Strange Alchemy: Creating potions and scrolls

In the Mazes & Perils books, we offer a list of various potions and scrolls your characters may find on their many adventures. But we don’t really talk about how those potions or scrolls get created…

In the old Moebius Adventures system we were skills-based and a character could practice more than one type of wizardry. So those schools of wizardry often overlapped in interesting ways. That’s what I’m proposing we do with our little corner of the OSR a bit – offering a little bit of overlap.

Alchemy & Greater Wizardry

Imagine a Magic User practicing Greater Wizardry who is working with an Alchemist to create potions of various types. There are all sorts of interesting plots I can come up with just pondering that combination.

alchemistIn Greater Wizardry, there is a spell called “Chain”. And it can be used in conjunction with the Alchemy spells “Enchant/Disenchant Item,” “Create Scroll,” or “Creation Potion/Powder.”

If an item is enchanted with another spell and made permanent, it has one “charge” of the spell instilled within it. For example, if a ring is to be enchanted with the Flaming Orb spell, the Alchemy spell Permanence and the Greater Wizardry spells Flaming Orb, and Chain are also necessary. The ring will have one initial Flaming Orb “charge” and as such only have one “use.”

If the Chain spell isn’t used in item creation, the item gains the effects of the spell instead of the ability to cast the spell on another target. For instance, an alchemist could enchant a sword with Modify Strength, and then cast Permanence. This makes the sword more resistant to breaking.

A potion or powder can exist until invoked for one year per level of the Alchemist who created it. Scrolls will also last one year per level of Alchemist. Items created without the use of Permanence only last 10 minutes per level or forever (with the ability to be recharged) with Permanence.

The goal here is ultimate flexibility. If a Greater Wizard and an Alchemist join forces with a Blacksmith, they could create items, potions, powders, and scrolls until the end of time. An endless mix of capabilities is possible.

The Clergy and Holy Potions

However, it’s not just the wizards who are dabbling in the potion trade. Clerics and priests are as well.

Holy-water_basinAn enterprising Cleric may take a barrel of rain water and cast Bless upon it, then bottle it and sell it to his parishioners at one silver a bottle to raise money for the church. But I think it goes beyond that. Clerical potions and scrolls have existed in the realm of D&D for years and years. There’s a secret there somewhere.

I suspect that around 3rd level there’s a hidden Create Scroll spell and maybe at 4th level there’s a Create Potion spell. A Cleric would cast Create Scroll and then the spell to go onto the scroll. It would work the same for Create Potion.

Some spells are likely not available for capturing in this manner. I would say that all the 5th level spells are out of the question for example – they’re simply too powerful. Maybe above 13th level you might see a Cleric with the ability to create a “Raise Dead” scroll, but they’re rare and expensive for a reason.

What do you think? Does this make PCs in these OSR-style games too powerful? Weigh in down in the comments!

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