In the realms of Dungeons and Dragons, where dragons soar and knights quest, a darker, more insidious allure snakes through society: the siren call of fantasy narcotics. These mystical substances are as omnipresent as the magic that crackles in the air—from the seedy underbelly of clandestine alleyways to the velvet-adorned salons of royalty, their reach is limitless.
When the cloak of night descends, veiling the winding cobblestone pathways, figures hunched in doorways become all too visible, their eyes vacant yet filled with an untold story. Here, in these dusky corners, a ghostly whisper travels on the wind, a cautionary adage that murmurs, “Never trust a junkie.”
But pause, and let the winds of judgment still. For if you should cross paths with one of these souls, ensnared in their own web of addiction, they might cast upon you a gaze tinged with defiance and utter a phrase that would shake your core: “As a child playing with wooden swords and dreaming of valor, never did I say, ‘One day, I aspire to be a junkie.'” Their words offer a haunting mirror, reflecting not just their own humanity, but the complexities that nestle within each of us.
Whether you acknowledge it or not, whether you pass by in distaste or stop and ponder, the underworld of addicts is a part of the tapestry that constitutes this multifaceted world. It is an unyielding landscape, immovable and eternal, resistant to the judgments and condemnations thrown its way. So as you traverse this kaleidoscopic realm, with its infinite possibilities and endless moral labyrinths, why not consider the incorporation of these intricate, morally grey narratives into your own storytelling? For in this world, as in life, nothing is simply black or white.
But in a world tormented by evil and chaos, getting high might be appealing: why fight a war when you can kick back with some Feydust, snort it, or stuff that bitch in a bowl and smoke it?
Slithersoup: a liquid that when consumed in large quantities, makes you feel like your bones are jelly and commonly causes people to writhe on the ground like snakes when taken in higher doses.
Feydust: A soft white powder that, in the right light, shines with soft blues and red. The powder tastes like burnt ozone, which makes it evident that it needs to be snorted. Use causes bonuses to IQ based tasks but also makes its user seek it out more and more for increasingly trivial tasks.
Blue Sand: A substance similar to fine sand found at the beach, only that it’s deep blue colored. Consumed through the nose. One to five doses (depending on Wis or Con modifier) are enough to develop an addiction. Early effects
(one to three weeks): Enhanced perception, athletics & acrobatics Following deterioration of body and mind: First (after four weeks of constant consumption): One exhaustion stack per three days without a dose. Second (after six weeks): Negative modifiers (-2) on all attributes and disadvantage on all skills. Third (after 8 weeks): Death.
Dream Flake: Thin slivers of a dried, black fungus. When place between cheek and gum, it induces hallucinations and euphoria. When smoked, the user enters an extremely vivid waking dream, which can last for hours. Extended use blackens the teeth and make ‘bad trips’ more common. Addictive.
Wrymwood: looks like a cinnamon stick but smells of fungus. Grind some up and put in a tea. When drunk, it provides a psychedelic trip for 1d4 hours (halved on a DC 15 con ST and doubled when failing by more than 5).
Lakua: ground silvery bark from a type of tree only found deep in swamps. Low dosages are generally taken orally. Heavier users often make a paste to apply to their gums. Addicts may smear it into cuts. It gives an adrenaline rush and time seems to slow down but the duration of the high is short. Death comes from heart failure or self-neglect. Psychologically addictive not physically.
Devil’s Root: A black root that is ground up and snorted. The user blacks out and sees visions of hell. Sometimes, these visions allow the user to see into the future.
Ogre’s Breath: A strong smelling drug that was accurately but a little unimaginatively named. Once smoked the user gains plus 4 to strength checks while smoking but must make a DC 20 CON save or their brain and tongue swell giving them -5 to their INT score (Min 4) and an inability to speak clearly and a temper. The effects last while they smoke and 3D6 minutes after.
Apius Acrimonium: The foot long stinger and venom sack of the monstrous Furori Vespartum (Rage Wasp) occasionally used by quack doctors and pit fighters. When stabbed into the body, an affected creature takes 1d4 piercing damage and 2d4 poison damage. If the target survives, it then flies into an unstoppable rage for 30 minute.
This rage works as though the creature were a first level barbarian, except that they cannot choose to end it. Every turn they must make a DC15 Wis save or immediately attack the nearest living thing until it dies. Every round they manage to not attack something, the DC goes up by 1, resetting upon failure. When the rage subsides, the creature immediately takes two levels of exhaustion.
Star Dust: This substance comes from the dust off of the wings of a particular moth. When snorted, effects include: darkvision, insomnia, compulsion to follow or stare at light (disadvantage on all checks made against an opponent who is holding a torch or near a bright light source), and a feeling of weightlessness.
Shadowfell Sage: Chewing the pitch black roots of this plant will grant the user a deep sleep for 8 hours, during which they will appear dead to anyone that fails a DC 16 medicine check. Overuse results in the subject’s heart rate permanently decreases.
Troll Dust: mixture of various troll parts. When smoked, you gain resistance to acid for 6hrs and it acts as a powerful aphrodisiac.
Red Hive: When smoked you can speak with insects, other effects include reddened vision, euphoria, and a crawling on your skin like bees walking on it.
Umber Hulk Brain Brew: A rare thick dark brown drink. After being ingested the user can cast confusion 3 times no spell slots required. But the user also loses their memory of the most recent 1d6 hours.
Droon: a potent, dull brown salve absorbed through one’s pores,
Droon greatly amplifies all sensations experienced by the body part, including proprioception. It can be an exhilarating or miserable experience, depending on how it’s used- a drooned-up hand marvels at the softness of silk, but might seize up and develop rashes as the temperature fluctuates.
The localized enhanced proprioception can be disorienting for new users as well, but the euphoric sensations it grants are well worth it. Droon is rumored to be the refined toxic extract of a particular tall cactus.
Stone Brew: A mixture containing what seem to be spiced-up brittle rocks. It hardens the skin of whoever drinks it, increasing their base AC by 1 for 1d6 hours. It is not advised to make this drink if you aren’t familiar with stones, as the wrong kind will scratch your throat and provide you no benefit.
Venge: a deep red powder of mineral origin that can be snorted for a euphoric and stimulant effect. If the character consuming it has any Berserker or Jekyll/Hyde like attributes, their Dark Side will come out 2-3 hours after ingestion, or if provoked. Even characters lacking such vulnerability, become belligerent and disagreeable after doing a line of Venge.
Forget Me Nots: These flowers grow in the wild, yellow in color. They can commonly be found in bright sunny climates. When consumed they apply a temporary new life. When consumed you believe you have a different life. If a lone wolf Assassin ate one he could very well believe he is a humble lumberjack with a small family in the countryside, at least for a couple of hours (1D4 hours)
Crit: A street drug, popular with daredevils and dreadnoughts that will make every roll a 50/50 critical fail or critical success for 1d6 hours.
Mushroom Love: Made from the spoors of Myconids it gives those that inhale its vapors a feeling of connection and is highly addictive.
Patch: It works similarly to ecstasy, expanding yourself to feel the sensations all around you. It grants the ability to speak with plants and animals for 1d4+1 hours, and the comedown has a DC15 CON save. Failing the save adds one point of exhaustion immediately after waking from the first long rest you take, and lasts until completing the next long rest.
Zooterran: Made from refined Exem plums. Alters one’s sense of direction and causes one to only turn right when faced with a left/right choice.
Tasha’s: a powdered form of Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, looks like a great time, but really isn’t.
Weirdling Tea: a tea that shifts in color from orange to blue, when drank the user sees the effect of a roll on the wild magic table (This is however just a hallucination).
Goji Leaves: Originally created as a weapon of war, Goji Leaves (when taken in just about any form) give you resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage, advantage on all strength checks and saving throws, and rage damage equal to a barbarian of your level. User doesn’t become angry though, instead becoming far more confident than they could have ever been without it, nearly crossing the line into cocky.
Agony: The distilled essence of pain. Mainly used by torturers as a social lubricant, but masochists will sometimes also seek it out. When the thick, reddish-brown liquid is ingested (via mouth), the user is hit by intense pain, making them unable to move for 2 rounds, having disadvantage on all ability checks for 1d6+1 minutes. During this time, target will likely give up any info. After the pain, user feels intense pleasure for 1d4 hours, although this is less an effect of Agony and more of them appreciating their lack of pain.
The Flayed Mind: A drink containing some of the Mind Flayer’s mind-numbing powers. Makes the user dumb and slow, much like weed however much stronger. Any mental saving throws made while under its effect automatically fail, making this the preferred tool of enslavers everywhere. Once the effect wears off the user may make a DC20 int save to remember what happened while under the Flayed Mind’s effects. This saving throw can only be made once.
The Ladies’ Love: Succubus sweat has pheromones meant to make men go crazy in bed. Some alchemists can potentialize this effect, making it stronger and longer lasting. When this paste is applied to the skin it removes all inhibitions from the user, as well as making them more selfish and straightforward. On males it causes them to become aroused and extra horny, while mildly improving their physical skills (+3 to str, dex and con). All effects last an hour. DC 16 charisma save denies.
Purified Stardust: The raw dust is harvested by aliens and eldritch space horrors from dead stars and from the wake of meteors. An archfey then purifies the stardust, keeping its ability to provide visions while lowering the addiction. It is generally consumed by mixing it with water or some other beverage, and it tastes sweeter than sugar. The user sees through illusions and shape shifters, but also hallucinates to the point of being unable to tell truth from reality.
Styxroot: A root that grows on the margins of the river Styx in the Seven Hells. Eating it raw or making tea out of it makes the individual unable to remember anything that happens to them for the next 8 hours. A constitution saving throw of 12 lowers it to 6 hours, 15 to 4 hours, 18 to 1 hour, or 20 to completely ignore the effect.
Ember Berries: These faintly glowing black berries are used in coming-of-age rituals in a certain druidic sect. Drink
a tea made from these, and you will become relaxed and calm. After a few minutes, flames begin cloaking your body – as long as you remain focused and calm, they cannot hurt you.
Drakeroot: Concentrated nectar of the mandrake plant. When you drink it, you go into a coma for 2 hours. During this coma, your outer layer of skin becomes more like a cocoon. At the end, you emerge with all health point fully restored and any scars gone. After 24 hours without another dose, you cannot heal using your hit die or over a long rest without using more Drakeroot. This continues until you break the addiction.
Sharpsugar: Expensive, indulged in by many performers to give them the boost of energy. Removes one level
of exhaustion, gives advantage on perception checks, and adds 5 to your movement speed. User becomes jittery. Either snorted or smoked from a pipe. Made out of a rare plant that grows only on the Southern Coasts. The gangs that import it are incredibly dangerous.
Top Hat: a small top hat shaped consumable that melts on your tongue, soon enough you begin to see statistics on item weight, size, price, juice content, fuzzability, gloppiness…and perhaps some or all of these are just made up in you mind.
Scurva: A vial filled with an irridesant liquid. When drunk it causes it user to see colors more vibrantly and lights to shimmer and become more liquid like. Also makes its user completely intoxicated.
Kana Dust: a powder blended from a medical herb and crystalline magic. Gives mages a power boost for their spells. However, side effects increase risk of magic going wild. Reroll 1s on magic damage. Also roll 2d20. Of either are a 1-2 roll on wild magic.
Druidic Dream: A mostly benign pill made by druids and sold to whoever wishes to buy some. Its ingredients and manufacture are secrets the druids keep to themselves. When held under the tongue the pill puts the user in a mild state of giddyness similar to being a ‘happy drunk’ for 1d4 hours (DC13 con save for half, 19 to deny), followed by 1d4 hours of sleep with idyllic dreams.
Dreamer’s Fancy: A dark, shimmering liquid extracted from a rare root. When imbibed, renders the drinker unconscious as it plunges their mind into a black void in which they have full control to shape and create whatever they wish. Those who drink from the same root can participate in this lucid dream together, and their creation can be returned to by drinking from this root again.
Funpowder: A magic/alchemic powder made by reclusive druids, funpowder changes the user’s biologic gender for 1 hour for every ounce consumed. Usually consumed while diluted in water and/or in combination with a spiked drink.
Gorgon: Mushrooms, which are eaten raw or dried and powdered. Gorgon gives the user paralysis for a couple of hours and gives vivid hallucinations, which are somewhat controlled by the user like a lucid dream. Most of the time the experience is pleasant but people have been known to have some horrible trips. Most people will prepare before taking the drug and lie in bed or in a grassy field, but those with more desperate addictions can often been found collapsed in the streets, stone still except for rapid eye movement.
Flash Powder: A vial containing pink vapors and dust. Upon lifting the vial to the characters nose and inhaling deeply, the user will be filled with an immense sense of power and will now be able to run, jump, swim, and lift up to 4 times as much as they previously could for 1 hour. In combat they may take an additional action once per battle.
After 1 hour of usage, the user will feel sluggish and will have their senses dulled which will result in a disadvantage on perception and most strength based abilities for 4 hours or until completing a short rest. Each usage of flash powder will get weaker (-1 on the multiplier) for every time you inhale it without taking 2 weeks to recover from your body becoming immune to flash powder.
Fever Fire: Made from the petals of a translucent flower that grows even in the coldest and most barren environments. Instantly incapacitates the user and raises their internal temperature to 110 F for one minute. Instantly cures frostbite, but the user must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw at the end or suffer 1 point of exhaustion.
Reverie Sticks: Thin, hollow sticks similar to those used for incense. When burned, the smoke causes non-hostile creatures to enter a relaxed, dreamlike state. Reverie sticks can also be snapped in half under one’s nose; a sharp inhale of its contents delivers a powerful rush of euphoria. The user has advantage on checks to resist fear and disadvantage on checks to resist being charmed for 1d4 hours.
Paladin’s Placebo: A drug that when taken will satisfy any craving for any other drug the user is addicted to. Created by a former herbalist drug dealer that was coached by a paladin to quit their habit and change their life around. Ironically, the supply of the drug is tightly controlled by the Paladin order.
Dried Schmetterling Fish: The mummified remains of what once must have been a very colorful fish. Sardine sized, and extremely salty. The drying process moves this little guppy from incredibly poisonous to merely dangerously hallucinogenic. When consumed it allows the eater to see and hear into both the ethereal and astral planes, interact with creatures found there, and see invisible or shape-shifted creatures for what they truly are. It also makes the walls melt and the furniture start talking. You are considered under the effects of the “confusion” spell for the full hour these visions last.
Raybark: not actually made from bark at all, but by grounding up the thin strips of brightly colored fungus that grow on the northern side of raywood tree trunks. Raybark strongly amplifies ‘strange’ external senses when ingested or snorted- the ability to sense magnetic north, to tell when people are watching you (and where they are), to sense the coming of a storm, to read the health of a plant by the movements of its leaves in the wind, to see ultraviolet light, etc.
The range of senses amplified and the intensity of amplification vary between users. However, the user’s sense of their own body is greatly diminished while under the effects of Raybark, so they might trip over their own feet, swing their arms into their sides while running, or fail to properly clench their fists as their fingers miss each other. Produced and used by a convent of hippie-like pacifists who enjoy feeling more connected to the world around them.
Dragon’s Dandruff: A flaky amber salt traditionally used as seasoning by lizard-folk, with it’s signature ‘chilli-high’ making any party memorable. This magical mineral is intensely spicy, with one unnamed individual unused to the taste describing it as akin to chewing on a hot coal. After the initial sizzle (1d2 radiant damage) a teaspoon of the salt gives the consumer a rushing sensation of joy, increasing Charisma by 1 for an hour.
After the salt metabolizes, the soul feels overcome by adrenaline, increasing Strength, Stamina, and Dexterity by 2 for an hour, and they are compelled to do physical tasks. Afterwards, they suffer 1 level of exhaustion. All of these effects do no stack. Undead characters take 1d6 radiant damage for every teaspoon consumed.
Strang city encounters where drugs might be expected: more reading here.