Some people are terrible liars. No matter the size of the falsehood, their manner and tone will infallibly expose them as the fraud they are. Malthis of Woodsman's Dell was one of these people - until his brilliant mind concieved a solution...
Note: These may be mixed in varying quantities, and will produce a result which reflects the concentrations of each particular element added.
- Powdered seed of Dead Jen's Wort - a beautiful plant which sprouts particularly well in fresh corpses.
- Holy water, despoiled with the urine of a priest before it is mixed with the other ingredients.
- Bile drained from the pancreas of a black lamb.
- Dust collected from the surface of a steel blade.
- Ground-up legs from a death's head moth.
- A blind man's eye, another blind animal's eye can be used, but to a lesser effect.
To the untrained eye, Infidiserum looks remarkably similar to common mead, the golden quality arising from both the urine and the potent dye found within seeds of Dead Jen's Wort. If properly made, the bile should not be noticeable - if it is then the potion is potentially very poisonous and should not be ingested. Upon closer examination, it has a grainier look to it, as though the mead has been mixed with a good deal of dust, which is of course, true, though the ground legs add to the effect. The most distinguishing feature is naturally the severed eye which it is absolutely necessary to retain after boiling, and which must be included in the draught for full potential.
The smell and taste are best left undescribed, often those who wish to drink it plug their noses with pungent cloths and deliberately scorch or freeze their tongues to deaden the taste buds before attempting to swallow the potion.
The possibility of such a potion as the Infiduserum was first postulated in 1734 by the famous chymist Sir Venhell Tethenfallow in his essay Concerning the Future of Chymistrie and the Law of Inverse Composition, in which he reasoned that every potion formula must theoretically have an "opposite" formula which produces an effect which is precisely the inverse of the original mixture. However, since Tethenfallow could only support his theory with three questionable examples, his theory was widely rejected and the essay deemed as one of his weaker works.
The matter did not arise again within scientific circles until the mid-1800s, when Tethenfallow's essay was purchased and studied by one Professor Deptman Malthis. Malthis, a relatively obscure "chymomancer", as he had taken to calling himself, had established a modest laboratory in the working-class town of Woodsman's Dell, and professed to be able to find a cure for anything. Naturally, the superstitious populace warmed to this idea very quickly, and Malthis had a roaring trade going at the time of his purchase.
Malthis was perhaps slightly mentally unstable at this point, in later years, he became unquestionably so. Perhaps he honestly did believe that he had the solution to every problem imaginable, in any case, he was an ambitious man, and stopped at nothing to provide his customers with what they wanted, even when it meant some rather unsavoury work for him or a paid supplier. On many occasions Malthis barely escaped prosecution on accounts of larceny "petty and grand" and violation of both private and sacred property.
Malthis' chymical prowess soon became more widely known, and more comfortably established chymists and apothecaries began to grow wary of this brilliant man and his supposedly miraculous concoctions. Eventually, the Chymist's Guild was appealed to, and its more prominent members arranged a wager with Malthis, the gentlemanly way to solve problems and lampoon potentially hazardous competitors. If the burgeoning chymomancer could conclusively prove's Thethenfallow's least probable hypothesis, the Law of Inverse Composition, then he would be granted an honorary position on the Guild roster in Armudstadt, and honoured with a knighthood.
Needless to say, Malthis immediately sent word of his acceptance, indeed, he claimed to already be engaged in collecting evidence for the very same postulation. The Guildsmen received this news with shock, but the wager was set, and to forfeit now would cost every man of them his honourable seat in history. And so Malthis was given six months to provide conclusive proof of Tethenfallow's implausible theory.
Three months later, Malthis found himself before the High Court itself, facing serious charges ranging from mass infanticide to identity theft to grand larceny, a crime spree of proportions not seen since the High Court had been founded. It was clear that Malthis faced the death penalty at least three times over, yet he was acquitted.
None present at the trial were ever able to say quite how Malthis had defended himself. Some said he proved that every single crime had been in fact a hoax, others say he had produced a long list of the names of pagan demons he held responsible, and still others claim he had accused the High Justice himself of committing the heinous acts, and had proved it. The only thing any of them could agree on was that Malthis' arguments had been both solid and agreeable, and every one present had completely agreed with them all. Such a sensible man, they reasoned, could not possibly have been driven to do such terrible things. And thus Malthis returned to chymomancy with a cult following and a mark in the history texts (and a shining gilt sword to hang above his mantelpiece: he had indeed succeeded in proving Tethenfallow's theory immediately following his trial - and again, none of the Guildsmen were quite sure of how he had done it afterwards).
In the years to come, Malthis' popularity and fame grew tenfold, until he deposed the mayor of Woodsman's Dell and set himself up as the lord of the surrounding countryside. Oddly enough, no one disputed this claim, not even the mayor himself, and Malthis became the most loved despot since the fabled Sultan Alai Ind-Bashen of the Farthest West.
Ironically enough, Malthis' demise came about in the prime of his life, after contracting a vicious brain disease from one of the seventeen mistresses he had taken to live in his palace with his wife. Upon his passing, it seemed that a veil had been lifted from the minds of those who had served him in life, and the whole charade was marveled at and cast down, allowing the old mayor to reestablish himself without too much dispute. The queen herself formally apologized for the whole affair, and Woodsman's Dell returned to a state of normalcy, though its citizens vowed never to take a man's word for granted ever again.
When imbibed, Infiduserum causes the drinker to be able to tell the most blatant lies and be believed. The drinker can literally get away with anything, so long as they continue to drink the potion in modest quantities. Unfortunately, the potion spoils easily, so more stock must constantly be made to keep up the illusion. Malthis accomplished this simply by convincing others to obtain the ingredients for him.
One of the only known ways to counteract Infiduserum is simply by blocking one's ears, basic enough, unless the subject convinces one not to. Oddly enough, the potion is also nullified by the addition of a maiden's tears - or, of course, by the death of the subject.
Not Registered Yet? No problem.
Do you want Strolenati super powers? Registering. That's how you get super powers! These are just a couple powers you receive with more to come as you participate.
- Upvote and give XP to encourage useful comments.
- Work on submissions in private or flag them for assistance.
- Earn XP and gain levels that give you more site abilities (super powers).
- You should register. All your friends are doing it!
? Responses (11)
An extremely potent weapon that is powerful enough to hijack the will of others. Not by turning them into mindless zombies like all those other so tiresomely common tools of mind control,but by allowing the user to win their complete trust with impassioned and solid lies. A nice departure. Ruling over an adoring populace cetainly bests being the master of an army of mindless pawns. All in all,this is an excellent item. Unfortunately,it does seem a tad too powerful,and for that I'll have to take a point off.
Very good but there should be a long-term side effect that stops it being too Munchkin like. Perhaps prolonged use should weaken the body badly.
This is a superb post. There are no glaring grammatical or spelling errors and the spacing is good. The recipe for creating the potion, and it's description is well done, and the story behind it's creation and it's creator has a good deal of depth and leads us to ask more questions, such as who these Chymist guilds are and the various laws of alchemy. This is a very good post.
Enjoyably written, a fun read. The requirements for its creation limit it to the less than lawful so its use would be most assuredly be amongst thine enemies.
Questions I had were on the effects and actual usage.
The duration of the effects when you aren't near the user. You hear him say something passing through and leave forever. I would imagine the effect would then persist no matter what until the person dies? This is implied by the Guild being convinced.
The description implies that as soon as the person stops drinking the potion then the effects wear off. I would assume that the effects wouldn't wear off, just the ability to tell believable lies would wear off? So if somebody drinks one dose, sets a couple lies, then they should continue until his death right? This: 'so more stock must constantly be made to keep up the illusion' is what threw me.
The maiden's tears can ruin a batch and make it ineffective which, considering the necesity of having a fresh batch doesn't make that very useful as a limitation. Perhaps it will cancel the effects next time he tries to speak using it would make it more useful. If one drinks or gets splashed with some maiden's tears would that cancel out any effects from the spell that person held?
Great depth and history, but a little lacking on what your ideas were for the actual use in a game. Easy enough for us to make it up, but want more of your thoughts on how it actually works.
I like the history attached to the piece. Two thumbs and a tail ups!
Mm. Good questions. I'll admit, I hadn't thought of any of 'em.
If one was passing through and heard the user maybe once or twice... Yes, the lies would seem true until the subject died - or until he stopped taking it, which ties into your second question.
Yes, in fact the lies themselves would seem completely stupid when the effect wore off. For instance, when Malthis got off scot-free in the trial, he had obviously been taking Infiduserum. However, if he had stopped after that point, then suddenly people would find their memories of the event much clearer - and his arguments wouldn't be able to stand up at all. They would look back on what he said and think 'Dear God, the man completely lied to us - off with his head!' So when the effects wear off, the person's lies are clearly remembered and seen as what they are - even ones he said beforehand.
The tears can ruin a batch, but also, if drank with the potion, they will stay in the drinker's system for a good while and effectively neutralize any more potion he would send down into his stomach while they remain there. If they were simply splashed on skin, they would have a small chance of getting absorbed by pores in a large enough quantity, but it would be touch and go, so to speak. And injecting them straight into the blood stream - or pouring over an open wound - would heighten the effect. Maiden's tears are potent stuff, and don't get digested easily. ;)
As Maggot suggested, this is a little too powerful in of itself, however the recipe may well as limit since most of the ingredients are extremely rare and hard to come by (unless your game world is a very strange sort of place indeed). However, I would also add a long term side effect as suggested by Cheka Man.
Good backstory though - hints at a whole magic system based around alchemy
Infiduserum Potion - pretty good 4/5
-1 for being a little too munchkin like
+1 for a good backstory
Final score - 4/5
The name Infiduserum popped up in Random Submissions and drew me to the sub. Intriguing stuff! Wonderful tale and quirky potion.
Because I like it, I will go fix the weird characters back into apostrophes, commas, and quotation marks. :)
Ditto with random subs. A very interesting submission and story.
First, Kudos to the site for randomly pointing me here today.
Very well written, interesting, nasty side effects, a perfect McGuffin for a story. Others have said it's too munchkin-like... which I found odd because the entire time I was reading it I was thinking what a great thing this would be in the hands of an NPC.
Imagine the ruler of a nation, or the leader of a powerful guild. Now, PCs face such things all the time, but imagine being at odds with such a man, and his super loyal minions who are really innocent victims. Imagine the moral quandary PCs face when they have to fight these minions.
We'd need some way to make the effects wear off on PCs, though. Perhaps a counter agent they can be fed which makes them briefly immune, fed to them by a rebel or counter agent. Or if I fed this into my Everway game, 'Spherewalkers' are immune to the effects... and therefore all Gates are guarded by loyal men with instructions to kill or capture them immediately.
There are various comments about it being somewhat munchkin. This can be waved away by the simple expedient of saying 'almost' anything. The potion has a limited duration that necessitates multiple doses, the potion does not keep well, and the ingredients are hard to get - likely leaving a trail of crime that could be traced. I would expect any defenses against magic your game system provides to still be valid, so resistance rolls, saving throws and the like should still apply.
In short(?), a well detailed, well described potion that certainly fits the category of a wish-fulfillment item.