2006-01-14, 12:06 AM
Bugbear in the Playground
Re: Arcanoecology: Peaceful Magical Plants
Iíll chip in with a plant Iíve written up to serve as the source for a drug thatís important to religious life in the campaign setting Iím working on.
So my campaign setting (known as Ret ka Jati) is based largely on the culture of South Asia. The deities have similar traits and responsibilities to Hindu deities, asceticism is very important, the place names are drawn from Indian history, mythology, and language, etc. Very important to early Vedic and Avestan (the Avesta was a book composed by the Aryan people before they entered India that contains many of the concepts contained in the Vedas and later Hinduism) religion was the Soma plant, which was used to create a hallucinogenic drug that was used in early Vedic ritual. The Vedic pantheon also included a deity named Soma. With this in mind, I did a little research into the effects of Soma and developed this:
This small, woody plant grows in the deep desert, surviving in places where few other plants can grow. In and of itself, it is an unremarkable plant. Typical Soma plants form a low, almost spherical bush between 1 and 2 feet in diameter. The leaves of the Soma plant are small and shaped like a flattened ellipse, with the very smooth texture characteristic of many plants from arid regions. The stem of the Soma plant is a deep brown color and has the same smooth texture as the leaves. The Soma plant produces no flowers, but does give off a soothing odor when the leaves are broken.
In its natural state, the Soma plant does not possess any magical abilities. However, when its leaves are chewed or ground into a powder and snorted, it induces hallucinations in the user, most commonly involving out-of-body experiences and (sometimes) long-distance travel in spirit form. It is used by shamans, clerics, and ascetics to heighten their rituals and worship as well as by diviners seeking to increase the power of their divination spells.
So there you have it. Iím still not sure as to whether itís ok to discuss in-game drugs on the boards, so I wonít post any of the rules for the Soma drug itself. If anyone wants to know, of if they have insights on whether in-game drugs can be discussed on the boards, post up or PM me. Also, by way of another disclaimer, no one is really sure what the Soma plant looks like, as its exact identity is ambiguous in the ancient texts, though there are many suggested plants, from hallucinogenic mushrooms to opium to ephedra to the plant known as Syrian Rue (a plant that grows in Iran, central Asia, and India and is used as a hallucinogen, the effects of which are the basis for my version of Soma). My description is purely for the purposes of my campaign setting and not meant to reflect reality.
Great thread. Iím all about creating new and creative background objects that make settings more immersing and realistic.