Game Mechanics A Question of Alchemy...

Okay, so the project I'm working on involves a lot of crafting of items. There are various skills related to this, and levelling up these skills allows you to make better versions of items. This is fairly straightforward for most things: a piece of armor made by a more skilled smith will provide higher defense, magic-based items are stronger as your enchanting skill grows, etc. For certain potions created with the alchemy skill, this will also work, as healing potions can provide more of a boost if mixed by skilled alchemists. Where I'm having trouble coming up with a solution is in making potions that remove status effects. If a potion removes poison, for example, what is the benefit of a well-made potion over a poorly made one? Both remove the poison effect. I've had a few ideas about this, but I'm not really fully enthused about any of them, so I thought I'd run some of them past brighter minds than mine, or see if any of you have any ideas I haven't thought of. Here are solutions I've already entertained:

1) Players with a higher alchemy skill can make multiple potions at once. I don't want to do this because the plan is to include the bottle/flask as one of the crafting components, and it doesn't make sense to get three bottles worth of potion when you only use one empty bottle to start with. I'd be willing to ditch the bottle-as-component thing if I can't come up with a better solution, but I'd rather come up with something else.

2) Have each potion have certain odds of working, i.e. a poorly made potion has a one in ten chance of actually curing the status effect its supposed to cure, whereas a well-made potion will work every time. I think this could work in some games, but mine isn't meant to be extremely difficult.

3) Similar to #2, you could have it where a poorly made potion actually has a chance to harm the user. This makes a certain amount of logical sense, but that leads back to the same difficulty issue. Killing yourself with a badly made potion seems a little Dark Souls-y. Not a bad thing, but not what I'm going for.

4) Better-made potions could be so potent that you need to use less of them to get the same effect, i.e. a badly made potion could be a one-use item, while a well-made potion could be used multiple times. I don't necessarily want to add a "how many uses are left" variable to an inventory system that already has to keep track of the same items with different levels of quality, but this could be avoided by downgrading the quality of the potion (use a "great" potion, and it becomes a "good" potion, a "good" potion becomes a "poor" potion, and a "poor" potion simply disappears from the player's inventory). I may go with this idea, but I'm not thrilled by it.

5) Better made potions provide buffs, not only removing a status effect but making you more resistant to it in the future. Which is not a bad idea...

6) Potions that remove a status effect just remove a status effect, regardless of the skill of the alchemist that made it. If I'm remembering correctly, I believe that this is how Skyrim did things.

If any of you out there have any ideas, I'd love to hear them. Which of these ideas makes the most sense to you, or do you have some other idea I haven't thought of? Thank you all in advance!


I think the Skyrim approach (n. 6) makes sense, unless you have "tiers" of poisons in your game you can't remove half poison with a poorly made potion. You could instead work on the "cost" of making a potion in this case, like requiring less materials to craft the same poison removal potion. Or simply go with 6, but increase how much you can sell the potion for.


Number 5 sounds like your best bet to me. You could push it a bit further by having the early novice potions not outright removing the status, but to merely decrease the effects.

Like, the basic Poison Antidote decreases the duration of poison by 50%. (only once, if you're poisoned again you get the full effect.)

Lvl. 2 Poison Antidote, decreases duration AND damage by 50%.

Lvl. 3 Instantly cures poison.

Lvl. 4 Instantly cures poison, and reduces all poison damage by 50% over the next minute.

Lvl. 5 Instantly cures poison, and gives you full poison immunity for 2 minutes.

And if you want to push the idea even further:

Lvl. 6 does NOT cure poison, but instead makes poison damage heal you over the next 30 seconds. If you're still poisoned by the time the 30 seconds are up, poison is then cured.

You could play with similar concept for other statuses, with each potion slowly moving from reduce effect to remove effect to turn effect into a positive.
You could instead work on the "cost" of making a potion in this case, like requiring less materials to craft the same poison removal potion. Or simply go with 6, but increase how much you can sell the potion for.
Both of these ideas would actually work really well for my game. Part of me feels the need to justify in-game why you can sell a potion for more money when it does the same thing as the potion you just sold on the cheap, but I don't think most players would over-analyze the reasoning like I would.

You could play with similar concept for other statuses, with each potion slowly moving from reduce effect to remove effect to turn effect into a positive.
I like this a lot. It could add an additional layer of strategy to battles and change how players handle certain foes. Some status effects don't necessarily have an opposing effect that's so obvious as "poison now heals you," but that could easily be worked around. Thank you both!


if you don't want to go with the best cure giving positive effect you could also have your effect (like poison) have a "quality"

so someone with a poor poison effect just need a poor (or better) poison cure.
for a good poison effect you would require a good or better poison cure, or alternatively you would need multiple cure of a lower level tier to cure a better effect (like 2 poor cure to cure a good effect).
all depends how you want to balance your game and the granularity you want to give to those things.
That might be a little too granular, but on the other hand it might play into the quality level of weapons (the higher quality a poisoned weapon is, the stronger the poison it inflicts).

Definitely something to think about.


poisons are easier to scale than most status effects. You could easily make them give you an antidot buff that allows them to negate x amount of damage over y time. Then it is easy for later enemies to inflict larger damage poisons that last longer and the low level potions would still help but not as much. scaling things like a silence effect is much more difficult either you have it or you don't, and it feels a little artificial to only restore level one spells when one two and three were blocked.
Yeah, those you have-it-or-you-don't effects are what's giving me a little trouble, since you can't do the "opposite" effect ("You tried to use a status effect that puts me to sleep? Well, I'm WIDE AWAKE now, buddy!"). I'm basically trying to determine what would be the coolest/most exciting way from a gameplay standpoint for status effects to backfire on the user, something like "not only does poison now heal you, but you can poison others by touch." I have some ideas for certain status effects, while some are a little trickier.


one thing you could do for the off or on statuses is make the lower level spells just reduce the duration like maybe higher level sleeps last longer that lower levels and the removal could be as simple as reduces effect duration by x seconds.


šŸ§ *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
If your game system allows variable ailment durations and severities, you could have weaker potions remove less duration/severity so you need to consume multiple of them to get the effect of a good potion. For instance, if poison lasts 120 seconds by default, the weakest antidotes might remove 60 seconds of poison (cutting it in half), while a stronger one might remove 120 seconds (curing basic poison instantly) and the best ones removes 9999 seconds, curing you of any and all poison at once, including from the pesky blowdart frog champion whose whole gimmick is to force you to deal with incurable poison.

If the effect can't be negated or granularized, you could always stick unrelated (but justifiable) positive effects onto the potion as well. For instance, if you use an AntiSleep++, you get cured of sleep and also get a speed and evasion buff if you were asleep. Adding a resistance to the ailment for X time feels like a natural choice, since chances are whatever hazard causes the negative effect will still be around the next turn, and if you can get resistance to it, you'll need to spend less potions to stay afloat.
First of all, thanks to everyone that replied. The battle system is turned based, so while reducing an effect by x seconds wouldn't work, reducing it by x turns might. I don't really have tiers of status effects (weak poison, strong poison, etc.), and most status effects fall into one of three categories: effects that last for a specific number (or range) of turns, effects that have certain odds of going away at the end of the character's turn, and effects that stay until the end of the battle once applied. Equipment can provide resistance to status effects, so there's already a system in place for increasing resistance that could solve my issue, with resistance increasing as potion quality goes up, up to full immunity for the highest quality. I really like the concept of adding other effects, as many of you have mentioned, but I think increased resistance may be the most straightforward solution both from a programming standpoint and for players to conceptualize.

Thanks again for everyone's input.