines whether your potion will be an elixir or poison, and it also is a limiting factor on the strength of the active ingredients and the size of the magic infusion. Water is the only liquid base that can be used in both elixirs and poisons, and it can only make potions with a potency of F. After that, it is necessary to discover more powerful bases for elixirs and poisons specifically. There are two methods to obtain pure base samples. Firstly, you could just find them, in stores or through your adventures, but finding pure bases is somewhat rare for anything that isn’t water. The second method is to extract the base from a potion you already have. You can boil potions to an extreme temperature to destroy the active ingredients and release the magic infusion in the potion, leaving you with a pure base sample. However, neither of these methods can provide a sustainable source of potion bases, so the best way to get these bases is to look into finding natural sources of it, through plant or animal life or magical methods.
Next are the active ingredients. You need to put in three different active ingredients when making a potion. These are things like exotic flowers, mushrooms, creature parts, and powders that you can find throughout your adventures. Getting these is just a matter of looking around often enough to try and find them, especially in the wilderness, and many ingredients can be harvested from the creatures you kill. Active ingredients have 2 effects each, one that is active in elixirs and one active in poisons. Ingesting a sample of an ingredient will allow anyone to determine the ingredients effects in most cases. This means that it is imperative to try and get more than one sample of any new ingredient. The mixture of three active ingredients and their respective effects determines the overall effect of the potion. The way the effects interact with each other is non-random, so if you use the same three ingredients for two different potions, they will both have the same effect even if bases of different max potency levels are used. What would likely differ between those two potions would instead be the potency or the side effects from the magic infusion.
This brings us to the third part of potion making: the magic infusion. Once you’ve ground your ingredients and added them to your base, you cap it off with a small input of magic of one of the eight elements. The magic infusion does not change the effect of the potion, but it can affect the potency of the potion. Each mixture of base and three ingredients has a certain affinity to a specific element, and using the right one can boost the potency of the potion. Likewise, each potential potion also has an element it is naturally averse to, and using that for the magic infusion will decrease the potency. The other usable elements will do nothing to the potency of the potion, but the magic infusion is generally required as a “cap” of sorts. Elixirs must be capped with water, earth, air, or light, and any given elixir has a positive element and a negative element amongst these. Poisons must be capped with fire, ice, lightning, or dark, and any given poison has a positive element and a negative element amongst these. Since they’re each limited to four elements for a possible infusion, you technically have a 25% chance of picking the positive element, an equal chance of picking the negative element, and a 50% chance of picking a neutral element. Ingredients specifically tend towards creating potions with specific affinities, so you might be able to predict the affinity of a new potion using old data. For example, let’s say you make a poison using a red flower, a blue shell, and a green rock, and successfully guess that the positive element is dark. You might then make a poison using the red flower, the blue shell, and human entrails, and that poison might also be of a dark affinity, sharing two ingredients with your earlier poison. Assuming you guess that correctly, you might then assume that both the red flower and the blue shell have an affinity for dark when used for poisons, and you could use that knowledge in later potion making. Of course, this isn’t a foolproof method, because ingredients interact with each other in strange ways when magic is applied. However, you wouldn’t have a case where you add three ingredients, each with different affinities, and getting a potion that prefers the fourth option as a positive element. It really depends on how powerful the magic affinity nature of the ingredients are, and how they compare to each other. For example, maybe the blue shell in the earlier example doesn’t actually have an affinity for dark, but the red flower does, and the red flower just happens to have a powerfully dominating affinity nature that sets the tone for the entire potion when mixed with weaker ingredients. The difficulty in this comes with the fact that simply ingesting an ingredient tells you nothing about that ingredient’s affinities or how dominant it will be in any given potion; that sort of information requires a lot of time and a lot of work to study the ingredients effects in potions using a brute force method in a place of alchemical research. Also, the magic infusion affects the potion’s overall affinity, which means it can have problems when quaffed by certain entities. For example, someone immune to fire cannot be affected by a potion which has been infused with fire, and someone who is especially weak to water will experience extra powerful effects of a potion infused with lightning. This shouldn’t come into play too often but it’s important to know for making poisons that you will later apply to your weapons.
Ok, now that you have your base, your three ingredients, and your magic infusion ready, you can begin the potion making process. The entire process takes about five minutes per potion (each potion must be made separately to carefully control the amounts of each part of the potion). Firstly you must roll for success for making the potion. The value for success depends on the potency of the potion:
F = 9
D = 10
C = 11
B = 12
A = 13
S = 14
Your success roll is modified by the level of the class making the potion, and alchemists automatically get their base alchemist level +1 as a modifier to their success. If your potion is a failure, you will be left with a useless Crap Potion, which can’t be boiled and the ingredients can’t be recovered. If you succeed, then you roll d20 for quality. Now, if you recall, the base of your potion is the limiting factor of your potion’s potency; this means that you can’t have a potency level higher than what the base will allow. However, you can make a potion with a potency level lower than what the base allows, if you roll low on the quality check. The quality check will lock in your potion’s potency, and thus the strength of its effects. For example, you are making a health elixir using a base of B potency, and you roll a five on the quality check. You might get a C or D potion instead (it can vary a bit based on the ingredients, as some can act as quality buffers). Or maybe you roll a 19, getting a powerful B elixir. Also, while getting at least a 10 ensures the potency will not be lower than the base max potency, getting higher numbers does boost the effect of the potion. A health elixir crafted with a quality of 19 might heal ten HP, while one crafted with a quality of 14 might heal seven HP. While those two potions would still be of the same potency level (they would both be B level elixirs), their numerical potency is technically slightly different (note that all of these numbers do not reflect real results, they just show relatively what the importance of quality really is). There are no modifiers for quality checks.
That should be just about everything for how to make potions. From now on I’m going to try and update the Wiki with each newly found ingredient so that we have a public record, which should help people looking to get into potion making as well.