Oblivion Alchemy FAQ

The intention of this FAQ is to cover every aspect of the skill "Alchemy" in the computer game "The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion". If you have any comments or wish to contribute your wisdom to this FAQ, please don't hesitate to contact me at darliandor@gmail.com.

Last update: 2nd April, 2006 - 16:53 GMT+1

Oblivion Alchemy Questions




Oblivion Alchemy Questions and Answers


What is the Alchemy skill? ^top

Alchemy is one of Magical Arts skills. With this skill you are able to identify properties of ingredients. These ingredients can, in combination with the required apparatus, then be used to render powerful potions, that can provide cure from diseases, fortify your attributes or restore the characters attributes.

As with any skill, Alchemy comes with a governing attribute, which is Intelligence. Like all governing attributes, it has a substantial influence on the power of your skill, in the way of increasing its effectiveness, though in Oblivion it has been toned down, in comparison to Morrowind.

Why use the Alchemy skill? ^top

Alchemy, though it might seem difficult to understand and use, is the one most powerful skill in the game. Creating potions, herding ingredients and carrying around the required apparatus might seem a tedious task, but the benefits of not having to rely on buying potions and the immense benefit of self made potions that have a higher magnitude and duration, possibly unlike any Potion you might through buying, speak for themselves.

Getting your way around and into alchemy is the key factor and might occupy some time to understand, which is actually about the only drawback that you might consider.

What do i need to practice Alchemy? ^top

You will require to either train your Alchemy skill by eating ingredients or as welll as getting hold on a mortar and pestle and ingredients to make potions yourself.

What is the best way to increase your Alchemy skill? ^top

While you can eat ingredients and harvest them, to increase your Alchemy skill, the best way to do so, is by making potions.

What are the Alchemy apparatus and what are they used for? ^top

Mortar & Pestle:
The one apparatus that is required is the mortar and pestle. This is the basic apparatus you need to combine two or more ingredients into a potion.

The retort is optional and increases the magnitude and duration of all positive effects.

The calcinator is optional and increases the magnitude and duration of ALL effects, both postive and negative.

The alembic is optional and decreases the magnitude of all negative effects, but this does NOT affect poisons, only potions that contain positive AND negative effects.

What are the different qualities of the different Alchemy apparatus and can i use all of them form the start? ^top

The qualities of the different apparatus are: Novice, Journeyman, Expert and Master.

Your character has to be in the respective skill and character level in alchemy to find/buy the different qualities of apparatus. So a novice cannot find/buy the Journeyman, Expert and Master apparatus and so forth. Master equipment cannot be bought at all and is random loot from higher level targets.

What are the Alchemy skill perks? ^top

Novice (skill-level 0-24): Recognizes the first of four potential alchemical properties of a substance.
Apprentice (skill-level 25-49): Recognizes the first two of four potential alchemical properties of a substance.
Journeyman (skill-level 50-74): Recognizes the first three of four potential alchemical properties of a substance.
Expert (skill-level 75-99): Recognizes all four potential alchemical properties of a substance.
Master (skill-level 100): Can make potions from a single ingredient. The 1st effect of the chosen ingredient gets added into the potion.

Have any changes been made to Alchemy, compared to TES 3: Morrowind? ^top

Your skill in Alchemy determines how many ingredients effects you will see on an ingredient. Also you can only use the effects that you can already see. The limit of potions that can be in use at the same time is 4, and fixed at this amount, no matter how high your skill in Alchemy is. Potion effects have to wear off, when the limit of allowed potions has been reached, before other potions can be drunk. No more getting high on potions you addicts (in that i include my own chars)!

So basically you will have to do a bit strategy with drinking potions, since if you have all your slots of potions filled that can affect you, you will not be able to use that Health Potion that you suddenly direly need.

What do the different options in the Alchemy interface mean? ^top

Oblivion Alchemy Interface

(1) Potions that you mix, can have a unique name.

(2) The 4 different apparatus that are available are shown here, if they reside in your inventory. The quality of the effect that the apparatus will have on the potion will depend on the grade of the apparatus. Possibly like in Morrowind there will be a Masterīs set hidden somewhere in the wilds.

(3) Up to 4 ingredients can be added to mix a potion.

(4) The effects that result from combinations of the selected ingredients are displayed here. With values and lasting time of the effect.

Can you use the best available Alchemy apparatus from the start? ^top

If you are able to find the higher level apparatus, you will be able to use them. However higher quality apparatus are only sold at shops at higher character levels, so you will have to be lucky to find some from other places than shops or the Mages Guild.


What are ingredients? ^top

Ingredients are mundane substances that can be retrieved from plants, dead animals, mines or bought from vendors. Ingredients can be distinguished from other items, as they will show up to 4 effects when you hover your mouse over them.

What are ingredient effects/properties? ^top

Ingredient effects are properties that have been attributed to such an item.
They range from restorative effects, damaging effects and fortifying effects, as they can also be found on spell and scrolls.

How many ingredients are in the game? ^top

There are 103 ingredients, not inclduing some hidden rare ingredients.

Is there a chance that i will not get an ingredient when i pick a plant? ^top

The probability of a successful pick from plants are different for each plant and can be 33%, 50% or 80%. Other ingredients just lie about as random loot or are calculated as loot from monsters.

How many effects/properties can appear on an ingredient? ^top

The number of effects attributed to an ingredient ranges from 1 to 4.

How can ingredients be harvested from fauna and flora? ^top

The Flora in Oblivion are simply containers that will give you an ingredient when you click on it. Ingredients will regrow after a given amount of time and the plant itself stays just where it is in the gameworld and wonīt disappear.

The fauna or animals and monsters in Oblivion will have a drop rate for specific ingredients and will be available when the given creature has died and can so be looted by your character. In a sense those are simple containers as welll, when dead.

The season also determines, whether you can pick an ingredient from a plant or not.

How abundant and available are ingredients in Oblivion? ^top

Plants grow widely over all of Cyrodil. Some of the people who were able to preview the game live, mentioned a large amount of plants available to be picked for ingredients. Other ingredients might harder to come by, as they can only be looted from creatures, that might be rare or hard to kill.


How are potions/poisons made? ^top

First of all, a mortar & pestle of any kind of quality are needed to make potions/poisons. The other apparatus are optional.

Click on the mortar & pestle in your inventory. Add a maximum of 4 desired ingredients to your potion. An effect will be added to the potion, if 2 at least effects of the selected ingredients match.

By default only ingredients will be added, that match the effect of the previous ingredients that you added. For further experimentation and more effects on a potion it will be adviseable to click the "View all" button in the Ingredient selection interface, so that all ingredients are shown, and not just those that match the effects of the already present ingredients in the potion.

A poison will be made, if only negative effects consist within the potion.

Do potions with negative effects have any use? ^top

Finally, potions with negative effects can be used for more than suicide or in depth alchemy research. Potions can be applied to weapons and arrows. The effect will only last for one strike with a melee weapon or one arrow shot.

Will potions be colored differently? ^top

In your inventory, potions become one of two colors: pink or green. Pink potions are "good" and beneficial to you, such as restore health. Green potions are "bad" and harmful to your enemies, when applied to a weapon or arrow.

Only potions with only detrimental/negative effects are considered poisons!

Are selfmade potions worth selling? ^top

Potions will usually sell for more than selling their individual ingredients. Selfmade potions are generally worth more than the equivalent ones, that you can buy at shops.

Making and selling potions out of commonly bought/found food is quite worthwhile!

Does the limit of effects from potions also count against other effects from spells or enchantments? ^top

The limit is only for potions, and that limit is not influenced by other effects from spells or enchantments.

Will the limit of potions that can effect a character be fixed? ^top

The amount of potions that can be in effect, will be determined by your Alchemy skill. So with increased skill and by mastering Alchemy, you will achieve a skill perk, that will allow your character to use more potions simultaneously. The total amount of potions that can be used, will so be fixed, when you have mastered Alchemy.

How many potions can be in effect at the same time? ^top

The number of potions you can drink and have in effect at the same time is limited to 4 potions.

This is contrary to the information i listed here before, but it has been confirmed through the construction set. The amount of potions that can be in effect at the same time is not goverened by your skill in Alchemy, but is fixed

To explain this further, the Construction Set does include the following game settings: iMagicMaxPotionsNovice, iMagicMaxPotionsApprentice, iMagicMaxPotionsJourneyman, iMagicMaxPotionsExpert, iMagicMaxPotionsMaster
All these variables are set to the value "4" and so there is no change in the amount of potions that can be in effect at the same time, even if you have a higher Alchemy skill than novice.

There is a mod out there, that introduces this feature, which was obviously forgotten or abandoned by the developers. Have a look here, if you would like to be able to drink more potions, based on your skill in Alchemy:

Are potion effects from multiple potions stackable? ^top

Potion effects will stack, but only up the amount of potions you are allowed to take, determined by your Alchemy skill.

Is there an animation for drinking potions? ^top

Like in Morrowind, drinking potions is instantaneous.