Potions are alchemical items that can be made by anyone with the correct ingredients but are typically lethal to anyone other than Witchers that consume them. The rules below also apply to oils except oils don’t trigger Toxicity. Consuming a potion is a move action.
Every creature has a special damage track, like hit points, called Toxicity. The maximum toxicity for a single character (their Toxicity Threshold) is equal to the characters Constitution score. Anyone that consumes a potion suffers a number of points of “Toxicity” damage equal to the Caster Level of the potion. Normal humans heal Toxicity damage at the same rate as hit point damage. A normal person with even a single point of toxicity damage gains the sickened condition until they heal all of the damage. If a person suffers more toxicity damage than their maximum toxicity rating, they gain the nauseated condition and start losing hit points at a rate equal to (total damage taken – toxicity). This continues each round until they heal an amount of toxicity damage to put them equal to or less than their maximum toxicity threshold.
Witchers track Toxicity damage differently. They have three tiers of Toxicity damage before they worry about Dying. If they’ve suffered more toxicity damage than their threshold but less than twice this value, they’re sickened. If they’ve suffered more toxicity damage than twice their threshold but less than three times their threshold, they’re nauseated. If they’ve suffered more toxicity damage than three times their threshold, then they begin dying as outlined above. Witcher’s Accelerated Healing heals toxicity damage regardless of whether or not the Witcher is meditating.
Example 1 – Normal Human
A normal human has a Constitution of 10 which means his Toxicity threshold is 10. Let’s say this human finds a potion with a Caster Level of 6. The human ingests the potion and immediately suffers 6 toxicity damage, leaving him 4 toxicity hit points left. He also gains the sickened condition. Instead of sleeping it off, he panics and decided to take another drink of the potion. Having already accumulated 6 points of toxicity damage, he suffers another 6. At this point he’s taken 12 toxicity damage which is 2 above his threshold. He now becomes nauseated and suffers 2 hit points of damage each round. Assuming the human has 6 hit points, the human will be unconscious in 3 rounds and dead in 8 rounds (under a minute) as a result.
Example 2 – A Witcher
Witchers, however, are a different story. This example is a for a Witcher with a variety of potions and a Constitution score of 20, giving him a Toxicity Threshold of 20. The round before a battle with a monstrous creature, the Witcher ingests two potions with Caster Levels of 10 and 9 respectively. The Witcher then engages the creature in battle for 2 rounds. At this point he’s healed back 2 of his 19 toxicity damage leaving him with 17 toxicity damage, still well below his threshold. At this point he decides to take another potion to counteract an ability the monster has. The potion has a Caster Level of 14 which levies an additional 14 points of toxicity damage, which gives him a total of 31 toxicity damage. This is over his Toxicity Threshold but less than twice this value, so he gains the sickened condition.
After 2 more rounds of fighting the Witcher recovers 2 Toxicity damage but is still sickened at which time the Witcher slays the monster. To the surprise of the Witcher, it explodes in a violent spray of poison which he instantly feels stating to take effect on him. Hoping to counteract the poison, he drinks another powerful potion to counteract the potion with a Caster Level of 16. At this point he’s suffered 45 points of Toxicity damage. The Witcher is now nauseated but still alive.
Taking a break after the battle, the Witcher’s body is able to counteract the potion. After 15 rounds (1 and a half minutes), the Witcher is now only sickened. In another 20 rounds (2 minutes) the Witcher shakes the sickened condition and returns to normal. In yet another 20 rounds (2 more minutes), the Witcher completely heals his entire Toxicity damage.
Making a potion is a relatively simple process, requiring just a few minutes of work. The difficult part is either researching or finding the appropriate formula and materials. Creating a potion formula will follow the same rules for Crafting Items that you’re used to but throughout the world are alchemists that have already made formulas which you can use to create potions. If you already have a formula, you need only have the raw materials to make a potion since actually creating it takes only a few minutes.
The base potion Caster Level determines the cost of components (and time required) to create the potion. Otherwise the duration and level-dependent benefits of the potion are calculated based on the Caster Level when created or refilled.
Unlike standard Pathfinder potion creation, there is no cap on the base spell level of a potion.
Quick and Dirty Breakdown
- COST: caster level (minimum of 3) x spell level x 25 = cost of refillable potion
- USES: caster level of potion divided by 3 (rounded down) = how many uses before you have to refill it
- DC: Creating a potion requires a Craft (Alchemy) check of 10 + Caster Level. Creation a Decotion requires a Craft (Alchemy) check of 10 + Caster Level + 5 per each additional effect after the first.
Refilling potions can be done with an alcohol called Alcoholest. Alcoholest is typically made by the bottle and contains about 12 ounces per bottle. Each Potion request one ounce of Alcoholest to refill per Caster Level.
Alcoholest is relatively easy to make, requiring a few mundane materials and a bottle of relatively strong alcohol (50 proof or higher). The mundane supplies can be purchased from most herbalists or scavenged from almost any terrain with a DC 5 Survival check and about an hour of work. Every 5 points over the base difficulty on the Witcher’s Survival check provides enough herbs to craft an additional bottle.
It is possible to upgrade potions to more potent (but similar) effects. To do so, calculate the difference in price between the upgraded and base potion and use this value to determine the material cost and time required to upgrade the potion.
Potions typically have “doses” which determine how many times the potion can be used before it needs to be refilled. The typical potion has a number of doses equal to its (Caster Level / 3, rounded down, minimum 1, maximum 6 at level 18) but exceptions to this rule exist.
Decotions are advanced potions that often have multiple effects instead of a single effect. The cost for making a Decotion is similar to that of creating a magic item. Calculate the cost for the multiple effects of the potion then multiply all but the largest value by 1.5 before adding them all together to determine the final market value. The Caster Level of a Decotion is equal to the highest required Caster Level of any individual effect. The duration is equal to the shortest duration of any of the combined effects.
Decotions also require an exotic component from a monster, called a Mutagen. Luckily almost every monster has a Mutagen that can be extracted from it. While difficult to obtain for the common folk, Witchers typically acquire plenty of them. The CR of the monster must be equal to or greater than the final Caster Level of the Decotion, or else it does not have enough power for the Witcher to draw forth to create the desired Decotion with. Unlike potions, Decotions can only be used once before they need to be refilled (regardless of the Caster Level). Refilling a Decotion uses the same rules as refilling Potions.