Rarity: Depends on spell level
Aura: Depends on spell school
These potions can convert any spell into a ranged attack, or magic item consumable. Spells which target a point in range (such as a conjuration) or at least a single object or creature can be prepared this way. When made into a potion, such spells cannot target more than one creature--if targeting more than one is mandatory, the potion creation fails. (Spells which create areas-of-effect work as expected.)
To use targeting a creature, for the attack action: make a ranged attack roll, 20' normal, 60' long. If you succeed, instead of damage, apply the effects of the spell contained within the potion. If the spell is concentration, you must begin concentrating on it from this point forward for effect; if you can't, no effect occurs. Interruption of concentration from this point on is handled the usual way.
A creature who ingests the potion receives the effect as if they were targeted at Touch range.
Targeting objects or points within range works similarly, but the DM decides the DC based on the circumstances.
If the spell is concentration, the creator of the potion must be able to see the target; otherwise, no effect occurs, and the potion is lost. If the spell isn't concentration, the effect can occur anywhere, with maximum duration, unless the spell allows the caster (creator) to cancel it, which they can perform the usual way (typically an action). (The caster needs to be aware of the effect first, which isn't automatic.)
When targeting creatures that are incorporeal (e.g., in gaseous form), the liquid may hit the creature without shattering the container. If this occurs, treat it as a hit--but the container remains intact (until it impacts something else with enough force), and is now void of the potion itself.
If a potion misses, but hits another valid target (striking another object instead of the one you intended, or, for a point in range, landing next to a creature instead of hitting them), the effects occur to the target actually hit.
The creator loses no spell slots from the use of a potion, only from its creation.
At least 0.5L of potion must be consumed in use (being ingested or thrown) for any effect to occur. Additional volume per use does not further intensify effect.
These potions are created in a manner similar to casting the spell over a small container with 0.5 to 1L of distilled or magically purified water. Although the container may be any material capable of containing the water, it is usually designed to break upon impact. A brittle container, upon fracture, applies its effect to the nearest creature within 5', or loses its effect if there is no such creature. Similarly, any excessively strong container may elicit an additional STR check, at the DM's option, when the thrown potion is used, as above.
To create, gather a container, purified water as above, all of the material components for the spell, any additional materials you might wish to add to modulate the spell (see below), and any other objects required to perform casting (such as a Wizard's spellbook); then, with the water and components in the container, "cast" the spell, consuming a spell slot 2 levels higher than the spell's desired casting level. It takes double the time to prepare the potion as the normal cast of that level (minimum 1 round), and consumes all material components, blending them into the potion, even if the normal cast would not. If the cast can be done as a ritual, a potion can be made without consuming a spell slot in 20 minutes, again consuming all material components.
The appearance and sensation of the liquid, over the period of casting, slowly changes into a final appearance based on the properties of the spell, chiefly by school:
- For abjuration: the fluid is opaque and gray, with a highly reflective sheen, and has no apparent odor.
- For conjuration: if a creature is summoned, by alignment or type:
- For celestials, feys, and other good-aligned creatures: the fluid is a translucent, milky white, glowing slightly (imperceptibly unless in dim or lower light), with a non-descript pleasant odor;
- For fiends, demons, and other evil-aligned creatures: the fluid is a translucent, inky black, glowing slightly red (imperceptibly unless in dim or lower light), with a non-descript acrid odor;
- For neutrally-aligned creatures: the fluid is a translucent, silvery gray, glowing slightly (imperceptibly unless in dim or lower light) with no odor;
...otherwise, if no creature is summoned, the fluid is a translucent, light blue, and odorless, but glows dimly.
- For divination, the fluid is odorless, opaque milky white, and does not glow.
- For enchantment, the fluid is a translucent purple, with occasional sparkles swirling within, and smells of non-descript energy.
- For evocation, the fluid is deeply-colored, opaque, and turbid, adopting properties from the element:
- For fire, it is a deep but bright red, with orange highlights; particles reminiscent of embers swirl within. Attempting to smell it produces a painful, burning sensation.
- For air, it is a bright cerulean or cyan; the fluid always appears to have vortexes within. It is odorless.
- For water, it is a deep, sapphire blue; bubbles spontaneously form and disappear regularly. It is odorless.
- For earth, it is a stone gray, or dirty brown, with occasional gem-like sparkles that are slow to form and disappear. Even when swirled in a transparent container, the sparkles appear to retain their position. It has a distinct, earthy smell.
...further elements can adopt their Aristotlean visage above, or can be more particular as below:
- For lightning and thunder, it is a turbid, cloudy purple. The fluid occasionally flashes with bright white sparks, rarely on the surface, but often glowing deep within the cloudy appearance. It smells acrid, as of ozone.
- For ice and cold, it is a very sparkly, bright white, with particles regularly swirling, as if in a snowglobe. It is odorless.
- For acid, it is mostly black, with cyan or verdigris veins slowly swirling within. It has an extremely sharp odor, and attempting to smell it causes a painful burning sensation.
- For posion, it is a cloudy emerald green, with turbulent, darker clouds within. Attempting to smell it causes a creature vulnerable to its effect to cough uncontrollably for a round.
- For radiant, it is a bright, sunny yellow-white--like the sun, it noxious to look directly at. The fluid, if exposed or visible through a transparent container, provides 60' of bright light, and 60' further of dim light. Smelling it gives a pleasant, warm sensation, but no specific odor; if smelled by undead, a painful sensation also arises.
- For force, it is a glowing, bluish white; occasionally, it flashes even more brightly as a spark visibly jumps within its volume. It is odorless.
...for a combination of elements, the two properties may combine (like pigments, with both scents, etc.), or the fluid may spontaneously change between them. For evocation spells with no associated elements, the fluid is a translucent amber, and odorless.
- For illusion, the fluid is entirely clear and odorless.
- For necromancy, it depends whether the spell principally heals or harms most living (non-undead) creatures:
- If it principally heals, it is a warm, emerald green, and smells of herbal medicine;
- If it principally harms, it is an oily, chilling black, and smells of carion;
...if it is focused specifically on raising the dead as undead, it is a very dark opaque gray, smelling of earth and decay, and produces a burning sensation on touch with the living.
- For transmutation, the fluid flashes over in several deeply-saturated and bright opaque colors, once every few seconds, starting from some point randomly within its volume and proceeding quickly. The smell changes regularly, too, taking on benign, pleasant, or revulsive odors regularly.
Additional ingredients may be added to the preparation for various effects:
- Holy water may replace the purified or distilled water. When the spell targets undead, add 2d6 radiant damage on hit. When the spell would heal a non-undead creature, add 1d8 HP of healing to each creature.
- If the spell does damage, adding a tiny dagger made of precious metal worth at least 10gp adds 1d10 damage. You may add up to 4; further daggers are not absorbed.
- If the spell heals, adding a silken sac of medicinal herbs worth at least 10gp adds 1d10 HP healing to each target. You may add up to 4; further sacs are not absorbed.
...ingredients that cannot be absorbed, because they are not components, are not effective for the spell, are too numerous, or any other reason, remain within the potion, but separate from it, and can be filtered out.
Per Detect Magic, the aura presented about the fluid is the aura of the spell it contains.
Casting Extended Magic Aura on a potion causes it to change both the appearance of the fluid, and the aura per Detect Magic.
There you have it: the longest item description I've written so far--mostly due to the exhaustive descriptions.
It's an extremely flexible template, far more so than the potions listed in the Dungeon Master's Guide, and reasonably powerful. I was hoping to have this used both for some of the homebrew spells as well as any of the usual player spells, and tried to balance for both. (Some of the inspiration does, indeed, come from contingency.)
The big cost of making potions is the fact that the material components are universally consumed, even if they wouldn't be. If they would be, this isn't much of a bane. The "two levels higher" seems like a reasonable cost in some cases (though it doesn't much affect cost since spellcasters refresh their spell slots at the end of long rests anyway), and also sets the effective cap of a "potionable" spell at 7th level, which seems reasonable. Again, with proper preparation, the "double casting time" is hardly a limitation.
As a concession, you can make up to two casts from one potion; affect 1L of fluid, divide it into two 0.5Ls, and use both.
The most significant use of this is extending the range of a touch-range spell. Another not-understatable use is to store hundreds of cantrips worth of spells to release on some unsuspecting creature all at the same time. Still another is to simply invest in saving spell slots in the future by having these ready before the big adventure.
I wrote this template between C2 and C3, about the same time I expanded the "Campaign" directory to have spells--and its first spell, Movement Bind (a touch range spell).