Slouched against a withered tree is a degenerate priest, clad in the earth-stained clothes of one ill-acquainted with finery. He venerates the Octopus Goddess, although if pressed for details he will know far less about Her than a holy scholar should. He is also a drug addict. Rich, black soil fills his small sack, with a small colony of narcoworms feeding on a sweet-smelling fungus.
Narcoworms are long, slender worms that writhe at a glacial tempo. They appear purple at first glance, although there is a rainbow oil sheen to them upon closer inspection. If you happen to grind a living one into a fine paste which you then desiccate in a crucible, the resulting ashen powder is hallucinogenic if ingested or snorted through the nostrils. No one knows who originally worked out this procedure.
In faraway cities, there are worm dens where only the most degenerate and wealthy fuel orgies of hallucinatory stupor. Plush couches and pillows allow you to recline at the height of comfort while you observe your mortal body writhing in sweet agony. Outside the cities, few have even heard of the narcoworms' secret, and the procedure for preparing the worms has only been spread via ciphered notes disguised as children's drawings.
Like common earthworms, the narcoworms are simultaneous hermaphrodites. Their reproduction, which occurs about once every six weeks, is assisted by an excreted jelly which carries egg and sperm until their union. The presence of a mixture of this jelly and sea salt during the aforementioned preparatory procedure also maximizes its narcotic effects, although this secret knowledge is guarded carefully amongst the small, secret cabal of Worm-Givers.
Our friend the priest has learned, by a stroke of luck, to grind up those worms which are in the mating process when he can, along with a pinch of salt. He is a bit too slow-witted to realize how much of a profit can be made with this knowledge. He is slower still to realize that there are other Worm-Givers out there who would slit his throat for not providing them their due share of the profits from what must surely be a stolen secret.
When the PCs meet the priest, he will offer "enlightenment" to them, in the name of the right splendid Octopus Goddess. Anyone who partakes gains a +1 to their Wisdom for the day, but suffers one of the following effects:
Narcoworm Effects Table (d6)
1. Migraines, which last for one week. Each day, succeed a Saving Throw or else suffer a -1d4 penalty against all rolls for the day.
2. Hallucinate 1d4-1 additional NPCs/monsters per encounter. Roll with each new encounter. Lasts for the rest of the day.
3. All love everywhere is here eternal now living together through you and me. Lasts for the rest of the day or until cured.
4. Environmental confusion. Determine a climate type and weather at random. The character hallucinates that they are present in such an environment and takes appropriate action (such as changing outfit or seeking shelter). Lasts for the rest of the day.
5. Kleptomania or pyromania (DM's choice), 2d10 turns.
6. Every verbal communication that the character hears is perceived as a lie, meant to trick the character into peril. 3d10 turns.
If the narcoworm was mating and prepared with sea salt, roll twice on the chart and gain +1 Wisdom permanently.
Consuming the narcoworm powder repeatedly will build a cumulative chance (suggested 1% per dose) for the character to develop psionic powers. If a person with psionic abilities eats live narcoworms, they will gestate in the stomach and release invasive embryos into the bloodstream. These will eventually attack the blood-brain barrier and mutate the host into an Illithid, or whatever non-trademarked name you give a Mind Flayer. This, coincidentally, will please the Octopus Goddess.
The Narcoworm Priest:
- Sack of narcoworms (3d12) in soil
- Wooden holy symbol
- Worm preparation kit: crucible, mortar, pestle, tongs, and an alcohol lamp
- Poorly-written pornography
- 3 sp
What he wants:
- To gain followers to his religion.
- To bond with people over hallucinations.
- To learn more about these worms.
What he doesn’t want:
- To be exposed as a charlatan.
- To kill anyone.
- To incur the wrath of the Octopus Goddess.
[Note: the above blog post is an expansion of an idea first discussed in a previous entry]