5E How to generate a Potion Merchants Stock?
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  1. #1

    How to generate a Potion Merchants Stock?

    So, I have a (rather crazy) potion merchant planned to show up in my campaign shortly, and I'm having a little trouble generating stock. Since potions is really the only thing he sells(besides Sovereign Glue and Universal Solvents), I think it would make sense for him to carry some more powerful potions (though they of course would be EXPENSIVE!!!!l). He carries all kinds of potions. Bottled Breath, Potions of Giant Size, Potions of Mind Control, everything.

    I'm having trouble figuring out how to generate his stock. I want to have a table to roll on, and there is going to be a rather high chance that he's going to selling mixed potions, and I'm having trouble thinking of the power cut-off, and figuring out odds. I also wouldn't mind some advice on mark-up, (especially on the mixtures). Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Concord, CA
    D&D is a role playing game. Players play characters in a story. Tell a good story. Here, you need to start with the merchant's story.

    Where did he come from? Why did he start selling? What did he have access to? Who bought it? How much could they afford? How did he make a business of it, and how much has he been able to expand that business? Who are his clients now?

    Tables are a great way to generate something on the fly, but if you have time to write questions about it on the forums, you have time to flesh it out from a storytelling perspective.

    How I might approach it:

    He was a wizard's apprentice that failed and was fired. He took his knowledge of basic alchemy and magic and was able to fashion a few crude alchemical agents and basic potions and sold them to support himself. When he tried to expand his product line he was able to start creating Philter's of Love - something that caught the eye of a local nobleman with ill intent. One thing led to another and the merchant was able to extort outrageous fees for the love potions from the merchant, allowing him the funds to expand his business. By the time the nobleman was caught by someone offended by his activities, the merchant was able to pay to cover his tracks. However, he lives in fear that the people the nobleman abused with the potions will discover his role. He has been creating potions that suit the needs of the dangerous types out there so that - should he need to defend himself - he has friends to call upon. Most of his valuable potions are ones that would be useful for people from the dark side of the city in their endeavors - gaseous form, invisibility, etc... However, he also maintains a bunch of cheaper concoctions (some real, some not - a luck potion that does nothing, a charisma potion that is just 12 ounces of dwarven vodka) that he sells to folks with less means as an additional way to line his pockets.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Massachusetts, USA
    When I'm unsure of things I ask a player to roll a d20. I may ask them what kind of potion they are looking for and have them roll. If they role high, they can find something at least close. Same if they roll low, they know there is nothing. Problem is when they roll in the middle.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Arizona, USA
    For anything he didn't have in stock, I would make it because an ingredient is rare and dangerous to get, but if the players bring him one, he will brew the potion for them.

  5. #5
    My group uses a simple system for buying potions and scrolls based on rarity. You might be able to adapt this for your potion merchant.

    Rarity (D20 roll required to be in stock)
    Common (11+)
    Uncommon (15+)
    Rare (18+)
    Very Rare (20+)
    Legendary (GM's choice)

    For mixed potions, just decide on the percent change and roll for each potion he has in stock. Alternately, if you roll a 1 for the above check, then that potion is available, but only in mixed form.

    For pricing, I use the following:

    Common - 50 gp
    Uncommon - 100 gp
    Rare - 250 gp
    Very Rare - 500 gp
    Legendary - 1,000 gp

    Mixed potions would add the costs of all potions mixed together.

    So either have the character state what he's looking for and roll to see if it's available, or roll for each potion/oil/elixir/philter to see which are available during that particular visit. As BookBarbarian suggested, if it's not available, maybe it's because of a missing ingredient. If the character returns with the ingredient, they get one free vial of that potion (the merchant keeps any extras he makes from the ingredient).

    BTW, here's a link to a quick list of 5E potions and their rarity:

    Last edited by Croesus; Friday, 8th December, 2017 at 04:08 AM.
    XP Dannyalcatraz gave XP for this post

  6. #6
    You might need some more common potions to even things out a bit with the rarer potions; you can try the ones that I included in my artificer project on DMsGuild.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by Herosmith14 View Post
    I'm having trouble figuring out how to generate his stock. I want to have a table to roll on, and there is going to be a rather high chance that he's going to selling mixed potions, and I'm having trouble thinking of the power cut-off, and figuring out odds. I also wouldn't mind some advice on mark-up, (especially on the mixtures). Thoughts?
    Quickest idea, using this list: https://donjon.bin.sh/5e/magic_items/

    - there are 2 common potions, roll 1d4 for each one of them
    - there are 10 uncommon potions, roll 3d10
    - there are 12 rare potions, roll 2d12
    - there are 8 very rare potions, roll 1d8

    This means 8-14 potions on sale at any time, including duplicates. If this is too few potions for your tastes, roll everything a second time.

    I don't know what you mean with mixed potions, do you intend to use the "potion miscibility" variant and have some varying effect or to just allow 2 potions mixed into one that can be drunk in a single action?

    Either way, you could roll the following:

    1- 1d2 or 1d4 for the number of mixed potions on sale
    2- for each potion, roll for the two actual effects in this way:
    2a-- first roll a 1d4 to pick the category (common, uncommon, rare, very rare)
    2b-- roll a 1d2, 1d10, 1d12 or 1d8 (depending on the category) to choose which effect exactly
    2c-- repeat last two steps for the second effect
    (2d-- if using the varying miscibility effects, roll on the "potion miscibility table", if you get an explosion then remove the potion from sale, so this can sometimes result in 0 mixed potions on sale)
    XP Coroc gave XP for this post

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    For the mixed pots roll on the wild Magic table, roll again if the result does make no sense.

  9. #9
    By mixed potion I mean using the potion miscibility table. Sorry, that may have been confusing.

    Sent from my iPhone using EN World

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