Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Addictive Potions

"Don't worry, I got what you're
looking for friend..."
Potions are probably one of the most ubiquitous magic items within fantasy game like Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder. Within most settings, they are regularly available, generally reliable, and very useful. They are also boring as fuck.

Honestly, potions in most games feel like the magical version of a first aid kit you'd find in your average First Person Shooter, mostly brought along to heal characters in-between battles and little else. You occasionally see a character rocking a potion of bull's strength or a potion of invisibility, but 9 times out of 10 the potion they have listed in their gear is a potion of cure [insert adjective here] wounds.

So, I thought about something that could make potions a little more interesting from both a flavor and mechanical sense. What if certain potions were addictive, creating an unquenchable urge within the character who has consumed it to have more? What if these potions also caused those who had become addicted to have a more difficult time receiving benefits from similar magical effects that come from non-potion sources?

These "addictive" potions would be much more potent than normal ones, possibly having metamagic effects associated with them. However, consuming these potions would require the character to make a Fortitude save with a DC equal to 15 + the potion's caster level. Those who succeed simply receive the benefits and nothing else. Those who fail, however, become addicted.

This addiction would be tracked by four levels: Minor Addiction, Moderate Addiction, Major Addiction, and Severe Addiction. The level of your addiction would be determined by how badly you fail the Fortitude save. Each level would cause the character to suffer worse conditions, and would increase the DC needed to beat the Fortitude check required when drinking the potion.

Furthermore, a character who is addicted to one of these special potions will be required to make a Will save with a DC equal to 15 + the potion's caster level + the bonus associated with his addiction level whenever in contact with one. A successful save allows the character to resist the urge for now, but a failed one causes them to give in, consume the potion, and attempt to find more as soon as possible.

These potions would also negatively effect the character's ability to benefit from similar effects originating from non-potion sources. For example, a character addicted to a special healing potion might have difficult benefiting from other healing effects. Maybe they only heal half as much as they normally would, or maybe they have to make a Fortitude save to receive any healing at all.

This is still a very rough sketch of a system, and I'd love to hear feedback from you guys and gals? Do you think this would be an interesting addition to your games? Do you think it should only be special, more powerful potions, or all potions? What should the addiction levels impose on characters? Is there an easier way to handle this? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.