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Potion Making Adventure Game. Viable Game Type?


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#1 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 497

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 05:28 PM

I've been thinking of different game ideas for my next project and I thought this game idea was the most interesting and unique (in my opinion).
I have been playing the elder scrolls series and I've noticed that, even though alchemy is used a lot in the game, it is not at all fun or interesting. There is little fun in making different combinations of ingredients with practically no interaction or research involved.

So, I decided I wanted to make a potion making game. I also wanted the potions in the game to have a use so I've decided to incorporate some kind of a dungeon crawling aspect. I want to make finding the ingredients fun. I don't want it to be like in Skyrim where you happen to come across an ingredient, I want it to be a search for a certain ingredient. I have the idea that the player would be given a book at the start of the game which could be called something like "Potion Brewing - Basics" where the player would gain all the knowledge to make basic potions. You would have guides on identifying certain ingredients, constructing tools to help make the potions and guides on making the potions all together.
I want the potion making to be incredibly interactive. For instance, you want to make a potion that helps you see in the dark but before you can do this you have to get a certain ingredient then ground the ingredient with a mortar and pestle. This would include hitting the ingredient by clicking with the mouse ;)
The adventuring aspect of the game would be requiring rare ingredients. First of all, you would be able to make basic potions with ingredients which grow in safe areas. You would then use the potions you have made to make you better at combat to then slay creatures to harvest ingredients for their bodies or to get past them to get access to these ingredients.

Inspirations for this idea come from The Elder Scrolls series and a Harry Potter movie (The Half Blood Prince to be exact).

This is a work in progress idea and I would love to get constructive criticism or questions regarding the idea. I'll be sure to keep gamedev.net updated when I start to develop the game.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I've decided to give it the working name: Potius Dominus
It's Latin for Potions Master. I thought calling the working title Potions Master would be a bit cliché, hence the Latin. Potius isn't actually Latin for potion. The Latin should actually be Potio but I thought it didn't sound right.


Edited by CryoGenesis, 01 August 2013 - 06:21 AM.


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#2 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19073

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 05:40 PM

Sounds like an interesting concept, and something a bit different from the norm! As usual, the devil is in the details, and whether or not it is actually fun would depend on the execution.

ground the ingredient with a mortar and pestle. This would include hitting the ingredient by clicking with the mouse

This sounds like it might get tedious and frustrating, especially if it's something that has to be done often. It would probably be a great mechanic for a different input device like the touch stylus on a DS, a WiiMote, or perhaps even Kinect, although obviously those options may not be available to you. It could also be well suited to a touch screen, but unfortunately the adventuring aspects would likely be much less so unless you could come up with a different approach.

#3 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 497

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 06:06 PM

Sounds like an interesting concept, and something a bit different from the norm! As usual, the devil is in the details, and whether or not it is actually fun would depend on the execution.


ground the ingredient with a mortar and pestle. This would include hitting the ingredient by clicking with the mouse

This sounds like it might get tedious and frustrating, especially if it's something that has to be done often. It would probably be a great mechanic for a different input device like the touch stylus on a DS, a WiiMote, or perhaps even Kinect, although obviously those options may not be available to you. It could also be well suited to a touch screen, but unfortunately the adventuring aspects would likely be much less so unless you could come up with a different approach.


Yes, it does sound like it would become rather tedious. Although, one idea I had would be that the mortar and pestle would have to include some sort of accuracy to keep it interresting. The player would have to crush the ingredients based on the instructions provided. For instance, you have to break a certain ingredient to a 'not too fine' consistency and player would have to guess whether they have broken the ingredient down to that consistency without any other help apart from the vague scrawlings in the book.

Another idea I had would be that, past a certain level, a lot of ingredients would have no knowledge to them whatsoever and the player would have to experiment to find the functions of these ingredients. The player would have an empty bookshelf where he/she could fill with journals full of information and diagrams which the player would write. Like a personal encyclopaedia. This would be useful due to the sheer number of ingredients and potions which could be made. Newly discovered potions could be named by the player along with having different coloured bottles so the player can colour code his/her collection.

Thanks for your feedback.

#4 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19073

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 06:20 PM

Newly discovered potions could be named by the player along with having different coloured bottles so the player can colour code his/her collection.

I don't know what platforms you are looking at, but to me this particular idea just screams to be included in a social game, and it could be a bit of a race and a big deal to be the first player to discover how to create a new potion -- particularly if it was a very useful one.

#5 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4986

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 06:39 PM

I've seen a few games about brewing potions but they do sound quite different from this concept - they are more like a real-time sim where the player grows plants or tends animals to get the brewing ingredients. The goal of the actual brewing is mainly to unlock new levels of sim, though it also generates money to spend on plants/animals/upgrades/consumbable bonuses. Or the potions themselves can be the consumable bonuses.

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#6 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 497

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 07:03 PM


Newly discovered potions could be named by the player along with having different coloured bottles so the player can colour code his/her collection.

I don't know what platforms you are looking at, but to me this particular idea just screams to be included in a social game, and it could be a bit of a race and a big deal to be the first player to discover how to create a new potion -- particularly if it was a very useful one.


Just standard indie PC game. I'm going to write it in Java so if I decide to port it to android then it may be a little easier. I would imagine that after something is discovered then people would just share the information which, I guess, destroys the element of discovery in the game. I doubt anything like this would be popular enough to get any online guides anyway ;)
I'm thinking that finishing the game then putting it on steam green light is a good idea but I don't know much about green light really.

#7 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 497

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 07:12 PM

I've seen a few games about brewing potions but they do sound quite different from this concept - they are more like a real-time sim where the player grows plants or tends animals to get the brewing ingredients. The goal of the actual brewing is mainly to unlock new levels of sim, though it also generates money to spend on plants/animals/upgrades/consumbable bonuses. Or the potions themselves can be the consumable bonuses.


Yeah it does sound a bit different. I guess the main difference would be that the rarer ingredients would have to be taken through some sort
of danger. For instance, you are looking for troll saliva which is hard to extract from a live troll so you will have to slay one but to do this you need to be strong enough which would mean drinking a potion to enhance your body (a potion that transforms you into a wolf for example). So to be able to progress in the game you would need to get ingredients that make stronger potions that help you get ingredients to make even stronger potions.

#8 Randel   Members   -  Reputation: 326

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 06:33 PM

One idea would be a programming game like SpaceChem. Basically, in your game you get various ingrediants with differing properties. To turn those into usable potions the player has to process them by grinding them up, boiling, distilling, or fermenting the ingrediants.

Now, you can start of with things like a simple mortar and pestle, boiling apperatus, etc which the player experiments with to get the right result. Then, as they make money selling potions they can buy automated devices like grinders, distilers and the like. Then they hook all the automated things together into paths and adjust them properly so that the setup can automatically make the desired potions. So at the end, you wind up with a big arrangement of beakers, tubes, bunsen burners, and the like with the end result dripping the potions into prepared bottles.

So... lets say it goes like this:

1. Adventurer goes out into dungeons or areas, picking up all the plants or dead animal parts they can find and taking them to a shopkeeper. (maybe have a humerous cutscene where stereotypical adventurers dump a huge pile of vendor trash onto the counter of some poor shopkeeper who is obligated to buy everything).

2. Shopkeeper then sorts all the various ingredients and has to find out what they are good for. This involves either researching them in books or experimenting with them.

3. Experimenting also involves processing the ingredients like grinding, heating, distilling, or whatever to see how that changes the effect.

4. Once you get that information, see about making potions with it, experiment with different processes (cooking time, ratio of ingredients, etc) until you get a decent recipe.

5. Then buy the equipment to mass produce the potion and start making potions. You can of course make potions manually but that could be time consuming if the player doesn't like it.


I suppose if you want to keep the mystery of it, you could do something like a Roguelike (like Nethack) where items have randomized appearances. Like say... if Firevine roots can be used in Potions of Endure Cold, then you can randomize the appearance of them and only let players identify them once they determine enough of the roots main properties. So in any given game, a Firevine root could be red, yellow, purple or some other color with other ingrediants sharing the same range of appearances. So each game, players have to sort the ingrediants they are given, identify them through experimentation and create the results anew. Thus keeping each game fresh.

#9 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3159

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 08:39 PM

This has a lot of fun potential if created thoughtfully. I like it.


Clinton

Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

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#10 TheChubu   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4588

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 11:05 PM

There is a japanese RPG series that revolves around alchemy called Atelier. Though I haven't played it.

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#11 Burrowing Owl   Members   -  Reputation: 119

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:35 AM

Right now you have an interesting idea, a concept.
It would be nice if you update your first post and expend it a bit. Give details.
For example, do I have to complete a dungeon for each ingredient? Or do I find all the ingredients that are needed to make one potion in one dungeon?
Also you call the book "Potion Brewing - Basics", does this mean that the book can be upgraded or new books can be found?
What kind of game could this be implemented in?

I definitely agree that potion making as been a bore in the past; even Minecraft made the process of making a potion a bit tedious (They don't give you a recipe book!) However, your idea sounds fun so make sure to expand it.

#12 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 497

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 01:33 PM

One idea would be a programming gamelike SpaceChem. Basically, in your game you get various ingrediants with differing properties. To turn those into usable potions the player has to process them by grinding them up, boiling, distilling, or fermenting the ingrediants.

Now, you can start of with things like a simple mortar and pestle, boiling apperatus, etc which the player experiments with to get the right result. Then, as they make money selling potions they can buy automated devices like grinders, distilers and the like. Then they hook all the automated things together into paths and adjust them properly so that the setup can automatically make the desired potions. So at the end, you wind up with a big arrangement of beakers, tubes, bunsen burners, and the like with the end result dripping the potions into prepared bottles.

So... lets say it goes like this:

1. Adventurer goes out into dungeons or areas, picking up all the plants or dead animal parts they can find and taking them to a shopkeeper. (maybe have a humerous cutscene where stereotypical adventurers dump a huge pile of vendor trash onto the counter of some poor shopkeeper who is obligated to buy everything).

2. Shopkeeper then sorts all the various ingredients and has to find out what they are good for. This involves either researching them in books or experimenting with them.

3. Experimenting also involves processing the ingredients like grinding, heating, distilling, or whatever to see how that changes the effect.

4. Once you get that information, see about making potions with it, experiment with different processes (cooking time, ratio of ingredients, etc) until you get a decent recipe.

5. Then buy the equipment to mass produce the potion and start making potions. You can of course make potions manually but that could be time consuming if the player doesn't like it.


I suppose if you want to keep the mystery of it, you could do something like a Roguelike (like Nethack) where items have randomized appearances. Like say... if Firevine roots can be used in Potions of Endure Cold, then you can randomize the appearance of them and only let players identify them once they determine enough of the roots main properties. So in any given game, a Firevine root could be red, yellow, purple or some other color with other ingrediants sharing the same range of appearances. So each game, players have to sort the ingrediants they are given, identify them through experimentation and create the results anew. Thus keeping each game fresh.


Really good ideas in there!
I was thinking that a certain amount of automation would be a good idea but it would have to be limited due to the game being based in a kind of medieval themed place.
I definitely like the idea of the ingredient names have something to do with their properties and I had the idea that most, if not all, ingredients had some kind of story to them or some kind of metaphysical purpose.

#13 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 497

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 01:34 PM

This has a lot of fun potential if created thoughtfully. I like it.


Clinton

Really appreciate it, thanks!

#14 CryoGenesis   Members   -  Reputation: 497

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 01:54 PM

Right now you have an interesting idea, a concept.
It would be nice if you update your first post and expend it a bit. Give details.
For example, do I have to complete a dungeon for each ingredient? Or do I find all the ingredients that are needed to make one potion in one dungeon?
Also you call the book "Potion Brewing - Basics", does this mean that the book can be upgraded or new books can be found?
What kind of game could this be implemented in?

I definitely agree that potion making as been a bore in the past; even Minecraft made the process of making a potion a bit tedious (They don't give you a recipe book!) However, your idea sounds fun so make sure to expand it.

Yes I'm going to come up with a full concept of which I will add to over time. I'm going to write the full concept and add it to the main post along with a bullet point list of all the ideas I come up with which I will think about and expand upon. I think as soon as I've come up with a relatively finished concept I'm going to start imagining the world.

As for the dungeons, I had the idea that different ingredients would need to be found in different environments. Dungeons would be one environment which would contain little grown ingredients but more living creatures that you can kill to harvest ingredients from (Rat hair or a beholder eye for example). Other environments would include things like forests which contain several rare grown ingredients but are defended by strong, non-rare creatures. Although, I'll have to think a bit more about the environments idea and how it would work with the basic concept and kind of feel I want for the game. I would imagine that you would be able to find multiple ingredients in certain places but depending on their rareness they could be defended by creatures or just things you come across.

Yeah I'm sorry for the vagueness, I didn't really expand upon most of the ideas. I had the idea that the only kind of guide book you would have is the "Potion Brewing - Basics" book which would tell you how to find basic ingredients and how to process them and, finally, turn them into potions (A bit like one of those tutorials you get in a game). Other, rarer ingredients would only have things like folklore or myths which would contain secrets on how to find them and brew them into potions. I think this wouldn't be too practical though because if you accidentally brew it wrong you have lost it forever. Unless you had the option to chop the ingredient up and only use a certain amount at a time to experiment or even if the potion had a limit to how much of the ingredient could be included until the potion turned into junk.

I've been thinking of how I could implement this concept into a game and I can't really decide what would be best. I was thinking that a 3D game would be too much work because you would have to model every ingredient along with modelling the world and programming the engine. A 2D game, on the other hand, would be a lot easier and mean that I could use a variety of art styles. Then I come onto the decision of top-down, isometric or platform based rendering. I guess I'll just have to come up with all the pros and cons of each one to see which one would be the coolest yet most practical.

Thanks for the feedback!

#15 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 10196

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 04:33 PM

For instance, you want to make a potion that helps you see in the dark but before you can do this you have to get a certain ingredient then ground the ingredient with a mortar and pestle.

I think this sentence really captures something that could be fun. You're hitting on a potential metroidvania idea here.
Say, for example, to earn the "next ingredient" you need to go through a dark area of the dungeon, then you figure out you need to stack up on ingredients to make a potion to see in the dark.
But then you see that a part of the dungeon has collapsed underwater, so you know you need a water-breathing potion, which puts you off-course searching for the components to make that potion.
It would be an interaction between a longer-term goal, broken down into obstacles which in turn lead you back to reading your manual and uncovering information (what ingredients, how to use them, where to find them) and immediate goals (finding the ingredients in the dungeon).

I think such a game would be appealing, especially if you challenge the player once in a while. They see the obvious dark, thus they'll make the easy assumption that they need a dark vision potion (which is ok) or they could've done their job of studying the manual and uncover a pass-through-wall potion or flying potion that allows them to simply avoid this obstacle in a clever and simpler way. You could find hidden areas using more complex potions that aren't necessarily required for the basic walkthrough, but it could expand on finding rare ingredients and make even more impressive potions.

That said, that would shift the focus of the game towards completing the walkthrough rather than making more potions and this could sidetrack you from your objective.

#16 kseh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2160

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 06:27 PM

I also think this is a good idea. Actually, I've been working on my own variation of this though I haven't yet gotten into how potions would be created exactly (been looking at world generation first). The idea I had wasn't just potions actually, it was more a general aim of discovering any sort of magic so potions would be a subset of what you could discover. And, although I'm thinking ingredient gathering and the need to put together equipment would probably be included, I'm not planning on including any kind of focus on brewing, preparation time, or preparation technique.

I hope I don't come across as trying to copy what you're trying to go for. But it's been bugging me that I might end up giving that impression. I was going to start mentioning the project in my journal this week but you beat me to it.

#17 elobire   Members   -  Reputation: 141

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 06:33 PM

Do some research into what systems games that have had alchemy in them before have used. I think Oblivion had a pretty decent one.
You definetely need more ways to make potions than just a mortar and pestle. I think that would become tedious and boring pretty quick.

#18 ZwodahS   Members   -  Reputation: 483

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 09:06 PM

I just want to come in and say, I really like this idea :P. Please post update of this game if you have any.

Check out my blog at zwodahs.github.io and zwodahs.itch.io/


#19 Randel   Members   -  Reputation: 326

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 02:50 AM

Some random ideas, not necessarily to do with alchemy or potions specifically:

1. Ahuizotls - Okay, the ahuizotl is a mythical creature from Aztec folklore. It is a doglike creature with slick shiny skin and a human-like hand at the end of its tail. Its commonly found around rivers or watery areas where it uses its hand to drag people below the water to drown them. Oh, and it steals their eyes and fingernails. It doesn't eat their flesh, just drowns them and steals their eyes and nails. Its also known for being able to imitate the sound of a baby crying, it cries like a lost child, people come to investigate, then it drowns them and steals their eyes.

I bring this up because I had heard about this creature shortly before playing Skyrim and I noticed that the player in Skyrim goes around eating alot of wierd stuff for alchemy. I figure an alchemy themed game could make use of a weird monster that steals human eyes and fingernails. Maybe it turns out that to make a specific potion you need the eyes and nails of a human... or the creatures harvest humans for those ingredients. Finding a potion that does the same thing without human parts could put an end to 'human poaching'.


2. Alchemy fairies - Bit of a stretch, but I know in alot of stories you'll have magical creatures that do things like paint the rainbows or tend to the creatures and plants of the forest. Could be that there is a specific type of fairy or magical creature that makes potions. The protagonist could start out with a fairy like this who helps them out at the beginning. The process of "automating" the potion making process could just be a case of creating a recipe and then recruiting more fairies to help with the mixing and such (have one fairy grind the powder, another boil the broth, another mix the results, etc).

Could well be that these fairies go around gathering all sorts of weird things for their potions, and some of those potions are used for things like giving leopards their spots or turning rocks into rubies (or coal). Things that no human would expect the potions to do or perhaps even care for. However. those same potions or ingredients can do useful things. Or could just as well be that the fairies can tell if something is 'magical' or not but they don't know exactly in what way. So fairies grab everything from rat whiskers to fire opals to orphan tears and collect them in the hope of figuring out what to do with them. The player then can use them to make potions (to help themselves) and the fairies help him collect more ingredients or make potions.

Could even provide a motivation of sorts. The fairies know of some cave with moss they use for growing healthy eagle feathers (or whatever) but monsters have taken over and they need help getting the moss. Failure means that the eagles won't be able to fly as fast and far this year. The player could easily say "Oh yeah, what do I care if a bunch of birds have problems." until they realize that "Wait a sec... this moss has something to do with feathers... and flight! Can I use this to make a flying potion or will it just grow hair or something weird like that?".


3. Song and poetry - I dunno about you, but nothing says "magic" like a bit of rhyming. Could very well be that in this world many potion recipes are not written down but handed down through word of mouth and they use rhymes or possibly riddles or stories to remember them. The player could get rare recipes or hints about ingredients through old songs. (Just letting you know, if you need any help making nonsensical rhymes or random weeds or whatnot then feel free to message me and I'll be glad to help with that).


4. Elements, vitamins, toxins and magic - A sort of basic idea on how some potions might work.

Elements are trace minerals that the body can use to help itself. For example, modern table salt contains iodine in addition to the sodium chloride. Iodine Deficiency is a condition where a person doesn't get enough iodine in their diet and it can result in mental retardation. Its usually found in inland areas because iodine can be found in seafood naturally and you can't really grow iodine foods in areas that don't have it naturally in the soil. Basically, elements are tied to rocks, water, and the environment and become part of whatever grows there.

Vitamins (and proteins as well) are parts of an animal or plants chemistry that the body uses upon eating the thing. Eating citrus fruit gives vitamin C, eating organ meats give various proteins and whatever. Probably has little to do with proper alchemy, but there could be something about extracting specific vitamins and such for making potions or things. Maybe using "vitamin potions" involves taking them regularly and as a result boosting your natural stats.

Toxins are compounds that plants and animals make specifically to alter some other creature, usually to kill them somehow. Toxins can do thing like slow or speed up heart-rate, cause hallucinations, or do other things. Alchemy that involves these things tends to isolate the toxin and perhaps break it down into its components get a specific dosage. The difference between a poison and a medicine is basically the dosage. A medicine that lowers blood pressure can become deadly if overused.

Magic of course really depends on how you use magic in the setting, but I'm sure from a traditional sense the effects should be tied to whatever it came from. Say, the hooves of a mighty boar could yield a magical effect that roots a person to the ground (or alternately increase their strength). Invisible creatures would have inviibility magic in their skins and so on. The trick to making a magic potion could well involve somehow breaking down whatever tissue the magic is bonded to, and trying to transfer the magic over to the person drinking it. Specifically, move the magic from one part of the origional life form (from a trees bark, or a birds feathers) into the recipient (a persons skin or maybe their hands). Doing that could require mixing in various elements, vitamins, or toxins that target the part of the recipient.

So... if you want a potion of strength, you might have to take the hoof shavings of a minotaur, boil them into a paste, then mix it in with milk or something that you know will go into the bones and muscles. The "strength magic" was originally bound to the minotaur hooves, then it was transferred to the milk, and the mild once drunk was reduced to its vitamins and sent into the bones and muscles by the body. If you were to mix minotaur hooves with say... carrots or something then the strength magic would presumably go into your eyeballs and that wouldn't really help anyone.


Other recipes might involve infusing invisibility magic into a salve so it can be easily spread on the skin (where it will be most useful) or maybe the invisibility magic gets mixed with fish oil and consumed with the logic that the vitamins will get sent to the skin naturally and become a more lasting effect.


Soo... alchemy could have several steps.

Find something with a magical effect in it. This could be a mineral (evercold ice), vitamin (glowfruit juice), protein (rocktroll skin), or a toxin (nightmare viper venom).

Break said ingredient down to isolate the desired magical effect without destroying it or letting unwanted effects remain.

Mix it with another compound to bind the magic to, preferably one that can be easily absorbed into the body and specifically the part you want it to go to.

Extract the desired compound from the mixture and distil it into a potion.

More complex potions might require adding magical enhancers that complement the desired magical effect. Or you may need a specific process to break down the original ingredient. For example, a dragons stomach lining has a magical effect that renders it completely immune to fire damage. Even if you can get a sample of that lining, you could only break it down using acids or other reactive compounds since boiling water would have no effect on it. Similarly, a potion of invincibility would require a starting ingredient that was itself invincible... so you could never grind up the ingredient to make a potion of it. You could however get something invulnerable to everything but heat and melt it down... and another invulnerable to all but acid and try mixing them together.

#20 ZwodahS   Members   -  Reputation: 483

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 05:32 AM

Some how , i think you should take a look at this game for some ideas

http://www.kongregate.com/games/FliplineStudios/jacksmith

It is a game about blacksmith :D and to be honest, i think they pull it off quite well.

Check out my blog at zwodahs.github.io and zwodahs.itch.io/





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