Thursday, August 18, 2016

All cities are mad, but the madness is galant.




What monsters lay behind the doors of the mind?


What the workaday citizen overlooks, we will see. Through the soot stained alleyways, the viewer, you, will see the city as few can. Behind doors, unbarred to the select, is a world avoided by the quotidian majority. These are the places where the fringed, and most interesting, people gather to buy and sell that which will bring them peace, if only for a time.

Through the city under narcotic influences.
For some it is air, for others it is drugs. They push the mind down, the pull the body beyond its means, drugs become the answer to so much, yet engender the most questions when they are gone. It is irresponsible to present the downside of drugs without their benefits, by doing so we lose sight of why someone might take them in the first place. When you put drugs in a world, you need to inquire about who might find addiction in them and why, otherwise you have pointless window-dressing rather than useful motivations and drama. Here are but a few, with their own miracles and curses still attached, trailed by those who find comfort in them.

What dreams may come under the influence of drugs made of gods. Art by Franklin Booth

Theos / God Eye / Angel Shit
Remember Street Gods? What do you think happens to their bodies when the militias finally kill god? Most neighborhood states burn the bodies in blast furnaces, a process that can take days. Even dead, Street Gods refuse to die completely. However, militia captains can be bribed to look the other way while a limb is chopped off; 'Musta gotten blown off when the cannon hit the bastard...' they'll say when asked, but most folks know the score and keep the question to themselves. There are some neighborhood states who make the production of the drug a state event, becoming minor distributors to the rest of the city. Some junkies might even tell of the fabled Lotus Eater City, a neighborhood state where all the best drugs are made, and where they keep stables of Street Gods to slaughter and cook up.

Smoked, snorted, or injected, when the stuff hits a body it gives the lucky bastard a taste of being a god. Depending on the flavor a woman might be given enough strength to rip a horse in two, or man might create a new form of mathematics. But, when the high is over those poor bastards get burned. For the rest of her life, the woman might have trouble carrying the groceries home, and the man might have difficulty adding small numbers in his head. There is no addiction, the stuff is cruel enough without it, it'll make someone a god for a short time and then make them less than they were.

Legality: Highly illegal to possess, possible death sentence for the sale of.
Efficacy: Highest known efficacy of any known drug.
Addictiveness: No physical addiction, but an individual might develop a psychological dependency.
Come Down: Hard. One time is enough to cripple someone.

Anyone can become a circus strongman under its influence

Brawn / Bull / Strongman
Cost -
OSR / AD&D / LotFP: 100 gp/pp. Cost may vary depending on the purity level. (gp is used for systems where sp is the standard currency, pp is used for systems where gp is the standard currency)
Into the Odd: 1 Guilder
Appearance: A dose comes in a thin, maroon square the size of an adult's thumbnail. It has the texture of a dead leaf, and may be smoked from any pipe, ground up and snorted, or made into a tincture and injected.
Creation: Distilled from the muscles of a Street God.

OSR / AD&D: Grants a +5 to a +10 bonus to Strength and +15 to +30 Hit-Points, the efficacy depends on the purity level. The bonus from this drug can take the user far beyond the normal 18 limit. The bonus lasts for 4 to 8 hours depending on the purity. After the end of the drug's effects, the user loses 1D2 Strength and Constitution permanently, no save. This loss may only be restored using magic on par with the wish spell.

LotFP: Grants a +3 to +6 bonus to-hit with melee attacks, and grants a +4 to +8 bonus to melee damage, the efficacy depends on the purity of the drug. The drug also grants a +15 to +30 bonus to hit-points depending on the purity level. The bonus lasts for 4 to 8 hours depending on the purity. After the end of the drug's effects, the user loses 1D2 Strength and Constitution permanently, no save. This loss may only be restored using magic on par with the wish spell.

Into the Odd: All melee damage is considered Enhanced and completely ignores armor. The user is also granted +10 to +20 Hit-Points the efficacy depends on the purity level. Finally, the user also succeeds at all Strength saves. The bonus lasts for 4 to 8 hours depending on the purity. After the end of the drug's effects, the user loses 1D3 Strength permanently, no save.

She took the drug, and soon they would be dead before they knew it.

Zephyr / Quicksilver / Hurricane
Cost -
OSR / AD&D / LotFP: 120 gp/pp. Cost may vary depending on the purity level. (gp is used for systems where sp is the standard currency, pp is used for systems where gp is the standard currency)
Into the Odd: 1 Guilder and 20 Shillings
Appearance: A single dose takes the form of a prismatic hair or thread the length of an adult's pinky finger. The dose may be smoked from any pipe, ground up and snorted, or made into a tincture and injected.
Creation: This substance is made from the dried threads of a Street God's spinal cord.

OSR / AD&D / LotFP:Grants a +/-5 to a +/-10 bonus to AC, the efficacy depends on the purity level. The user also gains two full actions in a round, one at their normal initiative with a +6 bonus and a second at their normal initiative without bonus. The bonus lasts for 4 to 8 hours depending on the purity. After the end of the drug's effects, the user loses 1D3 Dexterity permanently, no save. This loss may only be restored using magic on par with the wish spell.

Into the Odd: The user is granted an extra turn after the last player has taken theirs, the character may engage in the same number of actions as they would during a normal turn. They are also granted 2 Armor, though this armor is treated differently than normal since it represents the character rolling with/riding the strike, thus reducing the impact and cannot be reduced by weapons that normally negate armor. The bonus lasts for 4 to 8 hours depending on the purity. After the end of the drug's effects, the user loses 1D3 Dexterity permanently, no save.

An introspective genius now, an ignorant dullard later.

Prophet / Seer / Genius
Cost -
OSR / AD&D / LotFP: 300 gp/pp. Cost may vary depending on the purity level. (gp is used for systems where sp is the standard currency, pp is used for systems where gp is the standard currency)
Into the Odd: 3 Guilders
Appearance: A single dose takes the form of white and gray crystals, the standard dose being enough to half-fill a thimble. The drug may be smoked from a specially filtered pipe, ground up and snorted, or made into a tincture and injected.
Creation: This drug is created from the distillation of the Vitreous Humor (the jelly filling eyeballs) and the brains of Street Gods.

OSR / AD&D / LotFP: While under the effects of this drug a character is considered to know nearly anything and everything, the only knowledge they may not have is truly secret or personal knowledge about an individual. Users are also granted True Seeing as per the spell, as well as they become impossible to hide from or to surprise. A person under the effects of this drug may also see in total darkness and see perfectly through fog. Finally, the user automatically knows when they are being lied to or mislead. The bonus lasts for 4 to 8 hours depending on the purity. Once the effects are over, the user permanently loses 1D2 Intelligence and Wisdom, no save. This loss may only be restored using magic on par with the wish spell.

Into the Odd: While under the effects of this drug a character is considered to know nearly anything and everything, the only knowledge they may not have is truly secret or personal knowledge about an individual. Users are also granted the ability to see through illusions, as well as they become impossible to hide from or to surprise. A person under the effects of this drug may also see in total darkness and see perfectly through fog. Finally, the user automatically knows when they are being lied to or mislead. The bonus lasts for 4 to 8 hours depending on the purity. Once the effects are over, the user permanently loses 1D3 Will, no save.

Those who take the hand of these drugs, dances with death. Art by Honore Daumier

Users: All of those who use these drugs can be put into the same category: desperate. When there are no options left, this drug becomes the solution to problems. It's common knowledge that these drugs will permanently damage a user, commonly called the burn or shriveling. A widowed Gamayun might use Brawn to kill as many monsters/people as they can before succumbing to overwhelming odds. Princesses of the Pale Moon Queendom are rumored to use Zephyr during the a ceremony called The Culling Steps, where the daughters of the current queen compete to the death in a series of blade filled 'dances' to see who will become the next queen. Truly desperate Groteslang youth may use Prophet to pass into adulthood by answering the Prime Koan.

Widow's Respite / Misas / Ghost Memories
Loss is a terrible affliction that no treatment can ease or cure. To lose a loved one to the shores of death's three kingdoms is to become debilitated, to have a piece of yourself amputated and given back as the rest of you is destroyed. In the infinite city, for those not rich enough to afford Resurrection, the Mortician's Guild offers a service that all members in good standing may provide. Before the deceased is cremated or buried, the mortician removes the brain and distills it into a tincture that may be injected by the bereaved. After a few moments the user is comforted by the voice of their loved one speaking to them, the experience similar to schizophrenic auditory hallucinations. In essence the user is allowing the memories of the deceased as well as their personality to be 'ran' by their own brain. The bereaved an deceased may speak to one another, saying the things they may not have said in life, though only the bereaved hears the deceased's voice. Murder investigators often use this process to interrogate deceased victim's through a specially trained individual called a Mnemosynic Alienist who injects the deceased's memories into themselves. A dead individual's brain must be largely intact, and they may not have been dead for more than three days for the complete memories to be collected from the brain. A damaged brain, or one from someone who has been dead for longer than three days, has considerable gaps in the memory of the deceased. This process was pioneered by the Gamayun who use the drug to stave off the incredible despair that results from the death of a mate, though when they inevitably run out of the distillation they go off into the wilds of the city to find their deaths.

Legality: Legal in all current neighborhood states.
Efficacy: Moderate.
Addictiveness: No physical addiction, but an individual might develop a psychological dependency to speaking to their loved one.
Come Down: There is no physical cost to taking the drug, but it can bring closure or increased levels of depression depending on the user's state of mind.

Cost -
OSR / AD&D / LotFP: 10 sp/cp. (sp is used for systems where gp is the standard currency, cp is used for systems where sp is the standard currency)
Into the Odd: 10 Shillings
Appearance: A single dose takes the form of a milky-gray liquid that is administered though injection.
Creation: This drug is created from the distillation the deceased’s brain.

In her mind, she was soothed by her lover's voice. Art by Frederick R Pickersgill

The effects of the drug lasts from 45 minutes to over 3 hours, depending on the relationship to the deceased. Those that knew the deceased well will have greater periods of efficacy than complete strangers. While under the effects of this drug, the user will be able to carry on a conversation with the deceased as if they were still living. A deceased person may attempt to tie or refuse to tell the user information that they were secretive about in life. In essence treat such interactions as any other character interactions with the called for skill uses and rolls.

OSR / AD&D / LotFP: The number of doses derived from the deceased's brain is equal to the average of their Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores (results are rounded up in the case of a non-whole number). Average number of doses from a 'normal' person is 10.

Into the Odd: The number of doses derived from the deceased's brain is equal to their Will score. Average number of doses from a 'normal' person is 10.

Users: Users of this drug tend to be people looking for closure or who are unable to let go of their loved one. The drug has a nearly unlimited shelf-life, allowing bereaved to use the drug on a the date of a particular anniversary. As stated before, murder investigators often use this process to interrogate deceased victim's through a specially trained individual called a Mnemosynic Alienist who injects the deceased's memories into themselves. Generally, the investigation team will provide the deceased's family with the remainder of the doses. In the case of the Gamayun, a widowed individual will go through the doses in a matter of days before going off to find their death.