Kallio's Stilling of the Heart
The Stilling Potion is employed by mercenaries and necromancers alike; a potent concoction that makes the imbiber seem dead for a certain period of time
Full Item Description
Stilling potion is made of Black Carp fish meat, seaweed and the pink petals of the Elari flower. The potion has a very limited duration, as the fish rots quickly rendering the potion is inedible after three days, and after four days the stench is unbearable. The potion is bluish grey and often there are small fragmented pieces of fish bone within it, making the drinking somewhat unpleasant. The potion has the consistency of sludge, and it tastes like a salty soup made of fish with a smooth texture, excepting the fragments of bone.
Anyone imbibing the poison will suffer the effects as mentioned above, but nowadays it is actually sought after by some mercenaries and many adventurers. There are several mercenary companies that bring an herbalist along just to create potions like this, that are useful but don't last long enough to store. When entering battle the mercenaries bring these potions along. They are not used unless the tide of the battle turns against the mercenaries, in which case they greedily quaff it and then proceed to smear themselves with blood. The potion stills the beating of the heart for a short duration and the body temperature of the imbiber drops by a couple of degrees and he will seem dead. The blood coagulates more easily* when in this state and the mercenaries of doomed companies has found that the chance of survival is sometimes greater with this potion, than when trying to flee and subsequently being cut down by pursuing cavalry.
*: Thus the dangers of being speared by thorough adversaries won't prove that fatal, as the wound closes rapidly. Of course lethal puncture wounds are still lethal.
Long ago there was a man living in the foothills of the southern Obaayn Kerashi desert, near the cities of the Emerald Coastline. Kallio was his name and he was a lesser mage practicing the darker arts of necromancy. In particular he was concerned with the nature of the human soul, and used necromantic magic and herbal brews to further that science. He also spent a lot of time digging and cutting his way through the bodies of deceased humans, searching for the spot in which the soul could be found, and ultimately tried to discover what magical qualities the 'soul organ' might have. While his magic skills were poor, his herbalist skills were equally great, and he devised a number of clever brews to further help his struggling grasp of spell casting. One such brew was what he called 'The Stilling of the Heart', which has later become known as 'The Stilling Potion'.
Originally it was used in the stew, or fish soup, of strangers he met in shoddy taverns known for terrible food. The effect of the potion is that the imbiber soon will feel very ill and cold. He will begin shaking uncontrollably after two minutes and after four minutes he will drop to the ground, seemingly dead. As a matter of fact there is a slight chance that the imbiber will actually die, but it is not very likely. Kallio then would volunteer to remove the corpse, and would take the unfortunate person to his mausoleum and inter them there. There the unfortunate souls would awaken and realize their plight, dying alone from cold and hunger, utterly terrified by their fate. As their deaths were so horrible, Kallio theorized that his magic might have better chance at summoning their spectres and animating their corpses, so that he could further study the nature of the human soul.
The potion is sought after by necromancers, mercenaries and others of their kind. The brew is not that costly, due to the availability of Black Carp and the short duration. Indeed it is often sold in components, without the black carp, and the buyers are told to fish some black carp a day before they expect to use it. This does not translate to easy availability. For the recipe is not common knowledge, but those herbalists who does know the recipe are valued by mercenaries and adventurers alike and often one has to travel far to find a supplier. Still the potion is within the lower range of the potion cost range.
Usage and Hooks:
This is another herbalist concoction that players can use, but with a deterring side effect; death. The chance of death should not be very likely, but should make the players think twice before quaffing it at every opportunity. It is the last resort of a desperate individual. It could be the dubious reward received from a thankful necromancer, or the spoils of war when fighting mercenaries.
* Advanced roleplayers: In a town some of the citizens have begun dying from some unknown disease. The strange thing is that they die one at a time, and before they are interred their bodies disappear from the morgue. Luckily the town guards positioned outside the Morgue deterred further corpse snatching from that location, but now the citizens are disappearing without turning up dead instead. The town constables fear that the body snatchers instantly steal the dead instead, and have begun patrolling the streets in double numbers and a curfew has been invoked.
There are sins and there are greater sins. The dark art of Demonic Conjuring is one of the greater sins, upon which the angels frown and the demons thrive, and the cabal of the Chuundhul is one of the largest assemblies of great sinners. This cabal has cast its eyes upon the small town and by the use of the Stilling potion they poison the populace, faking their deaths. For some divinations crave the blood of the innocents, some conjurings demand even greater sacrifice and the Cabal sorely need a steady supply of unfortunates. In addition the seemingly dead status of the disappearing victims ensures that the Cabal is not suspected and diverts the attention to the lone necromancer Keldus in his countryside cottage. Too many times he has thwarted the Chuundul to protect the local population, and ironically the population is on the brink of executing him for their crimes.
So the Adventurers can be hired by the scared necromancer, they can be agents of the Clergy of the God of the Dead, or they can be relatives of the deceased. Whatever they are doing they must explore the mystery of the disappearing corpses and then come to whatever solutions they are able to discern. If they discover that the Cabal of the Chuundul is responsible, yet another task may lie ahead; entering the halls of the wizened old conjurors and collect whatever form of justice they believe in.
* Epic: In an epic quest, the party need to enter the realms of the dead through the Black Crypt. Only corpses will be allowed to enter the building in which the portal might be found, for such is the law of the Priesthood of the God of Death. The Stilling of the Heart is one way in which such entry might be gained, and thus the party might quaff the potion and lay down on a corpse mound before being carted into the Black Crypt.
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? Responses (10)
There a single vote and a comment. This makes the system happy. Useful item, but something you don't normally think of.
Could I get some more opinions on this post?
Pretty please with sugar on top =D
I always liked this poison...
I like the backstory as well as the potential adventures you outline. That such a potion would be extremely rare is a plus.
Well, what can be said? Logical down to the detail. A potion with a distinct effect that certainly has its uses, complete with plot-hooks.
Very interesting results with even more interesting components. A good limiting factor to the entire thing making it spoil in a few days and the requirement of rotting fish. Makes you actually have to prepare to use instead of going through your potion inventory and simply picking one.
My only question is that if it is known and cheap enough to be used by mercenaries then wouldn't it be known by the armies the fight with/against? A battle would be fought, but then both armies would wait for the effects of the potion to wear off and then capture the 'fakers' or perhaps even regroup with them and have another battle? Seems that it would change some battle strategy at the very least.
Of course people are aware of this potion's existence and of course some change their strategy accordingly. This is not to say that the potion is commonplace and if, say, 1 out of 20 mercenaries have this potion and 1 out 4 of those who have it actually survive to use it... Well, it ain't worth the time of a whole army just to wait for the effects to wear off. It is far easier to pierce the hearts, and other vital organs, of the dying, and indeed sometimes such countermeasures are used. In normal cases soldiers ain't that thorough, but in the case of renowned mercenary companies and legendary army detachments any fallen soldiers will indeed be thoroughly terminated.
Other uses for the potion:
-Slowing the effects of poison: The heart rate is reduced and thus any poison's onset time will be prolonged
-Stopping a PC or NPC from bleeding to death: The blood coagulates easier and the heart does not beat as fast, so any freely bleeding wounds will stop bleeding almost completely.
A great potion - me likes!