Below are nine different potion delivery techniques that you can sprinkle into your treasure hordes to replace the standard potions. Within each potion alternative is a description of how it works, how it is created, and some potion types or environments that might see this potion as more useful than the standard glass flask.
-The Tart: Baked into a creamy center, the icing on top, or sprinkled as a dust throughout, the magical effects in these edible goods were first intended for recreational potions for the well-to-do. The techniques created by the baker-amateur alchemist that allowed him to get the potions into baked goods without destroying the potency have spread far and wide. Discrete potions like these are useful in many a place where uncorking a bottle to take one’s medicine, or drug, would be unseemly or in situations where a baked good will survive more readily than fragile glass. In some cases, buyers prefer a cherry tart of cure disease rather than the bottle version simply because the taste and texture of the potion leave a lot to be desired, especially if one is trying to get a child or pet to take their medicine.
-Gel: Useful on creatures and races with lots of body hair for effects that benefit from having stable hairs to absorb into rather than skin to evaporate off of or try to exude out from inside after being ingested. Suggested effects are aromatic effects, auras, and protection effects. Potions or spells with multiple modes of operation would benefit from this style of usage, where the different modes are selected by how the gel is applied: slick your hair back for a speed boost or spike it out for defensive thorns. Buff spells are the most common applications of this delivery method, but it isn’t uncommon to see curses spread this way by creature’s with sealed gloves as a touch attack.
-Nasal Spray: Distilled into pressurized, tiny bottles, potions meant to be sprayed up the nose are chosen for the immediacy and potency. Mental effects delivered this way, directly to the brain, take effect more quickly and require a much smaller volume for effect, meaning that the bottle can be as small as a single grape. Superior size, and durability proportional to that smaller size, make for a very attractive package for travellers, smugglers, and any who wish for a discrete potion. Additionally, these find use in hospitals and on the battlefield as a means of applying potions to those with blocked throats. Revivification and truth telling potions are very effective in this form, where the user might not be able to get a potion down a creature’s throat.
–Potion Bark: By taking a regular potion and slowly simmering it down over a continual flame, it is possible to cook down a potion into a thin slab of slightly flexible potion bark. The magical flame and lengthy cook time ensures that the potion does not turn rancid, assuming the alchemist is careful not to over or underheat the potion. This bark will never go bad and incredibly durable, but it cannot be used in its current form. If the bark is stirred into hot water to steep, it will turn back into a potion ready to use. Potion bark is invaluable to explorers, settlers, and anyone needing lengthy potion storage with no chance of spoilage. Basic healing potions and cure potions are most common in this form.
-Insect Host: Leeches, giant mosquitos, stirges, and other bloodsucking insects can be used to store a partial dose of a potion by having them either directly drink blood mixed with the potion or when they drink the blood of someone who had just drunk a potion. Normally these insects would have to be eaten within a few minutes to gain the benefit of the potion before the insect’s digestive juices ruin the magic of the potion, but if the insect is then preserved magically, it will be a perfect vessel for keeping potions intact for as long as the preservative magic lasts. Some ancient insect hunters claim to have recipes allowing the insect to instead be dried while preserving the magic intact in perpetuity. This method of potion preserving is most useful in places heavy in insects, humidity, and heat where glass bottled potions might otherwise not last. Cultures that place no stigma on eating insects will even see this as cheaper than trying to bottle things in glass. Hostile effects are incredibly rare in insect hosts because of the difficulty of getting a foe to bite into an insect.
-Poultice: By mixing a brewed potion with the mud and herbs in a poultice or bandage, the potion effects can be maintained and applied to the wound. These potion delivery systems must have direct access to the bloodstream to work, so it is uncommon to see anything but healing or cure effects on a poultice. However, for creatures with gills or mucous membranes, poultices can be an effective avenue for empowering magics that other creatures cannot use effectively. Applied to unbroken skin, a poultice’s magic takes multiple rounds to take effect.
-Constellations: Magical energy for an effect is used to create an imprint in a crystal such that when a magical light is directed on it, it recreates the imprinted magical spell. This is most useful and only close to cost-effective in the outer planes where gravity and air are not guarantees. To ingest the potion-equivalent, the user will usually hold up the constellation to their eye and a light infused object opposite so the magic is projected straight into their eye, directly to the soul. As can be expected these are highly fragile, volatile, and subject to being set off by accidental magical light exposure. Their cases are usually solid metal enclosures filled with soft but springy treated black wool. Only crystals and glass crafted in limbo are able to capture spells this way.
-Potion Powder: In lands where excruciating heat and a lack of water often results in spoiled or rancid potions, clever alchemists have figured out various methods of slowly and evenly drying out potions into magical salts. Done incorrectly, the magic loses its potency or becomes rancid, but done well, the powder will retain its power indefinitely unless it becomes wet. Eating the powder has the same effects as drinking the potion, although it is tough to down the spoonful of powder in combat. Alternatively, it can be snorted up the nose to take effect although the direct connection to the brain can make addiction more likely.
-Gas Twig: Hollow clay tube containing aerosolized potions, powders, or enchanted gasses. Breaking this open exposes the breaker to the contained effects, or alternatively, breaking it on someone exposes them. Invented by undersea alchemists as standard drinking potions are hard to imbibe and can frequently result in saltwater entering and ruining a bottled liquid, not to mention the pressure differentials put on glass making them impractical at any sort of depth. After a successful ousting of invading pirates owing largely to detonated caches of gas twigs, they quickly gained favor as a versatile item for tactical work, able to deploy both healing and devastating alchemical attacks underwater. Many tube creators keep calibrated weights on hand to manipulate the buoyancy of the resulting container.
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