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About this mod

In the days of yore there was Alchemy.

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In the days of old, the world was shrouded by chaos; during the conjunction of the spheres, the first monsters emerged, forever changing the land. 
Witchers were created then, in a final, desperate attempt to overcome the threat. Mutated killers, trained from infancy to slay monsters.
They relied on uncanny reflexes and various assortments of mixtures, secret herbs and legendary alchemical infusions that made them formidable in battle.
This mod is but a humble effort to improve upon the way these forgotten alchemical arts are portrayed in the game.

Primer makes numerous changes designed to increase the depth and complexity of the alchemy system, in order to make it a more interactive and engaging experience.  My aim is to create a system that resembles the first Witcher game as much possible, while remaining in harmony with the new game elements, pace and mechanics of the current one.
This mod is the evolution of my work with Alchemy Redone. If you liked that mod, chances are you will love this one.

Ingredients and Bases:
All ingredients are comprised of one of six elemental substances: Aether, Rebis, Quebrith, Vitriol, Hydragenum or Vermilion. These substances are
innate in all matter. Recipes for potions, oil and bombs can be made by combining different ingredients containing these substances.
Recipes don't require a specific ingredient no more, they require primary substances; you can use any ingredients to cook a recipe as long as the ingredients contain the required primary substances. This presents you with a great deal of flexibility when creating alchemical items as you no longer depend on a particular ingredient but are unhampered to interchange them freely. The primary substances are spread strategically among the ingredients, promoting diversity and encouraging exploration. Some substances will only be reliably found in rare, expensive ingredients, while others are ubiquitous. In addition to the afore mentioned primary substances some ingredients will contain secondary substances which when used in conjunction, will grant additional benefits.
The secondary substances, Albedo, Rubedo, or Nigredo, can only be found in some ingredients. These substances serve no purpose on their own and they can not be extracted or distilled. However, while probably lethal to normal humans,  the mutated metabolism of witchers allows them to to metabolize  these substances in great quantities; when all of the ingredients in a potion contain the same secondary substance, the potion will have strong side effects:

  • Albedo dominance — Reduces toxicity of all subsequently consumed potions by 20%.
  • Nigredo dominance —  Increases damage inflicted by 20%.
  • Rubedo dominance — Accelerates vitality regeneration.

When performing alchemy, It is possible to use ingredients directly, raw, or to distill them to obtain the pure substance. When using the pure substance you will need less measures to fulfill the recipe, as much as 50% less and the required amount of each particular ingredient will change dynamically to reflect this. Distilling ingredients will require the purest of alcohols and two empty bottles.
Blade coatings, alchemical powders and alcohols are changed in similar fashion to ingredients. Each now belong to a category: Standard, high or top quality. You can use top quality bases, in lieu of high or standard quality, but you can't use a standard quality base if the potion requires a better one. For instance if you are making an oil that requires dog tallow, which is a standard quality blade-coating base, and you don't have any dog tallow but you have bear fat, you can use the bear fat, which is a high quality base in place of the tallow. It is absurd and illogical this couldn't be done before.
Additionally, when using a higher quality base when the recipe requires a lower one, the required amount will change to reflect this.
The ingredients for potions, oils and bomb have all been changed in order to better balance the game with the new alchemy system. Alcohest, and dwarven spirit can no longer be created in alchemy; white gull is the only potion base that can be created; similar to the way it was in  the first Witcher game. The rest of alcohols will need to be purchased or found throughout the. All the prices of alcohols and herbs have been revised and standardized based on their category and usefulness.  

Potions, Oils, Bombs and Decoctions:
Oils, potions and bombs no longer have a limit and they are no longer treated as special items. They behave similarly to any other usable inventory item. They stack in number and when used up they are removed from the inventory.  Oils are single use, each bottle can be applied to a blade once and it's discarded. The duration of potions and mutagen potions can be customized in the mod's menu. You can override the game value or simply add to it. It is also possible to reintroduce a limit if you so wish.
Furthermore, many of the potions and decoctions were rebalanced or even given a new effect:

  • Blizzard Potion: now slows down time when you drink it instead of on kill.
  • Katakan Decoction: now grants variable crit chance based on missing health (100% crit at 0% health). Favours lower health values.
  • Ekkimara Decoction: same as Katakan, up to 33% life leech.
  • Cockatrice Decoction: now gives 10% (up to infinity) damage and 2% (up to 50%) slowdown per hit. Chain breaks after 3 seconds or on recieiving damage. Damage that broke the chain is amplified by 5% per stack.
  • Forktail Decoction: now gives 100/150 attack/sign power on fully charging. Light attacks give 1 charge, strong attack - 2, signs - 3, counters - 3. Attack type can't charge itself. At 3 charges you gain an expendable buff. If you get hit, you lose all those aquired buffs and can't generate charges for 3 seconds.
  • Leshen Decoction: returns 10% + your armor value as damage.
  • Ancient Leshen Decoction: has been fixed.
  • Succubus Decoction: up to 60% damage bonus after 2 minutes of combat.
  • Troll Decoction: 0.5% vitality regen in combat, 2.5% out of combat.
  • Grave Hag: 0.25% vitality regen per enemy slain.
  • Nightwraith: +1.5% max vitality per enemy slain.

By default monster mutagens can be used to make lesser mutagens of the same color by dissolving them in alcohest. This feature can be disabled in the mod menu.

Alchemy Skills:
Originally my intention was to overhaul the whole alchemy tree. Sadly, skills appear to be implemented internally, i.e their definition is not exposed to the scripting system. Other than tweak a few params and values we can't really change them that much. What I did, within the above mentioned limits, was to replace the skills I felt were broken from a balance point of view or that didn't fit the changes of the mod. 
Five skills were changed in total, before I described them, it is important to point that alchemy skills no longer grant a potion duration bonus. Now there's a single skill for that.

  • Refreshment: Name changed to Potion Specialization: "Potion durations are increased by 50% per skill level. Max level: 5.  Passive ability, it does not need to be equipped to work".
  • Side Effects: You have a 10% chance per skill level of obtaining mutagens as a by-product of alchemy. Max level 2. Passive ability, it does not need to be equipped to work.
  • Efficiency: You've learned to mange your resources more efficiently and can create I additional bomb per skill level. Max level 2. Passive ability, it does not need to be equipped to work.
  • Acquired tolerance: Increases maximum toxicity by 10% per level. Maximum level: 3. Passive ability, it does not need to be equipped to work.
  • Fast Metabolism: When toxicity exceeds the safe threshold your metabolism clears it 0.1 seconds faster per skill level. Max level 5. Passive ability, it does not need to be equipped to work.
  • Heightened Tolerance: no longer raises potion overdose threshold by insane amounts, instead it lowers overdose damage by 10% per level.
  • Frenzy: now slows time on any attack or arrow or any other projectile thrown in your general direction as long as you are above 50% toxicity. Doesn't work against undodgeable stuff, obviously.
  • Adaptation: also lowers decoction toxicity offset by 3 per level.

Automatic item refill when meditating is gone. You will need to have all the necessary ingredients if you want to create something. However, because of the changes explained above, you have much more flexibility as recipes no longer have hard-coded ingredients. Additionally, meditation is required in order to perform alchemy. Trying to access the alchemy menu without adopting the meditation position will not work, you will end up with an empty menu. 
The mod features its own real-time meditation feature, independent from vanilla meditation. To enter the meditation state you need to press the "L" key. Once the game finished playing the animation you can either meditate or enter the alchemy menu. To meditate simply press and hold the "Space" key, release it when you are done. To enter the alchemy menu, press the "L" key again. To exit the meditation position you need to press and hold the "L" key for about one second. 
Controller users can access the meditation state by pressing the "left stick" and meditate by pressing the right directional button, the same used to draw the silver sword. To enter the alchemy menu press the left stick again and to exit the meditation state, press and hold the left stick for about one second.
In addition to the built-in way, you can access the alchemy menu by meditating one hour via the vanilla system if you access alchemy straight from the vanilla meditation menu. You can also see the alchemy menu or even cook recipes from the alchemy shop dialogue.

Alchemy and Fireplaces:
Brewing alchemical recipes has been drastically changed; in addition to adopting the meditation pose, you will need a fireplace to create the items.
When initiating the meditation position (read above),  if there are no fire sources in the vicinity -whether lit or not doesn't matter- and you have timber or hardened timber in your inventory, a fireplace will be created at your position.
When you exit the menu, If any item was created, real-time meditation will be initiated upon menu exit and the time it took you to create the potions will be deducted. Of course, like pretty much everything in the mod, these settings can be tweaked, changed or disabled in the mod menu.

The toxicity system has been completely changed. Toxicity is now tracked independently for each potion imbibed; different multipliers in the mod's
menu control at what extent toxicity is removed at different times throughout the potion's duration. By default, 75% of a potion's toxicity will remain latent for the majority of the potion's life. When the potion's effect is almost over, toxicity will start waning at an accelerated pace. After every effect has worn off, all the toxicity will soon fade.
Moreover, overdose damage was overhauled. Overdose threshold (point from which you start taking toxicity damage) is now 50% of your total maximum toxicity and damage itself is no longer static, but follows a simple quadratic function, which ensures almost a linear progression in damage between 0.45-1.75% of your maximum health, slightly favouring the higher toxicity.

The mod includes animations for eating, drinking, applying oils to a blade and looting. These can be configured in the mod menu.

Pretty much every setting in the mod can be changed in the mod's menu. Detailed information on what each setting does is included in the configuration file (which no longer affects the settings, but is still useful) which is located in the mod's root folder which should be in: \The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt\Mods\modPrimer\content\scripts\mod_configuration\ I  recommend you to glance at it, at least once.

The Installation instructions are included inside the mod's root directory. Read them and follow them thoroughly, there are new steps required; the mod isn't drop and play anymore. Do NOT use  Nexus Mod Manager to install.

This is a scripted mod and the modified game scripts are many. I wish there was a better way to go around this but there isn't. The reality is if you want to use different scripted mods together you will need to learn how to merge them properly. If you don't, you will end up with start up errors at best and  broken mods with missing functionality and erratic behavior at worse.  
A tool that I consider absolutely essential for this task is: Script Merger. This will make your life infinitely easier. Information on how to use it can be found here: Script merger tutorial. Merging scripts is safe as long as the conflict you are solving is not a logical one. A logic conflict in this context is when two mods try to change the same thing. 
Before you even start merging look at the names of the scripts you are trying to merge. In general,, and any of the potions or mutagen script files should not be merged, ever. Other mods modifying these scripts will most likely contain logical conflicts. If you have mods that extensively modify these scripts that is a clear sign you should not be using those mods and Primer together. If they add or change but a few lines, then it might be fine; but sometimes even a single line can be can be harmful. In general, you are better off asking for help. Depending on the mod, deleting these conflicting scripts will be safe and Primer will replace whatever functionality they had. 
Note that the Custom Localization Fix mod is one of those rare exceptions, its change to is completely harmless and both mods can be safely merged.
Mods that change xml files are fine to merge; feel free to let your favorite overhaul mod win over any conflicts when merging xml files. I strongly advice you to keep my changes to recipes ingredients and alcohols as these are fined tuned for the mod and changing them will undoubtedly tarnish the experience. 

I feel it's unnecessary to say, but I will anyway, Primer is not compatible with other scripted alchemy mods, including Preparations mod.

Special thanks to wghost81 whose work has provided invaluable study material and learning resource. Without her I'd probably still be scouring the script files for the right functions.
Thanks to rmemr for his w3string encoder mod.
Thanks to Sarcen for his mod editor.
Thanks to the authors of The School of The Roach mod, from which I learned the inconspicuous names of the eating/drinking animations. The rest of the animations I got from the gracious nexus user who made the mod with all the animation names. Thank you.
Damned be CDProjekt for creating such a magnificent and yet so ultimately flawed masterpiece. Playing this game has been such a bittersweet experience.

You are free to reuse, modify and distribute this file in any way you see fit as long as you include the source code of your work and grant the same level of liberties I'm offering.