Cats Have No Lord

Alchemy and Potions for Cairn

Alchemy and Potions brings the science of alchemy to the roleplaying game Cairn by Yochai Gal.

With this small expansion, player characters can be trained as alchemists and even brew their own potions.

Alchemy and Potions offers new materials for alchemists, new and unique potions, as well as ideas for how each may be used in play.

Written by Daniel Lyght

Originally published in German as Alchemie & Zaubertränke.

Translated by Luke Simonds

Licensed CC-BY-SA-4.0

Alchemy and Potions

What are Potions?

Potions are magic bottled as a drinkable liquid is glass bottles of various forms and colors. Potions allow characters who cannot use magic to access it in a new way. This may be to eliminate a foe, to heal wounds, or to change generally dismal prospects to their own benefit.

Most potions have a power from the known d100 list of spells. However, there are also some that can provide their own special effects, such as the breath of a dragon or interrupting your own heartbeat.


Potions are usually brewed by trained alchemists. This requires a still, water, heat, the correct ingredients, and of course an appropriate container.

The services of an alchemist may also be retained for a price. Bringing the ingredients reduces the price to only the cost of labor.

The services of an alchemist for a potion cost as follows:

A character can also become the student of an alchemist for 100 gp in order to learn this craft themselves. This requires at least one month of intensive study, with 8 hours per day of learning and experimenting. This time may be split. In this way, 4 hours per day requires two months, 2 hours per day requires four months, and so on. Two hundred forty hours are required all together.

Even so, a teacher is not necessarily required. Self-study with an instructional book is also possible. However, because there is no teacher to help prevent accidents, the character must make a WIL save after each lesson. On a failed save leads to an unsuccessful lesson, and the hours spent are wasted.

Self-study, including the save, may be done multiple times per day, but not longer than 8 hours in total.

Materials GP
Still 35
Bottle 15
Cord (for throwing a potion up to 9 m) 2
Lesson Book 100
Ingredients (any type) 10


Ingredients for potions do not necessarily have to be purchased from an alchemist or at a market. They are also found in nature. A WIL save is required to find them. Searching for ingredients requires one hour. Help from multiple characters is also possible, but each must also make a WIL save. A successful save reduces the time required by half. A failed save has negative effects.


Of course, not all of the spells from the d100 list may be brewed into potions. For example, earthquake is not possible.

Other potions are perhaps not meant for the user themselves. So, the potions of sleep or command may be placed in the drink of an unsuspecting target.

Potions also do not need to be drunk. A potion of icy touch may be poured out in order to have its effect. Many individual thicket potions may be used to conjure up a forest. If a character throws astral prison on an object, it may also be transported into nothingness. The possibilities here are almost endless. However, players should be in agreement about how the effects of a potion work exactly.

Potion Effect GP
Alchemist's Fire When broken, a 5 m high flame appears, lasting for 1 minute. Creatures and objects in the flame take 1d4 fire damage per round 35
Aspect of Nature A piece of an animal must also be added, such as an eagle feather. Improves your abilities related to what was added for 1 hour. For example, the eagle feather allows you to see like an eagle 35
Astral Sight Invisible things, ghosts, phantoms, and all of the supernatural within a 5 m radius may be perceived for 10 minutes 50
Dragon's Breath Spit fire like a dragon and produce a 3 m cone of fire dealing d10 fire damage 50
Liquid Luck One save may be re-rolled within 24 hours. The new result must be taken 42
Shared Suffering Always comes in pairs. When both potions are drunk at the same time, every emotion, every harm and pain, is shared 50/50 with the other creature 50
Hearstopper Your heartbeat cannot be detected for 30 minutes, but your heart continues beating normally 35
New Potential Allows you to permanently switch two attribute scores 100
Stoneform Changes you into a nondescript stone (approximately 1 cu. m) for 15 minutes 40
Water Deflector Keeps all water away from the creature or object for 10 minutes 50