101 Components of Alchemy
Potions and other alchemical concoctions are often no more than funny-colored water in a bottle; what of the strange and unusual components used to craft these marvelous items?
Often, I have seen potions, elixirs, salves, and other such products of alchemy described generically; a potion might have an odd color, a salve a sharp smell, or perhaps an odd (and usually unwelcome) taste. They result from oddly hued powders and generic leaves mixed in water, or even simple 'spells in a bottle'. One of the only game series I have seen otherwise in is the Elder Scrolls; there, with the alchemy skill, a bountiful cornucopia of odds and ends exist, each component holding powers in and of itself to be used by aspiring masters of the mortar and pestle.
So, in that spirit, a collection of odd components and items to make those creations of alchemy more unusual and interesting than 'just another potion of healing'.
Blood Iris Petal - this vividly hued petal of the blood iris flower are often used in concoctions meant to speed healing of simple wounds; when used in a salve, it gives the substance a faintly burning sensation against the skin.
Sage's Leaf - This broad green leaf is used in distillations meant to sharpen the mind and wit, thickening the solution and leaving a papery residue behind on the tongue.
Dragon Fern - These dark red ferns grow in volcanically active areas, and are reputed to grant a resistance to the effects of fire and heat when used in a mixture. They give a sulfurous scent and a bitter, charcoal flavor to whatever they are mixed within.
Newt Gills - harvested from amphibious young newts, potions brewed with these confer a limited ability to survive underwater for a short time, letting the imbiber draw breath while submerged. The quality, freshness, and amount of gills used determine the duration and potency of the effect, and having the elixir's effect end unexpectedly is often quite fatal. They give the potion an odd, slimy texture.
Powdered Ox Horn - Rumored to be an aphrodisiac, the more common and proven use of this substance is to enhance the strength of those who drink a brew containing it. The origin of the ox horn appears to determine the potency of the effect, with mildest results from taxed oxen and the mightiest from the wild aurochs that roam the open plains. Brews made with it have a gritty texture, and some complain that they smell of cattle yards.
Demon Elm Bark - This blue-black bark, ground to a powder, is used in mixtures meant to toughen the user's skin. Using it stains the skin with streaks of soot-like darkness, lasting for a few days after the effect itself has ended.
Cleric Poppy - This relative of the common poppy, when used to create a salve, lends a faintly metallic hue to the result; the effect allows the unseen to be seen when smeared on the eyes. When burned by itself, cleric poppy is mildly hallucinogenic, and is occasionally included in censers during religious ceremonies.
Goblin Grass - This short, unpleasantly-hued grass lends a bitterly smoky taste to elixirs it gets mixed in; it sharpens the imbiber's ability to see in the dark, but overuse can permanently dilate the eyes and lead to a goblin-like tendency to shun bright lights.
Saintweed - This fernlike plant, if eaten raw, causes a strong sense of peace to overcome the user, but also induces a strong lethargy, and if overused can cause death by way of heart failure. Rendered down and prepared as an alchemical powder, it induces mild lethargy and calmness in users; the sense of tranquility makes it a popular component in medicinal elixirs, where it adds a mildly sweet flavor.
Bleeding Marsh Root - A tuber found in wetlands, noted for the reddish fluid it oozes when broken or cut. Used in salves for wounds, the pungent aroma of wet earth arises from salves made with this plant, and the texture has a certain overly gelatinous feel.
Ironfeather Fern - This lacy, delicate-looking plant may be one of the most deceptive in the world, as the thin fronds are nearly impossible to bring lasting harm to, save through use of a knife to cut them free, and then hours spent with the mortar and pestle to grind the dried fronds to a powder. Used in elixirs meant to grant agility or fortitude, this plant lends the mixture an unpleasantly acrid flavor that lingers for quite some time.
Vinegar Wasp Wings - The unpleasant little flying insect that this ingredient comes from is best known for the acidic burning of the sting it delivers, and the horrible aftereffects on taste and smell, rendering all like vinegar for days thereafter. The wings provide a similar effect, lending an extremely potent vinegar smell and flavor. Particularly strict societies favor it for punishment for young children, often unaware that the wings have a tendency to dull the imbiber's wits for a time; over long periods of regular ingestion, this dimming of mental capability can become permanent.
Vinegar Wasp Stings - Said to be an aphrodisiac, and as such often coveted by those who seek greater ardor. Alas, a side effect of the stings is that they produce a distinct vinegar aroma when the imbiber sweats, and they render anything made with them bitter to the point of astringency.
Serio Weed - This brilliantly hued plant is often found growing wild amid more welcome foliage, and is cultivated but rarely. When properly prepared and added to powders meant for the censer or brazier, the smoke of the Serio Weed has an oddly pleasant smell, similar to freshly cut hay; the effect is such that it opens the minds of those who breathe of it to inspiration. Often used by artists looking for their muses, or in religious rituals to open the faithful to divine revelations.
Sunder Root - This thick, dense tuber grows most readily in rocky terrain, and can be eaten if the bitter mineral-laden taste can be dealt with. Alchemically, the juice of the root can be used as a base for a potent acidic elixir, the mashed pulp of the root makes for a sharply metallic addition to potions which fortify the bodies of the imbiber, and the wood-like above-ground portion can be used in salves to toughen the skin.
Henge Blossom - This marvelous flower is only found in sacred places of natural origin; the petals lend a mild cinammon flavor to elixirs brewed with them, imparting a connection to nature such that the speech of both animals and plants becomes possible for a short time, while the juice of the tender stem can be used to replace fae blood in recipes which call for it, adding a milky flavor and texture.
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Dried Cockscomb- Though quite edible and respected among true gourmets, the gelatin-textured cockscomb, used to flavor soups or eaten fried, is also used by alchemists to concoct peculiar potions of "confidence". A potion of this nature, will allow the drinker to be awash in feelings of fearlessness and cockiness, even in the most frightening situations, for brief periods of time. Before anyone runs out to slice the combs off of all of their cocks to sell to alchemists however, it should be noted that the potion can only be brewed using the cockscomb of the rare black-skinned rooster.
Swallow's Nest- The dried saliva of these fascinating little birds, who use their mucous to build nests in caves, is a well-known delicacy, but can also be used in the creation of sovereign glue. The use of this secret ingredient in fact, is what seperates the average glues, from the truly wondrous magical adhesives.
Penguin Feathers- Surely not an "exotic" ingredient, penguins are nonetheless difficult to find, unless one is wondering some arctic or sub-arctic land. The feathers of these comical waddlers are used (along with other less wholesome ingredients) to make potions known as "Devil's Laughter". Upon imbibing such a potion, the drinker will begin to laugh at everything and anything, eventually tiring to the point of collapse and exhaustion.
Shadow Splinter This dark grey thorn is difficult to find if you're looking for it, but easy to find if you're just foraging around and get your finger stuck on it. When ground down, its powder is a slow-acting poison causing digestive issues and madness.
Golden Blade This yellow leaf lives up to its name: long, thin, and sharp. When prepared as a tonic, it is ironically an instant pain-killer. Too much tonic can cause numbness in extremities.
Twilight Pillar This dark blue fungus is tall and straight. Though it's easy to find since it shoots straight up from the ground, many animals find its taste appealing. By itself, the fungus is nothing more than a tasty mushroom. However, when properly combined with demon elm bark and dried cockscomb, one can create a "heroic" potion that gives a person added constitution and courage to tackle any foe or spouse.
Here's some useful tables I whipped up with regards to determining which body parts of an animal or monster where valuable for alchemical purposes that should be of some use. A couple of caveats first though, not every creature is going to have all of these items, so re-rolls may be necessary, and you might have to look some of the terms up.
Animal Alchemical Component Table
01-20 Body Table
21-35 Organs Table
36-50 Fluids Table
51-65 Skeleton Table
66-80 Limbs Table
81-90 Skin Table
91-00 Esoteric Table
01-02 Adrenal Gland
03-04 Ampullae of Lorenzini
09-10 Bile Duct
11-12 Bioluminescent Organ
21-22 Esophageal Gland
25-26 Gas Bladder
35-36 Heat Gland
37-38 Inc Sac
43-44 Labyrinth Organ
45-46 Lateral Line
51-52 Lymph Notes
53-54 Mammary Gland
55-56 Nictating Membrane
57-58 Oil Gland
65-66 Pineal Gland
67-68 Pituitary Gland
69-70 Salivary Gland
71-72 Scent Gland
73-74 Sebaceous Gland
75-76 Serous Gland
83-84 Sweat Gland
85-86 Swim Bladder
99-00 Venom Sac
01-04 Aqueous Humour
17-20 Digestive Fluids
29-32 Gastric Acid
53-56 Poisonous Skin Secretions
61-64 Royal Jelly
73-76 Stomach Acid
93-96 Vitreous Humour
13-16 Complete skeleton
73-76 Spinal Cord
41-42 Gliding Flap
81-82 Tail Spike
83-84 Tail Club
95-96 Wing Membrane
21-25 Dermal Denticles
91-95 Urticating Hair
97-98 Vital Spark
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? Responses (11)
Fun! Another scroll which cries out for the "101" designation.
This is loads of fun. I always enjoy these types of scrolls.
Just remember, health is red, and mana is blue...! *hides*
This does need 101d eventually, though.
Bleh I forgot to vote.
Heh, for the plant-based components, I have created a generator that can be used...
Still a beta, but useful I think! The names can easily spur a more detailed description later.
Yes, they can.
Handy thing, that.