The Heroes of Travia
Vartax is an addictive mind-altering substance which is illegal in most nations but has a fairly strong market in Steel Forges which, until recently, was cornered by the Black Fangs street gang. It is translucent amber in color and is granulated like sand. Its origin or means of production are not commonly known, and the only significant quantity located has been the warehouses formerly under Black Fang control.
Vartax is most often lit and smoked, but can also be ground in a mortar and pestle an made into a potion. A typical hit of vartax is one ounce, but vartax potions can be highly concentrated if produced by a skilled alchemist.
One hit of vartax grants the user +1 DEX and -1 WIS. This effect lasts one hour. For each additional hit, the -1 WIS stacks infinitely, and the effect lasts for an additional hour in total, though the wisdom penalty drops by one after each hour. The DEX effect stacks as well, accumulating at an decreasing rate.
|DEX bonus||total oz of vartax|
Lastly, the vartax grants the user a state of euphoria.
The wisdom penalty is temporary damage and cannot be restored by a restoration spell or similar. It can only be reduced by allowing the vartax to run its course, although the user may still benefit from other wisdom bonuses such as owl’s wisdom. If at any point the user’s wisdom drops to 0, the user has effectively overdosed and his wisdom damage becomes permanent. The only way to restore him is to first allow the vartax to pass through his system (2d4+1 days, see next section) and cast restoration to heal his wisdom drain. While a vartax user is in this coma, his vital organs begin to fail and he takes CON damage at a rate of 1/day. If his constitution falls to 0, he dies.
For every ounce of vartax taken, there is a 20% chance the user will become addicted. When a user is addicted, he must have some vartax in his system at all times. If he goes for a full day without taking at least an ounce of vartax, he will enter withdrawal. Withdrawal consists of 1 day of sickness followed by 2d4 days of nausea. For every month of addiction, the user suffers 1 point of CON, INT, and WIS drain. Withdrawal can be ended immediately by taking vartax. Whether withdrawal ends naturally or by taking more vartax, any ability drain suffered as a result of the addiction remains.
Vartax use carries with it a chance of becoming enraged. For every ounce of vartax taken, there is a 5% chance that the user will become enraged exactly as the Barbarian class feature.