DriveThruRPG Review – Potions Unlocked

New optional rules, merchants, adventure hooks, and over two dozen highly-detailed potions.

A review copy of “Potions Unlocked” was provided by the publisher. Find more reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Splinterverse Media

Potions are usually little more than an afterthought in magic item supplements. A few sentences, pick a buff spell, and boom there’s a D&D 5e potion! Not so with Potions Unlocked, which treats each of its intricately detailed potions with as much loving care and attention as the alchemists who make them.

Potions Unlocked is a 100-page supplement dedicated to potions, including new optional rules, and over a dozen pages of potion shops, traveling merchants, and a full-blown wizard academy for learning how to make potions.

Optional rules add potion servings, mishaps, side effects, wild effects (including a Wild Magic-esque d100 table), and an entire crafting system. New delivery methods add inhalation and contact, effectively turning many potions into grenades or melee attacks.

If you enjoy randomized tables, you’ll probably enjoy installing at least some of these new rules into your game. The only one that’s too much for me is the actual potion-making. I’m fine using a series of Arcana checks to craft potions, but the rules are poorly organized and quickly get bogged down in individual quantities and prices for ingredients.

The 30 new potions take up the bulk of the supplement. Impressively, the designer opted for a quality over quantity approach; each potion is given a full page or more of detailed information and lore, including its effects, warnings, descriptions, and lengthy origin stories.

I only expect this much detail for legendary artifacts, certainly not potions! While there are some crazy powerful legendary potions here (with equally insane crafting requirements), they include a variety of rarities and effects.

There are grenades of single-target silence and vulnerability-exploiting barbs,  cool buffs that crystalize skin, transform into a fiery form, grow angelic, AC-boosting wings, and sprout four tentacles, Doc Ock-style!

blood of the beast

My favorite potions think way outside the box (vial?) when it comes to potion design. The Ink of Intention isn’t a drinkable potion but an ink well, and can be used to write a magical command that could buff, debuff, or heal a target, provided you write it with their true name.

The Siphon Serum can pull a humanoid creature’s head into its jar, granting the potion-bearer that creature’s racial traits, such as a goblin’s nimble escape or a duergar’s magic resilience. You could design an entire subclass around this ability!

Each entry is accompanied by an awesome, huge piece of art showcasing the potions’ unique designs, such as a floating head, wings and halo, or a snarling beast. The layout and production are impressive throughout, including pictures of plants and trees with harvestable ingredients, and maps and portraits of merchants and other potion NPCs.

The NPC section is just delightful, with several traveling merchants, alchemists, and shop owners ready to peddle their wares, help adventurers, and teach interested parties how to craft potions and identify ingredients. The awesome shop maps were created by a variety of artists, and include high-res versions as well as VTT-friendly grids and non-grids.

Potions Unlocked is an excellent resource for grabbing unique, high-end potions, adding new potion-related rules, and dropping in some friendly alchemists and merchants.

Pros:

  • Over 25 intricately detailed, creative potions, including sensory descriptions and backstories.
  • Optional rules for potion-making, delivery, servings, and side effects.
  • Several fun potion shops, traveling merchants, and even a bull-blown wizard academy.
  • Wonderful artwork on nearly every page, including maps of shops and over 30 creative images for potions.

Cons:

  • Potion-crafting is a bit too fiddly.

The Verdict: With a hundred pages of optional rules, colorful artwork, and creative potion designs, Potions Unlocked should more than satisfy a group’s alchemical desires.

A review copy of “Potions Unlocked” was provided by the publisher. Find more reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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