Obscura

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Obscura
Obscura.png
Alchemy
Appearance A black powder with dull red dots on close examination
Application Lit with a flame and then thrown
Proficiency Requires 6 points in Alchemy Sciences
Created By Discovered during the Chrysant War
Potency One vial no smaller than a tennis ball
Injectable No
Ingredients
  • 1/5 Gunpowder
  • 2/5 Pulverised dried Fireweed
  • 2/5 Pulverised charcoal
  • 1 whole Popberry
Effects
  1. When introduced to a flame, the concoctions hisses for 5 seconds before exploding into a thick smoke cloud
  2. Coughing, disorientation, inability to see

Obscura is one of the more common potions originating from the Chrysant War era. Using a relatively simple recipe base, the clouds of thick smoke released when this mixture comes into contact with fire confuse and disorientates those caught within it. The concoction is particularly useful for quickly getting out of a fight, and is frequently carried by those of criminal intent and those wanting to avoid criminal intent alike.

Origins

Obscura is believed to have originated in the region now known as the Empire of Tzassa around the opening phase of the Chrysant War. Several alchemists had been commissioned to experiment with more militaristic concoctions in preparation for the major fighting, and one result was this explosive powder created from imported herbs. Unfortunately, as a result of the the Empire's unstable trade with Ithania, coupled with the relatively uncontrollable nature of the cloud once out of the bottle, the potion never became popular on the battlefield or reached mass use. The exact creator of Obscura has been lost to the subsequent purging of documents, but not before the recipe was proliferated in an attempt to boost production.

In the present day, the instructions for preparing Obscura have become one of the most widely available of the alchemical detriments. If one is able to get their hands on expensive gunpowder, it is possible for even student alchemists to create. Nevertheless, Obscura still suffers a reputation of being a criminal getaway concoction in most developed states, and remains a contraband item as a result.

Preparation

Whilst simple, preparation of Obscura is somewhat onerous due to the need to acquire gunpowder which is often heavily regulated and expensive. First, the Fireweed must be left to dry out in a cool room overnight to ensure it does not ignite prematurely. The dried Fireweed flowers and charcoal must then be pulverized into a fine ash using a mortar and pestle. The charcoal especially must be reduced to fine dust or else the smoke will disperse in random patterns rather than as one major cloud. Once the mixture of powders has been created, a container between the size of a tennis ball and a honey jar is chosen; any larger or smaller and the concoction will explode prematurely at the slightest heat. A single Popberry is placed at the bottom of the container and covered with a generous mount of Gunpowder. On top of this, the pulverized Fireweed and charcoal are added to create a discernible layer of black and red powder atop the volatile ingredients. A screw or stopper is then fixed into place to ensure the mixture does not preemptively escape, and the Obscura is complete.

To be used in the heat of the battle, it is imperative that the user carry a box of matches with them to heat the container and reap it's effects. Matches are sometimes affixed to the top of the jar for this very purpose.

Characteristics

Application

The substance is inert until introduced to a flame or a strong source of heat, after which it will begin to fizz over the course of five seconds. The bottle must then be thrown quickly to avoid it blowing up in the user's face.

Effects

Upon contact with a flame, the bottle hisses for no shorter than five seconds as the Fireweed charges within the bottle. After this period of time, the heat generated within the container causes the gunpowder and popberry to explode, shattering the glass (if it has not already been shattered) and causing a plume of black smoke to ascend from the concoction. The cloud is immediately large enough to cover the form of anyone standing directly in front of it, and will continue to slowly engulf an area of around five cubic meters over the course of ten seconds. Inhaling this cloud results in a spectacular fit of coughing as a result of the irritants within.

After around two minutes in a small area, the cloud will fully disperse leaving inert charcoal in it's place. In more exposed areas or where there is wind or rain, it may disperse faster to the speed of 30 seconds.

Physical Characteristics

Confined within it's bottle, Obscura appears very similar to the ashen remains of a fireplace. It is primarily comprised of a mound of black powders, amongst which small flecks of red Fireweed powder can be seen. If the mixture is shaken or otherwise disturbed, the blackened popberry can be viewed hidden within (though shaking the mixture too much will often result in a failure to ignite). The scent is strong, earthy, and deeply unpleasant. Inhaling the fumes of inert Obscura often causes gagging as a result of the spicy ashes within.

In effect, Obscura produces a thick, black, smokey cloud that is nearly impossible to see through. It is frequently compared to the fumes of old model Airships and Qadir clockwork devices, and will strongly irritate the noses, eyes, and lungs of any who walk through it. Breathing in the smoke caused by Obscura results in a violent coughing fit that will continue to plague the victim for 15 seconds after return to clean air.

Trivia

  • Experiments with adding toxic ingredients to the mix have so far failed due to charcoal’s poison-absorbing properties. Concocting Obscura without charcoal has also proven to be ineffective.
  • While it is possible to run through a cloud of Obscura while holding one's breath, it is considered deeply unpleasant to do so. The cloud irritates the mucus membranes of the nose, mouth, and eyes, and deposit a layer of charcoal over the body which can be breathed in afterwards and still producing a coughing fit.
  • Those who come into contact with Obscura on a frequent basis will often develop persistent chesty coughs and lung ailments.

Accreditation
Writers Eyrok, Eccetra
Artists Betterer
Processors TheBioverse, Ryciera, Shayin
Last Editor Eccetra on 06/18/2018.

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