Craft (herbalism)

Craft (herbalism) (Int)

Two Craft skills, Craft (alchemy) and Craft (herbalism), are slightly different from the other Craft skills. These skills are not open to all characters, since in the Hyborian kingdoms they are widely regarded as belonging to sorcerers and witches. They have separate entries on the Skills by Class table for this reason. Craft (alchemy) involves making magical preparations, while Craft (herbalism) involves making purely herbal potions as well as other natural products such as serpent venom.

Craft (herbalism) is also unusual in that the raw materials for it are not usually available for purchase but must be gathered by the herbalist himself. This means, in effect, that there is no cost for raw materials but that the character with the Craft (herbalism) skill must spend a day or more foraging for raw materials before he begins the actual manufacture of the herbal preparation. This foraging must take place in an environment and area in which the requisite plants actually grow, of course. Thus, it is often necessary to spend a certain amount of time travelling before materials may be gathered and the character may well face various problems, at the discretion of the Games Master, including hostile natives, predatory animals, weird monsters, ghosts, demons and other difficulties.

Each day you spend foraging, assuming you are in the right place, make a Craft (herbalism) check. The DC is dependent on the plant you are looking for and the location in which you are foraging. You may not take 10 on this check, as it is essentially random whether the plant you are looking for is available in the area you are searching. If you succeed, you have found and gathered sufficient quantities of the plant to make one dose of the appropriate drug; if you roll more than the DC, you have found enough for one additional dose for each +1 that you roll over and above the amount required. You gain a +1 circumstance bonus to this check for each day beyond the first that you spend looking for the plants, as you narrow your searching area.

If you are in a location in which several different useful plants grow, you can gather several different plants during the same day. Make a separate Craft (herbalism) check for each type of plant, though you suffer a –2 circumstance penalty to each check for each type of plant beyond the first.

In most cases, fresh herbs must be turned into the final preparation within 2d6 weeks of being picked or they deteriorate and become completely worthless. If you do not have time to prepare your finds right away, you can spend a day with a Craft (herbalism) check (DC 15) to dry them out so as to preserve them for up to a year. In this case, you will need to make a further Craft check to transform the herbs into the final preparation. This final Craft check is made like any other Craft check, with the check result being compared to the DC and the total cost of the herbal preparation. The only difference is that there is no raw materials cost, since the raw materials have already been gathered. Furthermore, you need only roll a total equal to the silver piece value of the products, rather than five times the silver piece value. The high price of herbal products is more a reflection of the dangers and difficulties involved in gathering their ingredients than the time and skill involved in brewing them up.

Item Craft Skill Craft DC
Yellow Lotus Resin Herbalism 15
Black Lotus Juice, Grey Lotus Blossom, Black Lotus Wine, Black Lotus Powder Herbalism 20
Black Lotus Blossom, Green Lotus Blossom, Purple Lotus Juice, Golden Lotus Juice Herbalism 25

Note that it is possible to prepare a large batch of an herbal product at once, such as when you have large quantities of the plant and need to begin Crafting it into a preparation right away before it rots. However, if you do this, you will not have any finished product until you have made the whole batch. In effect, you are simmering the whole lot together in one cauldron and cannot draw off any for use until it is all prepared.

For versatile plants such as the black lotus, which can be used for a variety of different preparations, each plant you gather will provide enough to make one dose of each of the various preparations.

Plant or Animal DC to gather (by location)
Apples of Derketa 20 (jungles of northern Black Kingdoms)
Black Lotus 25 (jungles of northern Black Kingdoms), or 20 (banks of Zarkheba River)
Golden Lotus 30 (jungles of Khitai)
Green Lotus 20 (jungles of Khitai)
Grey Lotus 25 (Swamps of the Dead beyond Khitai)
Purple Lotus 25 (ghost-haunted swamps of southern Stygia)
Yellow Lotus 15 (jungles of northern Black Kingdoms)

For example, Ankh-af-na-Khonsu is searching for the dreaded black lotus on the banks of the Zarkheba River. His Craft (herbalism) skill is +19 and he rolls a 13 for a total of 32 on the first day, finding 13 doses of lotus: one for meeting the DC, +12 for rolling 12 above the DC. He has come a long way, so he braves the man-apes, poisonous foliage, were-beasts and demons of that notorious jungle for a second day and rolls a 4, +1, for a total of 24. He thus finds five more plants: one for meeting the DC, +4 for getting 4 above the DC. With a total of eighteen black lotus plants in his basket, he heads north for the relative civilisation of Kush.

Ankh-af-na-Khonsu decides to pause and make up his various preparations before his plants begin to rot. He plans to make black lotus wine, black lotus juice, black lotus blossoms and black lotus powder. First of all, he spends a day drying his finds with another Herbalism check (DC 15), which he passes by taking 10.

He makes up batches of 18 doses of each preparation and simmers away. The total time it will take him to make these is dependent on his Craft (herbalism) skill checks but in effect he needs to make a total of 42,300 sp worth of preparations: 18 × 300 sp = 5,400 sp for the black lotus powder, 18 × 50 sp = 900 sp for the black lotus wine, 18 × 1,250 sp = 22,500 sp for the black lotus blossoms and 18 × 750 sp = 13,500 sp for the black lotus juice.

Ankh-af-na-Khonsu is simply going to take 10 with each roll so as to save time and reduce his margin of error. He starts with the powder. He rolls 10 + 19 = 29 each week, allowing him to make 29 × 20 = 580 sp worth of progress each week. It takes him a total of 10 weeks to make 18 doses of black lotus powder. Next he makes the blossoms, making 29 × 25 = 725 sp worth of progress each week. It takes him another 32 weeks to make the full 22,500 worth of blossoms. Next he makes the wine, which is also DC 20, so again he makes 580 sp worth of progress per week; two weeks later he has 18 doses of the wine. Finally he makes the juice, again a DC 20 job, which takes him 24 weeks more. In total, he has spent over a year and a quarter on making herbal preparations, plus gathering and travelling time. On the upside, he has enough black lotus powder to last him for several bouts of intense sorcery, enough wine to sell to fund his journey back to Stygia in style, enough blossoms to have 18 wild lotus-dreams and enough juice to poison all his superiors in the Black Ring sorcerous society, if he can just find someone to deliver the doses…

Craft (herbalism)

Hyborian Roads Astenodar