While not, strictly speaking, magical in nature, the art of herblore is nevertheless strongly associated with magic in the minds of the unwashed masses of Hârn. It tends to be known by the same people who know ritual spirit magic, and the distinction between those two disciplines is actually quite blurry, since many of the rituals in spirit magic involve the use of the very same herbal components that are employed in herblore. Also, some herbs seem to actually be magical in nature -- some only grow in areas with high mana (or mana aspected in one particular way), and seem to take on some of the qualities associated with that type of mana. However, most herbs are simply natural sources of organic compounds that have interesting or useful effects on human metabolism -- medicine for various ailments, anaesthetics (and intoxicants -- largely two sides of the same coin), poisons, etc. And of course, many herbs don't have any real effect; herblore is not an exact science by any means, and superstition is rife.

I'm basically using the rules in GURPS Compendium II on the finding and preparation of herbs. The skill Herbalism is Hard, and covers both collection, preparation, and administration of medicinal herbs. Note that Naturalist skill will also suffice to collect herbs, Alchemy skill allows the preparation of herbs, and Physician skill allows the administration of herbs.

The herb listings below show how frequent the herb is in nature (and usually where one might expect to find it), how much each "dose" costs to buy in ready to use form, what the finished product looks like, and what its effects are.

Alanal: Common, 6d per dose, grows in heathland.
A yellow, bitter crystalline powder, taken orally.
Effect: Hallucinogen, takes effect in 4d6 minutes and lasts for 1d6+6 hours. Psychologically addictive, may cause brain damage over time (worth -15 pts as a disadvantage).

Arva: Rare, 120d per dose.
A thin, lavender decoction, sweet to the taste.
Effect: "Strength Potion"; beginning after 3d6 minutes, user's ST is increased by 2. This lasts for HT*6 minutes; afterwards, take Critical fatigue and make a HT roll to avoid muscle strain (a Light injury, Medium on a critical failure).

Berelik: Average, 30d per dose, grows in shady forests.
A greenish-yellow oily paste, it is applied to open wounds as a poultice.
Effect: Anaesthetic (effectively gives the user High Pain Threshold, or halves pain penalties again if the user already has that advantage) for 1d3+1 hours, after which numbness and lethargy set in. The anaesthetic effect still lasts for 1d6+4 hours after that, but now accompanied by Serious fatigue and an extra -1 to DX. Also, it is mildly antibiotic and gives a +2 bonus to avoid infection from any wound it has been applied to. Each dose suffices for one wound.

Doshenkana: Common, 15d per dose, grows in most forests.
A dull-green, bitter powder, half an ounce taken orally.
Effect: Nausea slowly builds over 3 hours, accompanied by increasing breathlessness and gradually blurred vision. During this time, the poison is gradually causing a Critical internal wound; if effective treatment (vomiting will work in the first 30 minutes, Yulpris or magic are the only cures after that) is not given, the victim must make a HT-2 roll or die. Survivors must roll vs. HT+1 or suffer permanent damage to their vision -- take a penalty on all vision rolls equal to twice the margin the last HT roll was missed by (on a miss by 5 or more, the victim goes blind).

Elprequir: Common, 12d per dose, grows in pastures.
Dried and crushed, ground into a fine blue powder, taken orally.
Effect: A common aphrodisiac, often used clandestinely in food. Whether it has any real effect is an open question, but a lot of Hârnians swear by it.

Fanosel: Average, 30d per dose, grows on the floor of mixed and needleleaf forests.
Mashed, left to dry and crystallize; then drunk as tea.
Effect: Causes euphoria and reduced inhibitions; beginning after 5-15 minutes and lasting for 2d3 hours, the user becomes giddy, Overconfident, and Impulsive; usually Lecherous as well. Afterwards, the user becomes depressed and irritable (Bad Temper) for 1d3 hours. Psychologically addictive, with a -5 on Will rolls to withdraw (worth -15 points as an Addiction).

Fletharane: Average, 20d per dose, grows in light forest.
Normally used as a ropey plant fibre, which is burned and the smoke is inhaled.
Effect: Mild euphoriac and hallucinogen, with effects lasting about an hour. Aftereffects include lethargy and hunger. Generally legal, even though unwise use (excessive doses burned in enclosed places) may cause partial memory losses.

Gaethipa: Average, 60d per dose.
A white, sticky gum. Blood poison, usually applied to weapons (most often arrowheads).
Effect: 5d6 seconds after introduction to bloodstream, the victim's central nervous system begins to sputter and malfunction, causing symptoms similar to grand mal epileptic seizure. Over the next minute, three HT rolls must be made (one every 20 seconds); if any one of them fails, the victim suffers immediate Cardiac Arrest; if all are made, the victim only goes Unconscious. After 1d6 hours, the victim must make another HT roll or die anyway. Survivors must make a HT roll or suffer permanent damage -- for each point by which the HT roll missed, take -10 pts of disadvantages or reduced attributes (DX or IQ loss from general nerve damage, or partial or total loss of vision or hearing, are most common). This very dangerous substance has no known antidote or cure, except for magic or miracles; it is not possible to build up an immunity to it. It is seriously illegal in all civilized countries, although some "barbarian" tribes (as well as some assassins) use it.

Habsulara: Common, 6d per dose, a blue flower which grows in pastures.
Dried and powdered, inhaled or allowed to melt inside the mouth.
Effect: Stimulates the brain (+1 IQ) for 1d3 hours; may cause nausea (-1 to everything physical) on a failed HT roll (a critical failure will give -3 to everything instead). As the effect wears off, expect to lose 10-30 minutes of work time to headache and coughing. Psychologically addictive, with -5 to Withdrawal rolls; prolonged use may cause brain damage and stroke (worth -10 pts as a disadvantage). Illegal in several civilized nations.

Hreyochor: Average, 30 d per dose.
Dried and powdered, taken orally (usually in food or drink).
An effective fertility drug for women; adds +2 to monthly chance of getting pregnant (and increases chance of bearing twins to a whopping 25%). It is in fairly common use, most often administered by Peonian priestesses to women who still won't conceive after intensive prayers have been brought to bear.

Joldraiven: Rare, 150d per dose.
A dried, 2' long plant with red leaves, given to horses as food.
Effect: On horses, causes temporary increase in speed (+1 Move) and endurance (Very Fit) for 1d6 hours, but then leads to Critical fatigue (and a HT roll to avoid muscle damage -- a critical failure here kills the poor horse). Frequent use may cause permanent muscle damage. On humans, eating the plant would cause rapid nausea and vomiting (its taste is vile, so you probably couldn't eat very much of it either).

Kargele: Rare, 150d per dose, grows on mountainsides above the tree limit.
Powdered and dried, it is formed into a small cake, which is eaten.
Effect: Quickly leads to drowsiness and sleep which lasts for 6d6+14 hours; upon waking, patient has a voracious appetite. Gives a +2 bonus to HT for healing purposes only from the time the dose is taken and for the next 1d6+3 days (during which time the patient will require 50% more food than normal and suffer from constant Light fatigue).

Lavaryctia: Average, 30d per dose.
A yellow, bitter concotion, which is taken orally.
Effect: Soporific; building drowsiness leads to sleep within 1d6*5 minutes. Unwilling users may try to stay awake by making Will rolls at the same frequency as if they'd been awake for 16 hours past their normal bedtime, and will have -3 on IQ, DX, and skills. The effect wears off after 1d6+6 hours. An increased dose will require a HT roll to avoid coma, at -1 per extra dose beyond the second; a critical failure here causes Cardiac Arrest.

Leortevald: Common, 6d per dose, grows in deep forests everywhere.
Dried and powdered, mixed in drink or food.
Effect: Basically the same as for hemlock (see Compendium II).

Olrui: Average, 26d per dose, found as a fungal parasite on dying trees.
Mashed, then left to dry and crystallize; dissolved in hot water and drunk as tea.
Effect: Stimulant. Prevents fatigue from lack of sleep for 18+3d6 hours, and effectively makes the user Very Fit for this duration. After it expires, the user suffers Critical fatigue, and will need 12 hours of sleep ASAP.

Perigwar: Average, 30d per dose, a spring flower in pastures.
A violet, fragrant decoction, often mixed with whale oil for consistency. Applied as perfume.
Effect: Aids sexual arousal in both genders (say, +1 to Sex Appeal) for 1d3+1 hours.

Quessel: Average, 30d per dose, spring pollen from a flower.
Dried pollen is a fine yellow powder; often mixed with a nut paste or something to keep it from getting lost.
Effect: Mild antibiotic, giving +1d6 to HT (roll once per disease) versus diseases and infections if taken when the first symptoms show up, as well as giving half that bonus to aging rolls for the next year (if multiple doses have been used, you only get the best bonus).

Rasakile: Common, 6d per dose.
A blue-green decoction, usually heated before drinking.
Effect: Contraceptive for females, one dose must be taken each day for continual effect. Subtracts -3 from chance of getting pregnant; prolonged use may cause permanent partial or total sterility (make a HT roll after each 360 days of use; on a failure, take a permanent -1 to chance of pregnancy).

Stiltrassa: Average, 60d per dose.
A sweet, white, viscous decoction, taken orally.
Effect: Powerful emetic and laxative; empties digestive system within 10 minutes and causes Serious fatigue. On an overdose, it may cause internal hemorrhaging. Generally used as an antidote for digestive poisons.

Tasparth: Common, 3d per dose, grows everywhere.
After preparation, it's a reddish-brown powder, which is burned and the smoke inhaled.
Effects: Use the same mechanics as for Peyote (in Compendium II), but it's easy to find, so reduce point cost for addiction to -10 pts.

Teranya: Average, 30d per dose.
Blue-green, bitter decoction, dripped into each eye.
Effect: Stimulates recovery from blindness caused by disease or cataracts; make a roll vs. HT-1, and on a success you'll regain your vision. Further attempts rarely succeed if the first one failed, and it's no good vs. physical damage to the eyes.

Tirageyth: Average, 15d per dose, woodland flower.
Leaves are dried, and chewed.
Effect: Euphoria for 5d6 minutes, leading to drowsiness (Serious fatigue). Overdoses may cause coma, prolonged use causes brain damage (addiction disadvantage: -15 pts).

Wylorafina: Average, 30d per dose.
A sour, red decoction, taken orally.
Effect: Causes heart fibrillation after about an hour, and (on a failed HT roll) Cardiac Arrest. Survivors risk permanent loss of 1 level of HT if another HT roll is failed (losing 3 levels of HT on a critical failure). This poison is not very commonly used since it's not very reliable. While it also gives a bit of a heady rush, it's not much good as a recreational drug since most users don't survive all that many doses.

Yulpris: Very Rare, 600d per dose, only grows in boggy soil on Setha Heath.
The plant is mashed and dried to a green crystallized dust, then mixed with hot water and drunk as a tea.
Effect: Greatly stimulates the body's own immune defenses, giving a blanket +5 to HT vs. all diseases and most poisons, for a month.

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Last modified: Mon Mar 17 20:57:49 PST 1997