How does Herbalism work?

I’m sorry I asked this before in the old forum. But now that I have read the chapter about Herbalism again (Book of Skelos), it is again unclear to me how exactly Herbalism works.

  • First, you gather herbs. This is a Survival test and yields generic herbs
  • Then you prepare herbs into concoctions. This is a D0 Survival test and takes a full day.

But these concoctions have nothing to do with the concoctions mentioned in the “Herbal Concoctions” table? Or are they the same thing as the Basic Concoction? Basic Concoctions say they are created from herbs. But it can’t be the same because Basic Concoctions only take an hour to create and require concoctions. I am really confused.

So let’s say I want to create a Healing Poultice and I already know the recipe. What do I do exactly (beginning with harvesting herbs). Can anyone please help me?

Hi Shran

This is how I understand it. You are correct in that first you gather Units of herbs. These Units are then converted into Basic Concoctions (like Ingredients for Petty Enchantments). These Basic Concoctions are then used as the input when making a Herbal Concoction.

So as an example:

Hilda the herbalist goes out to her garden to gather some roots and herbs. She makes a D0 Survival test and succeeds with 1 Momentum. She would have 3 Units of herbs (+1 bonus Momentum for the Herbalist talent).

The next day she brews these into a Basic Concoction with a D0 Survival Test and scores a success with 4 Momentum. I believe at this point she would get 3 Basic Concoctions (the success and 2 of the Momentum…I am assuming that you still need a Unit of herb to get a Basic Concoction) using the last Momentum to cut the time in half (1 day --> half day).

The next day she decides to make a Herbal Concoction. Lets assume she made the Lore test for Healing Poultice sometime in the past, so she knows the recipe. I agree this is where it is a little fuzzy…the test to make the Herbal Concoction. She would make a D0 Healing test (from the description of a Basic Concoction) test to make the Healing Poultice (Herbal Concoction) and she would need to get 2 Momentum on that roll and use up 2 Basic Concoctions (taking 1 hour). She succeeds and now has a Herbal Concoction and 1 remaining Basic Concoction that could be used for any other Herbal Concoction that she might know.

That is my understanding from reading the rules (have not used it in game yet). There is definitely some ambiguity and re-use of words (which is why I capitalized some of the terms to make them more clear), but I think that process would make sense and feels in the spirit of herbalism.


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Thanks for the nice feedback and the example. So you are saying that herbs are converted into Basic Concoctions and that these concoctions are basically the building blocks for everything else. Sounds reasonable, but it raises some other questions.

  1. Basic Concoctions say in the table under Momentum & Concoctions (which indicates the amount of Momentum and concoctions required to create it) “+1 per additional concoction”. This seems to imply that you need concoctions to create Basic Concoctions. Wat?
  2. Basic Concoctions also say “Modifying a basic concoction requires a successful Healing test, with each success allowing 1 concoction to be transformed into the equivalent of a specific concoction”. So is it a Healing set now instead of Survival to create specific concoctions? Or what does that mean?

As far as I understand it, if you already have a Basic Concoction, you can do a Healing test to transform one Basic Concoction into one Healing Poultice, possibly with Difficulty 2 on the test (although this is unclear).

I did see that and updated my example. The description also says a single Unit (my capitalization) of herbs…so I assume for the Basic Concoction that is the input.

I updated my example (I re-read the Basic Concoction description after I sent my reply) to be a Healing test. My assumption is these are all D0 tests, but require Momentum to succeed as opposed to just increasing the difficulty. I actually like, and it does make some sense, that the more refined Herbal Concoctions use Healing. Survival lets you find the herbs and process them. But to make actual medicine you need a more refined skill…Healing.

OK interesting. Yeah I agree using Healing (as in apothecary medicine) to make more refined stuff makes total sense and is quite nice.
When I am re-reading your example, it actually continues to make sense :smile: Maybe that’s how it works. It makes definitely the most sense. But I must say the details for this are very well hidden in the rule book. It is anything but clear.

Anyway, thanks for that and I will use these as my rules unless something official comes along.

On that I definitely agree! :grinning:

Actually just going through this really helped me get a grasp on it too. As with most rules (in most games) it takes these discussions to really get a good feeling for them.

Yeah, sometimes you need a fresh set of eyes.

There is one question about creating specific concoctions though: When doing the Healing test it says that each success turns one Basic Concoction into the equivalent of a Specific Concoction.

Using the healing poultice as an example again, does that mean one success converts one Basic Concoction into one-half healing poultice? This means you need two successes and two Basic Concoctions for a single healing poultice (that part is clear).

The question is can you create fractions of Specific Concoctions if you did not roll enough successes and combine them later? Like make one Healing test and gain one-half healing poultice. Make another Healing test to gain another half healing poultice. The two halves can be combines to a single one.

I am assuming that is just an error. There are multiple places (at least 2) where it says multiple Basic Concoctions are needed to make a Herbal Concoction (the table and Herbal Concoctions sections) while that is the only place it says 1 to 1.

I think if you allowed partial successes it would make some of the harder Herbal Concoctions to easy to make. Even Golden Wine of Xuthal could be made fairly easily in 5 days (1 Momentum per day).

I am with you though in that I think we have come up with a good way to play rule, but I am not sure we have hit it with 100% accuracy on how the developers intended it to work. For me the “big” outstanding questions are 1) How long to convert from a Unit of herb to a Basic Concoction (1 day or 1 hour) and 2) What skill/difficulty (pretty sure Healing) and how long to go from Basic Concoction to Herbal Concoction. From the rules I think it is this last part, creating a Herbal Concoction that is the least clearly defined (at least to me).

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I’m assuming preparing herbs into basic concoctions is D0 Survival and takes 1 day. Processing basic concoctions into specific concoctions is D0 Healing and takes 1 hour.
But you are right, if you could create fractions of specific concoctions it would be just a matter of time to create difficult ones. Maybe this is intended, I don’t know.

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I like your times better than what I had in my example, I will update the example. Making the Basic Concoctions is the real time sink. Converting this to something useful in the field is a shorter time period so as to be useful. No point taking a day to make actual medicine if you patient will be dead in a few hours.

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