Potions, Poisons, and Bombs
I love potions, poisons, and bombs (henceforth, concoctions) and want them to play a more significant role in my campaigns. So, I created a new system to manage them.
Starting off with the kits; any character can use any kit as long as they have proficiency in the kit. Herbalism kits make potions, alchemy kits make bombs, and poisoner’s kits make poisons. If a player does not have proficiency in a given kit, they may spend time and gold with an applicable NPC to gain proficiency (time and gold varies for each NPC). All kits act as an Intelligence skill, and get the Intelligence modifier added/subtracted to their kit rolls.
There are no special requirements to create any of these items, other than the vials/flasks and an undefined set of ingredients. Vials and ingredients may be purchased from merchants or found as loot where applicable. The ingredients may also be scavenged, with a player spending one hour scavenging the area for enough ingredients to create one concoction. A Nature skill check will be required to find ingredients with the DC based on the characteristics of the area. Special ingredients may be found that can be added to a concoction at creation to improve its efficacy; these ingredients will be rare and very valuable.
Once the vials and ingredients have been acquired, a player needs only spend 10 minutes preparing their kit and then 5 minutes per concoction. The success and quality of each concoction will be determined by a kit skill check. (Proficiency Bonus + Intelligence Modifier + 1D20)
Additionally, players may only have up to five concoctions readily available in combat (attaching them to their belt or bandolier, etc). Any excess concoctions must be stored in the player’s bag and will take 30 seconds to retrieve. Using a concoction requires one standard action.
Healing potions themselves have received a major tweak. Potions don’t just magically heal you, they significantly improve your body’s own natural healing abilities. As such, healing potions heal for a smaller flat amount but increases in effectiveness based on the imbiber’s Constitution.
Potions are consumed and provide a positive effect; bombs are thrown or set in a trap and incur a negative effect within a radius; poisons can be consumed or applied to a weapon and incur a negative effect. Please see the Concoctions page for more details.
Stealth and Rogues
Stealth is a fantastic way to scout ahead and facilitate combat planning. However, it significantly loses effectiveness after the enemy has been made aware of your presence. As such, stealth checks made during the heat of battle are made at a disadvantage and enemies have an advantage to perceiving you once they are aware of your presence.
This has a significant impact on the Rogue playstyle, so Rogues get the following bonuses to compensate:
- They may start with a poisoner’s kit, and are granted proficiency with the kit.
- At 2nd level, the Rogue may use a poison concoction as a Cunning Action.
- At 4th level, the Rogue may carry one additional readied concoction, raising the total possible number of readied concoctions to six. This total increases again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th level (grand total of 10 concoctions at 20th level).
- At 6th level, the Rogue may choose to gain expertise with the poisoner’s kit instead of one of the other skills listed under the Expertise trait.
You are no longer limited to concentrating on one spell at a time. However, concentration requires more effort in order to do so. Rules work as normal when maintaining one concentration; maintaining more than one increases the DC of the check by 5 for each additional spell.
- Ex: Maintaining three spells and you get hit for 21 damage. The DC is the higher of the following: damage taken divided by 2, or a base value of 10. All damage in D&D is rounded up, so 21/2 is 11, meaning the DC for this check is 21 (11+10).
- If the damage taken were lower, the DC would be the base 10 plus the extra spell DC of 10- a total DC of 20.
An additional check must also be conducted at the beginning of your turn when concentrating on more on than one spell: it is a concentration check using your spellcasting ability modifier with a DC that is equal to three times the total number spell slots in maintained spells.
- Ex: Concentrating on one 2nd level spell and one 3rd level spell. The DC at the beginning of your turn would be (2+3)*3, or 15.
Failing a concentration check when receiving damage functions as would be expected and all maintained spells are dropped. When failing the beginning of turn check, all but your most recently cast spell is dropped.
- Ex: You cast Otto’s Irresistible Dance (6th level, concentration) followed by Phantasmal Force (2nd level, concentration). Upon failing a start of turn concentration check, Otto’s Irresistible Dance will be canceled.
The Warcaster feat will provide advantage on both types of concentration checks.
Outside of using the medicine skill to stabilize dying allies, you can also use it to determine the level of injury a living creature has suffered once per a turn as a free action. Successfully completing a check will allow the player to identify the level of injury to within 33% (top third, middle, lower third… uninjured, wounded, severely wounded). If you exceed the DC by greater than 10, you can determine the exact amount of remaining life rounded to the nearest 10. The DC will be based on the character’s knowledge of the subject’s race or type.
- DC5 for creatures with which the player has intimate familiarity (your own species, or the breed of animal you cared for most of your life)
- DC10 for creatures with which the player is only familiar
- DC15 for creatures with which the player has little familiarity or can easily ascertain the location of vital organs.
- DC20 for creatures with which the player has no familiarity or can’t ascertain the location or presence of vital organs.