Runequest Thursday #125 - A Dozen Improbable Potables Runequestified!

Clint Staples

Currently we are compiling “Oddities for a Tavern", which you are encouraged to read and even contribute to, if you feel so moved. 

Some of these oddities are various sorts of liquors that might be available at a fantasy tavern, so I thought I would work them out in Runequest terms – in case your characters are brave enough to try one next time they have the opportunity.

I have not made any alterations to fit these beverages or their backstories into Glorantha, so references to other Mythologies remain. Feel free to alter them according to the mythic cycles that work for your game.

A general note on effects: The effects of these potables are resisted via CONstitution tests (or Resilience checks in Legend). Each serving of the drink requires a test, with the Potency of the drink rising by 2 for each serving after the first. Failure means you suffer the effects of the drink for 1 hour per drink consumed. An ally could also attempt First Aid to help someone recover more quickly.

If you wish to randomize which potables are on offer in your tavern du jour, roll 1d12 for as long as your bravery holds out, and consult the list below.

1-2. Burlman's Bucolic Brew: Made with black barley and local rye, is a much-loved stout of the region, especially with the farmers of the region who appreciate having a ready market for their grain as much as they do access to good beer. Unfortunately, the latest batch of rye included rye urgot, and each draft of the hearty beer now has a 2 in 6 chance of causing hallucinations, dizziness, aggression, paranoia. a small percentage of the locals have taken to the "special" version and have dubbed it Burlman's Bellicose Batch.

Effects: (Potency 10) Bucolic Brew produces a very mellow, happy drunk, which few folks try to resist. The Bellicose Batch is somewhat stronger (Potency 12) and causes visual and scent hallucinations, paranoia and belligerence. A "beneficial" side effect is that those affected are less aware of injury, and for as long as they are intoxicated, count as having 1 more HP per location.  


3. Stygian Draft: Drawn from the river that divides the land of the living from that of shades, it is sure to destroy any undead creature it touches.

Effects: (Potency 15) Those who fail the check are overcome by a somber, reflective drunk that is somewhat depressing. Any who drink a full serving are also cannot be raised as undead for 1 day thereafter, regardless of whether they succeeded or failed on the CON test. Stygian Draft acts as a contact poison against undead (or those who count as undead – say, necromancers), who must resist the Potency or suffer 1d10 damage to their total Hit Points. Undead so foolish as to imbibe an entire portion of Stygian Draft must succeed on the same test, or be destroyed.


4. Fire Water: No mere alcohol, it is also called Djinn Gin in honor of its makers.

Effects: (Potency 17) This potent red-gold liquor is distilled from a blend of extraplanar grains, sweetened with dates from the Fire Palm, and spiced heavily with Ifritiyyan pepper. Those who fail the CON test are effusive dunks, much given to grand gestures and extravagant offers of aid, occasionally giving way to violence.


5. Ghoulaid: This troll ale, seasoned with Elf Ash and sea salt, has gobbets of congealed meat fat suspended in it. It may be drunk (by the adventurous, the bold, or the mad) hot or cold.

Effects: (Potency 18) This ale is exceptionally strong, and reputed to be one of the few that non-trolls can drink with relative safety. To the human palate it tastes like meat left far too long in the flames. Non-trolls who fail the CON test cannot stomach the stuff and will expel it violently if they persist. Trolls who fail the CON test find that their appetite is stimulated and often consume great quantities of whatever food is available – meat preferably.


6. Kvasir's Blood: This mead tastes of the finest honey, and is both sweet and dry simultaneously. Those who imbibe of it are blesses with wit and charisma, but some are said to develop a taste for human blood thereafter.

Effects: (Potency 12) Those who fail the CON Test gain +4 Charisma and +2 Intelligence for the duration of their drunk, but often speak in verse and have trouble not blurting secrets. Any who drink Kvasir’s Blood must succeed on a second Potency check (Potency 9) or be cursed with a taste for human blood thereafter.


7. The Wyrm Drink: This spicy beverage is an acquired taste indeed: It has variously been said of it that it contains a piece of dragon flesh, that a demonic worm has been preserved in the liquor, and that they beverage is an over-hyped concoction with an equally exaggerated price tag. Regardless, imbibers complain of stomach and chest pain, as well as vivid hallucinations of unlikely events that nevertheless have a tendency to come to pass.

Effects: (Potency 14) Each serving consumed causes 1d3 temporary damage to both Chest and Abdomen. Those who fail the CON test are subject to vivid hallucinations. Those who succeed at a POW x3 check gain some inkling of future events from their visions.

Ed: Bonus Points if you can tell me one of the inspirations for this one.


8. Alvenweiss: This fine, light beer is an ancient elven recipe, brewed with fresh spring water from the pure heart of the elemental plane of water, the finest wheat from Elysium, and Hops purloined directly from the garden of Ninkasa, the beer goddess.

Effects: (Potency 11) The cool, clean crispness of Alvenweiss is extremely refreshing, and consumption of a serving instantly removes any effects of Exhaustion or Fatigue. It also make the imbiber more susceptible (-2 POW) vs Befuddle or Fanaticism.


9. Dio's Special Stock: Few customers are made aware of this wine selection, and many who are don't believe the story of its creation. Dionysus, god of wine and revelry, is the best, or at least the most informed, wine critic in existence, and has used all of his expertise, as well, it is said, as a drop of his Olympian blood, in its vinting. Imbibers who remember the time after their imbibing are rare, and some say these, and other memories, may return.

Effects: (Potency 20) Those who fail their CON test become the life of the party, gaining +6 CHA for the duration, telling stories, singing, dancing for 1d12 Hours. Those who fail by 20% or more also lose 1d4 temporary POW per hour that they are drunk, passing out at 0 POW. All who drink of Dio’s Special Stock must roll INTelligence x1% to remember anything of their time intoxicated. If they fumble this roll, they will remember things that happened to others as though these memories were their own.


10. Psider: A product of the fermentation of apples and pears by the Master Magician and Mind-Reader, Mentallax the Mysterious, this cider has been known to bestow psychic abilities in equal measure to the degree to which it lowers inhibitions in the imbiber.

Effects: (Potency 13) Any who drink a serving of Psider, regardless of their success or failure in the CON test, gain the telepathic ability to read the thoughts of others within 10 feet of them. Those who wish to resist their minds being read may do so on a POW resistance test, but any who have drunk Psider fail automatically (they are unaware of their failure, however). Those who have failed the CON test find that their inhibitions are almost entirely removed for the duration of their intoxication. A beneficial side-effect of Psider is that no one has ever suffered a hangover after having consumed at least one serving of it.


11. Dragonsblood: This impressively named concoction is described as wine mixed with the blood of a red dragon, but in fact is simply fortified wine imbued with the essence of spicy peppers. Though not for the faint of heart, it is a popular drink.

Effects: (Potency 15) though potent, Dragonsblood is ordinary, if exceptionally spicy, fortified wine.


12. Boor: This cursed lager is occasionally found in kegs labeled as something else. But its effects soon become apparent as any who drink even the smallest sip become excessively loud, overbearing and long-winded in the extreme.

Effects: (Potency 12) Boor only causes the worst sort of drunk: loud, obnoxious and long-winded (for a duration of at least one hour, regardless of how much was taken in), even after the slightest tipple. No one knowingly imbibes of it – except those who have failed their CON test, who will drink it exclusively for as long as their supply is available.