Full Item Description
Tincture of Ergot is a rather unusual substance, originally developed from ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other cereal grains. Once distilled and concentrated by a variety of alchemical treatments it is a colorless, odorless, and mildly bitter substance. It is water soluable and if placed in another medium all but undetectable.
A renowned Alchemist by the name of Master Packard Owlsey spent a good number of years devoting his arts of distillation and alchemical refinement to the good of the community. He created a number of reliable and effacious cures in the mundane fashion. His greatest contributions were an fortifier against pains of the head and abdomen, a tonic for the easement of feminine pains, and a very popular sweet tonic that was a pancea for the stomach and clear thoughts.
He spent two years studying ergot, a fungus that often attacked stores of grain and rye in his home region. This was of great concern as the victims of the fungus poisoning suffered from pains of the head and bowels, and their extremeties, such as fingers and toes would suffer from loss of blood flow, and become infected with gangrene. Many people would eventually die from the poisoning.
He took two paths to ending this malady. The first was for the creation of a Grange Guild that was responcible for the proper storage and care of grain within the city. The grain in the city coffers was afflicted with poor storage conditions, leaving the grain in a moist and cool enviroment. Once the rotten grain was discarded, the ergot tainted grain was then ground into flour and the fungus, being heat resistant was baked into bread. The new Grange guild was tasked to repair and maintain the grain coffers and the city bakeries that used city bought and stored grain.
This was the first plan, to cut off the source of the malady, or so Owlsey hoped. His second plan involved creating a tincture of ergot that would be a pancea against the poisoning. He hoped that if the tincture was administered to a sick individual that it would cure the poisoning. Being a tincture, once the initial batch was created, dilutions could be made and distributed rapidly.
His work was top notch as usual, but he encountered two main problems. The first and most concerning was that the Tincture was not effacious in the treatment of ergot poisoning. The second was that doses of the tincture had...other effects. The main concern was alleviated after three years, the grange guild had done its job well, the grain coffers were in good repair and many of the bakers of the bakers guild had double duties, both in their mercantile guild and in the protective Grange Guild.
Tincture of Ergot Properties
Tincture of Ergot had a very strange effect on those it was given to. Each subject experienced a heightened state of awareness, and a feeling of belonging to something greater. Fewer experienced mind altering hallucinations while under the influence of the tincture. Owlsey himself tested the tincture, experiencing and taking large numbers of notes while under its influence.
He did note that if the subject was in a poor emotional state, administering the tincture often caused amplification of the negative emotions in the subject. Some would weep, others were more violent, screaming and cutting themselves. After witnessing this, Owlsey discontinued manufacture of the tincture.
A number of open minded, and gold sparse apprentices 'borrowed' the formula for the tincture and began to make it themselves and selling it. Atriol Thymey, a religious minded apprentice, took the tincture to the populace as a way of expanding their relationship with the divine, be it the solemn Via Mortus, the stodgy Kingdom of Trinistine, the maligned Old Ways, or whatever. Atriol would later, to his mentor's disgust, set himself up as an alchemical guru teaching liquid enlightenment before being taken into custody by members of the law enforcement and Clergy.
The Real Deal
Some of you already know this but the tincture of Ergot is another name for LSD, and is for all intents and purposes it is LSD.
Psychadelic Man - The PCs stumble across an artistic community where the art is surreal in its color and style, ignoring common precepts of the importance of all art being religious, or forbidding the use of Green, the queen's most hated color, or something along those lines. The most prominent member of the community is Argier Jacry, a rotund and jovial bard and alchemist student of Atriol's. He has a large beard, plays a zither, and wears a riot of colorful clothing.
The Wizard - A wizard emplores the PCs to find and procure for him some of the tincture since he has heard that taking it and meditating on magical symbols can reduce the difficulty of creating new magical spells. The outcome can range from the horrific accidental summoning of a dementia demon to the whimiscal creation of singing flowers.
Bad Trip - knowing of its powers a con-man and illusionist doses a local community water supply with a large amount of the tincture. When the locals begin to feel to effects, he appears, using his illusion arts to win their support as a holy man/prophet/really cool guy. Before the effects wear off, he makes off with the most valuable of their valuables. The gold is left behind while magical goods and jewels are gone in a flash. Do the PCs get robbed? or do they try to find the con-man who made them think he was an avatar of the God of Luck and has their sword of monster-smiting.
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? Responses (7)
1-The Tincture of Ergot might be one of the greatest names for a substance I've ever encountered.
2-The piece has a pseudo-scientific, national geographic vibe to it, and flows well.
3-Jerry Garcia is a nice touch :D
3-Brings back memories
And it is an instant top-contender for MJS's Tobbacos, Ingredients, and Mind-Altering Substances!
As muro said it has a pseudo-scientific, national geographic vibe to it. You know thats right up my alley. What more can one ask for?
Now this is alchemy as it should be 4½ / 5
Since Ergot is a real plant, with these real properties, there is no reason why this shouldn't have a straight forward presentation.
Abby Hofman studied Ergot before he developed LSD. It is actually not derived from Ergot, it is a stepping stone to get there.
This write up is excellent though. It is a gret way to add a real substance in a fantasy way.
Forgive me but I must interject my own two cents here.
It is fundamentally incorrect to say that Ergot is a real PLANT, it is indeed real, however it is a fungus that grows on plants and not a plant at all. Fugas and plants are not even in the same kingdom much less phylum, class, order and so on as you have tried to bunch them. Ergot belongs in the Kingdom Fungi, whereas all plants are part of the Kingdom Plantae. Saying Ergot is a plant is much like saying a dog is a plant.
Ergot is blamed for many historical events including the demise of the roman empire and the salem witch trials just to scratch the surface and name a couple. This is due in part to it's 'medicinal' properties, and the difficulty in removing the ergot from such grains as rye in particular. Ergot is easily removed from processed grains such as flour due to the drastic color differences between the flour and the Ergot, Rye on the other hand is a very similar color to the Ergot. Ergot is a kind of reddish brown color similar to that of rye, and flour is white for the most part.
Don't mean to harp but Ergot was a major research project for me in Botany.
Very well carry on and I shall now go back to lurking.
I sit corrected. I mistyped.
A good handling of ergot - it perhaps could even take on an even more mystic take.