Last Updated on January 22, 2023
Strange in size and shape, the alchemy jug is a unique magical item in D&D 5e. While this magic item doesn’t provide any numerical boosts in combat, it offers options to an adventuring party that they might not normally have.
But, what are those options? How good are these options in the first place? This mystical item’s power lies not in what it can do, but what your team can do with its products.
What is an Alchemy Jug?
An alchemy jug is an uncommon, wondrous magic item that appears to be a large, ceramic jug with numerous stoppers around its upper curve. This jug can create different amounts of ten different liquids, ranging from foods to water to poison.
All of these liquids are produced immediately when you say the word of the liquid you want and can be poured out from the jug at a rate of 2 gallons per minute.
The alchemy jug can be found on page 150 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Here’s a quick list of what the alchemy jug can make and how much:
- Acid: 8 ounces
- Basic poison: 1/2 ounce
- Beer: 4 gallons
- Honey: 1 gallon
- Mayonnaise: 2 gallons
- Oil: 1 quart
- Vinegar: 2 gallons
- Water, fresh: 8 gallons
- Water, salt: 12 gallons
- Wine: 1 gallon
The alchemy jug weighs 12 pounds and can hold up to one gallon of liquid. Once you say the name of a liquid, the jug will make and hold liquid up to either the maximum amount it can hold or the maximum it can make.
Once you’ve said the name of one liquid, the alchemy jug won’t make any other liquids until the next dawn.
Why Use an Alchemy Jug?
What makes the alchemy jug so interesting is that it isn’t an obvious choice for combat. Most of the things you can get from an alchemy jug are normal foods or drinks you would find at a tavern in a decent town.
So, an alchemy jug is best used as a solution to random problems the players might find themselves in. Or, at the very least, the alchemy jug will be a complement to the main solution they want to try and use.
Let’s look at some of the liquids from the list and see if we can devise some creative ways to use them!
Acid and Poison
Both the acid and the basic poison are the two obviously harmful substances the alchemy jug can make. Both of these items refer back to their entries in the Adventuring Gear section of the Player’s Handbook.
Acid is a useful corrosive for the party to have on tap. If a metal lock is giving the party troubles, a vial of acid might be able to corrode the lock enough to where it can be busted open, rather than picked.
Acid also makes for a great improvised weapon, even at range.
The poison is a little tougher to use. You’ll need to take some time to coat a weapon or ammunition in poison first. If you don’t do this ahead of time, you might miss your chance in combat.
It’s also worth saying that a lot of creatures in D&D are resistant or immune to poison, so this might not be the best option. Especially since the alchemy jug can’t make much in a day.
Thief rogues will be the ones that benefit most from an alchemy jug’s acid and poison. By filling vials every day, a Thief rogue will soon find themselves flush with weapons they can throw or apply as a bonus action thanks to their Fast Hands feature.
Plus, acid and poison are expensive. Even if you don’t want to use these items, you can always try to sell them off for some extra gold!
Fresh Water and Salt Water
It seems strange that both of these liquids can be made out of the jug, right? Especially because saltwater isn’t as useful as freshwater when you talk about surviving the wilderness or cooking.
However, don’t forget that saltwater can be converted into freshwater!
Characters with brewer’s supplies proficiency can make six gallons of fresh water from salt water after a long rest, or one-gallon after a short rest. This is all thanks to the rules for the different artisan’s tools in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. If you have a brewer in your party, then suddenly the saltwater is a much more enticing since you get more.
Also, if you need water to put out a fire, salt water is just as good as fresh water. That extra four gallons could factor into how fast the flames spread if you ever have to play bucket brigade.
Beer and Wine
Alcohol makes for a great way to unwind after a long day of adventuring.
Since most folks enjoy their beer by the pint, the alchemy jug’s ability to make four gallons of the stuff is more than enough for the entire party to have a few rounds. This is also true for wine, thanks to its higher alcohol content.
On a more serious note, beer and wine make for great bribes and comforts to be offered to NPCs in exchange for info or trade. Someone who is deep into their cups but cut off from the bar might be willing to trade rumors for another pint of ale.
Other Food Items
Since part of exploring in D&D involves going into the wilderness, having ready access to food is important. While the alchemy jug can’t make a fanciful meal, being able to create honey and mayonnaise means that you always have access to fresh, high-calorie food.
Honey and mayo also make great baits for trying to capture wild animals and monsters thanks to their unique aroma.
The oil from the alchemy jug is actually cooking oil, not lantern oil. But, it could possibly be lit up just like any other oil. Some DMs might also let you coat a floor with the oil to create a makeshift grease spell.
Because it’s such a unique item, the alchemy jug comes with a lot of questions about its use and function. Here are some of the questions we’ve found out there about D&D 5e’s alchemy jug:
What Can the Alchemy Jug Make?
An alchemy jug can make various amounts of ten different liquids, ranging from acid to water to honey. While the utility of all of these liquids may not be obvious at first, all of them have some function to an adventuring party during their combat and exploration tasks.
Is Alchemy Considered Magic in D&D 5e?
The alchemy jug technically doesn’t make alchemical items. However, alchemy is separate from magic in D&D, with the term usually referring to basic chemistry and physics concepts turned into combat items.
How Much Can a Vial Hold?
Vials can hold four ounces of liquid and are required to hold that amount for a vial of a substance to work.
Because of this, vials are perfect for storing small amounts of potent or dangerous liquids like acid and poison, both of which can be made by the alchemy jug.
The alchemy jug stands as a versatile answer to many of the food and trade problems a party might come across.
While it might not be the flashiest or most powerful artifact, its utility won’t be missed by creative players looking to mess with the world in unique and crazy ways.
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I played the game a lot as a kid, back in first edition. Over the past few years since 5e was released, I’ve really started getting back into it. Currently, I run a campaign online for some friends and my brothers, and we also play a side-sesh just to mix things up.