Philtres of War
The philtres of war are popular with soldiers and warriors throughout the Empire. They invigorate personal reserves and strengthen the body, as well as helping to focus the will.
These potions restore spent hero points; they will not give a character hero points if they do not already possess them.
Philtre of Strength
In old wives' tales, the philtre of strength allows someone to perform supernatural feats of strength, endurance or inspiration. In actuality, they can only bring out what is already present. Tinged with blue, this translucent potion restores reserves of strength. It is popular with fighting men and women throughout the Empire, granting them the ability to push themselves well beyond natural limits. It is especially valuable to those with smaller reserves of personal power, letting them go to more heroic lengths to achieve their goals than they might otherwise attain.
- Form: Philtre.
- Description: This translucent liquid has a faint blue tinge. It has a rich, spicy scent, but a tiny droplet on your tongue discovers it to have a surprisingly sweet flavour.
- Roleplaying Effects: You feel all your cares and worries fall away; you feel a strong urge to shout, bellow or sing something as you are suddenly invigorated.
- Mechanical Effects: You regain one spent hero point. If you have no hero points this potion has no effect.
- Recipe: Two drams of True Vervain and one dram of Bladeroot.
This potent elixir strengthens the flagging spirits of the battered knight-errant, and gives renewed vigour to the bard. It is a thick, syrupy potion with a deep amber glow that tastes extremely sweet - but not unpleasantly so.
Legends say that the first draught of Skop's Mead was brewed with honey tricked from an eternal Lord of Summer by a Suaq icewalker. Small amounts of that original, wondrous honey are said to still be hidden in Sermersuaq in tiny clay pots, cached for safekeeping then lost when the nameless icewalker met his end at the hands of the slighted Lord's vengeful heralds. Any apothecary who could find a supply of this honey could probably use it to brew this potion more effectively.
The potion is known by a number of other names in different parts of the Empire - bannerman's honey, errant's wine, and ploughman's ale are all popular.
- Form: Philtre.
- Description: This deep amber syrup clings viscously to the inside of the container, and when it catches the light it seems to glow. It smells sweet, and a sticky droplet on your tongue reveals it to have the sweet flavour of fine honey.
- Roleplaying Effects: You feel a burst of renewed energy, and an urge to act immediately in pursuit of your goals. You also feel a strong urge to share your confidence with, and raise the morale of, your allies - to inspire others to follow your lead.
- Mechanical Effects: You regain three spent hero points. If you have no hero points this potion has no effect.
- Recipe: Three drams of True Vervain, two drams each of Imperial Roseweald and Bladeroot and one dram of Marrowort.
Elixir of Exalted Puissance
This effervescent deep-green elixir is very rare and consequently much sought after. The apothecary dissolves a small amount of the star metal ilium in a powerful herbal concoction to create a truly magical preparation. The deeper the reserves of personal power the drinker has, the more powerful the effect - there are stories of bottles of this miraculous elixir being handed down as heirlooms by noble houses in Dawn, successive generations refusing to drink the potion unless they are facing a challenge greater than that faced during the previous generation when the potion was not touched.
The first elixir of exalted puissance was allegedly formulated in Urizen by Coriana of Sunspire, the eldest daughter and heir of the legendary apothecary Callidius of Wealdawn. There are some very basic similarities between this elixir and the Elixir of Empyrean Art, but mostly in the way it incorporates Ilium as a source of energy. On the day of her marriage to Ector of Damokan's Forge she gifted a copy of her recipe to the sentinels of each of the major citadels in Urizen. By the time Urizen joined the Empire in the reign of Giovanni the Peacemaker, the elixir was already in use by the other Imperial nations.
In the League this elixir is sometimes called Rosalinde's Reversal after the Sarvosan mercenary captain who used it to great effect to battle two armies of barbarians in the same day, inspiring her troops with her irrepressible spirit and besting not one but two orcish chieftains in personal combat.
- Form: Liquid.
- Description: This deep green liquid is filled with tiny bubbles; if you shake the container it effervesces energetically. It smells strongly of mint, and a tiny droplet on your finger or tongue causes the tip to tingle almost expectantly.
- Roleplaying Effects: You are filled with a sensation of immense confidence and belief in your own abilities. You want to demonstrate your prowess to everyone.
- Mechanical Effects: You regain all your spent hero points, and gain an additional temporary hero point. This temporary point is the first one spent when you spend hero points. If you have not used this temporary hero point within half an hour, it is lost. If you do not have hero points, this preparation has no effect.
- Recipe: Three drams of Imperial Roseweald, two drams each of True Vervain and Bladeroot, a dram of Marrowort and a single ring of Ilium.
Tincture of the Whipped Cur
This sinister poison causes weakness and enervation. It robs the victim of the strength to deliver powerful blows, and saps the will to fight. Possession of the tincture is not technically illegal in the Empire, but in the past its possession during the quarterly summits at Anvil has been recognised as supporting evidence of intent during trials for treason.
As with several poisons, the tincture of the whipped cur has a mixed history in the Empire. For every treachery - such as when the three children of Maud, Steward of Wayford used it to weaken their mother before murdering the doughty warrior - there is a story of its use in service to the Empire. When the corrupted boyar Jicov the Hungry and his Schlacta were preparing to offer the citizens of their vale to an unspeakable Sovereign in Karsk, a brave servant aided the Wardens by convincing the boyar and his soldiers to drink a glass of this preparation in the belief it would grant them great potence before their celebratory feast. Without it, the Boyar and his men would have slaughtered all opposition, and set in motion events too horrible to contemplate.
- Form: Liquid.
- Description: This amber syrup clings viscously to the inside of the container, and when it catches the light it glistens like fine oil. It smells very sweet, but a sticky droplet on your tongue reveals it to have a surprisingly bitter flavour.
- Roleplaying Effects: You are filled with self-doubt and uncertainty for at least ten minutes.
- Mechanical Effects: You immediately lose all your hero points. You can regain hero points normally.
- Recipe: Two drams of Bladeroot and one dram each of Cerulean Mazzarine and Marrowort.
Sir Amaryl pulled the tiny bottle, hollowed from a single piece of amber, from his pocket. He weighed it in his hand for a moment as he tried to judge how bad the situation was. Two of his brother-knights were down and bleeding, a third was being aided by Lord Bohemond, but did not look good. On the other hand one of the ogres was lying on its side, clearly bleeding to death, while Sir Marthe and Sir Leopold harried the others with withering steel.
Yet through the trees he could make out two more ogres and at least a dozen more orcs, one of them with the pale skin that marked her out as almost certainly either a shaman or a veteran warrior. Sir Marthe was clearly keeping herself on her feet through force of will alone, her shield hung battered and broken at her side and the arm beneath at least as broken. Lord Bohemond looked drawn, his reserves of magic clearly depleted as he feverishly attended to Sir Marthe's shattered leg. Sir Leopold was drenched in blood, and only some of it had come out of the dying ogre.
"Is this the time?" he wondered.
As if sensing his uncertainty - or more likely responding to the motion of taking it from his pouch - the elixir in the amber bottle began to bubble gently. "Is this a more dire situation than when my uncle faced the water-drake at Perinore? More dreadful than the siege of East Bower in the time of Earl Heshelton? Will two ogres and a dozen orcs overwhelm the House of Ceramore where the curse of the Witchwater failed?"
Before he could decide a pair of red-painted Navarr in blood-soaked leather exploded from the trees to the right, taking the surviving ogre in the flank. Behind them he heard a horn blowing, and knew that Mfanwy and the Thorns of the Seventh Day had finally reached their position.As he ran across the glade he slipped the elixir back into his pocket, and drew his other sword. While he was still weary, the arrival of his allies had given him renewed vigour. As he leapt into the fray, the young knight spared a moment to consider how close he had come to wasting the precious philtre; perhaps in a generation's time his own daughter would face a similar hard choice - assuming she passed her Test of Mettle, of course.