Flintlocks & Fireballs
Drugs, and addiction
“One for the taste. Two, to keep the first company. Three, in case one gets lost. A fourth for the road… Guess I don’t wanna be caught walking round with this, might as well finish it off now…”
Kids, don’t do drugs
We’re sure we shouldn’t have to say this, but since you never know who’s reading these things we’ll say them anyway: These are a set of rules for simulating being a drug addict in a made-up fantasy world. We don’t think these rules are a realistic simulation of what it’s like being a real drug addict in the real world. We also don’t advise you to find out what it’s like, because it’s almost certainly not as rosy as a set of abstracted rules for giving a character interesting development will make it sound.
Technically, the Empire prohibits any addictive substance. In practice, it’s a system that is poorly enforced by the Imperial Guard.
- Each dosage of drug consumption (for each drug) specifies a benefit, a disadvantage, and a withdrawl effect.
- While you are taking a drug at a certain dosage and are not addicted to that dosage, you gain the benefit for that dosage and the disadvantages associated with that and all lower dosages.
- If you are taking a drug and aren’t addicted, you need to make a DC10 Endurance check during any extended rest where you regain healing surges (the DC on this can be affected by circumstances like stress, illness or personal tragedy); if you fail, you become addicted to that dosage.
- If you are taking a drug at a certain dose and are addicted to that dosage, you gain the disadvantages of that and all lower levels, but no benefits.
- If you stop taking a drug while addicted to it at a certain dose, you gain the disadvantages of that and all lower levels, and the withdrawl effect for all the levels you’re addicted to but not taking. The first time each day you pass a Milestone, you can make a DC20 Heal check (the DC, again, depends on the circumstances); if you succeed, the dose you’re addicted to decreases by one.
Drugs and dosage
The effects of a drug depend on how much you’re taking. In F&F, several different dosages of a drug are defined, though these are as much to do with how frequently you take it as how much you take when you do. Each dosage defines three effects: the benefit of taking the drug at that dosage when you’re not addicted, the disadvantage of taking the drug at that dosage, and the withdrawl effect of taking the drug at a lower dosage when you are addicted.
Drugs that have been used in the system (although many more exist) are:
- Alpha – A combat drug that is similar to PCP in effect, increasing self-confidence and aggression massively.
- Etherite – See the section on Dusters for more information; it’s basically snorting magic crystals to make yourself more powerful at the price of melting your brain. Doses are taken by grinding up raw etherite crystals and snorting them. Yes, you can snort crystals taken from a blazer. No, it’s not a good idea.
When you’re taking a drug at a dosage you’re not addicted to, you need to check to see if you become dependent. Every time you take an extended rest which causes you to recover healing surges you need to make an addiction roll. This is an attack on your Fortitude defence. The difficulty can be affected by certain circumstances, such as physical weakness or mental anguish. If you succeed in the defence then all’s fine: you can keep up your habit with no extra side-effects. If you fail, you’re now addicted to this dosage: you no longer gain any benefits from taking the drug at this dosage, but keep all of the disadvantages, and need to keep on taking the drug in order to avoid the effects of withdrawl.
If you’re addicted to a drug and taking it at a lower dosage, or not taking it at all, you have to deal not only with the disadvantages of taking the drug at that stage but the effects of withdrawl. But this also gives you a chance to reduce your dependency. Now every time you <???>, you can roll on your Willpower defence. This time, if you make the defence then you are now dependent only on the level of the drug you’re taking. If you went so far as to go cold turkey and avoid the thing entirely, you’re not addicted at all.
Sometimes the prospect of withdrawl is just too daunting. If you keep up with your current level of consumption while you’re addicted, then you get all the disadvantages of the drug and none of the benefits; but neither do you have to worry about rolling to get more addicted.
Upping the dose
Alternatively, if your current habits aren’t doing it for you any more then you can always just put more of the stuff into you. If you increase the dosage, you get the benefits of that dosage and the disadvantages of that dosage plus all lower dosages.