The Secret Lives of Heroes
Villains in heroic stories inflict this chemical or that concoction on heroes — and heroes relax or experiment with a wide variety of exotic substances. This section covers some mind- and body-altering substances that fall under the umbrella term ‘Drugs’.
In the setting:
A great many things are legal in the 2030s that earlier decades saw banned. Public disparagement of certain drugs (Heroin, Cocaine, Meth, Shiver) is more common, but outright prohibition or even serious restrictions are rare. The US effort to ban drugs like Marijuana was a long, expensive, and visible failure, and unrepresentative of public attitudes by the 2020s. Most people in all social circles regard drug as a moral failing or a physiological disease to be addressed with persuasion and shame or medical and therapeutic care, rather than as a crime to be punished by law.
That said, the sale of drugs is still highly illegal, and possession of a large amount of drugs, along with other indications of an intent to sell the product, can cause one to end up in federal prison for a very long time.
Drugs are alchemical items that grant effects to those who make use of them. What sets them apart from similar items is that a drug’s effects manifest as both a short term (usually beneficial) effect and an amount of ability damage. In addition, those who take drugs also risk addiction, a type of disease of varying severity depending on the type of drug used.
When a character takes a drug, he immediately gains the effects, an amount of ability damage, and must make a Fortitude save to resist becoming addicted to that drug. While the initial effect represents the physical or mind altering effects of the drug, the drain represents both its side effects and the amount of time a dose remains active in a character’s body. As ability score damage heals at a rate of 1 point per day, a drug that causes 1 point of ability score damage remains in a character’s system for 1 day, though some might cause greater damage and thus remain active for longer. While taking multiple doses of a drug at once rarely has any benefit, taking additional doses as the effects wear off renew those effects but increase the ability damage and potential for addiction.
Drugs can be manufactured using the Science skill. The DC to make a drug is equal to its addiction DC. Rolling a natural 1 on a Craft skill check while making a drug exposes the drug’s maker to the drug, and depending on the equipment used, could cause fires, explosions, etc.