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Old 06-30-2021, 01:21 AM   #1
Prince Charon
 
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Default [Thaumatology] Herb Lore as a more Regional Skill

One thing that occasionally bothers me about Herb Lore is that it isn't distinguished more from Alchemy, from what I've seen. It's described as being like Alchemy but cheaper and more rural, but I'd like to take that to what seems to me a logical conclusion: Alchemy is cosmopolitan, because being in the city, you have potential access to ingredients from all over, even if you have to tell a merchant or some adventurers that you want some and wait months for them to get back. Herb Lore would be dependent on the things that your local cunning folk could gather themselves, or get from regular travelers, so it would be cheaper, but it would also require specialization by region. The greater the region you're in differs from the region you trained for (not just in distance, but in the physical and magical environment, and of course in the available plants and such), the greater the penalty to your Herb Lore skill. Likewise, specific preparations are more readily available in some regions (lower penalty, brewing time, and/or cost) than in others, and some that are common in the herbal styles of one place may be totally unknown in another. Compensating for that required specialization, I suggest that each specialization should be a Hard skill, rather than Very Hard, despite this being a required rather than optional specialization. Alchemy might thus be the skill that evolved from many herb-lorists meeting and exchanging knowledge as towns and cities (and trade networks) grew.


Thoughts?
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Old 06-30-2021, 06:10 AM   #2
WingedKagouti
 
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Herb Lore as a more Regional Skill

Do remember that Herb Lore uses Naturalist rolls to identify ingredients in the wild. Naturalist has a required planet (not planet type) specialization.
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Old 06-30-2021, 09:16 AM   #3
Willy
 
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Herb Lore as a more Regional Skill

Remembers me at my university times, we had to make a herbary. It ended up everytime I went jogging through the woods around my home village that I thought often someting like this. Oh here we have some Taraxacum Cumoffi... in Latin and for it was good for and where to find more of it. A local peasant not to mention a healer hedgewitch would have such knowledge stored in his / her area knowledge.
A Outdoorsman or Survival Skill in that Low TLs would also have some of that knowledge.
Of course they would use Latin, but the local language.

Last edited by Willy; 06-30-2021 at 09:16 AM. Reason: spelling error
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Old 06-30-2021, 10:45 PM   #4
Prince Charon
 
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Herb Lore as a more Regional Skill

Quote:
Originally Posted by WingedKagouti View Post
Do remember that Herb Lore uses Naturalist rolls to identify ingredients in the wild. Naturalist has a required planet (not planet type) specialization.
The number of plants on one planet, as well as the types of environments in which plants do or don't grow, makes 'planet' a bit broad for the types of region I'm referring to.
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Old 07-01-2021, 12:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Herb Lore as a more Regional Skill

Right. But specializing Herbalism in the same way that Area Knowledge is specialized could work.
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Old 07-01-2021, 02:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Herb Lore as a more Regional Skill

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
The number of plants on one planet, as well as the types of environments in which plants do or don't grow, makes 'planet' a bit broad for the types of region I'm referring to.
My point was (at least partially) that you want to look at the Naturalist roll to identify useful plants and animals instead of Herb Lore itself.
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Old 07-01-2021, 04:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Herb Lore as a more Regional Skill

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Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
Right. But specializing Herbalism in the same way that Area Knowledge is specialized could work.
That makes a lot of sense, I think (if by Herbalism you meant Herb Lore). There could be issues with making it too broad or too narrow, but that's probably better for individual GMs to work out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by WingedKagouti View Post
My point was (at least partially) that you want to look at the Naturalist roll to identify useful plants and animals instead of Herb Lore itself.
I clearly don't agree, but I'm not sure how to articulate my argument, since I think it's possible that we're talking past each other. EDIT: Just had a thought about the disconnect we seem to have - Naturalist is about finding stuff wherever you happen to be, but the Herb Lore skill is about what you can do with what's available, which is what I suggested regional specializations for it.
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Last edited by Prince Charon; 07-01-2021 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 07-02-2021, 11:37 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Herb Lore as a more Regional Skill

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
I clearly don't agree, but I'm not sure how to articulate my argument, since I think it's possible that we're talking past each other. EDIT: Just had a thought about the disconnect we seem to have - Naturalist is about finding stuff wherever you happen to be, but the Herb Lore skill is about what you can do with what's available, which is what I suggested regional specializations for it.
My approach is based on Herb Lore still requiring recipes (ie. techniques) for each potion. If you can't find the ingredients you know and understand with Naturalist (or in a market), you can't brew potions. Herb Lore itself is about the treatment of plants for use in potions, the vast majority of that knowledge should be easily transferrable to other regions as long as you understand their flora.

A Herbalist who wants to use the plants in a different region would need to learn about those plants first (ie. Naturalist). You could obviously also make the various techniques for potions be regional, but Naturalist feels like the larger offender.

Naturalist is extremely broad for any fantasy campaign designed to visit multiple regions of the same planet with different flora and fauna regardless of the type of character played, hence my suggestion to limit that instead. RAW 1 point in Naturalist would let a barbarian from the ice wastes on their first trip outside those lands tell whether a jungle lizard is poisonous or not.
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Old 07-02-2021, 07:01 PM   #9
Prince Charon
 
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Herb Lore as a more Regional Skill

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Originally Posted by WingedKagouti View Post
Naturalist is extremely broad for any fantasy campaign designed to visit multiple regions of the same planet with different flora and fauna regardless of the type of character played, hence my suggestion to limit that instead. RAW 1 point in Naturalist would let a barbarian from the ice wastes on their first trip outside those lands tell whether a jungle lizard is poisonous or not.
Naturalist is a mundane skill, not a magical skill. Herb Lore is generally a magical skill, even if Magery Talent usually doesn't help with it. Limiting Naturalist as well as Herb Lore makes some sense in this context. Limiting it instead of Herb lore does not.
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Last edited by Prince Charon; 07-02-2021 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 07-03-2021, 06:41 AM   #10
Emerikol
 
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Default Re: [Thaumatology] Herb Lore as a more Regional Skill

My take is that Alchemy is purely making things with known substances. Herb Lore is knowing where to find those substances and perhaps some natural uses. I would default them both to each other at a penalty when the specifics overlap.

So an alchemist knows he needs x,y,z ingredients but has no Herb Lore. Maybe he can find those things in the wild at -6.
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