This week is something of a hodge-podge of items that would never merit their own week, but that have been on my list for some time. They’re things that I hope one day to put into a Mind Weave resource on alchemy, but for now are just part of the things I’m making up on the fly to keep up with players doing alchemy in my games.
Alchemists living in appropriate climates may keep an apple tree near their laboratory for the chance of having a freezing rain that leaves behind these icy shells. Others, not trusting such things to chance, might facilitate such a storm to get the ghost apples they need.
These ice shells left when the frozen apples rot away are sometimes used as ingredients in potions, but more often they are treated to make the freezing more permanent and used as containers for potions that demand a container made by nature and not by man. They are not used frivolously, but some solutions reject glass, and ice can be hard to shape otherwise. Still others will not sit in a container shaped with tools.
Branches Cut in the Fall, Blooming in Spring
I like for powerful effects to be obtained through the use of seemingly contradictory ingredients. This is one I found in my own backyard after letting branches sit through the winter. Having obtained this ingredient by accident, I suppose it isn’t as unusual as it seems at first glance, but it certainly requires some forethought to make a potion calling for them.
Why might an alchemist cut branches in fall and keep them until they bloom in the spring? The symbol of life manifesting itself in a dead limb might be vital to a potion meant to revive the fallen, or at least to keep them fighting a little longer when life has left them.
Ingredients like this for a justification for supplies to be short and the delay to make more to be long. When you approach an alchemist in the summer and buy out all he has of a potion he made in spring with ingredients limited by his prediction in fall of what he would need, it leaves none to be had until the next spring, but at least this fall he can cut more than in previous years. Much worse to find his shelves empty in winter and his supply to be made in the spring limited already by what he cut in the fall.
The astute reader might have already realized “octupi don’t have bones, they’re invertebrates.” And so I add another to my list of contradictory ingredients. This particular ingredient might actually be impossible to obtain, whether it appears in a recipe written intentionally to be unpreparable, or whether it means something else unexpected to the person who wrote the instructions, this particular requirement for a potion should make an alchemist think twice about the amount of trust they are putting in their source.