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Author Topic: The Potions Girl's Guide to Herbalism  (Read 2820 times)

Thorne

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The Potions Girl's Guide to Herbalism
« on: June 30, 2022, 05:20:52 PM »
A pamphlet written in Elvish, Common, and High Mordentish, and distributed to various bookstores and libraries that will accept it in the language most fitting each region.

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While these realms bear many dangers, even a basic knowledge of useful herbs and how to brew them can greatly assist in ameliorating those risks, since you can remain stocked on a few essential brews for minimal cost. While it's likely to reduce traffic to my potions business I distribute this guide to spread the knowledge of this most versatile of crafts, hoping to save much time and trouble in trial and error for newcomers. As a rule of thumb I recommend people traveling in dangerous regions to always carry a couple of each of the following potions in case of emergency to themselves or to assist others: Cowardice (often euphemistically called 'Run Fast'), either Cure or Regenerate Light Wounds, and Lesser Restoration. For proper adventurers I also recommend: Invisibility, Curation, Antidote, Negative Energy Shield, and Revealing, depending on likely threats.

Basics, like any job you need materials and tools, in this case a great many plants growing throughout the Core and beyond possess remarkable qualities. Being an Outlander they seem to grow much more prolifically in these lands even than in the Cormanthor forest whence I come, with the exception of a few sacred glades. For tools you need a herbalist's mortar and pestle, a suitable cauldron and bottles to hold the finished products. Most herbalist shops will sell the supplies needed and contain a cauldron, for locations, one is located just west of the Watcher outpost on the road to Krezk. Another shop is just north of the east side of Vallaki near the shore of Lake Zarovich, though it is very often busy it can be a good place to trade materials and knowledge with others in the craft. One is located in the Drain. The Mist Camp maintained by the Vistani near the Keep of the Dryad also has a crafting tent and supplies can be obtained from the Trader's Vardo. In Port-a-Lucene the larger Hospice of Hala in the Quartier Ouvrier provides these services in addition to healing. It's likely there are others out there, though they might not be open to wayfaring artisans like myself, and I welcome notes if anyone can give locations of others, I'll add them to later editions. Of course place your gathered herbs in the cauldron, and then employ your mortar and pestle. You can make up to ten potions at once, and remember it is much harder to make each recipe the first time while you're still learning it, so if you wish to preserve your ingredients make single batches till you make one correctly. Even if you don't need a particular type of potion you can learn a lot about the trade by crafting at least one of them, or by crafting the same type of potion in different ways using different ingredients.
Another rule of thumb is that herbs with similar effects often combine into more powerful potions, though each graduation usually becomes harder.

Each herb will be listed by its name, followed by its seasons and the regions where it grows. Underground herbs are not affected by seasons, and some grow in most cavern systems, but some only grow in western Barovian caverns, and some only grow in regions outside of there. Tombs, however, in each region have proven quite divergent in their produce, and western Barovians tombs seem to grow a series unique to themselves and no other types. I will divide it thus into caverns for those which seem to grow in most cavern systems around the core, western Barovian caverns, most caverns for those widespread herbs which grow in systems outside of western Barovia, most crypts, or the crypts of a particular region. Forests likewise have some common herbs, but several which grow only in western Barovia, and others which grow only outside of there, and others particular to specific other regions. Some of the lore Iíve read seems to treat western Barovia as a default state, and explaining the different growths as resulting from the Mists, but many forests and caverns in western Barovia show strong influence of the Mists but their growth remains consistent with the region; furthermore, for the purposes of this forests refers only to areas with sufficient canopy that the ground is dominated by the duff instead of by grass, many areas are considered forested have large areas of open meadows and thereby grow herbs which are consistent with grasslands.
**While I have tracked the common distributions and cycles of growth you can rarely find some herbs outside of their normal range or somewhat out of season.

Western Barovia region: many distinct herbs grow west of the mountains dividing this country and many are easy to work with making it an excellent place to learn the craft, and in the right combinations they can make many powerful potions.

Lesser healing herbs:
Woundwart, spring to fall, western Barovia, and western Barovian forests. So common itís easy to take this one for granted.
Fey Leaves, spring only, western Barovia.
Vistani Tears, spring only, western Barovia.
Viccar's Cap, western Barovian tombs.

It's very easy to get started with lesser healing potions, but these herbs can be quite powerful when you learn to combine them, with each step becoming increasingly difficult. Any 2 make Cure Moderate Wounds potions, 3 make Cure Serious Wounds, and 4 make Cure Critical Wounds. Most herbalists get their start making these for utility and for practice.

Lesser regeneratives:
Malva Parviflora, spring only, western Barovia.
Stonescale Juniper, spring and summer, mountains.
Stonemolt, western Barovian caverns.
Reishi Mushrooms, spring to fall, western Barovian forests.

These follow the same pattern as light healing potions adding more to a recipe increases the difficulty while adding to the potency.

Lesser restoratives:
Adder's Tongue, spring only, western Barovia.
Gray Puffballs, Fall only, mountains.
Grave Mold, western Barovian Tombs.
Lich Grass, western Barovian caverns.

Individually these make Potions of Lesser Restoration, two combined makes Curation (fixes diseases), three makes Antidote against poisons, four makes full Restoration. If you're paying attention you'll notice that this requires saving up the seasonal varieties so you can use them in combination to make Restoration.

Cowardice, another simple recipe to learn on and quite useful:
Wolftail, spring to fall, various regions.
Bleak Cap, caverns.
Combined two doses of each herb makes Potion of Speed. These seem habit forming as adventurers buy almost as many of these as healing potions, and some hanker like true junkies for fresh supplies. Regardless of if its habit forming I have seen no conclusive evidence for other rumored side effects like rotten teeth and hallucinations and paranoia.

Remove Paralysis:
Bloodberries, summer and fall, various regions.
Crimson Lichen, caverns.
Combining two of each makes Potion of Freedom.

Endure Elements:
Troll Moss x 2, spring to fall, mountains.
Beggarís Cup, fall, various regions.
Two units of each makes Elemental Warding.

Courage:
Black Avis x2, fall only, various regions.
Red Cap x2, Fall only, forests.
Two of each makes Clarity.

Negative Energy Protection:
Black Wort x2, spring to fall, mountains.
Ghost Cap x2, western Barovian tombs.
Two of each makes Death Ward.

Revealing:
Violet Cave Mold x2, caverns.
Allows the user to see through invisibility spells.

Keen Senses:
Rustle Leaves x2, spring to fall, forests.

True Seeing, can be made from 2 Violet Cave Molds and 2 Rustle Leaves combined. This is an advanced potion.

Barkskin:
Hawkfeather Fern Leaf x2, spring and summer, various regions.
Feywood Tree Bark x2, all seasons, forests.
Two of each or Dread Treant Sap makes Greater Barkskin, also a very advanced potion.

Invisibility:
Ravenclaw x2, spring to fall, various regions.
Haze:
Purple Bolete x2, fall only, forests.
Improved Invisibility comes from combining 2 Ravenclaw and 2 Purple Bolete to effectively combine the two effects into one which is even more useful. As Purple Bolete is far rarer it makes it much more valuable and Iíd suggest apprentice level herbalists not waste it on training, but either store it for when they can make Improved Invisibility, or sell it to the more skilled as it should be always in demand and fetch at least twice the normal price for herbs.

Water Breathing:
Fetid Sparganium, grows in a few rare places in deep forests near swamps.

Catalysts: Using either Honey Lily or Mountain Morel you can change the effect of another herb, most often into various animal themed potions which enhance your abilities. Honey Lily grows in the spring in western Barovia, Mountain Morel grows in the fall, two guesses as to which type of region. Given the variety here these can provide a lot of valuable training. The target potions and their secondary ingredients are as follows:
Bearís Endurance, Troll Moss or Beggarís Cup.
Bullís Strength, Crimson Lichen or Bloodberries.
Catís Grace, Wolftail or Bleak Cap.
Eagleís Splendor, Ravenclaw or Purple Bolete.
Foxís Cunning, Red Cap or Black Avis.
Owlís Wisdom, Blackwort or Ghost Cap.

Good luck in your travels in in learning this craft, more pamphlets covering additional regions and the potions possible from their yields will soon follow, and maybe I can find out a few things from other herbalists.


- Avanna Yelin, the Potions Girl
« Last Edit: March 19, 2023, 04:51:51 PM by Thorne »
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Thorne

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Re: The Potions Girl's Guide to Herbalism
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2022, 11:32:21 AM »
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While I write most directly to my fellow brewers of potions this guide can also prove very useful to the uninitiated, and those with little natural ability toward the finer points needed to complete the work. If you gather the right herbs in your travels, even without going out of your way but only occasionally pausing to pick something, you can easily save up good quantities of needed herbs, and many herbalists will work on commission. Best of all the payment can easily be in just more herbs if youíve picked the right ones. Having friends and allies in the trade can make this even easier, and many will be as glad for the extra practice as for the materials. Many times my introduction to a herb came from acquiring it from a traveler returned from a land Iíd yet to visit.


Eastern Barovia: the lack of distinct herbs makes this in of itself an interesting region and a good place to start a wider exploration of the Core. Some of the plants there grow most everywhere except western Barovia, while others are near universal in their distribution. Its worth noting that currently the tombs under the cemetery in the north side of Barovia village match the conditions of Mist caves and not a conventional tomb.

Greater Healing Herbs:
Crawling Ivy, spring to fall, most all regions including mountains and occasionally even underground in its animated and very agitated form. Handle this one with care, and have either a cutting or bludgeoning implement at hand.
Golden Aster, spring and summer, various regions. One of my favorite herbs, prolific and potent.
Lurid Mildew, caverns.
Mist Weed, the Mists usually along water courses. I advise extreme caution of any entry into the Mists as there are many dangers and travelers can easily lose their way.
Any one of these makes Cure Moderate Wounds with slightly greater potency than usual, combining two makes Potent Cure Serious Wounds, three makes Potent Cure Critical Wounds. Iíve met skilled herbalists who claim there is nothing beyond that, but I can confirm that combining two of each of them makes the very rare Potion of Heal. However given the expense of ingredients, Crawling Ivy and Golden Aster are relatively easy to acquire so combining those two with whatever quantity you can get from one of the other two is the normal way of making critical healing potions, and the end affect is only about twice as strong as one of those at a cost of nearly three times the ingredients and using stronger ones too boot. Thus even the best herbalists rarely make these.

Greater Regeneratives:
All these come back to one plant, the Black Hawthorn tree, and this remarkable topiary produces different products depending on the season. In the spring it blooms flowers, in the summer berries, in the fall many of its thorns weaken and become easy to gather, and in the winter it sheds some of its bark. Any one of these can make potions of Potent Regenerate Moderate Wounds, combining two makes Potent Regenerate Serious Wounds, three makes Potent Regenerate Critical Wounds. I have tried experimenting, but so far as I can tell you canít combine four. And as with many other recipes the best results come from gathering the bounty from each season only to save it to combine with products which can only be usefully harvested at a later date. Black Hawthorn grows only in forests.
 
Greater Restoratives:
Sweet Woodruff, late spring and early summer, various regions. Makes Curation potions.
Kick-the-Pale, caverns, Antidote potions.
White Ladies, winter, spring and summer, forests. A rare but valuable find which makes Potions of Restoration with two doses required.
These follow a different pattern than the lesser restoratives in that each has its distinct function and they do not combine for stronger affects. Some rumors suggest that Sweet Woodruff can combine with Kick-the-Pale to make restoration, but all my work and experiments suggest this does not work.

Negative Energy Protection:
Gloomflower, caverns.
Giogoroís Omen, the Mists.
Combining the two makes Deathward.

Ghostly Visage:
Phantomís Feast Berries, caverns.
Bansheeís Daybed, all seasons, forests.
Ezraís Mantle, the Mists.
Any one of those makes a serviceable potion, but if you have enough skill to combine all 3 you can create potions of Ethereal Visage which ranks among the most difficult brews to make, and one of the most sought after for defense.

One With the Land:
Fendrake Root, summer and fall, most forests.

Striding:
Midnight Lace Moss, most caverns.
Combined these make Potent Freedom of Movement potions.

Chameleon:
Umbral Polypore, most caverns.

Light Step:
Fiendish Plox, many regions, spring and summer.

And the following can be made from herbs growing inside the Mists, I include them here for brevity, and because they do get traded around the region.

Stoneskin:
2 Misty Willow Flower, the Mists.
A very advanced but effective potion.

Keen Senses:
2 Vistani Tears, the Mists.

Feign Death (really more of a Feign Undeath):
Dead Manís Tears, most crypts.
Not a very popular potion, it protects similarly to a Deathward, but it also slows the user down and gives them a deathly appearance. Two side-affects which Deathward potions do not have.



- Avanna Yelin, the Potions Girl
« Last Edit: March 19, 2023, 04:51:30 PM by Thorne »
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Thorne

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Re: The Potions Girl's Guide to Herbalism
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2022, 08:16:45 PM »
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Another general pointer is to not spend time only at gathering herbs, but to try to do it while also at some other activity. Courier jobs can pay reasonably well for limited risk, and you can focus on routes that feature decent pickings along them, and on slight detours. The road south from Port-a-Lucene to Edrigan is bountiful and usually not heavily trafficked, and when in Barovia I often take the ferry to the Krezk Outpost with a delivery, pick up another while while there, and then work my way back to Vallaki gathering ample supplies on the way. Especially before you can make profit on potions; those runs can pay for the bottles you need for practice. Of course this works best if you do not overload yourself on goods since a circuitous path that gathers many herbs will be a fair bit longer than if you stay on the most direct paths.

Dementlieu region: on to a place with more distinct herbs many with colorful histories to match their interesting names. For this I will include some of the island regions connected by stable sea routes to Dementlieu.
Animal Potions: many herbs growing in the areas near Dementlieu can make enhancement potions without the need for any catalysts, though these are much more difficult to master than the versions you can make from Honey Lily or Mountain Morel.

Bearís Endurance:
2 Spring Verpa, spring, various regions.
2 Graynut, summer to fall, Ghastria.

Bullís Strength:
2 Widowís Heather, summer to fall, Dementlieu.
2 Hanging Vines, spring to fall, Blausten also Markovia.

Catís Grace:
2 Brideís Locks, summer to fall, Blausten also Markovia.

Eagleís Splendor:
2 Ladyís Clasp, summer to fall, Dementlieu.

Foxís Cunning:
2 Canker Bloom, summer to fall, Dementlieu.

Owlís Wisdom:
2 Wax-Myrtle Berries, summer-fall, Dementlieu. Some lore claims these grow in winter as well, but Iíve never seen it.

Frenzy:
Hagís Mane, found only in the caves around Blausten.

Haze:
Black Mucor, Iíve only found this in the sewers under Port-a-Lucene.

Glibness:
2 Ragusa Rose, spring to fall, Dementlieu.
Not a great seller among adventurers, but a nice tonic to have around at parties, and useful for training.

Potent See Invisibility:
Withering Woe, Fall only, Dementlieu.

Restoration:
2 Yeux Bleus, Spring only, Dementlieu


-Avanna Yelin, the Potions Girl
« Last Edit: March 19, 2023, 05:02:39 PM by Thorne »
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Re: The Potions Girl's Guide to Herbalism
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2022, 12:26:09 PM »
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Hazlan has many distinct herbs, most of which grow from spring to fall, and also has large forests and mountainous regions for gathering those varieties of plants.

Bullís Strength:
2 Serfís Grub, summer to fall, Hazlan, mainly in the forests.

Eagleís Splendor:
2 Gnarled Hops, spring to fall, Hazlan.

Potent Clarity:
2 Blood-Tears, Hazlan, spring and summer.

Foxís Cunning:
2 Horned Pine Bark, winter and spring, forests in Hazlan.

Owlís Wisdom:
Moonís Lover Flower x2, spring to fall, Hazlan, Markovia and sometimes Sithicus.

Protection from Elements:
Lighthouse Flower, spring to fall, Hazlan.

Vigilance:
Quovsup Root: Spring to Fall, Hazlan.

HaríAkir is a harsh place with few plants, but those that grow there can have extraordinary qualities, also what is considered winter though most of the Core yields somewhat milder temperatures which still allow for the growth of these herbs.

Bearís Endurance:
2 Fruit of Geb, HaríAkir

Catís Grace:
2 Tomb Scarab, HaríAkiri crypts.

Lesser Mind Blank:
Cobra-Tooth Cactus, found in HaríAkrir, combined with Blood-Tears from Hazlan.

Invisibility:
2 Grave Rot, HaríAkriri crypts.
Improved Invisibility can be made from combining two portions of Grave Rot with two of the Black Mucor found under Port-a-Lucene.

Elixir of Life:
Two portions of Scarab Cap which grows year round in the desert, but is very hard to find. This is one of those potions you should not risk the ingredients if you might mess up.

Protection from Elements:
Nomadís Friend.

Sithicus, a very dangerous region if you stray too far away from the settlements, like Har-Thelen, but the groves in and around the settlements can provide some excellent herbs. Forest herbs tend to also grow around these areas.

Catís Grace:
2 Putrid Podflower, summer to fall, Sithicus.


Foxís Cunning:
2 Sarrecenia Flower, spring to fall, Sithicus.

Owlís Wisdom:
2 Kingfisherís Beak, spring to fall, Sithicus.

Spell Resistance:
Nightbloom, grows from spring to fall, but as the name suggests only blooms at night although sometimes you can find it still lingering in the morning under the deep shade of the great trees.
Greater Spell Resistance is made from combining Nightbloom and Mist Orchids together, which shows the real value of both herbs.

Protection from Elements:
Pinguilcula, spring to fall, Sithicus.
An Energy Buffer potion of far greater strength can be made from combining Pinguilcula with Nomad's Friend and the Lighthouse Flower.


Perfidius, few have ventured here and come back, and even I do not go there for anything so trivial as herbing, but nevertheless you might pick up some of these from returning expeditions. Seasons do not seem relevant in that place.

Potent Potion of Speed:
Devilís Club
Most of the time potent potions are not all that much more useful than their normal versions, but this lasting twice as long makes it twice as valuable as a normal haste potion.

Eagleís Splendor:
2 Liarís Tongue

Darkness:
Umbral Stem

Stoneskin:
2 Fiendís Bane.
2 Fiendís Bane can be mixed with 2 Misty Willow Flowers, and a single portion of Purple Moss to make potions of Greater Stoneskin. Purple Moss can only be found in the salt mines of Sithicus.


Greater animal potions in most cases only be made from combining the ingredients from three plants which made the potent version of the particular affect. This requires gathering from multiple regions, and often from different seasons.

Greater Bearís Endurance:
2 Fruit of Geb, 2 Graynut, 2 Spring Verpa.
Alternatively you can combine 1 animal grease (normally taken from either a bear or a muskox) with 2 Mummy Wraps, and either 2 Troll Moss or 2 Beggarís Cups to make the version known as Setís Ointment.

Greater Bullís Strength (Potion of the Titan):
2 Hanging Vines, 2 Serfís Grubs, and 2 Widowís Heathers.

Greater Eagleís Splendor:
2 Gnarled Hops, 2 Ladyís Clasp, 2 Liarís Tongues.

Greater Catís Grace (Potion of the Acrobat):
2 Brideís Locks, 2 Putrid Podflowers, and 2 Tomb Scarabs.


Greater Foxís Cunning (Potion of the Erundite):
2 Canker Blooms, 2 Horned Pine Barks, and 2 Sarrecenia Flowers.

Greater Owlís Wisdom (Potion of the Sage):
2 Kingfisherís Beaks, 2 Moonís lover Flowers, and 2 Wax-Myrtle Berries.

If Iíve left out any significant herbs, or gotten their regions and seasons wrong please leave a note for me at the Keep of the Dryad and I will see to making corrections in later issuings of this pamphlet. Iím still known as the Potions Girl there, and contrary to some rumors, Iíve not yet been granted the exalted rank of ĎHerbalism Ladyí by my colleagues in the profession, and I certainly hope they donít get mad at me for publishing so much of our lore. May whichever gods you serve guide your efforts even in these foreboding lands.

-Avanna Yelin, the Potions Girl
« Last Edit: March 19, 2023, 05:03:28 PM by Thorne »
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Re: The Potions Girl's Guide to Herbalism
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2022, 11:03:35 AM »
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Updates, thanks to my impetuousness in publishing these notes and observations before Iíve completed a full study, which will likely take me many years, I will continue to update and revise where needed. For those who have read previous editions of the pamphlets here is a short list of some of the more important changes
Woodlands, having first arrived in western Barovia I took it as the default, so I divided forests into a default for those in western Barovia, and Deep Woods for what Iíve observed elsewhere. Thus I have changed the terms to western Barovian Forests, and just Forests or most forests respectively. Some areas are also considered by many people as forests from the preponderance of trees, but as far as herbs go you need enough overhead canopy to stop the grasses from dominating the ground.
Much the same applies to cavern systems, where Iíve used the term ĎMist Cavesí to refer to herbs common in cave systems outside of Western Barovia. Now itís simpler by being specific to regions.
Corrections and updates to the seasons and regional growth of several plants such as: Moonloverís Flower, Graynut, Adderís Tongue, Sweet Woodruff, Nightbloom.



Lunar cycles. I have heard suggested that the herbs or at least certain herbs particularly some of the more remarkable ones bloom in cycle with the moon, with the greatest abundance during the full moon. It might take years to cross reference this and verify with an in depth study, and even then I cannot rule out the possibility that increased light simply makes some easier to spot; however, from the notes Iíve gathered so far it seems quite promising but far from conclusive. The difference might even carry over into daylight hours. The results seem by far the most pronounced for some of the rarer herbs like Moonloverís Flower, Nightbloom, Hanging Vines, and Brideís Locks. These at least I recommend only searching for during at least a gibbous moon.

-Avanna Yelin, the Potions Girl
"If the truth were subjective then the majority would always be right."

Thorne

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Re: The Potions Girl's Guide to Herbalism
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2023, 09:18:00 AM »
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Markovia: an island dominated by thick jungles. Despite the hazards this place presents many opportunities for herbalists since in addition to typical herbs of the deep forests it also fosters several varieties heretofore known only in a region or two. Hanging Vines, Brideís Locks, and Moonís Lovers Flower all grow readily here making gathering them potentially much easier. Furthermore the heat of the climate allows all these to grow even when other regions are in winter.
The following potions can also be made from herbs native to Markovia:

Potion of the Comediant (disguise):
1 Bird-of-Paradise

Potent Keen Senses:
2 Yellow Oleander

Potent Chameleon:
2 Lobster Claw

Potent Improved Invisibility:
2 Yellow Oleander, 2 Lobster Claw

Potent True Seeing:
2 Bird-of-Paradise, 1 Yellow Oleander, 1 Lobster Claw. Since improved invisibility is generally a much more sought after potion I strongly suggest being careful about allowing any Bird-of-Paradise flowers to contaminate your brew if thatís your aim.


Notes about the Oasis of Apep.
While Iím new to these lands I have had occasion to survey this bastion in the deserts of HaríAkir many times, but until quite recently found no usable plants; however this changed some months ago. Without any evidence one way or another any theories as to why certain highly useful types of plants started growing there remains mere speculation, and my earlier observations might have merely been during an off period though one which could easily have lasted several years. The hot climate and steep slopes leave the area dominated by plants more similar to Markovia than the surrounding wastes, with Hanging Vines, Brideís Locks, Fendrake Root, Bird-of-Paradise, Yellow Oleander, and Lobster Claw all in evidence.

- Avanna Yelin the Potions Girl


« Last Edit: January 11, 2023, 09:19:50 AM by Thorne »
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Re: The Potions Girl's Guide to Herbalism
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2023, 05:04:54 PM »
A slightly updated new version has come out. More details are given about some recipes, and a few oversights such as Yeux Bleus have been added in.
"If the truth were subjective then the majority would always be right."