#AtoZ: A is for Attar

This post belongs to the #AtoZchallenge 2024, where I attempt to turn a word a day into something that can be used in Role Playing Games.

Attar is a perfume created with traditional Middle Eastern and Indian processes, an hydro-destillation with ‘Degs & Bhapka’. Basically, water is heated in the Deg, the water vapor then extracts the aromatic oil, and condenses in the Bhapka, where water and oil are separated.

As most traditional techniques, it was also used for rituals and medical purposes.

How to integrate it into your typical fantasy RPG?

  • Medically, there were said to be warm and cold Attars. Warm Attars like saffrons were used in winter to keep the wearer warm, cold Attars like jasmine were used in summer to cool you down. Those could be used as a strongly smelling oil of Protection against Fire or Ice, which will decrease the wearers chance to smell its environment while basically ensuring he will be smelled by anyone around.
  • Attars are light (because they need to be diluted with water before use), easily stored and expensive – and thus ideal goods for adventurers to carry around and bribe important people with.
  • Major magic ritual often require incences, and it might well be necessary to consult an Attar craftsman to find the correct scent for your ritual (or perhaps an almost indistinguishable one to thwart a rival’s ritual).
  • Certain scents could require monster parts to distill, like Musk or Ambergris. Especially various plant based monsters would fit very well for this purpose. Since Attar are expensive, Attar craftsmen could pay good money for those parts and allow low- to mid-level adventurers a source of income without having any mages involved.
  • A necromancer (or fire/ice conjurer) could combine the warmth (coolness) of Attar to hide his summonings. Have skeletons that smell like saffron to hide their smell and their chillness at the same time! Same with fire conjurers who hide the sulphur smell. Ice conjurers would, of course, use jasmine covered snow-folk instead.

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