A Plethora Of Perilous Potions
onezero days to go in RPG Bloggers October theme of “potions”, I decided to create some. This isn’t as polished as I’d like, even by my low standards, but I want to get it live… or undead, as it were… before the deadline.
Potions, at least in Pathfinder, tend to come in three varieties: Healing, Buffing, and I Forgot I Had This What Am I Carrying It Around For? There’s a game design reason for this, or, rather, there’s a “game design caused an unexpected emergent property” reason for this. Potions in 3.x/PF are a spell delivery mechanism. They allow a magic-using character to store the effect of a spell and give it to someone without the appropriate ability. (Contrast wands and scrolls, which, rogues with high UMD skill aside, serve to enhance the casters themselves.) Outside of healing and buffing, though (and I consider various resist/protect spells in the “buff” category), the majority of the low level spells which can be put into potions are highly situational (so that you’re not likely to carry around a potion of sunder breaker just in case you run into some NPC that the GM, for malicious reasons, built as a sundering machine. (Yeah, I looked for a particularly situational spell for that one. Cherry picking for the win!)
For these, I wanted to go beyond potions as spell-delivery mechanism, to unique-ish concepts that, to my mind, work well conceptually as single use, ingestible, magics. I also wanted to be sure the effects were sufficiently “magical” that they wouldn’t work better as “mere” alchemy. (In my own personal “physics of magic”, alchemy works by drawing out the innate magical properties of some materials, enhancing, concentrating, or amplifying existing natural aspects to create effects beyond what simple chemistry could achieve. Potions, on the other hand, use the innate qualities of particular substances to serve as a matrix into which the power of a spell can be bound and contained. The process can also distort the nature of the magic slightly, allowing potions which do not precisely mimic a spell to exist. This is also how most magic items are made. Look at the requirements for mirrored armor. Spell turning does not make things shiny and reflective, but aspects of the spell’s effect are incorporated into the armor to give it its particular powers.
Distillation Of Memory
An unusual concoction that contains the full memories of a particular event in a being’s life. When consumed, the experience is transferred instantly; the drinker remembers as if it had happened to them. This can be a confusing and disorienting experience, as the rush of sensation is overwhelming; a DC 15 Will save is needed or the drinker is dazed for one round. Creating the distillation requires the living being from whom the memory is to be drawn, and they must either be willing or helpless. These potions can be used to transfer knowledge, such as a password, or to communicate events without setting them in writing, or to share an important experience.
In some cultures, distilled memories are a black market item, enjoyed by decadent elites who can vicariously experience others lives.
Requirements: Share Memory. Cost: 300 gp minimum per minute, can go up considerably based on what the memory is of. A single dose of the distillation can contain up to 10 minutes of experience.
This potion comes in an assortment of colors: Black, green, ochre, and grey being the most common. When the potion is imbibed, the drinker’s body becomes soft and malleable, though they retain full cohesion overall. This has the following effects:
- They gain the ability to move through areas half their size with no penalty, and 1/4 their size with the usual squeezing penalty.
- They have a +5 enhancement bonus to escape artist checks.
- They gain DR 2/slashing or piercing.
- They ignore the first 10′ of falling damage.
The effects of the potion last from 1-10 minutes, determined randomly when it is used. If the potion wear off when the character is in a space too small for them to squeeze through normally, they take 4d6 crushing damage. (And may be stuck there until rescued, if there’s no safe space to move to.)
Requirements: Beast Shape, Cat’s Grace. Cost: 750 gp
A particularly useful draught, this potion provides resistance to effects that haven’t happened yet! Upon drinking, the magic remains in quiescent state, until it is triggered by need. Then, it takes effect as any of the following: lesser restoration, neutralize poison, remove disease, or remove sickness. The potion is effective for a full day, or until triggered.
Requirements: lesser restoration, neutralize poison, remove disease, and remove sickness Cost: 1400 gp.