These preparations originate with the Druj orcs (or perhaps with the orcs of the Great Forest depending on who one asks). The recipes were originally captured from the Druj during the liberation of Reikos, when the herbal text of the Buruk Tepel of the Stone Toad clan fell into Imperial hands. Originally hidden behind a complex cipher, the book was eventually decoded by Imperial scholars and the recipes within revealed.
In Autumn 382YE, the recipes that comprise the Double-sided Blade were distributed to Imperial apothecaries by order of the Imperial Senate. along with several other new potion recipes. Known as The Endless Struggle among the Druj, the potions were also apparently part of the herbal lore of the Great Forest orcs - who know them as The Two-bladed Knife, and shared the recipes with the Highborn and Navarr as thanks for their assistance establishing themselves in Therunin.
Like the Tonics of the Deep Forest, these preparations grant vigour and health. Unlike the more commonly known recipes, however, these two potions come with unpleasant side effects that make them less than ideal for use by Imperial citizens. Also unlike almost every other known preparation, the potions created by the Double-sided Blade are more effective when consumed by orcs than when consumed by humans. As with the more familiar potions, the Double-sided Blade preparations are tonics - meaning that one cannot enjoy their benefits in conjunction with any other tonic.
These flaws potentially limits their usefulness to ethical Imperial apothecaries, even though they are in theory easier to prepare than the equivalent Tonics of the Deep Forest. Still, as the Great Forest orcs say of the preparations: " “These potions are like the double-bladed knife that strikes at the hand that wields it. When you must cut, you must also be cut. Sometimes your blood is the price for the victory you require.”
Brings warmth, that begins in the belly and spreads quickly through the whole body. Touches the deep rage in the heart of all the people. Urges violence, and calls to mind past wrongs that must be righted with bloodshed.
It grants the ability to endure vicious wounds, but it thins the blood. When the reserve of strength it offers has been depleted, the Abyss yawns. If sunfire hasbeen given to one who is still of value, keep jadeleaf to hand to stave off its hunger or that one may be lost to you.
Beware – the thinning of the blood will react poorly with bloodroot and other similar substances. Seeking to treat that symptom may bring on a potentially fatal seizure. Give warspice to those warriors whose ability to destroy your enemies is manifest, but who you can afford to lose
Absorbed quickly into the skin, or the gums. Delivers an immediate burst of pleasant euphoria. Recipient is distanced from pain and discomfort.
The user can endure powerful wounds with ease, but there is a cost. Their sense of self is muted – their ability to fight is not affected but they cannot draw on the inner fire that is the mark of the true warrior, nor wield magical tools, nor work the arts of the ghulai.
Where it is of most value is with the green recruit, the worthless warrior or the slave. These warriors lose nothing by having their power curtailed, and their value on the battlefield is greatly enhanced by an additional ability to endure blows, and absorb wounds that might otherwise find more valuable fighters.
Furthermore, the salve creates an urge to submission, meaning it has some value in restraining the wild of spirit and the unruly. It might be used as a punishment for the foolish – denying them their strengths and sending them to fight is a risky move however. It is at its most useful though when applied to those who are already weak of will, however.Be cautious with this salve. If its effects are removed too soon they may cause the users heart to still, at least for a moment, and the Abyss to reach for their spirit.Stone Toad herbal excerpt
"Warming Armour", as it has been dubbed by the Imperial Orcs, provides a significant increase to personal strength, to the ability to endure fatal wounds, but at some cost. When consumed by an orc, it is comparable to Ironblood Tonic in effectiveness, but where that potent preparation dulls emotion and reduces interest in other people, this potion inflames passions and encourages the imbiber to violence - and to thoughts of bloody vengeance.
Furthermore, it significantly thins the blood - so much so that while it helps the drinker resist fatal wounds for a time, when they do eventually succumb to their enemies, they quickly bleed out and die. Worse, anything that interrupts the progress of the potion can potentially result in a fatal aftershock that kills the drinker.
This potion is apparently know as Warspice among the Druj and the Great Forest orcs. The orcs of the Mallum apparently use it extensively to empower reckless - and by extension expendable - warriors and unleash them against their enemies. The Great Forest orcs are more cautious in its use, but seem prepared to employ it when the odds are against them and victory is more important than survival.
- Form: Liquid.
- Description: This deep crimson liquid is oddly warm to the touch. It has a strong, spicy odour and taste.
- Roleplaying Effects: You feel a warmth in your belly that spreads quickly throughout your body. You feel an urge to take bloody, violent revenge on anyone you feel has wronged you.
- Mechanical Effects: You are subject to the VENOM condition. If this condition is removed prematurely, you immediately drop to 0 hits. If you are an orc, you also gain 3 additional ranks of endurance. If you are a human, you gain 2 additional ranks of endurance. The effects last until the end of the next skirmish, battle, or quest or until the VENOM is removed. This is a tonic; the effect of any other tonic you have drunk immediately ends.
- Recipe: Two drams each of Imperial Roseweald and True Vervain, one dram each of Cerulean Mazzarine and Marrowort.
The Imperial Orcs have dubbed the salve that the Druj know as Corpseskin and the Great Forest orcs call Oakenshield as Weakening Sun. Applied to the skin of the face or hands, it brings a rush of pleasure that slowly diminishes but does not fade completely until after the other effects of the salve have worn off. This rush of pleasure could potentially lead to addiction in individuals prone to such behaviour. Worse, while the salve helps the user endure savage wounds, it also diminishes their "sense of self". They become prone to obeying those they perceive as more important or powerful than themselves without question, and it brings a kind of foggy confusion that makes it impossible for the user to wield magic, employ crafted items, or exert their will to take action.
Like Warming Armour, Weakening Sun has potentially lethal side effects. If the pleasant weakness it causes is prematurely removed, the sudden rush of returning sensation and awareness can overwhelm the subject causing them to suffer a potentially fatal seizure.
- Form: Salve
- Description: This thick dark-blue salve is oily to the touch and absorbed quickly by the skin. It smells strongly of fresh, uncooked meat.
- Roleplaying Effects: You feel a burst of euphoria that slowly fades but never goes away. Painful or uncomfortable sensations are muted, and you feel an urge to submit to anyone who you feel has authority over you.
- Mechanical Effects: You are subject to the WEAKNESS condition. If this condition is removed prematurely, you immediately drop to 0 hits. If you are an orc, you also gain 3 additional ranks of endurance. If you are a human, you gain 2 additional ranks of endurance. The effects last until the end of the next skirmish, battle, or quest, or the WEAKNESS is removed. This is a tonic; the effect of any other tonic you have drunk immediately ends.
- Recipe: Two drams each of Marrowort and Bladeroot, one dram each of Cerulean Mazzarine and True Vervain.
Where Warming Armour and Weakening Sun refer to removing a condition prematurely, they mean that removing the venom or weakness (as appropriate) before the end of the next skirmish, battle, or quest causes the target to immediately drop to zero hits and begin to die. It does not matter if the effect of the tonic is removed - so drinking an Ironblood Tonic will still replace all the other effects of this potion - but this does not remove the venom or weakness. If that venom or weakness is then removed, the character still drops to 0 hits if they have not completed a skirmish, battle, or quest since they consumed the Warming Armour or Weakening Sun.