Oh, thank gods!
Chapter 5 finally wrapped up last week, after several iterations - first as "Living the Life," which has since become its own book, and then as "Delivering the goods," a chapter featuring rules for instruments, skills, drugs and performance. The drugs section was by far the hardest part; as that section notes, "Assembling a comprehensive list of rock-star drugs and their effects would consume this chapter and then some."
Although the Living the Life book contains a chapter titled "Sex & Drugs & Rock-n-Roll" (named, like all the line's headings, for a song... in this case, Ian Dury's late-70s demi-hit), I had to keep the section called "Let's Get Fucked Up" (named for a more recent song by Illegal Substance) short yet informative. Ringing in at just under 3000 words, that section now hits the bases I had wanted to hit without once again breaking the bank, word-count-wise.
Here's a snippet from that section, describing a few common substances and their general effects. In an effort to be true to the material (people take drugs for good reasons, after all), I included both the benefits and pitfalls of chemical indulgence in this listings.
Enjoy... and have a Happy Halloween!
See ya next week...
Effects: Lowered inhibitions, slurred speech, impaired reflexes, muddied thinking, aggression. Moderately addictive. Long-term use may have intense story-based physical effects, and may lead to Wyrds: Addiction, Asshole, Beast, Obsession, or a combination of them.
Overdose: Loss of muscle control, vomiting, and often passing out. If OD after more than five drinks, roll stamina with appropriate modifiers; failure means coma or death by poisoning, inhaled vomit, or organ failure unless life-saving measures are taken.
Dose: 1 shot or 3 pills Potency: 2
Effects: Story-based; no immediate intoxicating effects, though long-time users feel euphoric, energetic and volatile. Employed in “stacked” regimens over several weeks. Used to combat fatigue and build up impressive “stage muscles”; may become a story-based reason for physical trait gain. Steroid use has significant effects on libido, sexual performance, and cardiac health. Heavy use may result in the Wyrds: Asshole and Beast.
Overdose: Racing heart, potentially fatal heart attack.
Dose: 3 pills Potency: 2 to 3
Effects: Story-based effects. Elevates mood. Large doses (3 pills or more) often bring on euphoria while scrambling sensory input. Potentially quite addictive, with crushing depression a typical side-effect of withdrawal. Common among artists on the road, who use them to control mood swings, emotional fatigue, and psychiatric disorders. Abuse may lead to the Wyrds: Addiction, Obsession, Stage Fright, or a combination of all three.
Overdose: Racing heartbeat, flush, disorientation and unconsciousness; death unlikely but possible, especially when antidepressants get combined with other drugs.
Dose: 3 cups, cans or pills Potency: 1 (coffee, tea) to 3 (high-grade energy drink or pills)
Effects: Energy rush and jitteriness, but not intoxication per se. Large doses may cause insomnia or mood swings. Constant use leads to story-based changes in temperament and sleep patterns. Physically and psychologically addictive. Heavy long-term use may lead to Wyrds: Addiction, Asshole, Beast, Obsession, or a combination of them.
Overdose: Racing heart, flush, intense anxiety, and mood swings. Fatal OD extremely unlikely, but the rush may feel exceedingly unpleasant.
Dose: 1 joint, 2 hits, 1 brownie Potency: 2 (joint) to 4 (hash oil or high-grade pot)
Effects: Euphoria, scrambled senses, potential shifts of time/ space perception; occasional hallucinations with high-grade drug. Requires wits-based roll, not stamina-based one, to ride the effects. Not physically addictive, but might become psychologically addictive with heavy use. Constant use may lower mental traits and add one to four levels of the Wyrd: Spacey.
Overdose: Racing heart, paranoia, intense anxiety and disorientation. Fatal OD essentially impossible, though it feels awful!
Dose: 1 pill Potency: 2 to 3 (depends on purity)
Effects: Intense euphoria, friendliness and sensual cravings. Flush, warmth and energy, with deepened appreciation of sensory impressions, especially touch and music. Frequent thirstiness and dehydration; occasional mild hallucinations. Wits-based roll to handle effects. Jitteriness and mood swings from euphoria (on the rush) to depression (the comedown). Psychologically, not physically, addictive. Long-term heavy use may lower mental traits, damage heart and kidneys, and inspire profound despair when the user isn’t high.
Overdose: Racing heart, inner “burning” sensation, intense anxiety, sensory overload, and panic attacks. Especially when combined with intense physical exertion, OD may cause strokes, fatal seizures or heart attacks.
Dose: 1 shot, snort, hit or pill Potency: 3 to 5 (depends on purity and intake method)
Effects: Intense blissful rush, floating feeling, dream-like disconnection, and impaired coordination and reflexes. “Softening” of pain and other sensations. Lowered energy or interest in external events. Occasional nausea and constipation. Highly addictive, with vicious withdrawal effects. Long-term use almost always leads to Wyrd: Addiction, possibly with Obsession, Stage Fright or both (plus Spacey), with reductions of physical and mental traits.
Overdose: Powerful disorientation, potential suffocation, heart attack, seizure or all three. Fatal OD quite possible; Disaster leads to death unless character is successfully resuscitated.
Dose: 1 tab, cap, hit or pill Potency: 3 to 5 (depends on potency and specific drug)
Effects: Wide range of effects, from mild disconnection to wild hallucinations; greater Potency yields stronger effects. Usually takes effect between a half-hour to two hours after ingestion, with a “floating” state followed by increasingly intense hallucinations. High may last two to six hours, depending on Potency, and might leave residual flashbacks and disconnection for days afterward. Wits-based roll for serotonin-like drugs (LSD, mascaline, DMT, ayahuasca); stamina-based roll for Belladonna-based drugs (PCP, ketamine, Jimsonweed, Belladonna extract). Occasional vomiting, especially with mushroom- or Belladonna-based drugs. Anxiety, disconnection and skewed perceptions very common; dexterity-based rolls suffer cumulative -1 penalty per dose because of scrambled sensory input. Dehydration common, with exhaustion and occasional depression after the trip ends.
At Guide’s option, a successful psychedelic-drug roll may raise the character’s intoxication level to High, Grooving (for a dramatic success) or even Visionary (for a Triumph) if the character is in full-blown trip. Frequent use has significant story-based effects, possibly adding the Wyrds: Obsession, Offspring, Stage Fright or – with PCP – Beast.
Overdose: Bad trip – intense anxiety, paranoia, and horrific hallucinations. Racing heart, increased body temperature. Potential freak-out, with extremely irrational and dangerous acts. Belladonna-based drugs can kill through heart attack or seizure. PCP may temporarily raise physical traits by several points while adding three to four temporary degrees of Beast...