In the 4th edition, one could take Alchemy and/or Herbalism as virtues (and would then have a corresponding ability at level 1). They gave various bonus for brewing and distilling powders, poisons, potions, ..... I realize Mysteries (5th) has alchemy virtues related to a variety of projects (vis distillation, finding new material and shape bonus, elixers of life...). I'm not talking about those.
Question is this:
why did the designers eliminate these virtues?
if they were introduced back into the 5th edition for use by companions and magic would there be any design concerns (too powerful, irrelevant...)?
Seems like one could make a perfectly interesting witchish companion with those virtues.
Herbalism may return in the [color=blue]Hedge Wizard book.
Only David Chart could say for sure why they were left out.
I can't find an actual posted quote , but iirc ,
David Chart suggested that the 4th Ed bonus granted by these virtues could be used directly in 5th Ed.
A Minor Virtue normally only grants a +02 / +03 bonus to something.
(there are exceptions)
But as you are paying higher XP for an Ability in 5th Ed , it should balance out.
I was trying to work out how to add Herbalism to City & Guild.
My guess would be that the Score in Herbalism would substitute for the Craft Score and the appropriate bonus added.
Due to the lack of info on how much one can produce in a Season , it is not workable at the moment.
(Medicines , Potions , Salves)
It also begs the question of how a bonus from Herbalism or Alchemy would stack with Apothecary or Medicine.
One hack could be to take Herbalism or Alchemy as a Magical Focus, which add a bonus when your character does "Herbalist" or "Alchemist" things. Admittedly, this is a bit vague, but I'm sure that your troupe can thrash out some guidelines as to what counts and what doesn't.
in 4th ed. rules i have a companion who is an alchemist\inventor with no magical abilites and have found him to be a very helpful and powerful chr. i do not have the 5th ed rules but am a little upset to find that those options are gone
I see no reason why a companion/specialist/npc type couldn't be built with a 4th ed style Alchemy or Herbalist Virtue, effectively using the 4th ed description. (almost no reason - see below*)
As for magi, I think because the new 5th ed spells tend to be lower in magnitude for the same effect, it might have been seen as far too powerful, allowing Hermetic (as well as "mundane"?) potions to pack a much larger whallop than ever intended in 4th ed.
Just a guess, but that's where I'd put my money.
(* You'd want to sketch out a specialized/focussed Alchemist of both stripes, both Mage and Companion/NPC, and see what magnitude of effect they could crank out, and whether that would be a problem for game balance in your saga.)
I never understood how they were supposed to work. Sure, they gave you a S&M-like bonus like '+5 healing', but unless I can't read, nowhere did it say what the bonus was supposed to apply, nor how the talent was supposed to be used.