Fireblood Elixir is a dark fluid, kept carefully dealed in vials with self-healing membranes for lids; taken via injection rather than imbibing in the fashion of most elixirs, habitual users often complain of an ashen taste to everything they eat, and the alchemical concoction is visible in the blood as a dark stain in all visible blood vessels, making them stand out vividly against most skin; eyes in particularly are transfigured, the white sclera turning a smoky grey color for the eight hours or so that the elixir is active in a user's system.
Exposed to open air, the lquid rapidly harden, forming a glossy crust within minutes of exposure; an entire pint of the liquid - enough for numerous doses of most average-sized humanoids - will harden into a glossy, obsidian-like lump within a day, with higher grades hardening more rapidly. This lump is exceptionally combustible, with even a slight spark from an aetheric discharge sufficient to ignite it and bring it to temperatures capable of burning through hardened steel.
Fireblood elixir takes roughly five minutes to circulate enough to be effective; after this time, the chemical has bonded to a large number of red cells in the blood. The bond acts to dramatically amplify the carrying capacity for oxygen of a given red cell, allowing users to extract more oxygen from each breath; in addition, the compounds selectively strips carbon from CO2 waste products, binding it to the compound and freeing the O2 to recirculate. While some is lost, this property allows users to go for startlingly lengths of time between breaths if desired, as well as easing cardiovascular stress during periods of exertion - such as combat.
This is merely an incidental side effect to what happens when a fireblood user is wounded in combat, however; any injury which draws blood causes an abrupt and violent oxidization as the augmented red cells tear oxygen from the air to which it is exposed, releasing a gout of white-hot fire from the injury for a bare moment before the flames cauterize the wound. This is amazingly painful to the user, with those who have experienced it insisting it is a far more intense pain than regular cauterization; it is also extremely worrying for enemies, as the gout of fire is intense enugh to incinerate cloth, ignite leather, and flash-heat metal to temperatures capable of burning flesh in contact with it.
One final benefit of the elixir is that very few poisons or other foreign materials - such as Troll flesh - are capable of surviving the intense fire, making it somehwat more popular among those who routinely fight foes who rely on such augmentations in combat.
Fireblood Elixir is typical of goblin thaumatechnology, with the elixir doing what the creator expected while having easily-anticipated and hazardous side effects. The creator was a goblin alchemist who knew of the practice of cauterization to save badly wounded soldiers from death; he reasoned that self-cauterizing wounds would free up time for the overworked medics to deal with other cases, and set about creating something to accomplish this. It took nearly a year and a half, with three laboratories burned down by uncontrollable fires and numerous deceased test subjects, before the finished elixir was finally produced.
It was wildly popular for roughly a month, with the city-state of Vahani outfitting every soldier with a supply for the next raid from the deformed barbarians of the Thaumic Wastes; during the first skirmish, more soldiers were incapacitated by pain from the cauterized wounds than the enemy, who broke ranks and fled when their chieftan was immolated upon beheading a dosed soldier. Now, it still sells, but only to elite military forces who regard a resistance to pain as a sign of true warrior spirit; very few orcs express any enthusiasm, despite their fondness for ritual scarring, as the heat of the flames often destroys their more delicate tattoos and scar-paintings, while the elves of the Vular wastes regard it as a marvel of high thaumatechnology, using their own burning blood as a weapon in combat more often than their more mundane armament.
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? Responses (14)
I really like this! A good way to buff up minions or really any intelligent enemy. I am a little put off by the rather scientific description of its nature - but then again, that might be good for steampunk. No matter, I think it is a fine submission for fantasy or steampunk.
It's the result of my dissatisfaction with the Potion of Explosive Entrails more than anything else. What amused me when I wrote the Potion proved to be a flaw in the item, relegating it to absurd fantasy settings. The Fireblood Elixir is a more broad-spectrum rendition, with less of the 'silly exploding goblins' aspect.
After reading your past submission on something like this, I can say this is a great improvement. For a group of badasses for whom a few serious third degree burns is no big deal, this could be a great boon. Very flavorful and useful. Might find its way into an alchemy based story I'm working on.
Those are exactly the people who would regard it as being useful. I can see a few warrior cultures treating being scarred by the elixir as a rite of passage to become an 'elite' warrior - showing that you have the mettle to suffer the kiss of flame and keep fighting.
And yes, this is a vast improvement on the Potion of Explosive Entrails, and it is meant to improve upon it, directly. Kuramen goblins aren't the mindlessly silly creatures, or the sick little freaks, that they are in many settings; thus, the Elixir is the goblin thaumatech version of the Potion - just as self-destructive, but much less silly.
Not to be used lightly. 5/5
This is accurate. Very little goblin alchemy is to be used lightly - it tends to have some nasty drawbacks. On the other hand, suicide bombers could shoot up, charge in, and split themselves open to create a rather spectacular conflagration.
While it has been ages since i have been seen here I will refrain from voting on this however I will still give my 2cents worth.
The concept of this I like, rather refreshing really. The effects are interesting to say the least and I can see this, minus the complex and detailed description, as a wonderful inventive item to be placed in any fantasy setting to throw off some well seasoned gamers who have never seen it before.
However, the description is a huge put off for me. While Val is correct in that it could fit into a steampunk or other more sci fi type genre game, fantasy is where my mind goes when reading subs. The rather horrific side effect, the major 3rd degree burns seems way out there. The dousing in flames when beheading an enemy is rather visual and would be lovely to see however rather over the top for me.
Bottom line, I like it but it is a tad bit extravagant. Enjoyable still.
All I can really say, then, is that your mind is going to entirely the wrong genre. There /are/ more than a few modern and science-fiction subs on the site, and pretty much all of Kuramen is steampunk - more than a few subs already exist for it, from more fantastic to more science-oriented, depending on the subject. This one leans to the science side of steampunk. It's why I stuck the Kuramen and Steampunk freetext on it.
The burns aren't necessarily third degree; the act of the burning is merely excruciatingly painful. The burns themselves are directly proportional to how bad the injury is, I would expect; a pinprick would be more of a scalding, a rapier-thrust might be first-degree, having a limb chopped off would likely badly burn a fair portion of the remaining limb, and a massively traumatic injury - of the life-ending sort - would just be a bomb of sorts.
I enjoyed this idea very much and the attempt to try and give it more of an alchemy flavor with the use of some ideas from chemistry and accidental explosions in the labs. Having watched a number of such things on a smaller scale, I liked the parallel very much. There should be some cost not just to the user of this dangerous potion but in the development of it also. The bit about increased stamina was clever too. The elixir by helping provide more oxygen to be available could help lessen the buildup of lactic acid from the depletion of oxygen during anerobic activities like combat.
The fusion of modern chemistry and fantasy alchemy is a very good definition of 'steampunk' alchemy; the time period it draws from was certainly making leaps and bounds in knowledge, but still drew quite a bit from mysticism in the effort to make sense of the universe. Thaumatechnology, by extension, is the application of that kind of science to a world where magic really does work, in an attempt to constrain the hazards of magic while maximizing the benefits.
Goblin thaumatechnology tends to favor fast action over careful study; it is the down-and-dirty component of steampunk, to the refined knowledge of dwarven thaumaturgy, or non-thaumic technology. It's also very effective when it isn't blowing up in your face, so it tends to be the dominant force in Kuramen's current time period. Being able to drive a steam engine for hundreds of miles without need for more than a few pounds of doped coal is a great deal better than needing a ton of anthracite, after all.
I like this a lot, good for your fantasy 'juicers'.
So if you take too much does it come out in you sweat or urine (*ouch*)? Would repeated use cause you to develop a type of anemia, in as much as your muscles and such develop a dependence of the highly oxygenated blood?
On earth, a standard which we need not enforce here, levels of oxygen delivered to the tissue controls the local production of erythropoietin-you now like cyclists use. Local hypoxia induces the expression of erythropoietin and this in turn feeds back to heamatopeotic compartments to produce more red blood cells. If for some reason you managed to transiently (or however long actually) increase the number of oxygen molecules carried by a hemoglobin the result would be an anemic condition (as measured by the number of red blood cells in circulation).
If you take too much, I actually suspect you'd have much more to fear from carbon clots forming in your blood than eliminating the chemical via urine or sweat; it's too large a complex chemical to easily move in or out of the blood vessels by itself, particularly after it's stripped enough carbon out of the waste CO2; when it dissolves, though, large amounts may result in excess clumps of carbon - picture tiny clots of graphite, or even carbon buckyballs - roving freely in the bloodstream, eventually accumulating into a life-threatening clot over time.
Anemia as you describe is certainly a possible hazard for habitual users, although most wouldn't know what the problem was; only that without the elixir, they can't catch their breath and get winded or exhausted from even the simplest of things. I don't think many would get this condition - even the most diehard tend to shot up only when they expect a fight - but I could see some criminal enforcers or toughs who want the intimidation factor of 'fireblood veins' making a habit out of using it and developing the resulting anemic condition.
I love speculative science, and Kassil seems to have a very clear idea regarding how this chemical works, which is fun.
So it binds to hemaglobin and then increases the carrying capacity of hemaglobin from four oxygen molecules to what? Does it have higher affinity for CO2 then Oxygen? I gather though once it binds CO2 it doesn't release the CO2. Furthermore it seems to also mediates the change of CO2 into elemental carbon thus the graphite (and buckyballs...I think you just wanted to use buckyball in a sentence) and thus produces more oxygen. But how many molecules of C02 is it carrying? Does it destroy the RBC when it done? How is it metabolized?
This, sir, is made of awesome. I will steal it shamelessly. Thanks a lot :)