Drugs are addictive, illicit, and often illegal substances with hallucinogenic or mood-altering affects which are ingested for recreational or ritualistic purposes. Many different drugs exist in The Elder Scrolls, and abusing them is generally disapproved of, with some exceptions.
Many of these drugs are just variants of moon sugar, such as skooma and the rarer potion known as Balmora Blue. Other notable drugs are greenmote and felldew. Of course, Tamriel is also filled with many popular alcoholic beverages, such as Jagga, fermented pig's milk which is popular in Valenwood. Various alchemical ingredients could be construed to have drug-like effects, but most are covered separately in the Alchemy section.
Moon sugar and skooma can be found throughout Tamriel due to widespread smuggling out of Elsweyr. Moon sugar has been commonly ingested in Elsweyr since before written history. In the Third Era, rumors surfaced of gangs smuggling powerful drugs out of Black Marsh. They could be referring to Hist sap, a powerful drug, although it's known that entire Hist trees have been smuggled out of Black Marsh. Sleeping Tree Sap also produces hallucinogenic effects. There are mentions of drug use in Cyrodiil legends dating back to before the Alessian Slave Rebellion. Apparently, slaves in the realm of the Fire King Hadhuul were forced to consume "drugs drawn from the admixture of daedrons into living hosts".
Felldew, a poisonous bright green ichor, is a highly addictive narcotic substance used by the mortal inhabitants of the Shivering Isles. It is produced in the bodies of a unique variety of Elytra native to Dunroot Burrow that emit a green glow. Upon consumption, Felldew creates a powerful euphoria that boosts the strength, intelligence and agility of the imbiber. This euphoria is short-lived, and after several minutes the imbiber begins to suffer from crippling withdrawal symptoms, damaging strength, intelligence, agility, speed, willpower, endurance, luck and health. These symptoms persist indefinitely until another dose is taken to restore the euphoria. Long-term use of the drug seems to cause facial deformations and aggressiveness.
The entrance to Dunroot Burrow is sealed by barrier membranes, which only open after having taken Felldew. Deep within the root tunnels is a man-made chamber inhabited by addicts called the Sanctum of Decadence. Duke Thadon of Mania created an artifact known as the Chalice of Reversal. Drinking from the Chalice permanently cures Felldew addiction and inhibits withdrawal symptoms, as well as creating a stronger euphoria which boosts health and magicka. Thadon used the Chalice to indulge heavily in Felldew, but after his affair with Duchess Syl of Dementia ended badly circa 3E 433, Syl brought the Chalice to the Sanctum in Dunroot Burrow. In order to gain the Duke's favor, the Champion of Cyrodiil recovered the Chalice for Thadon. It was later put on display in Sheogorath's throne room.
Greenmote, a light green powder, is a powerful narcotic substance created by the mortal inhabitants of the Shivering Isles. Unrefined greenmote can be taken from mushroom tree saplings found in Mania, but has few practical applications, even to alchemists. Only the Duke of Mania has access to a refined version of the substance. A hidden silo of greenmote was stored in a secret tunnel system beneath the Palace of Sheogorath in New Sheoth. The drug is very potent, and overdosing causes the heart to explode, resulting in immediate blood loss death. Taken in small doses, the substance causes rapture, as well as gifting the imbiber with improved night vision, speed, endurance and personality. However, it also results in temporary blurred vision, as well as a decrease in strength, intelligence and agility. Greenmote can be added to food, turned into a potion, or eaten straight.
The Manics believe that Arden-Sul died during "a night of absolute indulgence", when he and his guests overdosed on greenmote. It is tradition for an exiting Duke of Mania to invite his successor to a great feast, where the Duke will imbibe three portions of greenmote, causing an overdose. To become the new Duke, the successor must then pour his predecessor's lifeblood onto the altar in the Sacellum Arden-Sul, where it will be consumed by flame. It was rumored that Duke Thadon was poisoned in 3E 433, when a usurper added too much greenmote to his food, resulting in the Duke's unintended death. Others claim that the Duke defected following the death of Syl, and joined Jyggalag as a Priest of Order.
When Hist Sap is licked by an Argonian, the tree is capable of communicating with the Argonian through visions. The sap of the Hist seems to increase the combat prowess of those who drink it. Hist sap has the ability to 'alter' living organisms, which may explain Argonian origins. The Blackwood Company smuggled a Hist tree from Black Marsh to their headquarters in Leyawiin, and extracted the sap to exploit this. However, when consumed by non-Argonian species, the Hist sap had strong hallucinogenic properties that sent them into dangerous bloodlust, though this particular Hist sap was modified to have similar effects on Argonians, as well. At the end of the Third Era, a recruit of the Fighters Guild sabotaged the Hist extraction mechanism, destroying the tree in the process.
Moon Sugar is a grainy powder of small white crystals refined from cane grasses of Elsweyr's coasts and estuaries. Used as a spice in Elsweyr, it has modest magical properties, and is also a potent narcotic - illegal in 3E Morrowind and the rest of the Empire. It is commonly refined into a more potent and addictive form known as Skooma. Humans, it seems, are even more susceptible to the effects of moon-sugar than the catmen themselves, and travelers to Elsweyr are thus cautioned against partaking of any of the sugar-loaded native food.
Skooma is a hallucinatory narcotic refined from moon sugar. Extremely addictive, its victims are left in constant, alternating states of delusional euphoria and lethargy. Sustained use of the drug seemingly results in permanent confusion and mental deterioration.
Sleeping Tree Sap
Sleeping Tree Sap is considered a legal drug in Skyrim and is highly valued for its ability to make people feel much healthier for a time, although side effects include temporary slowness and blurry purple vision. A spigot was installed on the Sleeping Tree in Whiterun Hold to harvest the sap, and the Khajiit trading caravans have been known to pay highly for samples.
- For related info, see the article for Skyrim's Drugged effect.
- Events of Skyrim
- A Dance in Fire — Waughin Jarth
- PGE — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The War with the Trees: Argonia and the Black Marsh — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- Events of Oblivion
- The Adabal-a — Morihaus
- The Infernal City — Greg Keyes
- Events of ESO