Drugs in fantasy?

Discussion in 'General Fantasy' started by SteamBoy, Aug 16, 2017.

  1. SteamBoy

    SteamBoy Crazy tinkerer and alchemist

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    Yes, yes, the fantasy does not have to be like reality, but that does not imply that it can not be realistic.

    Fantasy is not synonymous with surrealism. A fantasy work can be extremely realistic or technical and, if it keeps the necessary resources, like magic, it will remain fantasy.
    Good examples are Harry Potter, Discworld and the genre of technomagics (a fusion of steampunk and fantasy, sometimes including cyberpunk).

    Anyway, my question is whether the drugs to appear in the fantasy, and in what works and what kind of drugs.
    I am not referring to the typical/popular soft drugs (alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee...) but to drugs, fictitious or real, comparable with the LSD, marijuana and cocaine :oops:

    Some types of potions of fantasy can be considered like drugs, if these have psychotropical, nootropical or narcotic (causes addiction, regulates emotions) effects :redpotion:
    Please avoid speak about typical potions like potions of love and strength, since these are very know.
    Then... what are these and in which works do these appear?

    The truth would be interesting the idea of a wizard "narcomancer" whose "magic" would be based on drugs...
    Does something similar appear in a fantasy work?
     
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  2. Midnattblod

    Midnattblod Royal Wolf of Shadow

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    I know it's a bit cliche, but Skooma would probably fall under the definition of a drug, as would moonsuger, which is used to make Skooma lol. Other then that, pipe weed from most common fantasies could very well be marijuana
     
  3. R.E.M. Verberg

    R.E.M. Verberg New Member

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    In 'Hope and Red' by Jon Skovron, coral spice seems to act in a similar way to cocaine.

    The denner raisin described in The Kingkiller Chronicles is much like heroin.
     
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  4. Kelmourne

    Kelmourne The Savage Hippy

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    All of my D&D characters seem to be alcoholics, even though I'm not.
     
  5. L. S. Blades

    L. S. Blades Indie Author, The Rings Of The Lords

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    Interesting topic! Well it's interesting you ask about it now, as I've personally been working on, and debuted the first book of my series, and yes; it does feature reference to and use of drugs, and more specifically, the main wizard protagonist in my book actually uses 'alternative' substances whenever things get difficult. At the moment this mostly involves marijuana, but other known drugs will play a part as my series progresses. This is hinted in the first poster I've designed;
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Lanifer

    Lanifer Fantasy obsessed

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    In "Wizard's First Rule" Zed likes to get high by liking toads. In "Out of Oz" there is a huge assortment of drugs, all types of drugs, being used, and even in "Alice in Wonderland" the Caterpillar likes to smoke something that resembles opium... so I don't think it's much of a new trend to include drugs and their use in fantasy. However, finding the right drug to include in a story, that's the trick, I think.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018
  7. MattII

    MattII Member

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    Pratchett sort of skirted drugs (aside from alcohol and tobacco) for humans and dwarves, but came up with a number for trolls. Of course something to think about with drugs is that they sometimes have good uses. Morphine (and to a degree other opioids) f.e. is a good painkiller provided you're careful, as is cannabis from what I hear. Mind you, they do have a version of alcohol made from so-called reannual plants, which age backwards in time, giving you headache some time before you drink the stuff.
     
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  8. Kelmourne

    Kelmourne The Savage Hippy

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    It's very possible to come up with cool made up drugs for fantasy settings.

    I made one up for a game of D&D that would make you hallucinate so vividly that you couldn't see objective reality at all, but it also greatly increased the strength of your hearing and smell, and it only lasted 20 minutes. So basically you would become useless for 20 minutes while you're on the ground hallucinating but you can hear and smell everything within a few miles for that duration.
     
  9. RayCaptain

    RayCaptain Stranger in a Strange Land

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    I know the Fallout games utilize things narcotics like Jet, but also various plants that induce temp positive status effects with the risk of addiction and thus longer term negative status effects. I think it makes for great roleplay aspects, where in something like D&D, I think a good campaign needs that extra layer of being submerged into the world and character. I love having things like drugs and disease and weather all with their own effects. You also have alchemists types that dabble, yes in potions and that sort of thing, but also in an inbetween world of science and magic and make tonics, potions, elixers that go far, far beyond "Drink to regain 10 health" or "Drink to receive d6+1 poison damage for d20 turns".

    Indeed, I think that health potions should, outside of "magic" potions, be more like medicine. I should take a shot of morphine and receive temporary health, but that shot of morphine isn't going to heal the laceration on my character's torso or undo the blunt force trauma. You're going to have to mend that wound or deal with the side effects of the wound. I want there to be a chance at infection, maybe you even lose a limb to gangrene which leads to a level of immersion, disabilities and their translated status effects.

    I know I got off on a tangent, but all that to say, a roleplay certainly benefits on drugs being at least present in the game. A barbarian who in a chemically induced state of painlessness (like ancient Celts irl) is pretty neat.
     
  10. Anakin

    Anakin King of TFF

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    Well in a Song Of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) there a few. Like Milk of the Poppy, which is basically a painkiller which people can get addicted to. I read that The Mountain got addicted to it, because he would often have intense headaches. He had gigantism , which explains his size. Robert/Robin Arryn took it because of his seizures and to relax himself. Maybe you remember that Jaime refused it when Maester Qyburn wants to help with his arm.

    The next one is shade of the evening. This makes people see some crazy stuff. It’s a hallucinogen drug. Daenerys drunk it, which explains all the visions she had in the House of the Undying. The Warlocks in Qarth took it, which explains the blue lips as a side-effect. Euron Greyjoy also has such lips in the books, but not in the tv series. Victarion also drunk it, but I didn’t read if he too had the same blue lips.

    Then there’s sourleaf, which is something to numb the pain and makes people feel good about themselves. One side-effect is what they call “The Red Smile”, leaving your mouth and teeth red.

    There’s others like weirwood paste, dreamwine, which is sort of a sedative. You have wind of courage, which the Unsullied use to feel no pain in battle.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
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  11. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Drugs is a fairly loose term because it applies both to illicit substances and medical use and many of the chemicals used for one overlap into the other.

    In the historical past drugs were also used to make such things as berserker tonics; ergo you'd take a drink and whilst it wouldn't empower you with strength like it might Popeye; it would often remove many mental inhibitions and push a person into a frenzy.



    I would say drugs feature fairly well in fantasy, often appearing in the background, but also running alongside the main story elements. Eg you might be captured by a drug smuggler or such; or have to deal with "criminals" who deal in such things etc.... I would wager they are as common as adventurers in pubs, even if the only encounter is a casual "Then we met Bob the Smuggler! Known to smuggle drugs and people across the boarder"

    I don't think I've read one where addiction or drug use by the main character was a core factor in the story. But then again the dividing line between a drug and a magical potion or spell might be hazy sometimes.
     
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