The Lotus Blossom

Contributed by: Thulsa ()

"The Coven-Master gave to me a phial
Of the dread opiate that is the key
To dream-gates opening upon a sea
Of acherontic vapours; mile on mile
Stretched ebon coasts untrod, wherefrom aspire
Pylons of rough-hewn stone climbing to skies
Alien-constellated, where arise
Grey mottled moons of cold and leprous fire.
I saw -- and screamed! And knew my doom of dooms
Learning at last... where the Black Lotus blooms."
-- Lin Carter: "Dreams from R'lyeh"

Several varieties of the Lotus blossom exist in the Hyborian Age, and each has different properties.

Buying Lotus Blossom: As a general rule, Lotus potions will be rare and expensive, but can be obtained from caravans, in temples and from the treasure hoards of sorcerers. While a single dose of Yellow Lotus might be purchased for as little as 100 gp, Black or Golden Lotus will often sell for 1,000 gp or more. As always, the DM has the final say.

Black Lotus

"[The powder] was made from black lotus, whose blossoms wave in the lost jungles of Khitai, where only the yellow-skulled priests of Yun dwell. Those blossoms strike dead any who smell of them." -- Robert E. Howard: "The Tower of the Elephant"

When the Black Lotus powder is burned in an incense bowl, it produces a dark green smoke. Black Lotus is a lethal poison, although it is said that certain dark sorcerers, such as Thoth-Amon, willingly breathe its fumes to regain strength. See the optional rule about Black Lotus for details.

The thief Taurus of Nemedia used black lotus powder to kill the lions in the gardens of the Tower of the Elephant.

The Black Lotus Swamp is a forlorn, snake-infested marsh that lies on the south bank of the Styx several days travel upriver from Khemi in Stygia. Some claim, however, that the black lotus only blooms in Khitai, where only the priests of Yun can harvest it.

In powder form, Black Lotus is treated as Dust of Sneezing and Choking.

In liquid form it is treated as poison (contact DC 20, initial damage 3d6 Con, secondary damage 3d6 Con).

When burned, inhaling the smoke of the black lotus has certain magic-restoring properties (see link above).

Purple Lotus

The Purple Lotus Swamp lies in south-central Stygia and is the source of a plant whose juices produce temporary paralysis. The swamp is said to be haunted by ghosts.

Under the effects of the purple lotus, the mind can sense everything but has no control at all over the body. Sorcerers use it in small doses to free their mind from the bonds of their bodies, but many unsavorily people use it for much darker purposes. The potion looks and smells like clear water and is undetectable.

In normal doses, it has the power to paralyze those who drink, ingest or breathe its fumes (ingested DC 13, initial damage paralysis, secondary damage 0).

In concentrated powder form (double dose), Purple Lotus dust is the bane of spellcasters. One pinch of this dust can be flung up to 30 feet from the user and will scatter to fill a 5-foot-radius sphere. All spellcasters within the area must make a saving throw (Fortitude DC 15) or find their minds dulled and their wits slowed. Spells which normally require 1 action to cast now require 1 full round; spells which normally have a casting time of 2 rounds or longer now require 50% longer than normal to cast. The dust persists in the area for 10 rounds (1 minute) unless somehow removed (e.g., a gust of wind spell). Those affected by the dust are impaired in their spellcasting for 1d4+1 minutes thereafter.

Yellow Lotus

"'... their lives are filled with exotic ecstasies, beyond the ken of ordinary men.'
'Damned degenerates!' growled Conan.
'It is all in the point of view,' smiled Thalis lazily."

-- Robert E. Howard: "The Slithering Shadow"

Yellow Lotus is a narcotic used for trances and visions. It blooms only in certain remote areas of Khitai.

The lotus itself is sometimes seen in these visions, and it could be that the flower itself exerts a malign influence through them.

The inhabitants of Xuthal, an ancient city in the Southern Desert of Kush, were addicted to the yellow lotus and spent most of their lives in lotus-induced dreams. (Actually, they were described as being addicted to the black lotus, but this would have made no sense as the black lotus is described as lethal in most other sources.)

Incense made from Yellow Lotus can be found in several varieties.

A half-dose of Yellow Lotus induces sleep in a willing target. At the DM's option, visions and omens can also be granted through its use.

A full dose functions as Incense of Concentration (OA). A spellcaster who burns this incense while preparing or readying spells for the day can cast one extra 1st-level spell that day.

Burning and inhaling two doses of Yellow Lotus, is equivalent of using Incense of Meditation. Useful for priests (only) who spend 8 hours praying and meditating nearby, the incense enables him to prepare all of his spells as though affected by the Maximize Spell metamagic feat. However, all the spells prepared in this way are at their normal level, not at three levels higher (as with the regular metamagic feat).

Grey Lotus

Grey Lotus is a drug which in liquid form causes madness, found in the Grey Lotus Swamp east of Khitai. The madness causes the imbiber to become a raving berserk that attacks everything in sight with unnatural strength. The victim has no control of himself and will kill and destroy until the effect wears off in a few minutes.

The imbiber of Grey Lotus will go berserk (gaining all benefits and drawbacks of a barbarian rage). He attacks the nearest creature and continues to fight until unconscious or dead or until no living thing remains within 30 feet.

More rarely, Grey Lotus exists in powder form, and can be blown into the face of enemies. It affects a single victim and has the same effects as drinking the potion, although a saving throw (Fortitude DC 15) is allowed to resist its effects.

White Lotus

This is a beneficial herb that heals wounds and cures disease. It is said to be cultivated in a secret place in Vendhya.

When the herb is crushed and turned into a salve, it has the properties of Keoughtom's Ointment.

Golden Lotus

"He drew a phial from among his robes. 'This contains the juice of the golden lotus. If your lover drank it he would be sane again.'" -- Robert E. Howard: "Shadows in Zamboula"

The juice of the golden lotus cures insanity and disease. It is even rumored that this potion can save a man poisoned by the black lotus.

It is not known where it blooms (said to be only in peaceful places that has never been disturbed by dark magic), but the priest Totrasmek of Hanuman, in Zamboula, possessed a vial of this rare potion.

Drinking a bottle of golden lotus juice has the effects of a heal spell.