Alchemy recipes

As mentioned earlier, I currently use a homebrew recipe-based crafting system. The idea is as follows: a player character can craft items if she meets the following requirements:

  • She has a relevant crafting feat
  • She has the required tools and ingredients
  • She has learnt a specific recipe

The recipes are where the DM exerts most control over the crafting process. In this post, I will give a number of recipes for the alchemical crafter.

The system

For Alchemy, the required feat is Elixir Mixer:

Through extensive practice, you have mastered the art of alchemy and are proficient in using Alchemist’s Supplies. You can brew potions using your Supplies, at the expense of brew points. You may consider all ingredients necessary for a potion to be included in your Supplies, unless the recipe explicitly calls for rare ingredients.

You have a number of brew points equal to your character level. You can expend these points to brew potions. After a long rest, all spent points are regained. You will need to be in possession of Alchemist’s Supplies when brewing a potion and doing so requires your full attention: you cannot travel, fight or otherwise engage in activities. The brew points are expended whether the crafting is successful or not.

If you know a recipe, you spend brew points according to the point cost listed in the respective recipe. It takes one hour per required brew point to brew a single potion. To make one, you must make an Alchemy (Intelligence) check to which you add your proficiency modifier. The DC of crafting a potion is indicated in the recipe. If your Alchemy (Intelligence) check fails, you will need to roll 1d20. On a 1, you lose your Alchemist’s Supplies.

Recipes, including crafting DC and brew point cost, are established in collaboration with your friendly DM. They are added to your inventory as items with zero weight. There are two recipes you know so well that you automatically succeed at the Alchemy check required to make them. You can choose which recipes they are when choosing this feat. Crafting them will still consume the required amount of brew points.

The feat refers to recipes created in collaboration with the DM. What I got was a wish list of potions. Let’s run through the list.


Potion of Greater healing

This is a potion that is a core part of D&D. It provides the imbiber with 4d4 + 4 hit points. That’s an average of 14 hitpoints if you take this drink, which is roughly what a level 4 character would need. So will put the cost at 4 brew points, ensuring a character needs to be level 4 himself to craft this potion.

The market value of this potion is estimated to be around 200 gold pieces. That means crafting it should not be easy.

Let’s say the DC is 15 and we are talking about a level 4 PC with an Intelligence of 16. This PC would need to roll 15 – (2+3) = 10 to make the check, which means he’d be successful 55% of the time. Hourly profit would then be about 28 gold pieces, which is a lot even for a fourth-level, super-intelligent alchemist. A DC of 20 would mean success on 30% of the rolls, leading to an hourly rate of 15 gold pieces.

But would 70% failure be fun? The fail rate would be even higher if a PC had slight lower intelligence. I suspect it wouldn’t be, so I am sticking to a DC of 17 for now. The other crafting DCs are benchmarked similarly.

Potion of greater healing
Brew points: 4
Crafting DC: 17

Philter of love

This is a powerful enchantment potion, but due to its limited use (at least compared to a healing potion) its market value is 90 gold pieces. There is a real risk of overusing this potion, though, so I will limit it by adding an ingredient requirement that guarantees scarcity. To compensate for that annoyance, I will put the required brew points a bit lower and keep the crafting DC at a minor challenge level.

Philter of love
Brew points: 3
Crafting DC: 15
Extra ingredient: freshly crushed sea horse tail

Oil of slipperiness

This magical potion can be used as a substitute for the Grease spell, among other purposes. This brings in a new element to crafting, namely the spell save DC of potions. Instead of adding a formula to the mix, I am just adding the save DC to the description of the potion.

Oil of slipperiness
Brew points: 2
Crafting DC: 15
Save DC: 13

Poison, basic

The market value of this poison is relatively high (100 gp), as it is in high demand. Yet its effects are not enormous, so it should not be costly for a PC to craft. One solution to this is to keep the brew point cost low and the craft DC somewhat high.

Oil of slipperiness
Brew points: 1
Crafting DC: 16

Potion of heroism

This is a potion that lends itself well to overuse and that is quite powerful, so I am going to make it both costly in terms of brew points and crafting DC. It is supposed to be rare, so it’s also conditional on a rare ingredient. In summary, this one is not easy to craft.

Potion of heroism
Brew points: 5
Crafting DC: 18
Extra ingredient:

Potion of invulnerability

This potion is powerful, but not crazy powerful. It’s a potential derailer when stockpiled. To prevent that, I will place a relatively high crafting DC on it, but I will keep the brew point cost low so that it can easily be added to a crafting day.

Potion of heroism
Brew points: 2
Crafting DC: 17

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