D&D 5E DMing help: Random potions scenario

TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
Hi!

I don't see many threads about DMing, asking for feedback or ideas, but I thought why not!

I'm designing a short dungeon for my group for next weekend. They'll make their way into the demiplane hideout of a reclusive wizard that's now made from solitude. I've put in several different type of rooms, things to find. I think it'll be a great time.

But one room leaves me unsatisfied. There's a large room that's an alchemical workshop. So long tables, stack of books, brewing ichors, stacks of weird ingredients. And obviously, several potions laying around. There's the possibility for an encounter against a large unfinished clay golem to be triggered here. If it's not, the players will most likely pocket and take the time to identify many of these potions. But, I'd really like to give my player the opportunities to either drink random potions, or throw random potions if the encounter gets triggered. It would be a fun scenario.

I've scoured the list of 5E spells looking for fun effects. I'll build a short table and let them roll on it.

My issue is the following: some effects are more fitting for a scenario where the potion is drank (ex: you get haste for 1 minute) and others are more fitting for a potion being thrown (spiked growth appears where the potion landed). I'm looking for a way to communicate to my players diegetically what the potion is for: drinking or throwing. I've thought about the shape of the bottle or the corkscrew. But I'm now thinking that maybe I should focus on one of the two modes of operation and have all the potions have area of effects or personal effects.

Also, effect that are more fitting if drank, like being blinded or getting haste for an hour, should these effects also work if the potion if thrown on someone? I've thought of maybe reducing to half or quarter duration. I'm trying to avoid scenarios where the players use the potions in a wrong way and it either doesn't work or doesn't make sense.

I'm hardly the first to do a scenario of the sort and I was curious as to how anyone would approach this, if a previous adventure did some similar, if it was fun, etc.

Note: Example of effects I find interesting: amnesia for a fixed duration, being blinded or deafened, getting drunk for a fixed duration, reduce, enlarge, spider climb, barkskin, dragon's breath, invisibility, haste, polymorph, summon lesser demons, etc.
Note 2: The party is four players of fourth level.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

BookTenTiger

He / Him
What about designing potions that have a positive effect if drunken, and a harmful effect if thrown?

For example:

Potion of Red Dragonblood: if drunken, add 1d6 fire damage to all attacks. If thrown, sets a creature or object on fire for one minute.
 

Richards

Legend
In my campaigns, most potions intended to be consumed are stored in glass vials - like test tubes - and usually stoppered with a simple cork. I imagine a concoction meant to be thrown might be stored in a small glass sphere, where the small entry hole (where the fluid was filled into the container, using a funnel) has been sealed off with something like wax. The fact that it's impractical to try to drink from a sphere might be a good indicator that this particular setup was geared for throwing, not drinking. (Plus, spherical objects are no doubt easier to throw.)

Johnathan
 

aco175

Legend
I had an encounter with a lab and a goblin in it that would mix potions and throw them at the PCs for 1d6 acid damage. This showed the PCs that they could do it as well and used some acid bombs later in the adventure.

Depending on your game, you could have some sort of epic boon from mixing potions and weird side effects. I could see some sort of bonus encounter or daily power of 3rd level and below spell, like shield or cure wounds at lower levels or lightning or darkvision permanent at higher levels.

Something cooler, but more work may be similar to a deck of many things where there are cards with powers that are drawn at random. Some grant boons and others banes and the PCs get cool things at random.
 

TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
What about designing potions that have a positive effect if drunken, and a harmful effect if thrown?
That's a good idea! I'll go over my list of effects and see if I can somewhat easily make it work.

has been sealed off with something like wax.
I was having the same thought process as you; but the wax seal is a great idea. It really communicates something that should be sealed.

Something cooler, but more work may be similar to a deck of many things where there are cards with powers that are drawn at random. Some grant boons and others banes and the PCs get cool things at random.
A deck of cards would be super cool! I don't have time to make one right now, but that'd be an interesting project for later.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top