Refillable Potions (3.5e Variant Rule)
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Potions are often maligned and unused. Often people don't buy any, except for perhaps a dozen or more potions of Cure Light Wounds if they cannot gain access to a wand, and this is mostly because potions are a consumable money sink which few players are willing to invest in. This variant strives to address that issue by changing the way potions work.
How It Works
Uncountable ley lines cross the world, each one carrying within it a measure of the magic that suffuses the world, transporting the energy and keeping it vital, flowing, and suffusing areas with the energy they require to power magical effects. Often arbitrarily located, they might traverse great tracts of terrain, but almost always seem to congregate at places where powerful events have occurred, where creatures of great power dwell, or simply where dozens, if not hundreds of lives have lived and died as part of their natural lives. Nodes of power tend to be static, but can move almost erratically as ley lines shift, either gradually or alarmingly quick depending on all the factors surrounding their existence.
Where ley lines cross, however, something extremely interesting happens. These places are called nodes of power, and they can be used to cause a vial which once housed a potion to regain the power that it once contained. When filled with regular water, either conjured through create water or filled by some more mundane method and placed where the ley lines cross, the vial becomes filled once more with the potion it originally held.
Nodes of power, as decided by the DM, often fill the world. These can be found through the use of the following skills: Knowledge (Arcana), Knowledge (Local), Knowledge (Nature), Spellcraft, and Survival. With a result of 15 or more, the character knows if there are any nodes of power within 30' (as well as their direction and how far it is), increasing by 30' for every 5 points by which the check was beaten. The sense can penetrate barriers, but 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of wood or dirt automatically blocks it. This check can be retried at will, and carries no penalty on a failure. Each node has a certain power level, as decided by the DM.
When a node of power has been located, any number of expended potions whose caster level is equal or less than the power level of the node can be placed upon it, and if the vials are filled with water, the vials regains the power of the potion that filled it. Each node of power can only refill a potion in such a way once every 24 hours.
Some potions, known as draughts, are created to capture the essence of a creature when it departs the mortal coil, though these are expensive, costing five times as much as a normal potion would. For ten minutes after a creature is killed, a character can concentrate for the length of one minute to infuse some of its essence into one of these draughts. This acts as a temporary power node, whose power level is equal to the HD of the creature, but which can only power a single potion, regardless of its power level. To create one of these, in addition to the normal components, the creator must have the echoing spell] feat.
Even rarer than draughts are elixirs, special potions which have been made to be drawn, drank, and placed back into a container as a swift action (though one still requires a free hand to do so). However, with the power comes a price and cost fifteen times the normal cost of a potion, and in addition to requiring the creator to have the quicken spell feat in addition to the normal components required.
Potions can be bother draughts and elixirs when all the proper requirements are fulfilled; however, this combination requires even more investment by the creator, costing thirty times the normal cost of the potion.
Darren, a level 12 fighter, has three potions, a potion of Cure Light Wounds (CL 1), a potion of Shield of Faith (CL 4), and a potion of Fly (CL 10), all of which he paid five times the normal cost, in order to allow them to be refilled by the death of powerful creatures.
Having expended all three potions, Darren confronts and kills a monster that possesses 15 HD. By harvesting some of the creature's essence, he is able to refill one of his expended refillable potions, and he chooses the potion of Fly.
Later, Darren stumbles upon a node of power, whose power level is 4. There, he is able to refill both his potion of Cure Light Wounds, and his potion of Shield of Faith, but not his potion of Fly as its caster level is too high for the node of power.
Some DMs may wish to limit players from abusing the 15-minute work day, and with that in mind, one can make it so that characters can only regain per-day abilities if they rest at a node of power for 8 hours (for example, wizards might regain "mana", clerics might refill their divine receptacle, and so on, by resting at these meeting of leylines). In such cases, each individual node of power can only allow characters to regain their ability once every 24 hours, though this amount of time may be changed according to the DM's needs.