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Designed by: Heavyarms

From the designer of the excellent The Complete Armorer’s Handbook (#4 in top my top ten list from 2020), comes its crafting companion, The Alchemy Almanac. The Alchemy Almanac is a comprehensive crafting supplement that adds simple yet engaging rules for gathering herbs, harvesting creature parts, and creating potions.

The book divides potion-making into two sub-categories: herbalism and alchemy. To make either, you’ll need to gather ingredients from plants creatures.

To harvest flora or alchemical reagents (essence), the interested player character need only make a single DC 10 (Intelligence) Nature check while traveling through an area, or while short or long resting.

Success grants a roll on the common flora or essence tables. A 15 or higher can net additional ingredients, or a rare ingredient.

And that’s it for harvesting! Favored terrain, herbalism kits, and certain spells and familiars can help with the check. For creature-harvesting, you’ll need a harvesting kit, five minutes, and a dead creature. Depending on the creature type, proficiency in certain skills can grant advantage (Arcana when dealing with elementals, for example).

Crafting medicinal herbs requires an herbalism kit, which uses INT or WIS, the necessary ingredients (typically one primary and one secondary), and 1 hour, which can be taken during a short or long rest. The DC depends on the strength of the medicine. A simple water breathing medicine is a DC 15, whiled the legendary resistance-granting Hero’s Elixir requires a 28 or higher to succeed.

Ingredients are lost upon failure, lending nice bit of risk when attempting stronger potions. Some potions can also be enhanced using extra ingredients, such as healing tonics proving more hit points.

Alchemy works in much the same way, but with an alchemy kit (INT), and by combining gathered reagents with a purchased alchemical base. Bases have a small monetary cost, while reagents are randomly acquired while harvesting ingredients.

I appreciate the money sink for alchemy, but the reagents are a bit too vague and random. If I need a fire aspect, there’s nothing for me to do but hope I randomly roll for one while making the Nature check.

alchemy heavyarms pic

Over 100 recipes for medicinal herbs and potions are provided. Some are drawn directly from the base game, such as the Potion of Climbing, Alchemist’s Fire, or Dust of Disappearance. But there are plenty of cool new options as well.

Mastermind bestows a temporary Mage Hand. Wolfsbane can be applied to ammunition to deal extra damage to shapechangers, and force them to revert to their true form. Jabberwock Potion triggers several wild magic surges, and the Watchman’s Ward ensures you can rest in dangers areas while remaining vigilant.

The fourth chapter feature an optional alchemy guild. The guild could act as a group patron, or a simple side activity that allows a PC to pay tuition, rise through the ranks by crafting potions, and receive tangible benefits in return.

The final chapter includes several new player options, including subclasses, magic items, and feats, all of which are themed around alchemy and harvesting. I’m always thrilled to see new player options, though only the Wizard School of Potioncraft makes good use of the theme, creating a wizard subclass that harvests, crafts, and even drinks potions much more effectively than anyone else.

Not only is The Alchemy Almanac one of the best 5e crafting books I’ve reviewed, it’s also one of the best-looking, featuring full-page art, professional layout, and more tables than you could ever need. Nearly 10 pages of tables detail all the new recipes and ingredients, including their costs, strength, and page references, as well as a page of detailed ingredient descriptions and fillable PDF inventory sheets.

If you (and at least one player) are at all interested in a potion-crafting system in D&D 5e, The Alchemy Almanac is easily worth a look.


  • Intuitive crafting rules are simple yet engaging.
  • Over 50 herbal medicine recipes and over 60 alchemical potions.
  • Three new subclasses, along with several feats, magic items, and invocations.
  • Detailed appendices and tables for recipes, harvest loot, and item prices.
  • Gorgeous illustrations and professional layout.


  • Alchemy essences are disappointingly vague and random.
  • New Druid and Cleric subclasses are lame and boring.

The Verdict: The Alchemy Almanac provides a comprehensive, intuitive, and engaging potion and medicinal crafting system for 5e, along with over 100 recipes and new player options to satisfy any budding alchemist.

A review copy of “The Alchemy Almanac” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

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