Women have been divinely gifted the ability to cast magic by the gods, only about 1/100000 men ever get this gift. As a result a Potion has been introduced into the world which allows anyone to gain magical ability while under it effects.

It will also enhance the potency of people who already have the ability to cast magic use of it. This Drug is largely seen as a dangerous threat and over time and use of the drug drives the user mad. The longer the person uses the more dose they require to get the same effect.

I guess my question here primarily revolves around How long does it take someone to become actually addicted a substance similar to cocaine for instance. What are the variables to consider.

The Drug:

  • It Grants them a sense of Bliss, and feeling like they are invincible. It unlocks other wise dormant cells which grant magical abilities to surface
  • It it current concept it a potion, so I am not sure if a liquid takes longer to become addicted to than say cocaine or if there is really a difference for how they body takes in liquids over cocaine

I hope this qualifies as more simplified and easier to understand question. As my questions are about the Mechanics of the addiction period itself.

  • $\begingroup$ That was a bit confusing to read. You're saying that only women may do magic, and that men may replicate the effects by taking a drug which slowly drives them insane. Is it balanced? A better question is: Does it have to be? It's your universe. Do with it as you please. All we can do is offer our opinions, as you haven't stated what your end objective is (men capable of working magic just as easily as women, for example). We need to know more about what your end goal is, otherwise this is purely opinion based. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Apr 25 '16 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ Okay well thank you for insights :) $\endgroup$ – Joshua Sullivan Apr 25 '16 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ I honestly think this question should be moved to RPG SE. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Apr 25 '16 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ I have moved it into the RPG SE thread, My apologies $\endgroup$ – Joshua Sullivan Apr 25 '16 at 17:22
  • $\begingroup$ No need to apologize. I was only expressing my opinion, you're free to disagree. I personally do think that you'll get better answers there. Good luck! $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Apr 25 '16 at 17:27

I think that it's an interesting addition to a world, but could use some refinement. I'd focus on three things: adding flavor and color to the drug beyond the pure mechanical effects of it, refining the addiction mechanism, defining what the drug does to an existing magic user, and defining how the drug influences the world.

Flavor: how to roleplay a drug user

I think it may be worth defining some additional psychological effects of the drug. Does it feel like the user has a deeper connection to the mysteries of the universe, or is it a power rush that makes the user feel invincible? Describing to the player how their character feels when they use this may help with immersion into the game, and could better reflect exactly why this drug is addictive.

This applies both to using the drug and to withdrawal from the drug. If a player feels weak and powerless, that's a good hook to using more of the drug, if they're willing to roleplay it.

There could also be an associated mechanism to reflect these changes. Perhaps the player receives a boost to their charisma and a penalty to their wisdom to reflect the massive boost of reckless energy they gain. Perhaps they receive a boost to their wisdom and penalties to intelligence and charisma to represent the zen-like trance they enter.

The mechanics of addiction

Rarely are real-life drugs as simple as "do this drug and get addicted.** If they were, people wouldn't do them. If you drug has an effect of "you probably won't get addicted the first time," or "you might want to use more, but the strong-willed can easily quit," addiction isn't as much of a barrier to the first-time user.

Mechanically, this could be represented by a low constitution or will save to resist addiction when using the drug that increases as the player uses more of it. Differing levels of addiction could be represented by how much the player fails a save by. If the effects of using the drug are really nice for an adventuring party, this sort of mechanism could make it far easier for a player to justify "just this once" or "only a little bit" behavior. This is far closer to the pattern of use exhibited by many real world addicts, and also makes it easier for your player to slip into bad habits. What starts as "just this once" can easily become a regular pattern when the players use the drug seemingly without consequence and start to rely on its effects.

How it affects magic users

The drug could also be interesting if it not only grants the ability to use magic, but also boosts the magical prowess of magic users. Additional power could be a hugely tempting reason for mages to use the drug, and could also represent a cultural difference between groups of mages. Perhaps the "good" law-and-order mages find it reprehensible and shun its users (though secretly the grand abbot is hooked on the stuff), while the evil mages venerate its use. Perhaps the law-and-order kingdom publicly bans and reviles it, but recognizes that it can give its mages an edge in battle and supplies the army with the drug.

How it affects the world

A lot of these sorts of flavor effects will affect the world and how different groups see the drug and drug users. In an area with few magic users, drug use could offer the only means of resisting powerful foes. In poor communities, drug use could offer enough magical power to break the cycle of poverty. Perhaps using the drug just feels really good and there's a black market for that purpose, just like in the real world.

Especially if this drug isn't a new thing, there's likely to be built-up attitudes of permissiveness and revulsion associated with drug use that differ in different communities. The more you can weave a compelling narrative integrating this drug into the world, the more your players will buy into the story that surrounds it.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your insights, I havent done much drugs in my life I must say so the comments about the Mechanics and Flavor defiantly help :) thanks $\endgroup$ – Joshua Sullivan Apr 25 '16 at 17:00

Personally, I think that potion is super cool, but the real question you need to ask is: "Will my players think this is a fun addition to the game?" Most of my usual players would avoid that drug like a literal plague because the temporary benefits are outweighed by the permanent side effects (at least in their minds), but if it were instead intended for NPCs to use as a henchmen-booster it gives a perfect in-game excuse for the henchmen to be powerful, evil, and crazy all at once. I think my players would quite enjoy the chance to ferret out the potion manufacturers and bring them down. I smell a campaign thread!

You'll have to be careful about using the potion in this way; if all the NPC enemies use it at full potency, the players will become overwhelmed quickly and unsatisfyingly. Imagine this, though: the lower level goons are the ones burnt out on the potion, mindless and weak, mostly useless to their leaders beyond simple fodder. The more useful goons are those with a clearer mind, those who still have some uses left with the potion and access to higher levels of spells. The clearest of mind and purpose may only resort to using the potion as a last resort, leaving them with full potency and a clear mind. The potion provides not only a clear power hierarchy among the goons but also a social hierarchy to go along with it. Dang, dude, I might have to shamelessly steal this idea for my next campaign...

  • $\begingroup$ For my intention it was a Campaign thread and primary a tool used by NPCs, Thank you for your insights and feel free to steal it :) not like any original ideas out there as a lot of this Kingdom lore is stolen from creators of various things. $\endgroup$ – Joshua Sullivan Apr 25 '16 at 16:23

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