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February 14, 2015, 6:03 pm

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Kostovic's Elixir of Magic


When magic is the stuff from which the world is made no man can afford to ignore it. For those who are unable, or unwilling, to undertake the rigorous study required to master the arcane arts the power of magic may still by available - for a price.

Kostovic, the failed wizard and famously inept alchemist, discovered the Elixir of Magic by accident as the result of one of his many laboratory accidents. The accident went something like this:

The alchemists had long known how to replicate existing potions, without all the spells and incantations normally required. This is virtually identical to the original creation process (requiring all the proper ingredients prepared in the correct manner) but uses a "seeding dose" to replace the spells. The yield is not particularly high (say 1d4 doses if successful, burnt eyebrows if not), but it is sufficient to feed a steady market for the more common potions (i.e. those that produce an easily marketable effect, do not require exotic or arcane ingredients, and are reasonable safe the make).

Kostovic had devised a modified version of this method using minor cantrips (the only magics he was ever able to master) to boost the yield. This is a little better, not much, just a little (say 2d3 doses if successful).

Whilst using this method to replicate a standard magical potion (any type, whatever fits your campaign) he mispronounced the wording of the cantrip. However instead of blowing up in his face (the normal result of such a mistake), a new and unique magical potion was formed Kostovic’s Elixir of Magic.

Kostovic is unable to repeat the mistake (he simply can’t remember exactly what he said), but that doesn’t matter because as long as he has a seeding dose he can replicate as much as he needs. The elixir is therefore unique in being the only potion for which there is no original formula.

Magical Properties

The elixir bestows upon the imbiber the ability to cast a few (say 1d6) spells selected either randomly or by the GM. In theory these can be anything the GM will allow, but it works best if they relatively low powered (minor cantrips or equivalent).

The imbiber instantly knows exactly how to cast the spells and what, if any, props or consumables are required to do so. He will of course need to obtain these items before he can cast any of the spells.

The spells remain in his memory for a limited period of time (say one week) or until cast, after which they are forgotten. (Note to GMs: This always happens, even if it is inconsistent with the magic system in use the elixir CANNOT bestow permanent spell casting ability.)

Side Effects

The elixir is extremely addictive.

One week after the elixir is taken the craving begins and the user must now consume another dose. If he has not done so with one day he must make a resistance roll/save/whatever against the potion (treat as poison), if this fails he suffers loss of character stats (Constitution, Health, or similar). This repeats once per day until another dose is taken. (Note to GMs: Do NOT make this simple hit point damage you can’t get around this with simple healing spells.)

When a new dose is taken the process starts all over again. (Note to GMs: If you are felling VERY kind you MIGHT allow lost character stats to be returned, but I wouldn’t recommend this.)

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Comments ( 10 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

February 4, 2005, 9:01
At first I wanted to criticize the philosophical inconsistencies of this item, but I restrained myself. ;)

A bit on the AD&D side, it surely can be adapted. In some game systems/worlds it could give one power over a type of magic, to be shaped in any way (depending on the magical skills of the imbiber, most probably low). People that know little of magic would be severely limited.

Whatever the effect, it should not produce more magic than the potion contains.

I have to add that I like the non-existant recipe twist. The secret may be not only in the bungled words (likely to be found out sooner or later with serious research), but maybe Kostovic ruined the original potion, too... only the ingredients are correct.
Dragon Lord
February 4, 2005, 9:22
Well spotted - this is something I originally designed for an AD&D 2nd Ed game about five of six year ago (I don't remember exactly) but never got around to using - I guess its' ancestry shows a little too much

I like your idea that it might give access to a specific type of magic

You're right about the level of magic, it shouldn't produce any major effect (it's not intended to be that powerful) and I did suggest (1st paragraph under Magical Properties) that the spells should be minor cantrips (maybe I didn't make that clear enough)
February 4, 2005, 9:56
Right. But then again, if _more_ magic is pumped into the potion, it could have more powerful effects. Still more room for experimenting.

Now say (plot hook), there was a powerful magician, cursed to forget all his magic, and in some way prevented to re-learn it. Now would not this item help greatly?
Dragon Lord
February 4, 2005, 10:14
I suppose you're right - if more magic is pumped in at creation time it might produce more powerful effects, although I wasn't really thinking along those lines - interesting idea though

I like your plot idea but don't forget the side effects
February 4, 2005, 10:39
Of course the side effects are not forgotten... but the wizard in question could risk it anyway.

Once addicted, our dear inept Kostovic may found himself in more trouble than he can handle. Being at the mercy of a powerful magician, desperate to regain his power, that forces him to prepare a new dose before the old one looses effect... well, who will save him?
Dragon Lord
February 4, 2005, 10:55
True - our anti-hero is now in well out of his depth (as is the wizard)

Will the PCs save him? Not sure - after all, the problem is one of his own devising

On the other hand - there are no real villains here - the mage merely wants a cure for his malady and Kostovic is just incompetent so maybe they both need saving
Dragon Lord
November 3, 2005, 10:56
Updated: Re-entered the in-text link
Voted valadaar
January 26, 2007, 16:03
Interesting - though the side effects may be a little extreme. A little heavy on the game-specific terms.
Voted Cheka Man
January 26, 2007, 20:07
I like it. Don't do drugs, mages.
Voted MysticMoon
October 9, 2012, 17:01
I like it.

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