Drugs are often present on the sidelines of campaigns - hidden under the bartender’s bench, stashed in a ship’s hull, or used as a large source of money for illicit guilds and companies. They’re also perfect for adding flavor and grit to lawless and corrupt lands. So, the next time you’re not sure what to put in those unmarked barrels, I give you the comprehensive guide to Sinful Concoctions of the Mind and Body.
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Dreamer dust is a soft, light purple powder ground from Purple Dreamer mushrooms and blended with various alchemical agents that streak the substance with grainy white lines. It has an effect much like the mushrooms themselves have when eaten, although much more refined and powerful. It is always snorted through the nose, and, unlike flash, the alchemical reagents within it make it irritating and damaging to the nose. When inhaled, the user will begin sweating and salivating profusely, accompanied by a lowering in blood pressure. After about a minute of this, an extreme feeling of drowsiness and satisfied relaxation sets in. Have you ever been right on the edge of falling asleep, barely conscious, unable to move, and comfortable as heck? That's the basic effect, only taken many times over. It is a very addictive sensation, and many people find themselves reaching for a second packet only minutes after their first go. In later stages, the user may also begin to see whorls of color around swiftly moving objects. Addicts often take multiple drafts of dust to speed this process, and are often seen moving their hands erratically in front of their faces to see the sunbursts of color that ensue. Nosebleeds are not uncommon among second and third-time users, and addicts can be spotted by the deep, dark rings under their glassy eyes, as well as the stupor-like state they often seem to live in. One must also be careful not to overdose, as too much dust can lower one’s blood pressure to the point that the heart simply stops beating.
Delirium is a dark, thick grainy liquid created by Balk-Head mushrooms brewed in with sugar and weak herbal antidotes, included to dull the dangerous after-effects of the drug. It is usually mixed into hot teas and downed in a single gulp, as its sickly-sweet flavor and coarse texture is nothing appetizing. It takes over ten minutes for anything to occur, but after that time the user may seem to notice odd things happening around him. At this time, it is usually best to shut him away from the outside world. Delirium is a powerful hallucinogenic substance that gradually affects the user’s consciousness, so slowly that he might not even realize it has affected him until it has completely taken over. These hallucinations last for several hours, causing users to see all manner of thoughts, ideas, memories and fears manifest themselves before them. It is best to imbibe this drug when one is in a good state of mind, for fears are a terrifying thing to manifest. During this stage, the user will most likely spasm and convulse, and sometimes even become paralyzed for hours. There have been some accounts of users convulsing hard enough to tear tendons and break bones, but those are rare cases. At the end, most users simply black out, waking up hours later with only a vague recollection of the events. Splitting headaches and tear-filled, blurry vision are guaranteed after-effects, which only become worse with repeated use. After continuous use over long period, users begin to lose their sight and hearing completely, becoming both blind and deaf in the last stages. Luckily, it is not very addictive, although many users, having just returned from seeing their greatest fantasy manifest before them, find themselves going back and back to replace their continually worsening reality with the one offered by the drug.
Trapcap is simply a street name for the dried cap of the Glowcap mushroom, openly sold in bags as “alchemical supplies” by southern street vendors. When eaten, Trapcaps produce a relaxing feeling much like their sister mushrooms, Purple Dreamers, although instead of sweating and salivating, the user will find it hard to move, and will experience a severe lack of coordination, as if one was trapped in invisible molasses. The user’s vision takes on a sort of blurred bluish tint, which sometimes allows one to see at night. However, unlike Purple Dreamers and Dreamer Dust, Trapcaps are not addictive, and have a rather unpleasant taste.
Crush is a soft, fine golden-yellow powder made from the Golden Hallucinole mushrooms of the Mura Katur, snorted through the nose or mixed into drinks. It carries with it the faint sweet odor of the mushroom, and when consumed, in short time the user’s vision will begin to take on a bluish tint. In the later stages, everything the user sees will be bright blue, and surrounded by swirls of color in the corners of the user’s vision. During this time, the user will be unable to speak, and find it very hard to move. It is quite easy to overdose on this drug, at which point the blue whorls will simply fade to black, and the user will enter a coma. However, the relative lucidity one retains when using the drug is often enough to identify this sign, so actual deaths are uncommon. Addicts can easily be spotted by their blue-tinted eyes, which are often encrusted with tears.
Sweeper comes in the form of dark red-brown pieces of candy-like substance - think peanut brittle, but red (and no peanuts). Slightly chewy and mostly tasteless, it is held in the mouth until it dissolves, at which point it causes one to lose most sensation of touch and sight, so much that one might feel as if one is simply floating in an abyss. It is not very addictive, however, and relatively uncommon as well, and is more often used by spies anticipating capture and torture, or doctors operating on patients, than as a narcotic, as it is highly effective at muting pain.
Blush is a bright red powder made from the Maidensglove funghi, and enhanced alchemically. Stirred into drinks, the bitter powder brings a blush to the cheeks, a fullness to the lips, and a slight red tinge to the eyes. It is also a powerful aphrodisiac, causing imbibers to become intensely confident and lustful. It is often found in use at orgiastic parties run by corrupt nobility, and often used by rogues, seductresses, and more villainous characters to embarrass a figure, or take them to bed. However, its price, combined with its relative rarity, has kept it within the hands of nobility, merchants, and connoisseurs of exotic narcotics.
Flash is a soft white powder, much like ground talcum, ground from Wakings Mushrooms and Chortleaf and inhaled through the nose. Unlike dreamer dust, this powder does not cut or damage the nose, and instead coats it in a fine layer of the dust as it is absorbed into the lungs. When inhaled, it quickly causes the user to feel energetic and giddy, and it does not take much prodding to send them into fits of idiotic laughter. However, this is a relatively short effect, lasting only perhaps a half-hour on average. While not technically addictive, not many people can stand simply one hit - most find themselves returning to the table hours after swearing it off. This, combined with the fact that no true side effects or drawbacks have yet been discovered (although there are some strange reports of suspicious deaths), has made flash a popular recreational drug for commoners and nobility alike.
While not actually a true narcotic, Firesight is a vibrant red liquid becoming quite popular among urban youth. Brewed from the leaves of the Hellsleaf vine, picked at its peak of color, and mixed with various alcohols and gels, it is dropped directly onto the surface of the eye, at which point it begins stinging, burning, and watering profusely for several seconds. After the user has “blinked out” these effects, the user’s vision will begin to gain a red tinge, which becomes more intense as time goes on. After several minutes, everything one sees will be in vibrant hues of reds, oranges, and golds, with dazzling bursts of color where bright light is found. When the effect wears off, the user’s eyes will be left bloodshot and pink, as the somewhat acidic nature of the liquid quickly breaks the delicate blood vessels of the eyes. Frequent use causes a severe loss in vision, and using the substance for long periods of time is a quick path to blindness.
Stealer is a highly dangerous stimulant concocted from the deadly Red Julioupe mushrooms. A fine reddish powder, it is stirred into hot water and swallowed in a single gulp, as it has an extremely acrid, bitter flavor that burns the throat and causes one to gag. After around a half a minute, the effects come in full force, as the user is overtaken by an insatiable rush of energy and strength, coupled by an overwhelming sense of superiority and confidence. At this point, the user can be overtaken by a bloodlust, a frenzy in which the user feels the need to kill and destroy every moving thing within his vision. All combat training flies out the door during this stage, as the affected person simply throws himself at others, kicking and lashing out, biting and clawing, and using every available object around him to beat his victims to death. If the user should be alone, or has the good luck to be unaffected by the blood frenzy, he will still need to find a way to vent the incredible amounts of excess energy the drug has created. At this point most users will simply start to run at a full out sprint, much faster than they ever could, until they collapse from exhaustion. It is physically impossible to remain still as long as the drug remains in the system. If one makes an attempt to stop moving, they will be taken by violent tremors and shaking until they begin to move again. The effect lasts for about an hour, after which the user will simply black out, if he hasn’t already. This sleep can last for up to ten or fourteen hours, as the body attempts to regain its energy, as the drug has drawn upon all of the reserves of the body, and taken it much farther then it was meant to be taken. After awakening, users will be stricken by incredible muscle cramps and soreness, accompanied by massive fatigue and headache. These effects can last over a day, and in the later stages are followed by tremors in the hands and legs, which can last for weeks before going away. This drink is sometimes used by suicidal warriors before battle, but is more often used by thrill-seekers looking for the incomparable rush the drug offers. Use of this drug more than three or four times can result in ruptured blood vessels, torn muscles, and, more often, instant heart failure.
Karosin, much more commonly referred to as “Burner” in addicts’ circles, is found in packets, made of the finely-ground dark leaves of the Cridstalk Fern, a rare plant found in the southern forests. It is tamped into pipes and burned, at which point it creates a fine white smoke with a terrible acrid smell. This smoke burns both the eyes and throat, and is extremely uncomfortable to inhale. Yet inhaled it is, as once the smoke enters the lungs, the user receives a vibrant, jolting burst of energy, which also instills a great sense of social confidence. A few hours later, as the effects wear off, the user will sink into a deep sullen state of mind, sometimes even into depression. This state lasts much longer than the initial rush, and also leaves users looking pale and haggard the next day. While it is not addicting, it is popular in many smoking circles, and addicts can be spotted by their constant rending, dry, coughs.
Crackwood is a minor narcotic, made from tough strips of the bark of the Gorumb tree. Smoked, but usually chewed, it causes a pleasant tingling and numbing sensation in the tongue, mouth, and jaw that lasts for around an hour. While it has a neutral herbal taste to it, use over time blackens and browns users’ teeth and gums, and too-frequent use can result in lack of feeling and coordination in the mouth. It is often chewed by soldiers on the march, or smoked at guildhall meets.
Sutramin, named after Marin Sutra, the temptress of legend and folk talkes, is sold in small golden tins, and appears as a whitish gum-like cream that is scooped out in spoonfuls, spread under the tongue, and allowed to dissolve. Soon after consumption, the user is rent with waves of unimaginable pleasure, indescribable to non-users. This effect lasts for several hours, during which one feels no other desire then to lie on the floor and bask in the ecstasy. However, for many hours after the effect wears off, the user feels as if his mind has been dipped in molasses - even reaching for simple thoughts feels as though one is trying to push through a wall of gum resin. During this stage, one will also find it very hard to form coherent words - most users simply lie on the floor until clarity returns. Also, even after the first use, the user’s lips will begin to darken, as well as seeing an ugly black ring around develop around the mouth. Repeated use also causes deep bruising around the cheeks and neck. While Sutramin has an almost prohibitively high price, commoners have been known to sell all they owned for a second taste, then moving on to crime, as funds run low. In addition, several southern nobles have run their cities’ and cantrevs’ finances into the ground in their lust for the substance, losing their crowns and minds in the process. As such, the drug is one of the few substances whose production and sale is banned in the South, although the fact that many of the city watch themselves are in its grasp makes it extremely hard to prosecute.
Fellstar Leaf is a lightly colored tabac, sold in cans and packets, and smoked in pipes just as one would do with any other legal leaf. When smoked, it gives off a soft white smoke with a curious herbal smell, and slowly sends the user into a pleasant, relaxing, somewhat euphoric state, eventually making one feel as if one is floating, weightless. While there are no immediate drawbacks to the weed, frequent use makes quick thinking a little harder than usual, and addicts are subject to frequent (and embarrassing) Freudian slips, often at the worst possible times. Fellstar leaf is also sold in incense sticks, and in variations that give off colored smoke, as well as more intense feelings - at appropriate costs.
Zulis is an exotic and unique drug from the Western forests, appearing as dried leaves sold in bunches and sticks. The leaves are dark green, and covered in thousands of fine hairs, and one must be careful always to hold them by the stems. A user will place the leaf face-down on his tongue, at which point the toxins contained within the hairs will slowly seep into the flesh. Within a half-hour, all thoughts and emotion will slowly drain from the user’s mind, as he enters into a deep meditative state of emptiness and peace. Even the user’s breathing and heart rate slows in the final stages, and they are all that remain as signs of life, as the user appears to be frozen in time. Eventually, after several hours, the effect slowly wears off, and the user regains lucidity. However, they will most likely forget the entire experience, as well as anything done in the hours before. While Zulis has disappointed and confused many narcotic experimenters looking for the next mind-blowing high, it has found use among mystics and wanderers seeking absolute peace. Still, Zulis is a relatively uncommon drug, and many a peddler has scared away potential customers with the street phrase, “You want some Death?”
Note - for those wondering about the practicality of such toxins in the Zulis plant, in the wild, the leaves eaten whole and fresh cause a much more intense and paralyzing effect, quickly freezing herbivores in their place for hours. This usually results in one of the numerous larger predators of the woods discovering and feasting upon the animal, leaving a fresh carcass and source of nutrients for the plant - as well as one less mouth to chomp leaves.
Burst berries are curious concoctions, created largely by a mistake in an alchemy lab - what was meant to be a pyrotechnic toy turned out to be edible, and with startling effects. Small, shiny, multicolored crystalline balls, burst berries give off white-purple sparks as they are chewed, after which the imbiber will sink into a deep sleep. During this time, the user often experiences a long stream of euphoric, lucid dreams, within which many have claimed to have startling insights into themselves - or at the very least, an exiting 8 hours. Upon waking, the user will be dehydrated, and will have a very dry mouth, but no permanent side effects have yet been found. However, as Burst Berries are a relatively new drug on the market, their delicate formula is yet being tinkered with, and several “bad batches” of berries have found their way onto the streets, often causing horrendous nightmares, or even comas.
Rumored to be the ground-up leaf of a plant that feeds off the dead body of some twisted god, One Step Ahead provides the imbiber with limited knowledge of the future immediately before it happens. This affect lasts for a little under an hour, then proceeds to show the affected person visions farther and farther out into the future for a few more minutes. After this, all but the strongest fall into a coma of sorts, envisioning things in blurry focus that range from past events from the futures of alternate universes. These comas are usually temporary, lasting a few hours, but long term or even permanent comas are possible. While under the influence, the user sees “ghosts” of things about to happen, and seems twitchy, with vastly dilated pupils. The drug is favored by those who value their reflexes and luck, many rouges who claim to be able to rob some of the most heavily guarded castles in under an hour rely on One Step Ahead to bolster their chances of success. The name “prophet’s booze” comes from the drug’s liquid form, which is used by many seers to predict anything from dangers facing a customer to the fates of kingdoms. The substance is not very addicting, but it often does irreparable damage to the mind and soul when used by a hopeful thief or seer too often.