Endnu en blog om rollespil…
Vi kender dem alle; potions. Vidunderlige trylledrikke som giver en øjeblikkelig effekt i spillet – både på godt og ondt. Men spilmekanikken bag potions og deres mystik har siden de blev introduceret i de tidligste udgaver af D&D været gennem en stor forandring. Dette fx måden de blev defineret på, samt deres magiske effekt. Indlægget her er inspireret af Morten Greiss’ blogindlæg om potions, og deres rolle i hans eget (og imponerende) rollespil, Hinterlandet.
Nogle af de sjoveste minder fra de tidlige udgaver af D&D indebærer situationer, hvor en karakter drikker en uidentificeret potion. Resultaterne var normalt kaotiske, imponerende, sjove, uventede eller et sammensurium af det hele. Ved indtagelse herskede en gispende spænding forud effekten. Derudover var potions fantastiske i deres præsentation. Farverige, duftende (eller ildelugtende) og med væske af forskellig konsistens. Der var en stor mystik og ærefrygt overfor disse væsker, som altid fandtes i forskellige og spændende glasdesigns.
Som D&D ændrede sig gennem tiden, således ændrede mystikken sig ved potions også. Som Morten skriver i sit blogindlæg, sker dette i 3.0 udgaven af D&D, og blev endeligt cementeret i 3.5/4.0 og senere Pathfinder. Men hvad var det som ændrede sig?
Spildesignerne bag de forskellige udgaver søgte hele tiden at optimere reglerne, foruden at tilføje mere spilmekanik for at gøre spillet afhængige af samme. Derfor ser man, at i 3.0 udgaven sidestilles potions nu med magi – eller sagt på en anden måde; potions var nu trylleformularer på flaske. De mistede altså deres oprindelige identitet som oplevelsesrige og mystiske skatte, noget man som spiller så frem til med begejstring grundet elementet af uforudsigelighed (exploration).
Jeg spiller selv Pathfinder i min rollespilsgruppe som GM, og efter jeg igen er blevet bevidst om den oplevelsesrige identitet potions egentligt er, ser jeg frem til at introducere mystikken og spændingen overfor mine spillere. Hvad vigtigst i hvert fald er, ikke længere at lade potions være standardiserede trylleformularer på flaske. Det er ganske enkelt for uambitiøst, og mangel på fantasi.
Nedenfor er fem forskellige forslag til, hvorledes potions eksempelvis kan gøres interessante igen:
Forskelle på Mekanik gennem Tiderne
Jeg har kopieret en del tekst fra nettet hvor potions gengives i deres definition og mekanik i de forskellige udgaver af D&D. Det ses tydeligt, hvordan potions til at starte med var korte beskrivelser og hvor meget var overladt til fantasien, for senere hen at blive strømlinet og afhængige af trylleformularer. Det jeg i særlig grad synes er en interessant mekanik, er at lade de enkelte potions have deres individuelle tid på, hvor længe de har en effekt – som man bl.a. ser det i de tidligere udgaver.
Potions are usually found in small glass vials, similar to Holy Water. Each potion has a different smell and taste – even two potions with the same effect. Unless stated otherwise, the effect of a potion lasts 7-12 (1d6+6) turns. Only the DM should know the exact duration. The entire potion must be drunk to have this effect. A potion may be sipped to discover its type and then used later. Drinking a potion takes one round. If a character drinks a potion while another potion is still in effect, that character will become sick and will be unable to do anything (no saving throw) for 3 turns (1/2 hour) and neither potion will have any further effect. A potion of healing has no duration for purposes of the sickness described above.
Potions are usually found in small glass vials, similar to Holy Water. Each potion has a different smell and taste – even two potions with the same effect! Unless stated otherwise, the effect of a potion lasts 7-12 turns. Only you, the DM, should know the exact duration, and you should keep track of it when the potion is used. The entire potion must be drunk to have this effect. A potion may be sipped to discover its type and then used later. Drinking a potion takes one round. Sipping a potion does not decrease its effect or duration. If a character drinks a potion while another potion is still in effect, that character will become sick and will be unable to do anything (no saving throw) for 3 turns (1/2 hour) and neither potion will have any further effect. A potion of healing has no duration (for this calculation).
Potions are typically found in ceramic, crystal, glass, or metal flasks in enough quantity to provide one person with one complete dose so as to be able to achieve the effects which are given hereafter for each type of potion. Potion containers can be other than as described at your option. As a general rule they should bear no identifying marks, so that the players must sample from each container in order to determine the nature of the liquid. However, even a small taste should suffice to identify a potion in some way- even if just a slight urge. As Dungeon Master you should add a few different sorts of potions, both helpful and harmful, of such nature as to cause difficulties in identification. In addition, the same type of potion, when derived from different sources, might smell, taste, and look differently.
Unless otherwise stated, the effects of a potion will last for 4 complete turns plus 1-4 additional turns (d4). If half of a potion is quaffed, the effects will last one-half as long in some cases. Potions take effect 2-5 segments after they are imbibed.
While potions can be compounded by magic-user/alchemist teams at a relatively low cost, they must have an actual potion to obtain the formula for each type. Furthermore, the ingredients are always rare and/or hard to come by. This aspect of potions, as well as the formulation of new ones by players, is detailed in the appropriate subsection of the MAGICAL RESEARCH rules.
The magical mixtures and compounds which comprise potions are not always compatible. You must test the miscibility of potions whenever:
1) two potions are actually intermingled, or
2) a potion is consumed by a creature while another such liquid already consumed is still in effect While it is possible to prepare a matrix which lists each potion type and cross references each to show a certain result when one is intermingled with the other, such a graph has two drawbacks. First, it does not allow for differences in formulae from alchemist and/or magic-user. Second, it will require continual addition as new potion types are added to the campaign. Therefore, it is suggested that the following table be used – with, perhaps, the decision that a delusion potion will mix with anything, that oil of slipperiness taken with oil of etherealness will always increase the chance for the imbiber to be lost in the Ethereal Plane for 5-30 days to 50%, and treasure finding mixed with any other type of potion will always yield a lethal poison. Whatever certain results you settle upon for your campaign, the random results from the table apply to all other cases.
Potions are typically found in ceramic, crystal, glass, or metal flasks or vials (though you can change this, if you want). Flasks or other containers generally contain enough fluid to provide one person with one complete dose to achieve the effects described for each potion below. Opening and drinking a potion has an initiative modifier of 1, but the potion doesn’t take effect until an additional initiative modifier delay of 1d4+1 has passed. Only then do the full magical properties of the potion become evident. Magical oils are poured over the body and smeared appropriately; this imposes a speed factor delay of 1d4 + 1. Potions can be compounded by mages at relatively low cost. However, they must have a sample of the desired potion to obtain the right formula. Furthermore, ingredients tend to be rare or hard to come by. This aspect of potions, as well as the formulation of new ones by players, is detailed in the Spell Research rules.
As a general rule, potion containers should bear no identifying marks, so player characters must sample from each container to determine the nature of the liquid inside. However, even a small taste should suffice to identify a potion in some way. Introduce different sorts of potions, both helpful and harmful, to cause difficulties in identification. In addition, the same type of potion, when created in different labs, might smell, taste, and look differently.
The magical mixtures and compounds that make up potions are not always compatible. The compatibility of potions is tested whenever two potions are actually intermingled, or a potion is consumed by a creature while another such liquid, already consumed, is in effect. Permanent potions have an effective duration of one turn for mixing purposes. If you drink another potion within one turn of drinking one with Permanent duration, check on Table 111. The exact effects of combining potions can’t be calculated, because of differences in formulae, fabrication methods, and component quality employed by various mages. Therefore, it is suggested that Table 111 be used, with the following exceptions:
1. A delusion potion will mix with anything.
2. A treasure finding potion will always yield a lethal poison.
Secretly roll 1d100 for potion compatibility, giving no clues until necessary. The effects of combining specific potions can be pre-set as a plot device, at your option.
Unless otherwise stated, the effects of a potion last for four complete turns plus 1d4 additional turns (4+1d4).
A potion is a magic liquid that produces its effect when imbibed. Magic oils are similar to potions, except that oils are applied externally rather than imbibed. A potion or oil can be used only once. It can duplicate the effect of a spell of up to 3rd level that has a casting time of less than 1 minute. Potions are like spells cast upon the imbiber. The character taking the potion doesn’t get to make any decisions about the effect—the caster who brewed the potion has already done so. For example, a potion of protection from energy is always designed to protect against a specific energy type chosen by the creator, not the drinker. The drinker of a potion is both the effective target and the caster of the effect (though the potion indicates the caster level, the drinker still controls the effect, such as with levitate). The person applying an oil is the effective caster, but the object is the target. When a character applies oil of speak with dead, the character is the one asking the questions.
A typical potion or oil consists of 1ounce of liquid held in a ceramic or glass vial fitted with a tight stopper. The stoppered container is usually no more than 1 inch wide and 2 inches high. The vial has AC 13, 1 hit point, hardness 1, and a break DC of 12. Vials hold 1 ounce of liquid. Identifying Potions: In addition to the standard methods of identification, PCs can sample from each container they find to attempt to determine the nature of the liquid inside. An experienced character learns to identify potions by memory—for example, the last time she tasted a liquid that reminded her of almonds, it turned out to be a potion of cure moderate wounds. (You can reward players who keep records of potion sampling by always having the same type of potion taste the same—or you can cross them up by occasionally having the almond-flavored potion be something other than a potion of cure moderate wounds.)
Drinking a potion or applying an oil requires no special skill. The user merely removes the stopper and swallows the potion or smears on the oil. The following rules govern potion and oil use. Drinking a potion or using an oil on an item of gear is a standard action. The potion or oil takes effect immediately. Using a potion or oil provokes attacks of opportunity. A successful attack (including grappling attacks) against the character forces a Concentration check (as for casting a spell). If the character fails this check, she cannot drink the potion. An enemy may direct an attack of opportunity against the potion or oil container rather than against the character. A successful attack of this sort can destroy the container (see page 165 of the Player’s Handbook). A creature must be able to swallow a potion or smear on an oil. Because of this, incorporeal creatures cannot use potions or oils. Any corporeal creature can imbibe a potion. The potion must be swallowed. Any corporeal creature can use an oil. A character can carefully administer a potion to an unconscious creature as a full-round action, trickling the liquid down the creature’s throat. Likewise, it takes a full-round action to apply an oil to an unconscious creature.