I have been wanting to write a blog post for some time, but have struggled to decide upon a suitable subject, but finally I have one, Alchemy. From what I have seen, alchemy is a particularly underrated skill, and one which can not only be a life saver, but great fun as well. Henceforth, I am going to propose five reasons why alchemy is an important, useful and fun, and a couple of suggestions for using alchemy effectively.
- Saves Money: Alchemy does, assuming one forages for the ingrediants themselves, save alot of money, as there is no need to purchase healing potions (although these tend to be readily available in dungeons, outside of them they are rarer. Poisons are notably expensive, and as such, making your own can save alot of money. Most ingrediants are somewhat readily available, whether it is through foraging, collecting from sites (such as the College of Winterhold) or the like.
- Saves carry weight: Now I know what you are thinking "What is the point of carrying alchemical ingrediants when I can just carry healing potions", but effectively managing potions and alchemical potions can effectively save carry weight. Why carry 50 healing potions (5 carrying weight), when you can carry 50 wheat and 50 blue mountain flowers, both widely available for just 2.5 carry weight? I'd recommend taking only the potions you need (which at high levels, depending on armor level may be little), and instead carry a small emergency alchemy kit, containing a few ingrediants for restoring health and magicka (in particular). Ingrediants such as Wheat, Blue Mountain Flower, Grass Pod and Elves Ear, which all weigh 0.1, and are readily available can be used to easily create restore health and magicka potions, and with many dungeons (especially nordic ruins) containing alchemy stations, it is an effective way of managing carry weight and improving the alchemy skill.
- The joy of causing a frenzy: Amongst the most expensive poisons, Frenzy Poisons can also be the most fun, and when applied with the right perks, can be used to discretly kill an enemy without earning a bounty. The advantage of using frenzy poisons rather than damage health poisons is that in areas with alot of people, the Frenzy affect results in the victim being attacked by other members of the public, providing more assistance, and also greater opportunity to slip away unnoticed. If you are a member of the Dark Brotherhood, try planting a frenzy poison on the Emporer's decoy during the Quest To Kill an Empire (and resist feeding him the Jarrin Root), the result is a crazy emporer attacking his guests, and his guards and anyone else in the vicinity.
- Earning Money & increased levelling: Some potions can be worth thousands of septims, and as such can be used to readily increase the amount of gold a player has, especially if the right perks are invested in. Poisons typically sell for more than potions, and as a result, can be more useful for this aspect. It should also be noted that the more costly a potion, the more level points will be obtained, so by creating particularly expensive potions, the alchemy skill can be rapidly increaed and player's level also.
- The joys of foraging: I don't know about you, but one of my favourite things about alchemy is foraging for ingrediants. Not only is it relaxing and fun, but when attacking creatures such as bears, sabre cats, Spriggans, Giants etc, attacking skills can all be increased. Additionally, some ingrediants are particularly expensive, and can be easily obtained through foraging. Some of the best areas for foraging are Clearings (often guarded by Spriggans), and places such as Shadowgreen Cavern, Eldergleam Sanctuary and Bloated Man's Grotto, amongst money others.
I know that skills such as restoration and illusion can negate some of the potions created through alchemy, but alchemy provides more opportunities for levelling compared to this. Take for example planting a created frenzy poison: not only would the player have obtained levelling points for creating the poison, but also for reverse-pickpocketing, sneak and any skills needed for the obtaining of the ingrediants (including one-handed or speech ). Additionally, that when specific quests are complained, alchemy merchants such as Arcadia's Cauldron and the Hag's Cure will allow you to take many items from their shelves for free, without being classed as theft, an easy way of sometimes obtaining rare ingrediants, and another reason why Alchemy is an important skill.
I hope that this blog post has been an interesting read, and I apologise for any spelling or grammar mistakes, it is 2am right now. It would be great if it provided reason for more users to use alchemy, as it is an incredibly useful skill.
Thanks for reading.