How do Alchemists make money by making potions?

A person who takes the alchemy proficiency three times they are considered an alchemist under the hireling rules. An alchemist can make a potion at twice the base time and cost. Then they add the cost for special components. As an example say you make a sharpness potion. The potion costs 500 gp to make and takes one week. Alchemist doubles that to 1000 and two weeks. Than the alchemist adds in the special components for 1000 more or 2000 total investment. He than has a formula which halves the cost. So its 1000 and one week to make but the potion still only sells for 1000 so he makes no profit?

(As A side note does an alchemist need to have access to someone casting the spell or can they just make any potion at all)?

Based on a forum thread a month or two back (I don’t recall the title, otherwise I’d link it), alchemists can make make any potion they have a sample or formula for and they can invent new potions as if they were 5th level casters without needing to know or have access to any spells.

No idea on how they’re meant to turn a profit, though, other than by having someone hire them for 250gp/month and then making their boss cover the costs of their work.

I believe that’s a misreading of the rules. Special components should account for half of the total cost to produce. Thus, you should be able to produce a level 1 potion for 500gp and sell it for 1000gp. You’re still not likely to make a profit, however, as you have to make a magical research throw.

Special components would cost 500 gp as well if the alchemist has to buy them no?

special components are half the cost of production, having a formula cuts the cost of production in half, but being an alchemist (and only an alchemist) doubles the cost of production, so you end up with the total cost of production being base cost, and special components would be half of that.

I’m not seeing how this frees the alchemist from having to provide special components.

I was about to posit the idea that alchemists don’t buy special components, and instead demand that the components be provided in addition to the full price of the potion, but then that makes less sense because the economy assumes a steady demand for parts. If alchemists aren’t buying gryphon feathers, who is?

I guess we could assume a large and healthy “folk medicine” market where people eat powdered nymph ovaries to stimulate fertility and whatnot.

Special components are full base cost, not half base cost.

ACKS Core page 118: “Components are usually organs or blood from one or more monsters with a total XP value equal to the GP cost of the research.”

Also I have to go do some research and find that other thread where this was talked about. The actual description of alchemists in ACKS Core does not say that they can make potions on their own, so to figure out if the thought I was having can work, I need another source.

(I was thinking that you could double their production cost after already figuring out the components needed. So their 1st level spell, with a formula, would cost a total of 750 gp to make; 250 gp of components and 500 gp of crafting. I’ll go see if this is feasible.)

Well, for one thing, special components don’t necessarily always cost 1gp/xp value of the monster they come from. Monster parts are a commodity like any other, and their price is controlled by supply and demand. If alchemists set up in a market with plentiful monster parts (eg. a negative demand modifier), they could consistently earn money making potions, albeit with a fairly narrow profit margin. One could rule that the listed prices for magical items only apply in markets where the demand modifier for monster parts is 0, and adjust them up or down accordingly.

In addition, the rules for alchemists say that the base time and cost of making potions is doubled, but don’t explicitly say that the cost of special components is doubled as well. It’s a bit of a stretch, but you could arguably rule that the special component cost remains the same for alchemists as it is for wizards, without straying too far from the rules as written. This would give alchemists a better profit margin, though still not as good as a wizard would have.

Based on this:

I think the intent clearly does not support my interpretation. Alchemists should normally be paying double for everything.

But if you want to introduce a profit margin, letting them calculate the component cost before doubling the base cost should work out most of the time.

oh I think I see what I did, I misinterpreted “The Research” as the portion of creating the item leading up to knowing the parts required (you learn what they are at 50%) rather than “The Research” as being “A spell research action to craft a magic item”.

But they would still not make a profit because of the failure rate when brewing the potion…

They aren’t supposed to. ACKS is designed so that magic items aren’t designed to be commodities. The Alchemist is only making potions to order for wealthy patrons/adventures. Those people provide the parts and pay the alchemist’s wage while he makes potions to order.