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Mutagens - Making alchemy great.


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Hi everyone,


I feel like alchemy in Skyrim is wasted. I think this is because the fortify-type potions are useless. Why would I bother drinking a fortify light armor potion? I'll just sell it.

I believe most people either ignore alchemy altogether, or just gather bland ingredients and craft bland potions that they sell to Arcadia, without ever drinking something they crafted.

Except maybe a cure disease potion, not to become an ugly vampire. Or a fortify restoration or enchant potion to more or less break the game. The cure disease potion is the only good thing that came out of alchemy imo. But I think I know a way to make alchemy great (not great again tho, afaik it has never been great).


I think fortify potions should give a small, permanent, stacking buff. I love permanent buffs. If I make an archer, I sure woud be exited about finding spider eggs (fortify marksman), crafting and drinking the potion(s), and getting that sweet permanent marksman buff. That sweet permanent buff, I'd call that a mutagen. This way I get the Witcher's fans interested.


I don't think there is such a mod out there. If you know one, please point it to me. If there isn't, I will do it. It would be my first mod.

Here are the things this mod could do:

- grant a dynamic fortify buff for each type of fortify potion (there are like 30), amplitude based on the number of fortify potions you drank

- drinking fortify potions increase the amplitude, with logarithmic diminshing returns

- don't modify the potions themselves, use the event of gaining the fortify-type magic effect instead, so that hopefully the mod would have no compatibility issue

- MCM menu for monitoring the buffs and tweaking the amplitudes and everything

- breakpoints rewards - infinite possibilities. Here's a random idea: after 50 destruction potions, your destruction spells have 10% spell vamp.

- character face becomes witcher-like mutated


Is this already done?

Would you use it? 

Spot any major flaw?


Thanks for your feedback.



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I kind of wish that the "Cure Disease" potion wasn't universal. It would be a lot better if you had to craft potions for specific diseases, or at least categories of diseases.


I also think the idea of more useful boosts is worth looking into, but I don't think making them permanent is the answer.

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For disease specific cure potions there's a mod called Diseased - disease system overhaul which does that.


I also think giving permanent buffs doesn't fit alchemy.

Most of the time potions simply aren't necessary so I don't invest any effort into acquiring them.

Actually getting them isn't much of an effort either, since you can find them all over the place.

I just loot them as sellable goods for the vendor...


You'd need to make the effects much stronger for hard encounters or increase their duration to several ingame hours, so they last for multiple fights.

Otherwise it just isn't worth it keeping them in your inventory for the right occasion.

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If I had to name something then I guess it would be my subjective feeling.

Permanent buffs simply don't fit the image I have of alchemy.

Also potions are like drugs or medicine in that they provide the body with some kind of substance with an effect.

Some effects may be long lasting but would eventually wear off.

Permament effects would mean the body experiences some kind of permanent change, which sounds really unhealthy D:



Permanent buffs could actually work for me, if they come with a trade-off.

Potions that change the body's condition, which has pros and cons.

For example permanent buffs that enhance destruction magic also permanently decreases poison resistance, health, stamina or something else.



A little idea I just got:

Enemies could drop special ingredients with extremly powerful effects when killed using specific poisons.

This could encourage actually using poisons more.

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Permanent buffs seems like it might cause problems, even with trade-off (in fact they might be MORE problematic with trade-offs, because maybe the min-maxing would break something) but what do I know.


But I'd also agree it doesn't fit the "feel" of alchemy, where potion effects have a fixed duration. The idea of just drinking an "intelligence potion" seems rather unexciting. Whereas the "drugs" model (consume a weak potion for a small benefit without drawbacks, consume a very strong potion for a big benefit but with notable drawbacks, all effects temporary, except for things like drug abuse/long-term resistance, which is a separate issue) always felt best.

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  • 1 month later...

Perma buffs from potions would be cool. if i were making such a mod, I'd set it up so that there's brand new potions and set it so that you can only have a certain amount of potion buffs active at once depending on level or maybe alchemy skill.


So something like:

lvl 1-10: One buff at a time

11-20: Two buffs at a time

21-40: Three buffs at a time


and so on and so forth. So the player has to choose what buffs to have active and can switch them out, but has a limited amount and needs to restock etc.


Alternatively, keep them all permanent, but add something called potion sickness so that if you drink too many you start getting debuffs. So the player is forced to drink only one a day. And they could add a small perma buff like 1% and then each potion of the same type has diminishing returns. So maybe the first health potion gives +50 hp. The second gives +25 and so on until eventually you need 5 potions just to get 1 extra point of max hp (something like this would be better with percentages I think.)


Personally, I love passive bonuses in games. i find it weird when game reviewers complain about them and prefer useless situational skills you'll only use once or never at all. I like the idea or my character getting stronger and making all of my skills powerful altogether.

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I made a similar mod but it only affects HP, magicka, and stamina. To keep it balanced, it only deals with special ingredients such as soul gems, vampire dust, briar hearts, falmer ears, etc. When I use it occasionally, it's to give a reason for my character to hunt after vampires, etc. But I find even with very modest increases per potion, it does eventually make my character overpowered over time since the increases are permanent.


I never implemented an MCM so I never published it. The MCM is still one part of Skyrim modding I never dug into, and I don't use this mod often enough to make further development worth my time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would limit the buffs, by making it so you can only have one buff at a time, and consuming another would replace it, that way the size of the buff scales with your skill level. Basically long term skill-scaled blessings in a bottle. 


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  • 4 months later...


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