Drugs are all over the streets of Mercer City. Though some are more dangerous than others, they can be enticing for their powerful mood enhancement or energy lift effects. Three new drugs – Cain, Rage and Grind – are at their peak of popularity, but old favorites like acid and crack are still available.
Upon consuming (or injecting, or inhaling, etc.) one dose of any drug, the user must make a Vigor roll to resist the effects, almost always at a significant penalty. The use must roll even if the user desires the effects. With a success, the user has the sensations but experiences none of the benefits or drawbacks; with a raise, the drug doesn’t affect them at all. With a failure the drug affects them as normal, but upon a roll of 1 on the Vigor die the user has a “bad trip” and is affected as though he took a double dose.
In addition, each time a drug is used the user must make a Vigor roll (often at a significant penalty, depending on the severity of the drug) or become an addict, in which case he immediately gains the Habit Hindrance. Whether this is minor or major depends on the drug in question. See Habit for rules on dealing with and kicking addiction.
Unless otherwise noted, drug trips last for 3 hours.
Cain is the new drug of choice for the modern city. Derived from cocaine (hence the name), Cain is an organic/synthetic compound which effectively gives the user the lift of cocaine and the altered state of minor psychotropics. Cain is “burned” in a vial and then injected into the bloodstream. Users quickly discovered it meshes well with cybertech, granting the user greater resistance to cyberpsychosis. Thus, with the growth of cybertech in the last decade, the popularity of Cain has increased greatly. Coupled with ineffective policing, Cain has become so lucrative that dealers have begun offering “pre-burned” Cain in single-use hypodermics called “sticks.”
Type: Injected. Resistance: Vigor -2. Cost: $40 per dose. Addiction: High (resist with Vigor -2), results in major Habit. Effect: Users feel more energetic and vital. They gain +1 to Spirit rolls, and -2 on stress checks brought on by cyberware. Overdose: A second dose taken while the first dose is still in effect causes hyperstimulation. The user gets the shakes (he is considered fatigued until the dose wears off). A third dose causes death unless another Vigor roll is made at -4.
Made specifically for those who lead active, violent lifestyles, like gang members and mercenaries, Rage is a PCP-like synthetic drug that increases the effects of adrenalin on the body. It is most commonly taken by cutting one’s own flesh (a move action), taking 1 wound point in the process, and then rubbing the compound in the lesion (a standard action). Taken this way, the effects are immediate, beginning on the next round. It can also be inhaled, but this delays the onset of the effects for 2d4 rounds. When taken before or during a situation that activates the body’s natural “fight-or-flight” instincts, this drug has the effect of improving one’s reaction time. Unfortunately, it has a high addiction rate and debilitating side effects.
Type: Injury or Inhaled. Resistance: Vigor -4. Cost: $30 per dose. Addiction: Extreme (resist with Vigor -4), results in major Habit. Effect: Rage induces a more primal state, resulting in a +1 bonus to Strength and Vigor. Users also feel fierce confidence, gaining +2 to their Intimidation and on attempts to resist Intimidation from others. As if that wasn’t enough, users benefit from faster reflexes as though they have the Quick Edge. Side Effects: As soon as the high comes down, the user immediately takes 2d6 fatigue damage. Overdose: A second dose taken while the first dose is still in effect permanently reduces the Smarts of the user by 1 die level unless a Vigor roll is made at -4. Each additional dose has the same effect, but the Vigor roll is automatically failed.
Grind is a designer drug that has become a favorite with ravers and clubgoers along the East Coast. It is an offshoot of Ecstasy, trimmed down and perfected. They flock to it because, unlike its parent drug, it doesn’t cause dehydration while still delivering its high. Grind causes intense feelings of pleasure in the subject, along with the desire to dance and move and experience one’s senses to the fullest.
Type: Ingested. Resistance: Vigor -2. Cost: $20 per dose. Addiction: Very Low (resist with Vigor +1), results in minor Habit. Effect: Grind induces a lowered sense of individuality, resulting in +1 to NPC reaction rolls. It also gives the user heightened senses and increased energy, increasing their Vigor one die level. Side Effects: Euphoria brought on by Grind can be overpowering. While under the effects, the user is at -2 to Notice rolls. Overdose: A second dose taken while the first dose is still in effect causes a numbing stupor for 1d4 hours. The user is considered shaken until the stupor wears off. Additional doses have no effect other than increasing the length of the stupor by +1d4 hours.