The fabled sun orchid elixir1 is much sought after for its ability to temporarily halt the aging process, restoring the drinker to the prime of their youth.2 The secret of its creation was discovered by the Thuvian alchemist Artokus Kirran in 1140 AR and has never been revealed by him.34
Sun orchid elixir is difficult and dangerous to make, with each vial taking at least a month to manufacture. The only known key ingredient is the nectar of the rare sun orchid flower. The flower can be found only in Thuvia's desert interior, regions infested by the corrupted genies known as divs. Orchid hunters must also contend with the local tribal leaders, known as Water Lords; many of these lords are little better than bandits.5
Anyone who drinks a sun orchid elixir immediately physically transforms to a youthful age of their own choosing. The new body begins in perfect health, regardless of the drinker's state of health when they originally were that age. Any physical or mental imperfections the drinker posssess at the time they consume the elixir (including scars, lost limbs, curses, diseases, or poisons) are immediately erased. From that moment on, the imbiber begins to age naturally and all memories are retained.4
By 1141 AR, a number of foreign nations were threatening to lay siege to Artokus's home city of Merab in order to control the scarce supply of the elixir. Merab turned to Thuvia's four other city-states for aid, promising to share the proceeds of the elixir equally among them. The alliance was established in 1142 AR, and the Citadel of the Alchemist was constructed on the edge of the Barrier Wall in order to protect Artokus and his laboratories. Heeding the urgings of a priestess of Pharasma called Taladere, the rulers of the city-states agreed to forego the benefits of the elixir for themselves and their people. Instead, they decreed that the only Thuvian allowed to take the elixir would be Artokus himself. The rest would be sold to foreigners.46
The supply of the elixir is rigorously controlled. Every year, a blind, mute servant emerges from the mysterious and heavily-fortified Citadel of the Alchemist with six vials. The vials are then transported to one of the five Thuvian city-states for auction, the order of which was set thousands of years ago.7 Selected foreign emissaries are invited to the host city to bid on a vial. The six highest bidders each get a vial; the losers get nothing but still forfeit the amounts bid.8 All proceeds from the auction go to the Thuvian government.5 However, the last two shipments have been lost due to apparent teleportation "accidents". This has damaged the young Emir of Pashow's standing, and he was replaced by Ziralia, daughter of the ambitious Prince Zinlo of Aspenthar.9
Effect on Thuvian society
The elixir is at the core of Thuvia's global influence, shaping Thuvian society itself. Each of the five major cities is meticulously designed to welcome a significant influx of visitors twice a decade. During these times, merchants and entertainers arrive to accommodate foreign bidders and their retinues. This has compelled the cities to fortify their defenses, relying on both magical and military strength to deter external powers from attempting to annex them or seize control of the elixir by force.5
Foreign investments from the sale of the elixir have led to the construction of grand palaces, expansive irrigation projects, universities, theaters, and more. Nevertheless, despite the wealth brought in by the elixir trade, the majority of Thuvians are not directly involved in it. Instead, they adhere to their traditional ways, which include herding flocks in a nomadic fashion, mining valuable ores and salt, engaging in trade with merchant caravans, or cultivating fertile lands out of the desert.5
- Osirian merchant Khalfani Zuberi, in 4307 AR10
- Countess Carmilla Caliphvaso11
- Staunton Vhane, the Forever Man12
- Queen Galfrey of Mendev, on two occasions13
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- Lost Omens Legends has codified that 'sun orchid elixir' is no longer a minor artefact, as it was in Pathfinder First Edition, but an alchemical elixir in Pathfinder Second Edition. Thus, the item no longer requires italic typeface. The First Edition detail is preserved in the infobox and category structure.
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 301. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Golden Road” in World Guide, 50. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- “Golden Road” in World Guide, 55–57. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- “Golden Road” in World Guide, 57. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 187. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- Death's Heretic, 50. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 186–7. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 189. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- The Prisoner of Skull Hill, 3. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Ashes at Dawn” in Ashes at Dawn, 42. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Plots and Perils” in Magnimar, City of Monuments, 44–45. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- “NPC Gallery” in The Midnight Isles, 54–55. Paizo Inc., 2013 .