Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Akhutai's Research Notes, 12 Deepice, Fenin Ro, Veeshan
Archivist's note: This is one of the few surviving personal journals of one Dr. Akhutai Ssarathi, an iksar mind-mage notable for taking an early "scientific" approach to the study of the mind. Taking philosophical objection to dominating the mind by forceful or invasive magic, he experimented heavily with alchemy and tinkering to aid in his studies, and was one of the first to call themselves a psychiatrist. His specialty appears to have been mostly related to the study of dreams, as they could be observed with minimally invasive magicks, and the counseling of clients with histories of mental or emotional abuse, common for the archetypal adventurer.
Though he frequently claims in his entries to be a meticulous note-taker, very little written work of his survives. It is possible that much was recorded with a mechamagical device, as this entry claims, but it is also likely that the secretive doctor employed various memory techniques to "take notes" in his own mind.
This begins my current personal log; previous installments have been duly recorded into that damnable gnomish device, and naturally, lost to equipment failure. While I originally intended these to be scientific logs of my research, obviously for future publication, I doubt anything I write here will be publishable. The denizens of Norrath seem particularly uninterested in research into their own mental health, so I doubt any scientific journal exists that would be worthy of such a paper in any case.
12 Deepice, year of Fenin Ro, Age of Veeshan ((3/23/2014))
In the last few weeks, I have been inundated with dwarven, gnomish, and even goblin, bugbear, and kobold clients seeking counseling and psychiatric help in the wake of their Brell Day celebrations. Brell Day is in fact, a feast lasting nearly a fortnight in which individuals, and especially those of the aforementioned usually stolid Serilian races, are encouraged to drunkenness and debauchery. As it happens quite near the Xegony/Ro equinox, I would not be surprised if this cross-cultural holiday developed largely in response to the warming of the weather and the inclination of these races to live underground and away from light and sound for extended periods. As such, the Brell Day feasting seems to provide a quite natural release for these peoples, an opportunity to enjoy life in light and sunshine without considering consequences.
Unfortunately, consequences still occur, regardless of whether they have been disregarded in a holiday spirit, and it is apparently my job as a counselor to talk clients through these consequences. I have had everything from the (rather expected) unexpected offspring to tragic, dancing-induced mine cave-ins to counsel clients through. And as these are Serilians, they seem to think that counseling, like much else in the culture, involves either dirt or alcohol. I have had many who could not afford to pay me in currency barter for my services in various fermented or distilled beverages, and many others, mostly dwarves, who are under the firm impression that “real” counseling cannot be happening without some form of libation being served to them. As such, the kitchen of my humble abode and office in Gorowyn has rapidly evolved into both a storage and serving facility for a great variety of beverages. One might even say I have opened a bar.
One would be incorrect, of course. This modification to my kitchen is merely a counseling tool, both for the comfort of my clients and the opportunity to observe them in a more casual state. It also gives me the opportunity to observe chemical and alchemical effects of brewed, fermented, and distilled libations upon the body in a controlled setting. Many questions can be explored: Why are some moods associated with certain kinds of alcohol, i.e. ales rendering someone an “angry drunk,” but wines making them a “sleepy drunk” and mixed liquor beverages making them a “silly drunk”? Is it the same factor for all individuals, or do different beverages have different effects on different people, and why? Is there a racial commonality in the alcohol metabolization response, i.e. dwarven ales always making goblins excessively thirsty, and if so, what is that factor? The answers to these questions may give valuable insight into my alchemical research. As I search for a soporific that does not alter dream patterns, research into how a common depressant like alcohol is metabolized may be of great utility.
Alternatively, the observation of my clients in a state of controlled inebriation may prove useful in the course of counseling itself. I think I can understand the dwarven reluctance to engage a counselor who does not have an intoxicant to serve: many clients are far too inhibited to share their true problems with a counselor without a bit of chemical aid to remove those inhibitions. Those in the adventuring profession in particular are quite adept at hiding their true feelings and keep a great many personal secrets quite tightly. A drink or two can unlock in them what several months of regular counseling cannot. I have no use for their secrets, of course, as there is very little I care for their own petty, political intrigues. Who killed whom over what ridiculous squabble is only useful in counseling the survivors in their grief and/or guilt and helping them move on to resume productivity. However, this aptitude of alcohol in revealing well-kept secrets is quite the fascinating phenomenon in and of itself. It is though alcohol pushes secrets out of the mind and onto the tongue in a way a mind-mage can only envy when they brutally attempt to rip out those secrets by force. I wonder if any others have managed to make use of this propensity?