Due to the care required to harvest a mage's mold
required to provide the beer's effects, as well as the heavily guarded secret of the proprietary process developed by Cynthia Staghorn
to brew the beer, Astral Beer is a precious commodity and only available to Reachmen
and trusted friends. The brewing process allows the town of Northwood
ready access to this otherwise priceless commodity.
The properties of Mage's Mold
were first discovered by a lost and injured explorer attempting to Astral Project to discover his way back to civilization. This was a risk, as not only did the loss of blood from his injury increase the chances of the spell going awry, with the separation of body and spirit he would have been unaware and unable to react if his physical condition worsened.
The grove where he lay bleeding out was coated with Devil's Lichen
and unknown to him maintained a healthy population of the mold as well, which happened to release spores that night while he was casting. The resultant spell not only allowed him to pinpoint his location with regards to the nearest settlement but also enter the dreams of several of its sleeping inhabitants with his cry for help.
Once mold was identified as the cause for this boosted effect demand skyrocketed. The difficulty in extracting Mage's Mold from its poisonous lichen host, coupled with the inherent value of its effects on Astral Projection, meant those able to safely provide the mold could charge exorbitant rates, leading other suppliers with less robust harvesting processes to sell their own versions which may or may not be laced with the poisonous Devil's Lichen depending upon that day's quality control.
In more recent years, Cynthia Staghorn
began her own efforts to harness the power of the mold. Recognizing that Mage's Mold bore a similar growth profile to the yeast used in her own brewing processes she began experimentation to develop a beer based around the mold and its properties. After nearly a decade of effort the Staghorn Brewery Co.
developed a process that consistently allowed the mold to grow and multiply while maintaining its alchemical properties. The resultant brew contained a much lower concentration of the mold than traditional alchemical mixtures, and its alcohol content did mean those using the beer would run the risk of becoming drunk
, but the safety and reliability of the process outweighs these concerns due to the sudden availability of the precious commodity.
Astral Beer was born.
Astral Beer is most openly used for search and rescue operations into the surrounding Giftwood Grove
. Volunteer mages run shifts searching when or where it's too dangerous for the standard search teams. Each mage is supervised by another member of the search team to ensure their safety during the projection, and verify the mage remains sober enough to safely continue casting.
connection is also made between the mage and their keeper prior to the beginning of their projection shift, to allow the mage to retain communication with the search team during their projection. This allows all members of the search to to relay discoveries and request assistance throughout the search.
The beer also plays a key role in gathering information in support of the Reachmen
's rebellion against the Church of the Heathen Prophet
, although due to the Heathen's control over large portions of Northwood they are careful to keep this usage a closely held secret.