Kobold Press

Six Feats for Maximizing Scrolls and Potions

Edmund Garrett -- King Arthur (1901)
In “Magical Trinkets,” I explored how to use the Pathfinder magic item creation rules to create non-consumable rewards suitable for low-level characters, but what about consumable items? Magic potions and scrolls are staples of gaming and fantasy lore. And for all the tricks to reduce the value of a permanent magic item, a potion or scroll still comes in at a far lower cost.

The problem with potions and scrolls is not their gold cost, but the difficulties of using them in combat when it counts. The rules provide that retrieving a stored item is a move action that provokes attacks of opportunity. Drinking a potion or reading a scroll is a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity. With these rules, the cost in both time and potential reprisals is very high—drinking a potion of cure light wounds is rarely going to be worth essentially an entire turn and further damage. Scrolls are slightly less dangerous to use in combat because they allow a concentration check to cast defensively just as a spell does. That said, there remains the issue of retrieving the scroll.

Open Design’s The Complete Advanced Feats ably tackles these issues with the Bottoms Up and Organized Inventory feats. These additional feats also address the problem of the high action and attack of opportunity cost of using potions and scrolls.

Chug

You are experienced at draining drinks quickly and in multiples—an ability likely gained from spending too much time at the tavern waiting for your party to show up.

Prerequisites: Con 13

Benefit: You can drink two potions with one standard action. This feat cannot be used when applying oils. When retrieving a stored item, you may retrieve two potions with the same action. You apply triple your Constitution modifier when calculating how many alcoholic beverages you can tolerate before being sickened (see Pathfinder Game Mastery Guide). You gain a +4 bonus to Fortitude saves against ingested poisons.

Familiar Fetch

You have trained your familiar to fetch small objects for you.

Prerequisites: Ability to acquire a familiar

Benefit: If your familiar occupies your same square at the beginning of your turn, as a swift action that does not provoke opportunities, you may command your familiar to retrieve a stored item from anywhere on your person and place it in your free hand. This consumes a full-round action for your familiar this turn, which also does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Note: Utilizing this feat requires that the familiar be able to manipulate and carry the desired object.

Hidden Flask

You excel at concealing and retrieving hidden reservoirs of liquid—good for the long dungeon crawl or the long day at work.

Prerequisites: Sleight of Hand 1 rank

Benefit: You can retrieve a hidden item as a move action that doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity. You can avoid attacks of opportunity from retrieving a stored item, drinking a potion, applying an oil, or reading a scroll by succeeding on a Sleight of Hand check with a DC equal to the opponent’s Combat Maneuver Defense. You get a +2 bonus on this check and on checks to hide small objects on your body.

On the Go

You can retrieve gear and drink potions while on the move.

Prerequisites: Dex 13

Benefit: You can retrieve one stored item, drink a potion, or apply an oil as a free action combined with a regular move. You gain a +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against attacks of opportunity caused when you retrieve a stored item, drink a potion, or apply an oil. A condition that makes you lose your Dexterity bonus to Armor Class (if any) also makes you lose dodge bonuses.

Scroll-Slinger

Your fingers are especially nimble when dealing with magical scrolls. You never get a paper cut.

Prerequisites: Scribe Scroll, Profession (Scribe) 3 ranks, or Craft (calligraphy) 3 ranks

Benefit: You can retrieve a stored scroll as a swift action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. You gain a +2 bonus to Use Magic Device checks to decipher a written spell and to use a scroll, to caster level checks to cast a spell of a higher caster level from a scroll, and to concentration checks when casting a spell from a scroll.

Shield Inventory

You are practiced at using your shield to guard from enemy attacks while retrieving and using items from your gear.

Prerequisites: Shield Focus

Benefit: When using a shield, you do not provoke attacks of opportunity for retrieving a stored item, sheathing a weapon, drinking a potion, applying an oil, or reading a scroll. When using a heavy shield or a tower shield, you may carry items in your shield hand as though you were using a light shield.

2 Replies to "Six Feats for Maximizing Scrolls and Potions"

RhoOphuichi

February 20, 2013 at 7:33am

Very nice feats for lower-level characters. I like the flavor!

James Wylie

February 26, 2013 at 6:47am

Some might say that these concepts are too niche to waste a feat slot on. I considered this, and it is the reason why most of the feats offer a group of small benefits instead of just one. But I get that many players don’t stray very far from the “math” feats. Here are some easy adaptations if you still want to incorporate them into your game outside of feats:

Under a permissive interpretation of the existing rules, the concept behind Familiar Fetch probably doesn’t require a feat at all once your familiar gets “Speak with master” at 5th level and can just be incorporated into the familiar table.

Sleight of Hand is a very limited skill already, and it would likely not be unbalancing to simply incorporate the Hidden Flask action into the skill itself, similar to avoiding an attack of opportunity with Acrobatics.

The dodge bonus from On the Go could be added to the existing Mobility feat.

Most of these could also be adapted to Traits by dropping some of the additional bonuses and just granting the core concept.