Snakebite Beer [The Day After Ragnarok]

Snakebite Beer

[The Day After Ragnarok]

Because people can be damned fools sometimes, that’s why.

To begin: when Ragnarok happened, the town of Monroe was in a somewhat better position than most of the rest of Wisconsin, for exactly two reasons: cheese, and beer.  The Blumer Brewery had ample supplies of both, thanks to brewery owner and local cheese magnate Carl Marty. Enough of both, in fact, to feed both the town and the area through the first crises; the good citizens of Monroe might have got pretty sick of cheese over the next few years, but the beer still helped with that.

Marty and brewery head Joe Huber have since then managed to keep the brewery, the cheese production, and the town of Monroe itself more or less a going concern in the last three years, but their success is just as due to the fortunate fact that their settlement is just a little too far away to be dominated by either the Godless Commies in Milwaukee or the anti-Commie zealots in Dubuque.  Monroe is not quite a Mayorality: it can hold off bandit raids, but an army would have very little trouble conquering it, if there were any armies currently in the area.  Since there aren’t any, things are surprisingly peaceful; which is why somebody had the time to start up on the aforementioned damfoolery.

The root of the problem is ophethanol.  People have been trying to turn Serpent-tainted grain into the ophiline* version of ethanol fuel, and failing disastrously (the kind of failure that leads to monsters denning in what used to be your facility).  People can make ‘regular’ ethanol fuel out of the tainted grain, but it’s not safe to drink.  Even distilled, the ethanol still retains enough Serpent-taint to warp whoever drinks it too often, with ‘too often’ being defined as ‘twice.’

People at the Blumer Brewery have been working on that problem for three years. Simply diluting the ethanol didn’t work, so they experimented with the mash until they came up with a way to chelate most of the Serpent-taint in it, resulting in the beer to retain just enough ‘flavor’ to give it a unique kick (and also sterilize things as well as grain alcohol does).  That took them two years; they then spent the next year testing various iterations of the brew on various animals to see if they’d go mad, die, explode, mutate, or turn into snakes. Eventually, they hit on a recipe that seems to be working fine.

And thus: Snakebite Beer!  It doesn’t taste bad.  It’s got a bit of a bite and a tingle to it, which probably isn’t nerve damage.  And the stuff is great for washing out wounds.  But there are any number of possible ways that drinking Snakebite Beer is a bad call:

  • Regular use makes you Snakebit.  That’s the easiest answer, but it can’t happen right away or else people would have noticed before the beer started getting sold.
  • Drinking Snakebite Beer makes you noticeable to Chimeras and Monsters.  It’s not so much a problem around Monroe, but if a keg or two of the stuff gets opened up somewhere that there are monsters things can go very Eighties Slasher Horror movie very quickly.
  • Enough Snakebite Beer can raise the Serpent Taint level of an area.  Specifically, the sewers, or wherever else ‘used’ Snakebite Beer ends up.  If you know what I mean and I think that you do. This is another delayed-reaction oopsie.
  • Snakebite Beer ‘merely’ kicks like a mule.  The good folks at Monroe didn’t notice because they have been professionally drinking beer for the last three years, and have thus built up a remarkable tolerance to alcohol.  But, yeah, the buzz lasts forever and so does the poor judgement, substandard impulse control, and over-casual acceptance of risk.
  • Or anything else, really.  “When in doubt, improvise.”

Lastly, note that the nature of Monroe itself is left undefined. The town can be anything from blissfully unaware about how dangerous their new trade goods can be, to gleefully and deliberately spreading the stuff with malice aforethought.  There are also two people running the town (Marthy and Huber): one or the other can easily have been conveniently driven megalomaniacal by events, and acting accordingly. It wouldn’t be the first time in this setting.

*It’s a version of gasoline that’s distilled from the oil being drilled from the corpse of the World-Serpent currently bisecting Europe.  Yes, there are those that think that drilling for oil on the Serpent might be a bad idea on general principles, but it’s getting increasingly cold out there. Fimbulwinter, remember?


  • Rockphed says:

    Does running a car on ophiline result in it slowly mutating into a some sort of snake themed vehicle that will try to eat you?

    • Moe_Lane says:

      Nah, but the engine will eventually explode right outside of a convenient cave complex for your two-fisted adventurers and surly barbarians to explore. Honestly, this setting has everything. It’s Conan mixed with Doc Savage and Atomic Horror, with plenty of Godless Reds to fight.

      • Rockphed says:

        Oh, you don’t need to sell the setting any harder at me.
        Check that. Please keep selling the setting at me as hard as you can. I thoroughly enjoy reading these write-ups.

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