The alchemy skill is available to characters in the Player’s Guide, but little is provided in terms of actually making the potions and poisons that it can produce. This is mainly due to space limitations; certain things must be in the book for the game to be playable. Admittedly, it also gave us a little time to revisit the enchanting rules (of which Alchemy is a subset).
The rules for alchemy (along with the rest of the enchanting rules) will be presented in the Earthdawn Companion, which we hope to have out later this year. But as a preview, and to give interested players something to play around with, here’s a broad overview of potions and poisons.
As described in the basic overview of enchanting from a few weeks back, before you can make any magical item (potions and such included), you must first learn the item’s enchanting pattern–basically the recipe for the item. This requires the alchemist to make an Alchemy test, the DN is determined by using the item’s rank as a Spell Circle from the Spell Learning Difficulty Table (Player’s Guide, page 251). Unlike spells, there is no Legend Point cost to learn an enchanting pattern, but to learn an enchanting pattern, the rank of the relevant skill (Alchemy in this case) must be equal or higher than the item’s rank.
The Earthdawn Companion will go into a bit more detail on enchanting patterns, but all alchemists start knowing the enchanting pattern for the standard booster potion (it’s learned as part of their training). Beyond that, enchanting patterns can be found, purchased, researched, and so forth.
Once the alchemist has learned the pattern, they need to gather the ingredients. Most items require a certain amount of alchemical materials. These are ingredients that are generally available from any suitably equipped merchant that deals in alchemical supplies, and are measured by value. The more powerful the item being created, the more money must be spent to acquire the necessary ingredients.
Some items require specific materials. These are the rare, expensive, or exotic ingredients that add a little bit of extra rarity or value to a magic item. These are also measured by value, and while we don’t provide detail on exactly what the expensive or rare ingredient is, gamemasters are encouraged to flesh out those details as they wish. This can provide a source for plot hooks or side quests, and can also be where those bits of creatures worth money end up. Another reason we don’t detail these is because there can be different enchanting patterns for the same item–developed in different areas, and sourced from ingredients local to that area.
If the alchemist wishes to gather their own alchemical materials, they just need to make an Alchemy test against the Wilderness Survival Difficulty of the area (Player’s Guide, page 179). Each success gathers material value equal to the base difficulty of the test. For example, in basic woodlands (DN 5), a result of 12 would score 2 successes and result in 10 silver in materials.
Once the materials are gathered, the actual enchanting process is done. For consumables (healing aids and poisons), this is an Alchemy test against a DN based on the item. The alchemist can attempt to make more than one dose of the item with no additional cost in time or materials by adding +3 to the base DN for each extra dose. The process takes one day, and each extra success on the test produces an additional dose. If the test fails, the materials are lost.
And that’s the basics. The Enchanting chapter of the Companion provides a lot of additional rules, along with guidelines for developing your own custom enchanting items, from blood charms to consumables and more. Rules on mining True elements, working as a group when designing or creating magic items, along with enchanting costs and difficulties for all the items included in the Player’s Guide.
For now, here’s the information on consumables, both healing aids and poisons. This should whet your appetite, and give those alchemists something to start with. They are presented in the following format:
- Item Name (Rank), Enchanting DN, Cost (“Ex” indicates the item requires an expensive component, with its price included in the total).
The base cost for consumables is the item’s rank times 25 silver. If the item requires an expensive ingredient, that cost is 50 silver if the item is Rank 1-4, or 100 silver if rank 5+. So, for example, to create a dose of shadowmant venom as a poison, it requires 250 silver of alchemical materials, and 100 silver of expensive materials (almost certainly shadowmant stingers), and then a successful Alchemy (15) test.
- Booster Potion (R1), DN 7, 25 sp
- Cure Disease Potion (R6), DN 11, 250 sp (Ex)
- Halt Illness Potion (R2), DN 8, 50 sp
- Healing Potion (R6), DN 12, 150 sp
- Kelia’s Antidote (R2), DN 8, 50 sp*
- Kelix’s Poultice (R1), DN 7, 25 sp
- Last Chance Salve (R8), DN 13, 300 sp (Ex)
- Salve of Closure (R4), DN 10, 100 sp
* The enchanting pattern for this item is rare given it’s simplicity. Alchemists are reluctant to share it, and may charge significantly more than for patterns of a similar rank. This has the effect of continuing the pattern’s rarity, allowing those who know it to control supply, increasing the market price.
- Black Brine (R4), DN 9, 150 sp (Ex)
- Black Mercy (R6), DN 11, 250 sp (Ex)
- Elf Bane (R7), DN 12, 275 (Ex)
- Eyebite (R5), DN 11, 150 sp
- Fireleaf (R4), DN 10, 100 sp
- Hemlock (R7), DN 13, 175 sp
- Keesra (R7), DN 13, 175 sp
- Laesal (R8), DN 13, 300 sp (Ex)
- Night Pollen (R5), DN 11, 125 sp
- Padendra (R10), DN 15, 350 sp (Ex)
- Poison Gas (R3) DN 9, 75 sp
- Remis Berries (R7), DN 12, 275 sp
- Shadowmant Venom (R10), DN 15, 350 sp (Ex)
- Whaydra Venom (R6), DN 12, 150 sp
- Witherfang Venom (R7), DN 12, 275 sp (Ex)
That does it for this week! If you have any suggestions for topics to cover in future posts, feel free to ask!