Unguents of Falling Leaves
Mastery of these recipes allows an apothecary to brew preparations valuable to ritual magicians versed in the Lore of Autumn. With one of these potions a ritualist can wield the magic of the Autumn Realm more effectively, but they also become more susceptible to the influence of that Realm.
Since the formation of the Empire, those apothecaries who had mastered the Unguents of Falling Leaves knew how to brew two potions - Bronze Spider Balsam and Leaden Quicksilver. There had been plenty of stories of other, more potent, potions but such preparations were invariably extremely difficult to get hold of and prohibitively expensive to secure when they were available at all. Following the fall of Reikos in 379YE, however, writings kept by several Tepel fell into the hands of Imperial scouts who discovered the details of the recipe for Essence of Verdigris. There were some early attempts to keep the information as a proprietary secret, but those efforts were ruined when a second recipe came to like during the liberation of the Great Forest at Reikos. One of the Highborn slaves forced to work the weirwood forests by the savage orcs had possession of a copy stolen at great risk from their Druj masters, and immediately shared it with not only her liberators, but any other Imperial who wished to learn it. "After all," she said, "it would be nice if something good might grow out of all this horror."
Bronze Spider Balsam
This strongly scented metallic salve is most often worked into the skin in a series of interlocking patterns reminiscent of a maze or series of tree roots. Applying the unguent carefully in this manner helps to focus the mind on the many branching pathways of the Autumn Realm, and draws to mind images of webs of influence that are valuable in achieving the right mindset to work Autumn magic. The Navarr and Freeborn often mix the preparation with metallic paint, and use it to carefully paint designs on their bodies as part of the preparation for performing a ritual.
Bronze spider balsam has subtle effects on the mind of the user, encouraging them to think more like an Autumn Eternal; by synchronising their thoughts with the Realm, they find it easier to work ritual magic. Mortals tend to be very social creatures, and the bronze spider balsam brings out these elements in ritualists who use it.
- Form: Salve.
- Description: This copper-brown ointment glows when it catches the light. If rubbed on the fingers it releases a strong, spicy scent and is quickly absorbed into your skin. It is hard to resist the urge to rub the entire pot onto your skin.
- Roleplaying Effects: You are driven to match wits with those around you, and try to gain influence over them. You become acutely aware of anyone who owes you a favour, or to whom you in turn might owe a favour.
- Mechanical Effects: If you possess the Autumn Lore skill then you gain one additional effective rank to the next autumn 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 Cerulean Mazzarine and Marrowort, one dram of True Vervain and one crystalized mana.
This metallic grey ointment is very thick; it flows sluggishly and has a consistency akin to very soft metal rather than anything more organic. It chills the skin, and while every gross physical movement seems to require a little more effort, the fingers, tongue and mind become a little more deft and sure. it may be applied in the same manner as brass spider balsam, but is just as often smoothed into the skin of the face and scalp. It allows a ritual magician to use personal reserves of power to influence the magic of the Autumn Realm.
While under the influence of leaden quicksilver, a ritual magician focuses on the goals they wish to achieve, and with this single-minded focus can draw on personal reserves of power to shape Autumn magic by force of will. It is dangerous to get between a magician using leaden quicksilver and their goals, but it is also dangerous for a coven to use this ointment if they are not truly united in pursuit of the same ends - at least in the short term.
- Form: Salve.
- Description: When this smooth, metallic-gray ointment catches the light it glows with a cold, reflective light. The firm texture feels like metal when rubbed between finger and thumb. It chills your flesh where it touches exposed skin.
- Roleplaying Effects: You become highly motivated to pursue and achieve your goals, whatever they may be. Anything that stands in the way of your success is an obstacle to be overcome, although you feel an urge to avoid personal physical confrontation. Other people should follow your advice because you alone know what is best for them. Anyone who refuses to heed your suggestions is probably plotting against you.
- Mechanical Effects: If you possess the Autumn Lore skill then you can use up to 3 personal mana as if it were crystal mana on the next autumn ritual that you perform within ten minutes.
- Recipe: Three drams of Cerulean Mazzarine, two drams of Marrowort and one dram each of Imperial Roseweald, Bladeroot and True Vervain.
Essence of Verdigris
Also referred to in the original Druj notes as Gamemaster's Patina, this potent salve is challenging to create for even the most skilled apothecary. The process has multiple complex stages which include heating the herbal mixture in a sealed copper container with carefully measured amounts of acidic compounds that are themselves difficult to prepare.
The resultant pigment has a rich, deep colour but appears deceptively mundane. Smeared on the skin of the hands, face, or chest it sharpens the mind and brings an enhanced awareness of the users abilities - as well as encouraging them to employ those talents to "prove" their superiority over their friends and rivals. The salve is absorbed surprisingly quickly but can leave a faint green-blue reside that is resistant to washing - it is theorised that over time a magician who uses this preparation extensively will be left with permanently stained skin.
- Form: Salve.
- Description: This thick blue-green paste has a rough, coarse texture. Rubbed between finger and thumb, it smears easily and releases a strong smell of vinegar and copper.
- Roleplaying Effects: You feel an urge to test your skills against others. It is easy to become contrary and stubborn, to try and force people into competing with you. Only the competition matters - winning or losing is irrelevant.
- Mechanical Effects: If you possess the Autumn Lore skill then you gain three additional ranks to the next autumn 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 Cerulean Mazzarine and Marrowort, one dram of True Vervain, one crystalized mana, and one ring of ilium.