Saturday, October 29, 2016

Common Side-Effects of Imperfect Potions for the RPG Blogger Carnival

If regeneration effect lasts more than four hours please contact your local cleric.

Did you ever think about what happens when an Alchemist doesn't brew that potion just right? Maybe his or her measurements were just a tad off. Sure, the potion looks and smells exactly right, but maybe it's just a little off. Maybe, just maybe, the potion you're drinking might have some nasty side effects. Everyone knows that the side effects of the medicine may often be worse than the disease. Recently we saw the return of Skryim to the video gaming scene. It's one of my all-time favorite games, in fact it's the only game I've ever gotten 100% completion on. It took about 250 hours to accomplish that, but then they came out with bloody DLC. As I went on this little trip down memory lane I recalled some of the good times that I had making potions. The system for crafting potions in Skyrim is quite fascinating and I think Dungeons and Dragons could learn a lot from it. Here's a nifty little guide to potions and alchemy in Skyrim for those who aren't educated in such things (I don't have the lists memorized or anything, because that would be creepy).

Perhaps you can surmise the topic of this month's RPG Blogger's Carnival. I used to participate in the event pretty regularly way back when. I thought to myself the other day, I wonder if that's still going on; it sure was! What better way to get back to the RPG Blogging world than to throw in my two cents for this month's carnival as well. Get my take on the subject after the jump.

Alchemy, in games, is one of my favorite things. Maybe you caught a glimpse of the character I'll be playing on Tuesday nights from here on out. Tina Fey is an Alchemist, C.S.I. detective, and general Tiefling badass - she talks like Dr. Girlfriend too. However, before she became a gum sleuth she ran a potion shop. Like any good alchemist, she constantly experimented to find new combinations that offered more potent effects. Sometimes those potions were highly sucessful, but sometimes they were a bit off - sometimes they were a LOT off.

I didn't have that recipe memorized or anything... I swear.
I'm positive that there is a pill bottle somewhere in your house. Some of those side effects can be pretty nasty. Below I've compiled a list of possible potion side effects which go beyond the typical status ailments that are available in the DMG or the PHB. Some of the effects below have an in-game effect associated with them, but some of them don't and are more mundane. Some of the side effects may go unnoticed at first, or may be incurable without a significant effort. Like you'd find in any regular medicine, some of the side effects can be a bit on the crazy side, or might make you crazy. If you don't see a side effect that you like on one of these lists, maybe consult your daily medication or watch some medical infomercials.

Effects last until your next long rest.

Weird Potion Side Effects

d10 Effect Explanation Game Effect
1 Short-Term Memory Loss You begin to suffer short term memory loss. You have trouble recalling what you just took this potion for. You have disadvantage on wisdom based skill checks.
2 Temporary Amnesia You begin lose some of your long term memories. You can't recall details in your backstory. You lose the benefits of your background.
3 Aches and Pains You feel sore all over your body. You stiffen up, making physical checks more demanding. You have disadvantage on acrobatics and athletics checks.
4 Vision Problems You begin to start seeing things fuzzily. Your vision blurs and you have difficulty making out object. You have disadvantage on sight based skill checks.
5 Mild Hallucinations You think you have begun to see things that aren't there. You're not sure if what you're seeing is real. You suffer a -1 penalty to attack rolls and armor class.
6 Sleep Walking When you go to sleep, you're restless, waking to sleep walk. When you take a long rest, you get up randomly, walking 5 ft in a random direction each round until someone wakes you or you pass a DC 13 Con Save.
7 Night Terrors When you fall asleep you're confronted with terrible dreams. The nightmares keep you up all night. When you go to sleep, during a long rest, you suffer exhaustion and do not get the benefits of the long rest.
8 Compulsive Behavior You lose the ability to control your impulses and give into compulsion. You have disadvantage on charisma based skill checks and charm effects.
9 Dizziness You feel feint. You have difficulty breathing and your head spins. You suffer from fatigue and suffer disadvantage on any strength or dexterity based skill checks.
10 Overwhelming Nausea You lose control of your bowels and your stomach churns. You are considered poisoned.

So, the next time your players pick up some random potions in the world, maybe those random potions come with some nasty bad sides. Perhaps the next time your mage tries to make some potions, and fails, poorly you add one of the above effects. If they fail, by just a little bit, you might want to add one or more of the mundane potion side effects from the list below.

You suffer a -1 penalty to all rolls while for each effect you suffer until your next long rest.

Mundane Potion Side Effects

d10 Effect Explanation
1 Sinus Congestion Your sinuses are clogged and you have trouble breathing from your nose.
2 Difficulty Peeing You suffer a difficulty urinating and a weird stinging sensation.
3 Loss of Taste You lose your sense of taste.
4 Loss of Smell You lose your sense of smell.
5 Colored Vision Things don't appear the correct color to you. It's very distracting.
6 Rash You develop a rash somewhere you'd like it not to be.
7 Uncontrollable Flatulence You fart uncontrollably. It's disgusting.
8 Itching Your body itches all over. You can't pinpoint a source.
9 Intense Sadness You feel very sad.
10 Facial Sores You develop burning sores all over your face.

All in all, the above side effects are fairly tame. Now, what happens when your potion was crafted spectacularly poorly. Maybe that potion was made really badly, but with all the right ingredients, or maybe something else was added in that wasn't supposed to be there. Maybe you're drinking a straight up poison. The below side effects can be added to a potion for a taste of something awful, truly awful. Note, none of them have specific effects, but they all offer interesting opportunities for roleplaying.

You suffer the following effects as though you were diseased.

TRULY AWFUL Long Term Mundane Potion Side Effects

d10 Effect Explanation
1 Popping Pustules Your body is covered in pustules which pop and ooze. Nasty.
2 Sexual Dysfunction You have trouble… romantically speaking.
3 Increased Weight Obesity will develop if not controlled.
4 Loss of Weight You become malnourished and begin experiencing rapid weight loss.
5 Loss of Hair Your hair begins to fall out. Baldness ensues.
6 Personality Disorders You begin to develop bipolar disorder, depression, or schizophrenia. Symptoms worsen over time.
7 Tremors You experience tremors and shakes. Your body won't stay still.
8 Stuttering and Turrets You can't control your speech; you stutter and swear uncontrollably.
9 Constipation You just can't go…
10 Aggression and Agitation You are easily irritated and are quick to anger.

Homebrewed for the October 2016 RPG Blogger Carnival. 

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