Alchemy - requirements for mixing

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KillingMoon
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Alchemy - requirements for mixing

Post by KillingMoon » July 15th, 2010, 10:30 am

Just the other day I read in the forums we do not need a recipe for successfully mixing a potion. If you have scribbled down a recipe from an earlier game or looked up the complete list on the forums you're good to go.

But with that in mind, recipes in alchemy shops and randomly found ones become redundant. No need to buy recipes or to look around in chests and cupboards. I find that a missed chance, as that's a nice game element for me.

Instead, your level of Alchemy is more important in Eschalon. You can have the skill and a recipe and still your result can go poof! A bit counter-intuitive, if you ask me. Why can't I make a mix if I have the skill and a recipe, even if it becomes a weak mix?

I would rather see the situation reversed:
* a recipe needed
* starting skill level lower

A lower starting level for mixing would mean performing alchemy became available earlier in the game, but it still would be good to raise your skill level, because the power of your potion would become better with a higher skill, so leveling up would remain attractive.
Also, from a strategy point of view it's not that great to imbue that copper shield with damage 3 that you found early in the game, so with a lowered skill requirement I don't see things becoming too easy. The better items - the ones you want to imbue - only become available later anyway.

It would just be nice to have alchemy available earlier for increased strategy options.
Since I haven't seen this discussed yet I thought I'd throw this up.

In my own game I only mix a potion when I have the recipe, and I save a game before an attempt - reload when poof! is what I get . That way I like it better. Just mentioning that here to make clear it's not advice for my own game I'm looking for. I've got my own ways.
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Re: Alchemy - requirements for mixing

Post by IJBall » July 15th, 2010, 11:13 am

I have no opinion on the "needing the recipe to make a potion" point (actually, I'm somewhat against requiring that).

But, as to your other point - I think, in general, Book II has gone too far in the direction of making Alchemy too hard to use (as compared to Book I).

Something is wrong when you have to get to Level 12 just to mix a Predator Sight potion, or that you have to get to Level 22(!) to get weapons imbuing up to +3 (the Book I equivalent was Level 15). Even Level 7 for weapons imbuing to +1 seems kind of high to me.

I think BW reworked Alchemy with the idea that Book II was going to be a "30-level character" game, so there would be more time/Skill levels that people could put into a skill like Alchemy. But, so far, Book II is more like Book I - a "20-level character" game. And that means that Alchemy has been shifted too 'up-level' in Book II to be very useful IMO.

In any case, I hope Book III puts Alchemy somewhere in the middle of where it was in Book I, and where it currently is in Book II...

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Re: Alchemy - requirements for mixing

Post by CrazyBernie » July 15th, 2010, 6:28 pm

Eh, I think Alchemy is fine. It should require dedication to untilize more effective recipes. I see enchantments as being a bit more involved than just potion making, thus requiring more skill to implement. Perhaps in Book III, potions and enchantments can be split into seperate skill trees... this could give you earlier access to a specific recipe, but still require limited specialization to get all the results you're looking for.

As far as plausibility for mixtures blowing up in your face, it could easily be explained as not having enough experience with mixing certain ingredients to get just the right levels for a stable potion. I'm surprised at the need to rationalize something like that as opposed to the fact that you can mix a potion on the fly. How do two dry ingredients make a liquid?? 0_o

Needing a recipe?? Nah... how do you think the potions were discovered to begin with?? I'm pretty sure the first guy/girl to mix a healing potion didn't use a recipe book... he/she kept experimenting until finding something that didn't blow up (unless intended...). I actually find it more "realistic" the way it is.

Keeping a list of recipes... well that's metagaming, but if that's what someone wants to do... *shrug*

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About alchemy

Post by obiwan » July 16th, 2010, 2:27 am

Alchemy is boring as it is now. It does not induce to explore and experiment.

Like non-linear game-systems, random loot, and character building, RPGs are interesting because of the sheer number of possibilities to do something in your own unique way. Something you are proud on.

Eschalon's alchemy system is rather limiting in that respect. What would be much more fun was to have, say 10 ingredients, and mix up 3 or 4 ingredients in one vial. That would give a large set of combinations. Then, make a hidden list of 5 properties for each ingredient. Whatever potion you will get is simply calculated from the combination of properties, modulated by alchemy skill.

The fun thing is: you could randomize item properties (somewhat) at game start. And the engine can create random recipes for each new game. Not for all possible potions, but for some good ones. The rest, the player needs to discover. Each successful new potion gets you some exp, and a recipe book entry. Replay the game? Start over in finding combinations.

This is how I would like alchemy. In fact, I like to see such a system for magic as well (but this is harder to implement).

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Re: Alchemy - requirements for mixing

Post by KillingMoon » July 16th, 2010, 9:31 am

Alchemy works very well in the game as it is. It won't have been clear from my first post, so I'll stress here that I'm really okay with it and don't find the system needs changing... I just would have done things a bit differently, that's all. And I hadn't come across many opinions on the forums, so that was a main reason for me for bringing it up.
IJBall wrote:Something is wrong when you have to get to Level 12 just to mix a Predator Sight potion, or that you have to get to Level 22(!) to get weapons imbuing up to +3 (the Book I equivalent was Level 15). Even Level 7 for weapons imbuing to +1 seems kind of high to me.
I'm largely alright with needing a high skill for the really good enchantments, though; they are powerful.
IJBall wrote:I think BW reworked Alchemy with the idea that Book II was going to be a "30-level character" game, so there would be more time/Skill levels that people could put into a skill like Alchemy. But, so far, Book II is more like Book I - a "20-level character" game. And that means that Alchemy has been shifted too 'up-level' in Book II to be very useful IMO.
That could be a very good observation! Although what saves Alchemy, for the late game at least, is that once you've got more cash to spend it's not so difficult to get it to ~ level 10 - trainer, skillbook, Alchemy ring...
CrazyBernie wrote:As far as plausibility for mixtures blowing up in your face, it could easily be explained as not having enough experience with mixing certain ingredients to get just the right levels for a stable potion.
A recipe is more than a listing of the required ingredients. It sounds like you're presuming just the latter is present here.
CrazyBernie wrote:Needing a recipe?? Nah... how do you think the potions were discovered to begin with?? I'm pretty sure the first guy/girl to mix a healing potion didn't use a recipe book... he/she kept experimenting until finding something that didn't blow up (unless intended...). I actually find it more "realistic" the way it is.
I like your gender neutrality! The rest... meh. Experimenting in real life history, yes. In the game... no. Ingredients are scarce and expensive, too precious to waste on experiments.
I could imagine it brought into the game, though, but in a different way. Allow a 'free' test for every level up, for example. You would then assume that, in an unsuccessful mix, your ingredients wouldn't go to waste, as you only used small samples of them.
But I basically find the system complete enough as it is; it's all too easy to 'clutter' the game with all sorts of features, so perhaps better not.

The only extra thing that I would raise as a serious suggestion is a book for Alchemy in the style of 'Light armour Materials'; a book that gave an indication of what an Alchemist could perform at which level. name it 'The Brewer's Course Book' or something, and have it contain a list in a style like this:

Novice - healing elixir, mana potion
Advanced Pupil - demon oil, ...
Initiate Apprentice - ...
Senior Apprentice - ...
Master - *here the words may become illegible, if you don't want to give everything away* :wink:

Soon enough someone on the forums will then deduct which term corresponds with which Alchemy level.
I think currently the game gives no indication whatsoever about what can be performed at which level, right? That gap could be filled. An inexperienced player would like to know what the investment in Alchemy is for, roughly.
Also I don't know yet which Alchemy level is required for which enchantment or brew, not exactly, at least.

Obiwan, your suggestions for an alternative handling of Alchemy are very interesting, but maybe deserving of a game of their own. Within Eschalon Alchemy should remain simpler in my opinion, so as not to distract from the core game.

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Re: Alchemy - requirements for mixing

Post by IJBall » July 16th, 2010, 10:16 am

KillingMoon wrote:
IJBall wrote:Something is wrong when you have to get to Level 12 just to mix a Predator Sight potion, or that you have to get to Level 22(!) to get weapons imbuing up to +3 (the Book I equivalent was Level 15). Even Level 7 for weapons imbuing to +1 seems kind of high to me.
I'm largely alright with needing a high skill for the really good enchantments, though; they are powerful.
My biggest current problem with Alchemy is the Predator Sight thing, even more than the 'imbuings'.

But needing Level 12 in Alchemy to make Predator Sight effectively rules out using Alchemy for Rangers and ranged-fighters, and immediately pushes them inescapably in the direction of Magick over Alchemy.

I mean, what are you going to do - pay 100 GP to get Level 1 in Elemental, and then pay ~200 GP for a Predator Sight spell (which is a Tier 1 spell)? Or are you going to pay 3600(!) GP, plus the cost of the Alchemy trainer book, plus the cost of a Brewmaster's Ring (assuming you can even find one!!), plus the cost of Stinkroot (plus whatever cost you put into Forage) so you can 'mix' Predator Sight?!

When you list it out, the difference is ridiculous! It's no contest!!

I'm not suggesting that mixing Predator Sight be as easy as mixing Cat's Eyes (and, FTR, I actually think it should be changed so that you need Level 2 in Alchemy to mix Cat's Eyes...)

But, IMO, mixing Predator Sight should only require Level 5 or maybe Level 7 in Alchemy. Requiring Level 12 is way too high for a potion like that.

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Re: About alchemy

Post by SpottedShroom » July 16th, 2010, 10:30 am

obiwan wrote:The fun thing is: you could randomize item properties (somewhat) at game start. And the engine can create random recipes for each new game.
I think this is a good idea, even for the existing system. Randomizing alchemy recipes each game would avoid metagaming, and would add some spice to reagent collecting. Toadis pollen is useless except to sell right now, but with random recipes, you'd never know which ingredients are important to hang onto until you get the recipes.

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Re: About alchemy

Post by Kreador Freeaxe » July 16th, 2010, 10:39 am

SpottedShroom wrote:
obiwan wrote:The fun thing is: you could randomize item properties (somewhat) at game start. And the engine can create random recipes for each new game.
I think this is a good idea, even for the existing system. Randomizing alchemy recipes each game would avoid metagaming, and would add some spice to reagent collecting. Toadis pollen is useless except to sell right now, but with random recipes, you'd never know which ingredients are important to hang onto until you get the recipes.
You'd have to equalize the values of reagents, though. It would be really silly to randomly have a basic healing potion require Auricflax and Toadis Pollen under the current value system. The domino effect of shifting elements in the game's mechanics to add in a randomized recipe set would take a lot to balance back out. While it would make for an interesting element in A game, I think it would detract from the overall focus of THIS game. But, YMMV.
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Re: Alchemy - requirements for mixing

Post by KillingMoon » July 16th, 2010, 11:08 am

IJBall wrote:I mean, what are you going to do - pay 100 GP to get Level 1 in Elemental, and then pay ~200 GP for a Predator Sight spell (which is a Tier 1 spell)? Or are you going to pay 3600(!) GP, plus the cost of the Alchemy trainer book, plus the cost of a Brewmaster's Ring (assuming you can even find one!!), plus the cost of Stinkroot (plus whatever cost you put into Forage) so you can 'mix' Predator Sight?!

When you list it out, the difference is ridiculous! It's no contest!!
Yeah, that is convincing! I haven't done the maths in that much detail, I have to admit, as I'm still relatively new to this game.
It's actually even bigger, the difference; you can get Elemental as your given skill at character creation, while also it will be much easier to find the Predator Sight scroll on the map somewhere or as loot than to find the recipe.
What has always struck me as somewhat weird anyway: the amount of spell scrolls that outlanders are walking around with. Are they all magicians in disguise or what? :lol:

An assumption of mine is that it isn't viable anyway to learn Alchemy if it's just for the potions. Again, I haven't done the maths in detail, but just buying potions of the shelf seems so much easier. It looks to me like the real value of Alchemy lies in those enchantments. You can't get those in any other way.

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Re: Alchemy - requirements for mixing

Post by Dragonlady » July 16th, 2010, 3:15 pm

"The Quest" game has a variable alchemy table. The first few easy mixes are always the same but the rest are different. There are several kinds of ingredients for each potion and which one for your game is up for grabs..or so I remember. Been a while since I played it. Below is a list of a few of the potions. The higher listed potions need more than 2 ingredients by the way.
Holy Brew (Healing–But not for the Undead) Mix 2 of the following:
Spritesbreath, Old Kings Folly, Power Berries, Seeds of Heaven, Lady’s Slipper, Toadstools, Rainbow Mushrooms, Travelers Friend.

Elysian Spirits (Restores Mana) Combine 2 of the following:
Purple Fairy Ring, Wish Thisle, Lady’s Slipper, Love Lies Bleeding, Arrant Rose, Toadstools, Devil’s Death Dance, Crimini Vulgaris.

Devil’s Demulcent (Restores Health of an Undead) Blend 2 of the following:
Necromancer’s Night Shade, Ghost Shiitake, Devil’s Death Dance.

Witche’s Scapple (Dispels Active Magic Effects) Mix 2 of the following:
Old King’s Folly, Scatter of Lion Fuzz, Witches Kiss, Lighten Leaves.

Levitation Elixir (Feather) Blend 2 of the following:
Spritesbreath, Wind Flower, Love Lies Bleeding, Lighten Leaves.

Cleopatra’s Oil (Cures Poison) Blend 1 of the following:
Narcissa’s Gold, Wish Thistle, Swamp Sulphur, Green Fungi, Rainbow Mushrooms, Hops, Wolfs Bane.
With one of the following:
Spritesbreath, Old Kings Folly, Power Berries, Seeds of Heaven, Lady’s Slipper, Toadstools, Rainbow Mushrooms, Travelers Friend.
Some of the ingredients were extremely hard to find or very, very expensive.
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Re: Alchemy - requirements for mixing

Post by Rowanas » July 20th, 2010, 3:05 am

Variable alchemy seems like the best thing to me, but that's probably just because of my procedurally generated fetish.

The most important thing in my opinion would be to alter enchantments totally. Instead of having these set weapon and potion enchantments, why not just mix up the potion and then put anything in the container slot. It'd be a lot more work for BW, because they'd have to specify what each potion did to each type of item, but I think it would add a lot more flavour to the game, as well as allowing the player to craft some of those shiny items you see lying about.

Ingredients for Demon Oil + Weapon = Fire Damage
Ingredients for Demon Oil + Hat = Illumination
Ingredients for Demon Oil + Armour = Fire Resistance
Ingredients for Demon Oil + Vial = Demon Oil

The level of the enchantment would, as always, be determined by alchemy level.

I think this is the way to go for enchantments, rather than the bland D&D "+3 sword of +3ness".

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Re: Alchemy - requirements for mixing

Post by obiwan » July 20th, 2010, 9:43 am

KillingMoon wrote:
Obiwan, your suggestions for an alternative handling of Alchemy are very interesting, but maybe deserving of a game of their own. Within Eschalon Alchemy should remain simpler in my opinion, so as not to distract from the core game.
Actually, making my own game as opposed to contributing some patches to other's is one of the "things yet to do in my live". But I doubt there will be time soon.

Nevertheless, I would not be disappointed if EB III had such a system. It would keep interesting on your zillionth replay.

Dragonlady: oh, never played that game so I will check it out. I have somewhat like an alchemy fetish. :oops:

Kreador Freeaxe: good point about the pricing. I would indeed take some work to balance it out. Though, I guess the easy solution is to scale the price depending on the potions that can be made with an item (remember, the game knows the ultimate recipe list).

The bad thing about this system IMHO is not the complexity (I do not believe there is any), but the fact that I quite like the fact that things like detox serums are made from noximander venom, and demon oil with brimstone, etc. It makes "sense". This sense is harder to get with random items (though not impossible).

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Re: Alchemy - requirements for mixing

Post by IJBall » July 20th, 2010, 10:21 am

obiwan wrote:
KillingMoon wrote:Obiwan, your suggestions for an alternative handling of Alchemy are very interesting, but maybe deserving of a game of their own. Within Eschalon Alchemy should remain simpler in my opinion, so as not to distract from the core game.
Kreador Freeaxe: good point about the pricing. I would indeed take some work to balance it out. Though, I guess the easy solution is to scale the price depending on the potions that can be made with an item (remember, the game knows the ultimate recipe list).
Note that I'm not advocating your idea here, because I actually agree with KillingMoon on this...

But, one way to possibly implement your idea, while taking into account Kreador's point, would be to go back to Book I's system of both a "reagent" & a "reactant" being needed for potion mixing (the difference between the two was eliminated in Book II).

The way it could work is, say, "reagents" would all be approximately one price point, and the "reactants" could all be approximately a different price point (e.g. more expensive). Then you could just randomize potion mixing by shuffling the "reagent" and the "reactant" needed for each potion - and they'd all be roughly comparable in 'ingredients cost' because all the "reagents" would all be approximately the same price and all the "reactants" would all be approximately the same price.

Anyway, that's one obvious idea for implementing your system...
Last edited by IJBall on July 23rd, 2010, 12:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Alchemy - requirements for mixing

Post by CrazyBernie » July 21st, 2010, 5:14 am

If you wanted to get really crazy, you could also have the reagent or reactant vary for each tier of potion... or require different quantities... 0_o

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