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Alchemy and Herbalism

Apr 16, 2020 8:28 pm
Okay DnD5e is rather weak when it comes to this but I have found a few more recent suggestions by others covering this topic but I am also aware that there are many versions of this floating around out there that if one applies the concept of Alchemy versus Herbalism to various crafting rules which is my intent but in order to do this it helps to have a broad base to pull the Reagents from and so far that is where the main issue resides a good solid as comprehensive as possible list of potential reagents that can be used in Alchemical and Herbal concoctions

I have restricted Herbalism to All Plant-based Reagents and all other Reagents fall under Alchemy with that said does anyone know of any resources out that outline various Reagent (Crafting Materials) -- URLs, PDFs, etc....

Note those associated with games is good too World of Warcraft comes to mind as do others --- I am looking for lists of Plant Products (of course) but also Mineral Products, Animal Products, Monster Products, Fantastical Products --- note I plan to turn some of the magical products that have been listed into non-magical products -- for instance Healing Potions (which seem to sit on the proverbial fence) are non-magical potions made using various Reagents (based on the specific potion) and the Herbalism Tool Proficiency (or more aptly named Crafting Proficiency) further I plan to move other things over into this category as well such as Dusts, Oils, Ointments, Poultices and the like

The biggest difference between magical versus these non-magical products will be that the non-magical ones will have lesser affects than magical ones -- for instance a non-magical Healing Potion can only be consumed once every hour and takes a full minute to provide its healing while a magical potion is instantaneous and repeatable immediately and does not even have to be drank you can just poor it directly onto/into a wound

Also any other thoughts and such on this concept would of course be greatly appreciated -- I did this once before a long while back but sadly lost all those materials along with the Harn Herb Lore supplement which was really awesome for the Herbalism side of things
Apr 16, 2020 11:12 pm
Personally, I view herbalism more as "if you ground the roots of that plant into a paste and put it on a burn, it should help with the healing" and alchemy more as "if I mix those rare flowers with a toad's tongue and an eye of newt, and boil that in red wine, I should be able to make a love potion"...
Last edited April 16, 2020 11:12 pm, a total of 1 time
Apr 16, 2020 11:42 pm
Partially the same as you and kalajel stated.
Herbalism for me is more like "collect plants in your area... Ah yes with your score of 12 you collected some Jumsidal herb. You can make a salve that heals 1d4+con over a minute outside of combat,

Alchemy would be like: Okay you during your adventures you found mercury, goblin's bile and clear spring water. You can try to make a potion out of it.
If you roll a 10 or higher you'll find somethin, if you roll 15 or higher it will be highly useful.
And then, depending on the level of the party, the alchemist would create a potion of strength that'll give you +1 on all strength checks for a minute or a potion of invisibility if you rolled enough to beat the higher DC
Last edited April 16, 2020 11:43 pm, a total of 1 time
Apr 17, 2020 1:00 am
Yes those are precisely the kind of things I plan on doing -- what I am looking for mainly are things that help with those "sungae powder, toad's tongue and eye of newt makes me a potion of YaYa -- or the mercury, goblin's bile and clear spring water make a BeBop Ointment

Aka a list of Reagents and what they might be usable for -- like I said Harn at a supplement called Herb Lore (I think) and they did some extensive detailing plants and what parts you need and where they grew and when they grew and etc.... and while I am not myself wanting to make anything that detailed I would like to have say Goblin's Bile -- has such-such properties which makes it good for making these kind of things. Or as list above you need the listed Reagents and the Alchemy proficiency to make a Potion of YaYa.

Heck I would even be grateful for suggested reagents and what they might be good for if you happen to have created something of your own in regards to this.
Last edited April 17, 2020 1:03 am, a total of 1 time
Jul 6, 2020 1:18 pm
I've found that D&D generally is pretty weak with what I would term auxiliary magical practices, which includes not only herbalism and alchemy but things like astrology and talisman making.

There was an old game DOS/Amiga game called Legend (or The Four Crystals of Trazere in the US) in which the magic user had to "mix" spells using reagents and chanting runes. Each reagent (which was a physical ingredient, wing of bat, brimstone) had a specific effect when combined with a rune, and you could build up a spell with reagent/rune combinations.
So brimstone and a sowilo rune combine to make fire damage, and wing of bat and the teiwaz rune combine to make a missile spell, so the first combination simply does fire damage to the caster, the second a missile with no effect, but together you got a firebolt spell.

This type of system has always interested me but I've always thought that it would be a lot of book keeping for magic users and so take a non detailed (mechanically) approach.

One book that might do what you are after is the 3rd edition supplement by Bastion Press Alchemy and Herbalists, which has a list of herbs and effects.
Jul 6, 2020 2:37 pm
Thanks Mr_Winter I will look into those -- when I complete the work I will share it here for those who might be interested -- yes and I know this tends to create extra book work BUT I do not plan to use it in conjunction with normal spell casting so just those folks interested in making herbal poultices and alchemical potions and such would be dealing with these. Further I might extend these into magical potions and such as well.
Last edited July 6, 2020 2:37 pm, a total of 1 time
Jul 7, 2020 6:11 am
This looks like a good list for the herbalism. Just go through and pick ones that suit your world, or adapt as necessary.
Last edited July 7, 2020 6:17 am, a total of 1 time
Aug 8, 2020 7:10 pm
I've always tended towards rangers (I was an actual ranger in my younger days) and I had a very good system for herbalism back in the AD&D days.

And for the record, I think herbalism is "vegetable" leaf of this, root of that. Alchemy is "animal-vegetable-and mineral" eye of newt, powder of brimstone etc.

Anyway, I created 26 different plants that could be found in a forest area, I started with the MM, leaf of Treant for example. Gave them names from A to Z. And then through experiment, training, reading, etc. formulas were created.

eg: B.A.M. - bitter berries + alder bark + mistletoe = an explosive powder

if the game moved to a new terrain, say desert, there would still be 26 plants with the same letters that fill the same rolls, but the plants would be unknown and need to be learned.
Aug 8, 2020 7:51 pm
That's a cool concept. Therefore you provide variety to the players but keep it relatively simple for you as a GM.

I think I'm gonna use it for my F2F campaign
Last edited August 8, 2020 7:52 pm, a total of 1 time

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