Welcome to this week’s Mechanics Monday where we take a look at a specific mechanic in the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, compare it to the 2nd Edition and see which version works best for the setting of Greyhawk.
If the 5e version is suboptimal we try to homebrew a better version of it.
Today we talk about the Potion of Longevity. This potion is rather prominent in Greyhawk. Many important figures in the world have used the potion. Some of them are Mordenkainen, Kieren Jalucian, the Guildmaster of the Guild of Wizardry and King Belvor of Furyondy.
The potion is also talked about in the City of Greyhawk boxed set where a group named the Shapechangers provide an ingredient to Kondradis Bubka, the mage of Exchange, for it.
Potion of Longevity in 5th edition
In 5th edition the potion is rated as a very rare potion that decreases the consumer’s age by 1d6 + 6 (9.5) years. On a 10% chance the effect is opposite making the consumer age for that amount. The chance raises cumulatively, There are also some hints of ingredientd, most notably a tiny beating heart.
How it’s used to be in 2nd edition
In 2nd edition the potion restores only 1d12 (6.5) years. On a 1% chance the effect reverses and all age will be restored. The chance also raises cumulatively. This means the chance that the potion fails is lower but more damaging to the consumer.
Obviously this is in general a preference choice. But, for the Greyhawk setting it makes the most sense to stick with the low percentage failure.
The potion is rather popular with the wealthy and highly magical folk. Kieren Jalucian must have used it a dozen times. This wouldn’t be possible with the 5th edition version
Now we should adress the creation and price of such a valuable potion.
How we tweak it
I think for the Greyhawk setting we use a combination of both potions.
1d6 + 6 years per dosis reduces the variance greatly, which is good for value and enjoyment of your players if they ever find one. The negative effect from 2nd edition is also better for us in my opinion. So 1% cumulative chance to lose all age effects and age increase is our choice.
For creation the City of Greyhawk boxed set describes elvish bone marrow and blood as a key ingredient. The other key ingredient we take is from 5th edition, a tiny beating heart. I suggest this heart must be from an non-adolescent immortal being, a child vampire.
For a reasonable price in 5e one of my favourite sources, 5e Magic Shop, suggests 9000 gp. As we have a more powerful iteration a better price would be 12000 gp.
Kondradis Bubka might buy 20g of elvish bone marrrow and 100ml of elvish blood for 1000 gp and the vampire heart for 4000 gp and then pay Heironymus Tigana, the guild’s alchemist, 1000 gp to concoct the potion.
The potion of longevity gives a lot of room for quests and adventure. The group could find about the Shapechangers illegal torture and murder. Kondradis Bubka is for sure not innocent buying from. Furthermore, where does he get the vampire hearts from?
One source I can suggest could be Ferrenan, Prince of the House of Cranden. He is an evil vampire of Blackspinter in the Great Kingdom. He might use his power to turn children and then ship their hearts to the City of Greyhawk. You can read more of him in the Ivid the Undying supplement.
I hope you liked today’s episode of Mechanics Monday. If you have any feedback or own idea how to tackle this mechanic, comment down below.
For the next episode we will look at Greyhawk’s Human Races in 5e.
See you in the Green Dragon Inn,