Encounter culture#5- Enchantment "There must be something in the water"

Continuing on with our look at the spell schools this week Encounter culture is covering Enchantment. The most enticing of all schools of magic.


The premise: This encounter couldn't be simpler, the water supply of an entire town, city or village had been contaminated by a potent love potion. It functions as a Philter of Love, but takes hold of everyone who drinks it. But more than just drinking the water carries the effects.

The breakdown: Creating a magic item that achieves this goal is very costly. By breaking down the cost for a single use activated magic item we can discern that the 3,000 gp cost, is based on a CL of 15 and a spell level of 4 multiplied by each other and then the base 50 GP cost. Simply taking the same number but pricing it for an unlimited use item gives us a cost of 120,000 GP. Which means it would take 60 days of crafting to complete. The item may be similar to a decanter of endless water, but with love potion, or it may be an enchanted well or fountain. The creator just needs the craft wondrous item feats, charm monster, and permanency.

Anyone drinking the tainted water will fall in love with the next person they lay their eyes on, permanently and with no save. The effects of this being applied to an entire town are massive, and there are several things for the GM to consider, each of which has its own implications.

What does a second drink do? Technically each time the subject drinks they'd fall in love with the first person they see, and this would not end their love for anyone else, including non magically induced love.

How strong is the love? Does it fill people with the desire to profess their feelings, write songs, and give gifts? Or does it drive people to near madness with desire that must be fulfilled no matter what.

Does the population understand what's happening? The local citizens may realize they're under an effect, or they may simply think that their hearts are running wild. And if they do understand something is going on are they able to recognize the water is causing it?

How strongly does the potion pervade the city? Consider what happens to Soups, baked goods, potions and medacines made using local water.  When boiled, does the water become purified? Does it release  steam that carries the effect? What about clothes washed and steamed with the elixir tainted water?

What mood do you want this encounter to have? Do you want to portray a fun light hearted goofy story featuring comical impossible romances? Do you wish to explore themes of sudden passion, guilt, and confused feelings of love? Do you want to evoke a horrific atmosphere with people terrified of their own emotions and an unseen contagion?

Consider these questions and answer them with eachother in mind. Consider these two very different scenarios as examples:

By deciding that the tone is a mix of comical and dark the DM may decide that the feelings of love are very powerful and very physical, and that the locals have no idea what's causing it, but they know that food and water is tainted. Each time someone eats or drinks they will become deeply attracted to another person they lay eyes on, and be unable to stop themselves from trying to hug and kiss those people (And not more than that, given the mood we want). This causes the population to shut themselves in, barely eating or drinking and not leaving the house for fear of becoming the target of infatuation. We've effectively constructed a low stakes parody of a zombie outbreak scenario. Where people could be dragged off and swarmed with kisses and backrubs, and clean food is scarcely rationed.

Alternatively the GM may decide to play up the feelings of romance. The potion only causes you to fall in love with one person, and it's a far more real love, maybe even as strong as "true" love. The town has no idea it's even happening, as only some water is tainted given the towns multiple wells and it mostly spreads through certain goods. This creates a situation where a long-time rival, or even a hated team mate could suddenly find themselves in love with one of the player characters, or visa versa. This focuses on the romantic and storytelling aspects, and may even touch on the conflict of knowing that a feeling is false, but still feeling it just as strong. Perhaps someone affected by it finds their life is made better by love, and decide not to have it removed. Or perhaps once awakened those feelings don't vanish, even with a break enchantment spell.

There are dozens of directions a DM can go with this idea, andthey may even get several adventurers worth of material out of this single encounter.

Hooks: This encounter is nothing but hooks. It's all hooks. Hooks for days. But fine, if you want one more, just let the players investigate who MADE this crazy item and why. And as an added bonus, players figuring out the source of the love will have to decide what to DO with it.