Overview

Mastery of these preparations allows the brewing of several toxic substances, which can hamper an enemy's ability to fight. They have been extensively used by the Navarr since time immemorial, but many societies have their own equivalents. This includes the barbarian orcs of course - the Druj of the Eastern swamps are known to make extensive use of preparations such as these when battling their Imperial enemies.

Navarr apothecaries have spent centuries trying to develop a thicker version of these venoms that can be successfully applied to arrows, but to date they have made no progress.

In Autumn 382YE, the original three preparations governed by the Legacy of Thorns was expanded to include a fourth - Legionnaire's Stare - when the recipe was distributed to Imperial apothecaries by order of the Imperial Senate. This new recipe originally came from a Druj herbal captured during the liberation of Reikos, although an identical preparation was shared with the Highborn and Navarr as part of a gift of herb lore given to those two nations by the Great Forest refugees as thanks for their assistance establishing themselves in Therunin.

Blade Venoms

Two of these preparations are intended to be applied to melee weapons. They cannot be used with arrows or quarrels, and are ineffective when applied to thrown weapons. They are also ineffective when applied to implements such as rods and staffs. It takes five seconds of appropriate roleplaying to apply a blade venom to a melee weapon, after which you must make the appropriate call the next time you hit a target. If ten seconds pass without making the call, the venom is wasted.

You cannot combine the call granted by a blade venom with any other combat or magic call; only one call is made at a time.

Oil of Blackthorn

Oil of Blackthorn is an effective blade venom, and has seen extensive use by the Navarr in their battles with barbarians, Vallorn-spawned horrors and hostile outlaws alike. It is considered very useful for dealing with certain creatures of the Vallorn-infested forests; such creature often heal at a preternatural rate, but they die just as easily as anyone else when venom is involved. Indeed, the vallornspawn husks are especially vulnerable to venom, dying very quickly if they are struck with a weapon coated in Oil of Blackthorn. Varushkan wardens made occasional use of this venom for the same reason when fighting certain monsters that display similar vivacity.

Among the Unconquered of Highguard, this thin, slate-coloured oil is more commonly termed Basilisk Ichor. A common tactic is for a close-combat team to use it on their weapons to enhance the effectiveness of a volley of arrows fired by nearby allies - a tactic that some claim they learnt by watching the Navarr - although coordinating this manoeuvre is quite challenging even for the traditionally organised Highborn. Darker rumours suggest their ancestors first encountered it from the receiving end, either in some past conflict with the Navarr, or perhaps more likely in the interminable border skirmishes with the barbarian orcs.

Technically, Oil of Blackthorn should be termed Oil of Blackroot and in parts of Varushka and Urizen, they prefer to use this name for this toxic paste. It is occasionally used as an ingestive poison, but the benefits of doing so are minimal; the victim tends to recover quickly after they have thrown up, and there are no permanent effects from consuming the venom orally.

  • Form: Oil.
  • Description: This thin, oily paste is the colour of grey slate. If you rub it between your finger and thumb, it has a slick texture that leaves a faint residue behind on your fingers. The oily taste is offensively and deeply unpalatable.
  • Roleplaying Effects: If you have drunk this oil, you are subject to nausea and painful stomach cramps for the next half hour, although if you vomit or are treated with the purify spell or by anything else that can end the weakness or venom conditions, you can alleviate these symptoms early.
  • Mechanical Effects: This oil must be smeared on a melee weapon over 5 seconds. The wielder must call VENOM on the next blow with the weapon within 10 seconds.
  • Recipe: Two drams of Bladeroot and one dram each of True Vervain, Cerulean Mazzarine and Marrowort.

Redwillow Paste

This sticky, rust-coloured paste is called Dogman's Slather in the Marches. While it is occasionally used by beaters, it is more commonly encountered smeared on the spears and clubs of the savage Feni who occasionally plague parts of Upwold.

Again, in Varushka and Urizen it is more commonly called roseweald paste, but the semantics of what to call it are generally considered less important than its effectiveness in neutralising magicians and enemy champions. As with Oil of Blackthorn, this paste can be administered orally - or accidentally drunk when mistaken for another substance - but it has minimal effect that soon passes.

  • Form: Oil
  • Description: This rust-coloured paste smells faintly of stagnant water. It has a sticky texture if you rub it between your finger and thumb that is hard to get rid of. It has an incredibly sweet, sickly taste that is unappealing.
  • Roleplaying Effects: If you have drunk this oil, you are subject to the sudden onset of a feverish temperature accompanied by severe sweating, headache, tiredness and other flu-like symptoms that last for the next half hour, although if you vomit or are treated with the purify spell or by anything else that can end the weakness or venom conditions, you can alleviate these symptoms early.

This greenish-yellow salve goes by several names. Each tribe tries to claim it as its own – Waspsting, Toadsweat, Cranesblood, Bloodstinger are all names I have heard used for it by my fellows - but I learnt it as Serpent Tooth and and so that is the name.

Whatever the name, the venom overwhelms the body of a victim and renders them incapable of movement for a short time. It is unfortunately less lethal than true snake venom, but has the advantage that the paralysis it causes strikes almost immediately.

It is superior to mudhoney because it prevents all movement. It does not simply stop a magician casting spells, it prevents them taking any movement at all. It does not simply stop a warrior drawing strength from the ancestors, it stops them striking any blows at all. And it prevents a prized victim running away.

While this venom might appear on the surface to be almost unbelievably powerful, it has two significant drawbacks. Crucially, it is by no means cheap to brew. It requires more herbs than the other blade venoms, and so to be effective it must be used by someone who can target a key enemy to dispatch with it.

It is also a little risky to use this venom if the prey must be captured alive. I have heard of times when the prey died under the effect of the venom – when the paralysis was too extreme. A few times, they stop being able to breathe (although this is rarely fatal given how short lived the paralysis is), but at other times, their hearts simply stop. A Tepel can restart the heart easily enough, but most warriors do not know the secret of doing so and so the prey expires.

Stone Toad herbal extract

Legionnaire's Stare

This sticky, yellow-green paste is known as Stonespear by the Great Forest Orcs, and (among other names) as Serpentooth by the Druj. Until very recently, the venom has been largely unknown in the Empire. The common Imperial name comes from the Imperial Orcs responsible for decoding the original Druj herbal, and making the recipes within available to Imperial herbalists.

The potent blade venom quickly overwhelms a foe, rendering them completely immobile for a short period of time. While they can still shout for help, they cannot work any magic, attack, flee, or even defend themselves allowing them to quickly be dispatched or captured.

  • Form: Oil
  • Description: This odourless yellow-green paste has a sticky texture. If you rub it between your finger and thumb, it leaves a residue that is hard to get rid of. It has a metallic, earthy flavour that is surprisingly tasty.
  • Roleplaying Effects: If you have drunk this oil, you are subject to the sudden onset of a feverish chill accompanied by severe sweating, significant lower back pain, and a strong need to urinate that last for the next half hour, although if you vomit or are treated with the purify spell or by anything else that can end the weakness or venom conditions, you can alleviate these symptoms early.
  • Mechanical Effects: This oil must be smeared on a melee weapon over 5 seconds. The wielder must call PARALYSE on the next blow with the weapon within 10 seconds.
  • Recipe: Three drams of Bladeroot, two drams each of True Vervain, and Marrowort, and a dose of Cerulean Mazzarine.

Gutwrench

This tangy, translucent russet liquid is a nasty ingested poison that can cripple an enemy, allowing them to be easily dispatched. Every now and again a crazed apothecary is caught using this preparation to murder a patient under their care by feeding it to them in the guise of a healing potion. It is normally relatively easy to alleviate, but when fed to an unsuspecting victim makes a potent weapon. There is some evidence that this poison was employed by the Druj in their early dealings with the Highborn, and several stories of massacres in the League's history where food or drink was tainted with this substance to render enemies weakened and speed the kill.

It is illegal to carry Gutwrench within the Empire.

  • Form: Liquid.
  • Description: This translucent liquid has a red-brown tinge to it and sticks viscously to the inside of the container if you shake it. It smells faintly of over-ripe pears and has a faint, tangy flavour.
  • Roleplaying Effects: As long as you suffer from either weakness or venom, you feel as if your stomach is on fire; you may experience other symptoms including severe sweating, feverishly elevated temperature, throbbing aches in the head and joints, tiredness, agonising stomach cramps, nausea, dizziness and painfully heightened senses that make bright lights or loud noises almost unbearable.
  • Mechanical Effects: You are subject to both the weakness and venom conditions. These conditions may be removed normally.
  • Recipe: Two drams of Imperial Roseweald, two drams of Bladeroot and one dram of Cerulean Mazzarine.