Monday, February 6, 2012

Black Liquors (Wermspittle/Corruption Trade)

Black Liquors are literally quite thoroughly black and concocted from the fluids of Loathsome Masses that seep through walls, ceilings and floor boards or Mad Houses and abandoned properties in the empty quarters of Wermspittle. Would-be apprentices serve as foragers and go out to collect this nasty stuff that they then turn over to various unlicensed producers who distill these liquors for the Corruption Trade.
“I am writing this under an appreciable mental strain, since by tonight I shall be no more. Penniless, and at the end of my supply of the drug which alone makes life endurable, I can bear the torture no longer; and shall cast myself from this garret window into the squalid street below.”
H.P. Lovecraft

Black Liquors Produced by Bootleggers and Other Unlicensed Distillers (D6)
  1. Midnight Drizzle: A smoky-smelling obsidian vodka that diminishes the drinker's WIS by one point for every shot imbibed. The effects persist for 1d4 days, after which time the victim recovers normally, only they have no memory whatsoever of what happened during the time they were under the liquor's influence. Persistent use does lead to permanent damage. Heavy drinkers are prone to lose all sense of identity and no longer have memories past five minutes ago. Most of the people destroyed by this stuff thought that they could use it to forget something horrific. They always think that they can just stop. Almost no one ever does. Availability: New batches almost always arrive in mid-winter. Cost: expensive -- only ever sold by the shot.
  2. Ebony: A thick, syrupy sort of drink, Ebony is notorious for causing a slight tremor in the hands of those who drink it more than once. People drink this horrible stuff to recover memories lost through magical effects, damage, poison, or disease. They drink it to remember. Some spell-casters dilute this stuff and try to use it to enhance their memorization skills, usually any boost eventually turns to a catastrophic failure. Regular use inflicts a cumulative -1 penalty to DEX for 1d4 days for each shot downed. Three or more shots and the victim must make a Save or suffer a permanent -1 loss to DEX. Drinking the diluted shots will boost memory temporarily, for about a week, then the drinker must Save or suffer a permanent -1 penalty to INT. Availability: Hard to come by. You really need to know someone. Cost: Very expensive.
  3. Oblivion: A potent, oily black liqueur that reeks of cloves and pepper with a cloying hint of corruption just under the sharp tang of the pepper. Two shots of this stuff will make a new person of you--literally. Re-roll INT, WIS, CHAR and welcome to life as somebody else...too bad you no longer have a name that you recognize, though there are probably a few 'old friends' around who might like to have a chat with you about things you did in your former life... Availability: Rare. Cost: Very expensive, but for some, it's worth it. (There is a cumulative 20% chance that the drinker succumbs to the latent taint of the Vinum Sabbati and reverts to a Loathsome Mass each time they drink Oblivion, but since they lose all memory of having drank any of the stuff previously, it is not entirely uncommon that they might try it again.)
  4. Mummy Bottle: Smooth black elixir that will stave off the effects of mummy rot, gangrene, Achromic Powder, etc. for 1d4 hours per shot. Those who do drink this noxious concoction must make a Save each morning for the following four days, missing any one of those Saves results in their affliction tripling in severity and rate of spread. Further shots of Mummy Bottle will only halt what has been done, and not reverse any of it. Availability: Common. Cost: Cheap.
  5. Ravyshed Fortitude: A powerful, glossy black liquid that grants the drinker a +1 to INT, WIS and CHAR for 24 hours, then it causes 1d4 points of attribute damage (the victim can pick how to distribute the penalties) that will persist for 1d4 days. Anyone drinking this stuff must make a Save to avoid the lingering after-effect that causes all healing to be at 50% effectiveness for the next 2d4 hours. Availability: Uncommon. Cost: Moderate. Note: When mixed with Dim Ichor, this substance becomes a potent poison that automatically destroys 1d4 INT or WIS (victim's choice), with a Save at -2 penalty to sustain half damage.
  6. Fearphagery: An effervescent black-tinged fluid with the consistency of egg whites, making it rather difficult to toss back. Drinking this stuff totally eliminates the drinker's ability to experience fear. If they make their Save, then the effect is only for 3d6 hours, if they fail the effect is permanent. Availability: Uncommon. Cost: Triple the going rate for rot-gut.
There are other varieties of Black Liquors to be had, depending on the season, what tavern one is in,  and availability based upon the vagaries of the illicit smugglers, peddlers and dealers who handle the products of each clandestine bootlegger and distiller. Every now and again an old case is discovered in a cellar, or one of the local producers tries out a new formula and things can get awfully strange...with an especial emphasis on the awful. Whatever minor benefit any of these bottled spirits might purport to impart, they all come at a steep, drastic price.
"Of the pleasures and pains of opium much has been written. The ecstasies and horrors of De Quincey and the paradis artificiels of Baudelaire are preserved and interpreted with an art which makes them immortal, and the world knows well the beauty, the terror and the mystery of those obscure realms into which the inspired dreamer is transported. But much as has been told, no man has yet dared intimate the nature of the phantasms thus unfolded to the mind, or hint at the direction of the unheard-of roads along whose ornate and exotic course the partaker of the drug is so irresistibly borne."
H. P. Lovecraft
For more exotic liquors, consult Gorgonmilk's Community Table of Weird Drafts, which Matthew is currently assembling into a nifty PDF over at Rended Press.


  1. With a little modification you could just use these as the regular drinks at a particularly seedy bar.

  2. Exactly. The Black Liquors presented in this table aren't the real icky part of the process. The truly horrific nature of this stuff is in how it is produced, and then sold back to the same population that is being exploited to create it.

    Also, if you want something a bit stronger, that requires asking the right questions, paying the right bribes and making a suitable impression upon those who act as gate-keepers for the underground distillers. Most players will be satisfied with these fairly watered-down samples...the really hard stuff is usually held in reserve for special customers...


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