Recreational drugs of Golarion

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The heraldry of the nation of Katapesh features a pesh plant
(Alchemical item)

Source: GameMastery Guide, pg(s). 236f.
See also: Pharmaceutical

Generally speaking, a drug is a substance that when ingested, smoked, injected, or absorbed into the body by any other method, causes either a mental and/or physical change within the organism. It is different from food in that it is not consumed primarily for the purpose of nourishment. When taken to promote health or to combat a disease or an infection, it is generally referred to as a "medical" drug. Any other use is generally thought of as "recreational". The drugs described in this article fall into the latter category.


Aether is a moderately addictive, inhaled drug that increases the power of those who cast spells. Ironically, it also hinders the user from being able to easily cast those very same spells.1


This expensive drug is generally sold in wafer form. When ingested it acts as a powerful stimulant, eliminating tiredness for up to eight hours. Once the effects wears off, however, the user becomes completely exhausted. Side effects include jitteriness and difficulty concentrating.2

Avernus razorback meat

The meat of an Avernus razorback is prized as a delicacy and drug in Cheliax, and the blood keeps some of the soul energies of the prey and can be used in blood sacrifices.3

Bachelor snuff

Inhaled through the nose, bachelor snuff causes male humanoids to become temporarily sterile for a period of one to three days without otherwise effecting their performance. A golden, soot-smelling powder, it is relatively inexpensive and not known to cause dependence. Teeth and nails tend to take on a gilded tint among frequent users.2


Belladonna is a naturally-occurring plant, also known as deadly nightshade. It has been used since time immemorial as a medicine, cosmetic, and to ward off the effects of the curse of the werecreature. When ingested, it can cause powerful hallucinations, mostly unpleasant ones. When concentrated, it can be used as a mild poison that weakens the subject but doesn't lead to death.42

Bloodbrush extract

Bloodbrush extract, or bloodbrush toxin, is manufactured by refining the poison of the thorns of the bloodbrush: an animate plant found in Numeria. Rarely used as a toxin, as it would require repeated doses to be effective, the extract is commonly used as a mildly addictive, hallucinogenic drug. A single dose is worth 25 gp.5

Blood sap

This drug is harvested from a vine found in marshland areas within the Mwangi Expanse. It is named after the crimson color of the vine's sap, which is also evident as a red staining of the lips and teeth of addicts of the drug.6


This powerful sedative is made from a plant found in marshy soil along the Yondabakari River in Varisia. It is generally mashed up and brewed into a bitter tea and is not generally thought to be habit-forming.7

Chaos strings

Chaos strings is a demonic drug that is moderately addictive. Costing some 40 gp per dose, chaos strings affords some protection from physical damage by moving vulnerable organs away from danger when the body is attacked. Unfortunately, after a few minutes, the effect wears off leaving the imbiber sickened and tired.8


A cigar is a tightly-rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco that is ignited so that its smoke may be drawn into the mouth. Rolled cigars may come from places such as Molthune.9


Crush was a drug accidentally discovered in Alkenstar while mixing chemicals. It is moderately addictive and signs of its use include jitters, hyperactivity, fear, and paranoia. A dose of crush is worth 75 gold pieces. The benefit to nimbleness gained from a dose lasts about an hour.10

Daemon seed

This very expensive drug, 1,000 gold pieces per dose, is very addictive and taken orally or through inhalation. It may be purchased in Abaddon openly, and on the black markets in the Medina Mudii'a and in Norgorber's realm beneath Axis. It is made using the liquids found in the spinal column of daemons and grants the user a wave of memories from the souls that the daemons had consumed. Rare side effects of the drug include blindness and deafness. Many think that using daemon seed makes daemons 'notice' the user.11


Demonblood is a powerful drug made predominantly from the blood of demons. It is created via an alchemical substance called mesz.12

Demon dust

Demon dust is a drug made from crushed demon bones that is highly addictive. Costing some 150 gp per dose, demon dust greatly empowers the inhaler's body physically for up to an hour. Once the effect wears off, the user's mind is beset with hallucinations and confusion for a few hours. Startlingly, the user's memory is blanked while the drug is in effect.813

Dreamtime tea

Dreamtime Tea causes its addicts to fall unconscious and dream vividly. This Vudran drug is made by brewing a mix of rare herbs and flowers.614


Eskelette is a fine, grey powder that may be eaten or inhaled to gain its effects. Probably originating in Taldor, eskelette abuse has spread as far as Varisia. This terribly addictive drug enhances the mind for a couple of hours, but at a heavy physical price, both during and after the high. Experiments suggest eskelette can enhance alchemical magic if the drug is infused into alchemical formulae. Withdrawal symptoms are tough from this drug.15


Felwil is a mild, inhaled drug thought to have been created by gnomes in the Taldan town of Wispil. The sparkling powder is the colour of honeydew. The drug induces euphoria but can also lead to nausea. A dose costs around 20 gp.16


Flayleaf is a wiry shrub with reddish-brown leaves that grows in almost any temperate environment. Leaves are harvested and dried, and when smoked produce a powerful sedative and hallucinogenic effect similar to drunkenness. It is also a powerful analgesic and muscle relaxant, rendering the user immune to most pain for up to four hours. It also causes the user to become very susceptible to suggestion.17 The berries of the flayleaf plant are sometimes crushed and mixed with dream spider venom and spiderberry tea to produce a potent hallucinogen called Riddleport Tea (see below).18 Unlike its cousin, the cabble-weed, flayleaf is sadly highly addictive.7 Cost varies across regions with a full pouch of it going for around 12 gp in the highly permissive Varisian city of Riddleport.19


Grit is an unpredictable drug created around 4688 AR in the Puddles district of Absalom20 It is manufactured by grinding down alchemically-enhanced barbarian chew, and mixed with toxic plant-based substances such as bitterbark or redroot. Grit is generally sold as a powder which is ingested, inhaled, or mixed with qat or flayleaf and smoked. Its effects vary greatly depending on how it is made and who is ingesting it, but it has been known to cause severe hallucinations, numbing, or uncontrollable rage. It is very expensive and highly addictive, and users are often blamed for escalating violent rampages in order to feed their habit.2122

Harlot sweets

When eaten, this drug brings great benefits to the user's looks, social ability and grace, and is popular with prostitutes from where it gets the first part of its name. It is sold as yellow, lozenge-shaped tablets, from where the second part of its name derives.6


This drug is fairly common in the shadowy realm of Nidal, where it is taken by citizens who wish to appear to be true believers in Zon-Kuthon. It imparts a heightened tolerance to pain, an attribute much sought after there, but is sadly addictive. Users can be identified by red-purplish stains around their nostrils.23

Ice tears

A powerful hallucinogen, ice tears have recently become popular in the southern Chelish city of Hinji. Users experience increased euphoria and a resistance to cold. They also seem to be able to see individuals from the users' past and future, but whether this is a hallucination or some supernatural effect is unknown. Ice tears are believed to be distilled by wizards from the blood of daemons, and use is especially popular among the city's fishermen. There is disagreement on where the drug comes from: some believe it is a local product, while others think it is imported by Garundi smugglers from across the Inner Sea. Whatever its origin, ice tears use has increased in the last few years and might be on the verge of spreading to other cities.2425

Lunar naga venom

The venom of a lunar naga is very dangerous and powerful. However, if a small dose of the venom is diluted—with water, fruit, or other acidic juices and alcohol—a mild hallucinogen is formed. This drug is sometimes used ritually by sky-watcher cultists of a lunar naga. Addiction may be quite severe and withdrawal symptoms might include shaking and sweating.2627

Luu drops

Luu drops are a daemonic drug that is moderately addictive. Costing some 70 gp per dose, the drug is used like eye drops or even injected into the eyes causing the user to be dazzled. Once active, the drug helps the user to see through illusions and even to see invisible creatures for some minutes. Side effects include possible blindness.8

Midnight milk

This drug is created by xoarians28 of High Ilvarandin in the Darklands realm of Orv. It grants the user the ability to explore the Darklands by sharing the body of a random denizen of Ilvarandin. However, if the body is already the host of a xoarian, the creature has a chance to eat the dreamer's brain.29

Numerian fluids

Khismar Crookchar, tenacious Numerian drug dealer and gnome alchemist.

Alien fluids seeping from crashed spaceships in Numeria can be fatal if drunk. There are some who take their chances, however, and use these fluids as a drug, finding they provide euphoria and strange side effects: some beneficial, others extremely dangerous.30


Opium is a highly addictive drug used in Tian Xia and has a price of about 25 gp per dose. It may be smoked with an opium pipe and induces a tired, dreamlike state that affects the mind and body. Withdrawal symptoms are particularly nasty for this drug. Nevertheless, due to its popularity, pipes and storage boxes for opium can be very elaborate and costly.31


Pesh is a powerful stimulant and mild hallucinogen made from the spoiled milk of a cactus found predominantly in the country of Katapesh and strangely enough, Darkmoon Vale.32 Two variations of pesh are known to exist: wyrm pesh and pho pesh.3334


Qat acts as a mild stimulant and euphoriant when its leaves are chewed. Soldiers and warriors are known to use it before battle, although commanders tend to discourage this practice as the drug is addictive.7

Riddleport tea

This violet-colored drink is a mix of dream spider venom and crushed flayleaf berries. Although normally bitter due to the poison, the unpleasant taste is offset once the liquid is mixed with spiderberry tea. The drink does no lasting harm to the drinker, but instead causes overwhelming hallucinations that have been known to lead to outbursts of violence. This is typically followed by deep fatigue. Riddleport tea is a popular recreational drug in Riddleport, and many worshipers of Cayden Cailean favor the drink for its hallucinogenic properties, although officially the church frowns on its use.18


Shadowblood is a highly addictive liquid drug made from the essence of shadow demons.35


Shiver is a powerful hallucinogen and soporific made from the venom of the dream spider.36


Silvertongue is an ingested performance-enhancing drug sold as a sweetly tasting alchemical elixir with a metallic after-taste. The drug quickens the wit but can have health consequences. Furthermore, prolonged use can be spotted by the silvering of an addict's tongue and gums. A dose costs around 75 gp.16

Slaver's drops

This mildly addictive drug is sold as a clear liquid which is applied as drops into the eyes. While increasing the user's awareness, it also lowers the capability of the user to resist attempts at mind-control. For this latter reason, the drug is often used by interrogators or slavers on their victims to ensure better compliance.6


Snuff is made by grinding or pulverizing leaves of a plant used as a drug, such as tobacco, such that it may be administered by insufflation. The powder is often kept dry and clean in a specially made snuff box, some of which are highly decorated and valuable. Snuff comes in many varieties and flavours, such as Peshpetal Blend.37

For types of snuff with uses beyond mere recreation, please see bachelor snuff and heathensnuff above.


A frighteningly addictive drug, starspore enhances senses and creates feelings of invulnerability: invisible creatures become apparent and users can see in the dark. Side effects are significant, however, and leave the user vulnerable to sonic energy and with damage to the brain, some of which is permanent. The drug is complex to produce, requiring the cultivation of a greenish, iridescent mould on skymetal; the mould must be watered by the rains of Numeria, which contain special toxins required for growth. The drug is made from the invisible spores of the mould and can be eaten or inhaled to be effective. A single dose costs 300 gp.38

Thileu bark

Stripping the bark of the thileu tree (pronounced THIHL-ee-oo)39 is a secret process known only to the Varisian people. Powdered, it is exported around Avistan as a spice. Young Chelaxian nobles have taken to snorting the powder, claiming that it causes hallucinations, although most others just think that it burns their nasal passages and hurts a lot.32 Sold as a spice, it can cost as much as 100 gp a pound.40


Shisha tobacco is smoked in warmer climes, especially in Garund using a hookah. It has a spicy scent and is often smoked communally in bars.41 Tobacco is frequently used as a trade good, where one pound of average quality tobacco fetches 5 silver pieces.42


Vayav, or "demon gasp",43 is a rare intoxicant manufactured by the drow of the Darklands. They use mushrooms harvested from the Midnight Mountains of Orv and mix them with a number of their poisons to create a pulpy violet mass that is smoked. Its effects include feeling euphoric and invincible and it heightens both pleasure and pain stimuli. It is not only highly addictive to the person smoking it, but can also causes dependence in anyone who simply inhales the fumes exhaled by another. In the Darklands it can be found for around 10 gp per dose, while on the surface it is generally not sold for under 200 gp.44

Waters of Lamashtu

This foul liquid, created from the casting of the evil spell waters of Lamashtu, has addictive qualities.45


An imperfect formula, this drug was created by the alchemist Laszo "The Leper" under the city of Diobel. It is highly addictive, and makes the user forgetful, compliant, and easy to manipulate. The side effects of this concoction are hard to predict, and therefore Laszo is still perfecting it.46

Yellowcap mushrooms

Yellowcap mushrooms are grown in Andoran and have a mild hallucinogenic effect when eaten. At one time they were very popular among the Andoren nobility, although the drug's popularity has declined dramatically since the People's Revolt. These days, most people have never even heard of the fungus.47 Yellow mushrooms can also be found sometimes in muddy environments, such as the Mushfens, or in sewers.48

Zhug mushrooms

Zhug mushrooms are a demonic drug that is mildly addictive. Costing some 20 gp per dose, anyone eating the mushrooms has their constitution stiffened, thus providing protection against diseases, poisons, and sickness for a few minutes. Once the period of protection is over, the user is likely to vomit the digested mushrooms as a dangerous, acidic mess.49


For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

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