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Liao is a purple powder that is used in ceremonial rites performed by Imperial priests.

Liao is made from vinum. Vinum is a white sap that was discovered by the Navarr to form a chewable confection that aids with deep, restful and dreamless sleep; and was often used to treat nightmares and night terrors. Refining vinum to produce liao is a costly and time-consuming process. In the Empire, the civil service purchases large amounts of vinum, and processes it to create liao which is then provided to everyone who ministers to a congregation personal resource. Thanks to centuries of experience and improvement the civil service are able to produce liao quite efficiently for a fraction of the cost that any individual could make it.


  • Liao is indicated using a card
  • Rip the card on use

Liao is indicated by a small card (85mm x 55mm), printed by Profound Decisions, that indicates the presence of the liao and includes the rules for using it.

To use liao to perform a ceremony, it can be:

  • burned as incense and inhaled
  • mixed with oil and used to anoint someone
  • mixed into liquid and imbibed
  • mixed into a small capsule and consumed

An appropriate phys-rep for liao is a small bottle or vial, such as might be used to hold a dose of liquid or powder.


Consuming liao without the use of a ceremony causes a human to experience vivid, striking dreams the next time they sleep. An orc who consumes a dose of liao merely becomes dizzy and unwell, and often throws up shortly afterwards.

One of the rarest substances in the Empire, many consider true liao to be the most sacred substance in creation.

True Liao

  • Also known as pure liao and Imperial liao

During the maturing process that turns vinum into liao, around one dose in ten thousand matures to a radiant purple. This has come to be known as true liao, or Imperial liao. True liao is extremely rare, powerful, and valuable. The amount of pure liao produced each season varies; it has proved impossible to predict which doses of liao will mature into true liao. The most common use for true liao is to provide a human with a special vision of another time and place, which is held to be one of their past lives. There are several other uses, however. It can also be used in place of ceremonial liao to significantly empower the effect of a religious skill, or used in the creation of an inspirational location, for example.

Normal ceremonial liao is well known to make orcs mildly unwell and produce no notable spiritual effects that anyone has ever been able to distinguish. True liao, as essentially a stronger version of ceremonial liao, is likely to produce stronger side effects: whether these would be sufficient to kill the orc or simply make them very unwell is not known, nor has anyone ever seen fit to use a dose of the rarest substance in the Empire for such a potentially fatal investigation.


The amount of true liao produced each season varies but it is the rarest substance in the Empire. The Throne is given the first portion as one of their Powers of Virtue. The second portion is auctioned to the highest bidder as part of the Auction of the Seats; the proceeds are added to the Synod's Virtue Fund. A third portion, available through the auspices of the Lepidean Library, is distributed by the Imperial Synod using the judgement of appointment. All additional portions are allocated by the Gatekeepers, representing the Virtue assemblies of the Imperial Synod.

Upon receiving the right to a dose of true liao, either through winning the auction or by acclaim of the gatekeepers, the dose can be claimed directly from the Tribune of the Synod. As soon as the dose is claimed, it becomes the rightful property of that citizen; they can do what they wish with the dose.

Some actions taken with True Liao remain illegal, however - the Senate outlawed trading the sacred substance with non-Imperial citizens, and uses of it can still be condemned as abuse of powers by the Imperial Synod.

True Liao in Play

  • True liao is required to create a past life vision
  • Some commissions require a dose of true liao to complete
  • A dose of true liao can be used in any ceremony
  • Occasionally opportunities require a dose of true liao

Under most circumstances, the phys-rep for true liao is provided by Profound Decisions. It is identifiable as a purple bottle bearing a true liao special item ribbon. The phys-rep should be returned to GOD once the item is used.

One of the most common uses for true liao is providing someone with a past life vision. If the owner wishes to use the dose for a vision then it should be given over to the Tribune of the Synod at least one event in advance.

The permanent auras created by the use of true liao can exert a powerful and long-lasting influence. Certain permanent religious structures, such as the inspirational location of an exemplar or paragon, require a dose of true liao to sanctify them. There may additionally be opportunities that arise via the winds of fortune that can only be fulfilled by the use of a dose of true liao.

True Liao and Ceremonies

True liao can be used in place of common liao to perform any liao ceremony.

You can use true liao in place of normal liao to perform an anointing ceremony. This will create a true aura which can only be removed using true liao and is durable - it will last at least as long as the character is alive and perhaps even longer than that.

You can use true liao in place of normal liao to perform an consecration ceremony. This will create a true aura which can only be removed using true liao and is durable - it will last at least as long as the enclosure is intact, and perhaps even longer than that.

You can use true liao in place of normal liao to perform a dedication ceremony. In this case, the dedication is still permanent, but it cannot be removed or replaced by another dedication using a ceremony that does not also include a dose of true liao. it is exceptionally rare - almost unheard of - for true liao to be used in fashion.

You can use true liao in place of normal liao to perform a true excommunication. This resulting excommunication is equivalent to a true aura; it cannot be removed except with an effect that also includes a dose of true liao or substance of equivalent potency.

You can use true liao in place of normal liao to perform an exorcism ceremony. In this case, the exorcism is automatically powerful enough to banish any spirit, possession, or haunting presence, even when wielded by a single priest.

Theory suggests that a ghost with anchors that is subjected to a true liao exorcism will find it extremely difficult to reform, and is likely to be greatly weakened, but there has been little opportunity for experimentation to prove this one way or another.

You can use true liao in place of normal liao to hallow an item. This will create a true aura, it can only be replaced or removed using true liao or something of similar power. An artefact cannot be hallowed except by using true liao to create a true aura.

A true aura on an item allows the character carrying the item to make use of one additional dose of liao whenever they perform a ceremony, allowing them to create effects with greater strength.

It is possible to use true liao to create a true testimony. The testimony is exceptionally vivid - it is more prominent than any other testimony and the fact that it has been performed with true liao is evident to anyone using the insight ceremony. Some priests theorize that a true liao testimony will continue to follow the target through all their subsequent lives (in one form or another), but there is no reliable proof for this conjecture not least because true liao testimony is incredibly rare.

You can also use true liao to remove all spiritual marks from a target's soul or aura. If true liao were used to perform a ceremony on an orc or human, this would also remove any spontaneous spiritual marks or marks that were not created using the testimony skill.

Further Reading