Drug Abuse in
In Castle society drugs are
generally forbidden and the use - or misuse - of drugs is thought of as
something near heresy. Fortunately, alcohol isn't considered a drug (for
various reasons, not the least of which being the fact that the monks invented
beer brewing), so people are free to drink. The laws governing production,
trade and use of drugs are pretty strict - so strict, in fact, that people are
thoroughly discouraged to even try to get illegal stuff. Ingham, chief of the
Clerus' Drug Department (CDD) is known for his inquisitive nature when he
suspects cases of continued drug abuse. Of course, there are drugs of healing,
but the authorities take great care to get their supplies from the Tower labs
instead of the Rampart (for the reason see parts 3 and 2 of this study). So it
comes as no surprise that Castle Taverns are pretty close-packed most of the
The most common form is beer or
ale. Essentially this comes in three variations: light (blonde), medium (dark)
and strong (black). Every Castle town brews its own stuff, usually in the
Monastery, and some brands have a country-wide reputation, but there is a
fierce competition with the Dwarven-brew which is the strongest beer available
in Erathia (see
No Tavern ever lacks
Wine is of course as common,
but there are big regional differences in quality and a halfway decent cup of
wine is rather expensive in some areas. There is the odd dive that doesn't
serve wine at all.
Spirits are the most potent
form of alcohol and there are some forms, especially one called absinthe, that
the high Clerus is considering to ban because of its side-effects. Spirits are
distilled out of grain mostly, but there are some notable exceptions: Fruit
spirits are very popular in mountainous areas and there seems to be a rule
that the stuff has to all the stronger the higher a Castle is located in the
mountains. The same is true for colder regions where potent spirits are used
to fight the outer chill with inner fire. A very common spirit in those region
is one distilled out of potatoes.
Interestingly enough, Knights
seem to prefer wine while the Clerics and Monks and such seem to be more fond
of beer - of course both do appreciate the spirits.
USE IN BATTLE
Of course. Castle armies make
use of alcohol in battle. Drinking a flask of spirit prior to battle is rather
common for the foot-soldiers, but prohibited to Marksmen. They are allowed
only light beer, apparently to guarantee a steady hand (for whatever reason
those hands may tremble!). Anyway, the real reason for the loud singing you
hear when Castle armies move into battle is that foot-soldiers are completely
All in all it has to be said
that the percentage of habitual drinkers in Castle society is pretty high:
Visit any tavern in any Castle at any time and you will find people in all
stages of drunkenness, from just having ordered the first tankard to lying
under the table and snoring. The main reason for this seems to be a phenomenon
that is causing something like a loop effect: excessive drinking, especially
when mixing different kinds of drinks, seems to lead inevitably to a special
kind of headache commonly known as "hangover" which apparently can be
cured (provided the victim has a strong stomach) by beginning the next day
with drinking a certain measure of the stuff you drunk the night before, which
will inevitably lead to another day (and especially night) of excessive
drinking... ad infinitum.
FAMOUS KNOWN AND RUMOURED
The Cleric Cuthbert is a known
alcoholic - and has enough reason to be one, it seems. The Clerics Adelaide,
Rion and Sanya are rumored to have experience with drugs of other societies
(and continually so: Adelaide and Sanya with
and Rion with
so Ingham is investigating them. Of course, Ingham himself is rumored of
having contacts with certain
dealers (see there for more info), but those
are probably unfounded. Lord Haart has supposedly been addicted to some
unspeakably evil drug, so that its high gold demand eventually had a decisive
influence on him becoming a traitor. The Knights Sir Mullich and Christian are
well known for their nearly Dwarfish capacity "to put away" unbelievable
quantities of any known drink. Lastly, Sylvia is rumored to be at sea so often
to get away from the bottle she seems to have strong ties with when on land.
Of course the human foot-soldiers in Castle society are more or less
TIPS FOR THE
1) DON'T mix it, baby!
2) Keep with light beer, at least until after dusk!
Since the Rampart society is
something of a nature community, it is pretty familiar with drugs where nature
produces them. The two backbone pillars of the Rampart society, Dwarves and
Elves, couldn't be more different, though. Dwarves are a pretty conservative
lot and need strict laws or rules to lean on, while Elves are strong advocates
of maximum freedom of the individual and personal responsibility. Who really
has the say in Rampart society becomes obvious immediately when considering
the fact that there is not even one single official law in effect that
rules trade and use of drugs! Every member of the Rampart society is
completely free to buy, sell, produce, and use every possible drug, and every
drug is freely available in their natural form in the healer shops that sell
Druidic supplies. The Elves seem to have a natural resistance against every
kind of addictiveness and as can one expect, Elves are doing pretty well under
these circumstances. Dwarves, on the other hand, tend to fall into a habit
pretty fast. That's why the Dwarven community, displeased with the lax Elven
laws, has their own - unofficial - drug laws that are in effect for members of
the Dwarven race only.
All this means, that,
discounting the - mostly human - "drug tourists" for a moment, the so-called
"drug-heaven" Rampart is surprisingly drug-free: you can get every known drug
there, but not much is consummated regularly by their permanent members except
for medical reasons, if any. Rampart makes use of every known herb for healing
purposes and the Healer Druids will apply them, when necessary. Those nature
products have pleasant side-effects which Druids claim are quite helpful since
the mental state of a wounded or ill person will affect the speed of the
healing process. Of course those herbs and potions will lead to addictiveness
when used for too long a time or regularly (just as the artificial
products, see there) - at least when you are
not an Elf. The
society prefers to import their healing drugs
from the Tower society (see there) because Castle society seems to have an
unwritten law that healing drugs must not have pleasant side-effects, for
whatever the real reason behind that.
On the other hand, there are
strong trading ties between said Druidic herbalists and most other towns'
societies, because the latter buy from the former at least part of the base
substances necessary for their drugs, as far as those are parts of plants!
Ties are on a more friendly basis between Rampart and Fortress because there
are those plants Witches have more expertise in than Druids (see
and so both parties do profit from trading plants and knowledge.
AND CLASS-SPECIFIC HABITS
Surprisingly enough (or maybe
not that surprisingly, actually) only two drugs are of importance for the
daily life. Dwarves are well-known for their famous Dwarven-brew, a very
potent black ale that even Ogres (see
have a healthy respect for. Any Rampart tavern will serve the stuff, but the
visitor can get imported brands, too. Wine and spirits are also available, but
especially the spirits can be pretty expensive. While Dwarves will drink often
and "can put away a lot" (and do), Elves won't. They are content with a mug of
tea or maybe a cup of wine while smoking their "Elven-weed" (the nickname
"weed-eater" for members of the Elven race is actually a misunderstanding:
they don't eat the weed, they smoke it). Elven-weed is a mix of
dried hemp leaves and the resin of the hemp blossoms (you can buy and smoke it
separated, but then the stuff is named differently) - the more resin, the
stronger the mix - and it is available in every tavern, but especially in the
so-called "tea shops". The Elves are so versed in their herb lore that they
are able to produce a couple dozen different kinds of their Elven-weed that
all have typically Elvish colorful names like Homestead-Gold and with all
brands having slightly different effects, from inducing mild euphoria to
stunning the user into something known as "being stoned", actually a pretty
accurate description of what is happening (see under Ill Effects). As a
rule, with the weed it is as with the beer: the darker the resin, the more
"stoning" the mix.
USE IN BATTLE
In reality Elves are so cool
and deadly bow shooters because they smoke their weed prior to every battle
while Dwarves are prohibited to smoke weed prior to battle (see Ill
Effects) but will empty one or another tankard of their brew. Of course
Elves never fail to point out how much better their way is, because medical
help has much better chances of success with an empty stomach, especially in
case of a belly wound! Centaurs seem to fall for the Elven propaganda (maybe
because of their big bellies) because they are known to smoke the lighter
weeds prior to battle. Dendroids can't smoke at all because of an instinctive
fear of fire. Nothing is known about the Dragons except that they produce
their own smoke sometimes when angry.
Elven-weed and Dwarven-brew are
the only drugs that the Dwarven community allows their members and it comes as
no surprise that the Dwarves are pretty fond of those weed mixes that will
make the user believe that food and drink is much tastier than usual - and
pretty much all of the mixes will have this effect. In fact, this has led many
a Dwarf to plundering the contents of their pantries in the middle of the
night. While this seems to be more amusing than anything else, it has led to a
lot of health problems with Dwarves tending to fatness and generally to a life
of sweet (and of course stoned) laziness (the worst sin in Dwarven
One effect of smoking
Elven-weed, the fact that smokers often lose themselves in thought processes
that "unstoned" people might find trivial, often convinced that they have
fascinating new insights concerning every imaginable thing that virtually
comes to mind (and in fact this is what being stoned is all about), leads to
users appearing to be - characteristically - slow and even paralyzed. While
this may be of little consequence when sitting nice and comfy in a local tea
shop, it can easily lead to disaster in more sensible situations like, for
example, in any kind of test or in battle: it may cost valuable time when a
bow shooter aims and suddenly finds something very fascinating in the way some
rapidly approaching Minotaur Kings swing their battle axes, with this in turn
leading to some enlighteningly fresh considerations about the importance of
threatening gestures in the history of society.
Another big problem is of
course the so-called "drug tourism": since the Dwarves have conceived their
"holiday resorts", rentable cottages in a separated area of a Rampart - of
course without any access to drug-selling shops to cater for the squeamishness
of the Castle folk - "to show the townsfolk the beauty of the woods" (and of
course to fill the Dwarven pockets with gold), humans especially are fond of
the freedom the Elven dominated Rampart society grants in all drug-related
questions, and some of the bored young Castle dwellers who have heard stories
from friends, or were actually there on a short holiday with mom and dad, run
away from home to make it to the promised land of poppy milk and honeyed
Elven-weed. However, it is virtually impossible to obtain a permanent
residence permit without being either obscenely rich or obscenely talented,
and most hopeful youths have to leave after a short week of relishing tea and
healer shops and will have grave problems to find their way back into the
unwelcoming and unforgiving arms of the harsher Castle society. A certain
number will turn to other cities, mainly Inferno and Dungeon, a few even to
Fortress and Tower and even fewer to Stronghold and fall victim to deadly
habits pretty soon.
It has to be said, though, that
all in all the "nature community" works surprisingly well - for their regular
and permanent members at least.
FAMOUS KNOWN AND RUMOURED
All known Elven heroes and all
Druids, Elf or not, smoke Elven-weed - without any apparent ill effects which
in light of all the known facts isn't that much of a surprise. All Dwarven
heroes are famous for their big tolerance concerning Dwarven-brew. It is
certainly true that at least all Elven heroes and probably some of the human
Rampart heroes have tried other stuff, especially that of the
(see there), but if so it didn't or doesn't
happen on a regular or habitual basis and no one seems to have a problem with
it, so there don't seem to be any insider victims.
TIPS FOR THE
If you are an Elf: some people
have all the luck. If not:
1) DON'T mix it, baby!
2) Keep with the light resins, at least until after dusk.
3) Keep out of healer shops if NOT with a Druid to show you around and help
The Tower society, that is, the
Alchemists' labs there, are developing and producing all artificial drugs
known in all Erathia - and they are pretty busy developing new and more
effective ones every day. Apparently, the original reason for doing this was
the the Alchemists' and Wizards' sincere belief that they could do better than
nature and produce better, more potent and less dangerous or addictive medical
drugs. That was the beginning of a nowadays blooming multi-million gold piece
business that pretty soon after its establishing expanded to cover every
drug-related need, not only in the strictly medical field. It is true,
that it was in the Alchemists' labs where the prerequisites were developed
that are necessary for producing the potent stuffs that rule the
societies nowadays (see there) and there is no
doubt that the Tower society is far from fulfilling their promise of
delivering the perfect and safe drug for every need and purpose.
Since the creation of the first
so-called "lab-drug", the Tower society has gone a long way toward developing
not only artificial versions or alterations of known natural drugs, but also
toward designing a plethora of hitherto unknown and, at least in some cases,
extremely dangerous substances that nature saw no reason to
Today an Alchemist's shop will
provide the user with pills, powders, and potions, tonics, tabs, and
treatments that will address every real or imagined problem of the user - only
to give him two new ones for each one halfway cured. In the Castle society you
will need a prescription from a real doctor to get the stuff and since the CDD
is pretty sharp, abuse is not really a problem there, while the stuff would be
freely available in the Rampart society, but the nature community disapproves
the Tower way and consequently disapproves and rejects the Tower products. The
Tower society itself has a lot of problems with it, though, since there are no
regulations whatsoever (this is business, remember, see Ill
Effects). Taverns are few and empty at times. Of course there is some
drinking and you will get the usual drinks there, but prices are ridiculous.
Taverns sell the most common feel-good pills and powders which are actually
cheaper than the glass of water with which to gulp down the
USE IN BATTLE
What do you think? Fear
killers, pain killers, "speed" (see Ill Effects), berserker stuff, you
Too many to name them all and
of course each and every product has them. In a way it's the biggest victims
of Tower society, the Gremlins, who got it all started. They have been the
work slaves of the Wizards and Alchemists since the dawn of time and in
ancient times they chewed certain leaves delivered by the Rampart which helped
them endure the heavy labor in the Workshops and almost everywhere hands were
needed, but since those were pretty expensive in the constantly growing
quantities needed and seemed to have unpleasant side-effects in everyday use,
the Alchemists successfully tried to isolate the agent that was responsible
for the effect of the leaves to eventually come up with an artificial ersatz -
not before the isolated agent, a white crystalline powder called "snow", had
left a lasting impression on the Tower society, and not only. Of course snow
was banned shortly after that. It was the first, but not the last, in a long
row of lab-produced stuff leaving lasting impressions. Probably the worst
stuff that ever left the Tower labs was the ersatz that hit the market right
after snow was banned: the so-called "amphetamines" or "speed". It wasn't long
after the initial introduction of this new high in scientific achievements
that the known phrase "speed kills", until that point a pretty accurate
description of battlefield realities, got a completely new meaning: the
regular users - and every Tower soldier was one at that point - fell victim to
a new phenomenon, the "burning-out": if life was a candle, that of speed users
would simply burn down faster (but not necessarily brighter). Today the
Gremlins are generally highly and hopelessly addicted to the artificial
stimulants they help produce (but of course they are far from being the only
ones). Probably even worse is that Gremlins are generally used as subjects
when the Alchemists test their newly designed drugs - generally, but not
always, as we will hear from our interview guest who won't tell us, um, his or
her real name or gender.
Question: Describe your
current job, please.
Answer: I'm a designer of psycho-active substances.
Q: Psycho-active substances? Medical drugs, you mean?
A: Well, not exactly. Drugs, yes, medical, umm, I suppose, you could
say so, but not in the strictest sense, if you get my drift.
Q: No, not really. Medical or not medical?
A: It can be used for medical purposes provided those purposes include
the healing of mental ailments.
Q: Such as?
A: Well, depression, for one thing; euphoria for another. Violent
aggressiveness, nervous insomnia, to name only a few. Mental apathy...
Q: Okay. Tell us about WBA0, please.
A: Oh, yeah. That stuff. Well. It was a pre-product, developed for
Genies, initially, and it had some promise. Before we could test it...
Q: How? I mean, how will you test a product?
A: There are always volunteers. Gremlins who won't get promoted to
Master, human runaways having stranded here after being banned from a
Rampart... There is never a shortage of subjects. Anyway, before we could test
it, some Leprechauns stole it and popped the stuff - which proved to be pretty
unfortunate for them because from then on they couldn't stop dancing anymore
in their mystical gardens. They should have waited some time; we managed to
refine the product to the stuff now widely known as XTC.
Q: Is it true that the Genies are pretty fond of that stuff?
A: There was a time when it seemed that they didn't react well to
lamp-rubbing anymore. They had lost motivation somehow. We decided to
encourage them a bit. However, for them XTC is what catnip is for cats. There
are no ill effects. At least with the Genies. With humans... well. Still,
probably our best work.
Q: And the Angel Dust Scandal?
A: Unfortunate name, really. Got us an official protest of the Angels
and we changed the name to Giant Powder, but somehow the original name stuck.
Q: What about the Acid Incident?
A: Uh, that was embarrassing. But who'd have thought the stuff was so,
umm, yielding. Actually an apprentice just cleaned the gear which apparently
had some of the stuff in it. He did it at a very frequented well and a few
hours later half of the town had freaked out completely. It turned out we had
a delegation of Sprites on an official visit and some Master Gremlins who had
drunk from the water of the well had some strange visions about them. It
didn't help that the Sprites had had something from the water as well and the
ensuing spectacle... well. Not many really noticed what happened because all
were on their own trips. Anyway, we had to pump the well dry. And since then I
can't remember any Sprites visiting us. But those things you mentioned are
just small setbacks, really!
Q: Is that so? What about the...
A: Excuse me, but I really have to go now.
FAMOUS KNOWN AND RUMOURED
The Alchemists are more or less
all victims of their own medicine. All Genies seem to be fond of XTC and the
Genie heroes, whether Alchemists or Wizards, are no exception. The stuff was
designed especially for them and they react to it quite differently from
humans. There seem to be no ill effects for Genies. Piquedram and Josephine,
who both have an uncanny command over the animated creatures, regularly pop a
stuff called valium which seems to change them - or at least their look - so
that the Gargoyles and Golems will take them for one of their own. Cyra is a
speed freak (as well as virtually all the Gremlins), while Serena is known for
her parties featuring surprise pills, usually in the form of drinks doctored
with the hallucinogen called acid.
TIPS FOR THE
1) DON'T mix it, baby!
2) Pop at most ONE pill or dose of anything on any given day - and not before
It's safe to say the Fortress
society is the most mysterious of all, and not much is known about it, but
mystery has a long tradition as far as Witches are concerned. It is a common
saying, for example, that all those unfortunate men who ever had the doubtable
pleasure to bed a Witch (or have been bedded by one), won't be able to love
another woman. Yeah, but let's face it, no "civilized" woman would reject this
"ability" if offered or having a chance to acquire it, and there's a lot of
envy showing through in this saying, not to mention something of a hint of,
well, something special. What we know for sure is that the idea of the
"vision" is a very important one for the magic of the Witches and their magic
ways. To create and support those visions, drugs have been used ever since the
first Witch fled into the swamps to escape the prejudices of their racial
mates: belladonna, thorn-apple, monk's hood and some fungi are, as we know
now, all used by Witches to "experience other facets of reality" or even to
"experience facets of another reality" (whatever), whether they are human,
lizardish, or gnollish. This stuff is applied in various ways, one of it being
ointments that will be rubbed onto the skin. Common effects are the feeling of
flying, erotic fantasies, as well as visions and the feeling of physical
Looking at the Fortress
creatures, Hydras, Wyvern, Basilisks, Gorgons and so on, and seeing that
Gnolls and Lizardmen are as near to a human being as it gets in the swamps, it
is clear that especially the human Witches (and of course the Beastmasters,
too) either are mentally very stable (to stand that kind of freak show)
or very nuts (to suffer that kind of freak show) and some of the
so-called heroes of the Fortress society look decidedly nuts.
We still don't know exactly
what motivates humans, and to a lesser extent even Gnolls and Lizardmen, to
seek the hardships and isolation of the swamps and the creatures living there,
but all known evidence points to a tentative conclusion: Witches and
Beastmasters seem to live in a quasi-symbiotic, drug-supported relation that
shows clear symptoms of sexual bondage, but we have no clue how big the
influence of the regularly used hallucinogenic drugs really is. In reality it
is a society of a few drop-outs outside the normal boundaries and restrictions
of bigger communities. Partnerships seem to be working and the people seem to
live in harmony with the apparently wild and freakish swamp folk. There is
some evidence that the combination of consciousness-expanding drugs, erotic
understanding, knowledge and fascination and a wild and strange surrounding
has indeed created a very special kind of community that can probably work
only that far away from civilization. Chances are, however, that this way of
living can't survive; sadly, this kind of society seems to be too true, with
too many hard edges and not sleek enough to survive the onslaught of the
blessings of civilization should this world become even smaller as it already
Taverns are few but comfy.
Basic drinks are available and the folks here just like to have a beer, but
there seems to be no abuse. "Witch-Drugs", ointments, fungi and so on can be
obtained effortlessly, and since there are strong ties with Rampart
communities nothing is impossible to get. There are no written rules or laws.
Since Tower came up with their acid, that stuff has found its way into the
swamp too (see
and is indeed used now and then.
USE IN BATTLE
Believe it or not. No drugs are
used in battle. It seems, however, that Witches use their stuff a day or so
before commencing a battle to try and get a vision of what will
None. That is, if you disregard
the possibility of losing sanity. All that Witch-stuff doesn't seem to be
addictive, but is obviously dangerous nonetheless. A known phenomenon is the
so-called "flashback" (and long-time regular users like the Witches may live
in a permanent flashback state): the user, even though currently not under any
drug influence, feels as if hurled back momentarily into a drugged state. The
worrying thing about that would be the fact that dropping in and out of warped
experience of reality is no longer controlled by the user, but may simply
happen without warning. Furthermore the so-called "trip" may go bad when the
users have too many bad things (or just one, but that one all the more so) on
their mind. These kind of drugs seems to enhance and even warp existing
(sub)conscious moods and this may in some cases be simply too much to bear it;
once in a state of "altered conscience" a user can't just end it or go to
sleep. A trip will last a few hours, but tripping in and out may continue up
to 8 and even 12 hours depending on dose and stuff.
It is rather possible that
regular use of those drugs will lead to a loss of contact with reality as we
know it, but then it seems that the Fortress society is living outside of any
reality as we know it anyway. As if commanding a Fortress army wasn't already
a bad enough trip.
FAMOUS KNOWN AND RUMOURED
Either they are all victims or
none. Some of them may seem to have gone a step too far already: Tazaar
(Verdish seems to be a bad make-up advisor even though both seem to be happy
with each other), Bron (Basilisks as pets in the bedroom???), Mirlanda
(constant flashback mode), and that's only half of it.
TIPS FOR THE
Congratulate yourself you got
of there in one piece and don't try your luck and go for the local
specialties. Except of course, when you find a Witch tutoring you. Or a