A potion’s effects should be unknown on items you encounter in dungeons
Like my ideas on enchanted items, you should not automatically know what effect (or side effect) a random potion has in a dungeon. Even if it was labeled maybe you are lucky and it hasn’t gone rancid or isn’t the product of a inexperienced or malicious alchemist… maybe it’s not. To ID a potion your options are…
-Having a high enough alchemy skill to allow you to identify the potion
-If you are daring enough to drink it you will find out.
-If there is some reason by quest or reliable background info you will know.
Different Alchemical equipment should allow you to create different types of items
-Mortar and pastel can be carried around and allows you to create simple, mashed together pastes that can provide low level effects when consumed/used. Common among tribal types or when you need to do some alchemy on the go. (More effective than simply eating ingredients)
More complicated equipment allows you to create a variety of different, more powerful concoctions but must be crafted at a properly outfitted alchemy station.
-Boiling flask allows you to boil and form potions and poisons stronger than pastes. The standard as far as adventurers are concerned. (weigh slightly more)
-Distilling gear allows you to form potion/poison concentrate which are both stronger and less weight than standard potions. Great for assassins and rogues who just need to poison their arrows or pickpocket them onto their targets (Equipment requirement and more ingredient requirement)
-And finally atomizing equipment allows you to create aerosolized potion or poison (the closest alchemy gets to magic) these aerosolized compounds are potions or poisons that can be thrown for an Area of Effect. Effects like frenzy, smokescreen, acidic burning to name a few. (Requires all types of equipment and more ingredients.)
Some ingredients work best as concentrates (poison damage) while others are more useful aerosolized (frenzy). Standard potions and poisons are generally useful and mixed paste is useful in a pinch.
Strength of potion/poison is commensurate with alchemy skill and ingredients potency/rarity. Equipment is associated with the type of concoction (paste, standard, concentrate or aerosol)
Alchemy is not cooking
you don’t get alchemy experience from cooking. Cooking should be a its own side craft not really associated with any skill but depend on normal components found in the world (with alchemy ingredients sometimes to spice them up!)
Due to the mystery of what a potion could do, only alchemist merchants will give you the most appropriate pricing for potions
Merchants who don’t specialize in alchemy should be wary of potions they buy from random adventurers. So naturally they will low ball offer you as they will most likely take it to their alchemist buddy to ID and subsequently sell making a profit if they can, these merchants are taking a gamble purchasing your questionable goods. Naturally, your speechcraft level comes to play here, the nuances of that are another story.
These are some thoughts I had for the future of Elder Scrolls games regarding alchemy I had to get out. I haven’t fully thought all aspects of it but just some things that would make the game more fun and add depth. Thanks for reading! I would be happy to hear what people think about Alchemy in further releases!
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