Additional Rules for Ocelot's Drug Lab, Version 2 for Cyberpunk 2020
by Gary Astleford (ocelot@connectnet.com)

NEW SIDE EFFECTS

Face the facts. We can't possibly figure out all the nasty things drugs do to you and compile them into one big file. For the most part, I think such things will have to be established on a case-by-case basis. This doesn't, however, mean that we shouldn't TRY. Below is a list of additional side-effects for use with my Drug Lab 101 system. Some are small, some are big, but all of them are uncomfortable.

UNTIMED SIDE EFFECTS -

Permanent Sense Loss (-6) : The drug causes the user to lose a sense (touch, smell, hearing, taste, or sight) permanently. Roll 1D10. On a roll of 1-3, the affected sense is gone, forever. This is due to nerve damage, so senses enhanced with cybernetics (ie, optics, hearing modules, tactile boosts, etc.) are affected as well. It is possible to regain the sense with expensive nanosurgery involving nerve reconstruction.

TIMED SIDE EFFECTS -

Acne (-2) : The drug causes the user's face to break out due to excess oil production or stress. Normally, this could start out as a small problem, but frequent use of the drug can cause a more serious acne problem to develop (negative modifiers to ATT, as well as the increased chance of infection).

Bad Breath (-2) : This side effect indicates that hallitosis develops. The character's breath will be incredibly rank, granting him a -3 modifier to all social rolls involving direct, face-to-face contact. No amount of brushing or listerine will help.

Constipation (-2) : Constipation prevents a character from performing normal bowel movements for the duration of the side effect. No matter how bad the character feels he has to go, no amount of straining, grunting, or groaning will help. The character will feel as if he is carrying a lead weight in his colon, and will receive a -1 modifier to all actions involving physical exertion, including Initiative rolls.

Cowardice (-6) : The character will exhibit his most timid side, and will be more likely to run from trouble. Any time the character tries to accomplish a task which may cause him physical harm, he must make a Save against Cool at -2 in order to show some guts and stick around. If he fails, he must run or hide, whichever is more convenient.

Dehydration (-2) : The subject cannot retain water at all, and will suffer from symptoms such as cotton mouth and dry eyes. This side effect is usually accompanied by either nausea, diarrhea, diuretic, cold sweats, or a combination of the four.

Difficult Respiration (-6) : Anyone experiencing the efftect of difficult respiration is suffering from either shortness of breath, asthma-like symptoms, a tightening of the diaphram muscles, or a combination of the three. On a roll of 1 on 1D10 indicates the subject cannot, in fact, breath at all, and will suffocate unless proper medical attention has been administered. Running is out of the question, as is most other high- and low-impact exercise.

Diuretic (-2) : The drug increases the amount of urine produced and secreted by the body. The user affected by this will exhibit excessive urination, at least once per hour of the effect's duration, if not more.

Heartburn/Acid Indigestion (-2) : The drug causes an excess production of stomach acids. While this is uncomfortable and rarely serious, it can result in ulcers in the stomach and esophagus.

Hives (-4) : The character develops itchy and painful hives all over his body. Not only does he suffer from the "Itchy" side-effect, but the have-related rash covering his body is obvious and unattractive, as well as being incredibly uncomfortable.

Internal Bleeding (-4) : For some reason, the drug causes the user's guts to hemorrhage and bleed. For every two hours of side effect duration (or every fraction thereof), the user takes one box of damage. Blood may show up in the users stools, urine, and/or vomit.

Loss of Appetite (-2) : The character will not eat, and will not feel hungry. People hooked on drugs with this side effect tend to be thin and emmaciated. Characters who don't eat will starve within a couple weeks if not given treatment. This is reflected in the loss of one BODY point every three or four days. When the character's body reaches 0, he will die. If normal food consumption is resumed, the character will recover one BODY point a day until he reaches his original score.

Loss of Inhibition (-4) : Anyone suffering from Loss of Inhibition will do things that they normally would be adverse to doing. For instance, someone who wouldn't normally consider raping a helpless teenage girl might think it's a good idea at the time and throw inhibitions to the wind. Much of this side effect must be role-played. If game mechanics enter into it, however, the player must roll under his character's COOL score on a 1D10 in order to consider his actions and stop. Modify the character's COOL score by the drug's STR, using the number as a negative (instead of positive) modifier.

Sense Reduction (-4) : The drug reduces the user's sense of touch, smell, hearing, taste, or sight for the duration of the side effect. All rolls made which rely on the sense in question receive a -4 modifier. For example, someone suffering from Sense Reduction : Sight would be at a -4 to shooting his weapon due to blurred vision or near-blindness. All awareness rolls made with the appropriate sense are also at -4.

Water Retention (-2) : Due to nonfunctional kidneys or other less traumatic problems, the user of a drug with this side-effect will retain water for the side effect's duration. He will not be able to urinate, and will become bloated for the duration.

VARIABLE DRUG COSTS

Drug costs are prohibitive. My original conception of Cyberpunk was that characters started out dirt poor, trying to scrape by as best they could. Most characters couldn't afford drugs, even the "cheap" ones, so drugs weren't really even an option. When you get right down to it, though, drugs are a part of the subculture. Sure, not everyone does them, but a lot of people do. Even in high school I was routinely exposed to marijuana, LSD, and methamphetamines. I'm not sure if it's normal, or just part of growing up in California. Whatever. Drugs were there, regardless of what the newspapers, teachers, and parents said. Now, if Joe A. Highschoolstudent can afford a dimebag of pot or a couple tabs of acid, I think my Cyberpunk character can get high for less than fifty bucks, and still have enough money for a box of ammo.

This rules addition is intended to be a part of the drug creation system. As you know, in Drug Lab 101, you multiply the drug's total/base difficulty by 10 in order to reach a base cost, in Eurobucks. All fine and good, but should this apply to ALL drugs and controlled substances? No way. It makes simple things like Vivarin and Penicillin too costly. So we introduce Variable Drug Costs.

Basically, instead of multiplying the base difficulty by 10, you figure out the legality of the drug and use the legality multiplier provided to supply the base cost (in Euro) for obtaining the substance on the street. The variables are listed below. 

DRUG LEGALITY   MULTIPLIER   EXAMPLE
Legal/Common   x1 Euro   Alcohol, Tobacco, Smash
By Prescription Only   x5 Euro   Valium, Xanax, Sleeping Pills
Type C Illegal   x5 Euro   Marijuana, Stim, Blue Glass, Rezzin
Type B Illegal   x7.5 Euro   Dorph, Synthcoke, Boost
Type A Illegal   x10 Euro   Black Lace, Taz
Experimental   x25 Euro   ?WHO KNOWS?
Legal/Common drugs include anything you can buy in a liquor store, bar, or over the counter in a pharmacy. It's common stuff that is easy to get, legal, but still governed by local and federal laws.

Anything availiable By Prescription Only includes substances that must be obtained through a doctor or pharmacist, prescibed for a specific ailment. If you've got a prescription, you can get the drug pretty easily, and for a much reduced cost. However, getting the stuff on the street may take a bit more doing, and cops don't like to find you carrying around a bottle of pills with someone else's name on it.

Illegal drugs are anything that the FDA hasn't approved of. Dangerous non-medicinal chemicals are also ruled by these categories, as are combat drugs. The local cops and feds try to stop these sorts of drugs from being sold on the streets, usually without much success. Illegal drugs are broken up into three categories : Type A, Type B, and Type C.

Type C substances are illegal, but possession is usually a minor offense. Type B substances are usually more dangerous than Type C, and carry with them a stiffer punishment. Type A substances include the most dangerous and addictive drugs, and penalties for carrying them are large.

Experimental drugs are corporate, criminal, and military cocktails that end up on the streets as part of clandestine experiments. Most of the time, they are part of a single shipment, and don't stay around too long unless they sell well. Drugs like this don't remain in this category for long, and are usually classified as an Illegal-rated substance after a few weeks on the streets.
 
 

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