Beneficial Drugs (3.5e Variant Rule)
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Beneficial drugs are potent substances that have a strong effect on humanoid biologies. There is nothing inherently evil about use of these drugs, but some particularly idealistic polities, often religion-driven, tend to outlaw them, fearing their effects. More cynical or corrupt regimes forbid them more primarily to drive up prices (and thus enrich the distributors), prevent effective regulation, and to enrich the distributors — who are often the rulers themselves, or who pay large sums to the rulers for the privilege of a state-sponsored monopoly.
In an open market, these substances may be quite inexpensive. Where they are contraband, the price may go arbitrarily high, and the quality arbitrarily low. Fraud may be common unless dealers are familiar to the purchaser, but even that is no guarantee since the dealer herself may be hoodwinked. Prices in the below descriptions are for a relatively open market, where these substances may be traded openly.
Unless otherwise specified in the drug description, a drug's effects are an Alchemical bonus and untyped penalty. Consequently, the positive effect of a drug does not stack with itself, although the penalty will.
Description: This green plant is dried and sold in pouches, similar to tobacco. As with tobacco, it is smoked, but unlike tobacco it tends to emit tiny sparks when lit and the exhaled smoke is a pale shade of green. Once lit, it must be smoked for at least one round, and will take two rounds to take effect. Wizard's Weed helps with clarity of thought and memory, but it makes the user nauseous. One pouch of Wizard's Weed costs 10gp and contains 10 doses.
Benefit: +1d4 Int for one hour.
Cost: -1d4 Con for two hours.
Bard's Flower Tea
Description: The bard's flower has small, white and pink petals. If dried and dissolved in water, these petals form Bard's Flower Tea, a yellow liquid with a sweet scent and taste. Brewing the tea takes 5 minutes. Quickly drinking a cup is a full round action and its effects begin one round after that. Bard's Flower Tea makes one more sociable and artistic, but also makes one feel weak. A pouch of the petals for brewing costs 5gp and is enough to make 5 pots of tea, each of which is good for four cups.
Benefit: +1d4 Cha for one hour.
Cost: -1d6 Str for one hour.
Description: The red seeds of the Malyss plant (itself a source of Malyss Root poison) can be shelled and the insides ground into powder to create Rage Powder. Rage Powder is a bright red powder, usually kept in potion bottles, which can be scooped out with a small spoon and snorted for an intense effect. Snorting the powder is a full round action, and the effects take place immediately. Snorting Rage Powder gives one both a minor boost of strength and a numbness toward pain, but make the user reckless. 20gp will buy a bottle of Rage Powder which is good for 10 doses.
Benefit: +1d2 Str, +1d2 Con for one minute.
Cost: -1d6 Wis for one minute.
Description: The Archon Mushroom tends to grow on ignored stores of grains or rice which are not kept suitably dry. It is a spotless white capped mushroom, that is dried and eaten most commonly by druids and clerics for its benefits. Eating one dose of the mushrooms quickly is a full round action, but the effects do not begin until about 5 minutes later. Eating the mushrooms gives one a sense of unity and understanding with spiritual or divine matters, but also tends to result in dizziness. They are typically sold in single doses for 1gp each.
Benefit: +1d4 Wis for one hour.
Cost: -1d4 Dex for two hours.
Description: An Acrobat's Patch is a piece of rough cloth lightly coated in a gluey alchemical substance. It is usually difficult to distinguish from an ordinary tattered rag, but if rubbed on the underside of the arm between the armpit and elbow, it will result in strange drug effects. Doing so is a full round action and the effect begins one round later. Using this patch makes one feel grounded and with good balance but makes them act and speak strangely for the during of the effect. One patch, which can only be used once, costs 1gp.
Benefit: +1d4 Dex for one minute.
Cost: -1d4 Cha for two minutes.
To maintain balance, the cost should always be at least 1/3 higher, or active for twice as long, as the benefit. The benefit and cost should be in the same terms; for example in each of the drugs listed above, benefits and costs are both in ability score modification. No drug should be able to confer its benefits again until both the benefit and cost has worn off.
Those wishing to use these drugs will need certain materials for their preparation and consumption.