Potion Tea

Im looking at serving speciality teas with potion effects added onto them at Empire sometime after this academic year. I was thinking of maybe catering to rituals with tisanes of the labyrinth teas and things like that.

This summer will be my first time at Empire so I dont know much about anything yet so, if possible, could anyone help answere these questions?

Would people be interested in potion teas?
Are they any rules about selling food and drink for IC and OOC money I should know about?
Would people like a potion tea tent to sit and have tea in?
How much would you be willing to pay IC and OOC for it to help cover costs and that?
Any suggestions on the colouring of the potion teas? i.e. how to colour it so it matches the potion description
Any other tips or things I should be careful of/know about?

I am not a particular expert but here are some views, anyway:

[quote=“jenasaurus_rex”]
Would people be interested in potion teas?[/quote]

Personally, that sounds like a brilliant idea. Especially in the case of the Tranquil Nostrum preparation which is most definitely a tea in character!

There is no problem with selling food and drink for IC money; OOC you are giving it away. However if you charge OOC money you may run into issues with the law on catering as a service; I don’t know the details but it is worth checking out. I believe it would be OK to have a donations jar for OOC cash but that may still be dubious. If you charge IC money, legally you are giving the tea/food away for free and there are no requirements to have, say, any catering certifications or licences. It can be awkward to ask people for OOC money on top of IC money as people may not be expecting to need pound coins etc.; my suggestion - if it is above board - would be to have a container marked with a £ pound sign that you could point patrons at, and they’ll get the meaning and put money in at the time or when they have a chance to get some from their tent etc. (and you will hopefully get enough donations to not end up too much out of pocket, but realistically this sort of thing is an investment of OOC money).

I think this would greatly increase your popularity and success IC!

Tricky question; the IC pricing is something that will be sensitive to the field (and quite changeable) so you may need to do some legwork in character. Obviously people should expect to pay for the potions so it will depend on how many herbs go into each one, plus extra for the tea and space to sit.

I think if I bought a nice cup of speciality tea I’d put a couple of pounds towards it, certainly.

This is something I’d leave to more expert tea blenders than I; I would highly recommend looking at acquiring clear teacups to show off the colours, though. Maybe even glass teapots, and you could even use blossoming flower style teas if you can source them?

Have a plan for washing up and drying cups and other utensils. Consider your presentation - how are you going to heat your water? A camp stove is effective but hard to dress up as IC, a fire needs a lot of tending. Make sure you have a safe way of storing breakables in case of high winds and rain etc.

Currently Brass coast have at least two IC tea houses and a IC bar, previously we have used teas( I think it was tea) as Tranquil Nostrum, infact this was brewed in a cauldron and given to returning warriors in the first year.

So to answer your questions:
Yes
as said selling for IC money no problem for ooc money you are covered by catering laws
Yes
unsure of the what people are currently selling tea for.
I would stick to one or the other, the group I am with runs a IC bar and we don’t ask for ooc money not sure on others.
look at the description on each potion they usually include a colour, food dye?
Look at the nation you are with and see what traditions they have, have a place wear people can sit down, consider if you want to make a show/performace of the drink or just bung it out as quick as you can.

[quote=“DrunkenCorsair”]
unsure of the what people are currently selling tea for.[/quote]

For prices, you probably gotta think of the picture as a whole.

In Hazana (One of the tea houses in Brass Coast) it’s a ring for entry, and ring for tea, and a ring for thank you, there abouts anyway. So at least 3 rings. Which gives you entry, seat, tea ritual, and thanks.

It also depends on, of couse, the tea. Since it’s tea that’s likely to give effects etc. it might be worth more because of that.

All the yes! Will look very good for you, Jen! Esp. Urizen and all that.

Very few potions are practical for having made into teas. In general, the niche of a potion is that you want to take it with you for later use.

The exceptions are things like Tranquil Nostrum, and some of the divinatory/hallucinatory potions (Goosewhisper infusion occurs offhand).

For Goosewhisper/similar tea, you’re probably looking at a similar price to just selling the potion. What that price is is a matter for on-field discussion, really. A super-ballpark number would be to say that herbs are worth ~13 rings each (14 herbs from a personal resource, compared to 9 crowns from a personal resource), there’s four herbs in Goosewhisper, so 50-60 rings. But I genuinely have no idea how that matches up to the field prices, and discussing IC prices is an IC conversation that shouldn’t happen on the forum.

Tranquil Nostrum is an odd kettle of fish, because it scales. You can probably get at least the price of a herb for it, though.

I suspect that in general, running a joint tea-house and apothecarium is a more successful option - you can sell potions for people to take away, allow them to consume appropriate ones on the premises, and also just serve tea.

Re money, selling food and drink for IC money is absolutely legit. Doing it for OC money opens up a huge can of worms, and I think (but can’t verify offhand) we don’t allow it if you’re not one of the approved caterers. If you really want to do it for OC money, drop an email, but you’re probably best just skipping that and selling for IC money instead.

Fortunately, tea and water and stuff isn’t too expensive as far as IC joints to subsidise goes. Compared to running an IC bar…

Incidentally I think that tea by itself - no potions involved - could be a big seller, especially if it’s not your standard English Breakfast style black tea.

Tea, especially if you have a tent for people to sit in while they drink it is definitely a good seller, just ask the Sentinels Repose in Urizen and I’m sure there must be at least one tea house in the League though I wouldn’t know the specific names…

While trying NOT to open that particular can of worms, I know a few solo night mages who consider Goosewhisper Infusion to be more economical than buying the mana to cast Signs & Portents (YMMV). But I’d definitely say there was a market for that one.

I could also see the potions Tea mentions being phys-repped by appropriate IC “tea bags” - by which I mean appropriately flavoured/scented leaf tea in muslin sachets tied up with ribbon, or something similar. Could be something to consider as a sideline, even if people don’t want to drink it there and then…

Only the base potions, master medicinal (Bar the actual tea), hero points, mana points, and surging flame are actually battlefield potions. Some others are useless on the field entirely, and many of the tonics while they could be kept for emergencies nothing stops the being served in a teashop.
That leaves a lot of potion lists that make great candidates, and honestly go for it, apothecaries are a little bland, in that there is no real need to have a duplicity in a group even a small nation. Having an interesting quirk for your apothecary might help getting buisness, even if you are charging a little more.

Some basics:
Offer non magical teas as well, it’s a really clever idea but there are a lot of character who might pay for a cup of tea, and a place to sit who don’t have the money to shell out on potions (or really need potions). (A possible line to look into might be some of the medicinal uses of teas and tisanes in traditional medicene. If you want to continue the theme.)

Team up with a physik, screw medical recreation, everything can be cured by drinking tea. (In terms of herb healing it’s completely true, ‘stick’ the right number of doses of herb into the pot, and have the physik pour a coup for each patient, is easily in the rules.)
The three tricks a physik can do without herbs, might require more thought on implementation. But in empire it is perfectly acceptable to heal everything using tea.

Now some possible niches:

  1. Place the tea house close to God on the IC field, (At present that would be Brass Coast,) and take Infusion of feathers and design an opulent parlour primarily for having IC visions. (Although nothing stops you offering other ones.) It makes it very easy to pop out to make potions, and for your clients to receive their visions, and then go back to lounge, drink tea and RP some more.

  2. The regio teahouse, camp near the regio (Presently Urizen), offer a wide selection of helpful realm boosting potions as well as a convenient place to wait while the sheep herding takes place. Or so not all of the coven have to stand in the que on the last day.

  3. Dawn has a Glory square, and Tranquil Nostrum is mentioned as an after tournament tradition in Dawn, a yeoman offering an establishment for after tourney tea taking would be a interesting option for a use of the background. It’s also not a bad location sitting on one of the most defined squares on the field, and free entertainment. (If you don’t already have a group, there’s are some Dawnish players who might be interested in helping.)

The present location of dawn means that near the Glory square is also very close to the sentinel gate, which means if some of the staff didn’t take the field you might be able to get some custom as hero’s come back. Especially if you where prepared to basically have a pot of nostrum brewing for when people came back and were able to do tea rounds.

The orc Fighting Pit might also be a suitable venue?

One thing I would look closely at are the descriptions of the potion flavours themselves. The Winter realm potions (Barren Watchtower, IIRC?) for instance do not in any way sound like nice things to drink so it would be weird to OOC have some nice flavoured tea but IC be tasting rancid meat.

Having a teashop/cake shop/sweetshop/bar etc that sells consumables for OOC money is expressly forbidden, accepting OOC tips is a grey area, you certainly can’t suggest a recommended donation, and I’m not sure you can solicit for tips, most people avoid the area altogether. There’s a small grey area around stuff to take away that it’s worth querying Matt over if it would be ok. If this case, if you have an OOC business selling tea you could possibly sell dried tea in packs alongside your IC only brewed tea. I sell cakes, and can’t charge for my normal cake runs but can charge for custom cake orders, because even if I negotiate payment in the field I’m still seen as delivering the order next event.

Other practical considerations - you’ll need a large tent, lots of set dressing, lots of washing up. From experience, setting up a large tent with only a couple of people is hard, including dressing it. A large group to help with transporting everything, setup and takedown, keeping the teashop running during IC hours, washing up etc will help make your game more fun. You could pick a nation you like the look of, come in as a wandering tea-seller going camp to camp and try and recruit people in game to the tea shop, or you could reach out to the “service” groups in your favourite nation to see if any of them would like to expand to include your tea parlour.

In general, a high quality tea house that just serves nice tea would be great, potion teas would be an interesting niche product, but people will come to you in droves for tea and somewhere nice to sit.

The venue for Empire is changing so some of the location comments will be invalidated; the camp may have a completely different layout (Brass Coast may no longer be closest to GOD and close to Regio)

I’ll start out by saying go for it, it will be fun, but I highly suspect the potion side of the business will be without any value whatsoever.

As a famously wealthy businessman and Apothecary, I’d like to offer two pieces of advice:
A) Have mechanical “potion effect” teas, but also have as many holistic rubbish or Ferrero’s All Purpose Wellness Tonic! as you can come up with. Your Faedown Anti-Balding blossom tea which guarantees protection from pixies harvesting your follicles in the night will give you an avenue for normal tea sales, as well as people like a bit of immersiveness and eventually one of the players, or crew on RnR, will bustle in to complain about the product not working.
B) Physick lets you use single herbs for curative effects. When people get Poisoned or Traumatic Wounded from the Regio, they may well chose to have a single herb team, rather than getting free treatment at the Hospital or purchasing from the Urizen potion vendor/tea house~. If you can create a venue where mages come to sit and chat and have tea, and talk about the latest hilarious mishap in the hall of worlds; you will do well. In fact, because of the nature of the Physick skill, you can literally heal people with tea. Some people represent Physick with sewing up wounds and bandages. Some people slap leeches on you (cures what ails ya!) Some rub crystals on the affected area. Represent your Physick skill with tea. Only tea. Every problem can be fixed with tea. With Marrowart tea, you can make someone not even notice that they have had their ribs shattered and a sucking chest wound.
C) Don’t take Apothecary. Okay well, maybe you should; but I’ll explain some of the issues you will face~

Apothecary:
Tea (tee hee) has pointed out the OOC math way of looking at the value of herbs. It is entirely a topic for on the field discussion, of course, but I would point out two pieces of information that are available to everyone publicly OOC:

Anvil Hospital will treat you for free, do herb exchange at 1:1, and also provide a herb bank of sorts which will have an obvious effect on the value of these resources/services.
Apothecaries are redundant for two reasons as there is no real involvement with the Apothecary skill:
Two Artisans with the same item recipe double the availability of items that can be made with that recipe. Two apothecaries with the same recipe are redundant as one apothecary can make an infinite number of potions. Further, you cannot research potions, you cannot make improvised potions, there is no mechanical or sociological involvement for Apothecaries outside of the roleplay you make yourself. Now, I love being an apothecary, but if I could remake my character I could spend exactly 0 experience points and still be an amazing apothecary because:
You have to go to GOD tent (OOC) to make potions anyway, so I would just pick up a friend who has the recipes on the way (even use the Apprentice Skill to make it myself!) If you don’t go to GOD tent, then you’ve bought/made the potions before hand, in which case you never need to prove you are an apothecary.

This poses a lot of problems for the tea service based around herbs/potions.
You HAVE to buy your stock ahead of time, and have it sitting around available, otherwise each time someone makes an order you have to toddle off to GOD tent. You then have to be competitively priced against other services/players. Where you already have a deficit having turned herbs in to potions that are waiting to sell. If someone offers to do it for just the cost of herbs; you are now more expensive by virtue of your tea. Given there are a lot of other tea houses, there ends up being a requirement of goodwill on other players wanting to involve with you as they could get tea elsewhere, and might have some of their own herbs/have people in their group with herbs.

However: Roleplay > Mechanics. I have great fun as an Apothecary, and as I stated if I could remake the character I’d still play him as an Apothecary~ If you’re happy to have a business operating at a loss, then bloody do so because it will be fun. If you want a real business out of it, then you have to make it a roleplay involved option on the field; give people a reason for being around. Hell you can force it

All of that aside: add value where you can if you are bothered about a profit. Food and tea will always work on their own. I sell at least 200-300 of my delicious chocolate balls every event now. You have to accept real life cost for it but it’s a lot of fun. The fact is that if you sell food and drink well, you will have lots of coin and really, there’s nothing else to do with in game currency than spend it, so why not just buy herbs for your potion teas and undercut everyone else anyway even if it is at a loss~ Of the well over 100 thrones I have, about 4 thrones has come from potions and I have sold for less than I pay for herbs plenty of time because PROSPERITY!

The potions list on the wiki show you all the flavours; or the anvil hospital website had documents with everything; which gives you lots to look for with regard to flavours. Be aware you may set a dangerous precedent if you start disguising the flavours of potions.

I would recommend you send an email to PD / Matt to ask about any issues with doing as you plan. To be honest, you may want to see if there are any plans to locate the potion table at GOD to someone on the field. That or offer discount tea to extradimesional beings/suumarian representatives/civil servants to ensure there is always a crew member nearby who can check off that; yes, those herbs are there and yes, you could make that potion and yes, it is being used right away, hand 'em over. Alternatively, get a box, a stick, some string, and leave a trail of chocolates from the Plot team desk to your tent and just trap Raff there to sign off anything you do.

[quote=“Ferrero”]
I would recommend you send an email to PD / Matt to ask about any issues with doing as you plan. To be honest, you may want to see if there are any plans to locate the potion table at GOD to someone on the field. [/quote]

Regarding this, it’s very awkward to do. We don’t like to have resources on the field which aren’t there IC, which a potion desk would naturally require. I’d be very surprised if we rolled something like this out in the near future.

In theory, if a ref is passing they can sort it out for you, but in practice if you’ve seen the potion counter in GOD, you’ll realise why it’s impractical for refs to do it. An advance stock is generally the best method for apothecarying.

Conceivably you could have something like a cauldron or mixing set-up at the desk, so that IC it was a convenient place to practise your potion-making expertise.

However I’m sure that would have various costs and difficulties.

[quote=“Kingreaper”]
Conceivably you could have something like a cauldron or mixing set-up at the desk, so that IC it was a convenient place to practise your potion-making expertise.

However I’m sure that would have various costs and difficulties.[/quote]

The problem isn’t that - it’s that to make one run, it would need to have a large box of potions that don’t exist because they haven’t been made yet, and a second set of boxes of herbs that don’t exist because they’ve been used up.

Both of those need to be there to have a potion desk on the field, but we really don’t want to have boxes that are physically present but aren’t present IC. It means that if e.g. the crew member running it goes to get some food, someone can’t come past and steal it, because it’s not actually there.

Basically, it’s probably impractical in the near future.

would it be possible to make a potion beforehand and add that to the tea? Like how you add honey to lemon tea and chai tea can be made from a syrup?

Can’t see any reason why not.

Also I can’t see anyone complaining if you performed the OOC action of exchanging herbs for potions far in advance of tea making, and phys-reped the potion as a tea mix. Before adding boiling water and serving the potion.

Yes, that’s exactly how potions work.

Make in advance, consume when required.

[quote=“tea”]

The problem isn’t that - it’s that to make one run, it would need to have a large box of potions that don’t exist because they haven’t been made yet, and a second set of boxes of herbs that don’t exist because they’ve been used up.

Both of those need to be there to have a potion desk on the field, but we really don’t want to have boxes that are physically present but aren’t present IC. It means that if e.g. the crew member running it goes to get some food, someone can’t come past and steal it, because it’s not actually there.

Basically, it’s probably impractical in the near future.[/quote]

It is something that we (the GOD team) have discussed and would love to do, but isn’t going to happen soon™. In addition to the problems Tea’s mentioned, it also requires staffing by a costumed member of GOD who then isn’t doing any of the dozen other things we do.