I'm working on translating some of our old 4th ed materials to 5th ed and I'm running into some questions.

The first question we ran across was Herbalism. There are no rules for it in 5th edition. I've though of and discarded several ideas and I'm wondering if anyone else has thoughts on how to do Herbalism (and by extension Alchemy) in the new edition.

Magical Focus?
Speciality of Verditius Magic?
May the Vis will be with you!

We used Profession: Herbalist, but ended up negging most of it abilities (like bonuses to potions) anyway. Which is a shame, becasue it was pretty central to my character concept.

To clarify, Herbalism, for my purposes, is defined as the Arcane Ability to create potions, etc. (what are now called charged items IIRC). So far the best plan I've come up with are to call it a Minor Virtue with an associated Ability. However, the details remain fuzzy.

The simple idea would be to have it generate a lab total equal to the characters Int + Herbalism + Aura, but IMO that it's nearly enough to make anything worthwhile. I know the original Herbalism skill included a set of bonuses for certain types of potions... alas my 4th ed books are in a storage unit five states away.

Another idea I toyed with is to have the characters Herbalism score determine the magnitude of the potion created, but I'm worried that might be too powerful.


If you want, you can downlad the 4tg ed book for free here.

I'll do things just as you did: have a virtue conferring an Ability that produces fairly pathetic Lab Totals, and have it also give small bonuses to an Hermetic Lab Total (but not add an Ability there).

Although that's a bit wierd, I admit.

How about equating the XP value of the Herbalism Score with the values of the Technique and Form.
XP costs are on page 31 ArM 05.

Herbalism 05 is 75xp.
The closest ART Score is 12 at 78xp.
The [color=darkblue]Technique + Form Total is counted as 12 ( say Creo 04 , Herbam 08 )

Herbalism 10 is 275xp
Art Score 23 at 276xp
tech + form is any combination adding to 23

Work out the equivalent spell of the potion (if you think it is worth doing so) to determine it's magnitude.
I'd just go with the totals given above as being quick to work out.

My attempt:

Herbalism (minor virtue, supernatural)
You are able to create herbal concoctions that can produce magical effects. Choosing this ability confers the Ability Herbalism 1.

Herbalism (ability, supernatural)
You are able to create herbal concoctions that can produce magical effects. These herbal concoctions are treated for all purposes as Charged Items. You generate a Lab Total equal to your Intelligence + Herbalism + Magic Lore + Aura. Herbalism is especially suited to creating items related to healing and health, poisons and antidotes. When creating a charged item with one of these effects, add the lowest of Herbalism or Magic Lore to your Lab Total twice.

Personal opinion only, but I think it a bad idea to have 2 abilities in a total. I'd recommend replacing the Magic Lore with bonuses from the Shape and Material Bonuses (p. 110).


Call me old fashioned. :slight_smile:

IIRC, most of the 4th ed Hedge Magic rules used multiple abilities in a total... as does most Hermetic magic.

This part puts the ability in line with a Magical Focus.
Don't see that it would unduly unbalance things , unless the player also had a similar Magical Focus as well.

Page 179 has the Recovery Total for wounds
You can use your Herbalism Score or Medicine or Chirurgy ,
whichever is highest.
Since wound recovery is Healing you also add +05

Poisons : +05
Antidotes : +05
Healing and Health : +05
Hallucinogens : +03

David Chart suggested that using Shape & Material Bonus from 4th Ed in 5th would not break the game ,
so i was hoping these from 4th would still apply.

Part of my assumption with using Herbalism was having a 'Lab'.
Something like the workshop Brother Cadfael has.
We don't have the new Lab Rules as yet ,
but having spent however many seasons setting one up
would justify an ST giving you the listed bonus.

Considering the amount of stuff Herbalism does (formerly a +01 Virtue) ,
It probably needs an upgrade to Major Supernatural for 5th Ed if it is being used to make various Magical Potions.
Without being a Hermetic Magus anyway.

If it is kept as a minor virtue ,
then a few of the other minor supernatural virtues (like Animal Ken)
probably need to have a few extra applications given to them.

There is also a new Arcane Ability called [color=darkblue]Forest Lore (page 37 , GotF)

Your Score gives you various abilities.
At 03 (Home Forest) or 06 (Foreign Forest) :
You can locate vis in the forest by spending a few days searching.

This would be a good ability to have in Herbalism ,
as it would allow non-hermetics to make magical potions.

Don't own it. Don't want it. So never will.

Honestly, I much prefer games where all the rules you need are in the core book and supplements are just that... supplemental material, nice to have if you want it but not essential. I am developing a bad feeling that the new philosophy toward ArsM is "you need lots of supplements." Nothing will turn me off from the game more.

Well i don't think that it is the new philosophy.
We have been promised 04 new books a year ,
and it pretty much looks like we are getting it.

Personally , i would buy more ArM 05 books than this if they were available.
Not because i have lots of spare cash , but i like the whole "look and feel" of the setting.

If you can't browse a copy of GotF ,
i'm happy to type in [color=darkblue]Forest Lore for you to read.

But do we need four new books a year just for the sake of having four new books?

Please, let's not go down the road D&D is taking with endless supplements, expansions and scattered rules.

Thanks but let's not violate Atlas game's copyright on their own message boards please... or, for that matter, at all. :slight_smile:

Interesting topic Lucius and Ravenscroft, for a new thread perhaps?
Or maybe a moerator could split the thread?

I'm reasonably certain that David or somebody would let me know immediately if excessive copyright violation was occuring.
The description of Forest Lore , if it's likely to help you with your game , may well be covered under fair use.

Hadn't thought about NOT needing more Ars Magica books to be honest.
Start the thread yourself if you want , i'm sure you will find people will respond. :slight_smile:

It's very unlikely that Fair Use would apply to your quoting of Forest Lore, which is protected by copyright. It has a much more limited application than most people believe and generally only applies to teaching a class or writing a review.

Whether or not it would help someone's game, has no impact on the application of Fair Use. Likewise, it does not mean that you can copy a small amount if you aren't making a profit off the copying, which is what most people think it means.

Fair enough.
As i had expected , someone let me know what is acceptable.
The only place i'm likely to be posting any book material are these Fora.
Generally my assumption is that most people here have the books , or are waiting to get them.
When i asked my Linguistics question , i posted a Merit for ease of reading.
Rather than people having to grab sourcebooks to check it.

Herbalism is a topic of interest to me and i was hoping that other people might have feedback.
Forest Lore looked to be a good guideline for use of a Minor Merit , and in balancing 4th Ed merit conversion.

When you write 'Merit', you do mean 'Virtue' right?