This hard to produce ingredient is a source of great wealth in the world. The expensive common salt might enchance the flavour of foods. But the exquisite salt of the Marshes enchances people, be it warriors or wizards. It is even used as an additive to spells and rituals, the effects vary depending on the grade of salt.
Salt as a Consumable
The Marsh Salt can be consumed for increases of strength and dexterity or advantages on physical taxing tasks. It will null physical pain but cause blood to thin and begin to drip from various orificies (eyes, ears and nostrils).
If the Marsh Salt is consumed while casting an incarnation the spellcaster gains an insight into the magical weave. Allowing them to increase the power of the spell by controling the fabric of magic. The spellcasters hands will ignite in the signature salt flame, a pale white flame, while casting and for the duration of the salts effect (Yes, salt flame can be used to burn someone).
If consumed raw it causes an insatiable thirst which can only be satisfied by a thick coating liquid (think syrup or coagulating blood). It is therefore common among experienced Marsh Salt users to brew concoctions known as Gose (foreigners call them Salt Ales), these concoctions effect varies depending on the dosage of Marsh Salt in them. Alchemists might create small viel Salt potions for a quick rush or add the salt as an additive in other potions where physical rigor is desirable.
Marsh Salt is divided into 3 grades of quality by most Salt Merchants, unless you encounter a Dwarven Salt Merchant (their grading system is complicated).
- Cubic: The finest and purest of the Marsh Salts. It is the most potent salt in the Marshes. It is extremely hard to produce and often will be subject of Stalker and Parasite attacks requiring a sizable force to guard it. The name is derived from the most typical form it is sold in, perfect cubes the size of pollen.
- Crystal: Second finest and the typical export from the Marshes, these tiny crystals vary in size and shape, but are transparent. These provide an okay-to-standard potency.
- Wild: Considered the worst, because it is “uncultured” and the most abundant of all the salts, as it can be made from the deadly stare of the Humbaba. These provide the mildest effect of the three.
Salt Side EffectsMarsh Salt is not a safe substance to consume. Shown by the rampart additiction in the Marshes. Worse yet are the withdrawal effects of an addict who cannot satisfy their salty needs.
Besides a high chance of addiction upon consumption, several physiological effects might manifest with withdrawals (roll d6):
- The skin turning a sickly pale colour and a crystaline crust beginning to line the skin.
- The pupils of the salt user begin to turn into cubes and their irises begin to pale, worsening their vision.
- They begin to be insatiably thirsty and food begins to taste salty to them. Requiring them to drink twice their previous normal amount.
- Their tears, saliva and sweat is replaced by thin blood, requiring them to replenish it somehow or begin to feel extra tired.
- They begin to suffer from the Paper Skin disease, makes the skin paper thin and brittle. Can be treated by greasing themselves in oils, the thicker the better.
- The elongation of the user’s tongue, forming long ridges along the sides of it and fangs at the end. The tongue becomes so long it cannot stay in the mouth and will begin resonating when Marsh Salt is nearby.
When 3 or more of these symptoms are preseant in an user, they begin their slow and painful transformation into a Stalker (see below under Salt Creatures). This causes them to loose themself in the search for ever more salt. They are hostile to everybody, even other stalkers.
NOTE: The spell format is made for a homebrew system I am using and developing with a friend. It will be released at some point. Until then just use the name and effect, then figure out the cost n’ stuff for your prefered system.
Magic Circle: 1-2
Spell Point Cost: 2 [+1 per Circle]
Duration: [Power] Minutes or Rounds per Circle
Spell Requirement: Consumption of Marsh Salt
Ignites the spellcasters hands and whatever they are holding with their hands (wood will burn). The colour of the flame depends on the specific salt consumed.
Hiting someone while having your hands engulfed in flames will cause an additional [Circle]d10+[Power] Spell Bolt damage on hit (if using a weapon it will be in addition to that weapon damage).
Magic Circle: 4-5
Spell Point Cost: 10 [+10 at Magic Circle 5]
Ritual Requirement: A Cube of Marsh Salt, Tongue of a Stalker and Golden Braces
You animate the Cube with the elemental essense inate in it, binding it to the braces and providing it with a tongue to communicate with you. Creating a Salt Elemental. It is at your command for as long as you will.
At Magic Circle 5 the Salt Elemental will be twice as strong as an normal Salt Elemental.
Magic Circle: 1-3
Spell Point Cost: 2 [+1 per Circle]
Duration: 1 Hours per Circle
Spell Requirement: Marsh Salt infused Linen and a Torch with the Arcane Mark The incarntation provides a scaring effect to an otherwise intoxicating smoke. It will ward off Stalkers and Humbabas. Multiple Scare Torches can interlock and provide a safe space.
At Magic Circle 3 the incarntation is strong enough to ward off Salt Parasites.
(Salt) Stalkers Former users of salt who weren’t able to get their hands on the enchanting substance. Now they are mindless and have an insatiable hunger for the salt. They will hunt everything which resonate with the Marsh Salt.
These mutated humanoids do not look anything like their former self. Their limbs are elongated and multiple joins have been formed to allow them grabbing and strangling their victims (requires a save to get away). Their fanged tongues allow them to strike and penetrate the victims skin to suck out their blood, they only perform this if a victim has consumed Marsh Salt. Sometimes seen in packs of 2-5.
Humbaba Humans, dwarves, elves and other humanoids who were mutilated and injected with lethal doses of Marsh Salt as children to become executioners of the rich. Their eyes are pale and pupils cubic, their tongues fanged and long.
Equipment: They can wear normal humanoid equipment. They favour spears, axes, sickleswords and shields. They are praised commodity in the Marshes high society, especially in Elven settlements. Their stare is similar to a Medusa’s in that it turns a person into a statue, but of Marsh Salt (Save vs death).
If they are free, they tend to look for other Humbabas and form communities. They will be using traps and ambush tactics to overwhelm whoever comes into their terretories.
Salt Elemental These Cubic beings are rare outside those summoned and bound by wizards. They are praised and symbols of status among the Marsh Wizards. They function as bodyguards, treasury and source of Marsh Salt.
These beings can envelop another being in their salty embrace (save to escape) and invasively overdose the victim (save vs death). Often used by Wizards as an assassination method.
Salt Parasite These gigantic and vaguely serpentine creatures slither on their stomachs across the arid Marshes, lurking in its waters and hunts near the salt pans. It uses it’s two small forelimbs to climb up rocks and mountainsides. It’s airsacks situated along its long pale body rythmically expand and contract, hypnotisingly so and while mesmerised it will lick you for the delicious salt it seeks.
These Parasites are the dragons of the Marshes, they hoard and eat all the Marsh Salt they can. Their blood is thick with Marsh Salt and they will allow cultists and other desperate users to siphon a bit of their blood for exchange of free will, a small price to pay (in the Parasite’s opinion). Their airsacks can hypnotise people (requires a save to withstand). If one such airsack is popped a foul chlorine gas will expell from the Parasite, if you are close by when it pops roll a save vs suffication.
Salt Parasites prefers to grab and crush their opponents or have some of their lackies do the dirty work for them.