Just like the real world, Gaianar civilization has a problem with illegal drugs. Why a rational person would venture down the self-destructive path of drug addiction is anyone’s guess. But people do. Drug abuse is, without exception, a trade of short-term pleasure (or power) for long-tern health (and legal) consequences.
Aside from the health consequences, use of the drugs listed below are illegal. The penalties vary from city to city and region, ranging from a civil fine to death. Drug distribution always carries a higher penalty (typically a lengthy prison stay). Illicit drugs all share one thing in common: they are addictive. Once a user becomes addicted, it is nearly impossible to be weaned from the drug.
Focus. While not the deadliest of drugs, it has ruined more than one scholastic career. The drug temporarily boosts memory and intelligence. Thus, students have been known to use this drug to cheat on tests. Mathematicians use it to learn more complicated formulae. Effects: INT[+2], Panic[-2], can memorize 12 sheets of notes absolutely. Side effects: Gradual development of paranoia or anxiety disorder; headaches. Addiction: Save vs. Poison at 10th use and every five doses thereafter. Once addicted, the user feels compelled to take a dose every 72 to 96 hours. At every 100th dose, the user must make a save vs. system shock or lose one point of INT or DEX as a result of micro-stroke. The drug comes in capsule form.
Cascade. This drug gradually turns the user into useless fools. The foul-smelling leaf gives the user a euphoric “floating” sensation while giving colorful visual hallucinations. Effects: Harmless hallucinations, [+3] against Fear effects, immunity to negative empathic intrusion. Side Effects: Init[-3], WILL[-2]; long term use tends to rob the user of drive and ambition. Addiction: Save vs. Poison at 10th use and every four doses thereafter. Once addicted, the user feels compelled to take a dose every 72 to 96 hours. At every 80th dose, the user must make a save vs. system shock or lose one point of Willpower permanently. The drug comes in cigar form.
Speedball. Used both in high-stakes combat and by the desperately obese, this drug allows the user to perform great feats of physical exertion and not feel hungry or fatigued. In combat situations, the drug can keep the user alert for days at a time. For dieters, the uses don’t feel hunger pangs for days on end. Effects: User can remain awake for up to 72 hours straight and function at +2 Endurance. The user also will not feel hungry during this time. Side Effects: User collapses into a 16 hour coma at the end of the drug’s duration. Addiction: Save vs. Poison at 8th use and every four doses thereafter. Once addicted, the user feels compelled to take a dose every 96 hours. The user also tends to become anorexic. At every 80th dose, the user must make a save vs. system shock or lose one point of Constitution permanently. The drug comes in capsule form.
Black Rice. This drug quickly turns the user into a shriveled husk. It is a narcotic drug that is numbing and incredibly addictive. For an hour, the user has the ultimate euphoric high. When the effect ends, the user can think of nothing but the next high. Effects: Euphoria, immunity to pain, immunity to hunger. Side Effects: STR[+4], INT[-4], WIS[-4], DEX[-4], Willpower[-4], Init[-4], Cha[-4]; bone loss, tooth loss; 25% more prone to disease. Addiction: Save vs. Poison at 4th use and every dose thereafter. Once addicted, the user feels compelled to take a dose every 24 hours. The user also tends to become anorexic. At every 40th dose, the user must make a save vs. system shock or lose one point of Constitution, Wisdom, and Comeliness permanently. The drug comes tiny capsules that look like black grains of rice.
Thanos. This drug combines some of the aspects of Speedball and Black Rice. It is a dangerous drug that makes the users numb, strong, and mean. Effects: A Thanos user automatically succeeds in every save vs. system shock, is immune to pain, and functions without negative modifier until he/she hits -11 HP. The user parries at -4 but also attacks at +4. The user's empathic resistance increases by 20%, but any empathic capabilities go offline. Spellcasting has a 25% chance of failure. Effective modifiers: STR[+4], CON[+2], DEX[-4], CHA[-8], INT[-2], WIS[-2], HP[+1 per HD]. Effect lasts for an hour.) Side Effects: the drug isn't called Thanos without reason. Each time the drug is used, there is a 1% chance (cumulative) that the user will instantly die upon use. If the user somehow manages to use the drug 50 times without dying, he/she becomes a sociopath with Evil alignment. Addiction: Each time the drug is used, the user must save versus poison (with a cumulative -1 penalty for each use) or become addicted. Once addicted, the user feels compelled to take a dose every 24-72 hours. The drug is a grey powder that is either snorted or dissolved in a beverage.
Rarely, it comes to pass that an addict actually wants to be free of the drug. It is difficult to be free of Gaianar drugs, however, since these are not naturally occurring substances that were developed with addiction in mind. To be freed from addiction, the user must abstain from the drug. Period. But that is often easier said than done. Each drug has a withdrawal effect, and those effects are quite unpleasant.
Focus. The user suffers from horrifying migraine headaches that last for a week. During this time, the user also has cognitive fogging (-4 to all intellectual tasks). Moreover, the user suffers from rampant paranoia. Once the physical withdrawal passes, the user must make a Willpower check every two weeks for six months or go back on the drug.
Cascade. The user suffers from terrifying waking nightmares that last for five days. During this time, the user cannot eat or sleep and suffers from incontinence. Once the physical withdrawal passes, the user must make a Willpower check every two weeks for three months or go back on the drug.
Speedball. The user suffers from terrible abdominal pain and deep lethargy that lists for a week. Moreover, the user feels ravenously hungry and yet becomes nauseous to the point of vomiting right after eating. The user is also mean and irritable during withdrawal. Once the physical withdrawal passes, the user must make a Willpower check every two weeks for nine months or go back on the drug.
Black Rice. This drug has one of the more difficult withdrawal processes. The user has convulsions, pain in extremities, joint pain, nausea, and diarrhea. This process lasts a full ten days. Once the physical withdrawal passes, the user must make a Willpower check every week for six months or go back on the drug.
Thanos. While the Withdrawal symptoms are identical to Black Rice, there is also the prospect of instantaneous death at the end of the withdrawal period. The user must save vs. system shock or fall into a comatose state that lasts for a week. At the end of that time, the use must save vs. system shock again or die. Once the physical withdrawal passes, the user must make a Willpower check every week for a year or go back on the drug.
Note that magical cures (such as heal wounds or remove poison) will only counteract the current dose of the drug. Spells or powers that cure mental illness can certainly aid in the psychological addiction stage. But a spell for removing the physical addiction would have to be crafted for that purpose.