SOMA, the Drink of the Gods

Yogah of Yag

Mongoose
New Drug: "SOMA"

A pungent, dark (and perhaps bitter) drink made from obscure, aromatic herbs, and brewed via arcane methods. Some rishis of Vendhya say that this is the drink of the god Asura* who goes forth to slay giant serpents and terrible titans: it makes the Mighty One bigger, stronger, faster, invincible against his foes.

"Soma" may or may not be a derivative of any species of Lotus, at the GM's discretion.

Game Mechanics
Acts upon the body as a "steroid-laced, giant, quadruple expresso." :D
1 dose=1 large mouthful for average sized human, i.e. medium.

Duration: 1 dose lasts for 5 minutes (=50 rounds).

Effects [PER EACH DOSE]:
+4 STR and CON.
+2 Will and Reflex Saves.
-2 DEF.
Damage Reduction 1/-.
+2 INT and WIS.

The effects "kick in" 5 rounds (30 seconds) after having been swallowed.

The drink has the effect of a super-concentrated stimulant and mild hallucinogen, giving the drinker the feeling of confidence, infinite strength, power, mental acuity, etc. The effects of "Soma" somewhat similar to Fighting Madness and Crimson Mist except that the consumer can undertake actions that require skill and/or concentration. However some skills that require finesse or delicacy are foiled because the "Soma" often causes one to become very jittery and hyper-active. Furthermore some mild hallucinagenic effects occur, namely the subject perceives that he/she is somewhat to extremely larger, taller, etc. than others in the vicinity, as if a whole size category larger than in reality.

The effects of the "Soma" stack with either Fighting Madness or Crimson Mist.

Dangers: If more than 3 doses are consumed at the same time, the body cannot handle prolonged periods of such heightened ability, and after 1 hour after consumption the body begins to take permanent 1d4 CON damage for every dose over 3 ingested.

Each dose creates a 33% chance that sleep (and therefore necessary rest) will not be possible for 1d10+8 hours after consumption.

If a creature of 15 or more HD consumes the "Soma", the above dangers are possible after more than 6 doses are taken.

If a creature of 20 or more HD consumes the "Soma", the above dangers are possible after more than 9 doses are taken.

If the subject ingests the "Soma" on more than one occasion per month, he/she suffers 1d6 permanent CON damage. The chemicals must successfully clear one's system before any more can be safely consumed.

Gather and Preparation DCs: at least 30, no higher than 35. Only a tiny number of holy men (less than 100 at any given time) of Vendhya know in which obscure valleys of the Himelian Mts. the plant flourishes. The brewing process takes several weeks to produce one single dose. After it has been prepared a dose of Soma can last for up to one year before becoming spoiled and unsuitable for consumption.

Restrictions: The "Soma" is deemed a sacred beverage by the holy men of Vendhya and non-Brahmins, and especially non-Vendhyans, are forbidden to drink of it, on punishment of public torture and execution.

*NOTE ON HOWARD'S USE OF THE NAME ASURA

In RL Vedic India the main god was Indra, the great Warrior Deity, Wielder of the Awesome Vajra (deduced on the grounds that the majority of hymns of the Rig Veda were dedicated to him), while the name Asura was reserved for the giants or titans who were the reviled enemies of the gods. Howard's use of Asura for the main god of the Vendhyans instead of the more proper Indra is very peculiar. Asura is ancient Sanskrit for "That which is not (a-) a god (-sura)." Some GMs may elect to change the main god of the Vendhyans to Indra, while making the great archenemies of the gods the Asuras.
 

Taharqa

Mongoose
Yogah of Yag said:
*NOTE ON HOWARD'S USE OF THE NAME ASURA

In RL Vedic India the main god was Indra, the great Warrior Deity, Wielder of the Awesome Vajra (deduced on the grounds that the majority of hymns of the Rig Veda were dedicated to him), while the name Asura was reserved for the giants or titans who were the reviled enemies of the gods. Howard's use of Asura for the main god of the Vendhyans instead of the more proper Indra is very peculiar. Asura is ancient Sanskrit for "That which is not (a-) a god (-sura)." Some GMs may elect to change the main god of the Vendhyans to Indra, while making the great archenemies of the gods the Asuras.

I am no expert, but I thought Asuras were the opposite of Devas in Indo-Aryan religion. In the west, Asuras evolved into angels and Devas became demons (deva to devil), while the opposite happened in the East.

In any case, I see no problem with the use of Asura in the Hyborian age. The gods of that age were not translated directly into our age but rather evolved and changed over time, so the correspondence between names in the hyborian age and our own should be confused and uncertain. The tribal names of the nordic ancestors are Vanir and Aesir and they worship a giant god named Ymir, for example.
 

Yogah of Yag

Mongoose
Taharqa said:
Yogah of Yag said:
*NOTE ON HOWARD'S USE OF THE NAME ASURA

In RL Vedic India the main god was Indra, the great Warrior Deity, Wielder of the Awesome Vajra (deduced on the grounds that the majority of hymns of the Rig Veda were dedicated to him), while the name Asura was reserved for the giants or titans who were the reviled enemies of the gods. Howard's use of Asura for the main god of the Vendhyans instead of the more proper Indra is very peculiar. Asura is ancient Sanskrit for "That which is not (a-) a god (-sura)." Some GMs may elect to change the main god of the Vendhyans to Indra, while making the great archenemies of the gods the Asuras.

I am no expert, but I thought Asuras were the opposite of Devas in Indo-Aryan religion. In the west, Asuras evolved into angels and Devas became demons (deva to devil), while the opposite happened in the East.

In any case, I see no problem with the use of Asura in the Hyborian age. The gods of that age were not translated directly into our age but rather evolved and changed over time, so the correspondence between names in the hyborian age and our own should be confused and uncertain. The tribal names of the nordic ancestors are Vanir and Aesir and they worship a giant god named Ymir, for example.

Sanskrit Deva is cognate with Latin Deus, and Greek Theos, not English devil. The Proto-Indo-European form might have been something like *Dewos.

The Asuras were indeed the enemies of the gods (erant deorum inimici).

Forum-readers may like the Soma drink to use in their campaign, perhaps as a reward or valuable treasure item for adventurers. However, if imbibed too often could lead to serious problems.
 

Phobos

Mongoose
Recently, reading Wolfskin of Warren Ellis, I was thinking in some stats for Blackhat mushrooms... in a manga called Vinland Saga (highly recomended!) one of the vikings, Bjorn, use it to induce himself to a berzerker state.
 

Baduin

Mongoose
Yogah of Yag said:
Sanskrit Deva is cognate with Latin Deus, and Greek Theos, not English devil. The Proto-Indo-European form might have been something like *Dewos.

The Asuras were indeed the enemies of the gods (erant deorum inimici).

The separation was not between West and East, but within Indo-Iranians between Indians and Iranians. Indians worshipped Devas and were ambiguous towards Asuras. Some of the great Indian gods ARE Asuras -in particular Mitra and Varuna. Asuras are not Rakshasas - primitive angry demons.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varuna
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asura

Iranians, on the other hand, worshipped Ahura Mazda (Ahura is a variant of Asura). Daevas are evil gods. Of the Western peoples, only Slavs were influenced by the Iranian reversal, and even they only partially.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahura
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daeva

Therefore, Asura could represent the most powerful Indian Asura - Varuna. It was one of supreme gods, but it was also a god of underworld and magic. As he was sometimes contrasted with Mitra, the conflict between them would have some justification.
 
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