Vitae is a magical elixer that is traditionally alchemically created from 12 different extremely rare substances. Using EV in normal dosages stabilizes aging. Taking seven fold dosages youthens the recipient, but may have undesirable (and some desirable) side effects. The use of EV is generally (though not always) recorded by the King’s census takers, and overdosing is only allowed (and then only sparingly) for higher nobility. The most influential and rich of users can statistically expect to extend their lifetimes by fivefold – some Great Dukes have lived for over four centuries taking EV.
Several of EV Precursors are subject to intermittent scarcity, and thus the price of a standardized 1215 cc crystal bottle Vitae fluctuates wildly between 25 Crown and more than a 100 Crown. These are extremely large amounts of money even for a Duke, and a typical flacon (administered daily in a tincture) lasts a month and retards aging completely. If the price goes up, people start aging quite rapidly, sometimes catching up to their biological age at a rate of 5-20 times normal aging (and more that in winters).
It has been known to happen that for several years the price of a good flacon of Vitae was over 100 Crown, and you’d see very many high officials, noblemen or even royals croak in most undignified manner, aging maybe a corresponding decade in a single winter. As such the whole Kingdom is strung together by Vitae. There have not been especially bad production years for 2 decades, and nowadays even guildmasters nibble a bit of the vitae to extend their life.
Vitae lasts itself for decades, and gains in effectiveness when ripened. One year Vitae brewed from standard ingredients may last a month or less. A purified deep green Vitae that was brewed from scarce and high quality ingredients, by a grandmaster alchemist, and ripened for decades may last up to a year, as well may have a slight age reversing, as well as other desirable effects. Several of the ingredients are secret.
Manufacturing EV Some ingredients can be replaced with alternatives, but at a very high cost in effectiveness, and those lesser Vitae may have unpleasant side effects. Known components include (1) a spiral shaped mellon sized mollusc grown in the swamps of Duchy Franche, (2) a deep green root or “truffel”, (3) middle sea ‘demon tear’ pearls, (4) A highly venomous sedimental ore mined from deep mines in the North of the Kingdom, (5) the organs of a rare animal, (6) tomatoes – Seriously, (7) whale amber gris, (8) crystals mined by undersea humanoids from oceanic vents (harvested by and imported from Locathah generally), (9) fresh eggs from a rare sky creature from the vortex, (10) Dragon Blood.
You can see where the problems emerge.
A note on the side effects of Elixer Vitae Withdrawal
See – Undeath