Alternatives to Potion fruits

I don’t know about how you manage potions in your game, but I never liked the concept of “Potion Fruits”. Beside that, it always made me wonder what was the form of “potions” found in old ruins.
On the contrary I really like the psionic tattoos that are more in-line with the DS setting IMHO.

So I’ve come up with some alternative ideas for liquid potions and fruit potions, which you may find useful in your game :

  • Balms: Instead of consuming a potion or a fruit, characters could quickly apply a balm or ointment to their skin (like oils and Keoghtom’s ointment). Could take a full round rather than a simple action to get the effect depending on how you see it and the container of the balm.
  • Fruit pastes (“gummies”): These square, round, or rectangular fruit pastes can be consumed to have the same effect as a potion or fruit potion (the most close to potion fruits, but with a more standardised volume and form, more easily and quickly eaten than fruit, and without rot or dehydration).
  • Infused stones: Rare stones, imbued with magic, could be used. Simply squeezing the stone could activate its effect, turning it into dust.
  • Breakable amulets: Fragile items (like clay or some kinds of wood) that, when broken or crushed, release their power.
  • Temporary tattoos: Once the spell or effect is activated by a simple action, similar to psionic tattoos, the tattoo disappears.

I especially like and use the infused stones and breakable amulets, as I see many athasian wearing necklaces and string bracelets with stones or decorated clay amulets. The mechanics of accessing and using infused stones and breakable amulets remains similar to using classical potions while having a “special touch” that makes sense in Athas as I see it.


I got the idea from someone here, although I cannot remember who, that defilers use small obsidian spheres to imbue magic, because potion fruits don’t work with their aesthetic. The spheres magically dissolve in the users digestive tract.
However, I like all of your ideas as well and I say, use them all. Maybe Draj uses tattoos, Nibenay uses amulets, and Gulg uses balms?

Potion orbs are in the 3.5e DS Rules, so somebody probably passed that info on to you.

We also used potion orbs in the Dead Lands releases, as fruit is incredibly scarce and obsidian is incredibly common in the Dead Lands.

I’ve also seen candles and clay/ceramic tiles used in place of potions, and the Red Guards in Wisdom of the Drylanders/Faces of the Forgotten North use spelltwigs.

Plus, 3.5e has single use psionic tattoos that are effectively psionic “potions”, through they don’t really mesh well with 2e psionics.

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Maybe dried mushrooms

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We had a druid making cheese with potion fruit lemons. Restored PSPs. If you ate the fruit it was stronger and if you ate the cheese you had to eat a good portion of the wheel. That was fun to run as you just can’t eat a wheel of cheese mid combat.