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Drugs in the World of Darkness

Overview

Drug use in the World of Darkness is common and more often than not, dangerous. Each drug has a base Potency rating, with some batches being more or less powerful than others, and each type of drug has different onsets, durations, and effects. With the first dose in a 24 hour period, a character takes on a basic penalty and the player rolls for a possible additional side-effect. Any benefits and penalties kick in after the drug’s delay period has passed. If they cannot (or choose not to) fight the effects with a Stamina roll, the character will feel the full effects for the duration. If no further drugs are imbibed during that time, the character will sober up once the duration ends.

For intoxicants with Potency ratings of 1 to 4, a character can imbibe as many doses as they have dots in Stamina within an hour and only suffer a -1 penalty to Dexterity, Intelligence, and Wits rolls. If the character ingests more than 3 times their Stamina rating in as many hours, they suffer an additional penalty on all rolls equal to Potency due to sickness (vomiting, vertigo, etc.). The penalty is cumulative, and any beneficial side-effects of the drug are negated. This illness will subside in (8 minus Stamina) hours. If the character exceeds this rate in any way they will begin to overdose in earnest, taking lethal damage and likely falling unconscious.

Drugs with Potencies from 5 to 8 take less time and usage to kick in, but also carry greater risks. A character can handle half their Stamina rating in doses within an hour with a -2 penalty to Dexterity, Intelligence, and Wits rolls. Taking up to their Stamina rating in as many hours leads to overdosing, with no intermediate illness. The effects can’t be suppressed with a Stamina roll. Drugs with Potencies of 9 or 10 tend not to be used recreationally, since they are likely to induce unconsciousness far too quickly for enjoyable side effects. They are more often used as poisons against unwary targets.

Mixing drugs of different Potencies within the same 24 hour period incurs the penalties of both, although each one runs its course depending on its own duration. Roll for additional effects for the most Potent drug; any lesser effects are supplanted by those from the higher Potency drug. Lower Potency doses count toward the rate at which the character might overdose from the highest Potency drug taken, however, making it far more risky to mix and match.

Alcohol: Potency 1 - 4, from beer to the most potent spirits
Delay: 10 min. per dot of Stamina, - 5 min. for every dose taken within that time
Duration: 8 minus Stamina hours
With the first dose (and only the first dose), roll on the chart below to see if the character feels additional effects:
1-2 Gains a +2 bonus to carousing rolls
3-4 No additional effect
5-6 Gains a +2 bonus to rolls to resist anxiety
7-8 No additional effect
9-10 Suffers a -2 penalty to resist reacting with aggression, including frenzy

Marijuana: Potency 1 - 4
Delay: 10 min. per dot of Stamina, - 5 min. for every dose taken within that time
Duration: 8 minus Stamina hours
With the first dose (and only the first dose), roll on the chart below to see if the character feels additional effects:
1-2 Suffers from paranoia or spacing out, leading to a -2 to all Social rolls (or, if Vice is Gluttony, feels the compulsive need to eat and suffers a -1 penalty to all rolls not related to acquiring food)
3-4 No additional effect
5-6 Gains a +2 bonus to rolls to resist reacting with aggression, including frenzy
7-8 No additional effect
9-10 Gains a +2 to Craft rolls

Hallucinogens: Potency 5 - 7
Delay: 20 min. per dot of Stamina, - 5 min. for every dose taken within that time
Duration: 12 minus Stamina hours
With the first dose (and only the first dose), roll on the chart below to see if the character feels additional effects:
1-2 Suffers from paranoia or distressing visions, leading to a -2 to all Social rolls and rolls to contain extreme emotions
3-4 No additional effect
5-6 Gains insight into a situation, as per the Omen Sensitivity merit (GMC 173)
7-8 No additional effect
9-10 Suffers a -2 to Perception rolls but enters a euphoric state in which mental health-related Conditions are suppressed

Cocaine/crack/speed: 5 - 10, from low-end to most pure
Delay: 1 min. per dot of Stamina (injected or smoked); 5 min. per dot of Stamina (snorted)
Duration: 20 mins. minus 5 min. per dot of Stamina (injected or smoked); 30 minus 5 per dot of Stamina minutes (snorted)
With the first dose (and only the first dose), roll on the chart below to see if the character feels additional effects:
1-2 Does not suffer wound penalties but suffers a -2 to all Social rolls
3-4 No additional effect
5-6 Gains a +2 bonus to Initiative but also suffers a -2 penalty to rolls to contain emotional outbursts, including frenzy
7-8 No additional effect
9-10 Gains a +2 bonus to complete simple tasks, including some Crafts, but cannot sleep restfully for 24 hours - Stamina and is unable to regain or spend Willpower during that time

Heroin/morphine/barbiturates: 5 - 8
Delay: 30 sec. per dot of Stamina (injected), 5 min. per dot of Stamina (smoked)
Duration: 6 hours minus 1 hour per dot of Stamina (injected), 7 hours minus 1 hour per dot of Stamina
With the first dose (and only the first dose), roll on the chart below to see if the character feels additional effects:
1-2 Gains a temporary Willpower point from feelings of contentment but suffers a -2 penalty to Initiative
3-4 No additional effect
5-6 Efforts to enrage or emotionally affect the character suffer a -4 penalty, but the character suffers a -2 on rolls that require concentration
7-8 No additional effect
9-10 Does not suffer wound penalties but must make Stamina rolls once per hour to remain awake (as per fatigue on page 180 of the WoD Core Rulebook) for 6 hours - Stamina

Tolerance

A character can use a Potency 1-4 drug in as many scenes as they have dots of Stamina during a week without risking building a tolerance to it. A Potency 5-8 drug can be taken in as many scenes as a character’s Stamina rating during the same number of days without increasing tolerance. Breaching this amount requires a Stamina + Resolve roll with a penalty equal to half the drug’s Potency, rounded up. Every failure means that the character must take an additional dose in order to feel the drug’s effects. Tolerance can be reversed by one step for every six months a character refrains from using a drug.

Addiction

As per the GMC Condition.

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