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My players are always looking to buy potions. I’m not sure what drives them go into town and ask the local apothecary to list every single item in stock, but it inevitably happens with both of my regular groups whenever they get back to town. Here’s the thing: I let them buy these things.
Why? For one thing it seems the default assumption of fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons is that player characters should at least be able to buy healing potions in many places. They are in the Player’s Handbook. In my own game I’ve taken this further and all (four) common rarity consumable magic items in the Dungeon Master’s Guide are available for sale in most of Exploration Age’s major settlements. (I even allow my players to often buy rarer consumables, but that’s another blog post).
Another reason I let my players buy potions and scrolls: they have a lot of gold. So much that it’s difficult for them to find ways to spend it (though here are some suggested purchases). One way to get them to spend that money is to buy potions. They earned that gold and they deserve to spend it. It makes the gold they find in the game after traveling hundreds of miles to dive into a cramped space full of monsters worth something
With these points in mind I’m present to you a bunch of new common rarity consumables for your game based on the idea that they should be about as powerful as the potion of climbing or potion of healing (the two common rarity potions in the Dungeon Master’s Guide) and less powerful than the oil of slipperiness, philter of love, potion of animal friendship, potion of greater healing, potion of growth, and potion of resistance (the uncommon rarity potions in the Dungeon Master’s Guide).
Common Rarity Potions
All the following items are available for purchase at the DM’s discretion and normally cost 50 gp.
Oil of Buoyancy
This murky oil reeks of the sea and can be poured over the body of one Medium or smaller creature. Applying the oil takes 1 minute. Once applied, the creature gains a swimming speed equal to its walking speed for 1 hour. During this time, the creature has advantage on Strength (Athletics) checks made to swim.
Oil of Elements
This oil can be used to coat one melee weapon or up to 5 pieces of ammunition. Applying the oil takes 1 minute. For 1 hour, the coated item has a +1 bonus to damage rolls. The GM chooses this damage type or determines it randomly from the options below.
Oil of Phasing
This clear oil reeks of vanilla and can be poured over the body of one Medium or smaller creature. Applying the oil takes 1 minute. Once applied, the creature can phase through one wall or object up to 5 feet thick provided it does so within 1 hour of applying the oil. If the creature ends its turn in an object, it takes 5 (1d10) force damage and is pushed out of the object in a direction of the GMs choosing. Once the creature phases through one object, the oil has no further effect.
Potion of Beige Cow
When you drink this potion, you remove one level of exhaustion for 1 hour. At the end of that hour, your exhaustion level increases by two. This potion is yellow-green and tastes like citrus and sugar.
Potion of Bless
When you drink this potion you gain the effect of the bless spell for 1 minute (no concentration required, only targets you). This potion is a dark blue liquid with floating flecks of gold inside.
Potion of Bolstering
For 1 minute after drinking it, you gain 10 temporary hit points that last for 1 minute. This brown potion tastes and smells like a hard whiskey.
Potion of Drunk Muscles
When you drink this potion and are poisoned, you gain a +2 bonus to your Strength score to a maximum of 20. This increase lasts for 1 hour or until the poisoned condition ends, whichever comes first. When the effect wears off, you gain one level of exhaustion. This potion is a pure yellow liquid that tastes like raw eggs.
Potion of Half Invisibility
This potion’s container looks half empty (of half full if you’re optimistic) but feels as though it is full of the purple liquid within. When you drink it, roll any die. If you roll an even number, you become invisible above the waist. If you roll an odd number, you become invisible below the waist for 1 hour. Anything you wear or carry on that part of your body is invisible also invisible. While half invisible like this, you have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide. The effect ends early if you attack or cast a spell.
Potion of Keen Ears
When you drink this potion, your ears turn blue for 1 hour. During this time you have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing. Ear wax sits at the bottom of this light blue liquid that tastes like mud.
Potion of Keen Eyes
When you drink this potion, your eyes turn orange for 1 hour. During this time you have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight. Eye lashes float in this orange liquid that tastes like salty water.
Potion of Keen Nostrils
When you drink this potion, your nose turns green for 1 hour. During this time you have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) and (Survival) checks that rely on smell. Nose hairs float in this thick, green liquid that tastes like mucus.
Potion of Liar’s Tongue
When you drink this potion, you have advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks made to tell lies for the next hour. During this time you cannot speak or write any truths. This black liquid tastes like anise.
Potion of Minute Resistance
When you drink this potion, you gain resistance to one type of damage for 1 minute. The GM chooses the type or determines it randomly from the options below.
Potion of Sniper’s Brew
When you drink this potion, you have advantage on the next ranged weapon attack you make as long as it is made within 1 minute of drinking the potion. The liquid in this vial is clear and tastes like peppermint and ginger.
Potion of Sustaining Stuff
When you drink this potion, you do not need to eat or drink water for 48 hours. A floating bean sits inside a thick, green mush.
While Supplies Last!
These are fun potions, but you (probably) don’t want your level 17 party with tons of gold to buy an unlimited supply of potions of keen ears and never fail a Wisdom (Perception) check again. As a rule I roll a d10 for each type of potion available and that’s all the store has in stock when the characters come to visit.
Want this potions in a handy PDF? It’s below!
Want some more? Check out the PDFs below…
50 New Magic Items (DMs Guild – Pay What You Want… includes 50 new magic items plus 100 common weapon properties, 100 common wondrous items, and 100 cursed item properties)
Artifact – Crown of Bewitching Enchantment
All of these items live on the Free Game Resources section of this site, so come grab them anytime!
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July 14, 2016 @ 10:30 am
I like these and wish to steal some of them. 🙂
Mechanically, I like the use of exhaustion as a potion side-effect. I don’t think exhaustion gets enough play.
July 14, 2016 @ 5:00 pm
Thanks, Doug! Coming from you that is a big compliment!
April 19, 2021 @ 6:04 am
I know I’m coming late to the party but isn’t beige cow just Mountain Dew. I am most likely reading to much into it. Just thought it was funny.
August 4, 2021 @ 11:36 pm
I love these! But why is it called beige cow? lol