The Blue Goblin Pill
In the darkest, coldest caves grows a very rare, small mushroom: the Blue Goblin. It grows in patches a couple feet wide; under direct sunlight it melts in less then one hour, leaving only a stinking blue puddle.
If eaten, it causes nausea, headache and fainting fits, as most mushroom experts know. Some beasts, though, seem to be immune to its effect and actually feed on the patches they find. As some alchemists know, the mushroom is also one of the ingredients for the infernal love potion .
Yet, lost among the lore of the shamans of the wild men of the mountains is the secret of this mushroom: if dried properly, slowly and in the dark, it leaves a fine blue dust, which has none of the ill effects of the original mushroom.
Argaiv Silaic, a wise, excentrical explorer and physician, once discovered its secret, and had a chance to note what he found out before becoming a sacrificial victim to the Dark Goddess of the Mountain. This is what he scrawled while locked inside a wooden cage:
The dust from the blue goblin, mixed with mountain goat butter, is shaped into very small blue pills, which the shamans call 'the bluenuts'. Eating one of such 'nuts', seems to increase 'rod' size, hardness and duration, and improves the quality of the whole 'interaction'. In order to comprehend more, I really should try one, if I ever get out of this cage.
Years passed since that unhappy incident, which culminated with poor Argaiv hurled down a slope, and the secret remained confined among the wild men and their wild midsummer celebrations.
One day, though, a 'lucky' man came back to town with the secret! He had been the wild tribes' prisoner for a few weeks, and, exactly like the wise Argaiv, he got to know everything. But he managed to escape. Artivel -this was his name- came back to the Capital City of the kingdom, eager to share the secret with his associates in crime and enlarge his bussiness, expanding the offer of forbidden substances for those who enjoy the night life.
Even though the mushroom is rare and the pills' preparation takes some time, the goblin's pills are quite known in larger cities of the kingdom and, despite low availability and high price, people smile and whisper of nights and parties gone 'into goblin'...
-Enough is enough. The city seems to have undergone a wild change: during the day, most of the population looks tired and dizzy: workers, artisans, even guards keep yawning... During the night, the streets are strangely full of lights and people, houses of ill repute literally burst with merry, eager customers. People from the outskirts and close villages swarm into town and seem very unwilling to leave, even though they don't seem to have a proper job.
The local Church of Good Behave wants the PCs to investigate!
A smart alchemist, in league with a band of yellow lotus dealers, has found a way to grow more and more mushrooms in easier facilities, and thus has flood the city with millions of blue goblin pills.
Will the heroes uncover the secret? Will they decide to stop it, or fall prey to the thousand temptations this investigation holds for them? Will they manage to bring normality back to the city before the barbarian hordes' assault?
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? Responses (12)-12
I liked this one. There is spice and tale but still to the point and with good rythm. I like the introduction as it sucks me right in. Looking forward to see your take on bigger subs.
Viagra for the masses. Rejoice!
I also liked this. The names are amusing. Though a little too blatant when seen in text, I'm sure no player would ever decode their names from sound alone. Good job, keep the submissions coming!
Thanks all for the appreciation! I'll be trying to link this, the Infernal Love Potion (id 5847), and a couple more things I have in mind, into one mini campaign of Love, Death and Alchemy. Stay tuned!
Argaiv Silaic, I love it! and Blue goblin pills, you have made my morning!
So the mushrooms are hard to use, hard to reproduce, will destroy local villages and peoples as the more 'civilized' masses rush to make this product available easily, somebody is making a shitload of money (I expect that this is what initially funded Baldric and Frog if not funded by the kingdom itself), and is a shameless plug for a real world product.
And I suppose a 'little pink pill' will be made soon enough that will cost 3x, be just as effective, and have minimal herbal/mushroom differences from the blue pill.
Edit: 'coast' became 'cost', because spellcheck does not know whenyou used the wrong word.
Oh well, of course it is a shameless fantasy version of a real world product. I intentionally went for this, as I chose pills instead of potions, blue instead of, say, green, and the inverted names. Even Argaiv Silaic's note is an adapted excerpt from the Wikipedia page for Viagra. I specify my intent was ironic.
If anything of this offended you, as a reader or as a gamer, I apologize.
Also, if I understand the first part of your comment, I'm afraid I messed up the text presentation, since my real intentions simply were:
a) to introduce a silly substance, suitable for low-fantasy, ironical settings such as Fritz Leiber's Nehwon, which should not have the power to drammatically alter the setting (just like real world's equivalents didn't, well, change the world)
b) to offer one example of an ironical plot revolving around the pill, in a world where it already existed without serious consequences, but became a local problem (at least from the establishment's point of view!) due to excessive availability.
I didn't mean to seriously elaborate on the possible social, political or economical outcomes of the substance in any possible world, to which it seems to me you are referring to in your comment.
If I didn't understand your comment, I apologize for this long and irrelevant reply, and say that I would love to read a simpler explanation of your point of view.
I think if you had at least mentioned the reprocussions with puytting barbaric lowtech tribes between 'civilization' and the mushrooms it would have been better. (We are the only civilzation on earth that would offer to 'purchase' the mushrooms needed to make more/make lots of money - and even now the western world would pay a pittance compared to the mushroom's real price.)
I thought that might be where you made you plothooks, instead of assuming that the more 'civilized' just get the goods and run home.
Second, what about the plot by the Romans to steal silkworms from China? Something like this might work for a PC plot. (Esp. when the PC's are the thieves.)
You missed plots that are so obvious it's hard to miss them if your blind... and then it's a shallow idea.
So yes, 2/5 is all I could give.
Thanks for your explanation. Now I see your point.
Er, where did the Romans get brought into this one?
In short: If group A codified (and they will) how to grow, how to reproduce, and how to make the 'little blue pills', it becomes so much easier for group B to steal the knowledge and the shrooms. Bribing a low-intellect farmer is even.. easier. Tricking him into handing over the secrets, and some samples.. even easier with enough gold and promises (and whores, and a trip to Rubens....)
It's simple enough of a concept. B steals the now codified secrets/shrooms and makes it's own shrooms/pills.
Nice one PP, a great little item -- believable, not too powerful and fits nicely into almost any setting
As for the all important voting
-- 3/5 for a basiclly sound idea
-- +1 for usability (this can easily be inserted into almost any setting)
-- +½ for silly value (always gains extra points in my book)
So, final total is 4½ / 5