Dead peppers are huge compared to most peppers, with an average one weighing in at a hefty ten pounds. Well over two feet long, they also have a deep red hue that makes them easy to see from leagues away - the better to avoid the patches where they grow. Dead Peppers are rarely cultivated, and many people consider them a weed; they’re too hot for human consumption, and most animals who eat them will become ill for weeks afterwards. However, when handled properly, or fed to the right beasts, the results can be spectacular.
When properly prepared by an alchemist, a Dead Pepper can be eaten with little more side effect than a case of severe heartburn, often lasting a full day. Those who enjoy the benefits of the prepared pepper’s power are willing to suffer this, however, often claiming it is a small price to pay for the benefits.
When prepared and eaten by a humanoid, Dead Peppers bestow a celerity upon the eater, increasing their speed and granting greatly enhanced reaction times. In addition, the salivia of the consumer thickens with the byproducts of the pepper, bursting into flame when exposed to the air long enough to dry; in effect, this gives the eater the ability to spit small fireballs for a short time. This tends to put species which perspire by breathing off the pepper, as having one’s tongue burst into flame is a highly unpleasant experience.
For species capable of fire breath already, the pepper’s effects are somewhat more spectacular; the pepper actually enhances the natural fires of the creature, turning the flame breath into a blindingly hot napalm-like blast, clinging to surfaces for a few seconds with a far greater heat than normal. Many myths speak of these creatures having ancestors who could not breathe flame, but ate such a regular diet of the peppers that their bodies changed.
There are a few rare species who can eat Dead Peppers unprepared; these races gain all of the benefits of the prepared pepper, but rather than suffering heartburn, they instead develop a short-term case of manic hyperactivity.
Some few particularly deranged alchemists have attempted to concoct a fermented brew from the peppers; the resulting liquid, while alcoholic, is also highly toxic and prone to combustion on contact with the air, releasing poisonous fumes in the process. It has some small demand in the trapmakers’ market as a result, and among poison-resistant creatures as a particularly impressive liquor.