Balms of the Fountainhead
Mastery of these recipes allows an apothecary to brew preparations valuable to ritual magicians versed in the lore of Spring. With one of these potions a ritualist can wield the magic of the Spring realm more effectively, but they also become more susceptible to the influence of that realm.
Initially, Imperial apothecaries who had mastered the Balms of the Fountainhead were able to create the Vernal Balm and Suffusion of Blood. However, following the defeat of the Druj orcs in Reikos in 379YE, information about certain techniques used by the Buruk Tepel came to light - coupled with the recovery of a number of books belonging to skilled Highborn apothecaries stolen by the occupation force. These writings contained details of a potent potion favoured by the Druj Gulai that built on the principles already familiar to Imperial potion makers, and knowledge of how to create the Talonvine Infusion quickly spread.
This textured ointment is quickly absorbed through the skin, speeding the blood and enhancing a magician's awareness of Spring's power. It is often mixed with pigment and used to draw or paint runes or looping designs on the skin of the face and hands just prior to the start of a ritual; while the balm itself is absorbed, the pigment remains behind.
Some magicians find the almost narcotic sensations that accompany use of this balm to be very appealing. The Vernal Balm helps to strip away complexity, and allows a magician to see straightforward solutions to problems, as well as freeing them from emotion constraints and encouraging them to express themselves simply and directly.
- Form: Salve.
- Description: This blood-red ointment smells delicious. It has an oily, greasy texture if you rub it between finger and thumb, and it is quickly absorbed into your skin causing your entire hand to tingle.
- Roleplaying Effects: You become prone to sudden mood shifts and displays of strong emotion. Your attitudes become more straightforward, and you find complex plans and overthinking frustrating. You would rather take action than talk about it.
- Mechanical Effects: If you possess the Spring lore skill then you gain one additional effective rank to the next Spring ritual that you perform within ten minutes, subject to the normal rules for effective skill. This is a tonic; the effect of any other tonic you have drunk immediately ends.
- Recipe: Two drams each of Imperial roseweald and marrowort, one dram of true vervain and one crystallised mana.
Suffusion of Blood
This blood-red elixir allows a ritual magician to exert great power in the realm of Spring. It allows a ritualist to align their reserves of personal power with the realm by synchronising their emotions and behaviour with that of the Spring. By seeking out the ways that the human spirit most reflects (or is reflected by) the supernatural realm, they unlock great potential to weave Spring magic.
Some magicians find the sensation of working Spring rituals with the aid of the Suffusion of Blood to be almost ecstatic. They pursue opportunities to use the potion, even when there are sufficient crystallised resources available. The thrill of directly wielding the power of a realm, rather than using an intermediary, coupled with the emotional influence of both the elixir and the realm leads to addictive behaviour. Masters sometimes tell their apprentices the cautionary tale of Angelique von Tassato, a League ritualist who beggared and ultimately destroyed her own troupe in pursuit of the freedom she could only find in the arms of the Suffusion of Blood.
- Form: Liquid.
- Description: When this blood-red elixir catches the light, it glows with a faintly translucent aura. The scent smells of freshly cut grass, and causes your nostrils to tingle. The sweet, fruity taste causes a moment of dizziness.
- Roleplaying Effects: You become very direct, preferring to go directly to the heart of a problem, say what you think, or deal with immediate problems. You find it difficult to think about the past, or anything more pressing than the immediate future. You also become emotionally volatile, and are especially short-tempered. Anything that frustrates or irritates you is likely to cause you to lash out against its source.
- Mechanical Effects: If you possess the Spring lore skill then you can use up to 3 personal mana as if it were crystal mana on the next spring ritual that you perform within ten minutes.
- Recipe: Three drams of Imperial roseweald, two drams of true vervain, and one dram each of cerulean mazzarine, marrowort and bladeroot.
This coarse substance is mildly toxic, and can cause uncomfortable welts to form on exposed skin. There are some cases of people who have gotten the infusion in their eyes suffering from painful blindness or restricted vision that can last for several hours. The infusion is usually added to boiling water, and produces a thick, pungently musty steam that must be actively inhaled. Doing so causes an exhilarating rush of vitality and enthusiasm, which is quickly replaced by impatience and an urge to do something - anything at all - as soon as possible. The initial rush from inhaling the steam from a properly prepared Talonvine Infusion may prove to be dangerously seductive, and the secondary effects can be difficult to channel constructively.
- Form: Infusion.
- Description: This coarse yellow substance gives off a musty scent. It raises itchy welts similar to nettle stings on contact with skin. It tastes sweet, but causes a painful swelling on the tongue - as if one had been stung by a wasp.
- Roleplaying Effects: If you have inhaled the steam or smoke, you feel a rush of vitality and strength that quickly fades but leaves a powerful desire to take action - without concern for rules or long-term consequences. If instead you ate this substance, you experience stabbing stomach pains (consult a ref).
- Mechanical Effects: If you possess the Spring lore skill then you gain three additional ranks to the next spring ritual that you perform within ten minutes, subject to the normal rules for effective skill. This is a tonic; the effect of any other tonic you have drunk immediately ends.
- Recipe: Three drams each of Imperial roseweald and marrowort, one dram of true vervain, one crystallised mana, and one ring of ilium.
Actually eating Talonvine Infusion is a bad idea as it is quite toxic. It causes internal swelling, sore throat, and stabbing stomach pains. In extreme cases it can even result in loss of voice. The symptoms persist for up to half an hour, but can be alleviated by anything that would remove the venom condition such as the purify spell or a dose of Imperial roseweald applied by a physician.