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> Drug use in Shadowrun
Tyro
post Dec 9 2008, 10:44 PM
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I can see DM's using drugs for NPC's all the time as an equalizer - they're dirt cheap and effective, and if one of those NPC's gets addicted, so what? It's not like they're important to the story.

But what about PC's? I've gotten into the habit of giving most of my characters auto-injectors (either through a cyberlimb, since it takes zero capacity, or built into armor) loaded with things like Novacoke, Jazz or Cram for emergencies. Drugs are obviously meant to be used, or they wouldn't be dirt cheap and stupidly effective. Addiction can be managed if your character has the Willpower and Body for it and doesn't use too often.

What do you think?
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Synner667
post Dec 9 2008, 10:47 PM
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QUOTE (Tyro @ Dec 9 2008, 10:44 PM) *
Addiction can be managed if your character has the Willpower and Body for it and doesn't use too often.

You just keep on believing that...
...Like the millions of drug users in the real world who thought they could handle it.
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Stahlseele
post Dec 9 2008, 10:52 PM
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in most cases, it won't even be the character getting addicted, but the player . .
he will come to grow accustomed to the effects the drugs let his character experience.
and then it's over
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Larme
post Dec 9 2008, 11:24 PM
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Wait, do drugs stack with cyber reflex enhancements?

That aside, I'm kind of annoyed by drugs in SR. They try to create beetles, which are *way better* than street drugs. Except all they do more or less is take you away from reality and make you into a wasted wreck of a person. Oh yeah, super! I'll have what that half-dead hobo is having! Or maybe I should take the stuff that makes me stronger, faster, more aware, or immune to pain, and has some utility other than just flushing my life down the shitter as fast as possible... Tough call (IMG:style_emoticons/default/sarcastic.gif)
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Blacken
post Dec 10 2008, 12:05 AM
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I never really got the vibe that BTLs were really supposed to be better than street drugs for PCs.
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Larme
post Dec 10 2008, 12:54 AM
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All's I'm saying is that if BTLs are "the thing," isn't it weird that "the thing" is completely lame, uncool, worthless, and unglamorous? If that's what it's like why is is the thing again? People don't smoke just because it feels good, celebrities and billboard cowboys make it cool. If smoking was something that only hobos did, you wouldn't see it have much traction in society. But BTLs are supposed to be the mainline contraband for quite a few criminal groups, and yet their sole clientelle seem to be hobos and soon-to-be hobos. I know they had rules at one time for BTLs that gave you bonuses, like trip chips that enhanced your perception... they should at least bring those back so that sane people have an actual reason to use BTLs. If they're "the drug," the PCs should be tempted to use them, thinking they can handle them, as they slowly fall into the trap of addiction... Otherwise they just sort of stick out as a dissonant element in the theme.
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Shilaleagh
post Dec 10 2008, 01:04 AM
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In much the same way tho, explain heroin, GBH, special K, ice .. anything of that sort really. They're not glamorous, they're not pretty, and yet people still go and use them.
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Tyro
post Dec 10 2008, 01:18 AM
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If you only use drugs when the shit hits the fan, I wouldn't call it "regular use" and so it wouldn't even require an addiction test.

Like once a month or something.
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Shilaleagh
post Dec 10 2008, 02:11 AM
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As far as in a run would be concerned, it's not the during the action part you have to worry about, it's the comedown. But, as you said, as long as you have the willpower/body scores required for it, and it's not on a regular basis - and if that's every run.. that's regular - i don't see where the problem would be, other than "that itching feeling" you would get as your body cries out for more gojuice.. meaning you'd be rolling willpower a lil more often over time until ti's simply second nature to use.

On the other hand, say you *were* to use some of them regularly, are they of the nature of things like cocaine, marijuana or ilk, whereby it's the heavy, long term, sustained usage that causes the damage in the long run? And if so, what are the side-effects listed for the drug in question.. weigh up whether the lifestyle cost of teh drugs would make your main lifestyle cost raise, or perhaps stay the same as you spend the same amount of money on the drugs but your housing conditions go down, are really worth the increase in attributes while on it permanently.
Hell, could even be the reason why your character just keeps on 'running.. these habits don't come for free..

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MJBurrage
post Dec 10 2008, 02:18 AM
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BTLs are popular with certain NPCs because they are "Better Than Life".

If your life sucks big time, and sticking a chip in your head makes you feel like your king of the world, a major stud, etc. than your real life will probably get even worse as you only work to afford time to be chipped. Hence the vicious circle inherent to all strong psychoactive drugs.
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Tyro
post Dec 10 2008, 02:59 AM
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QUOTE (Shilaleagh @ Dec 9 2008, 06:11 PM) *
<snip>
Hell, could even be the reason why your character just keeps on 'running.. these habits don't come for free..

Cram is 10 (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) per dose. Jazz is 75. Few (nonmagical) drugs are high-priced; I guess the Ghost Cartels had to be competitive to keep up with beetles.
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i101
post Dec 10 2008, 03:08 AM
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I dont think that it is only a question of body/willpower, it is also a question of the drugs quality. How impure is the stuff PC are consuming? Thru how many hands has it gone before it hit the street and ended in their pockets? Of course every local pusher will swear that his novacoke is the best on the market, but lets face the truth. Drugs are ment to hook up people, thats how you make profit. Hook em and sell it until they are burned out. Furthermore a PC that takes drugs is in some or the other way high. And by high I mean high. Its not only that they have to resist and then gain some nice bonis for low money.. They start to change, or at least should change from the RPG POV. Dont forget that if PC start mixing drugs they gain -1 die penalty to their addiction test (arsenal, page 73). If their stats are too good and they cant get hooked up that easy, then also dont forget the side effects when they are high. Dilated pupils, attention-deficit disorders, funky behaviour aso is one price that a druged PC has to pay. People will notice if one, or a whole group of odd looking guys are on some kind of drugs. Their behavior changes, and therefore people will start to react diffrently to such people. Make em feel uncomfortable infront an important johnson or a few of their good connections. Professional usally dont tend to work with drug abusers on a long-range, regardless if they are shadowrunners or not.
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Backgammon
post Dec 10 2008, 03:23 AM
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Drugs use in Shadowrun depends a lot on the GM. Like most Noir things, some groups may not want to incorporate Them, or severely imped them for PC use because of bad personal experience. And the rules and fluff are left suitably vague so that this is a valid option.

That being said, I am in favour of a LOT more substance abuse in the shadows from PCs. Most trend watchers agree that we are heading for a heavily drugged future, where performance enhancing drugs will be the norm, as negative side-effects are more and more reduced by science. However, mental addiction will always be there - perhaps more so than ever. But that is a very, very cyberpunk thing. Just like cyber and bio augmentations, drugs allow the human to push past what he is, at the cost of his humanity. But that cost is ignored, lost by the banality and commoness of the thing in society. Only when someone's face is pushed into the grittyness of it, nearly drowned in much, does he raise his head for air and ask "there must be more to this".

In a way, I am surprised and disapointed that BTLs do not have stat affectations, like drugs do. Personafix chips should be able to make you fearless, intimidating, or in any way be able to affect social skills. If you act as someone that is ice cold suave, for all intents of purpuse, you ARE ice cold suave. BTLs affect your brain, just like chemicals do. It's no stretch at all to think you could hit a beetle that gives you pain resistance, or whatever. The Marid Audran series had this all right, both for drugs and BTLs. I'm all for moving in that direction
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Rad
post Dec 10 2008, 03:37 AM
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Another thing to keep in mind is that, besides tarnishing your rep, drugs provide a handle for others to manipulate the character.

Coked-out runners giving you trouble? Talk to their dealer. Maybe get him to stop selling to the runners in question, or worse, slip something nasty into their next dose. Or, y'know, just show up with an autocannon at the corner where Sammy buys his shit and frag them both.

Most of the same risks apply to buying ammunition, but ammunition doesn't mess with your head--not if you're the one firing it anyway.

Bottom line, it's one more way for your enemies to get to you. It's a weakness, and is liable to cut your career short one way or another--and don't think your Johnson doesn't know that. The last thing you want is Johnson thinking you've got no more long-term value, and deciding to sell you out rather than wait for your performance to start slipping.
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TheOOB
post Dec 10 2008, 03:45 AM
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Drugs are a weakness, but then again, so is cyberware. The difference is that drugs are cheeper and faster, but in the long run screw you up more, and ware usually doesn't hurt you any more later then it does now.

I'm fairly harsh with addictions in shadowrun. A runner who only uses jazz once every couple of runs and has a good body + willpower might be able to stave off an addiction for a little while, but repeated use always gets you in the end. At the very least it will drain their edge pool when they fail tests.
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Sir_Psycho
post Dec 10 2008, 03:45 AM
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Don't forget that without some equipment and a chemistry test (or maybe an olfactory sensor test), you have no idea what you're getting in. Drugs are cut today with things like cleaning products, as well as other medications like cold and flu tablets. Even marijuana today comes genetically modified, hydroponic, covered in pesticides and sometimes even laced with drugs or other substances. So those addiction tests might get a little harder if the stuff you're getting is cut with something else addictive.

While the cutting of drugs can produce side-affects, as well as diminished intentional effects, don't forget that something can be uncut and what looks like a normal dose could be two or three doses. Consider that regarding the combat drugs that practically knock you half unconscious when they finish, and then triple that damage. You're looking at overflow, possibly even physical overflow into critical condition. Remember the Dramamine scandal? The company that produced the drug to help people avoid jetlag was instructed by researchers to distribute the product in liquid capsules to ensure an exact dosage. However, in interest of cutting costs, the company produced dramamine in powder and capsuled that. The result was that some people were getting a tiny amount of powder, and not getting their money's worth, while others got huge doses and started hallucinating during their flights. To use a similar example, but with a street drug like LSD; the usual method for distribution of acid is on tiny square blotter paper, to which the LSD is applied in it's liquid form. This, and some other factors mean that not every little square will necessarily have the same strength as the last batch, and that can mean the difference between lying back on some pillows, enjoying some tunes, to the world suddenly turning to wax in front of your face and then finding yourself fully clothed in the shower.

You're a shadowrunner, so you're probably pretty good at evading the police. This doesn't mean that your dealer is, or that one of his poorer, strung out clients got nicked and snitched. What are you going to do when you go to pick up off your favourite dealer and a SWAT team knocks on the door.

These things may sound a little heavy handed, but the problem is that runners have so much disposable income that they can afford to splurge on drugs without any of the monetary problems that threaten regular addicts.
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Tyro
post Dec 10 2008, 03:47 AM
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QUOTE (Backgammon @ Dec 9 2008, 07:23 PM) *
Drugs use in Shadowrun depends a lot on the GM. Like most Noir things, some groups may not want to incorporate Them, or severely imped them for PC use because of bad personal experience. And the rules and fluff are left suitably vague so that this is a valid option.

That being said, I am in favour of a LOT more substance abuse in the shadows from PCs. Most trend watchers agree that we are heading for a heavily drugged future, where performance enhancing drugs will be the norm, as negative side-effects are more and more reduced by science. However, mental addiction will always be there - perhaps more so than ever. But that is a very, very cyberpunk thing. Just like cyber and bio augmentations, drugs allow the human to push past what he is, at the cost of his humanity. But that cost is ignored, lost by the banality and commoness of the thing in society. Only when someone's face is pushed into the grittyness of it, nearly drowned in much, does he raise his head for air and ask "there must be more to this".

In a way, I am surprised and disapointed that BTLs do not have stat affectations, like drugs do. Personafix chips should be able to make you fearless, intimidating, or in any way be able to affect social skills. If you act as someone that is ice cold suave, for all intents of purpuse, you ARE ice cold suave. BTLs affect your brain, just like chemicals do. It's no stretch at all to think you could hit a beetle that gives you pain resistance, or whatever. The Marid Audran series had this all right, both for drugs and BTLs. I'm all for moving in that direction

I couldn't agree more. Cyberpunk is all about trading some of your humanity for one last little advantage over the opposition.
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Ancient History
post Dec 10 2008, 04:11 AM
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I have this nagging urge that K-10 should have been instantly addictive. Ach, weel. That's what errata's for, no?
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The Jake
post Dec 10 2008, 04:28 AM
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QUOTE (Sir_Psycho @ Dec 10 2008, 03:45 AM) *
Don't forget that without some equipment and a chemistry test (or maybe an olfactory sensor test), you have no idea what you're getting in. Drugs are cut today with things like cleaning products, as well as other medications like cold and flu tablets. Even marijuana today comes genetically modified, hydroponic, covered in pesticides and sometimes even laced with drugs or other substances. So those addiction tests might get a little harder if the stuff you're getting is cut with something else addictive.

While the cutting of drugs can produce side-affects, as well as diminished intentional effects, don't forget that something can be uncut and what looks like a normal dose could be two or three doses. Consider that regarding the combat drugs that practically knock you half unconscious when they finish, and then triple that damage. You're looking at overflow, possibly even physical overflow into critical condition. Remember the Dramamine scandal? The company that produced the drug to help people avoid jetlag was instructed by researchers to distribute the product in liquid capsules to ensure an exact dosage. However, in interest of cutting costs, the company produced dramamine in powder and capsuled that. The result was that some people were getting a tiny amount of powder, and not getting their money's worth, while others got huge doses and started hallucinating during their flights. To use a similar example, but with a street drug like LSD; the usual method for distribution of acid is on tiny square blotter paper, to which the LSD is applied in it's liquid form. This, and some other factors mean that not every little square will necessarily have the same strength as the last batch, and that can mean the difference between lying back on some pillows, enjoying some tunes, to the world suddenly turning to wax in front of your face and then finding yourself fully clothed in the shower.

You're a shadowrunner, so you're probably pretty good at evading the police. This doesn't mean that your dealer is, or that one of his poorer, strung out clients got nicked and snitched. What are you going to do when you go to pick up off your favourite dealer and a SWAT team knocks on the door.

These things may sound a little heavy handed, but the problem is that runners have so much disposable income that they can afford to splurge on drugs without any of the monetary problems that threaten regular addicts.


BTLs have been defined in other books (Dreamchipper, Threats) but nothing recently. I've always had ingame effects but they've been determined by GM fiat and not much else.

QUOTE (Ancient History @ Dec 10 2008, 04:11 AM) *
I have this nagging urge that K-10 should have been instantly addictive. Ach, weel. That's what errata's for, no?


Frankly, I was surprised at that too given how harsh Kamikaze was back in ye old SR1 days...

- J.
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Neraph
post Dec 10 2008, 04:42 AM
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QUOTE (Larme @ Dec 9 2008, 06:54 PM) *
All's I'm saying is that if BTLs are "the thing," isn't it weird that "the thing" is completely lame, uncool, worthless, and unglamorous? If that's what it's like why is is the thing again? People don't smoke just because it feels good, celebrities and billboard cowboys make it cool. If smoking was something that only hobos did, you wouldn't see it have much traction in society. But BTLs are supposed to be the mainline contraband for quite a few criminal groups, and yet their sole clientelle seem to be hobos and soon-to-be hobos. I know they had rules at one time for BTLs that gave you bonuses, like trip chips that enhanced your perception... they should at least bring those back so that sane people have an actual reason to use BTLs. If they're "the drug," the PCs should be tempted to use them, thinking they can handle them, as they slowly fall into the trap of addiction... Otherwise they just sort of stick out as a dissonant element in the theme.

It's called escapism. They know their life sucks, and there's nothing they can do about it, so they turn to BTLs. They're cheaper than dirt, and they can escape into whatever role they want.
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Neraph
post Dec 10 2008, 04:49 AM
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QUOTE (TheOOB @ Dec 9 2008, 09:45 PM) *
At the very least it will drain their edge pool when they fail tests.

Unsupported by rules.

QUOTE (Ancient History)
I have this nagging urge that K-10 should have been instantly addictive. Ach, weel. That's what errata's for, no?

WHY DO YOU HATE US? The 18 Stun, not to mention the pain suffered under the influence, I think is more than enough of a balancing factor.
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Tyro
post Dec 10 2008, 04:55 AM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ Dec 9 2008, 08:49 PM) *
Unsupported by rules.

OOB is referring to using Edge to downgrade glitches and critical glitches on addiction tests, and/or to improve successes on same in order to avoid/kick addiction.
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MaxMahem
post Dec 10 2008, 05:08 AM
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QUOTE (Tyro @ Dec 9 2008, 09:18 PM) *
If you only use drugs when the shit hits the fan, I wouldn't call it "regular use" and so it wouldn't even require an addiction test.

Like once a month or something.


I certainly would! If you don't call for addiction tests, then drug use has essentially no down-side for the PCs. Occasional drug use calls for only occasional addiction tests... on the occasions they use the drugs (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif) . Occasional users will be less likely to become addicted then heavy users, as they face addiction tests less often, because they use less often. Kind of elegant (in a simplistic way).

---

One 'drug' you may be forgetting to consider when it comes to addiction tests is hot-sim. If hackers in your game are making heavy use of hot-sim, especially for trivial and/or longer-duration actions such as data-search or slow penetration of systems. It may be time to remind them that the consistant use of hot-sim can be just as dangerously addictive as any chem they might choose to use.

And while BTLs might not have any in-game stats, that doesn't mean you can't write some if you want! A BTL that gave pain tollerance wouldn't be impossible. And frankly, its pretty much as realistic for a BTL to give any of the same physical or mental bonuses a chem might. So I say, hey, go to town with 'em if you want.
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TheOOB
post Dec 10 2008, 06:20 AM
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There are a few combat enhancing chips in unwired that require a hot sim. Fairly minor bonuses compared to drugs, but they are reusable and have no lasting physical effects(assuming you don't get addicted).
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Stahlseele
post Dec 10 2008, 09:28 AM
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in System Failure i think, there was for example the Berserker and God Chips . . those do not give minor bonuses, they give HEFTY Bonuses . . and of course, they are hefty in addiction and in the side effects . . they will kill any character using them pretty quick, but in the mean time, they pretty much make him a damn killing machine, even without magic or ware thrown into the mix . .
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