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Old 08-19-2013, 07:02 AM   #1
Anders
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Default Addiction and long-term effects

Contrary to what the Basic Set says, drug abuse can have serious long-term effects even if the drug in question isn't alcohol. AFAIK, there are are two GURPS mechanisms published to reflect this.

1. The alcohol rule - roll against HT+2 once per year to see if you lose attributes.

2. The threshold rule - from Cyberpunk. The GM sets a threshold of doses - typically based on HT or on a random number - and when the character exceeds that threshold, bad things happen.

For those inclined to more detail and a slower, more insidious process, you could adapt the Corruption rules from Horror, I suppose.

For instance, [url=http://alcoholism.about.com/od/coke/a/effects.htm]this[/site] lists the following long-term side effects (my thoughts in parentheses):

1. irritability (Bad Temper)
2. paranoia (Paranoia)
3. restlessness (Short Attention Span? Impulsiveness?)
4. anxiety (Panic Attacks? Fearfulness? Cowardice?)

Panic Attacks are defined in GURPS Horror. Cocaine's also bad for the body overall, so Easy to Kill and/or lowered HT?

Does anyone have any other thoughts on drugs - general mechanisms or specific drugs?
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: Addiction and long-term effects

A Disadvantage that makes you constantly lose point is kinda not nice on the meta level. This applies to Alcoholism and to some extent to Post-Combat Shakes.
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:00 AM   #3
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Addiction and long-term effects

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Originally Posted by Asta Kask View Post
Does anyone have any other thoughts on drugs - general mechanisms or specific drugs?
One thing that I think is interesting, from Sagatafl's Addiction build system, is that it allows for drugs that have beneficial long-term effects, directly inspired by the Spice from Frank Herbert's "Dune" setting. You get hooked on the drug, and after that if you stop taking the necessary quantity you'll die, just like with traditional drugs, but instead of harming you, by slowly destroying your body or mind or both, the addiction actually helps you, in various ways, such as by slowing down the aging process.
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: Addiction and long-term effects

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
A Disadvantage that makes you constantly lose point is kinda not nice on the meta level. This applies to Alcoholism and to some extent to Post-Combat Shakes.
Dangerous drugs suck really hard. I see it as related to Terminally Ill. The concept is sound, although the specific implementation, in GURPS, is not good. My own take on Terminally Ill, intended for use in Modern Action RPG and which I'll almost certainly recycle in Sagatafl, is that you must make periodic rolls to see whether you die, instead of knowing (on the player level, or on the character level) when you'll die.

It could be a HT+1 roll per week, in GURPS terms, or a HT-2 roll per day, or anything like that. It could be unrelated to HT (that would be my inclination), or based on the average of HT and 10, or even the weighted average of HT and 10.

That does suck very hard, and therefore the compensatory points, for choosing such a trait during character creation, must also be generous.
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: Addiction and long-term effects

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
A Disadvantage that makes you constantly lose point is kinda not nice on the meta level. This applies to Alcoholism and to some extent to Post-Combat Shakes.
Or Phobias. Life sucks and then you die.

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Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
One thing that I think is interesting, from Sagatafl's Addiction build system, is that it allows for drugs that have beneficial long-term effects, directly inspired by the Spice from Frank Herbert's "Dune" setting. You get hooked on the drug, and after that if you stop taking the necessary quantity you'll die, just like with traditional drugs, but instead of harming you, by slowly destroying your body or mind or both, the addiction actually helps you, in various ways, such as by slowing down the aging process.
Caffeine could be thought of as an example.
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Addiction and long-term effects

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Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
It could be a HT+1 roll per week, in GURPS terms, or a HT-2 roll per day, or anything like that. It could be unrelated to HT (that would be my inclination), or based on the average of HT and 10, or even the weighted average of HT and 10.
Good idea. I wouldn't use HT though, for the same reason 4e disadvantages moved away from using Will to resist mental disadvantages. A flat value linked to the cost of the disadvantage and more or less immune to modifiers is substantially harder to abuse.

The other big hole with Terminally Ill is that most horrible illnesses make you *sick* before they kill you. Making the rolls even harder but offering the option of taking 25 points worth of GM selected physical disadvantages (sort of the inverse of Extra Life) and not dropping dead, at least the first few times you miss the roll, might address that too.
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Old 08-19-2013, 11:42 AM   #7
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Default Re: Addiction and long-term effects

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Originally Posted by Asta Kask View Post
Caffeine could be thought of as an example.
Long term caffeine usage has detrimental effects; I know first hand because I started ingesting significant doses early on (grew up drinking soda, started needing my morning coffee at like age 12) and now I can't have any at all. It aggravates various "conditions", some of which it likely caused. This is true (or at least suspected) for a lot of things (artificial sweeteners, preservatives, etc.). Understanding addiction is complicated; many things have both a physical and psychological component. The longer we live coupled with the earlier (and/or more frequently) we are exposed to various things has revealed that they aren't really that safe.

The thing is this is a Disadvantage begging to be micromanaged, but I agree "as is" doesn't seem right either.
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Old 08-20-2013, 03:15 AM   #8
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Addiction and long-term effects

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Caffeine could be thought of as an example.
On a scale from 0 to 10, Dune's spice totally kicks caffeine's ass, in terms of beneficial effects. At least one level of Extended Lifespan, maybe two, maybe Longevity on top of that, and if you happen to have psionics it enhances those too, somehow.
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Old 08-20-2013, 03:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: Addiction and long-term effects

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Good idea. I wouldn't use HT though, for the same reason 4e disadvantages moved away from using Will to resist mental disadvantages. A flat value linked to the cost of the disadvantage and more or less immune to modifiers is substantially harder to abuse.
Yeah. I was unhappy about the suggestion to decople mental disads from Will, initially, because it didn't feel at all realistic to me that a high Will character should have a high likelihood to succumb to his foibles.

I eventually came around, and now use a similar mechanic in Sagatafl. The only effect high Will has is that the character gets some Willpower Points (only for really high Will, or with a special advantage), that lets him suppress a mental disads. Like once a month maybe (but then you miss out on all the other neat things that Willpower Points can let you do). It's possible to implement a similar subsystem in GURPS, of course.

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
The other big hole with Terminally Ill is that most horrible illnesses make you *sick* before they kill you. Making the rolls even harder but offering the option of taking 25 points worth of GM selected physical disadvantages (sort of the inverse of Extra Life) and not dropping dead, at least the first few times you miss the roll, might address that too.
I'm more inclined to make it a kind of roll with multiple outcomes. If you Fumble real bad, you die. If you Fumble less badly, you're bedridden and delirious. If you merely fail, you're in Chronic Pain or something like that.

Or yes, some kind of progressive illness, where each time you fail the roll you progress along the track, to worse symptoms. Existing symptoms get worse, or new ones get added.

In GURPS it'd be faily easy to build such tracks, just add 5 CP of unpleasant crap every time there's a "ding" on the track, but leave a few ding-less points early in the track. In fact several such writeups could be an excellent chapter in GURPS Power-Downs.
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Old 08-20-2013, 01:02 PM   #10
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Default Re: Addiction and long-term effects

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Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
Yeah. I was unhappy about the suggestion to decople mental disads from Will, initially, because it didn't feel at all realistic to me that a high Will character should have a high likelihood to succumb to his foibles.
These days I tend to think to the extent that's a problem, it's one of character design more than mechanics. If you think your high Will character should be good at resisting his mental disadvantages too, buy them with the same Self Control number as your Will score. You could require that in the rules if you considered it really important. It's essentially the FUDGE argument for decoupling skills and attributes - if you think they should be linked for your particular character concept, buy them to the same levels - and if you have a concept where they aren't linked, the mechanics don't force them to be.

Quote:
I'm more inclined to make it a kind of roll with multiple outcomes. If you Fumble real bad, you die. If you Fumble less badly, you're bedridden and delirious. If you merely fail, you're in Chronic Pain or something like that.
I don't care for disadvantages that can do nothing until you suffer a bad roll, and then you die. The problem is there's almost no in game effect - nothing to role play, no resource management trying to work around your problem, nothing, until you suddenly have to generate a new character. Anybody can fail a roll and have to generate a new character, but at least they get a tense scene first. I half suspect this is a lot of the reason that GMs allow characters to buy off Terminally Ill even though they shouldn't - at least the quest for the whatsit that will save you brings the disadvantage into play *somehow*.
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