Forums » Elder Scrolls

How do you use Alchemy? (Skyrim)

    • 96 posts
    May 24, 2016 7:08 AM EDT
    Almost every build that has the skill Alchemy suggests some effect combinations and often times includes them in special moves or tactics.

    What I'd like to know is how often do you really use poisons or potions?
    1. Do you keep them, because you're afraid you could need them the other day?
    2. Do you try to use them as often as you can?
    3. Do you like Alchemy in general? If you do, why? If not, why?

    We're excluding glitches that are used to access overpowered weapons, but not effects that are used to make advanced gameplay mechanics, aesthetics or roleplay possible (like infinite reanimate spells to get that bear follower).
    Please be honest & serious, thanks.
  • Tom
    • 624 posts
    May 24, 2016 9:11 AM EDT

    Almost never.  Alchemy is an amazing skill to level quickly and get those perk points. Fortify Enchanting potions and the little glitch between Alchemy and Enchanting are about all I use Alchemy for. Sometimes I might use some paralyze potions for kicks and giggles.

    • 59 posts
    May 24, 2016 9:46 AM EDT

    1. Do you keep them, because you're afraid you could need them the other day?

    Pretty much yes. I keep them for that time when I am fighting a hard boss usually..
    2. Do you try to use them as often as you can? 

    3. Do you like Alchemy in general? If you do, why? If not, why?

    I like the idea of creating fine poisons and potions, but it takes a lot of grinding and it feels for me like it breaks role play when you have 19,000. skeptics at level 5 or whatever.

    • 649 posts
    May 24, 2016 9:55 AM EDT

    Yup, I use them all the time. It helps to have various potions and poisons for various situations, but I really don´t hold back, because I have tons of those potions. Even on builds without Alchemy I always have potions and (useful) poisons at me, using them a lot.

    If I´m going heavy roleplay playthrough though, having only 3-5 of each brew (usually like 5-6) forces me to save them, use them in clever way.

    I love Alchemy the most of all crafting Skills since Oblivion. It´s a very powerful crafting skill, not very grindy and more importantly it forces me to travel the landscape of Skyrim and be mindful of my surroundings.

    • 393 posts
    May 24, 2016 10:00 AM EDT

    1. Almost never. Unless it's some very rare potion.

    2. Depends on the character. Most of my characters use Alchemy in one way or another, but each one usually uses only a few types of potions that benefit them the most. Like, while my archer uses a lot of poisons and healing potions, for she isn't a mage, my mage only uses magicka and enchanting potions, and so on.

    3. Yes and no. It is certainly useful, but quite inconvenient in use. I'd be really happy if there was a book for alchemical recipes or something like that. Also, sometimes you need some rare ingredient to make a really mundane potion, which makes no sence.

    • 321 posts
    May 24, 2016 10:09 AM EDT

    1. Do you keep them, because you're afraid you could need them the other day? 

    I keep 5 potions of health/magicka/stamina and 10 poisons every time I go out adventuring. I keep them in case of emergencies since my modded Skyrim is way more different in terms of AI and gameplay.

    2. Do you try to use them as often as you can? 

    Yes, but mostly I end up using a 'potion combo' only during boss fights.

    3. Do you like Alchemy in general? If you do, why? If not, why?

    Gameplay-wise, it's good but can be overpowered if you invest in it too much and can be a cheap way to level up Smithing and Enchanting via 'Grinding Triangle'. I think alchemy should be somewhere between the lines of Oblivion where you can create your own potions and poisons on the go. Poisons are also somewhat lacking. I think most players who invest in Alchemy only make Damage Health + Lingering Damage Health poisons and farm for Slaugtherfish eggs and scales at Windstad Manor. 

    All that grind for just an increase in potency doesn't feel that rewarding considering how long you've spent on getting there.

    • 295 posts
    May 24, 2016 10:44 AM EDT

    Do you keep them, because you're afraid you could need them the other day? 

    Depends on the build I'm playing. Some keep potions in their inventory, some don't.  My requiem build needs them, but Requiem is a different animal. 

    Do you try to use them as often as you can?

    Again, really depends on the build. I have builds that completely shirk the skill, others without the skill that'll go out and buy the potions, and others that don't buy potions because they don't trust the skill of any other alchemist but themselves. 

    Do you like alchemy in general? If you do, why? If not, why?

    I tend to not play with crafting skills, as I prefer my game with more challenge. That being said, with regard to the skill itself, I like it.  Of the three crafting skills, it is the most challenging and requires the most messing around, which I think can be very fun to do. I, however, unless I'm playing a botanist or a master alchemist, tend to play the skill as if I'm either not from the area originally or I have no familiarity with the local flora and fauna. "Blind Alchemy" as I like to call it, put away those UESP articles and best potion guides. It involves lots of tasting ingredients and a lot of failed potions as I stand over the station experimenting with various concoctions and use of that one in game book, the Herbalist's guide to Skyrim or information NPCs give you, I think it's called that anyway. I've actually purchased that in game. Arcadia has a copy in her shop. Or I steal if from her if I'm playing an asshat. When you find that triple effect potion after some random guesswork, it feels good. Means, unfortunately that I'm not perhaps maxing my poison damage or finding the best combinations out there and yes, I'm wasting ingredients, but it's hella fun playiing this way.  I dislike grinding the skill, so I opt for a make potions and poisons on a need basis.  My current build is at 70 alchemy and at nearly level 40, so I consider the pacing non-grindy. He's been crafting potions and poisons since Helgen. I'm still not making particularly powerful stuff. 

    I use a mixture of potions and poisons. This same build, had terrible drops for his armor of choice, so I was forced to use Alchemy to supplement, replacing enchanted gear essentially. Had to try out some pretty funky combos and I think he's eaten nearly everything available in game. LOL I have a funky ravage stamina, ravage health, regen combo that is pretty potent. I have a combined marksman one-handed potion, stronger restoration poition, enhanced smithing, damage magicka regen, frenzy poisons, fortify health combos, block and magic resistance combos, and elemental resistance combos (he hunts hawks at lakeview, pesky birds, very messy leaving dropping everywhere.). I have made very stupid fortify Conjuration and damage magicka regen combos. HAHA, it's so messed up. I sell that one to Arcadia. "Yeah, it's pure, fortify Conjuration. Yep. No, ignore that bitter after taste."  It's all very mad scientist. 

    Oh Gods, I made this entirely too long. Sorry. 

    • 96 posts
    May 24, 2016 11:45 AM EDT
    Interesting.. Thank you all :).
  • May 24, 2016 1:07 PM EDT

    Never ran a play through without it unless it was someone else's build, Alchemy is a great skill, and I wouldn't be without it

    • 1483 posts
    May 24, 2016 1:14 PM EDT
    1 and 2 depend on the build. For example, your build might use a certain potion as the only source of healing. You'll naturally use it a lot. Same goes for the potions that make you effective in combat. On some builds potions/poisons are reserved for especially tough fights and aren ot used as often.
    All that said, I do love Alchemy. There is a constant sense of discovery when mixing random ingredients, the calmness of collecting them provides a nice break from constant rash of Skyrim gameplay, and it can turn any gameplay idea by 180 degrees and give a build a totally different spin not possible with other skills.
    • 77 posts
    May 24, 2016 3:26 PM EDT

    I'll answer this from the perspective of my first few play-thru's of the game because once you start playing builds, or play testing your own the answer becomes "depends on the build"

    1.  Yes, and then I end up level 20 with 128 healing potions weighing me down.  Healing potions I know I'm never going to use but still can't sell them or leave them at home "just in case".

    2.  Nope, I could be at 1 health facing three rampaging dragons and I still won't use a potion, instead I'll try hiding behind a bush and hope to get enough time to regenerate.  You know because I NEED to save those potions for when I REALLY need them. 

    3. Yes.  Alchemy was actually the last crafting skill a bothered with, initially I was turned off by the consumable nature of the skill.  I figured why create a limited number of paralysis potions when I can just cast paralyze, or why create a healing potion when I can find a dozen in every cave from here to Highrock?  It wasn't until later when I started playing character builds that I gave alchemy it's due, and haven't turned back since.  There is a level of nuance and customizability that no other skill gives you.

    • 96 posts
    May 24, 2016 3:43 PM EDT
    Wow, that's exactly how I feel. :D But I'm going to change that (there will be a tips&tricks discussion one day).
    • 1595 posts
    May 25, 2016 12:21 PM EDT

    1. Gah, Alchemy. I am running with a herbalist now and I forgot how much I love and hate this skill. Yes, I hoard like a Tolkien dragon. 

    2. Yeah, I use them often but also hate how much of a cheat it feels if you favourite them. So I try and limit them to pre and post combat which basically nerfs it.

    3. I like the idea of alchemy. I like how it supports RP in the gathering stage. I hate the practice of alchemy. In the old days I could carry around a mortar and pestle and craft in the wild. I hate how cumbersome it is now. Argh, getting Dagon now.

    • 1595 posts
    May 26, 2016 10:58 AM EDT

    Let the record state I now officially hate alchemy. Let it burn. Sure, it's great at higher levels when your potions are actually useful. It is great for immersion at the gathering stage, but good god is it ever tedious! 

    Yay, I just crafted a resist magic potion of 2%. That will really help my Apprentice Stoned (if students are basically apprentices then stoned is the right word) character. 

    So to get anywhere you have to use a heap load of perks that give diminishing returns, you need the patience of a saint, you need to either accept it is a cheat to swig a potion in battle or nerf yourself  and on top of that you need to have a set up that doesn't rely on alchemy. 


    • 393 posts
    May 26, 2016 11:03 AM EDT

    Lol)) Pay a visit to Arcadia)) You know, Alchemy is the only skill that I always train rather than just make heaps of potions. Because you need to get it at leat to 30 before you are able to make potions that are somewhat useful. And the enchanting, it helps too.

    • 1595 posts
    May 26, 2016 11:18 AM EDT

    Arcadia always flirts. Constant. " So, you are interested in my... potions... and ingredients...? 


    Yeah, I ought to sell her my bone. Dragon bone, that is. To pay for her services.

    • 393 posts
    May 26, 2016 11:30 AM EDT

    Hmm, probably you are just too shy)) Should take more than that to bother you)) Are you a Nord or not?XD And seems like you're a poor Nord if you have to sell dragon bones to pay for her services. That's probably because you are too shy to make them pay you more for killing dragons

    • 1595 posts
    May 26, 2016 12:02 PM EDT

     Like that is it Justiciar? Smack talking Nords? Very well then, it's on. 

    What happened to Lord Naarifin? I heard that The Woodland Man tricked him into becoming a Nord.

    Now he is known as:

    Lord Narfi!

    Yeah, my Nord is poor af.  Still early days though but it suits. I just wish I had more time to craft. Alchemy is not a skill for time limits.

    It also requires a pen and paper. Like, who remembers this shit? Probably Vazgen  but I have no head for it. I have at least 3 alchemy builds and can I remember a single potion's ingredients? Can I hell. Can I be bothered to look? Can I hell. So I guess I will just whine about it instead.

    • 393 posts
    May 26, 2016 12:10 PM EDT

    Yeah, old HM loves to experiment with ear length. Wouldn't be the first time))

    Tbh, I am too blond to hold these things in my head. There's not enough memory space to store them. So I just have the UESP open every time I need to make a new potion.

    Seems like all NOrds are bound to be poor. Mine are poor too, both of them. Only the Thalmor is a rich richie, he's got Enchanting leveled to 100)))

    • 558 posts
    May 27, 2016 12:49 AM EDT
    I dislike Alchemy, because I don't really want to hunt down ingredients. But if I find poisons or potions in my travels I usually use them. Relatively quickly. Most poisons I find in the wild are adequate for my needs, but I do buy potions quite a bit.
    • 122 posts
    May 27, 2016 4:46 AM EDT
    Alchemy is one of those skills which can REALLY break the game when combined with other things. It's also,probably the most powerful skill in the game once enough time is invested.

    In my alchemy-heavy, non-magic play-through I used it for the following:
    -Gratuitous money making by crafting high value potions and offloading them at massive profit.
    -Special "magical" effects like paralysis and invisibility. Especially paralysis.
    -Enemy debuffing based on resists (goes well with enchanted weapons) and magicka/stamina damage and drain to neuter enemies.
    -Self-buffing my own skills to nearly double damage, sneak, etc. as well as elemental resistances.
    -Speed-recovering health and Stamina.

    A good alchemist is essentially a bottle-Mage, and all,it takes is one skill. Just keep raiding the countryside and alchemy stores for ingredients, selling off potions for to make a profit doing it, and keeping a steady store of the good stuff on-hand and in your house for a refill when you need it.

    Watching inventory space can be an issue. I limited myself to twenty-five potions while walking around and up to 75 when I knew I was heading into danger. With high level potions and poisons, that's usually just about right.

    For mages who lack melee or bow skill to easily use poisons, I focus purely on the self-buff and healing aspect. Even a master of restoration magic can face down a time when an instant heal from a potion will save his life where the animation time of a spell could get him killed. Good for topping off your magicka after buffing so you can go into a fight with full reserves, too. Very useful, and healing/magicka restore ingredients are insanely common. I've actually roleplayed an entire play through where a character could only use bought ingredients, or those found when questing. It was actually quite fun, since my potion inventory relied on RNG and my creativity more than how well I remember where to fast-travel and pick daisies.
    • 649 posts
    May 27, 2016 4:54 AM EDT

    This talk about Alchemy makes me want to try something I´ve been wanting to do for sometime now.

    Character that perks only Alchemy. I would like to test if it´s viable to reach at least level 40. What do you think, guys? Is this challenge viable?

    • 295 posts
    May 27, 2016 5:20 AM EDT

    I think so. 

    • 393 posts
    May 27, 2016 5:34 AM EDT

    The challenge is definitely there. And definitely interesting. Althoutgh it's gonna be slow I suspect)))

    Also, remember the girly Orc girl? Alchemy is still her main skill. I think I'm making her a healer.

    • 649 posts
    May 27, 2016 5:41 AM EDT

    Slow? I actually disagree. I said "perking only Alchemy" but that doesn´t mean your other skills are not progressing, right? I think that with only Alchemy I could very easily level, let´s see... One-handed defintely, destruction possible, sneak for sure. Using Faendal to level up Archery to 50 is always nice boost. What else can I use combined with Alchemy? Two-handed is slow, so not really worth it. Armor Skills...well, they can be fortified by Alchemy, so maybe that too, but I imagine this char would be a lot about dodging.