Alchemy is usually played by The Compleat Alchemist sourcebook, with changes to make it a skill system rather than a class system.
Potions on Morus are not generally made by a process of enchantment, but by the practise of alchemy, which at the lower levels is glorified herblore but at its most complex stages is truly a form of magic within itself. Potions and woundrous substances are made through the practise of distilling the base essences of certain reagents and ingredients that are naturally magical - these reagents only require proper processing to unlock their true potential. Most potions on Morus are made through alchemy.
Note that it is possible to make potions as per the RAW, and this is done; however, this requires a wizard powerful enough to perform enchantments, so often only the more powerful and unique potions were manufactured in this way; alchemy is simply much easier.
Many, though not all, potions can be "sipped". Drinking one-half of a potion with a given duration causes an effect that lasts 1/3rd of its normal duration, rounding up. For instantaneous potions with a variable effect, drinking the potion divides up its potential by 2 - for example, a potion of healing heals 1d8 hp; if you drink 1/2 of a healing potion, you would roll 1d8. Half of the result would be healed upon this sip, while the other half will be healed when the rest is drunk. This is to ensure that potions are not exploited, as 1d8 is not equal to 2d4.NOTE: 1 DRAM = 1/16 OF AN OUNCE
The complete list of reagents is given in "The Compleat Alchemist", along with the locations they may be found at and their gold piece values. Different reagents have varying rarities, as determined by the DM. An alchemist with an ASL even of 0 can identify most reagents by virtue of their studies, unless they are rare and special (i.e. not listed upon the reagent list) or unless they are nondescript (i.e. it may be difficult to identify dragon blood from other types of blood without detect magic).
Rare earths appear similar to very fine soil, and are an amalgamation of many different minerals found in ordinary soil. Anyone with any alchemical knowledge (Level 0) can sift 1 pound of earth to create 1 dram of rare earths with the proper equipment. 1 dram of rare earths is worth 2 gp, not the ridiculously high price given in the Compleat Alchemist, and takes 30 minutes to produce.
While many weird and wonderful ingredients can go into alchemical concoctions, the majority of reagents - especially low-level ones - are herbs and plants. As a result, the Herbalism NWP can be used to look for reagents when out in the wild. This takes one hour and exhausts about 1/2 square mile to 1 square mile; if you wish to keep on searching, you must search a new area. A successful Herbalism check may indicate that something has been found. In order to determine whether anything has been found, roll on the table below. Expensive herbs are rare and less likely to be found, even in their native terrain. If there are no herbs native to the terrain that fall within the price specified, then nothing is found. Otherwise, 1d3 drams of a random herb within the price range is discovered.
|Die Roll(d100)||Maximum Value of reagent Found|
Any reagent with a value above 500 gp is too rare to be found with the Herbalism NWP; it occurs only under extremely special and specific conditions, and finding it is a unique occurrence worthy of a quest in its own right. At the DM's discretion, a penalty may be imposed on the d100 roll - for example, at the very edge of a forest you may only find the less rare herbs, and the DM may impose a 20% penalty.
When harvesting herbs for Alchemy yourself, a few things must be kept in mind. Firstly, the values listed in the Compleat Alchemist are for herbalists selling their reagents at a premium to alchemists. A player trying to sell herbs will usually receive 1/4 to 1/2 of the listed value. Secondly, herbs must be prepared before they are suitable for use, by drying them, soaking them in alcohol or oil, or by some other process. This takes time and can be done in any alchemical laboratory with the proper equipment. A standard laboratory will be able to prepare 8 drams of herbs every 24 hours. Selling herbs that have not been prepared to a herbalist will net an even lower price, usually 1/10th of their value.
The recipes of the Compleat Alchemist are split up into 12 levels, with Level 1 being simple Elixirs and Level 12 being the most miraculous of constructions and even the possibility of creating artificial life. Each of these levels is progressively more difficult.
The earlier levels of Alchemical recipes are simple herbology, but as an alchemist gains in skill they become steeped in symbolism and arcane lore, and at higher levels alchemy becomes as much a magical art as any wizardry.
There is a certain amount of knowledge required to be able to attempt alchemical experiments at all - this is known as "Alchemy Level 0", the level at which the Introductory Primers are listed. This knowledge includes the recognisation and identification of common reagents, preparation of Rare Earths, and the understanding of how to use equipment. This level goes hand in hand with the Alchemy nonweapon proficiency - taking the Alchemy NWP grants Level 0 alchemical skill, and reaching this level automatically grants the Alchemy NWP (Wizard Group, INT-3, 2 slots). Making a proficiency check allows for the identification of reagents, and alchemical concoctions can also be identified in this way so long as the alchemist has access to a laboratory. A penalty may be imposed for an incomplete laboratory, and a -1 penalty is imposed for each alchemy skill level above your own the substance to be identified is.
Beyond Level 0, the best way to improve your alchemical knowledge is through study and practice. When you achieve Level 0, you get a progress number, expressed in brackets after your skill level - for example, "Alchemy, Level 0(INT-3) [0/200]". This is treated in a similar way to experience, but only applies for alchemy and is never increased by normal adventuring:
|Alchemical Level||Alchemy Experience Threshold|
Successfully performing any recipe grants a number of experience points equal to 10x the level of the recipe; if you have never performed the recipe before, this reward is tripled. Furthermore, failing a recipe always grants 1 experience point for every 2 levels of the recipe. Attempting recipes above your own level adds to the multiplier for each level - for example, a Level 4 Alchemist trying a Level 5 Recipe gets 11x the level of the recipe if they succeed. Finally, reading alchemical primers can grant experience, though they are lengthy and take considerable time to read - more on this is given below.
Recipes are performed as described in the sourcebook. Each recipe has two important percentages - a chance of success and a chance of explosion (or other mishap in production). When performing an alchemical recipe at your level, the base statistics are used. When performing a recipe below your level, 5% is added to it for every level it is below your own. When performing a recipe above your capabilities, the chance of success is halved and the chance of failure is doubled for each level it is above your own. If there was previously no chance of explosion, this rises to 2% and then doubles normally.
Each Alchemy Skill Level gained also increases your NWP value. So a Level 0 alchemist uses INT-3, a Level 1 uses INT-2, and so on.
Alchemical texts come under two classifications; primers, which are theoretical texts, and manuals, which are librams of alchemical recipes. Manuals are similar to a wizard's spellbook; they contain a handful of recipes, usually along a theme (a book of poisons may contain 2 toxic powder recipes and 3 blade venom recipes). Note that alchemical recipes are long and complex - a recipe takes up 20 or more pages depending on its complexity, and most manuals contain only 2d4 recipes in their pages. Note also that this complexity makes sets them aside from a spellbook in one way; alchemical recipes cannot be performed from memory, there must be a book on hand.
Alchemical primers are theoretical texts which, when read, grant understanding and insight and thus alchemical experience points. Alchemical primers are lengthy, complex books and take 1 month (minus 1 day per point of intelligence above 10) to digest properly. Each alchemical primer can be read and referred to as often as pleased, but can only be studied for the experience value once. When reading an alchemical primer of your own level, you gain a number of alchemical experience points equal to the formula:
(alchemical level x 4d4) x 10
The same formula is used for reading primers below your own level, but the 4d4 receives a -2 penalty for each level it is below yours. Studying a primer above your own level takes twice as long for each level it is above your own and requires an Alchemy check with a -1 penalty for each level it is above your own. If failed, you do not understand the concepts therein and may not attempt it again until you have achieved a new alchemical level. If you succeed, you gain alchemical experience using the same formula, but increase the multiplier by 1 for each level above your own (to x11, x12, and so on).
Introductory Primer: 100 gp
Level 1 Primer: 400 gp
Level 2 Primer: 800 gp
Level 3 Primer: 2,000 gp
Level 4 Primer: 10,000 gp
Level 5 Primer: 20,000 gp
Level 6 Primer: 30,000 gp
Level 7 Primer: 50,000 gp
Level 8 Primer: 100,000 gp
Level 9 Primer: 200,000 gp
Level 10 Primer: 500,000 gp
Level 11 Primer: 1,000,000 gp
Level 12 Primer: 2,000,000 gp
The sourcebook lists blade venoms as being Level 3 recipes, and gives a selection - such as Snake Venom, Scorpion Venom, and so on. Ignore this. The standard DMG list of poisons applies: you will not find a recipe for "Snake Venom", for example, but you may find a recipe for "Patience", which is a Class P poison. For a full reference of poisons, see here.