In a previous article we talked about why the rules for crafting potions in DnD 5e are insufficient for most players and DMs. Today we’d like to share with you a spell based option to allow your casters to create potions in the game without spending 200 days crafting them. This is a homebrew spell, so it may need balance or modification to fit within your game, but we offer this up as an alternative method to completely reworking the potion creation rule system for normal magical item crafting.
New Spell: Create Potion
Create Potion is a 3rd level enchantment.
To create a potion with this spell, a caster must choose a spell they know that is suitable for a potion. The caster must then prepare a vessel for the potion, the material components required to cast the spell, and have a spell slot available to cast the target spell at the time of potion creation.
When cast, Create Potion consumes the materials and spell slots necessary to create a potion version of the spell that the caster has chosen. If the spell has optional effects or multiple variations, the caster chooses these on the potion’s creation.
Create Potion is a ritual spell and requires a casting time of 1 hour and cannot be cast in conjunction with a short or long rest. Additionally, Create Potion is a 3rd Level spell, and can only create potions of spells equal to or lower than the level it is cast at. To create a potion for a 4th level spell, the caster must cast Create Potion at 4th level and have an additional 4th level spell slot available.
The material components required by the spell are consumed by the potion, even if they would not be consumed normally. Additionally, all potions require generic material components corresponding to the school magic for which the spell is cast. These generic material components can be identified by any caster who is able to cast Create Potion and can cast a spell from a corresponding school of magic. Generic material components, if purchased, should require roughly 10gp worth of material per cast.
Spells that are suitable to be made into potions will target the drinker and grant an effect or ability. If the spell would instead require advanced targeting or need the caster to make decisions about its effects, it cannot be made into a potion and fails upon creation. For more information on this, see our article on How to Create a Potion from Any Spell.
Use and Balancing of Create Potion
This spell offers you a way to allow for your players to create useful potions that can change the way they tackle problems in your game. To balance out its ability to allow players to rapidly create potions, it has additional material costs, takes additional spell slots, and consumes otherwise reusable material components that might be rare or hard to find. This does not stop a resourceful player from abusing this mechanic, and ultimate game balance still rests with the DM.
Assuming your players are not intent on breaking the game, this spell should be fine for most groups. At maximum, a Wizard of 10th level could only create one 5th level spell potion a day at the cost of two spell slots and material components. So it should be easy to reign in potential abuse with these restrictions while still making potions more freely available.
In addition to the restrictions on amounts of potions that players can make, it is also wise to limit which classes can learn this spell. By making it a 3rd level spell, it prevents Clerics from multiclassing with Wizards to make endless healing potions without at least sinking in 5 levels.
If you want to make the ability for players to create potions easier, you could grant a weaker version of the spell that can be used at low levels while limiting the number of potions that can be maintained at one time. Alternatively, you could give these potions a short shelf life. Regardless of how you balance things, this spell can easily be molded to fit your game and should provide you with plenty of room for experimentation.
As a final note on use, potions take an action to use or administer. Players should not use potions as a free action in most cases. The exceptions to this might be potions that have a single round ability – bundling the use of the potion and its effect together makes sense as potion effects are instant according to the DMG and Player’s Handbook.
Variations on Create Potion
This spell can also be applied to other spells to create applicable oils. A good example of this would be using spells as traps that can be applied over an area. Read our article on potions as traps for more details. Some effects might be great as weapon applications or utility applications to items or surfaces.
You could also use this spell to create poisons of a magical nature. There are many spells that you wouldn’t want to drink yourself, but would be fantastic if slipped into an enemy’s glass. Spells like Blindness, Deafness or Bane are amazing candidates for this. While the use requires attention to the game rules for balance, it can be very rewarding if used properly.
The Create Potion Spell in Summary
While this spell is certainly a handful, we think it provides a way for any dungeon master to add some potion creation fun to their game. With a little work and some careful consideration of the rules you can easily provide this option to your players in a way that will mesh into your gameplay seamlessly.
While potions created this way may be expensive or difficult to procure, the players can be more methodical about what they want to create and work towards the goals of acquiring potions that allow them to handle situations in ways that are fun for them. If you give this spell a try in your games let us know what you think, we’d love to hear your thoughts!