I usually like my magic-in-games to be both weird and tied into the rest of the setting. And there’s nothing I enjoy more than a good spirit walk. What better way to tie that all together with a nice, broadly-traded hallucinogen? Verdigris is a drug used both ritually and recreationally, smudging the line between war-on-drugs reductiveness and spell component gameplay. Is it a useful tool? Is it a dirty habit? Is it both and neither at the same time?
This hallucinogenic sedative is often presented as a sweet paste that can be applied to the eyes or other mucus membranes. Other forms include lozenges or dissolved in drink. Enai wine is a verdigris-fortified wine produced along the Enai River region of Dion, and is exported widely as a luxury served at social events (similar wines produced outside of Enai are known as gwinclair). Verdigris is used both ritually and recreationally all across Ipieros.
Verdigris is used by mystics in many traditions and religions. The drug facilitates trance states and, in mystically structured rites, its hallucinations can be focused into visions. These visions are usually couched in idiosyncratic metaphor for the imbiber, and requires contemplation to properly interpret. Very occasionally, however, verdigris bestows a ‘clear vision’ which allows the imbiber to see events distant in space as well as time.
Without the arcane focus, recreational use of verdigris rarely produces visions. Instead, the drug encourages relaxation and introspection. At low doses, hallucinations are infrequent and minor, reinforcing the sense that the imbiber must devote attention to discerning what is and is not true. High doses of verdigris can produce vivid hallucinations, and outside of a safe setting these hallucinations can easily tip into the horrific.
The drug is produced by fermenting the pollen of treewalkers. In most cases, the flowers are ground whole, with the petals providing additional sugars for the fermentation process. While it is significantly more labor-intensive to do so, verdigris can be produced from pure pollen. Often known as “bitter verdigris,” this variant lacks the drug’s signature sweet tang but is considerably more powerful.
Verdigris is produced nearly everywhere that treewalkers roam, although the Jolliballum is particularly famous for its strains. It is a popular import into Outland, Norsteppes, and the Toriel Highlands: regions with few if any treewalkers. There, even a small drum of verdigris can be traded for whole bars of hardhollow steel.
In communities where verdigris use is not acclaimed as a sacred tool, it use is often considered uncouth, dirty, or even dangerous. Known users are disdained or shunned. However, few communities explicitly outlaw verdigris use or trade. A notable exception are those states and cities ruled by gajanana, who harbor a long-standing disgust for the drug. This has, somewhat inevitably, made dwarven verdigris smuggling into a recurrent feature in the Kharzan–Ivory trade war.
And we’ve got a nicely varied grab bag for our next-time-on poll: a geographic feature, a fantastical creature, a region, a technology. What’ll it be, folks?