Its clear that weapons, armor, and wondrous items are able to be modified as there are rules that clearly describe this process, but I have not seen anything that prevents potions, wands, and scrolls from also being changed in this way. I am talking about increasing the effect, either by adding a metamagic feat or increasing the CL, not changing the spell.

The way I see this happening is just like any other magic item, you take the new total crafting price, subtract the old crafting price, and you end up with the amount you have to pay to make the change(s).

Is this accurate or have I missed a rule somewhere?


No rules prevent adding new abilities to—or improving existing abilities of—potions, scrolls, and wands

The rules on Adding New Abilities discusses magic items generally and only makes an exception for the weary GM to say no in the case of magic staves ("Because staff pricing is so complex, a GM might want to forbid adding new abilities to staves…"). Thus, so far as I'm aware, you've missed nothing, and a potion, scroll, or wand can be improved after its creation… so long as the standard rules for creating the item are adhered to, of course.

With that in mind, on Adding New Abilities, in part, also says, "If the item’s current and proposed abilities follow the normal pricing rules…, adding the new abilities is a matter of subtracting the old price from the new price and determining how many days of crafting it takes to make up the difference." There's more to this, of course (e.g. acquiring raw materials, finding an appropriate locale, meeting prerequisites necessary to to add the ability to the item, staying within the bounds of the magic item involved—just because it's already a wand of fireball (3rd-level spell at caster level 5) doesn't mean the spell level of a wand can be exceeded by adding to it the feat Maximize Spell, for instance!), but, in the end, it seems these same rules should apply equally to potions, scrolls, and wands.

While this GM hasn't, like, built a campaign around this idea, he has allowed PCs to upgrade all three of potions, scrolls, and wands: the first two when it was convenient to have a particular spell in a potion or scroll be a higher caster level (I think it was the water breathing spell), and the third when the rogue had some spare cash to spend on her backup wand of magic missile (1st-level spell at caster level 1) so as to improve it to a wand of magic missile (1st-level spell at caster level 3). My campaigns didn't explode. However, I've only had limited experience with PCs doing this, and no player has sought to take these ideas to extremes. In other words, it seems fine in small doses.

The risk of super serums

I think there's some risk to the campaign when new abilities are added to potions. That's because I suspect that most folks' expectations would be that when a potion is consumed, all of the potion's spells immediately take effect.

This isn't a big deal when discussing a a potion of cure light wounds, cure light wounds, and cure light wounds (each a 1st-level spell at caster level 1) (50 + (2 × (50 + 50%)) = 200 gp; 0.1 lbs.) that heals 3d8+3 points and obsoletes in all but weird edge cases both the typical potion of cure moderate wounds (300 gp; 0.1 lbs.) that heals 2d8+3 points of damage and is a strong contender to obsolete the potion of cure serious wounds (750 gp; 0.1 lbs.) that heals 3d8+5 points of damage. Who cares? Healing's usually easier and cheaper with wands anyway.

This becomes a big deal when discussing a potion of invisibility and fly (2nd-level spell at caster level 3 and 3rd-level spell at caster level 5, respectively) ((300 + 50%) + 750 = 1,200 gp; 0.1 lbs.) that grants the consumer the effects of both the invisibility spell and the fly spell. Allowing a creature to take a standard action—or a move action even!—to get the effects of several buffs strains an already fragile action economy. (And—wow!—will players will quickly grow to hate that potion!)

Although benefiting from a potion takes a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity, that's all it takes, and the presence of these super serums could radically alter the campaign. For instance, a lone potion that grants its consumer a baker's dozen 1st-level buffs is just 950 gp. During low- and mid-level encounters, keeping the super serum out of the enemy's belly may become a bigger priority than even taking out the finger-wiggler over there in the pointy hat.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ In 3.5 all those were specifically forbidden, mostly for the reasons that @HeyICanChan explains very well in this answer. In my game, every time someone tries something overpowered that shouldn't happen we apply the rule of the NPC: If you can do it, so can NPCs. Imagine a group of NPCs preparing an attack on your party that create potions with several effects in order to be unstoppable for you with only an action to drink a potion. Do you want that to happen all the time? If the answer is no, then you can't do it. \$\endgroup\$ – Calabacin Sep 30 '19 at 12:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I didnt think a potion of multiple spell effects were allowed (if they are I so want to make them). When I asked the question I was thinking along the lines of CLW CL1 to CL5, or MM CL1 to empowered MM CL5orCL10. Always keeping as a single spell effect and within lines of upto 3rd level spells that are not personal. \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Sep 30 '19 at 14:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Calabacin RE: "In 3.5 all those were specifically forbidden." Do you mean by the rules or by your table's gentlemen's agreement? (I totally support a gentleman's agreement that bans multipotions, by the way, even if the rules technically allow them!) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 30 '19 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Fering Your PC would want multipotions… and so would everyone in the campaign. I suspect that without a house rule like When a multipotion is consumed, the consumer picks one of the potion's spells to take effect (so as to make them only useful to, like, spies) the GM would need to (re)design the campaign to accommodate multipotions because they're so powerful (e.g. In case of monster attack, drink potion signs in big cities; potion-centered espionage and R&D; a variety of new low-level spells suitable for potions; new potion delivery methods; potion-brewing and -selling cabals). \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 30 '19 at 14:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan the rules on making potions clearly state what they do (one spell of 3rd level or lower). That means they do nothing else, and that includes having more than one effect, allowing high-level spells etc. It even explains how to calculate cost, clearly specifying that it's that spell level * caster level for that spell. What is being described here is something else entirely that we could call multipotion that not only violates the rules, it violates the spirit of them (i.e. action economy). \$\endgroup\$ – Calabacin Nov 7 '19 at 15:53

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