Full Item Description
A relatively clear fluid filled with tiny glimmering scarlet lights, this draught seems to ripple and flow around the interior of containers too quickly and easily to be based in water or oil. A single sniff is all it takes to confirm that whoever concocted the formula for this hazardous potion felt that alcohol was a good idea as a base liquid; the antisceptic stink of alcohol mixes with the sharp aroma of mint and an oddly tangy citrus odor. When drank, the mixture leaves a powerful taste of peppermint in the mouth and a burning sensation down the throat, which quickly spreads out to the extremities. This burning sensation disappears almost immeadiately in most cases, but for reasons not yet understood, in roughly one case of twenty the sensation can last anywhere from a single week to a few months before finally fading.
The various students of thaumatechnology are always searching for ways to 'update and improve' the wide pool of lore that was developed by countless past generations. One such student, a Goblin named Nettle Nosebiter, came to the conclusion that many of the old potions and elixirs are far too transient to be of value, and so set about trying to upgrade the formulae. While the vast majority of his efforts have been singular failures, nearly killing those he's talked into testing them on several occasions, the Draught of Swiftness is the closest he's come to a full-fledged success as of yet.
At this time, the single 'grade' of the Draught, as well as the unfortunate tendency of those who take it to get themselves killed by their own uncontrolled reflexes, is regarded by the creator as a side effect that he's sure he'll work out in a few more experiments.
The Draught permanently enhances the reaction speed of the imbiber, granting him the ability to react in a fraction of the time as an unenhanced person. This is often disastrous, however, as anyone who has not spent at least a year training to handle the increased speed of response will still attempt to react as if unaugmented, responding to situations long before the mind can catch up. Many kill close friends and lovers in the days after taking the Draught, as reflexive actions happen before they can be stopped; many warriors who take the draught die in battle a short time later, foolishly expecting to be able to react at augmented speeds with precision, not realizing that their responses are still trained for normal reaction times, leaving them wide open to the enemy.
Those who take the time to train to adjust to this change gain an incredible level of response time to any situation, effectively becoming immune to surprise and capable of seizing initiative in any combat. However, once they commit to a given action, they are unable to change their mind, carrying it out too swiftly to be able to halt it, their minds still lagging behind their bodies.
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? Responses (12)
A useful item, not for the untrained though.
Good description, but the application of the draught leaves alot to be desired. The penalty for using the draught IMHO completely offsets any bonus a PC could gain from it. Learning to use the enhanced abilities, at least a year in training, would require a long downtime for said character to master, removing them from a game unless the entire party takes a year long hiatus. I can feasibly see two actual applications of this draught, the first being the basic lesson of Kids, don't do drugs, and the second being a way to pump up a previously defeated foe as a shortcut to raising the NPC's level.
I suppose it depends on how long the downtime is for a group; if it's a group where they do things like taking a year of downtime for the mage to study and research new spells, the various characters using their wealth to improve where they live (perhaps building or repairing a keep or fortress, which is usually popular in a fantasy game), and so on... Then there's no real conflict; the party takes the downtime and does their thing, and in the gap the character takes the draught and trains to master the enhancement it bestows.
It's okay I guess - a bugged potion of haste. Still, there is little room for dramatic potential: once you drink it, you have to take a year-long holiday. Which any PC with enemies cannot. Period.
The writing I like.
I've had plenty of PCs with enemies who can take the downtime for that. Usually I've spent it fortifying the base of operations that I use; taking the time to be better equipped to handle combat against foes less-equipped for it is easily as justifiable. The *real* drawback, to me, is the inability to change your course of action midstream; if you declare that you're attacking the front-line orc, you're attacking the front-line orc, even if some bigger hazard is approaching, until your next initiative turns up and your mind catches up with your body.
I would think that those already in great harmony with their bodies - trained martial artists, for example, might be able to adapt to the changes faster.
I'm not bothered by the time required - one can easily adjust the time to match the benefit.
It is far more dangerous then a potion of haste - it appears to be a permanent change. Personally, I think that even once trained, there is bound to be mental strain that will cause long term issues.
Nicely written, as Scras and EM have said.
Oh, and this fits nicely in my New Takes on Classic Magic Items codex.
You're right, likely; someone well in harmony with their body would likely be able to adapt a little more easily. The person with the easiest time, if you ask me, would be someone ready to train who has never had any kind of kinesthetic training at all. With nothing to tear down in regards to their perceptions of the self, they'd be able to build from the ground up right away.
It is, indeed, a permanent change. As Siren noted to me, it's basically Wired Reflexes In A Bottle, only without a nerve shunt or spell-switch to shut it off when you don't want to be amplified. I also agree that there is likely to be a long-term mental strain due to the differential between the speed of the mind and the augmented speed of the body...
Fun idea! Could be used to force a character hiatus to allow the world to move on for a bit. Maybe after finishing a game series you want to continue playing in the world and with the same pc's, this could be an opportunity to sort of reset the game a year later. The players gain benefits and the dm can storytell all the changes that happened during that year to refresh what is happening in the world to create new conflicts "a year later."
Oh, hey, that's a cool idea for using it. I like that; the party is given the Draught as a reward, or perhaps has it forced on them as part of a deal, and then get the downtime training... Hmm. It has potential, there.
Much has been already said. Strolen found a good application there, but it is still awkward for common use.
But I don't see this as a finished item... more like a prototype, the first successful version, a beta if you will. Maybe, one day will come a more manageable product, or simply a less powerful draught, that can be taken more times. Wouldn't it be easier to take one dose, and spend a week or few training to get a part of that bonus, with much smaller risk?
This, in conjunction with some ideas Siren no Orakio and I have been swatting around, is going to be part of a revision of this item.
Updated: Updated the description and the history to make this a thaumatechnology item.