Monday, February 18, 2019

Water of Life

It glows a bright vibrant green, like that of a tiny sickly sun. It gives off a faint ringing, a ballroom of conversation down the hall and up the stairs. It smells of flowers and tastes of sweet citrus. You can rub it between your fingers like oil and it never dissolves in water, or any other liquid for that matter.

It is the Water of Life.

Drinking the Water of Life heals you, heals you of every ill known to mortals. Cuts, scrapes, and sniffles disappear with a single drop. A thimbleful replaces food and sleep for a week. Consuming a whole cup makes bones re-knit, purges tumors and purifies humors. A liter regrows limbs and staves off Father Time for a score of years. A bucket can bring back even the dead, so long as the sun has not risen on their corpse. Drinking one's weight is said to make one live forever, so long as they do not fall in battle.

With that power comes a terrible thirst. Those who've sipped from the Waters of Life crave it again, the thrills of normal life a pale comparison. They see effervescent emerald sheen in every nook and cranny, and hear that distinct whine around every corner. The drink is constantly on their mind, a factor in every decision they make. Some hunt it like bloodhounds and rip apart the bellies of their kin to have one last sip from their stomach. A few learn to fight the call, though they must swear off the stuff and never drink again, for fear of becoming that other sort.

The Water of Life can be used as fuel, whether by wizards with their spells or engineers with their engines. Plants growing nearby grow twice as fast and twice as high, animals who drink grow just as thirsty as men. It spontaneously creates life from things around; dumb twisted creatures made from sticks and bones and stone. It changes the very air it lies in, filling people with both madness and electrifying energy.

There is a story out there that says the Waters of Life are the tears of the gods, pitying the plight of mortals. Some say its leftovers, the magic substance used to spin up the world. Others say its spell residue, built up by greedy wizards and prideful sorcerers. Still more say its the souls of the dead, fleeing the terrors of life and finding no respite in heaven nor hell. None know the truth, but every con man in every inn in all the world has a story they tell for a a coin and a smile.


Amount Benefit Addiction Chance Duration
Drop Instant Night's Rest 1 in 10 1 hour
Thimbleful Instant Week's Rest 1 in 8 1 day
Cup Cure all mundane conditions, such as disease or poison 1 in 6 1 week
Liter Cure all conditions, halt aging for 20 years 1 in 4 1 month
Bucket Raise the dead 1 in 2 1 season
Your Weight Never age 1 in 1 1 year

The Water of Life is a powerful healing substance and a priceless treasure all in one. It should be commonly enough found that an adventurer addict could barely keep ahead of the thirst, but rare enough it doesn't completely devalue any healing present in your system. It functions well as a motivation for any self-serving adventurer, though the desperate might also go seeking its warmth.

Its effects should be well known by those in the know, including the addictive effects. Drinking the Waters of Life should be a conscious decision by those knowing full well what they risk. If your PCs won't use it themselves, there are plenty of others in the world who will, and they'll value it highly.

Whenever anyone drinks the Waters of Life, have them make an addiction check. If they fail, they become an Addict. Addicts must always choose the Waters when given a choice, and can sense it when its near. They retain normal facilities otherwise.

Addicts make another addiction check when their last hit's duration runs out based on the size of their last drink. If they fail, they go mad for the same duration as their last drink and make another check at the end of that. If they fail, they die. Mad characters know the location of the nearest source of the Waters of Life and must seek it, doing anything to consume it. Despite the description above, drinking the Waters of Life from within the body of another does nothing to slake their thirst.

Any character succeeding at an addiction check remains in their current state. Drinking any amount of the Waters of Life moves them up a stage (dead -> mad -> addicted -> unaffected), though only for the drink's duration, whereupon they make another addiction check and the cycle begins anew. Note that mad and addicted characters cannot choose to drink a smaller dose, they must always choose to consume whatever they have available to them.

This material provided under Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0) license.

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