31 January 2010

Classic D&D healing herbs

While I’m not a fan of much buying and selling of magic in classic D&D, I do want to try giving the players some access to accelerated healing beyond cleric spells. I was always a fan of the herbs in Rolemaster that could be used for healing and curing various conditions. So, my plan is to have some herbal treatments available for sale.

Let’s say a single dose heals the equivalent of one day’s rest: 1–3 hp. Based (perhaps only loosely) on the cost of living I’d come up with for the Keep, I decided an herbalist at the keep might sell a dose for 50 gp. Typically 5–10 doses (1d6+4) would be in stock.

Then I found the information about brewing potions from the (Cook/Marsh) Expert guidelines. A standard healing potion (equivalent to the clerical spell Cure Light Wounds: 2–7 hp) would cost a mage 500 gp and one week to make. An alchemist could do it for 250 gp in half a week.

So, let’s call the herbalist an alchemist who is selling to the public (rather than being on retainer like the alchemists in the book). So they’ll have to add a mark-up to that 250 gp in order to make a profit. I’ll double it.

I came up with this list of products:

  • Minor healing herbs, 1–3 hp, 250 gp, 2–16 (2d8) in stock
  • Major healing herbs, 2–7 hp, 500 gp, 1–7 (2d4-1) in stock
  • Universal disease treatment, 1,500 gp, 0–3 in stock (d4-1)
  • Universal antidote, 2,000 gp, 0–2 (d3-1) in stock

I priced the 1–3 hp version at half the regular “healing potion” cost. Also available are the equivalents of Cure Disease and Neutralize Poison. Treatments for specific diseases or poisons could be available at lower costs.

I might come up with some rules for foraging so that the PCs could find some ingredients to sell to the herbalist as well.


Shayne said...

There was a Dragon magazine article on herbs reprinted in one of the "Best Of" compilations (I'm thinking V).

I've since become a pharmacist since I last read it. You've inspired me to dig it out!

Matthew James Stanham said...

Sounds like the Adventurers Economy at work again. :)

Although my own campaign economy is set to a lower scale, I think I went with healing herbs at a fifth (or maybe a tenth) of the price of a potion of healing, as the effect is not immediate. I did the same as you with regard to the amount healed, however, which is to say 1-3 HP. Later on I changed it to 2-4 HP.

Generally speaking, I think the idea is a good one, adding another resource management element to the game.

Antonio said...

There are simple guidelines for foraging in the Mentzer Expert set, they might be useful here.