Brewing Potions (a Pits & Perils Recipe)

Photo by Tikkho Maciel on Unsplash

On the edge of Bree, past the stream and through a tangled copse of birch trees, you will find a small hut. No woodcutter lives here. That is evident by the surrounding trees with their branches draped in all manner of witch charms and wards.

The smell coming from this hut will vary according to the wind direction and the day. All residents of Bree know that this place belongs to Brannog the Witch. Immediately on entering the small clearing, one hears cackling. Not the kind you are thinking of! A flock of hens strut about the clearing, catching bugs and an occasional worm.

Be warned! Brannog is not the most welcoming of hosts. People who seek her help yet show disrespect, will often leave filled with regret. It is rumored that the hens in her yard were once very rude people.

Brannog is a wise woman, a healer, and a brewer of potions. She will easily take offense but is a hard bargainer. Her remedies can often come at a dear price. Bring plenty of silver or the willingness enter into a pact.

Notes on brewing of potions

Some spells can be distilled into potion form. It requires a recipe that must either be created or found. Creating a recipe can take 1d6 months, 1d6 x 100 silver pieces, AND one special ingredient (i.e. the hairs from a giant spider). [note-in my Bree campaign, silver replaces gold as the standard currency]

After this research is complete (money spent, time used) a saving throw is made adding a +1 for Wisdom ability. If successful, a working recipe is crafted and the brewer has made one dose of the potion.

Additional potions may be brewed using this recipe at the cost of one week’s time, 100 silver pieces, and a pinch of whatever special ingredient was originally used. At the end of the brewing, the brewer must make a saving throw (Wis adds +1). A 7 or better means the potion is good. If the caster fails, she has made a bad brew with possible ill effects. This bad potion may still be usable, but with a risk. For each point the caster missed her brewing roll, the potion will have a -1 save. For example, if Brannog needs a 7 to succeed on her brewing roll, but rolls a 4, the potion is bad and will have a -3 modifier to the imbiber’s save. (7-4=3)

The imbiber of a bad potion must make a saving throw when drinking it. A 7+ means the potion works as intended. A 6 or less means some temporary side effect will occur (DM’s choice, but the side effect should be minor and somehow relate to the potion. I.e. if the potion is flying, the imbiber grows bee antennae or buzzes instead of talking.) The side effects should only last for a short while (perhaps 1d6 hours). A score of 2 or less means something bad and permanent should happen. If a natural 12 is rolled, something unexpectedly good and permanent might occur.

Some typical potions (and ingredients) that may be brewed…

Flight of the Bumblebee (giant bumblebee hairs or fairy dust)

Spectral Brew (invisibility, hair from a leprechaun)

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing (change appearance to that of a specific person, hair of the person)

Wolf’s Brew (animal form, hair or feather of specific animal wolf, owl, possum, etc.)

Lover’s Brew (victim must drink the potion, effect will be +2 to reaction of first person the target sees)

Warrior’s Brew (add 2d6 hit points for one hour)

Fortune’s Brew (add 1d6 Luck Points for the day)

Fool’s Brew (ventriloquism, hobbit or leprechaun hair)


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