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TitleIn Defense of Attitudinal Hedonism: a Gaudiguch Dissection and Inspection of Lifestyle
Post Date (Visible)March 2022

It is common knowledge that a large majority of the Basin looks upon the masses of Gaudiguch with a sense of disdain, perhaps heralding from the "upper echelons" of society, where ballroom dances and suits would replace the desert city's raves and sheer fabrics that subtly obscure the scaled citizenry. From the seedy back-alley drug deals to the in-your-face drug deals found at the Eternal Flame on any given weave, I would like to offer a deeper look into the indulgent culture of the City of Freedom. Are they little more than harlots with loose morals frolicking around in the desert sun, brains fried from dehydration? Probably. Yet this should not dissuade one from investigating the prevailing thread that runs through the city to learn more about the hedonism that has deep roots within the culture of Gaudiguch.

Firstly, much like a young novice fresh from the Portal of Fate, we will begin our examination of Gaudiguch's own brand of hedonism at the enrollment of Gaudiguch's very own collegium: the Order of the Secret Flame. The Order of the Secret Flame can be found nestled inside of a bar, fittingly enough, where one must consort with drunkards to gain favour with the bouncer so that you may continue further with your studies. From the very introduction into Gaudiguch, you will find yourself instilled with an intimate familiarity with drunkards and other sorts of boisterous characters that most would write off as little more than mere vagrants thus normalizing the more lax societal structure the city has without forcing one to engage actively in the lifestyle.

From here, you will soon be sent off to meet the elders of Gaudiguch, some of them offering lessons while others pass down personal anecdotes of their experiences in the city. Most importantly, however, you will eventually meet the Enlightened Masters at the House of Meditation. They would task you with leading young initiates that aimlessly roam the streets of Gaudiguch back to the House of Meditation, where they will properly listen to the Enlightened Masters and partake in the culture. Though a more rigorous study of the Enlightened Masters' teachings will be explored further in the paper.

With the inevitability of our reality being consumed in entirety by the Soulless, why must one be deprived of that which brings joy? With the dread of the Soulless consumptions also comes the inherent need to feel some modicum of control. While one might perhaps find a sense of purpose in strict regimens and religious adherence, the members of Gaudiguch will often combine these practices along with a life of lavish decadence.

In the time of the Holy Celestine Empire, the Emperor and his counsel found themselves looking to conquer the expanding, prospering community that was Gaudiguch. Project Cloudspout was thus devised, the brainchild of the Empire that would bring Gaudiguch to its knees by superimposing passivity when the imperial delegates played their hand, all brought about by the employment of manufactured drugs. This - unfortunately for the Empire of Old Celest - did not work exactly as intended, seeing as the city loved this feeling and its people prospered for it. The mystics basked in more intense visions, the bards found more emotion in their song, and even as Gaudiguch aligned formally with the Empire, the light of the Eternal Flame and its promises of Freedom were held still in higher regard than the Empire's praised Light of Celestia's Supernals and Shallamar's Emanations.

While critiques stand with some merit against the near-constant state of intoxication, be it by drink, herb, or otherwise, could the cons truly outweigh the benefits? Perhaps the biggest drawback of inebriation, the stumbling effects, appears to have absolutely no adverse effects upon the most fierce combatants of Gaudiguch. The Nunchaku and the Minstrels, in particular, will find themselves to be far more effective at their specific martial practices upon consumption of alcohol, leading them to benefit when a majority of the other combatants would find themselves at a severe disadvantage.

While they may not be aided by the consumption of alcohol, students of the old Illuminati's teachings of Paradigmatics often consume various drugs to "unlock" their minds. Upon consumption, it is commonly found that the initiates are more readily able to grasp concepts the sober would have trouble comprehending through an uninfluenced state of mind. Different students swear by various methods yet a common thread among them are drugs that give a more "cosmic" experience, versus the more grounded highs of what is known as a "downer" colloquially.

Lastly are the students of Pyrochemantics, who utilize various drug-related essences to disorient and terrify the opponent. They do not appear to be adversely affected by their continuous use of these drugs in their most pure form, despite the heavy amounts of them they use in combat. The Pyrochemantic branch of the Gaudiguch mages is a special case as they are miraculously able to transmute various substances into the purest and most distilled version of narcotics. With this ability, it isn't surprising to see that there is never a shortage of drugs within the city.

Enlightenment is the goal of many citizens among the famed pyramids of Gaudiguch, and the masters have a particular air about them that would lead me to believe they partake in drugs more than just recreationally. I sat for many hours listening to the teachings of the Enlightened Masters, pondering each of the parables they spoke to me. The words were certainly said but my sober mind was unable to value the complex stories of the Enlightened. Later, while wandering the streets of Gaudiguch, I happened upon a trail that lead me to a rare drug, xoqil.

For the sake of my research into the mystical side of hedonism, I partook of the drug and upon consumption, I expected some immediate transformation yet felt absolutely nothing. In the very next moment I felt everything as reality itself seemed to bend around me and all the ramblings of the Enlightened Masters seemed to formulate in my mind and make sense. The universe all unraveled its cipher to me and the Masters seemed to have the key to make sense of it all. Completely entranced, I was finally aware of the level of consciousness that the Masters held as a baseline.

After my sobriety returned and I came off the euphoria, it seemed the peak I reached was ancient history at that point. From my skeptical beginnings in the city, through my enrollment within the Order of the Secret Flame, I have gained a new appreciation for the hedonistic ways of Gaudiguch. Though the practice was not always in place, it is perhaps a blessing in modern times that the mystics of the desert city are able to partake in the use of mind-altering hallucinogens to further expand their mind beyond their normal perceptions and boundaries.

There would be a great benefit if more studies were to be conducted on the effects of the various drugs on the mind to see if there is a solid answer for the question of why these substances enhance the perception and quality of life for the citizenry of Gaudiguch. But until then, it has been championed by mystic and commoner alike that these drugs and drinks are a vital part of the day-to-day life of the hedonistic Gaudiguchian.

A note from the author:

Great care should be taken when experimenting with the various drugs mentioned in this paper, as some of them can cause very dangerous hallucinations to manifest if you are in a bad headspace. If you or a friend are considering drug usage be sure to find a safe and secure spot that is free of danger so that you don't let intrusive thoughts bring you harm. Your mindset before your journey will deeply impact where the road takes you, before you begin it might be beneficial to meditate and find peace so that anxiety is released from your mind. First-time usage is also often greatly aided if you have someone sober sitting with you to walk you through your experience if you are feeling like you might be in danger.

Remember: Reduce risk, have a sober sitter, and enter with positive expectations. With these three steps, you are exponentially more likely to reach the Enlightened state the wise old men of Gaudiguch speak of, if only for a fleeting stitch in the vast Tapestry.