Skyrim Special Edition

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Jake Alaimo

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About this mod

Pick Your Poison. Alternate Alchemy is an SKSE plugin that allows you to apply potions to your weapons and consume poisons for their benefits. Buff your allies and craft custom potions to become the ultimate support class - or just stick 'em with the pointy end of your syringe.

Permissions and credits
Pick Your Poison.

Alternate Alchemy is an SKSE plugin that allows you to choose whether to apply or consume potions and poisons.

In the vanilla game, this is mediated by whether the effects of the potion are predominantly harmful or beneficial. This mod empowers you to be the ultimate support class, buffing and curing followers with beneficial potions, or to, in a desperate moment, choke down a harmful poison for the benefits it can provide. This functionality is patched in at the engine level, and so is compatible with all vanilla, modded, and custom-brewed potions and effects.

The vision behind this mod is to make your alchemy active. By allowing you to apply your custom potions to other NPCs, you can create buffs and identify synergies to empower your followers. Preparation and planning for the fights ahead are enriched with new tools, and the chaotic moments you couldn't plan for become that bit more dynamic as new ways of utilizing your alchemy stock are revealed to you. I've always appreciated the creativity and self-expression crafting custom effects can enable, and my goal is to widen the possibilities alchemy provides.

Pick Your Poison: With this mod, you can choose whether to apply or consume any potion or poison, even custom potions of your own design. The default behavior of potions and poisons is unchanged. Simply equip them as usual to consume your potions and apply your poisons. To alter their behavior, equip them with the Left Hand input (default: M2 on a mouse, Left Trigger with a gamepad). Altering the use behavior of a potion will allow you to apply it to your weapon as a "poison", applying the potion's effects to whoever you hit with your weapon next. Altering the use behavior of a poison will allow you to consume that poison, suffering its negative effects and enjoying its benefits.

Food items are also supported, in case you ever wanted to cross-contaminate your enemies to death, or inject ale directly into Torvar's bloodstream.

Tools of the Trade
: It may work in a pinch, but people generally don't take kindly to being cleaved open to apply a healing potion. For the more discerning alchemists and medics out there, this mod provides the Syringe. The Syringe has a unique quality: using it to apply beneficial potions to NPCs is considered a non-hostile action, is not a crime, and does not harm your target. You can travel the countryside healing injured and ailing wanderers or buffing your allies without racking up a bounty. These good deeds go unpunished. You can craft a Syringe at any forge with a few simple materials.

Kill moves with this thing are absolutely brutal.

Compatibility, Catalysts, Reactions: This mod functions by reverse engineering and overwriting the game's code. It is, by its nature, fully compatible with any kind of potion you can throw at it, whether it uses complex scripted effects from another mod, or is a bespoke creation of your intrepid alchemist. Beyond just being compatible, I encourage you to pull in mods that interact with this system. Bring on the synergies, the glass cannon builds that keep their damage high by chewing on chaurus venom, the rebalances that make negative effects exponentially more present in potions. Bring on the remixes of alchemy effects that create new kinds of potions possible, and the followers who are physically weak and need their vitals managed.

The real alchemy we're playing with is the emergence of possibility in a network of interacting gameplay systems, so experiment away!

How does this mod work?
This mod patches executable code directly at runtime to insert its functionality. My hook detects when the player has equipped a potion and flips its "Is Poison" flag if the potion was equipped "to your left hand" (which is usually ignored). This flag is cleaned up shortly after, giving a brief window for other mods to detect the change too. While the code being patched is generally unchanged between game updates, the placement of that code varies. I've opted to shelve LE support and rebuild the mod with tools the community has provided to keep plugins version independent. Before that, the community was so splintered across game updates that I found myself supporting 5 versions of Skyrim.

Why would I want to consume a poison?
You may find yourself supporting 5 versions of Skyrim. Seriously though, one interesting part of alchemy is that ingredient combinations can create potions with both beneficial and harmful effects. The stronger effect determines the potion/poison assignment in vanilla, but the ethos of this mod is that the "stronger" effect depends on context, and a desperate situation might make consuming a poison an interesting play. Certain risk + reward builds may incentivize taking on the harmful effect too. Or maybe that's just the kind of character you're playing.

Will the Syringer make a return?
Talk about a throwback! For those who aren't aware, this mod could be considered a reimagining of the first mod I ever uploaded to this site. I like to revisit old ideas to demonstrate how much I've grown. The Syringer was fun, but it was a product of its time. Oh, alright, one more dead Nazeem for old time's sake:


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Have fun!