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I am looking at the feasibility of a potions factory system. Perhaps one that focuses solely on healing potions. They need to be available and relatively easy to get. Given a world where magic is rare or moderately rare, how can this work logically? Value of the potion would be high for a commoner, but not difficult for most adventurers. (Basically the equivalent of 50 gold, in D&D terms). I've been thinking about also having weaker potions out there that heal less than the standard for a cheaper price. There will be more casters in the geographic area where the potions are being made, but I don't want to count on casters randomly coming in and helping out. The only thing I can think of is a magical "blue print" made by a magic user which can then by used by non-magic users a limited amount of times.

EDIT CLARIFICATION: Alchemy is involved, but it is essentially a liquid version of a spell, so magical energy needs to be part of the process. The stuff closes wounds instantly, and heals them. Ingredients/ingredient rareness I can worry about separately, I am just looking for the answer to industrializing when the magic to make it is rare.

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    $\begingroup$ How does potion making work? To guess industrialization, specialization, and if economies of scale are possible, we need a rough idea of how it works in your setting, especially any logistical choke point in the process. Is it alchemy? Does a mage have to cast a spell over it? Rare, exotic ingredients needed? Does it need to brew for extended periods, or left in a cellar to age? $\endgroup$ – Ranger Jul 22 '16 at 2:41
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    $\begingroup$ Are the potions made from magical ingredients that can be harvested by anyone? Or are they made from everyday items that are infused with magic by an alchemist or wizard or something? $\endgroup$ – Lumberjack Jul 22 '16 at 2:42
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    $\begingroup$ Mandatory OOTS comic. $\endgroup$ – Renan Jul 22 '16 at 2:51
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    $\begingroup$ If you can find a copy of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_of_the_Five_Magics it has an interesting take on potion making and competition between alchemists. Potion making is dangerous and fickle, it can be expensive and yield nothing. Potion makers who go too deep into debt end up working for their competition. $\endgroup$ – Seeds Jul 22 '16 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ You're reminding me of the fairy godmother from Shrek $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Aug 9 '16 at 15:40
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Why is magic rare? Is it because it's very difficult to learn so there aren't many mages? Or is it taboo/outlawed/not believed in/with a sort of masquerade? Or is it that there's just not much "magical energy" in the world.

If the third one, then the easiest explanation could be that healing magic is exceptionally efficient in terms of magical energy usage, or that the Gods approve of healing and therefore will make healing potion factories an exception to whatever the limiting factor is.

If either of the first two, we can say that there aren't many mages around and so you probably won't find many who are willing to sit casting the same spell at a potion assembly line all day when they could be out unlocking the mysteries of the cosmos.

But it strikes me that a magic potion requires a mundane component (ingredients, the mixing process, etc.) and a magical almost Eucharistic process. The first part is easy to mass-produce - farms, mines, pipes/vats/tubes and furnaces should sort it out.

But depending on how magic works in your world, the second part could be achieved by a wizard creating a magical device which channels the magical energy in massive quantities at the vats of the mundane soup in the same way that a single mage would at a single vial.

Now the thing is, creating such a device takes an extreme genius level mage and as we know there aren't many mages, never mind mages powerful enough to do something like this - in fact there's only one, and luckily s/he happens to like healing - which is why you don't see all sorts of potion factories popping up around the place - just healing ones.

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Break the process down into steps from the moment the ingredients enter your factory. Now group the common steps together; for example, 10 potions need finely chopped sage and no magical input, so you have one lot of people just chopping sage and another group delivering those to the different processes.

Identify the stages at which a mage must provide input. Again group those together, if possible. If not, set up a schedule for a mage you hire, as in, he'll show up in the morning, or at midnight or at the crack of dawn or whatever the requirements are for potionmaking and first cast his spell on potion process A, then C, then B, as needed. Trial and error till you get the most efficient configuration.

If the magic can be preserved through alchemy, then it's just another ingredient in your assembly line. Just hire mages to produce them at a given rate, e.g., 20 spells a day at 15 gold.

The rest is simple, you've got an optimised assembly line, so go for bulk. Start with a dozen small cauldrons. Once your people are reasonably competent enough to not waste ingredients, switch to large cauldrons, then set up an experimental giant crucible. Once the crucible is fuctional, set up conveyor belts (pedal or mill powered) to feed a hopper and a pipeline to carry away the final product to a bottling plant. Put mages to work to find a way to convert the batch processes to continuous processes wherever possible

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You would need at least 1 maybe 2 or 3 Mages to do to work the actual spells but that mixing and putting together of ingredients could be complete done by humans or machines or both. What you could have is humans or machines Gathering ingredients mixing ingredients in a gigantic pot or mixer, the Mage shows up every once in awhile to do a spell over the ingredients, then the humans or machines take the new inspelled liquid and divide them up into hundreds of small bottles. And then there you have it hundreds of potions created in a single day and ready to be sold.

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X = How many potions can your average alchemist make per working day? Assuming your alchemists work five days a week and get six weeks off per year that’s 46 weeks multiplied by 5 so 230 working days per year and X230 is your rate of production, per alchemist, per year.

Now how many alchemists are there for every 100 people and approximately how many potions will these 100 people need on a yearly basis?

I think this is what you’re really asking about, you want to know how much a potion should cost for a given degree of availability, a good measure of that is to compare supply and demand. If supplies are plentiful the cost will go down and people will use health potions for increasingly trivial wounds, maybe even as a pick-me-up after a hard day farming, whereas if availability is restricted they might be expensive or not even for sale to the general public.

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