Sidebar: Performance Enhancing Drugs

One of the things that always annoyed me about 3.5 is the fact that drugs rarely did anything other than make characters feel good. That’s fine, if you’re just using them as a plot point, but if you want to make drugs truly enticing to player characters, you need to give players some sort of in-game incentive to use them. Otherwise, what’s the point? That’s why I created a list of performance enhancing drugs for my own games.

When I originally created these drugs, I used the 3.5 system. However, since the 3.5 mechanics for drug addiction are not open gaming content, I decided to use the Pathfinder rules for drug addiction instead. This created some problems, of course, because the ability damage is automatic. However, I felt like it was an acceptable trade off to make it OGC.

Now some might point out that some of the drugs I’ve included in this list are similar to drugs created for Pathfinder. For example, the brown fern drug is very similar in effect to dwarven fire ale. While this is true, I’m not entirely impressed with the Pathfinder version of this drug. For starters, the drug is moderately addictive, which means that when characters become addicted to it, they suffer a -2 penalty to Con and Str. Yeah, that’s really useful, considering the penalty for becoming addicted completely cancels out any potential benefit that a player might receive from taking it. That’s why, when I created the brown fern drug, I made it a bit more potent, so that even if a character becomes addicted, they still receive some benefit. I also figured that since it’s more powerful than dwarven fire ale, I should make it severely addictive.

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2 Responses to Sidebar: Performance Enhancing Drugs

  1. As I mentioned, I think the PF addiction rules are . . . not well thought out. (The average opium addict would be dead inside a week for example.) But they do not want to be accused of ‘promoting drug use’ I imagine.

    But drug-crazed cultists make for a great combat encounter. The challenges of playing an addicted character in the roleplaying side of things could be quite interesting, so I think this is a worthwhile project.

  2. dovearrow says:

    Yeah, I have to say, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the Pathfinder rules for drug addiction either. I feel like the penalties you receive are too extreme for the benefits that the drugs are supposed to provide. I honestly wish they had made the rules for drug addiction in 3.5 OGC, because I feel like they were much more well thought out. Maybe I’ll return to this issue at some point, and see if I can’t come up with a better mechanic.

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