Coldforged: Herbalism, Alchemy, and Medicine, Take 2.

I know its a day late, but Tuesdays Article was a little haphazard, so lets try again, shall we? This has proven to be really tough to move from my head to paper, and I think I might have it this time.

Tuesday, which you can go read if you want, was my first attempt at coagulating a system for Herbalism and medicine from my brain into the world. It did not go well. Instead, it felt like a rambling mess. I’m going to do what I can to work through this for a second time and try and get this process down. Next week, we’ll have different topics – no matter the progress, or lack thereof. But, until then, let’s take another stab at it.

Alchemy, Herbalism, and Medicine

The herbalism concept has broken into three distinct and separate components. These are, as stated above, Herbalism, Alchemy, and Medicine. Herbalism contains the knowledge of ingredients, both of plant and otherwise, along with how to harvest, store, and care for them. Alchemy is the knowledge of what the ingredients are capable of, both individually and together, and how to prepare them into a form suitable for their use. Medicine is the delivery and application of the alchemists and herbalist trades, including which ingredients need to be alchemically prepared and those that can be used in their natural state.

These three skills work in tandem to become a cohesive whole of gathering, preparing, and using ingredients for semi-magical and supernatural effects. While the effects aren’t endless, there are plenty to combine and create fun and useful concoctions that can be used by any party, no matter the presence of a healer or others.

Harvesting

I like my Harvesting rules, but I’ve moved away from knowing what you have picked at harvest, so I’m making a couple of modifications. I want the Intelligence (Survival) to be a spin on what you would normally need for survival, based on your study and knowledge of plants and what they do in the world. It’s not something that is guided by intuition and gut feeling, but instead your knowledge of what is good to eat, and what is fatal. I like using the skill in a new way.

I do think, though, that the number of ingredients located might be too much. I think pushing it up to 3 or 4 points above the DC might make it a bit more reasonable, and I push the multiple ingredients up to every 6 or 8 points beyond, and you only roll once for a single property and trait. For the most point, gathering seems fine.

Concocting

Concocting is proving to be extremely difficult. This is the part of the system that should be fun and interesting and intriguing, but I also want it to be fairly simple so that it doesn’t take too much work each time that the player wishes to concoct something new. I also have to have a way to work in both the properties and traits in a way that makes sense. Properties are something that’s fairly vital to the way that medical medicine functioned, and I absolutely want to transport that into any system. Traits are, clearly, what each item does, and its important to make it minor enough to not compete with true magic, yet enjoyable enough to not dismiss. Striking the right balance is really important.

To that point, I feel that 2 ingredients should be the minimum, and not 3. This makes concoctions easier to make and simpler to understand. A skilled alchemist can attempt to add more ingredients with varied results, and a skilled alchemist can also experiment with combinations in order to see what happens if the balance is fiddled with in order to make concocting a but more interesting, but I don’t feel it needs to be complicated.

Discovery and Experimentation

In order to discover any traits beyond the very initial rolled, an herbalist has to experiment with the ingredient to coax out its properties. This is not an easy process but is the only way to find out what lies deep in the ingredients.

To begin the experiment, you choose any number of ingredients, and all ingredients chosen will be consumed in the experiment. Once the ingredients are chosen, you spend 1 hour and roll an Intelligence (Herbalism kit) check with a DC of 15. The roll to experiment has disadvantage. If the properties are identical, then the roll has advantage.

If you fail the roll, the ingredients are wasted, and you roll on the Concoction Mishap table below. If you succeed on the check, you discover a new trait for one of the ingredients. Roll on the Properties and Traits table, and note the results as a known trait of the ingredient. For every 5 points that you roll above the DC of the check, you may choose either to add another trait among the ingredients that you used and add it to the effects of the concoction or create another application of the concoction. Once the concoction is created, it is viable for one week before it becomes inert and unusable. All concoctions take 10 minutes to take effect unless otherwise noted.

You can discover and retain a number of properties for each ingredient equal to your Intelligence modifier.

Concotions

If you already know the traits of an ingredient, you can use them to create concoctions with known properties. You can expend any number of ingredients you choose, and all ingredients are consumed in the attempt to create a concoction. Once the ingredients are chosen, you chose one of the traits of one of the ingredients, and that becomes the concoction you are trying to create. You then spend 1 hour and Roll an Intelligence (Herbalism kit) check with a DC of 10. If the Properties of the ingredients are opposed (on the opposite side of the chart) then the roll will be at disadvantage. If they are identical, then the roll has advantage.

If you fail the roll, the ingredients are wasted, and the concoction you make is inert. If you succeed on the check, you are able to create the desired concoction. For every 5 points that you roll above the DC of the check, you may choose either to add another trait among the ingredients that you used and add it to the effects of the concoction or create another application of the concoction. Additionally, if the trait is shared by one or more ingredients, you can select that trait once more for each time the trait is expressed in the ingredients. This will amplify the effects of that trait in the concoction. Choose from the Additional Effects table once each time the trait is selected again. Once the concoction is created, it is viable for one week before it becomes inert and unusable.

Applying a Concoction

Concoctions once gathered and created, are ready to be applied. You don’t need to be an herbalist or alchemist to apply them or imbibe them, and they are useful across a variety of different situations. The Creator of the concoction decides how they are to be used, making them ready to use when needed. Their choices are Elixirs (ready-to-drink liquids), Poultices (Prepared bundles of ingredients ready to be pressed to affected areas), Teas (pre-dried and prepared bundles to be added to hot water) or unguents (smearable extracts that can be applied to any solid surface).

When the concoction is ready to use, an individual with proficiency in Alchemy tools, Herbalism kit, or Medicine can use an action to apply a poultice, prepared tea, elixir, or unguent. The user of the Tea or Elixer may also drink it themselves using an action. The effects of the concoction activate in 10 minutes unless otherwise noted.

So, I think this is a better presentation and application of my herbalism Ideas. See the charts below for what I refer to in the article. I’d love to hear any suggestions or ideas regarding new Properties, Traits, effects, and mishaps!

Thanks, and until next time.

Table 1: Properties and Traits

Table 2: Ingredient Trait effects

Table 3: Additional Effects

Table 4 Mishaps.