20 Potions + Potency Rules, Variants, Withdrawal Rules

Up till now I’ve been content to use Arnold K.’s Alchemy and Oozes PDF as is, because it’s got an even hundred potions and that’s enough for most purposes, but I’m working on a “junkie alchemist” class and need a set of potions whose effects can not just be made shorter or longer but stronger or weaker, and which have withdrawal effects to boot.

Potency: Some potions are stronger than others. If a potion grants a flat numerical effect, then lesser potency will halve the effect and greater potency will double the effect. If the potion involves a die roll, then lesser potency will downgrade the die (e.g. 1d6 to 1d4) and greater potency will upgrade the die (e.g. 1d6 to 1d8).

Downgrading and upgrading: If a die is downgraded from 1d2 then it becomes 1, and if it is downgraded from 1 then it becomes 0. If a die is upgraded from 1d12 then it becomes 1d12+1d2, then 1d12+1d4, and so on.

Variants: For the sake of being condensed, a lot of potions have just been listed as a variant rather than given their own entry. Assume that they work the same as the base potion except where specified otherwise.

Withdrawal: My junkie alchemist class experiences ill effects when they’ve gone too long without a potion. Some of these effects are the same across the board but each potion grants its own unique spin on things.

Basic withdrawal rules: If you take more than one potion in the space of six hours (even a healing potion!) then you may experience withdrawal. Six hours after the last time you took a potion, Save vs Magic with a penalty equal to the number of potions you’ve taken during this period (e.g. if you take 2 potions within six hours, then take another potion five hours later to keep the shakes away, then go another six hours without a potion, you get a -3 penalty when your Save vs Magic comes up again).

If you succeed then you take 1d2 damage and experience withdrawal symptoms for a number of rounds equal to the penalty above. If you fail then you take 1d4 damage, experience withdrawal symptoms for a number of hours equal to the penalty above, and at the end of this period you need to Save vs Magic again, with the penalty reduced by 1 (the penalty would be reduced below zero then withdrawal ends).

Withdrawal may be ended immediately by taking another potion, but then, for the purposes of the next withdrawal, you are considered to still be undergoing the original sequence of potion-taking and, since you just took another potion, the penalty will be ever so slightly higher than before.

Yes, this means that potion junkies can be subject to withdrawal penalties that go into the hundreds, and take years to detox. This is why I’m working on a potion junkie class.

Oh, and when you go through withdrawal, you experience all the withdrawal symptoms of all the potions you ever took in that sequence.

  1. Potion of Beast Speech: You can speak with all non-swimming, non-flying, non-crawling animals. Lasts 3 minutes. Looks like blood. Smells like bad breath.
    • Potency: For lesser potency, you can only communicate basic concepts. For greater potency, you are an extremely compelling speaker.
    • Variants: Potion of Bird Speech (speak with birds and…bats, looks like pearlescent white cream). Potion of Corpse Speech (speak with corpses, looks black and granular like liquid asphalt), Potion of Crawling Speech (speak with crawling things e.g. lizards and slugs, looks like water with a dead fly in it). Potion of Fish Speech (speak with swimming things, looks like extra-reflective shimmery water). Potion of Metal Speech (looks like cloudy water). Potion of Plant Speech (looks like watermelon pulp).
    • Withdrawal: All your words come out as snarls (or squawks or glubs or corpse-rattling or whatever).
  2. Potion of Breathlessness: You no longer need to breathe and are immune to gases. You cannot speak or cast spells. Lasts 30 minutes. Looks like milk. Not only does it have no smell, it actually prevents you from smelling anything for a few seconds.
    • Potency: For lesser potency, you can hold your breath for 10 minutes at a time. For greater potency, you can still whisper.
    • Withdrawal: It is hard to breathe and you are easily winded. Take one level of fatigue every time you fail a Save vs Magic for withdrawal.
  3. Potion of Breath Catching: If you are caught in a breath attack, you can choose to inhale (and thereby negate) it. You can hold it in you for as long as you can hold your breath, then breathe it out normally. Also works on strong winds and gasses. You are immune to any negative effects of inhaled things. If you kiss someone then you can suck out their breath and they take 3d6 non-lethal damage. Looks like yellow milk. Smells like bitter medicine.
    • Potency: For lesser or greater potency, downgrade or upgrade the damage die of the breath attack. Alternately, for lesser potency you are not immune to negative effects (e.g. take half damage from inhaled breath attacks).
    • Withdrawal: Your lungs are more sensitive. Take normal damage from breath weapons, poisonous gas, etc. when you make a successful save, and double damage when you fail a save.
  4. Potion of Clairvoyance: By designating a location with 100 ft, you can see that location as if you were there. You can look at a different location each round. Lasts 1d6 rounds. Looks like mercury, smells like nothing.
    • Potency: Besides shorter range, lesser potency can allow you to see only one location for the duration of the effect. Besides longer range, greater potency can let you see 1d2+1 locations at once.
    • Variants: Potion of Clairaudience (hear things as if you were there). Potion of Clairolfaction (smell and taste things as if you were there, smells like something that’s currently in another room), Potion of Clairtactility (feel things, by touch, as if you were there).
    • Withdrawal: Your vision (or sight or smell or whatever) is impaired. Get disadvantage perception-related rolls which make use of this sense.
  5. Potion of Concealment from Animals: Animals cannot see you, hear you, or notice you by any means. Lasts 30 minutes or until you do something other than move. Looks like amber liquid with dust motes in it. Smells like a mouse nest, and the scent gives you a headache.
    • Potency: For lesser potency, only applies to one sense (e.g. animals can see you but can’t smell you) or moving around will end the effect. For greater potency, you can gently nudge animals aside without ending effect.
    • Variants: Potion of Concealment from Undead (looks like black milk with white granules floating in it, smells like dirt).
    • Withdrawal: Animals get advantage on rolls to notice you (or you get disadvantage on rolls to avoid their notice, where that’s more relevant). On reaction rolls, they roll twice and take the lowest result. They know you’re there and they don’t like it.
  6. Potion of Cold Resistance: Damage from cold is reduced by 6 points each round. You only feel cold if the environment is cold enough to still deal damage. Lasts 30 minutes. Looks like milk. No smell. Is slightly colder than it should be.
    • Variants: Potion of Acid Resistance (acid damage, looks like boiling water despite being room temperature, smells like sour candy). Potion of Fire Resistance (fire damage, will not feel hot unless environment still deals damage, red-tinged water, no smell, is slightly warmer than it should be). Potion of Lightning Resistance (electrical/lightning damage, looks like blue gelatin, smells like ozone).
    • Withdrawal: When you take damage from cold, upgrade the die.
  7. Potion of Courage: You are immune to fear. If you would normally roll a Save vs Fear, you instead gain +2 to-hit vs the source of that fear (non-stacking). Looks like beer filled with golden glitter. Smells like brandy.
    • Potency: For lesser potency, you get advantage on Save vs Fear. For greater potency, you gain +4 to-hit vs the source of that fear (non-stacking) or your friends get advantage on Save vs Fear.
    • Variants: Potion of Insomnia (immune to sleep magic).
    • Withdrawal: Get disadvantage on Save vs Fear.
  8. Potion of Fire Breath: You can breathe out a 30 ft cone of fire that deals 3d6 points of damage (Save vs Breath for half). If the potion is violently broken, it explodes, dealing 2d6 points of damage in a 20 ft diameter (Save vs Breath for half). Looks like lantern oil. Smells like dragonfire (metal, ashes, and ozone).
    • Variants: Potion of Frosty Breath. Potion of Lightning Breath.
    • Withdrawal: The bit of the potion that protects your body from its own fiery breath is wearing away more quickly than the bit of the potion that generates the fiery breath. Upgrade the die that’s rolled for withdrawal-related damage.
  9. Potion of Flight: You gain a fly speed of 24. Lasts 1d6 rounds. Looks like milk. Smells like copper.
    • Variants: Potion of Burrowing (burrow speed of 6 in dirt, if poured on ground will excavate a burrow large enough for 6 people to sit comfortably, looks like water, smells like earth). Potion of Swimming (swim speed of 24, looks like water, smells like water, sounds like the sea when you slosh it).
    • Withdrawal: You feel heavier than normal. Your speed is reduced by 10 ft and you sink like a stone in water.
  10. Potion of Giant Size: You triple in size. Your physical attacks deal double damage and you take half damage from physical sources. Alternatively, it can be poured on an object or part of an object to make it triple in size. Lasts 30 minutes. Looks like brownish water. Smells like armpits.
    • Potency: For lesser or greater potency, double or quadruple all size changes. You deal 1.5 or 3 times as much damage, and you take 3/4 or 1/4 damage from physical sources.
    • Variants: Potion of Shrunken Size (shrink to a twelfth of your normal size e.g. feet become inches, Strength is 1, all attacks deal 1 damage, you take double damage from physical sources, if poured on objects they become smaller, anything smaller than a couch becomes small enough to fit in your pocket, looks like water with tiny bubbles on the bottom, smells like mice).
    • Withdrawal: You are about eight inches taller, which is just enough to make your clothes fit very badly on you. Cut the benefit of armor in half. Additionally, you lack the magically-imparted grace of the potion, and so your clumsy oafishness increases the fumble range by 1 (e.g. from 1 to 1-2).
  11. Potion of Haste: You take an extra round at the every round (after everyone else has acted). Lasts 1d6 rounds. You age 1 month for every round Haste lasts. Looks like water. Smells like water. When sloshing, moves faster than it ought to.
    • Withdrawal: You automatically fail Initiative rolls and go last, after everyone else.
  12. Potion of Iron Skin: Skin becomes metal. Reduce all physical damage by 6 points. Lasts 1d6 rounds. If poured on an inanimate object, turns it to metal permanently. Looks like liquid mercury. Smells like sweat. Weighs more than it should.
    • Withdrawal: Upgrade the die rolled for all physical damage.
  13. Potion of Metallic Intangibility: Metal becomes intangible to you and your clothing. If poured on an object, it becomes intangible to metal. This potion passes right through metal objects. Lasts 30 minutes. Looks like water. Smells like burnt metal.
    • Variants: Potion of Watery Tangibility i.e. Water Walking (subject treats all water as solid substance or, if poured on water, the surface becomes a solid substance, looks like stone but pours as fluidly as water, smells like granite). Potion of Wooden Intangibility (smells like pine needles).
    • Withdrawal: Metal is not only solid to you, but really, really wants to be solid on you. It’s almost like you’re a magnet now. Anyone using a metal weapon gets +2 to-hit against you.
  14. Potion of Mirror Image: 1d4+1 mirror images of yourself appear beside you. They mirror your movements perfectly. When an enemy makes an attack against you, they strike a random target. Images vanish after being targeted. May be poured on objects to make apparent duplicates of those objects. Looks like water. If you look through it, you can see double images of everything. Smells like anise.
    • Variants: Potion of Magical Chaff (1d4+1 invisible doubles which may be mistakenly targeted by auto-homing magic, invisible doubles last until hit by a spell or until you go to sleep, people using e.g. Wizard Vision can see your doubles and must Save vs Magic or be affected as if you used a Potion of Mirror Image, only indistinguishable from water to people using e.g. Wizard Vision).
    • Withdrawal: The first time that you see someone since your latest withdrawal save, there is a 10% chance that they will appear (to you and only you) to have mirror image.
  15. Potion of Tongues: You can speak any language (but not read or write in it) so long as that language is (1) native to Cemonde and (2) not a dead language. Makes you voluble, and when you speak to someone you have a 1-in-6 chance of saying something you’ll regret (spilling a secret if you’re hiding something from them, otherwise insulting them). Looks like wine, smells like vodka.
    • Variants: Should be called Potion of Cemondial Tongues. Potions of Terrerougeaud Tongues allow you to speak languages from Terrerouge, etc. A Potion of Phaetonian Tongues is needed to speak Draconic. There is also a Potion of Dead Languages, which, interestingly, has an interplanetary effect (i.e. you can understand dead languages from other planets as easily as those from your own). Potion of Literacy (comprehend written languages from Cemonde, you are mute, looks like water, smells like water). It is unclear what kind of potion is needed to speak the language of devils and certain gods.
    • Withdrawal: Nobody can understand anything you say. If you know languages which are not native to Cemonde, then you can Save vs Magic to speak those languages until the next withdrawal roll.
  16. Potion of Mouse Transformation: You turn into a rat. You can speak with rats and mice. Your gear transforms with you. Lasts 30 minutes. Looks like blood. Smells like garbage.
    • Variants: Potion of Bee Transformation (speak with insects, flowers; smells like honey). Potion of Salmon Transformation (smells like fish). Potion of Seagull Transformation (smells like the ocean). You get the picture.
    • Withdrawal: You look very much like a rat-person, and a very ugly one at that. Besides the normal travails of not looking your best, your appearance comes off as a deliberate attempt to cause offense to ratlings, which will pose a problem not just with ratlings but with anybody who dislikes racists. There are a lot of -lings, so don’t expect to get off easy with any of the variant potions, either.
  17. Potion of Sound Bubbling: Creates an invisible, intangible bubble around you with a 10 ft diameter. Sound cannot pass through this bubble. Looks like water. No smell. No sound when sloshed.
    • Variants: Potion of Light Bubbling (invisible, but may slosh). Potion of Smell Bubbling (may slosh).
    • Withdrawal: Sound can now pass through the bubble (which stays for the duration of withdrawal), but very badly. People can still hear what’s going on but it takes effort to understand and can quickly get aggravating. Imagine being next to a guy whose voice sounds like nails on a chalkboard, for hours and hours until he finally gets through withdrawal. That’s what it’s like for everyone, including yourself.
  18. Potion of Spell Ward: The next spell that targets you fails. Lasts until you go to sleep. Looks like milk. No smell.
    • Potency: For lesser potency, you must Save vs Magic (if the spell already requires a Save vs Magic then you get advantage). For greater potency, the spell is reflected at its caster.
    • Duration: For shorter duration, lasts for 4 hours (or until you go to sleep). For longer duration, lasts till you have gone to sleep a second time (or a minimum of twelve hours, if you’re a narcoleptic or the nemesis of a sleep wizard).
    • Withdrawal: Use the first of these which can apply to a given spell, and ignore the rest— (1) If you are targeted by a spell whose effect is determined by the result of dice, then the number rolled on each die is increased by +1; (2) if the effect is modified by the number of Magic Dice invested, then you are affected as though one more MD had been invested (this MD cannot return to the caster, because it doesn’t exist as such); (3) if the spell requires a Save, then you get disadvantage.
  19. Potion of True Sight: You can see through all illusions and disguises. You can see the true form of transformed objects and creatures. Lasts 1d6 rounds. Looks like liquid mercury. Smells like mint.
    • Variants: Potion of Darkvision (see in the dark, range 30 ft, cannot see colors, greater potency may let you see colors rather than double the range, looks like a gray oily liquid, looking at it inverts colors of whatever is seen through it, smells like a cave). Potion of Wall-Penetrating Vision (see through up to 5 ft of a solid surface, looks like water, has no smell but makes your nose go numb, if held up to light then a faint strobe effect can be seen).
    • Withdrawal: Illusions, disguises, and so forth are especially convincing and you get disadvantage on all rolls to see through them.
  20. Potion of Ventriloquism: You can make your voice emerge from any point within 50 ft. You must still move your lips. Lasts 30 minutes. Red and green inky swirls. Smells like cinnamon.
    • Potency: For lesser potency, can only produce a whisper. For greater potency, can speak without moving lips.
    • Withdrawal: You are mute.

Bonus Potion

  • Healing Potion: Heals 1d6+Level HP. Looks like faintly-bluish milk. Smells like sugar.
    • Variants: Potion of Hurting You i.e. Poison (deals 2d6 damage, looks like water, smells like water, tastes like burning).
    • Withdrawal: Anyone (including yourself) who tries to heal you by magical means (except the use of a potion) gets disadvantage. When rolling to heal from eating rations, you get disadvantage. If you are being healed by a means which does not involve a roll, then the amount of HP healed is reduced by 1.


Most of these potions come from Arnold K.’s Alchemy and Oozes. A few are ideas I had while reading it.


Healing potions are likely to be rare, but now it may be dangerous to rely on them even if you have gold to spare.


Potency and withdrawal rules have not been playtested. Potions of my own design (Clairaudience, Clairolfaction, Frosty Breath, Insomnia, Lightning Breath, Magical Chaff) have not been playtested.

Everything else is from Arnold K.

2 thoughts on “20 Potions + Potency Rules, Variants, Withdrawal Rules

  1. Pingback: GLOG Class: Alchemist Junkie | WMB Saltworks

  2. Pingback: Languages in Thaumerica | WMB Saltworks

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