Ikrif is a flowering plant grown in hilly or mountainous southlands in the Far East which, when refined through various means, produces an intoxicating extract of the same name which is used recreationally throughout the known world. Of course, it is prohibitively expensive outside of the Far East.
Methods of Use
In the days of the Osaliel Republic, the preferred method of use was to take the gray-greenish leafy extract, put it in a long pipe made of wood and sometimes metal, burn and inhale the rose-scented, pale smoke in deep, long breaths. The effects include hallucinations, bodily euphoria, feelings of paranoia, apathy and indifference. In Nighthelm and other regions where the plant is commonly found, quickly snorting the ground and powdered leaf and flower is the preferred method. This causes effects similar to with smoking, but much more quickly. It also has a tendency to cause stomach cramps, nausea, nosebleeds and ulcers after prolonged or heavy use; local peasants take it in minor doses when farming.
The third method is to extract a greenish-brown oil, called ikrif-sar or ikrif oil, which can be mixed into drinks or put into food. It can also be smoked in a pipe. The oil form is highly concentrated and too costly for anyone but the nobility to purchase. It is also highly addictive.
Symptoms of Abuse
Ikrif abuse or overdose can cause stomach ulcers, dehydration, malnourishment, weight loss, dysphoria, delusion, schizoid symptoms, mood swings and even death. In its more potent forms it forms physical dependency; withdrawal symptoms include vivid negative flashbacks, shaking, muscle weakness.
Impact on Society
Although its use is not documented as being banned in any realm, it is clearly not approved in some circles and few, nobles freely admit to being recreational users of any form of Ikrif.
Maltheo of Olik is rumored to be a long-time user. And once he joined the Antoza Commonwealth, he began to be visited by the spirits of the dead during his ikrif journeys. Though at first he was appalled, frightened and shamed with his guilty torment, he began to rediscover what many of the local population already knew: that ikrif could bring a man into contact with the dead. In Haul, the word for this is simply "Communion," and is a rare act undertaken by shamans and sometimes healers.
His experiences were included in the body of knowledge of Communionism, a religion which developed around this central contact.