A highly addictive drug, Akira is an enhancer of psychic powers. It turns ordinary mortals into psychics, and those who already have magical or psychic talents into virtual superhumans – while it lasts.
The exact details of its naming are unknown, but it seems likely that it was named for the legendary Japanese comic series, which prominently features psychic powers.
Akira enjoyed a brief vogue as the drug of choice of Los Angeles’ Sub Rosa (i.e. magical) subculture, but the strongly expressed disapproval of Sandman Slim (and the disappearance of its source) put paid to that.
Allswell is a chemical that naturally occurs in the human brain (at least, the humans of Arbre). It makes people feel a sense of well-being and optimism. Some centuries ago, it was genetically engineered into the plant named Blithe, which is a dietary staple throughout Arbre.
Throughout Arbre except in the maths, that is. The avout are forbidden to consume it – or even to grow it – and their time spent outside their maths is limited to ten days in order to stop it from starting to affect them adversely.
Little is known about Amazo Pills other than the name. Certain inferences can be be made based on it, however.
Amazo Pills are named after an android created by one Professor Ivo, which was able to duplicate all the superhuman abilities of the Justice League of America.
It is likely, therefore, that the pills duplicate this effect to some extent, and presumably allow the user to duplicate the powers of nearby superhumans. Amazo himself was able to duplicate even powers granted by artifacts such as Green Lantern’s ring or Wonder Woman’s lasso – it is unlikely that the drug is anywhere near this powerful.
Apprehension of Beauty is one of many designer drugs developed by Orange County pharmacologist Sandy Chapman, and like most of his output, it is a colourless liquid that is taken by dropping directly into the eye.
A very, very distracting drug, Apprehension of Beauty is a minor hallucinogen that does not cause visual distortions, but does cause the user to pay more attention to, well, everything. As such, they tend to wander about looking like slack-jawed yokels in the big city for the first time.
One of the most societally destablising drugs ever developed, Ascomycin is an anti-agathic, which is to say, it is a drug that prevents or retards aging.
Ascomycin is a drug that confers non-specific immunity. It’s less an anti-biotic than a true endotoxin, and works to prevent nearly any disease from affecting those dosed with it – and a single dose lasts about 70 years.
The mechanism of the drug involves stimulation of the reticulo-endothelial system (the white blood cells and such). It is apparently a biological drug with multiple sources, though generally not more than one or two to a plant. The Okie ‘Cities in Flight’ use it as part of an their immortality drug suite.
Batch 5 is a particular formulation in a series of mixtures of Pituarin and Pinearin. The exact quantities of each, and any other possible ingredients, are not known. A potent and unpredictable mutagen, it was administered to several inmates at the Larkhill Resettlement Camp during 1993.
While the effects of Batches 1 through 4 are unknown, Batch 5 frequently caused the development of supernumary organs in those it was administered to, often accompanied by the atrophy of other organs. It was regarded as a success by the researchers and administration of Larkhill, although those it was administered to were not volunteers and gave no consent to be experimented on, and most of them died in agony.
In at least once case, that of the individual known only as “Codename V”, Batch 5 seems to have caused no deleterious physical effects, instead apparently enhancing strength and agility, although it is possible that the drug did drive “V” mad – or perhaps madder, as “V” may have already been insane at the time he was dosed.
No known samples of Batch 5 or instructions for its preparation survived the destruction of the Larkhill camp by “Codename V”.
Bentlam, also known as benny, ben weed and happy sleep, is am alien drug similar in chemical composition to earthly marijuana. It is, however, prepared to avastly higher degree of purity than any marijuana or hashish or Earth ever was.
In effect, it is a mild euphoric that induces a state of pleasant drowsiness in its users. Other symptoms include impaired physical coordination, although cognition is unaffected. It is illegal in most jurisdictions.
Bipolar Bears is a line of combination vitamins and mood-altering drugs, produced by The Corporation and marketed primarily at teenage girls. Not much more is known about them, but the odds are that they’re basically chewable Prozac with added vitamin C and artificial orange flavouring.
Black Forest High is a breed of marijuana grown a woman described (by those who do not know her well, which is nearly everyone) as “a little old lady from Pasadena”. In actuality, the woman in question is more or less ageless. Her name is Agnes, and just by coincidence, she’s a witch. A murderous cannibalistic Nazi witch.
The Black Forest High was grown in the basement of her house, which was extensive as a result of having been originally constructed as a funeral home with a large attached bomb shelter, and fertilised with the remains of the young humans killed by the witch. At the present time, all known samples of Black Forest High have been destroyed, but Agnes is still out there, somewhere. Only time will tell when she returns and whether she’ll bring her drug with her.
Made from the sun-dried meat of the giant aquatic Brazilian centipede, the Black Meat is a rare delicacy even among drug users.
Little is known of the giant aquatic Brazilian centipede, and indeed, conventional taxonomies do not list it. It is unclear whether it the insect inhabits freshwater or the seas, although the former is more likely.
The centipedes are harvested by Interzone Inc., and taken to Interzone in North Africa where the flesh is dried by the hot Saharan sun. It is then ground up to form a light black powder, which can be injected or snorted by the user. Its effects are largely undocumented, although one user who was using it mixed with Bug Powder described the experience as ‘a Kafka high’, in reference to his story, Metamorphosis.
One of the CIA’s “New Ghetto Drugs for ’98” collection, Blue Glass is a cheap upper that comes in the form of a blue powder smoked like crack.
The results of taking Blue Glass include almost the complete list of classic euphoric effects: feelings of extreme optimism and happiness; greatly enhanced reflexes; sensory and sexual pleasure; and improved visual acuity.
Sadly the effects are almost immediately followed by the onset semi-permanent suicidal catatonia, meaning that although users will become addicted very quickly, they will also be unlikely to rouse themselves to get a second hit of Blue Glass, despite its low, low price of only a single American dollar per hit.
The Blue Mold grows wild on the walls of the derelict parts of London’s underground railway network. It’s slightly luminous, but for the real fun to start, you have to smoke it.
Smoked in a pipe, joint or bong, the Blue Mold is a powerful hallucinogenic that unshackles one’s mind from this reality, and allows it to perceive normally invisible parallel dimensions.
It’s used in the initiatory ceremonies of the mysterious conspiracy known as The Invisibles, and possibly in others of their ceremonies as well. In the world of the Invisibles, not only are the words of the prophets writtten on the subway walls, but the source of all their visions grows there free for anyone to take.
Blue Shock looks like a shiny blue cough syrup and kicks like amyl nitrate’s bigger, stronger brother. Generally taken in doses of no more than a teaspoonful at a time, the immediate result of ingestion is agonising pain.
Fortunately, the pain wears off after a few seconds, leaving every nerve in the body more sensitive than usual. As such, it can be used to heighten sexual pleasure (and it is popular in Al Amarja’s S&M scene for both its effects).
Of course, having your sense of touch heightened also makes pain more intense, so it’s not all good. Not to mention the statistically improbable correlation between Blue Shock use and spontaneous combustion.
In September 1967, Blue Sunshine was created in a lab at Stanford. It was a variant of LSD, used by a number of members of the graduating class of that year.
In 1978, a previously unknown set of side effects to Blue Sunshine use became apparent: it caused swift hair loss, inhuman strength and murderous psychotic episodes in several users. Medical study of one of them showed severe chromosonal damage resulting from the drug’s use. An investigation conducted by the FDA located some but not all of the former users of the drug, with a total of 255 doses remaining unaccounted for.
One of the CIA’s “New Ghetto Drugs for ’98” collection, Brainscratch is a cheap hallucinogen that comes in the form of a liquid taken by dropping it into the eyes.
The result of taking Brainscratch is terrifying hallucinations. Test subjects reported loss of identity and feelings of total dislocation from human world, and its effects can last anywhere from ten years to the rest of the life of the user. Pretty good value for the cost of only two American dollars per hit.
A basic insecticide of the fifties in common use throughout New York City, Bug Powder is a yellowish powder that apparently kills bugs.
I say ‘apparently’ because from what little we see of it, it’s none too effective on bugs. Indeed, it is sufficiently un-threatening that it can be eaten or injected by humans, which is hardly the quality of a deadly poison.
It apparently improves the sexual experience, at least for women, with one user stating that she no longer needed to reach orgasm thanks to the drug. Its other effects are not well-known, although one user who was using it mixed with heroin described the experience as ‘a Kafka high’, in reference to his story, Metamorphosis.
Bynogol was the first drug created by Dr Phillip Wang for Calenture-Deutz. A hayfever treatment, it was retailed in both inhalant and pill forms. It was the drug that made Calenture-Deutz, their first real success.
Bynogol was one of the few drugs to be profitable enough to survive the demise of Calenture-Deutz, and it remains available via Rilke Pharmaceuticals.
It is intended to help treat the effects of spaceflight osteopenia – the phenomenon whereby prolonged exposure to low gravity, micro-gravity or zero gravity environments causes the bones to weaken. It is unclear whether Ca-Fix works to prevent or reduce the loss of calcium, or whether it replaces lost calcium.
Cake is a made up drug which is a metabolically bisturbile cranabolic amphetamoid, originating from the Czech Republic. After becoming popular in Prague at so-called “boom raves”, it spread to other European cities, notably London. It is so new that it was technically legal when it first reached the United Kingdom in 1997, in what became known as the ‘summer of death’.
Side effects of Cake include severe water retention, especially in the neck (a symptom referred to as ‘Czech Neck’, which is caused by the yellow dye frequently used to increase the visual appeal of the drug). Another common symptom is massive dehydration, caused by the body expelling the water via tears or vomit. Another effect of Cake, via its active chemical, dimesmeric anson-phosphate, a psychoactive that affects the part of the brain known as Shatner’s Bassoon, which deals with time perception, elongating it massively. Frequent users often experience symptoms of depression.
Cake is also known as “loonytoad quack”, “Joss Ackland’s spunky backpack”, “ponce on the heath”, “rustledust”, or “Hattie Jacques pretentious cheese wog”, and was once the subject of a question in Parliament by MP David Amess (Conservative Party Member for Basildon).
The scourge of Cake has apparently now been defeated, as it has not been sighted on the streets of Europe for well over a decade.
California Mello is one of many designer drugs developed by Orange County pharmacologist Sandy Chapman, and like most of his output, it is a colourless liquid that is taken by dropping directly into the eye.
As the name suggests, it provokes a feeling of mellowness in the user, akin to being mildly intoxicated. It is most often used in combination with other drugs.
Castran’s Binder is a purgative that is administered in some cases of heavy metal poisoning, particularly those where cadmium or closely related substances are the poisons.
As the name suggests, it is a binding agent, working on a molecular level to capture molecules of the heavy metal and carry them out of the body by the normal processes of elimination. It is known to be safe to administer to humans and Shorshians.
Designed for the treatment of Alzheimers, Clarity is a product of Judge Pharmaceuticals. Early animal trials found that it increased cognitive function in rats, but due to the need for secrecy, finding human subjects to test it on proved more difficult.
However the drug’s commercial viability – as a potential cure for Alzheimers, Judge stood to make millions, if not billions – was such that the history of Clarity is one of literal backstabbing – the race for to take credit for it in the company led to murder on more than one occasion.
Communion is a deeply sinister drug, and all the more so for being legal. In a future of ecological catastrophe and over-population, that government has sanctioned mass suicides. They even provide the drug for them, at no charge: Communion.
The drug has two parts: a neurotoxin absorbed through your saliva, and a muscle relaxant that kicks in more slowly, killing you softly and painlessly.
Unless, of course, your mouth is dry from the excitement of your impending end, in which case the neurotoxin won’t work as advertised but the muscle relaxant will, killing you, but only after a minute or so of extreme physical anguish during which time you are fully conscious but unable to move.
Communion is a bitter-tasting powder that causes the user to experience ecstatic union with their god or gods. Usually taken by mixing into tea (generally with a lot of sugar), Communion is particularly popular with the devotees of Karla Sommers living on Al Amarja.
The drug is all-encompassing, affected all five senses. Users often come back from their trips with missions – often vaguely-defined – from their deities. The objective reality of the experience of Communion is a hotly-debated topic in theological and pharmacological circles.
The drug itself is made from the glands of dead glugs, the secretive original species of humans who hide in our midst – although most glugs would be horrified if they knew the drug’s origins, and would almost certainly kill those of their number who are responsible for its creation.
Strongly implied to the ambrosia of the gods, the liquid supplied by Hebe to the Olympians that kept them immortal and deific, Cupbearer’s Elixir is an alchemical preparation whose formula is a closely guarded secret.
Despite its general associations, it is not actually a healing elixir. Rather, it halts the changes of the body, retarding injury, disease and healing to an equal degree. While it is often used to halt the spread of incurable diseases, such as leprosy, it can also be used to prevent scars from healing, should one be so inclined.
A cyberdrug, that is, one used only by robots and other cybernetic organisms, each Darkshot is in fact part of the body of the entity variously known as the Hell Ditch Pilgrim or Andy Soames.
One of the most potent drugs ever known, each Darkshot is a small captured quantity of Dark Energy – the very virtual particles that bind galazxies and timelines together. Taking it allows machine consciouness to access – or at least view – the root controls of the universe in some fashion.
Perhaps fortunately, Darkshots are no longer produced, as the entity that it derives from has now mutated into a more benign form.
The Deflating Draught is probably best known as an antidote to the Swelling Solution. As such, it is a standard medical treatment in the wizarding world, used to reduce swellings of all kinds, whether they are magically induced or not.
Rumours that it can be used as a kind of magical viagra remain unconfirmed.
Diarrax is a medical grade laxative that enjoyed a brief vogue in the mid-nineties United Kingdom, where it appeared on the scene just as the privatisation of the NHS really got going.
Diarrax would not be noteworthy at all except for its tangential connection to one of the worst scandals in Scottish medical history: a symposium on euthanasia it sponsored for the Midlothian NHS Trust, at which the head of the trust, Stephen Lime, recruited one Dr Jeremy Ponsonby to serve as a provider of involuntary euthanasia to several patients in the Trust’s geriatric facility.
It is believed that the resulting bad publicity may have tainted the brand, as Diarrax is no longer in common use in NHS facilities.
A drug that makes it possible to work even harder would only ever be popular in one place: the Action Center, where people have been known to have their need for sleep surgically removed. Technically, Dilligenz is illegal, but since a cabal of its users informally seized power in the Action Centre, that’s more or less a moot point.
The real problem with Dilligenz is that it’s made from the brains of other human beings. The process is as painless as anything involving a syringe can be, but tends to leave the ‘donor’ rather docile. As bad a crime against humanity that is, Dilligenz II is worse: a stronger version of the drug, it tends to leave its ‘donors’ in persistent vegetative states. Which is why none of them are volunteers.
Actually, all of the above is a story put about for political reasons connected to maneuverings inside the Action Centre. In truth, Dilligenz is manufactured from a plant extract, and what limited effects it has are placebos.
An hallucinogen of such terrifying potency that they use Crack to cut it, Dopaz is regarded as a terrible drug even by those who take Strim.
The overwhelming sensations of taking it are a powerful lethargy, and an equally (if not more) powerful obsession with the colour orange. To the Dopaz user, all knowledge, truth and wisdom in this world is to be found in the colour orange, but since you have to be on Dopaz to really understand this, the revelations have been understandably slow to spread.
Created by the Ethicals of the Riverworld, Dreamgum is a form of highly addictive chewing gum. It is distributed along with their food to all Riverworlders at each evening meal in their Grails.
It causes vivid hallucinations and a certain degree of lowered inhibitions amongst users. Since the first time it was distributed no one knew what its effects were, the first night on Riverworld was an orgy of sex and violence.
After that, it became a much less popular drug, although a certain number of Riverworlders became hardcore addicts – an addiction that could not be broken by the death and resurrection, as it has no physical component.
There is no drug more pernicious or addicting than this. Fortunately, there is also no drug more rare or hard to find. In fact, you can only find it in the movie version of Naked Lunch.
The Drug That Does Not Exist appears to be a creation of the fevered imagination of withdrawing multiply-addicted writer William Lee. God only knows what he was addicted to at that point – Bug Powder, Mugwump Jism, the Black Meat, and possibly even some real drugs like heroin or morphine…
For obvious reasons, little is known about this drug. But the smart money says that William Lee is right, and that withdrawal from it is a real bitch…
After all, if a man as experienced in the matters of addiction and withdrawal as William Lee is absolutely terrified of this particular withdrawal above all others, then it’s something the rest of us are better off not knowing too much about.
The Elixir of Life is a potion that prevents aging, although regular drafts of it must be taken or it will wear off. It can also be used in certain circumstances to recreate a body for those who have misplaced theirs through poorly applied magic.
Created by the alchemist Nicholas Flamel through the use of the Philosopher’s Stone, it is unclear whether or not there remains another means of creating it now that the Stone has been destroyed, or whether the remaining supplies of it are all there is.
Ex-Tend is an anti-agathic about which little is known. It appears to be a close relative of the drug FOREVER.
Although little is known about the mechanisms by which it works, it is known that it does not confer actual immortality, in addition to which there were claims of deleterious side effects. Nonetheless, most users are content to take it for now, and let it delay their aging until an even better anti-agathic is invented.
Ex-Tend exists in only a handful of closely-related alternate timelines or eigenstates.
An almost completely reliable truth serum, Fast-penta is a commonly-used tool of ImpSec, the Barrayaran intelligence agency, and of numerous of its allies and enemies, too.
The drug itself relaxes physical tensions, as well as mental and emotional inhibitions. It is not so much that it compels honesty, as that it compels docility and helpfulness – which, in the hands of a skilled interrogator, amounts to about the same thing.
Artificial immunity to it is sometimes given to operatives by their agencies, and similar immunity has been bred into the genetically manipulated haut and ba classes of Cetaganda. More rarely, some people have naturally idiosyncratic reactions to it, in which the effects are more similar to those of ecstasy or LSD – Miles Naismith Vorkosigan is one of these.
Fastlife is an all-natural, legal stimulant created by Quint Herbal Supplements, with extensive R&D support from elements of Earnshaw Pharmaceutical. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it turned out that Fastlife caused heart attacks among some users, which led to a court case directed against Quint, the founder of the company bearing his name.
Earnshaw’s money tried to keep this killing drug on the shelves, but the involvement of the Leverage Consulting and Associates team managed to defeat them.
FEMFREE is a drug that suppresses the maternal instincts in women. It is not clear how this physical effect is acheived, but it seems likely that it suppresses certain hormones, and likely also reduces the likelihood of conception.
However, the social effects of the drug are even more striking. Shortly after the drug’s introduction, it was outlawed by President Lousewart, which swiflty led to the formation of a black market selling FEMFREE to the women who wanted it.
Fire Protection Potion – also known as Ice Potion – is a potion that protects the imbiber from the effects of naked flames, whether natural or magical. It is generally purple or black in colour, and known ingredients of the potion include bursting mushrooms, salamander blood and wartcap powder, although it is clear that there are other ingredients in addition to these.
When drunk, Fire Protection Potion gives the imbiber intense chills, sometimes described as feeling like ice flooding their body. Its effects are relatively short lived, but near to absolute while they last.
The Forever Compund is an alchemical serum produced by the Brotherhood of the Shield. It is a diluted form of the Elixir of Immortality developed by Isaac Newton in 1652.
While it still retains the life-prolonging properties of its parent elixir, it doesn’t keep any of the other properties. In particular, it does not prevent the mind or body of the person injected with it from decaying.
Newton administered it to Nostradamus in 1652, which kept the seer alive and also kept his prophetic gifts intact until Nostradamus took the Elixir of Immortality three hundred years later.
Friends are a series of slightly varying stimulants, created by the biochemist Gail in post-pandemic Melbourne, Australia. They’re a slow release amphetamine, peaking several hours after they are taken.
Different versions of the recipe appear to differ in their level of intoxicating power, although all types of Friends seem to have at least some effect in this direction. The drug is mildly addictive and absolutely illegal under the near-theocracy that is post-pandemic Australia’s Nation First government, but is for some reason produced in capsule form and sold in blister packs like aspirin.
Giagra was sold through classified ads in some of the more dubious porn magazines. It was a penis enlarging drug that not only lacked FDA approval but actually boasted about the fact in its advertisements. Unsurprisingly, this led the FDA to raid the headquarters of Dopecom, manufacturers of Giagra, and shut them down.
The recommended dose is a quarter ounce a day. Exceeding the recommended daily dose of Giagra can cause side effects such as heart palpitations and blurred vision. A young man named Richard Head broke into the Dopeco factory and was mutated into a human-sized and -shaped penis capable of ejaculating through the hole on the top of his head after falling into a vat of Giagra. He became a supervillain under the name Dick Head.
Gigglepig is a variant form of ecstasy that experienced a brief vogue as the party drug du jour in Brooklyn in the second half of 2014.
Due the efforts of a New York Police Department task force headed by detective Rosa Diaz of the Ninety-Ninth Precinct, the pipeline smuggling the drug into the city was shut down, and the remaining street supplies of Gigglepig were consumed or abandoned shortly thereafter.
Hadive originates on the planet Vandemar, where it is pronounced “hah-DEE-vay”. In most of the galaxy, it is more commonly pronounced “hay-DIVE”. It is a thick black tar not unlike hashish in appearance and texture, and is usually consumed by smoking it in a similar fashion to hashish.
Hadive causes synaesthetic effects in users, causing users to taste sounds or smell words. Organised Hadive dens usually attempt to provoke the strongest stimulus possible, as the intensity of the drug’s effect is directly proportional to the strength of the stimulus. Loud, discordant music and strobing lights tend to feature heavily.
Most users report the synaesthesia to be pleasurable.
A pill produced on the island of Krakoa, the independent mutant nation located in the west Pacific, Human Drug I is a life extension treatment, prolonging human life by five years. It is unclear whether this means five years per dose, or is a singular effect that a given person can only benefit from once.
It is a naturally produced chemical grown by specialised and unique plants on Krakoa, and distributed to nations that have the appropriate treaties with Krakoa by the Hellfire Trading Company.
A pill produced on the island of Krakoa, the independent mutant nation located in the west Pacific, Human Drug I is a cure for ‘diseases of the mind.’ It is unclear whether mutantphobia is one of the affected diseases.
It is a naturally produced chemical grown by specialised and unique plants on Krakoa, and distributed to nations that have the appropriate treaties with Krakoa by the Hellfire Trading Company.
Of unknown derivation, Hyperdrene is generally considered to be an hallucinogen, as the imps and pixies one sees under its influence are presumably hallucinations.
However, these hallucinations can be seen by other people too, although only during the 4-5 hours that the drug’s effects last, which begs the question of whether or not they are real.
It is possible that Hyperdrene is not an hallucinogen at all, but rather a drug that creates a briefly existing super-position between this dimension and the adjacent one more usually inhabited by the pixies. Attempts to question the pixies about this have been fruitless, as their only form of communication appears to be reciting nonsensical couplets.
Icpathua is a sedative created from a plant that grows naturally in wherever it is that the true human beings (not vodsels like you and I) come from. Like most matters regarding the human beings, it is shrouded in mystery.
It appears to be a mild euphoric when consumed by human beings directly from the plant, but can also be refined into a strong sedative that knocks out even the strongest vodsel males. In the latter capacity, it was used as part of an extensive hunting operation in eastern Scotland, to capture vodsels for their meat, which is considered a delicacy by human beings, and shipped back to their home to be sold at extortionate prices.
Iocane is one of the deadliest known poisons. It is usually found in a powdered form, and dissolves instantly in most liquids. It has no taste or smell, and is thus close to undetectable. It is also a very swift acting poison, killing in less than a minute.
Despite its deadliness, it is possible, by repeated application of the smallest doses, gradually increasing in size over a course of several years, to develop an immunity to it, although the limits of this immunity have rarely been tested, as only a single individual is known to have developed it.
Iocane originates in Australia, where it is a small but highly valuable part of that nation’s export trade, and a well-known tool of business in its criminal underworld.
One of the most potent varieties of coffee yet invented, Jahavan coffee is genetically engineered to race through your bloodstream in search of alcohol molecules, and beat the crap out of any it finds. A single cup will sober you up from any quantity of booze short of alcohol poisoning (and possibly even then).
This tends to cause a level of sobriety closely resembling knurd, leading to foolish and unhelpful thoughts regarding the things in one’s life that usually don’t bother you, like not liking your job, and having no girlfriend, and the galloping menace of tooth decay, and how much everything costs these days, and that stain on the carpet you never noticed before, and…
Produced by Futurza – the same pharmaceutical company that brought the world both Fibromyalgia, and a highly-priced (not to mention dubiously effective) cure for Fibromyalgia – Joyvetrex was a 2013 anti-depressant and mood enhancer that was heavily pushed onto the medical community.
It is chiefly notable for living up to none of the promises made in its advertising (or by its sales reps).
A bog-standard amphetamine with a cool name, Jumpstart is one of the most popular stimulants in the City. It’s even legal for some professions, such as journalists.
Jumpstart is often accused of being an halluncinogen, but in fact, the waking dreams and delusions associated with prolonged use are the normal effect of days or weeks of sleep deprivation, and only incidentally associated with the drug itself.
Key 17 is a potent hallucinogen with highly specialised effects.
It causes the user to experience written signals as the objects themselves – a coffee mug reading ‘world’s greatest dad’ would be perceived as the user’s father, for example.
Key 17 is used as a means of interrogation by the agents of the Outer Church, who use it to substitute for actual torture by creating the illusion that such torture has taken place. Key 17 also appears to have a secondary effect (common to hallucinogens in general) of messing with the user’s sense of time’s passage.
A similar drug called Key 23 also exists – it appears to be a later refinement of of the original.
KT-28’s, or Katies, as they are known on the street, are a psychoactive drug from the graphic novel Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. The effects of this drug are never made clear in the book, only that it is a popular and addictive street drug with the ‘Knot-Tops’ of New York – a curious coincidence, given the drug’s name.
However, in an apparently unrelated section of the book, Dr Manhattan mentions that he can synthesize lithium in limitless amounts, leading to a number of scientific advances based on cheap, abundant lithium.
On that basis, it is likely that this otherwise unknown drug is also a lithium derivative – and indeed, lithium has a long history as a drug used in psychiatric treatments, making it a likely choice. Based on the name of the drug, which sounds more like an abbreviated chemical formula than anything street, it’s likely that KT-28 is a drug with a legitimate psychiatric use that finds its way to the streets illicitly.
Ladolian is a potent hallucinogen that originally derives from the now-gone civilisation of Mars. It is extracted from a species of Martian mold that has long since been exported to every ecosystem that will support it.
In colour, it is a yellow-green viscous liquid, with a distinctive smell and a surpassingly bitter taste. Users often dilute it with ice water, licorice or fennel to cut the flavour enough that it is pleasant to taste.
The hallucinations caused by the drug are usually wish-fulfilment visions, and the drug in perversely popular among the idle rich despite its illegality. Prolonged use leads to a number of unpleasant side effects, most prominently sterility and impaired mental function.
A weaponised aphrodisiac designed largely for urban pacification by the US military, Love Bomb never quite lived up to its promise. Based largely on existing MDMA drugs, it was supposed to be the ultimate in disarming the enemy: literally leading them to throw down their arms – and their clothes, and whatever remaining inhibitions they might have.
Never successfully developed, Love Bomb is rumoured to have turned up on the streets from time to time, although it is unclear whether it did, or whether the stories of it are simply urban myths (or exaggerated claims by dealers).
Love Potion No. 9 is an aphrodisiac of undeniable potency, and great caution is urged in its use. It is a deep black in colour and smells not unlike turpentine.
As far as can be told, it is sold only by Madame Rue, a gypsy reader of palms and maker of potions who, as of 1959, lived at a place on the corner of Vine St and 34th St (now Jefferson Boulevard) in Los Angeles, California.
It induces feelings of extreme amorousness in those who imbibe it – so great that they may feel amorous towards inanimate objects, even – although how long these feelings last, the appropriate dosage, the best-before date, and the true identity of Madame Rue (as the name is most certainly a pseudonym) are details lost in the mists of time. Lost with them, apparently, are Love Potions Number 1 through 8, whose existence can be inferred from this Potion’s number, and possibly additional Love Potions numbered 10 or higher.
Technically, that should be MañanacillinTM, which is how it inevitably appears when mentioned in the pages of American Flagg!.
MañanacillinTM is of that class of substances euphemistically referred to as ‘morning after pills’ or abortifacients. Sold in pill form by the Plex, its existence serves primarily to reinforce the general disregard for the consequences of their actions that characterises most of the citizenry of 2030’s Chicago.
Curiously absent from American Flagg! is any religious group decrying MañanacillinTM as the offence against God’s will they would no doubt see it as.
Mandrake Restorative Draught is cure for various magical curses and transfigurations.
One of its best known uses is to cure the victims of basilisk attacks, a use to which it was put to cure the several victims of such attacks at Hogwarts across 2002 and 2003. Mandrake Restorative Draught is unusual in that it equally efficacious when administered to ghosts as to the living.
Perhaps the ultimate aphrrodisiac, MDA-Cubed is a spectacularly potent date-rape drug that heightens the sexual impulse to the level of insanity. Users have been known to couple with anyone and anything, their usual sexual preferences notwithstanding. This is not limited to people, but also includes animals, plants and the occasional mechinical device or piece of furniture.
Immensely dangerous to social mores, MDA-Cubed is also in that class of drugs that is never as good afte the first time – not that this stops chronic users from chasing that high again and again.
A rare cyberdrug that affects both machines and people, Mechanics is a hard drug to quantify. It is slow to build into an addiction, but irreversible in its effects long before that point.
Mechanics can only be taken by a human and an artificial intelligence in tandem – it is a source code level drug that rewrites the source code of those who take it. For a human, that means DNA.
Each use of the drug transforms a little more of the user’s body into inorganic matter, slowly transforming them into a cyborg at first, and later, an artificial intelligence altogether. The high from taking the drug might fade away, but the mutations never do.
Little is known about Mega Dope other than that, on the mean streets of 2006 Detroit, it gets you Mega High! The Kickpuncher, a cybernetic cop whose punches have the force of kicks, fights a lonely struggle to end its scourge.
At least, he does in the fictional Kickpuncher movie franchise beloved of Troy Barnes and Abed Nadir, as well as several other students of Greendale Community College.
Less a drug than a strong parallel to drugs, Modhra Coral is dispersed consciousness that lives in coral polyps local to the moon Modhra II in the Sisstarko system. It is a sentient hive mind, although the limitations of distance mean that its colonies can lose contact with each other, and although the guiding consciousness remains the same, information known to an isolated colony may be lost if that colony is destroyed.
Modhra Coral is a highly controlled substance on most worlds, as any cuts on the skin allow it to implant polyps in those have touched it and eventually control them. It has limited psychic abilities whose strength is dependent on the size of the colony, which it uses to communicate amonst itself, and also to impel still more people to touch the coral and fall under its control.
The consciousness of Modhra Coral is usually referred to as just “the Modhra”. It was a creation of the imperialistic and warlike Shonkla-raa race (now fortunately extinct) that survived its masters and sought to continue their misson.
As of the Earth Year 2085, it is believed to have been destroyed; although independent infectees (“walkers”) still remain at large, their numbers are believed to be insufficient to pose a threat.
Derived from the bodily fluids of one of the fastest of all mammals, Moongoose Blood is a superhuman level stimulant, capable of accelerating the bodies of users into speeds just short of light speed, visible to the naked eye only as lightning-like flashes.
Also known as ‘Goose Juice, the drug is highly illegal and the police force of Neopolis finds it a perennial problem.
An entire sub-culture has grown up around the use of Mongoose Blood, which can be best characterised as ‘extreme rave culture’. Goose music is so fast that to those not currently on the drug hear it only as a painfully high-pitched whine.
Secreted by the mysterious Mugwumps of Interzone, Mugwump Jism is a colorless liquid that produces intoxicating effects on humans.
In fact, Mugwump Jism actually comes in two finely distinguished varieties, with similar effects. Strangely, what excites the Mugwumps (who are sentient bipeds of about the same size as humans, and appear to be some form of amphibian) to produce this drug is artistic creation, especially of a literary variety.
However, they do produce it even without this inspiration, albeit at a slower rate, and it is a sad but not uncommon sight in Interzone to see a chained Mugwump surrounded by a small circle of addicts sucking upon its excretions.
Deadly and dangerous, Nightmare is a drug that, as the name suggests, causes nightmares in the user. Perhaps more disturbingly, it implants pre-recorded nightmares in them.
Found only in Al Amarja, Nightmare is made from the excretions of tulpas – dream entities that have managed to acheive a physical existence in the mundane world. Pushers of the drug, known as Sandmen, gather this dung, and record the nightmares of potent dreamers by smearing it on their foreheads while they sleep.
The dung is then collected, and processed into an injectable serum, and sold to the rich and jaded whose capacity to experience strong emotions has atrophied.
Derived from the copper-based nine-fish of Centralia IV, Nitrolabe has several peculiarities compated to most drugs. The nine-fish secrete Nitrolabe as a poison that they use their spines to inject their attackers with. However, the poison only works on creatures who blood is copper-based. On creatures with iron-based blood, its effects are quite different.
Nitrolabe acts as a neural enhancer, increasing the speed and intensity of neural connections in the user to the extent that they are reduced to a twitching, orgasmic trance for the hour or so that a standard dose lasts. However, repeated usage causes neural connections to misfire or fail, causing pain, neural degredation and dystrophy, so that the user will over time come to require the drug in order to be able to function normally.
Proclaimed by the Surgeon-General of the United States to be the most addictive and dangerous narcotic in human history, Nuke is apparently a mixture of several other drugs, notably benzedrine and scopalimine.
Available in a wide variety of flavours, each one a different colour, there is a Nuke for every mood – white noise, black thunder, red ramrod and blue velvet are listed, although red ramrod is far and away the most popular. All are distributed in ampoules about an inch and half long, which are injected directly into the user’s skin.
Made in Detroit by the psychotic drug lord and cult leader Cain, Nuke is no longer produced after Robocop killed Cain and destroyed his manufacturing facilities.
Possibly the most powerful mutagen ever created, the Nuncio (Latin for ‘messenger’) was created by Dr Richard Fletcher in the late Sixties, in a private lab funded by Randolph Jaffe in Baja California, on the coast of the Pacific.
There are two versions of the drug, the lesser being a prototype that was tested on an ape named Raul and evolved him to more human state, making him sentient and capable of human speech. The completed Nuncio was a bluish serum that was known to move under its own power in search of a host.
The effects of the serum varied from person to person, but were always strongly reflective of the mental states of those who took it. Inevitably, it would grant them a degree of mystical power, including the ability to see and travel beyond our mundane reality to more fundamental ones. Three doses were made, and a total of five people are known to have taken the Nuncio: Fletcher and Jaffe, who each took a full dose, while the remaining dose was shared between Jaffe’s son Tommy, a woman named Tesla Bombeck and the ape-man Raul.
Made in the depths of Hell from the sufferings of the damned, Pain is a gray powder. It is treated much like snuff by the demons who take it, and usually stored in snuff boxes.
The effects it has on the demonic physiology are as many and as varied as those physiologies, although the two universal constants are that it enhances the pleasure of sex, and that, although it is possible to resist the drug’s effects, it is painful to do so.
When used by the damned themselves, it appears to intensify sensation to a painful degree.
Painaway is a bog-standard pain killer which treats such ailments as headaches and menstrual cramps. It is produced by Bosh, and advertised on the crappier sort of home video tapes in the Thatcher-era United Kingdom.
Painaway is unique in advertising history for claiming to soothe the pain of Hell’s torments. The veracity of this claim remains unsubstantiated.
Pattern Perception is one of many designer drugs developed by Orange County pharmacologist Sandy Chapman, and like most of his output, it is a colourless liquid that is taken by dropping directly into the eye.
Pattern Perception is a drug that immensely hikes up the user’s spatial perception. Although there are minor visual distortions – mostly contrail-like effects trailing after moving objects – for the most part, it makes it easier to perceive and move through three dimensional space. It’s particularly good for playing fast moving sports or games like pool.
The Pax, or to give it its full name, G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate, was a sedative used in a social engineering project that failed disastrously. The Union of Allied Planets released it into the atmosphere of a newly settled world named Miranda in the year 2506.
In very short order, the Pax pacified the vast majority of the population there into complete inactivity. They simply stopped, wherever they were and whatever they were doing, and waited, inactive, until they died (presumably from starvation and dehydration, in most cases).
They were the lucky ones.
One tenth of one percent of the population found that the drug instead boosted their aggression to a level described as ‘beyond madness’. They became brutal, sadistic and cannibalistic, given to acts of rape, torture and self-mutilation, and were known as Reavers. The truth of their origin was revealed to the galaxy at large by Malcolm Reynolds and his crew in 2518.
Pepperup Potion is a magical cure for the common cold, and reasonably effective at doing so.
It does, however, come with the side-effect that steam is emitted from the ears of those who take it for several hours after taking it. If muggles ever discovered it, it would be enormously popular among the mainstream for its curative effects, and among steampunks for its side effects.
It was first created by Glover Hipworth, although it is unclear whether he did so in the late 18th or early 18th centuries.
Pitrolux is the trade name under which the chemical testopheromenal is sold in 19 countries including the USA. An underarm deodorant lotion and ‘bedroom enhancer’ for men, Pitrolux is a purple gel (sold with its own, allegedly patented, ‘soft-glide applicator’), also notable for being scented with juniper- (later replaced by ‘country apple’)…
…and for the fact that its overly testosterone-rich formulation causes numerous unpleasant side effects, such as excessive hair growth (especially on the face and torso), elongation of the larynx, enlargement of the testicles, random tissue deformities (especially on the areas of skin where Pitrolux is applied), painful and potentially life-threatening erections, truly volcanic acne, and a tendency for heavy users to become so strongly juniper-scented that no other scent can be detected from them.
It is the subject of a class action suit on behalf of numerous displeased former customers (including, notably, an all-female cheerleading squad from Texas), and the manufacturer is expected to settle out of court.
Polyjuice Potion is an alchemical preparation that allows a human drinker to temporarily assume the form of another person – although only a particular person. In particular, it cannot be used to take the form of any non-human – although numerous attempts have ended in the potion drinker being stuck in some sort of in-between form.
The potion is a difficult and time-consuming one to prepare – among other things, it needs to brew for a month after its final brewing – and one of the most difficult to acquire ingredients is a sample of the target person, usually hair, although other substances will work just as well. Polyjuice Potion is also highly variable in the duration of its effect, with the quality of the numerous ingredients and the skill of the brewing both influencing the outcomes.
Both a drug and a poison, Poudre de la Mort Vraie – The Powder of True Death or Powder of the True Death, depending on your translator – is specifically designed for use by vampires. Created by Signalman Reynolds, formely of His Majesty’s British Army, it is extremely potent and addictive to vampires.
Reynolds, whose own wife had been a vampire, spent decades discovering how to create a substance that vampires would be attracted to. The actual formula for the creation of the grey powder is unknown, although it includes the dust of ground up mummies and assorted alchemical treatments.
Its effect on vampires is exactly what Reynolds intended: it has a euphoric rush, but leaves the vampire overwhlemed with the guilt of all their actions (both as a human and as a vampire) and not at all hungry for blood. The idea is that the vampire will be tortured by both remorse and starvation as they slowly wither away to nothing – the taste of blood will lead a vampire who has consumed Poudre de la Mort Vraie retch and vomit.
A large enough dose of the untainted blood of another vampire will throw off the effects of the drug, and a small enough dose can be outlasted – after a few days, normal vampiric instincts will reassert themselves.
Developed by a Dr. Duran of Hopkins University and her faithful assistant, Calvin, the Priapism Formula is a highly effective aphrodisiac – as the Dr and Calvin discovered when she accidentally inhaled the fumes from it one day.
From there, the Priapism Formula next turned up as the secret ingredient in the sauce used on burgers at Pop’s – a start-up operated, not coincidentally, by friends of Calvin’s who had stolen the formula from Duran’s lab. Somewhat more dilute in its effects when consumed with a burger, fries and a milkshake, the Priapism Formula – now called the Secret Sauce – remained a mild aphrodisiac and something of a euphoric. Unsurprisingly, this made Pop’s quite popular.
Printimpolivre-bioxene is both an hallucinogen and a paranoic. A reasonably well known compound to medical science (at least, in 2085), it is particularly effective against the alien Shorshian race.
It is often used as a poison. People who have been dosed with it can sometimes be detected by the sickly sweet odour it emits in their perspiration, by medical analysis of their bloodstream, and of course, because they’ve suddenly started seeing things that aren’t there and not trusting anyone.
PRO-Vyril is an erectile dysfunction treatment produced by the somewhat shady pharmaceutical conglomerate Calenture-Deutz. Like Cialis or Viagra, it is produced in pill form; unlike them, it is not nearly as pronounced in its effects.
However, it turns out that the market has a niche for a kindler, gentler produced of erections in older men, and PRO-Vyril has been a solid if unspectacular earner for Calenture-Deutz.
A hair growth drug that was later banned by the FDA, Profillica actually did have some positive effects of hair growth, albeit not always on the top of the head.
It was banned as a result of its negative effects on the central nervous system (it frequently causes uncontrollable spasming). Profillica is widely believed to be made from monkey hormones, but the truth of this assertion is unknown.
Provasic is a drug produced by Devlin MacGregor Pharmaceuticals which was announced as a non-invasive treatment for arterial plaque, one that would reduce the risks of heart attack and other heart problems. IN early tests, it was referred to as RDU-90.
Sadly, it was not as advertised. It caused severe liver damage in a small but significant number of patients it was administered to. The company was aware of this, and conspired to frame a Dr Richard Kimble for falsifying the tissue samples enabling FDA approval.
This scheme ultimately backfired, and Kimble exposed the conspirators with a little assistance from US Marshal Sam Gerard and his team. As a result, Provasic never went to market and several employees of Devlin MacGregor faced criminal charges for their roles in the conspiracy.
An analgesic and healing promoter, QuixHeal is a trade name of a human-specific healing agent that assists the body in repairing the damage done by physical injuries.
QuixHeal can be combined with other painkillers and even consumed with alcohol with no ill-effects. At higher doses, it tends to cause drowsiness and deep sleep, but it continues to work on repairing the body even while the user is sound asleep.
The effects of Quixheal are limited, and it is not a substitute for major surgery. However, it will fix most bruises, scrateches, grazes, sprains and the like, up to hairline bone fractures. Anything more serious will require proper medical attention.
A bright yellow powder ingested directly, Rapture is taken as a party drug, but has the unusual effect of increasing the cognitive power of its users, especially with regard to mathematical calculations. Even a single dose seems to have this effect.
It also creates limited psychic powers, including the ability to psychically attack others, and also creates a limited mindlink between users – a mindlink that can be used to increase the power of the psychic attacks. The mindlink allows access to memories and also the ability for the most heavy users to control the less heavy, effectively over-writing their minds and using them to increase the power of their own mental powers.
It is also powerfully addictive – a single hit is enough to get a user hooked. It was created by a sentient AI, with the intention of controlling humans. Fortunately, it had but one source, a young chemist in Texas who committed suicide while under the effects of the drug. It appears that the effects are temporary, and wear off when the drug is no longer consumed.
Rat tonic is a healing potion for specifically intended to heal rats. It can also be used to treat the symptoms of ageing in rats. It is sold in a small red bottle at the Magical Menagerie in Diagon Alley, and presumably at similar locations elsewhere.
It is also the case that excessive use of Rat tonic can result in the rat drinking it becoming engorged, enlarged and even deformed. It is recommended that the directions on the bottle be followed to the letter.
A Regeneration Potion is used to heal and restore a wizard whose after extreme physical damage, up to and including maiming and disfigurement. It is a work of the darkest magic, requiring the flesh of an ally and the blood of an enemy among its ingredients.
The entire body of the wizard being treated must be immersed in the cauldron in which it is brewed, so only the largest of cauldrons can be used in its creation. For all of these reasons, it is very rarely prepared.
In 1994, this potion was brewed to resurrect Voldemort, using the blood of his enemy, Harry Potter. The use of Potter’s blood would prove an error, as due to other enchantments placed upon it, it prevented Voldemort from killing Potter – but not the reverse.
Relapse isn’t so much a drug as a way of making drug use less safe and predictable. It’s a chemical coating applied to almost any other drug that dissolves inside the user’s stomach at some random time after ingestion.
Long term users of Relapse sometimes claim that the drug has a malign sense of humour, and deliberately waits to mess people up by going off at the worst possible time. Possible side effects of use include heightened paranoia, a tendancy to anthropomorphize and denial.
Produced by Futurza – the same pharmaceutical company that brought the world both Fibromyalgia, and a highly-priced (not to mention dubiously effective) cure for Fibromyalgia – Relaxorex was a 2013 anti-depressant and that was heavily pushed onto the medical community.
Despite what stories in the media may have said, Relaxorex does not actually cause people to give up on their dreams. That’s just a side-effect.
Although marketed as a drug, Returné is actually a nanotech-laced serum with the rather unusual effect of raising the dead – although not forever. A single injection lasts for about 24 hours before needing to be replenished (although actual death doesn’t result for another five or six days).
Because users of Returné are actually dead, they are immune to aging and illness. In fact, they are mnore or less immune to any thing that might cause death other than immolation, dismemberment or dissolution (that is, acid bath suicide).
The drug was produced by shadowy Big Pharma company Pharmadene, which goes a way towards explaining why this nanotech miracle isn’t permanent when it so easily could be – where’s the money in that? The drug has not yet been cleared by the FDA for public use, although it rapidly leaked out through an underground of criminal funeral homes, from which it was sold at exhorbitant prices. As a result, a shadowy war of corporate espionage and covert law enforcement broke out, whose outcome is still unclear at this time.
The pharmacometrics of the mid-twenty-first century are sufficiently advanced that the production of what has often been seen as more the domain of magic than science is now possible: Rhinoceros is the world’s first fully working aphrodisiac.
Why Rhinoceros? Because traditionally, it was believed that the horn of an actual Rhinoceros was an aphrodisiac – which is why these majestic beasts were hunted to extinction.
The drug Rhinoceros was a binary drug – taken in two parts that combine in the digestive system of the user.
A deadly poison, Saarix-5 is a nerve gas. It is quick acting, but also fairly quick to disperse, as it oxidises on exposure to the air. It is almost universally deadly to all species exposed to it, including humans, Bellidos, Cimmaheen, Juriani and Halkas.
Saarix-5 is also able to be stored as an inert solid, in which form it is fairly safe, and can safely be handled with bare skin. Such forms are often used to smuggle the gas through checkpoints, usually with some sort of quick detonation device attached to allow its use.
Scolopendium is a highly addictive plant extract native to the world known as The Fourlands. It is a potent hallucinogen, and strong enough doses will translate the mind of the user into another reality known as the Shift (which is apparently some form of dimensional nexus). Indeed, if the body of the user should die while the Scolopendium remains in effect, the mind of the user will live on in the Shift.
Scolopendium is illegal – although it does have some medical uses – and is known by several different street names, of which Cat is the most widely used.
Aside from its hallucinogenic effects, the physical effects of using this drug resemble those of heroin fairly closely, both in terms of the swoon it sends users into and also the effects of withdrawal.
Scramble is a euphoric designed more or less accidentally by CIA-sponsored pharmacists in an attempt to create a better class of interrogation enhancer. Its intended effect was to intensify memory, but although that is indeed one of its effects, it does so in a way that is more or less useless for interrogation purposes.
Scramble brings back good memories accompanied by a euphoric high, which often makes its users appear very withdrawn and physically uncoordinated. But after a peak is reached, a downward cycle begins: the memories become progressively less pleasant and the euphoric effects slowly turn depressive.
Despite this, Scramble is at least as addictive as most opiates, and has similar physical effects with long term use. It is also quite potent: a single kilogram of Scramble will last even a heavy user for a year and then some.
Shrilanka, active ingredient tshrillangaflogizini, is anti-depressive intended for use by teens and adults with moderate to severe bouts of depression, although also legally prescribable for children and pets.
Known side effects of Shrilanka include perineum incompatibility, swelling, pain, pineapple sized lesions, constipation, dry mouth, wet eyes, insomnia, drowsiness, blurred vision, and dizziness upon standing up too fast (which is to say, at anything more than about a quarter of normal human speed).
But, after 10-12 weeks of use, it will help to make the symptoms of depression and suicidal ideation go away, and make the user much less disturbing to their co-workers.
Shrinking Solution is, as the name suggests, a potion that causes the drinker to shrink. It is primarily used to transport livestock.
However, the potion does not merely cause shrinking, but also causes the imbiber to become younger (which often also results in a loss of size, if the reversion continues into childhood). As a result, it must be used with great care.
Skele-Gro is a well-known potion manufactured by Rubens Winikus and Company Inc. It is an aid to healing, which makes broken bones knit together more rapidly than they naturally would.
Unfortunately, it has several major drawbacks – it tastes terrible, it burns the throat on the way down, the bone-knitting process is still slow by magical standards while also creating excruciating pain, and it gives off smoke in a disconcerting fashion when its bottle is opened. For lack of a better replacement, it remains a go-to part of magical medicine treatments.
How metafictional can a metafictional drug get? Skyfish Testes is a strong contender for the most metafictional drug ever. Not only is it explicitly fictional in its own context, but that context is an hallucination occurring as part of a larger story, rendering it doubly fictional.
Skyfish Testes, if they existed, would be a treatment for cancer of the soul and mental cirrhosis – although not one that Delmar Insurance would cover. But they don’t exist, and to claim that they do is just silly.
Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion is a cosmetic treatment used to make messy hair more manageable.
While very effective, application is a bothersome and time-consuming process, meaning that it is used for special occasions rather than daily by most users. Also, for reasons unknown, but presumably magical, its use is not recommended by those with red hair.
A stimulant that slows perception of time, Slo-Mo is the drug of choice for those in Al Amarja who wish to either heighten their orgasms or improve their combat reflexes.
A single dose does not last long – thirty minutes at the outside – although for its two most common uses, that is generally more than enough. Slo-Mo was created by Dr Nussbaum on Al Amarja, but is now produced by organised crime networks and largely used by low level enforcers of those same networks.
Prolonged use tends to result in brain damage, and even first time users may suffer such effects. The heightened firing of the neurons induced by Slo-Mo can also result in users becoming catatonic.
Perhaps more indicative of the insanity of the Joker than anything else about him, Smilex is a deadly poison that causes horrific facial deformations, usually in form of a rictus grin.
Smilex is made in both liquid and gaseous forms – the gas resembles a green smoke. The liquid can be mixed into almost any foodstuffs.
The puzzling thing about Smilex is the business plan behind its distribution. The Joker gives it away, seeking the widest possible range of people in Gotham, with the intent of killing them. Surely, this is insanity by any modern standard: the total absence of anything even resembling a profit motive – in fact, the Joker probably took a loss on the deal.
Snow Crash exists in two forms, although it’s unclear how similar their effects are. The first form is as a blood serum taken from existing users, which induces a number of effects, the most apparent of which is glossolalia or speaking in tongues.
The second form is as a cyberdrug, which specifically disrupts the thought processes (and Metaverse avatars) of experienced coders. This drug takes the form of binary code that is somehow able to derange the thought processes of those who look directly at it, leaving them, so far as medical science can detect, like the victims of an induced stroke.
Both forms of the drug are connected to a sinister cult that is apparently seeking to take over the world. It’s always something.
Technically, that should be SomnambutolTM, which is how it inevitably appears when mentioned – even when a character says it name in dialogue (I always wondered if they actually said the TM’s or not – Mr Chaykin, if you’re reading, please let us know :)).
A recreational barbituate and hallucinogen, SomnambutolTM, is sold in pill form by the Plex, and is soluble in most common drinks. It does not seem to have much of a taste when in drinks, so it’s presumably a popular date-rape drug in the Chicago of the 2030’s.
It is also available in a more concentrated aerosolised form, in which it is commonly used by law enforcement and private security agencies for crowd control, since it knocks people out for about an hour, and does so quickly and mostly harmlessly – although use does seem to lead to slight hangover-like symptoms afterwards.
No, not that kind. Soy Sauce is a mysterious substance of curious and supernatural potency. Even a small dose will permently grant clairvoyant and other enhanced sensory abilities to the user. Of course, given the hallucinogenic and intoxicating effects of the drug, it can take the user a while to realise that these things are actually happening. And that’s just the start.
Possibly being a demonic entity in the form of a drug, or arising from an alternate timeline where bio-technology is considerably more developed. Certainly, among the abilities it seems to grant are time travel and dimensional travel. But its origin remains a mystery…
Space is a drug that replicates the experience of super-modernity. Which is to say, it creates the feeling of being endlessly between places in space, always between moments in time. It is a hallucination of the emotions one feels while trapped in an airport lounge waiting for a terrifyingly overdue flight, only with less interesting decor.
Why anyone finds this attractive is beyond me, but you know kids these days…
One of the few placebos ever to be actually to be advertised as being a “Genuine 100% Placebo” – with reference made to the proven medical effect – the Spanish Fly placebo racket was the brainchild of con-man Jack McGreary.
Worrying about one’s sexual prowess is a Depression-proof market niche, something that allowed McGreary and his confederates to rake in a massive profit from selling sugar pills all over America in 1939. In fact, so successful was this racket – even at 1939 US $6.50 for a packet of pills – that the market proved to have room for two higher end placebos, Spurious Spanish Fly ($14 a packet) and Psuedo Spanish Fly ($25 a packet). Aphrodisiacs – even spurious ones – are always in high demand.
Like most good cons – and in a sense, this wasn’t even a con, so long as you were bright enough to look up placebo in the dictionary – it lasted until the con-men got bored with it.
With eight times the strength of ordinary Hormone Replacement Therapy estrogen patches, Special H a.k.a. Super HRT first became available in England through the machinations of a Calais-based drug-running syndicate.
Illegal to sell in England, it was distributed by a criminal syndicate based in Little Stempington, who smuggled 300,000 patches into the country in 2006. The street value of this import was estimated at 7,500,000 pounds.
The effects of Special H vary from user to user, but often include a heightened libido and uncontrollable mood swings.
Spike is a cheap stimulant that comes in the form of pills taken orally.
Originally developed by the Pentagon as a drug for military personnel, the side-effects of the drug included sociopathic impulses that even the US military deemed excessive. Spike‘s other effects include a rush of physical strength and invulnerability to pain during its two hour window of effect.
After tests of Spike were discontinued by the Pentagon, it was adopted by the CIA as one of the “New Ghetto Drugs for ’98” collection.
Splat is a deranging drug disguised as “a brown drink with bubbles”, and sold as a soft drink in the late 1990’s. Its resemblance – especially as concerns its look and taste – to a certain other “brown drink with bubbles” is presumably far from coincidental.
Created by the evil multi-millionaire Rolston Brocade, it was a modern version of a drink from Renaissance Florence, Splatso. Fortunately, Leonardo da Vinci devised an antidote to it, which was recreated by the Glam Metal Detectives. This was then marketed as Splodge, and later substituted for Splat on the production line, driving it off the market.
Even a small dose – not even a full can of soft drink – causes numerous side effects, the most visible of which are crossed eyes and a loss of physical coordination. Psychological effects include delusions of grandeur verging on megalomania, with the accompanying increased loudness, bossiness and arrogance.
An extremely potent mutagen, Strim is the drug of choice in Turn Neighbourhood, the hardest and weirdest place in the entire City. It wreaks havoc on the user’s DNA, deranges their perceptions into what can only be described as an alien state (no two alike, yet) and largely as a result of the foregoing, kills a hell of a lot its users.
Its only practical use is to transform one’s DNA so thoroughly that DNA-coded poisons and such will no longer recognize the user as their target – a highly specialised and largely criminal endeavour.
Also known as Slow Death, Death, or just plain D, Substance D is a powerful psychoactive drug derived from a small blue-flowering plant, Mors ontologica.
The drug dampens the links between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, causing the two hemispheres to function independently. As a side effect, the user experiences vivid hallucinations (which are a side effect of the two sundered hemispheres attempting to reconnect). As the nickname Slow Death suggests, it is lethally addictive; long-term use can lead to two separate, mutually unaware personalities.
Substance D is produced at farms run by an organisation called New Path. Here, the Mors ontologica flowers are grown, and refined into the drug. These farms are staffed primarily by addicts of the drug, sent to them for their rehabilitation.
A powerful sedative, effective against humans and most bala (magical sentients), Succinylcholine is the preferred drug of the Reason regime for use as an anesthetic and paralytic.
Its use is contraindicated on the deep space dwelling redworm species, whose acidic blood reacts with Succinylcholine rather differently, causing it to act as a powerful stimulant to the dangerous beast.
In the future of 3001, after the collapse of civilisation as we know it, when the world has changed not quite beyond recognition, malarial fevers resistant to ordinary quinine will kill thousands.
But in some parts of the world – the mountains near the lake that now covers Portland, Oregon, for example – a cure may be found. That cure is Super Quinine which is found in the leaves of the plentiful rhodeodendrons that grow in that area.
It is generally accepted that these particular rhododendrons, although found growing wild (and only later cultivated) are not naturally occurring, but the result of genetic engineering carried out at some point before the fall of civilisation as we know it, although the exact details of their creation are lost.
The Swelling Solution is a potion which causes whatever it touches to swell in size; its three ingredients are bat spleens, dried nettles, and puffer-fish eyes, which are carefully combined over moderate heat.
It matched by its antagonist, Deflating Draught, and each of the two substances are often employed as cures for an excess of the other.
Rumours that Swelling Solution can be used as a kind of magical viagra remain unconfirmed.
Synergine is a legal drug throughout the Galactic Nexus, where it is used as a combination of stimulant and painkiller.
It is particularly useful for shaking off the after-effects of stun rays (it will not revive them, however), and also as a treatment for those recently revived from cryosleep. It operates largely by assisting the body’s natural healing processes, accelerating and increasing their effects.
Synergine is particularly effective against headache symptoms, shock and most forms of nausea; it is, however, completely ineffective against the nausea caused by spacesickness.
One of the more effective truth drugs out there, TC-6 is typically used only by government agencies for interrogations. Administered via direct injection, it leaves those it is administered to able to respond intelligently, although it will make most people somewhat literal-minded. It will also leave them utterly without volition of their own and thus unable to lie.
It is possible to resist the effects of TC-6, although to do so requires considerable experience with truth drugs, and a certain amount of psychological conditioning, as well.
Very few people have this conditioning, however, so the drug remains useful. A single dose will last for several hours, although the drug is known to have certain side-effects regarding impaired cardiac function in some people – potentially fatal side-effects – and there is no test to determine ahead of time who will suffer them.
TD12 is a drug mostly used by dentists in England. It’s an anesthetic and sedative, which has the side effect of affecting memory formation.
This side effect makes it very interesting to a certain kind of criminal – notably, the murderer Culverton Smith once dosed some of his nearest and dearest with it so that he could tell them of his planned murder without them remembering it. Fortunately, Sherlock Holmes deduced what he had done, and Smith paid the price for his crimes.
There’s no I in Teamocil – at least not where you’d think…
As the name suggests, Teamocil enhances feelings of camaraderie and team spirit, although in doing so it frequently depresses the libido of users as well as causing numbness in their extremities and short term memory loss.
A product of Natural Life Food Company, Teamocil is an anti-depressant whose extreme effectiveness is unfortunately a precursor to total shut down of the pituitary gland. As of 2004, it is no longer on sale, most likely due to that side effect.
A purple powder of unbelievable potency, Thionite is one the most addictive and valuable illicit drugs yet known. Paradoxically, user’s first dose is often free, since the drug is so addictive that subsequent doses can be priced at any figure the dealer chooses: the user will pay.
Thionite is so potent that a regular dose in only half a microgram. It can be snorted, swallowed, injected or even absorbed directly through the skin. While under the effects of the drug, the user has the convincing impression that their every need, want and desire is being fulfilled.
TimeSerum is derived from the venom of a now-extinct sub-species of the Gaboon Viper. Its name is something of a misnomer, as it enables one to travel through time only by that laziest of methods, suspended animation.
All known supplies of TimeSerum are under the control of members of the Rosicrucian conspiracy, stored in a vast container concealed beneath Stonehenge which is filled to a capacity equal to 200 Olympic-sized swimming pools (one of which has diving board, or so it is rumoured).
So far as is known, only two people – Alexander Pruitt and Robert Moray – have ever been dosed with it, both of them in the year 1658.
Tranquilax is a stimulant, a sedative and a laxative. Produced by the Tranquilax company of Orbiston Parva, England, it is colloquially known as “the three in one.” It is sold in tablet form, and advertised as the drug to take “when life’s not worth living.”
However, after attracting criticism from the Reverend John Smallwood, vicar of Orbiston Parva, the stock value of Tranquilax plummeted. But once Smallwood was removed, and his criticism silenced, Tranquilax was renamed Triple Crown Unction, and with a new slogan(“Builds you up; Cleans you out”) it returned to its normal sales position.
Often abbreviated to TATP, Tricetyltriparanol is a simple cholesterol inhibitor, albeit is so effective at its job – and at the con-committant reduction of heart disease – that it qualifies as an anti-agathic, which is to say, it is a drug that prevents or retards aging.
Tricetyltriparanol does not actually prevent the body from forming cholesterol, but instead destroys cholesterol in the body. As such, it must be taken daily – and not at all by pregnantt women, who need a certain amount of cholesterol.
The Okie ‘Cities in Flight’ use it as part of an their immortality drug suite.
Tricillin PDF is broad-spectrum abti-viral that is effective against a great number of illnesses that afflict the assorted humanoid species of the Star Trek Universe. While little has been revealed about it, it seems to be a commonly-used drug across the Federation, and its name implies that it may be an antibiotic.
The most prominent use of Tricillin PDF was during the so-called ‘Double Helix’ incidents, where the drug proved effective at slowing the effects of some strains of the ‘Double Helix”, a series of weaponized viruses. For one particular strain, it halted the progress of the disease entirely, but it was not a cure. Extensive use of Tricillin PDF was successful is prolonging the lives of many of the infected until cures could be found, however.
A simulation of the hallucingenic experience designed for intelligent household appliances, Tripwire 7.0 is the latest in a series of such cyberdrugs.
Its popularity among sentient machines is vast, because the experience of being a household appliance, sessile constantly and unable to interact unless the humans around you decide to talk to – i.e. demand something of – you, is a spectactularly dull one.
Truth or Consequences, as the name suggests, has effects similar to the party game of the same name, with one key diffference: you can’t quit. A colourless liquid not very different from water to touch, it is often used to provoke responses that are more honest than the respondent would like.
The drug suppresses inhibitions, leading those who have taken it to speak their minds with great vehemence. As such, it is a common prank for the drug to be unknowingly administered to priests, politicians, cops and other self-appointed moral authorities. It is equally common for such pranks to end in gunfire.
Turgidax promises the user an overnight tripling of penis size, which is alleged to both improve cardio-vascular health and also sexual attractiveness. You can find it here.
Likely side effects not mentioned by the advertisment include heart palpitations, heightened blood pressure, hypertension, narcolepsy, and having your penis explode like those people’s heads did in “Scanners“.
Turgidol is a Canadian-made erectile dysfunction treatment. It is a prescription medicine that is made in pill form. Canadian customs takes a dim view of anyone trying to smuggle it.
Readily available in Canada and the United States, Turgidol is rumoured to provide some sort of high when taken by men who do not need it for its intended purpose, but details are understandably hard to come by.
Urizen is named for one of the gods in William Blake’s mythology for England, a deity who sought to impose reason on the world. The drug named for him was quite the reverse.
Inspired by the American “Love Bomb” experiments, Urizen was a British project (and the involvement of un-named but shadowy government agencies in its creation is confirmed) that combined the drug-based aspects of Love Bomb with advanced genetic recoding. Urizen bonded to the spinal column of users, and became a part of their DNA, where it generated hormones that would achieve aphrodisiacal submission in the user by bypassing their conscious brain entirely. However, a single dose – usually administered by injection – lasts only 14 and a half hours, and can be over-ridden by extreme pain.
A highy effective muscle relaxant, usually delivered in a weaponised form, Vee-Two Gas is effective on most carbon-based lifeforms. It is mostly an inhalant – only very high quantities may be absorbed by direct skin contact.
The drug is extremely potent, and even a small quantity will cause involuntary relaxation of all voluntary muscles. It will also cause relaxation of involuntary muscles, to a lesser degree – one of the most prominent symptoms of Vee-Two Gas is the difficulty in breathing caused by relaxation of the diaphragm.
One of the most addictive and dangerous of steroids, Venom first appeared on the streets of Gotham City early in the self-appointed mission of the Batman. In fact, Batman himself was one of its most prominent users for a time.
Unfortunately, in addition to enhancing strength to a superhuman degree, Venom had a number of side-effects, including muscular dystrophy (when not in use) and a capacity to addict users stronger than most drugs short of crack. Batman quickly realised this, and went cold turkey, a process that took about a month (and which was accompanied by incredible physical pain and vivid hallucinations). He never used the drug again, although villains such as Bane and Lex Luthor did.
Verbality is one of many designer drugs developed by Orange County pharmacologist Sandy Chapman, and like most of his output, it is a colourless liquid that is taken by dropping directly into the eye.
The particular effect of Verbality is a fascination with words – their meanings, origins, sounds and so on. As such, it was dismissed by Chapman, who did not see any commercial possibilities in it – he was primarily a creator and supplier of party drugs, and a drug that his friends derisively called Verbosity did not fit his portfolio. It is a shame for Chapman that he did not see the wider possibilities – Verbality would likely have been a great hit on any university campus with strong Literature, Linguistics, Languages or Semantics faculties.
Vioplex is a pain killer produced by Pallogen. It is identical in formula to another drug created by Pallogen, HT1 – a drug that killed numerous test subjects by causing liver failures. Pallogen, although fully aware of the drug’s fatal nature, planned to market it anyway, since the profits to be made dwarfed any potential fine or court settlement it might cost them.
Fortunately, the involvement of the Leverage team in this case prevented the drug from ever being sold, and bankrupted Pallogen into the bargain.
VXN Gas is a weaponised drug that attacks the central nervous system. It is inhaled, and acts as a potent euphoric, inducing a sensation of pleasure and well-being that erodes willpower and leads to a semi-voluntary state of paralysis.
In fact, its euphoric effects are so strong that it is not unknown for those exposed to develop addictions to barbituates or Bentlam, as the effects of the VXN are quite pleasant to experience.
Wings is a cheap marketing stunt disguised as the high of tomorrow. While many of the drugs that are found in Al Amarja are unique and potent, the same is not true of Wings.
In fact, this vaunted hallucinogen is in fact nothing more than plain old LSD, dressed up with some inert chemicals and put into pill form. Pushers claim that it leads to out of the body experiences, but giving the hallucinogenic nature of the drug, this is little more than a self-fulfillling prophecy in most cases.
Particularly shady pushers of Wings will tell you that taking it with LSD heightens the experience, which is, techinically, not a lie.
Wolfsbane Potion is a potion with complex and powerful magical effects. It relieves the symptoms of lycanthropy (i.e. being a werewolf). As the name suggests, the plant wolfsbane (also known as aconite and monkshood) is a major ingredient.
It is important to note that Wolfsbane Potion only relieves lycanthropic symptoms – it is not a cure, but simply reduces the pain of transformation and assists the human lycanthropy sufferer to remain mentally in control when transformed.
Wolfsbane Potion is difficult to prepare and tastes horrible, which means that few werewolves even choose to use it without a pressing need. In addition, due to the fact that aconite is a deadly poison, Wolfsbane Potion must be prepared very carefully – too much aconite in the mixture will permanently cure the imbiber of lycanthropy – and life.
X-Drugs are like a stronger form of LSD. So strong, in fact, that they grant the user a certain amount of superpowers – including telekinesis, teleportation, intangebility, reversal of personal gravity and super-speed – while they last. A standard dose lasts a short time – an hour or so – and reportedly, the experience is quite a rush. Despite the name, there is in fact only one X-Drug, although it is often tailored to the DNA of the user for maximum effectiveness.
The principle by which X-Drugs operate is based on an unusual interpretation of certain aspects of quantum physics, notably Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. They allow the user to make the apparent manipulation of reality by consciousness under LSD to be an actual manipulation, albeit of a strongly limited nature.
X-Drugs were created by an unamed former faculty member at UC Berkeley, and later improved by both the Scary Clowns and their enemies, the Troop.
No, actually, all of the above is a lie: there are no X-Drugs: they are fictional even in the context of the fiction in which they appear, and their effects were simulated by the Scary Clowns for their own purposes.
X-13 is a short-term memory erasing drug. It causes limited amnesia, typically for a period of about 24 hours. The amnesia it induces can be defeated by hypnotic recall sessions, and it is known to be diminished in effectiveness if the subject’s bloodstream has a high alcohol level.
It is applied as an aerosol spray, and tends to knock out the subject upon application, generally for a period of several hours. X-13‘s very existence is a classified secret, and it is available only to agents of the NSA and CIA, although stocks do occasionally turn up on the black market.
A highly dangerous and radioactive drug, Xenite is not native to the world of Top Ten (and America’s Best Comics in general). It is an element from a different periodic table, specifically that of Grand Central, the parallel universe of Precinct 1.
Given its nature, there are very few people who can use it without suffering radiation poisoning, all of them superhuman or divine in nature. The only known user of the drug at this time is Commisioner Ultima, of Grand Central, whose power levels were akin to those of Superman. As she is now deceased, the origins and history of the drug may never be known.
In effect, the drug appeared to be a form of super-powered heroin, although given that the only depiction of its use was a deliberate overdose, it is hard to be certain of this identification.
An hallucinogen whose name suggests a connection with the Yagé plant, Yaginol is one the most popular recreational drugs of the over-populated dystopia that is Stand on Zanzibar.
Although legal to sell and use, interested parties should be aware that it is known to cuase birth defects – which is one of the more subtle ways in which the government attempts to combat over-population.
Zembla-4 was an anti-asthma drug that was never actually offered for sale, due to a scandal that occurred around the time that it was going through the approvals process. Calenture-Deutz, the company behind the drug, had concealed a number of deaths among the children that it was tested upon.
The chief scientist on the project was a Dr Phillip Wang – whose murder after he threatened to blow the whistle on the deaths ultimately led to the exposure of the deaths and the utter collapse of Calenture-Deutz.
A particularly hideous variant of crack cocaine, Zombie Crack kills the body of the user, allowing them to be ridden by whoever has the magic to do so.
Zombie Crack was the result of a deal cut by certain executives at Unitol, a Chicago-based pharmaceutical company and the scorpion-loa Baron Zaraguin. It contained enchanted crystals that served as psychic foci for the mind-riding of the bodies.
However, once Baron Zaraguin was alerted to the fact that the white men who ran Unitol were using the drug to demean and degrade the young negroes of Chicago (who by descent should be Zaraguin’s people), he withdrew his magic from the crystals, and the drug reverted to normal crack cocaine.
One of the CIA’s “New Ghetto Drugs for ’98” collection, Zom-B is a narcotic with some disturbing side effects, injected directly into the bloodstream by users.
The results of taking Zom-B are an near immediate stupor verging on coma, followed by an activation of the user’s motor functions resembling sleep walking, only much creepier. Users have been known to walk into traffic or off the sides of bridges.
A hugely psychologically addictive drug, Zoroaster (usually just called Zorro on the streets of Al Amarja) is named for the ancient Persian prophet whose ideas of a dualistic cosmos constantly torn in struggle between Good and Evil have affected almost all subsequent religions – and the name is well-deserved.
Taking Zorro fills the user with an absolute sense of right and wrong – their side is Absolutely Good, all others are Absolutely Evil. This state of psuedo-Randian objectivity lasts never quite long enough, and the user will almost always crave that feeling again.
The drug does not turn its users into raging psychotics, but rather, into fanatically fundamentalist holders of whatever positions they already held. Violence does frequently result, but it is the result of the extreme intransigence of the users, an indirect effect of the drug, not a direct one. Perhaps unsurprisingly it was created and is now sold by a nihilist conspiracy intent on worsening conflicts in order to hasten the wider embrace of nihilism.
Zydrate is a highly addictive painkiller developed by GeneCo as one aspect of its highly lucrative business plan.
Zydrate is also sold in a debased street form, which is extracted from the bodies of the dead by grave-robbing drug dealers. Street Zydrate is of highly dubious and variable quality (although always lower quality than the real drug). Although oddly, it still looks exactly like the pure kind, no matter how long the person has been dead or what quantity of Zydrate was in their system.
Zzonga is a drug made from the Zzonga fruit of the Zzonga bush. It is a highly addictive intoxicant that causes a level of fascination with whatever is in front of the user that borders on OCD.
The plant it grows on is a small shrub, growing no more than four foot high, with a multitude of spiky, short leaves. The fruit itself resembles a strawberry in size and colour (although tending more to pink than to red), and has a very distinctive smell (which it retains when juiced or cooked).
Effects of the drug last for up to four days for a single dose, and the fascination effect makes it almost impossible to concentrate while under the influence. For this reason, the Thyatian empire made a point of encouraging addiction to Zzonga in their enemy, the Alphatian empire – reckoning that the Alphatian’s magical superiority, caused by their great numbers of wizards, would be nullified if none of the wizards were able to focus enough to cast even the simplest of spells.