Long ago, it is said, an alchemist was hired by a lordling to concoct an elixir to make him a hero; the lordling was a coward at heart, and wished to be otherwise many times. After several false starts, one of which nearly killed the lordling by inducing a heart attack, the alchemist made a daring effort, combining exotic materials to create this potion.
The Elixir is a vile grey-green color, and bubbles softly no matter how warm or cold it is; it never seems to freeze, even in deep arctic conditions, and never boils away, even when subjected to the heat of dragonfire.
The lordling found, when he managed to stomach the foul brew, that his cowardice was no more; unfortunately for him, it did little to enhance his ability as a warrior, and he died soon after by fearlessly leading a charge into an army three times the size of the one he was serving in.
The alchemist refused to let his secrets out, until he died. Now, while still exceptionally rare, Elixirs of Courage can be found occasionally among other, more common potions.
The Elixir is a foul, repulsive brew, the grey-green color of wet, rotting sludge, bubbling softly at all times. The taste is reported to be something between the smell of a skunk’s musk and the flavor of raw horse dung, and many who imbibe it are sick for days afterwards as the foul materials used to make it slowly purge themselves from the system.
Some say that the drawbacks are worth it, however - the elixir, when drank, permanently destroys the ability of the drinker to feel fear in any form. While generally not conducive to a long life, the drinker of the potion no longer feels natural fear, wariness, suspicion, paranoia, or anything else related to fear. Even supernatural fear has no effect.
The major drawback actually _is_ the lack of fear. Surrender, retreat, caution, and survival tactics in general become unimportant - the potion does more than burn off fear, it instills a sense of bravado into the drinker, to the point that they consider an entire army to be no more of a threat than a single ant, and often they lead suicidal charges into the foe.