Petals

Petals is a term for a type of narrative hallucinogen, a nanodrug that hijacks the senses and takes the user on a game-like, highly immersive trip. Known by a myriad of intriguing names (Forgotten Hand, Darkly Selving, Inquisitive Green, to name a few). Petals are post-Fall society's heroin"the drug of choice for the desperate and fucked. Petals almost always appear as nanopharmaceutical flowers, potted or with a nutrient pack attached to the stem. Plucking and swallowing the petals from the flower triggers the effects immediately. Flowers have 5-10 petals. Multiple users may share the experience if they take the Petals within 1 minute of the first one being plucked; after this all petals remaining on the flower fade to translucent white and become inert. Petal experiences are like entire scenarios in and of themselves. Some take place entirely in the user's mesh inserts (the user must cede control of their implants voluntarily; if they do not, the drug has no effect other than producing very low-intensity LSD-like visual hallucinations), taking control of the character's entoptic displays, linking to secretive mesh servers and other trippers, and invading the character's sensorium with AR "hallucinations." Others put the character into a near-comatose state during which they go on a head trip. Normally there is some kind of well-developed theme or plot to a Petal experience, although in some cases they just experience a stream of images. Though most societies seek to suppress Petals, new ones appear constantly, fueled by a persistent sub-culture of crafters and users. Petalcrafters view their work as an art form (or at least as really good entertainment), and the better Petals are lovingly crafted, hauntingly beautiful experiences"even if they're also terrifying. The subculture of Petal use ranges from casual users who occasionally do an easy, short-duration flower to hardcore addicts who spend much of their time not on Petals trying to hunt down the most intense and esoteric varieties. From this subculture comes a lot of information on what various Petals look like and their effects. Because Petals combine custom nanobots with tailored chemical payloads and sometimes connections to mesh servers, duplicating them using fabricators is impossible, leading to an active market of crafters, dealers, and traders. Petals sometimes contain easter eggs and rewards, called "sweets" by petal users. Getting the sweets usually requires fulfilling certain conditions within the trip, such as correctly answering questions or fulfilling goals. Typical sweets include skillsofts, new clothing or product designs, and custom infomorph sleeves. On the negative side, some Petal trips go bad, inflicting 1d10 mental stress or more on the user. Perhaps worse, some Petals are loaded with malware that takes over the user's mesh inserts and worse"some sentinels even whisper of Petals carrying strains of the Exsurgent virus.

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