Vastlands Houserules – Herbalism & Potions

I’ve referred to these rules a few times already. Our resident Witch character wanted to make something of her background as a herbalist and apprentice witch. All the wonderful stories of a witches-brew and the secret knowledge of plants is a potent idea! So I looked around for something to make a fun mini-game for herbalism that would also be useful for the other characters.

A Herbalist – Clair from Outlander (TV Series on Starz)

This all assumes the character knows “herbalism/foraging” or something similar. This takes massive inspiration from Chthonic Codex by Lost Pages

There are 7 common types of herb, and then various rare herbs
Common Herbs (takes 1 turn to take effect)
– Stimulant : injest/inhale for +1d6 hp for 1d6 hours (needs 1 turn soaking/burning/etc for application)
– Balm: apply to burns (acid, fire, cold) to heal 1d6 hp
– Poison: ingest for 2d6 damage (save for half)
– Healing: apply to wounds to heal 1d6 (needs 1 turn to be made into a poultice for application)
– Purgative: ingest to gain second save vs poison. Incapacitated for 1d6 turns
– Caustic: rub or ingest for 1d6 damage
– Curative: ingest in liquid for second save vs poison (needs 1 turn soaking for application)

Rare Herbs
– Random creation – often unusable raw, but need to be combined in potions
(for Rare herbs in Dolmenwood I’ve been using the “Fungi of Dolmenwood” random d30 tables from Wormskin 1)

Fresh herbs take time to have an effect (so useless for combat) and often need some prep time or limited applicability. They stay fresh for about a week.

Make a d6 table for an environment (a hex, or region), and seed 1-4 with common herbs and a rare herb on 5+. If a character spends a turn foraging they have a 2-in-6 chance to find a single dose of a herb. (modifiers for help, plant coverage, significant stat, etc) If they are foraging while travelling for the day get 1d6 doses if successful.
As week long downtime action just give the character 3d6 doses.

Then you can make potions! Chthonic Codex goes into a lot of details about various potions, but essentially it boils down to combining doses of fresh herbs for various effects which take effect quickly
– 2 of the same herb: stable dose (stays useful indefinitely – dried, powdered, salve, etc)
– 3 different herbs: an appropriate stable potion (say, healing+poison+purgative for a contact poison that can be applied to weapons for instant effect: wound enemy to take extra damage + incapacitate foe)
– 2 rare + common herb: get a unique potion based upon the herbs used (resurrections, petrifying etc etc – imagination is the limit – just write down the recipe!)

Side Effects (from Chthonic)
If you take another dose/potion while under the effect of some herb, then there is a 2-in-6 chance of some problem. Save vs poison or roll 1d6 per dose taken (cumulative)
1-5: Woozy
– need 1d6 rounds of rest after 1d6 rounds of activity (move, fight, cast)
– 1d6 days rest and fast to recover
– save vs poison every 1d6 hours – or collapse for 2d6 hours
– 2d6 days rest and fast to recover
11-15: Poisoned
– save vs poison every 1d6 turns – or collapse for 2d6 hours
– 2d6 days rest and fast to recover
16+: Fatal
– Save vs death, and every morning that you survive until your system is recovered.

Times and effects are cumulative. You drop a category as you recover (ie, when you spend 2d6 days Poisoned, you become Sickened and need to recover from that. All side effects count (so poisoned is also sickened and woozy).

Take Away – Herbs are useful, but don’t chug potions!

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