Cost: Variable Mental Drawback

An addict craves a substance and must have it, even against her better judgement. Most addictive substances eventually impact on her health. Many of them are also illegal, and using or purchasing them may land the character in jail should she be discovered. Those concerns matter little to the addict, however; when the craving hits, she can rarely resist it. She often does things she would normally never consider in order to satisfy her need, from cheating and stealing to committing serious crimes to selling her body or even betraying her friends.

Notes of Use

  • When an addicted character hasn’t gotten her usual “fix,” she suffers from debilitating withdrawal symptoms. Most mental actions (e.g., any Tasks or Tests using Intelligence, Perception or Willpower) are at a penalty equal to the value of the Drawback (so, a character with a 2-point Addiction suffers a -2 penalty to most mental actions) until the addict can get what she needs.
  • The most severe drugs (like heroin) also produce strong physical effects; such addicts have a penalty of -3 to all physical actions in addition to the above penalty on mental actions.
  • The value of this Drawback is determined by the severity of the addiction and the relative effects of the drug or substance.

The Addiction Point Value Table below gives guidelines for the value of a given type of addiction.

Addiction Point Value Table
Heavy drinking or LSD 2 points
Heavy use of marijuana or LSD 3 points
Serious Alcoholism, habitual use of barbiturates or cocaine 4 points
Habitual use of heroin, heavy use of barbiturates or cocaine 5 points
Heavy use of heroin 6 points

Unlike most Drawbacks, this problem cannot be easily overcome. Generally, the best a character can hope to do is to deny her craving, “one day at a time.” Getting rid of this Drawback should never be a matter of saving up enough points to “buy it off.” Resisting the craving requires a series of daily Willpower Tests. For each Willpower Test up to the level of the character’s Willpower, these Tests are Simple. For each one after that, the Tests are Difficult. All Tests suffer a penalty equal to the point value of the Drawback, plus an additional -1 to -4 depending on the strength of the drug and its availability (tobacco is so available and addictive that Willpower Tests are at a minimum penalty of -4 or even higher). Once the character accumulates 10 Success Levels in succession from successful Willpower Tests, one character point may be spent to reduce the strength of the addiction by one point. Another 10 Success Levels in succession are needed for the next point, and so on, until the Drawback is eliminated. If any Test is failed during the course of accumulating the 10 Success Levels, all Success Levels are lost, and the accumulation process must begin again.

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