Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the fabulous potion shop. Step right up, roll all your dice, and find out what the marvelous concoction you're about to partake of is like.
I had a heck of a time fitting enough colors, features, and flavors to satisfy me into this chart. Because of this I eventually decided to add a d30 to the mix. I hope this doesn't reduce the number of people that will find this useful.
If you don't have a d30 you could delete the current d10 (side effects), move colors down into its spot, and then decide whether you want to cut features down to d12 or flavors down to d20.
Another difference with this chart is that the font is smaller to accommodate the 30 flavor entries. It may be fine to use at it's current size, but if you want to shrink it down to digest size or something similar it becomes an issue.
Because of that and the new problem that you might not want players generating flavor and side effects (how would they know if they're just looking and swirling the liquid in its bottle?) I pulled those two categories onto a separate page and made everything a little easier to read. If you prefer this format you can have your players roll up potions using chart A with no worries, and then when they taste/drink the potion roll the results on chart B.
I've blogged a lot about giving players information with which they they can make decisions. And traditionally potions were the same way, you sip the potion of levitation and you suddenly feel lighter. Otherwise, you would have to identify every potion to make them useful. So how do we use a random potion generator in game?
I can think of five ways:
- Don't. Give your potions hints that are logically related to their function. Aww, but I just made this cool chart!
- Roll away and make every potion as random as Zagyg's heart. Potions might be less useful in your campaign.
- Roll for every potion type as DM. Do this ahead of play and then be consistent. That way players know the fishy-smelling, black syrup is actually a greater potion of healing.
- Roll randomly on the first encounter of any potion type. I like the idea of players rolling these (if there aren't too many in a batch), they're fun. So, the first time any potion type is encountered let them roll and after that be consistent in the qualities - "Well, there's one fishy-smelling, black syrup and 2 potions you need to roll for."
- You could roll ahead of time and trump one of the qualities with one more logically related to its function.
2, 2, 8, 7, 10, 16, 26
Translucent, thin, full to the brim, no side effects, silver, sparkling, pepper.
Okay, it's thin, which is the consistency of water and the most common result. It's full to the brim, which doubles the potion, and has no side effects. Both of these qualities impinge on the potion in play the way a color doesn't, you could always ignore them. Sparkling in the features category is literal, it twinkles or sparkles in light. So, basically we have a watery, silver potion that sparkles and tastes of pepper.
4, 1, 8, 7, 11, 16, 1
Opaque, evaporative, full to the brim, no side effects, gold, sparkling, putrid
By evaporative I was thinking a volatile fluid like alcohol that, well, evaporates off of your tongue. Putrid may take some interpretation it's basically foul, but you might roll again on the flavor chart if you want to know if the foulness is specifically staleness, rottenness, cloying, or whatever.
1, 2, 7, 5, 5, 17, 15
Transparent, thin, full, belching/flatulence, green, iridescent, anise.
Pretty straight forward, a thin greenish potion that tastes of black licorice and gives you gas.
There you have it. Of course all the categories can be edited to your taste. Let me know if you have any suggestions. I hope you and your players get some enjoyment out of this.