Lotus concoctions are going to be a staple consumable for the party in Shadows of Keron, especially Healing potions. Cracking open Beasts & Barbarians, I see that with a Streetwise-2 roll one can find a potion, which costs $200 per rank. Lotusmasters only recover power points when the potion is drunk, and I assume they are wealthy enough to live well – this is because they must initially have had the status and time available to study, and now require expensive components.
How often the potions are drunk – i.e., how quickly the Lotusmaster gets his power points back – is a stronger constraint on manufacture than how long it takes to make a potion (a few hours).
Let’s say he needs to make $1,000 per month ($780 personal living expenses, based on the top end costs for food and lodgings in the Fantasy Gear Toolkit, plus whatever they need for savings/hobbies/family). That’s five Novice rank potions, which at an average of 2-3 power points per potion is about as many as a Novice (Lotusapprentice?) can make without recovering power points. Therefore, he must assume potions will be drunk within a month of sale; I can see fine print on the potion bottle saying "Best Before Month End".
Things follow from these assumptions.
- Since the Lotusmaster’s income is driven by his power points, non-adventuring ones take the Power Points Edge as often as they can, starting with 15 points and gaining 5 more per rank.
- Income is badly hurt by keeping back potions for personal use such as home defence. Lotusmasters need powerful friends, and/or bodyguards, and probably band together for mutual support. Outside of Gis, where presumably being in charge gives some protection, they are likely to hide, which explains why you need a Streetwise roll to find one.
- Likewise, potions are mostly made to order, as having a concoction lying around in case someone buys it risks a 20% loss of revenue for the month.
- Some sort of guild structure is likely. The Lotusapprentice lives in relative poverty and churns out Healing potions to fund his master’s more grandiose projects, but knows once he learns better powers he can command high wages.
- Lotusmasters will try to sell potions that give them the most income (highest rank) for the least power point expenditure. These are Confusion or Succor for Novice rank powers, or Slow for Seasoned powers, so those are likely to be the most common concoctions.
- The least common potions are likely to be high-powered versions of Blast or Blind at Novice, and Invisibility at Seasoned, because they have the worst income to power point ratios.
- Most potions will be the minimum power point versions of a power (I can get $1,200 for three two-point Blast potions, or $400 for one six-point Blast potion).
- The only Veteran powers a Lotusmaster has access to are Puppet and Zombie. It’s hard to think of a legal use for those. Puppet for keeping those uppity Lotusapprentices in line, perhaps.
An alternative pricing system would be $100/power point rather than $200/rank. That would keep prices roughly the same for most powers.
This makes me realise that using the No Power Points option for NPC Lotusmasters as well as PCs would remove the major constraint on how many potions there are in the campaign, and how powerful they are. I should think carefully about that before allowing it, but it would address the players’ concern about running out of healing potions.