Friday, November 15, 2013

Addictions of the Flame Princess

I really like LotFP's presentation of diseases, as it provides a simple statblock that easily differentiates between diseases, but makes it easy to handle them on the fly. Since drugs tend to be extraordinarily popular among my players (for some reason they are considerably less excited by diseases) I decided to try to apply the same approach for drugs. (EDIT: I just remembered that I got the threefold addiction model from Telecanter's Receding Rules. That blog's awesome.) I universalized the rules for dependency and withdrawal, which admittedly makes some drugs considerably more dangerous than their real-life models, but that's why you Just Say No.

The saves are specific to my homebrew - Might maps to Fortitude, or to Poison, while Will maps to Paralyzation.

Drugs are basically poisons with enough positive effects that some people want to ingest them. Like poisons, drugs take 2d6 rounds, modified by CON, to take effect. Drugs have two effects: Dose and Overdose. Dose effects are cumulative – but each time you take an extra Dose, you have to throw a Might save or suffer an Overdose. Dose effects last for the listed Duration, but Overdose effects are permanent. Recovery is how long you must abstain from the drug in order to try and quit it – at the end of each recovery period, you may reduce your addiction level by passing a Will save.
Additionally, each time you take a drug, you must pass a Might save or start becoming addicted to the drug, The first failure makes you Habituated, forcing you to take that drug once a week or suffer withdrawal. The second failure is Addiction, and you have to take the drug once a day. The third failure is Dependency, where withdrawal kicks in an hour after the drug wears off - though on the plus side, you can’t get any worse.
During withdrawal, you require double the normal amount of food and water, and must sleep 12 hours per night. If Addicted or Dependent, you also wake up each morning with a random ability score reduced – by -1 if Addicted, by half if Dependent. Also, since drugs are BAD, no drug-related Might saves can increase your Might score.

Duration: 1 hour
Dose: +½ CHA & CON, -½  DEX
Overdose: Lose memory, -1 WIS & CON
Recovery: 2 months
Duration: 2 hours
Dose: +½ WIS, -½ Wile
Overdose: -1 INT, -1 CHA
Recovery: 1 month
OPIUM (15)
Duration: 2 hours
Dose: +1d6 HP, 1 stone exhaustion
Overdose: Suffocation
Recovery: 2 months
Duration: 6 hours
Dose: Hallucinations, +1 INT
Overdose: -1 Might & Will
Recovery: 1 week
SOMA (7)
Duration: 1 day
Dose: +1 DEX, - ½ CHA
Overdose: double water needs
Recovery: 2 weeks
KHAT (2)
Duration: 2 hours
Dose: +1 CHA, constipation
Overdose: -1 CON, diminished sex drive
Recovery: 1 week

Other drugs may be discovered in the game world or can be modeled as combinations of the above – for example, Bhang (15) is soma and pipeweed, Mezcal (30) is alcohol and peyote, and Absinthe (10) is alcohol and pipeweed.

The parenthetical to the right of each drug’s name is its cost in coins. Spending each type of coin obtains different quality drugs – ‘vanilla,’ average quality versions are priced in silvers, and high-purity drugs must be bought with gold, while spending coppers will net you ‘street-grade’ versions. High-purity versions apply a +2 bonus to save vs. overdose, but a -2 penalty when saving vs. addiction. Street-grade drugs aren’t always what they’re claimed to be – roll on the following table.

Street Drugs (1d6)
Snake oil – it’s worthless!
What did they put in this thing? Might save vs. immediate overdose!
Recycled – drug works fine, but its infected with a random disease (ignore if alcoholic)
Something similar – acts as normal, but doesn’t count as a dose for addiction or withdrawal
Not quite right – hung over with -1 to a random ability score
The real deal! No ill effects.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Veil, a Cubic Dystopia

Once upon a time, there were many deities.

All were equal, though some, of course, were more equal than others. As with any power structure, the weak soon aligned with the strong, or with each other, creating alliances and pantheons in competition for the souls and riches of the world below. They warred.


Eventually, when the sky was filled with fire and smoke, the land smashed and broken, and the seas choked with holy power, the war met its end. Few mortal creatures survived, and those that did were irrevocably scarred with the terror and pain of generations of divine battle. It was plain to see that the world was in its death throes, and such constant hostilities might soon cause even gods to perish. Without an end to the war, there would be nothing but blood, and dust, and Void.

So the gods convened. A truce was formed, and the task of rebuilding the world begun. The gods called into existence a great Veil, one that no sight nor sense could pierce. The Veil concealed all knowledge of each god's ultimate whereabouts in the new world, hiding from them nothing except their own ultimate place in the world's foundation. With the Veil in place, there could be no hierarchy, no intrigue, no sabotage - every god, save the insane ones, would naturally desire a world where none among them would risk annihilation, or deprivation, or injustice.

So, in the final phases of the world's construction, they decided to merge. There would be but one God, they said, intrinsic to the structure of this new existence, and there would be no rivalries, no contention, nothing but an eternal Peace. And as the dissenters felt their powers drawn inexorably into this thing, this singularity of energy, they broke the agreement.

There was a pop, and a tear, and the Veil tore, and the new earth wrapped itself around the old, and all the old idols crumbled with the shock of rebirth. Dissenters, malformed and shrunken, fled to deep and hidden places. A new Humanity rose up and began slaughtering all the creatures from Before. And there God stood, and saw it was good, and said, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust."

The new Deity could be called the Primarch, they decided. He - she - it - had dominion over all the beasts of the land and air, the strange creatures of river and sea, and the weather, and the rocks, and everything between and beyond. It could be prayed to, but would not respond except in whispers, or subtle signs. And it wished nothing more than the killing of those "traitors," hidden everywhere in Veil. These demons, it said, were weak and atrophied, wanting nothing more than the plunging of the world into brutal Chaos, or to enslave it a grip of iron, or imprison it in soulless Order.

It was nothing if not vague.

As the Faith spread, adopting nonhumans and barbarians under its wing, it changed, then flexed, then split entirely. Now there are three Faiths, each with their own great city, and client kingdoms, and millions of worshippers.

The Western Faith believes that the forces of evil will bide their time, gathering strength and plotting a single, crippling blow against all holy order in a coming Armageddon. In the fires of the Last War and among the tsunamis of gore will be born an Anti-God, an avatar of nihilism, and the cosmos will return to the hell that was Before. So followers of this Faith hone their blades, building tall fortresses of stone and faith, stockpiling food and gold, all to serve as bulwarks against the Reckoning.

The Eastern Faith instead wishes to fight fire with fire, and use the tools of the Enemy against it. Their great Prophet, Aloysius the Tall, was even an accomplished diabolist, who habitually summed great Terrors only to bind and destroy them, so as to always be practiced at the art. Eastern priests are well-known evangelists, everywhere using the power of negotiation and commerce to bring new lands into the fold. Many Eastern holy sites are built atop known ruins of the old order.

The Southern Faith is composed of the Primarch's Chosen, every one of them, in the flesh. People of other faiths are, of course, welcome to their doubts, and welcome also to live and work in southern lands. Of course, they are obviously unqualified to hold office, or lead armies, or cross any borders or travel long distances.  Southerners believe that their souls, Chosen as they are, can never leave the world - usually, they are recycled as newborns in families of loyal Chosen, but sometimes they appear far afield, in foreign lands known not to the men of Faith.

There are, of course, a few things all three Faiths agree upon:
That there is but one true God.
That It has a Plan.
That It hates the traitor Demons.
That those Demons have many tricks and many disguises.
And They could well appear to be Prophets of the Faith.