It is possible for a skilled apothecary to mix herbs together to create a powerful potion. Simple potions produce healing effects similar to herbs but they can be used by anyone - they do not require a skilled physick to apply them. More potent mixtures are capable of producing effects significantly more powerful than the simple herbs from which they are created.

Most minor poisons are obsolete within the Empire due to the presence of magicians who can remove basic poisons with a simple incantation, and apothecaries who can treat most poisoning with a simple herb. Those looking to harm their opponents through such means seek out apothecaries who can brew potent, near magical toxins.

Consuming a Potion

  • Any character can use a potion with five seconds of appropriate roleplaying
  • A potion is wasted if it is not applied in the correct way
  • You cannot use a potion without a suitable lammy and phys-rep present
  • You cannot take the action to use a potion if you are dying on zero hits
  • You can feed a potion to a dying character if they are willing
  • Some potions are tonics; a character can be under the effect of only one tonic at a time

Any character can use a potion. To use a potion, you must engage in at least five seconds of appropriate roleplaying. For a liquid that you drink the appropriate roleplaying might be taking the potion bottle, removing the stopper, and drinking the contents. Potions have both mechanical effects and roleplaying effects.

Potion card (front)
Potion card (back)

Most potions are indicated by a laminated paper strip with a tab sticking out of the laminate. The strip, printed by Profound Decisions, indicates the presence of the potion and includes the effects of the potion written on the inside of the strip as well as describing how it must be used. The roleplaying effects and the mechanical effects apply to you as soon as you rip on the laminate, provided you have applied it correctly. If you don't use a potion correctly, then it is wasted. In some cases, using the potion in the wrong way may have unpleasant side effects (for example, drinking Oil of Blackthorn usually results in nausea).

Potion card (inside)

You must provide a phys-rep for any potion that your character owns, and the lammy should be kept with the phys-rep, otherwise you cannot use the potion in game and should not carry it on your person.

You can only use a potion yourself if you are not dying on zero hits. If you are not dying then you can administer a potion to another character so that they can benefit from it (feeding it to them or applying it to their body) provided that they are willing. If they are not willing to let you administer the potion then it is wasted.

Potions come in four forms: they may be a liquid, salve, oil or infusion. This information is found at the top of the reverse side of the card that accompanies the potion. The form of a potion describes how it must be used if it is to be effective.

  • A liquid is an elixir or medicine that is drunk.
  • A salve is a balm or ointment that is smeared on the skin,or into a wound.
  • An oil is a thick viscous liquid that is daubed or poured onto a weapon.
  • An infusion is a volatile substance that reacts to heat. Infusions are burnt or boiled and the steam or smoke they produce inhaled.

You cannot poison a character with a regular potion. Potions which are not specifically designed to be used as poisons become inert within a few seconds of being mixed with food or drink. It is acceptable to roleplay mixing a liquid with water and handing it to a companion, but you cannot 'spike' someone with a potion without the assistance of a referee.

Potion Card.jpg


  • Philtres are a special kind of potion intended to be used quickly in battle
  • A philtre requires five seconds of appropriate roleplaying to use
  • Philtres can be correctly identified by any character

A philtre is a special kind of potion, intended to be used quickly in battle. All philtres are liquids that must be drunk to take effect, but they are sufficiently common and well known that they can be easily identified by any player-character who wants to do so.

Philtres do not use rip-on-use lammies - instead they use a card (like a herb) with the effects written on the outside. You rip this card to use the philtre. The card must be with the phys-rep of the potion - either attached to it or kept in a pouch alongside it. Because any player can read the card at any time, then any character can correctly identify the philtre if they wish to do so.

You must spend five seconds of appropriate roleplaying to use the philtre - but once complete, you benefit from the effects immediately.


  • A character can only be under the effect of one tonic at a time.
  • If you are under the effect of one tonic and drink another tonic, the first potion's effects end and are replaced by those of the new potion.

Potions with long-duration effects such as those created by the Tonics of the Open Sky or the Tonics of the Deep Forest are tonics. A character can benefit from only one tonic at a time. If a potion is a tonic than this will be specifically stated in the rules effects written inside the potion lammy.


  • You must have a referee present to poison a character
  • A poison loses effectiveness within fifteen minutes of being brewed

You can only surreptitiously administer a poison to a character if the potion is specifically designed to be used that way (such as The Assassin's Gate).


Poisons are highly volatile, and break down quickly. Once a poison is brewed, it loses all effectiveness within fifteen minutes, becoming inert. This creates a very narrow window of opportunity for the poison to be administered to a target; you cannot prepare a poison in advance for later use. To use a poison you need to take the ingredients to a referee and mix them together; the referee will then stay with the poison until it is delivered or until the duration expires, or it becomes clear you do not wish to continue.

A poison usually affects the first person who consumes it. If you pour a dose of poison into a jug it will poison the first person who drinks from that jug. If you pour five doses, it will poison the first five people who drink from it. Poisons do not stack with themselves; someone who consumes five doses of a poison in quick succession is poisoned only once.

Antidotes work in a similar way. In each case, there is a specific antidote for each poison. If the wrong antidote is used, the target will die. An antidote must be brewed and then applied within fifteen minutes - usually the apothecary who brews it is responsible for treating the victim of poisoning.

Most fatal poisons will kill their target within thirty minutes of the referee delivering the poison effects if the correct antidote is not provided.

Apothecary PotionsEvery apothecary knows how to mix these five preparations; they provide valuable medical aid
Balms of the FountainheadOintments that increase the power of ritualists to wield Spring lore
Decoctions of HoarfrostPreparations that increase the power of Winter ritualists
Infusions of FeathersMysterious infusions that grant supernatural insight to those who breath their mystic fumes
Lambent EssencesMethodical elixirs that increase the power of ritualists to wield Day magic
Legacy of ThornsToxic preparations that weaken and envenom, used on weapons or to poison the unwary
Magnum OpusMysterious preparations that increase the power of ritualists to wield Night magic
Master MedicinalSpecialist medicinal potions that restore groups of people or provide multiple healing benefits in one swallow
Philtres of the High PeaksPotions that restore the personal mana of magicians, or drain it completely
Philtres of WarPotions that restore hero points and bolster a character's fighting spirit - or remove it.
The Assassin's GateLethal ingested poisons that cause swift, painful death - and their antidotes
The Winter MoonLethal ingested poisons that cause madness and lingering death - and their antidotes
Tisanes of the LabyrinthLiao-based preparations that empower religious ceremonies with extra strength
Tonics of the Deep ForestPotions that enhance a character's ability to take damage, allowing them to shrug off wounds that might otherwise incapacitate them
Tonics of the Open SkyPotions that give enhanced fortitude; the extra time they grant mortally wounded characters has saved many lives
Tinctures of True EminenceHeady elixirs that increase the power of ritualists to wield Summer magic
Unguents of Falling LeavesExotic preparations that increase the power of ritualists to wield Autumn magic

Identifying a Potion

  • Anyone who recognizes the in-character description of a potion can identify it using appropriate roleplaying
  • You cannot write the in-character name of the potion on the out-of-character lammy

On the back of each potion card is an in-character description. Each potion with the same effect has the same description. The descriptive text suggests ways you might gather the information about the contents through roleplaying. Any character can try to identify a potion by looking at the description.

Although it is perfectly legal to add an in-character label to the phys-rep for a potion - you must not write the in-character name of the potion on the out-of-character lammy - your character can label the bottle - the player can not add additional information to the lammy.

A character with the apothecary skill who is not sure about a potion can ask a referee if they recognise it as one of the ones they know how to make. Apothecaries have no special ability to recognise potions they cannot make.

The detect magic spell is no use in identifying potions or their effects; they are herbal effects, not magical ones. Some magicians use ritual magic to identify potions, but it is rarely as effective as simply asking an apothecary who knows how to brew that preparation to identify it.

Brewing Potions

  • Characters with the apothecary skill can mix herbs to create potions.
  • Ingredients can be exchanged for potions at GOD.
  • You may be able to apply a potion directly to someone with the help of a referee if you know how to make it and have the correct ingredients.

Potions are usually mixed from common herbs, although some potions use other components as well such as liao or crystal mana, or even ilium. You need to take the materials to a referee or to GOD and exchange them for potion lammies. You can make several potions at once.

It takes around a few minutes of appropriate roleplaying to brew a potion; it is acceptable to count the time you spend exchanging ingredients for potions towards this time if you wish. The exception to this is the creation of poisons and antidotes which follow different guidelines.

When a character purchases the Apothecary skill they learn how to mix all the potions in the Apothecary Potions recipe. Each time they purchase the extra recipe skill, they may pick one additional recipe set from the list of seventeen recipe sets; they gain the ability to brew all the potions in the new set they have chosen.

For example, an apothecary who gains training in the Master Medicinal learns to prepare three useful healing elixirs - tranquil nostrum, Maledict's Medicament and the sovereign specific. All three recipes are gained at the same time, and are not learnt separately.

Further Reading