Monday, July 13, 2020

Potent Potables

Here's a small one you can steal. It's going in the next draft of Brave but works great as a standalone homebrew. This is inspired by something Patrick Stuart once spitballed in (I believe) an interview I saw/read at some point. I've worked out the kinks and then fleshed it out further.

Potent Potables 

Characters can get intoxicated to temporarily adjust their stats. A character drinking alcohol loses an amount of WIS and gains HP equal to Xd6 - CON, where X is the number of drinks they have. If they reach 0 WIS, they become poisoned and have disadvantage on all checks. Every point of negative WIS incurred also gains one level of exhaustion. Characters sober up at a rate of 1 hour per WIS point regained/bonus HP lost. If sobering up reduces your HP below 0, you pass out and gain exhaustion.

Example: You drink 3 bottles of ale and have a +2 CON bonus. You roll 3d6 and get 1, 5, and 6. 1+5+6-2 = 10. You gain 10 HP and subtract 10 from your WIS.
These mechanics can apply to other potables as well! While “pure” potions and poisons exist, many consumable items instead have a tradeoff. Different items that affect the same stats will stack. Potables with this tradeoff are usually listed with the notation of “stat gained/stat lost” with their ratio.

Example: Alcohol is listed as: HP+1/WIS-1. This means that for every temporary hit point gained, a point of Wisdom is lost.

But wait! There's more!

*A note on system conversion: this is written for a variant of Knave, so you may need to rebalance some of the variables? But even if you were playing something like B/X or OSE or even 5E, subtracting from a WIS score (somewhere between 8-16 likely) rather than a mere WIS bonus like I focus on (+1 through +10) kinda balances itself against the amount of HP you also stand to gain (since Knave also uses really small HP pools compared to those other systems anyway).

Now the Content

On the equipment page of Brave I have a section for potables that looks like this:

"Up to 4 in a slot for each kind. Poisons may allow a CON check.

(on the left is the product. On the right is the price in whatever your standard unit of currency is. Only the first 6 of these use the aforementioned rule but the rest is good too so go ahead and take it all.)

Booze HP+1/WIS-1
Venus philter CHA+1/INT-1
Samson juice STR+1/INT-1
Elf serum INT+1/CHA-1
Troll oil Armor+1/DEX-2
Yorick balm CHA+2/HP-2
Iocane 4d8 damage
Toxin disadvantage on all checks for 1d4 hours
Antitoxin cures toxin
Sedative sleep for 1d4 hours
Elixir cures potable effects
Coming up with more of these should be very fun. Pretty much any combination of the 6 ability scores being traded off between each other should be possible, and bringing in other stats like HP, Armor, Morale score, Attack Bonus, etc. could also keep it fresh. I like this a lot because it isn't a straight-up boon or bane on the PC. It forces them to 1) make a semi-calculated choice, but also 2) take a risky gamble. It also helps me feel more comfortable giving these things affordable prices. If there was just a straight potion of healing, I would want it to be a bit pricey so they don't just stock up. But if they can only afford one of them, they may not have a great idea when the right time to use it is. Well with these, they're getting exactly their money's worth.


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