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Old 09-14-2017, 03:34 AM   #1
DingoSoulEater
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Default NPC Characterisation Help - Addicted to adrenaline

Hi all!

So I'm working on an antagonist for the next plot arc in my campaign, and having a little trouble defining the character behaviourally.

The campaign happens in an ATE setting.

The character is one with some military training and discipline, whom has acquired a psionic gift allowing exceptional reaction and coordination; but only as a side effect of the release of substantive amounts of adrenaline. This character has thusly formed a severe addiction to adrenaline - often resulting in seeking combat and dangerous situations.

Mechanically this gives him Altered Time Rate and Enhanced Time Sense (both with psionic, accessibility [adrenaline or shock], temporary -1 dx** -1 iq**), 1/2 move*). Psychological Addiction [adrenaline, shock]
* this is to maintain the limits of his physical body. In a single second he can still only move his standard distance, etc
** penalties for a less impacting euphoria / bliss



The characters addiction is consistently worsening. They likely started getting the rush from simple situations such as fisticuffs with the drink or driving like an idiot. It's now at the level that he actively seeks firearm combat, dangerous mutants, and other life /death situations.

The problem I am having is identifying what social or behavioural traits he may have as a result of this addiction (and the rewards his addiction give him).

What tics he might have acquired, odd habits, thoughts, beliefs or impulses, etc. I fielding any and all ideas, as I know very little about addiction and is effects as is.

-dingo

Last edited by DingoSoulEater; 09-14-2017 at 03:55 AM.
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Old 09-14-2017, 08:42 AM   #2
Kelly Pedersen
 
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Default Re: NPC Characterisation Help - Addicted to adrenaline

The GURPS Monster Hunters line includes a new Compulsive Behavior, "Compulsive Thrill-Seeking", worth -10 (modified by self-control). It means the character seeks out dangerous (but not necessarily suicidal) activities to participate in. You might want to give the character that to represent the fact that they actually seek out danger, rather than just risking incapacitation if they don't get their adrenaline "fix". In fact, I tend to think that almost all addictions are best represented by a combination of the Addiction disadvantage and a Compulsive Behavior to indulge in them.
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Old 09-14-2017, 08:54 AM   #3
whswhs
 
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Default Re: NPC Characterisation Help - Addicted to adrenaline

GURPS Supers has a lens called Adrenalin Addict. Note that it includes a choice of Daredevil, Luck, or Very Rapid Healing as a required advantage! But of course that's for the specific ways that supers get their thrills. . . .
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Old 09-14-2017, 10:10 AM   #4
DingoSoulEater
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Default Re: NPC Characterisation Help - Addicted to adrenaline

All very good points! And I hadn't thought of compulsive behaviour and it definitely makes more sense.

As this is for an npc I'm not too worried about point totals. Though I'm realising I should have asked the question differently.

How would you present / role play such an obsession / addiction?

Unfortunately having never had any experiences around addiction im finding it rather hard to represent it in a character (especially one so severe that they might actively instigate dangerous situations just to get their fix)
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:08 AM   #5
Kelly Pedersen
 
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Default Re: NPC Characterisation Help - Addicted to adrenaline

One thing to remember, first of all, is that if this is an NPC, and not one that needs a point cost (e.g., an Ally or Enemy of the PCs), you don't actually need to put down specific traits. If there's no specific disadvantages that model the behavior you're trying to portray, just roleplay them the way you think they should behave, and let it go. Points are for PCs.

That said, are you looking for tips on how to roleplay this character specifically? If so, you should probably decide how severe their addiction to adrenaline is, exactly. For this sort of compulsion, I'd say you can roughly divide it up into four categories:
  • Trivial. At this level, it's not a compulsion at all, really. They can live without it for any length of time, and they won't endanger themselves or others to get it. At most, when given the option of this thing or something else, they'll tend to choose the thing they like.
  • Minor. They'll seek out the activity or substance, and devote a significant amount of time to do so. However, they retain a rational grasp of risk and reward, and won't seriously damage themselves or others in their quest. This is probably the level of a smoker - they're spending money on it, they're doing it despite knowing the long-term health risks, and they'll have a hard time quitting, but they're probably willing to not smoke around other people, and they're not spending all their time or money doing it.
  • Significant. They spend out most of their time or money seeking out the thing they're addicted to, and are willing to put themselves in serious danger to do it, and probably others. This is the level I'd put someone with a serious addiction to an illegal drug like cocaine at, if they need it to get through the day.
  • Crippling. At this level, basically all of the addict's life is probably devoted to the addiction, and they'll be putting themselves in very serious danger to get it, and won't care about anyone else either. This is the level of, say, a heroin addict just before they die from an OD.
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Old 09-14-2017, 01:57 PM   #6
johndallman
 
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Default Re: NPC Characterisation Help - Addicted to adrenaline

Quote:
Originally Posted by DingoSoulEater View Post
How would you present / role play such an obsession / addiction?
Given the nature of the addiction, Impulsive is a likely side-effect and may well be the first thing that gets noticed.
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:08 PM   #7
DingoSoulEater
 
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Default Re: NPC Characterisation Help - Addicted to adrenaline

Aid with RPing the character is my primary goal, yeah. Stats wise he's pretty straightforward - combat skills, ATR, ETS.


All I can say about the Addiction that -i- am reasonably confident about is..

His addiction is more to the effects of ATR, ETS, and their accompanying temporary Euphoria. When triggered, his perception of the world slows down and he can accomplish feats of reaction, coordination and fidelity beyond most humans; and it comes with a feeling of bliss.

As he naturally acclimates to certain kinds of stress and finds himself more comfortable with them; he finds the effects triggering less, encouraging him to find more dangerous, terrifying or high-energy activities.

He is at the point of feeling a pervasive, perpetual need to find some way to experience his addiction; to the point of starting fights, taking unreasonable risks, and borderline suicidal behavior.

With a military and disciplined background; he's probably coming up with less and less rational arguments to 'justify' his behaviour. Given the ATE Setting, he might think he's training people as to the dangers of the world directly; or that he's reminding civilians to stay wherever they are safe rather than wandering the world in the opening; or that he needs to engage in said behavior to improve his own skills.

He is driven towards the rush of combat (and other things) less than the outcome - he probably doesn't want to kill and likely in combat ignores anything that he can't find threatening (downed opponents, cowering civilians, etc) unless doing so might further engage his addiction (shooting at civilian to force an armed escort to fight, etc)


The problem I am having is, indeed, just working out how such an addiction would shape their -standard- behaviour. What sort of pervasive thoughts they might have, or how their perception of the world might be affected by such an addiction, or any odd little mannerisms or just cues in his behaviour that might clue to his unsettled nature when there isn't an immediate threat.



The reason for the questions is, the challenge of the character isn't to kill him - the campaign party has a sort of 'light in the darkness' morale to them, attempting to be -good- people. If he's presented as a blind combatant, then the entire character becomes nothing more than a boss fight - if he's presented as something that might be fixable, recoverable, or at the very least controlled, the team will likely try and do so (which opens up a whole lot of its own arcs for trying to cure his addiction, the cost/benefit of supporting an extra person's life to keep him alive while surviving in ATE, etc).

- Dingo.
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:20 PM   #8
jason taylor
 
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Default Re: NPC Characterisation Help - Addicted to adrenaline

Quote:
Originally Posted by DingoSoulEater View Post
Hi all!

So I'm working on an antagonist for the next plot arc in my campaign, and having a little trouble defining the character behaviourally.

The campaign happens in an ATE setting.

The character is one with some military training and discipline, whom has acquired a psionic gift allowing exceptional reaction and coordination; but only as a side effect of the release of substantive amounts of adrenaline. This character has thusly formed a severe addiction to adrenaline - often resulting in seeking combat and dangerous situations.

Mechanically this gives him Altered Time Rate and Enhanced Time Sense (both with psionic, accessibility [adrenaline or shock], temporary -1 dx** -1 iq**), 1/2 move*). Psychological Addiction [adrenaline, shock]
* this is to maintain the limits of his physical body. In a single second he can still only move his standard distance, etc
** penalties for a less impacting euphoria / bliss



The characters addiction is consistently worsening. They likely started getting the rush from simple situations such as fisticuffs with the drink or driving like an idiot. It's now at the level that he actively seeks firearm combat, dangerous mutants, and other life /death situations.

The problem I am having is identifying what social or behavioural traits he may have as a result of this addiction (and the rewards his addiction give him).

What tics he might have acquired, odd habits, thoughts, beliefs or impulses, etc. I fielding any and all ideas, as I know very little about addiction and is effects as is.

-dingo
Try looking up some famous people like warriors, athletes, adventurers, etc who obviously act like they are addicted to adrenaline and watch how they behave.
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:26 PM   #9
Kelly Pedersen
 
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Default Re: NPC Characterisation Help - Addicted to adrenaline

Quote:
Originally Posted by DingoSoulEater View Post
The problem I am having is, indeed, just working out how such an addiction would shape their -standard- behaviour.
Ok, one important question - does this character know they're addicted to adrenaline? That is, do they realize, on a conscious level, that they need to experience this sort of tension? If they know, their behavior may be rather different than if they don't, since they can plan around it if they know.

Whether they know or not, I would think that in the absence of something that excites them, they'll get more and more upset and edgy, as their addiction drives them to find something to feed it. Depending on the severity, they'll start trying to actively find something to feed it after a few days or even hours. They'll probably also avoid going into situations where they can't feed it - a long, boring roadtrip is probably out unless the heroes can plausibly claim there'll be something to break the monotony, for example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DingoSoulEater
The reason for the questions is, the challenge of the character isn't to kill him
This, it seems to me, is actually your easiest task. If the PCs already have ethics that prevent them from killing innocents, just don't have him be a violent threat to them. If he's already so far gone that he can only get his fix from violent combat, he can still have morals that prevent him from attacking peaceful people. Maybe he goes up to roadgangs and spits on their leader's shoes, or tracks down mutated gila demons and pokes them with sharp sticks. Have the players meet up with him in the midst of one of those episodes, where it looks like he's the underdog, and they're likely to join in the fight to help him. Only later, once they've grown attached to him, do they need to find out how willing he is to start fights. Then, it's not a matter of "do we kill this threat", it's a question of "how do we fix our friend?".
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Old 09-14-2017, 07:39 PM   #10
Donny Brook
 
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Default Re: NPC Characterisation Help - Addicted to adrenaline

Seems like no-one has mentioned On The Edge [-15] yet. Perhaps it could apply.
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