Talk:Beneficial Drugs (3.5e Variant Rule)

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I put this into Variant Rules because it's a new type of item and not just new items, but it may go better in with equipment. Comments? -- 14:35, 9 August 2007 (MDT)

P.S. I didn't realize I wasn't logged in, but I am the creator of this article and the above discussion item :-) --Banyan 14:36, 9 August 2007 (MDT)
I would actually recommend a little of both. Put the idea here and then put the actual items (wizards weed, etc) on there own pages under equipment. Link to the equipment from this page. Just my 2 cents. --Green Dragon 14:42, 11 August 2007 (MDT)

Article Commentary[edit]

The terminology of this article puts me in mind of an attempt to appease drug war crusaders. In particular ‘Beneficial drugs are poisons ...’ and ‘Drug Paraphernalia’ and even the word ‘beneficial’ itself feel derogatory rather than neutral.

Mechanically, the bonuses lack a type (are typeless), so there's no clear reason they won’t stack with themselves even though the discussion says they shouldn't. I would suggest following WotC’s lead in the Book of Vile Darkness and call these Alchemical bonuses. The penalties should be short-term damage, which both stacks, and is amenable to Restoration.

Also undiscussed is the interaction of these beneficial drugs with Delay Poison and SRD:Neutralize Poison.

Another worthwhile concept from the aforementioned tome are the addiction rules.

The benefits and drawbacks of these are perhaps too expansive. Does the drawback have to be so much worse than the benefit? A potion of Attribute Enhancement +4 that lasts 3 minutes is 300GP, and I don’t think you really need that to get what you're after, and although you refer to needing the drawback to outweigh the benefit for balance - why? How is that unbalanced?

More specifically, consider something like the wizard weed. I can’t imagine anyone’s thought processes improved by nausea. Perhaps the nausea might take effect after the intelligence bonus goes away? And what benefit does +4 Int have anyway? Additional spell slots vanish in an hour when it drops to normal, so the game effect is on skill checks and spell DC. Would it make sense to separate these out, into two different (or perhaps even three) different preparations that would grant a more limited +1 or +2 to memory/thought related skills (that is, Intelligence-based skills) and one that grants a +1 or +2 to spell DC? The drawback — if you’re determined to have a closely associated drawback — could then be a corresponding Alchemical penalty to the other (that is, a boost to Intelligence–based skills could then have a negative to spell DC, and vice–versa).

Alternately, a non-associated drawback might be used. Perhaps sudden motion makes a user of wizard weed dizzy (-5 alchemical penalty on Balance checks), or the the constant fizz of thoughts and concepts running through the wizards’s mind imposes a difficulty on Concentration checks.

In any case, I like this as a concept, and would love to see it fleshed out further.

Roszlishan 11:01, 2 December 2007 (MST)

I'm glad you like the concept. I'll try to respond to you one point at a time.
Regarding my position on the drug war: I assure you I'm no proponent of it. However, I see the introduction of drugs into a fantasy world as something to make the world a little darker and less fairy-tale-ish, so I put it in terminology that complements that. I dunno, maybe it's just my puritan upbringing shining through subconsciously ;-)
I see what you mean about the benefit having no type. Alchemical bonus sounds great, would you mind adding that? I hadn't thought about delay poison and neutralize poison. I guess my take would be that they would apply. The reason the drawback should outweigh the benefit is because the associated cost is meant to be one unrelated with what the benefit typically bestows. For example, Int benefit brings Con cost, Cha benefit brings Str cost and so on. The cost is something the character probably isn't using anyway, and so it is diminished. The reason there's a cost at all, is because these things are really, really cheap for their benefit, and besides the cost reflects the nature of drugs being unhealthy, in spite of their benefits.
Regarding Wizard's Weed, the nausea isn't conferring the benefit; it's a side-effect. I see what you mean though, with the Int bonus not being particularly helpful. Perhaps something like a +2 to concentration and spell-craft plus +1 DC to spells would be better? I'm open to ideas here.
I find myself going back and forth on whether or not the addiction rules from BoVD are a good idea. I'm not a big fan of how drugs are treated in that book at all; they're treated as really evil shit, which is not how I see a wizard smoking a pipe. I'm open to it though; if you think it should be added, go ahead.
Let me know what you think. --Banyan 22:51, 2 December 2007 (MST)
I'm still not convinced that the cost/benefit tradeoff needs to be so steep to be ‘balanced’, but that's a different discussion, I think. I've made the other changes as well as separating the design considerations from the use text. I tried to stay with the darker / grittier aspects of including these. Roszlishan 22:12, 6 December 2007 (MST)
I love your additions! Great job! --Banyan 23:30, 7 December 2007 (MST)

Balance Drawbacks[edit]

I realize this is over a decade old but I just stumbled over it. I think the variant has potential for several versions of D&D and I agree with the concept that worlds should have their grit and grim. A thieves guild in a neat tidy sewer really brakes the concept of dank and realistic. A fantasy world should have poverty, neglect, and crime.

My reservations are the costs and draw backs. Greendragon has a point with the type of bonus, but I would like to point out the balance to the perks. Balance is important as without it you just have a free benefit. As it is why wouldn't anyone use this stuff? It is inexpensive and just before going into a dungeon crawl you can shift stats from effectively a dump stat to potentially a primary. Wizards are often glass cannons so taking a hit to constitution really is meaningless. As nearly every drug it an exchange for another stat, drugs become a better option than most spells or potions because you are simply shifting dump stats around.

I would suggest drawbacks that effect combat. Why not a universal save decrease, a move speed decrease, or a vision effect could also be both viable and amusing. Accumulative disadvantages is also not unwarranted. Smoking cannabis pot heads typically build up a resistance to it requiring greater quantities to achieve the same effect. These are just random thoughts, and again I like the concept. It creates plot points for missions and so on. My only concern is that the drawbacks are not really drawbacks when you consider most of them are directed at dumb stats for the classes that would use them.

One other thing that you did not touch base on is Stat damage. If a Wizard with low CON take -4 CON for two hours, from their drug and gets nailed with a poison or any of the countless CON damage types, does it kill him? The reason I ask is because unlike stat damage the effects only last an hour or so, however having zero in any stat is normally helpless or death.

--Gawain (talk) 04:28, 9 December 2019 (MST)

Why is that instant death? There are numerous creatures missing one or another stat. I would treat it like this, and remove the stat until lesser restoration is cast on you.

--Green Dragon (talk) 08:09, 10 December 2019 (MST)

Because the PHB & DMG says so. Con damage is one of the few instant kills. It is not that overly abundant of a damage type but when you have wizard or other INT support type it can be deadly. It is also not that uncommon for them to take Con as a dump stat as they intentionally play their character as a rear-line ranged DPS or support.

Additional there is a big difference between have a score of 0 and not having any stat score at all. A nil score means they are immune to such ability effects, while having a Zero means they are either helpless or dead. A majority of the time Helpless also means Death unless you have a DM that plays with kitten gloves.
--Gawain (talk) 03:19, 12 December 2019 (MST)
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