Lay worshipers and priests of Ninkash spend much time brewing ale. Every drop of the ale they make, which has had prayers to the matron goddess of dwarven wine and beer chanted over it during the brewing, is “holy ale.” But certain ales are infused with the magic spells of the Vaer, the priests of Ninkash.
In Kobold Quarterly 10, Ed Greenwood unveiled the mysteries of the goddess Ninkash using the 3.5 ruleset; this Kobold Quarterly Web exclusive re-imagines Ninkash’s holy ale for D&D 4th Edition.
As always, these ales are intended for those with full beards and iron stomachs. Their effects on delicate elven constitutions can be somewhat … disastrous.
Indeed, all holy ales work normally on humans, dwarves and all crossbreeds of human and dwarf (such as derro, duergar, half-orcs, and half-elves). However, they are poisonous to elves and eladrin, causing them to be dazed and slowed (save ends with a -4 penalty to the saving throw). They seem to have no magical effect on tieflings or dragonborn.
The Seven Standards
The effects of a holy ale vary in duration: some take effect immediately, while others have short or long effects. Immediate effects take place when imbibed, while short effects lastfrom when the character drank the ale until his next short rest. Lastly, a long effect lasts from when the character drank the ale until his or her next extended rest.
Each ale has three potencies, each of which generally correspond to the three tiers of play: Low (Heroic), Moderate (Paragon) and High (Epic). The level for each potency of ale is specified in its description. Treat the holy ales as consumables for purposes of treasure distribution and parcels.
The seven most widely known magical ales brewed by the Vaer of Ninkash are:
Treated more as holy medicine than strong drink, Lavurr is brewed with herbs as well as hops. The varieties of Bareicks and Kubourg are especially favored in the Ironcrags.
Low Potency (Level 8, Immediate effect): Imbiber spends a healing surge and regains 15 hit points.
Moderate Potency (Level 16, Immediate effect): The character spends a healing surge. He then regains hit points as if he spent two healing surges.
High Potency (Level 24, Immediate effect): Imbiber regains hit points equal to a healing surge and gains temporary hit points equal to his healing surge value.
Tormurr is an acquired taste, and brewed most commonly in the deep forests of Lower Nordmansch.
Low Potency (Level 9, Immediate effect): The imbibing character immediately saves against any ongoing poison damage he is taking, and gets a +2 to saves against ongoing acid damage.
Moderate Potency (Level 15, Immediate effect): As above, but the character also halves ongoing acid damage he takes.
High Potency (Level 21, Short effect): The character makes a save against all poison and acid damage, and gains resist 10 poison and acid.
The Nahlaerho is said to be loved by the berserkers of distant Trollheim as well as those of the Black Province of Grisal.
Low Potency (Level 8, Short effect): The character gains regeneration 5 while bloodied.
Moderate Potency (Level 13, Long effect): The imbiber gains regeneration 5 while bloodied.
High Potency (Level 20, Long effect): The imbiber gains regeneration 10 while bloodied.
Popular among the dwarves of St. Mischau, the only dwarves of the Cantons who seem to enjoy swimming.
Low Potency (Level 11, Short effect): Dwarves only. For the duration of the ale’s effect, the imbiber can breathe water as easily as air, and gains resist 5 poison.
Moderate Potency (Level 16, Long effect): As above.
High Potency (Level 21 Long effect): As above, but the dwarf gains resist 15 poison.
Brewed in a single stone vats of Hammerheim, and exported to every holding of the Ironcrags.
Low Potency (Level 8, Short effect): The imbiber gains resist 15 fire and resist 15 cold.
Moderate Potency (Level 15, Short effect): The imbiber gains resist 20 fire and 20 cold.
High Potency (Level 22, Short effect): The character becomes immune to fire and cold damage.
The brew most beloved of smiths and ironmongers — and adventurers. Said to be especially strong in the variety brewed by Skapi Ravensbeard, the venerable priest in Wintersheim.
Low Potency (Level 11, Short effect): The character gains resist 10 metal.
Moderate Potency (Level 19, Short effect): The character gains resist 20 metal.
High Potency (Level 27, Short effect): The imbiber becomes immune to damage from all metal objects.
Brewed only in the certainty of death — and widely believed to be used in quenching the soul blades of Grisal when they are forged — Talorth is the saddest of the holy ales. “He drank Talorth” is an Ironcrags kenning for death in battle.
High Potency (Level 28, Permanent): Imbimber must be at a quarter of total hit points or lower. He places his soul into an item of his choosing. The character “dies”, but lives on in the item.
Got a favorite dwarven ale? Prefer elven wine? Tell us about it in the comments — and learn more about the Dwarves of the Ironcrags.