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Of Amber Lotus and Zzonga

by Christopher Cherrington

This little plot line might change some little nasties into really big players in your campaign. Since early in Thyatis westward explorations, they have recognised the power and strength of Hule. Thyatis also has always recognised that their greatest enemy would swallow them whole if their backdoor was ever weakened by a two front battle. So early on the Shadow Hand has had Imperial support of various black-market activities. The most important and closest guarded secret of the Imperial Senate has been the importation and exportation of zzonga. Imperial intervention in this game is one of the greatest weaknesses of the Empire, as many have acquired the taste of zzonga for themselves. The original aim of the zzonga importation was to experiment with zzonga to make it more effective to export back into Alphatia. Early senators also saw the westward exportation of zzonga as a means to keep their backdoor docile and too lazy to attack or expand on their western frontier. Hule was all too eager to experiment with any mind affecting substance to control their huge humanoid population. Several alchemists soon discovered that mixing honey made from giant bees with pollen from Amber Lotus was a very good mix to add to zzonga's effectiveness. With a base of boiled black pudding, it created a very cheaply mass produced mind control drug simply called Black Drink. Although short term use was not addictive, long term use created a fanatical need for the drink. Fermenting the drink for a couple of months also created a more potent effect, although some that imbibe such a concoction usually die in several hours due to impurities in the cheaply produced manufacturing, and also created the name of Black Death for those that fell due to this poisoning. Hule is currently stockpiling the drug to invade other countries and force the local inhabitants to drink the concoction and double its mind controlled population. This makes X10 a particularly harder experience by creating invasion forces made of indigenous populations. There is nothing like going to war and seeing your family in the front line of the opposing team. If X10 or WotI have already been played out, this scenario can be made into a second invasion attempt of the Master or his prodigy. Having a greatly weakened army from losses in X10 or WotI could force Hule into a corner where Hule would need to create an army made mostly of mind affected populations. In both situations, when battling the opposing team, your characters should try to make tactics that reduced the number of casualties. Large casualties of either side would reduce the morale and effectiveness of the indigenous populations that are not mind controlled. There is also a rumour spread through the ranks of Hule that those victims of the Black Death come back to life as undead servants to the Black Drink on the next full moon.