A question for apothecaries

I’m a prospective player who is thinking of playing an apothecary and I was wondering how many phys-reps I am likely to need for potions and herbs?

Also I would like to make apothecary-ing the focus of my character so if anyone has any general advice for a newbie apothecary it would be greatly appreciated.

Hello and welcome, to the forums and the game!

This is a subject that has come up a lot down the years (a search for “herb phys-reps” could prove useful).

(here’s one for starters: What do you use as healing physreps? - #2 by AnthonyHJ)

In terms of what you NEED, very little. Props and phys-reps are generally appreciated, so here are some ideas:

Small bottles are available online from a lot of places, or at the events.
(ebay potion bottles - Google Suche) …okay, there are thousands of the things… I blame Harry Potter.

Alternitively you can likely pick up a few if you keep an eye out for them: Miniture spirits bottles work pretty well, as do some small condiments bottles. Second hand shops may also have several as props/knick knacks…

Filling them: Unless you do something like glue the lid on, or make a wax seal, it’s safe to assume that at some point some player will get carried away and try to drink the phys-rep. Make sure it’s not toxic.
Things I have used:
Lemonade with food colouring and edible glitter
Water with food colouring
Brandy with chopped ginger
And as a rub-on salve, cucumber scented moisturiser cream.

Bearing in mind you probably wouldn’t be carrying around fresh plants, so dried herbs, oils, tinctures and concentrated teas would be fine, and look good.

For the potions, any little bottles, maybe with useful labels on them?
As a hint, what you will sell a lot of is Elixir Vitae (basic healing potion) and Bloodharrow Philtre (Anti-venom).

A wooden box of some sort to carry potions in on display, or even just a satchel stuffed with racks of bottles and similar, works well.

But you can get away with a couple of small bottles of stuff stuffed in your pockets, and somewhere to keep the herb/potion cards.

As for playing an apothecary…

I would reccomend taking a herb garden as a personal resource. You will spend a lot of time buying and selling herbs for your potions, so be ready to do a fair bit of walking. I would strongly reccomend a small notebook to record your recipies, their ingredients and effects. So you remember what you need for what.

Potions are one of the few things that can be made in play, but unless you want to pack a full distillation kit, and be found playing with pestle/mortar, adding little drops of X to Y, and singing charms above your cauldron… (which can be fun, don’t get me wrong), and even if you do… you’ll be spending a while waiting at the GOD queue.

At GOD (Games Operation Desk), you can hand in your herbs, show you have the recipe for potion X, and get a card for potion X.

And then you return to the field with a stack of potion cards to sell.

There is an apothecary guild I’ve seen in play, they make potions for commission. You’ll have to investigate them in play :slight_smile:

I would suggest you become known to your group/nation as an apothecary, and they will likely sell you herbs cheaply in exchange for stocking them up with potions.

You may also want to ask around and investigate the extra recipes available, including some new and nasty Druj ones…

(don’t ask about the poisons…)

…to diversify a bit into new and different recipies. Every apothecary on the field can make Elixir Vitae, but only a few will be making something like the Tonic of Surging Flame…*

If you want to keep your focus as apothecary, that should cover it. If you’d like to combine that with general healing or buffing your friends or fighting on the battlefield yourself, ask away on that :slight_smile:

*This potion makes you very difficult to kill, but gives you the reckless courage and life expectancy of a Dawnish Noble on a sugar rush. When I played an apothecary, I made it once, and eventually sold it to a Dawnish noble on a sugar rush. Roleplay effects of potions can be… interesting.


If you want to pick up some nice phys rep resin cast bottles check Skian Mhor’s stand to see if they have any at the next game. They have some really nice ones with skull and crossbones on them :slight_smile: .

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Thanks for the great answer, especially the suggestion of getting a notebook for recipes.

Just wondering do you know what sort of prices Elixir Vitae and Bloodharrow Philtre are likely to go for?

Also I got the impression from your post that phys-repping potions is a nice-to-have rather than an essential requirement, is that correct?

I expect to have a lot of fun making phys-reps, it’s just good to know what the requirements are.

Prices is one of those things best left for on-field discussion and exploration.

Yes, phys-repped potions is a “nice to have”. You should, if using a potion, have a little bottle to pretend to be chugging from (to make it obvious), but the refs aren’t going to complain if you drink from the same bottle all battle.

As an apothecary, carrying a large selection of potions and ingredients, I’d suggest having half-a-dozen small bottles, pouches, packets, boxes and the like.

This is because (as discovered in earlier PD games), although the actual mechanical assets are represented by printed cards (of herbs, potions, and the like), it’s much more fun and immersive to have the strange bottles/pouches/boxes to use as props.

This is why most magical materials have actual chunky phys-reps, the Bourse resources have shiny promissary notes, and there is a sharp trade in crystal mana phys-reps. Don’t jar the immersion by swapping only the cards, if practical :slight_smile:

(that said, Apothecary is a deck-building game. You generate crappy cards, process and trade them, to end up with a deck of more powerful cards… :stuck_out_tongue: )

Would you like details of my most useful potion/herb physrep, for replication?

yes please sounds good

True Vervain (herb) or Elixir Vitae (potion)
Go shopping, and buy a small bottle of spirits. Brandy or rum is usually what you’re after; the sort of bottle that looks like a hip flask in glass, but is actually tough plastic. One with a mock brass screw cap, for preference.

Empty the bottle, as you see fit. If you have smaller potion bottles available, decant some into there with a few herbs etc (chopped ginger looks good) as potion physreps that (a) smell medicinal, (b) don’t go off, and (c) are actually drinkable when someone does. Remove the retail labels from the bottle, keep the cap for use.

Refill with lemonade, a few drops of green food colouring, and something else for spice; edible glitter, chopped mint, whatever. Something to move when it’s swirled round. I’d reccomend glitter.

Make a suitable label on paper (I think mine was: “Distillation of True Vervain, for the treatment of the fatigue of battle, bruises and minor injuries”), and stick on the bottle with PVA glue.

What you now have is a large(ish) bottle of the most common healing herb/potion, which will fit in your pocket or the side of a bag, not break (plastic) , looks fine (style of bottle and label) and which you can actually have people grab a quick swig from during battle. It will probably represent multiple doses of herb/potion.

And with that one you can run around, pull out a bottle, shake it for the swirlies, get them to “take a gulp of this”, tell them the mechanical effect, and reseal the bottle, as fast as you read this. In my experience, most patients are glad of a quick drink and sugar hit while they catch their breath :slight_smile:

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…people charge IC money for potions and herbs?

Perhaps my experience with ‘how much’ things go for is a bit wonky, given how I’m playing so far has meant that most of my excessive herbs (and the random potions that are in the group’s resource tin) have been the result of essentially promises trade and ‘you physik? You going into battle? Yeah? Okay, what is needed, bring everyone back alive, if you can’

…but this is very much not representative of other people’s experiences IC/OC

(The other thing to consider is that there is a lot of in-field trade in resources for non-PD resources. Crystal mana and mine materials are often advertised for, but there’s a roaring trade in nibbly bits for specific herbs)

Additionally there’s places (player set up and run IC) which do allow for swaps which I would, if you’re looking seriously at apothecary/phyisk stuff, suggest getting to know in play as it can get you access to pooled resources/juicy IC fun times for fairly reasonable IC cost

There’s certainly a market for herbs and potions IC, there’s a brisk trade in things like Skops Mead and Mageblood. You can get some idea of what they might go for by comparing the output of a basic herb garden and a business, but some herbs are more common than others so that changes things a bit.

The pro-tip phys rep wise for herbs that you’re just holding until you turn into potions is get a few drawstring bags, bulk them out with something and stick the herb cards inside them as well. It doesn’t need to get more complicated than that :slight_smile: This trick also works for crafted items, boxes and bags with “stuff” in to give them some heft and then once they’re sold it’s up to the new owner to provide the “proper” phys rep.

The other reason it’s good to have specific phys reps for different kinds of potions is that in battle it’s a lot easier to see the colour of a bottle than read the card attached to it and work out which description it matches.

Btw for Liao, PD are still selling the old PD phys-reps for them relatively cheaply from GOD, just pop along at a quiet time and ask :slight_smile: .