Due to the popularity of this tool,
I created a new version of Alchemist's Supplies [v1.1]!
This new version has some additional recipes as well as guidelines to help GMs create their own alchemical recipes, variant rules and updated wording and clarifications! If you still want access to v1 of the tools, you can find a download link at the end of this article.
Today we're going to look at how to bottle fame, brew glory, and even prevent death. That's right, we're talking about alchemist's supplies and not potions with Professor Snape.
For those who don't care about the nitty-gritty:
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Before we really get started... I'm not sure D&D really understands the difference between an alchemist's supplies and a herbal medicine kit. In the Player's Handbook, Alchemist's Supplies has a line on a table indicating that it is a Crafting Tool, costs 50 gp, and weighs 8 pounds. The herbal medicine kit has a paragraph and tells the reader what to dohealing potions.Which is something I have a problem with.
look, noDungeon Master's Guideit says on page 129 that:
… a character might need alchemist supplies to brew a specific potion.
Well, last time I checked acure PotionIt's a special potion. Although,Xanathar's Guide to Everythingon pages 79 and 82 it says:
[Alchemist Supplies]Proficiency with alchemist's supplies allows you to unlock more information on arcane checks involving potions and similar materials.
[Herb Kit]Your knowledge of the nature and uses of herbs can add information to your magical studies of plants and your attempts to identify potions.
And further on page 70 of the XGtE it also says:
A friendly alchemist has presented you with a potion of healing or a vial of acid, as you choose.
And on page 128 of the XGtE it specifies:
[Elaboration of an article] Herbalism Kit: Antitoxin, Healing Potion
A character who has proficiency with the Herbalism Kit can create these [healing] potions.
Now, I'm going to take a moment here and stop quoting what several books say, because I'm sure I've just lost a lot of readers. The thing is, I think the books are wrong when it comes tohealing potionsbeing created by a Herbalism Kit. This should be in Alchemist Supplies, as you're crafting potions, poisons, and even smoke powder to take out your enemies.
The Herbalism Kit should be limited to what you can do when someone runs into the woods for an hour and brings back some berries. The alchemist's supplies should be limited to what you can make with hours, chemicals, and expensive equipment. Alchemist supplies take time to produce their items and should require flasks, bags, and bottles to store.
Actually enter the Alchemist's Supplies
As always, I'll list whatXanathar's Guide to Everythingsays about Alchemist's Supplies, and then let's start talking about the system for that.
Alchemist Supplies allow a character to produce useful concoctions such as acid or alchemist fire.
Components.The alchemist's supplies include two beakers, a metal frame for holding a beaker over an open flame, a glass rod, a small mortar and pestle, and a bag of common alchemical ingredients, including salt, powdered iron, and purified water.
Arcana.Proficiency with alchemist's supplies allows you to unlock more information on arcane checks involving potions and similar materials.
Investigation.When you inspect an area for clues, the Alchemist Supplies proficiency grants additional information about any chemicals or other substances that may have been used in the area.
alchemical crafts.You can use this tool proficiency to create alchemical items. A character can spend money to gather raw materials, which weigh 1 pound for every 50 gp spent. The GM may allow a character to test using the indicated ability to advantage. As part of a long rest, you can use alchemist supplies to make a dose of acid, alchemical fire, antitoxin, oil, perfume, or soap. Subtract half of the crafted item's value from the total gp value of the raw materials you carry.
As usual, I'm not very impressed with the XGtE tools. Oh my God! I can make soap! The perfume! My wildest dreams have been achieved! I also don't like the phrase: "The GM may allow..." which sounds like 'mother-can-I' and doesn't empower the player in anything... I understand it's to gain an advantage in something, but still.. .it seems a little bland when it comes to players who understand the rules of the game.
But let's talk about my alchemist supplies. We have our normal equipment and not much has changed with that, but now we have different qualities that our aspiring alchemists can try and achieve, and then we have our alchemy recipes. Nothing is very innovative when it comes to crafting an alchemical item if you've followed my other tools, it requires: time, gold (to buy materials), and proficiency with alchemist supplies.
To make an item, say acure Potionthere are some things our characters will also have to pay attention to. They will need 25 gp to try to create thecure Potion, 8 hours to get thecure Potiongot some attention for it, and hit a Craft DC at the end of 8 hours.
The amount of gold needed to craft items is roughly half the cost listed in the Player's Handbook and what players can expect to pay at an alchemist's shop. After spending the gold, they must spend 8 hours to create thecure Potionand they don't have to worry about working on the potion during those 8 hours. Since it requires little attention, they can go and hang out with the party instead of staying in their room all day. If it had required constant 8 hours of attention they would have had to maintain their mixture and tend to it and make sure nothing exploded. After 8 hours, they can go back and review theircure Potionand then roll an Alchemist Supplies check that we're going to use Intelligence plus Proficiency.
If they hit at least 8, they gain a semi-useful potion that can heal 1d4 points (less thancure Potion). A 10 on the check gives them a potion that can heal 2d4 (moderatecure Potion) and a 13 gives them full powercure Potionheals 2d4 + 2 damage (masterworkcure Potion). This isn't a very difficult check for them, and anyone with +1 Intelligence and +2 Specialization should make this DC 13 check 55% of the time. While they gain level, and maybe not intelligence, at level 5 they have a 60% chance to hit that DC... and if at level 20 they still want a sodacure Potionthe chance to hit a DC 13 is 75%.
Alchemy recipes are found all over the world, and I've only listed a few of the most common ones in the tool's doc. To find more items to craft recipes, you can refer to page 257 of theDungeon Master's Guidefor different poisons or page 187 if you want to get a little more magical with your potions. If you want to know the costs of creating magic potions, I suggest you check theHealthy Magic Pricesand creating the magic potion would cost half the cost and a DC could be created based on the rarity or strength of the potion.
I also suggest that you consult, if you can, the fourth edition book:adventurer's chestwhere i took thesmoke stickystones stormin. They have over 12 pages on alchemical articles! Which… is quite a lot and has some interesting ideas within its pages.
One of my favorite recipes listed is the Smokepowder recipe as it allows your players to craft Grenades and Barrel Bombs. Those were inspired by the Giff in theMordekainen's Tome of Enemiesand my department has used bombs to great effect in its own campaigns. By looking at monsters' skills, or even monsters' poisons, you can easily create more recipes for your table... or your players can start researching new recipes as side quests!
I also want to give a special thanks to one of our sponsors, Caleb, who gave me the idea toDetect magic smelling salts! These are a lot of fun and can be very useful for any group that doesn't have strong magical skills or wants to try and save on their spell slots.
in the smoke
Alchemist Supplies is a self-explanatory tool, but it can really bring out the rogue's devious behavior or help your party gain more access to the cure. I think there was some confusion in the books between the Herbalism Kit and the Alchemist's Supplies, and I hope you are convinced thathealing potionsmust be in range of Alchemist Supplies and not Herbalism Kits.
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