Revised potion and ritual costs

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Thomas Weigel
Thomas Weigel's picture
Joined: 2012-06-20 11:57
Revised potion and ritual costs

See One Use Item Costs for some background on this. Done? Okay, now I'm going to break everything ;-)

In Oceana:

Ingredient costs below include XP components and whatnot.

An alchemical potion has ingredients costing 50 gp at rank 1, 100 gp at rank 2, 250 gp at rank 3, 500 gp at rank 4, 1,000 gp at rank 5, and 2,500 gp at rank 6. Alchemists can brew potions starting at level 1, but must be of sufficient class level to cast the spell (so a rank 6 potion requires an 11th-level alchemist). A potion takes (rank-1) weeks to brew, with a minimum of 3 days for rank 1. Expected income for an alchemist is the same as in core ACKS, except that a 9th-level alchemist expects 6,400 gp/month and an 11th-level alchemist expects 25,000 gp/month.

The above rules produce the manufacturing costs below (rounded, as usual, and with a guild markup included). The Rules-As-Written cost (with similar guild markup) is listed in parentheses.

rank 1: 250 gp. (RAW: 1,200 gp).
rank 2: 500 gp. (RAW: 2,700 gp).
rank 3: 1,200 gp. (RAW: 4,000 gp).
rank 4: 3,500 gp. (RAW: 5,500 gp).
rank 5: 12,000 gp. (RAW: 11,000 gp).
rank 6: 45,000 gp. (RAW: 37,000 gp).

Rituals require components costing 5K gp at rank 7, 10K gp at rank 8, 25K gp at rank 9, 50K gp at rank 10, and 100K gp at rank 11. Rank 10 rituals require one 12th-level alchemist and two 11th-level alchemists working in concert to cast; rank 11 rituals require one 13th-level alchemist, two 12th-level alchemists, and eight 11th-level alchemists working in concert to cast. A 12th-level alchemist expects to earn 50,000 gp/month. A 13th-level alchemist expects to earn 150,000 gp/month. A ritual takes (rank-5) months to cast.

Which produces these manufacturing costs:

rank 7: 100,000 gp. (RAW: 110,000 gp).
rank 8: 160,000 gp. (RAW: 140,000 gp).
rank 9: 250,000 gp. (RAW: 170,000 gp).
rank 10: 1 million gp.
rank 11: 5 million gp.

For the most part, the revised rules have very similar effects to the unmodified rules. Rank 5–6 potions are slightly less affordable (and thus slightly rarer); and most non-wish rituals are almost exactly the same.

A rank 1–2 potion, however, is a quarter the cost of the core system. It's still too expensive for the mass market (the money to equip an army with healing potions would be better spent on armor and quality weapons, both of which will better ensure their survival), but players will sometimes find that commissioning one is useful. And while most alchemists in this setting earn money by spell-casting, maintaining hospitals, and providing support to urban rulers, a few here and there in the borderlands make a small living selling "simples" of known efficacy to adventurers, as a natural consequence of a dungeon gold rush.

And, of course, wishes are somewhat more expensive.

Which begs the question: why bother?

1. Oceana is slightly more magic-rich than core ACKS, and I want certain low-power items to be more common and less dungeon-discovered only. In particular, the alchemist's healing pill (rank 1, cures 1d3 damage) is going to help burn through dungeon cash, since there are no divine casters in the setting.

2. Alchemists themselves (who have evolved substantially since my original arcanist class design) are city-dwellers who form guilds and syndicates, run hospices, and brew potions. So I put more detailed attention into those processes, and the result was a house rule.

3. I wanted the differences above to be relatively subtle, so except for those aspects that I specifically wanted to be different, the rules were constructed such that they would have similar results to the core rules.

So there you have it. Thoughts?