D&D 5E Potions in your game

Beyond that, potions are still an action and people rarely use them.
a few campaigns ago I made potions much more powerful and plentiful... and players still just hoarded them for between combat healing.

and by more powerful I mean the base healing potion was doing 2d6+5+your con mod, and you could spend a HD... and they got more powerful from there. I had one that would heal 5d10+20+your level and you could spend up to 2 HD and not once was it drank in a fight... not once.
 

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Bitbrain

ORC (Open RPG) horde ally
In my games potions are spells in liquid form. If the spell requires your action (or bonus action) to cast, then drinking the potion requires the same to duplicate the desired spell effect.
healing word and intellect fortress potions have proven quite popular with my players.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I use the RAW for potions in my 5e campaign. Generally, potions do not get much use mid-combat. They are mostly used when players know they are going into a combat situation and have time to plan for it, in which case they use potions to buff up.
 

For our next campaign, we’re thinking about:

If a potion is already in hand before your turn starts, it can be consumed with a bonus action. Otherwise it requires an action.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I've often wondered if anyone out there is still using "potion miscibility".
I do, and I recorded the results to apply them again in the future - which was problematic as when a favorable one (00) was found there were attempts to recreate the result. To that end, I dropped the consistency.

Side note: I think in the next version of D&D the healing potions will let PCs spend hit dice to heal. The type of potion will limit how many dice can be spent. Just a theory.
 
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BookTenTiger

He / Him
I like to give out potions that are specifically useful for that dungeon or location. So, for example, I might have a potion that restores ability scores if I know the characters will be facing intellect devourers. Or a potion of flight if there's going to be a battle with a lot of verticality.

Drinking a potion is a bonus action. I tell the characters what kind of potion they found right away.

My goal is for those potions to be used, not hoarded!
 

jgsugden

Legend
...My goal is for those potions to be used, not hoarded!
One DM pulled a trick out of her hat that I stole to encourage PCs to use potions. In the first encounter the group found three potions. She told us that all three were red liquids, and two glimmered when agitated. The third did not, but seemed thicker and had black crud at the bottom. The first two were healing potions (and were used first) and the third, when opened, smelled like it was spoiled. The player threw it away rather than drink it. From then on, the group kept on worrying about how long before their potions expired and tended to use them quickly.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
One DM pulled a trick out of her hat that I stole to encourage PCs to use potions. In the first encounter the group found three potions. She told us that all three were red liquids, and two glimmered when agitated. The third did not, but seemed thicker and had black crud at the bottom. The first two were healing potions (and were used first) and the third, when opened, smelled like it was spoiled. The player threw it away rather than drink it. From then on, the group kept on worrying about how long before their potions expired and tended to use them quickly.
I like the flavor of that and if the flavor description is sufficient, great! But I can't imagine having to add tracking potion expiration dates to my DM duties. Even less, I don't see any of my players being thrilled about having to do the extra bookkeeping either.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I like the flavor of that and if the flavor description is sufficient, great! But I can't imagine having to add tracking potion expiration dates to my DM duties. Even less, I don't see any of my players being thrilled about having to do the extra bookkeeping either.
I actually hand out small vials filled with liquid when I give a PC a potion.


Each potion has a tiny number hidden on it so that I know exactly which potion they are using. That makes it easy to track things like expiration if I want to do so ...

I also hand out chips for coins (although I make change - if they get 1000 copper I give them the 1 platinum chip) and toy gemstones.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I actually hand out small vials filled with liquid when I give a PC a potion.


Each potion has a tiny number hidden on it so that I know exactly which potion they are using. That makes it easy to track things like expiration if I want to do so ...

I also hand out chips for coins (although I make change - if they get 1000 copper I give them the 1 platinum chip) and toy gemstones.
That's fun. When I still ran games in person, we used cards for items and coins and toothpicks for ammunition (arrows, bolts).

It would be cool if there a community mod for foundry that would let you assign expiration dates to items. But that also requires more assiduous tracking of time in game. I would like to gamify it and make it more abstract. Another way I could see handling this would be at the end of each combat there would be a percent chance of a potion getting broken, or shaken too much and going bad.

In practice, my players and I are lazy and would rather focus on other aspects of the game than resource tracking. Generally I like to be stricter with resource management at lower levels and as characters level up and have more ways to address resource challenges, we just stop tracking things like ammo, rations, and encumbrance.
 

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