Drugs and Poisons

Mortals use a variety of substances and herbs to heal, harm or alter perceptions. Most cannot be used directly by Cainites, though they may be imbibed indirectly through the blood of unwitting victims or willing volunteers (such as Assamite sorcerers' kalif-smokers). Rather than detailing the effect of every drug and poison used during the War of Princes, the following are the most common and typical effects.

  • Alcohol: A vampire drinking blood that contains alcohol suffers some of the effects of being drunk. For every two "drinks" consumed by the victim, the Cainite reduces her Dexterity and Intelligence pools by one die. This effect dissipates at the rate of one die per hour.
  • Bloodroot (Sanguinaria): The rare and dealy bloodroot is one of the few poisons directly harmful to Cainites. Consuming it (for example, mixed with blood) causes three health levels of aggravated damage, while using it as a contact poison (such as on the blade) inflicts two health levels of aggravated damage in addition to any injury caused by the new weapon. The poison attacks vampiric vitae, turning it into an ash-like black dust.
  • Food Poisoning (Salmonella): The vampire who consumes blood tainted by salmonella becomes nauseated and suffers a level of bashing damage. Additionally, she has difficulty drinking blood until purged of the bad blood, but she may force herself to drink (a Stamina roll against a difficulty 6). The effects of food poisoning wear off after about a day.
  • Hashish: In common use in the Middle East, hashish has a calming effect, but it also affects the imbiber's attentiveness. A vampire drinking hashish-tainted blood reduces any dice pool involving Perception by one. They also reduce the difficulty of resisting frenzy by one. These effects last for approximately one hour.
  • Hallucinogens: Hallucinogenic drugs such as cowbane, henbane and nightshade (belladonna) are used as both painkillers and poisons in the Dark Medieval. A vampire drinking blood that contains small quantities of such herbs reduces all dice pools between one and three (depending on the amount consumed by the victim) because of impaired concentration. The character also suffers effects equivalent to Haunt the Soul (Dementation 2). Other effects are at the Storyteller's discretion but may include a temporary point of Auspex or Courage. The effects of hallucinogens last for a number of hours equal to 8 - Stamina.
  • Painkillers: As with hallucinogens, herbs such as hemlock, mandrake and monkshood are used as both painkillers and poisons. In small doses, they reduce the disabling effects of injury, reducing by one the dice pool penalty inflicted by wounds. The effects last for a number of hours equal to 10 - Stamina.
  • Poison: Larger doses of hallucinogens or painkillers, or extracts such as arsenic, strychnine or cyanide, can prove fatal to mortals and harmful to Cainites. While a mortal may suffer an agonizing death, a Cainite subtracts one from all dice pools and takes between one and three health levels of lethal damage, depending on the strength of the poison and the amount of tainted blood drunk. Poisons cannot kill Cainites or drive them into torpor, but they can temporarily incapacitate them until the bad blood can be purged and the effects healed.