The Best Drugs In Pathfinder... Try It, You'll Like It


Advice


Drugs are an often-ignored mechanic in Pathfinder, possibly because of the crippling addiction saves characters need to make. Given that there are so many ways to cure addiction (since it's a disease) and that many of these drugs can offer significant boosts for spellcasters and warriors alike, I wonder why they aren't used more often?

This list also contains my personal contribution of Silvertongue, found in Bastards of Golarion. Good times, that one.

The Best Drugs in Golarion!

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1) I cannot think of a single instance of drugs being in a treasure pile... Players are less likely to use it because of this.

2) What do you call a limited use substance that gives advantages? A potion, add addiction/drawbacks and you take something else I barely use (potions) and ensure it becomes never.

3) Breaks the 4th wall. Pathfinder is escapism at it's heart, throwing in drug problems can easily get too real for people. Add in something like playing with folk you don't know well you do not know how they will react. I for one, have substance abuse issues in my family. If a group went into that too deep then just lay of hands the addictions away whenever they felt like I think I'd in the very least leave the table.


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GM_Solspiral wrote:

1) I cannot think of a single instance of drugs being in a treasure pile... Players are less likely to use it because of this.

2) What do you call a limited use substance that gives advantages? A potion, add addiction/drawbacks and you take something else I barely use (potions) and ensure it becomes never.

3) Breaks the 4th wall. Pathfinder is escapism at it's heart, throwing in drug problems can easily get too real for people. Add in something like playing with folk you don't know well you do not know how they will react. I for one, have substance abuse issues in my family. If a group went into that too deep then just lay of hands the addictions away whenever they felt like I think I'd in the very least leave the table.

1. Flayleaf comes up a few times in Feast of Ravenmoor. I think I remember seeing it elsewhere as well.

2. You never use potions? Huh. As for drugs, they're usually cheaper, but I'd still avoid them in any but exceptional circumstances--alcohol aside because a lot of my characters are unabashed alcoholics.

3. You run the risk of bumping up against real-life issues any time you do anything in Pathfinder other than "kill monster, collect treasure". Sometimes even then if the monster isn't Always Chaotic Evil. As for curing addictions, IIRC Serpent's Skull specifically reinforces the ease of this in the first book. I'd have to look it up again to be certain though. Doesn't mean you have to play it that way, of course--it seems a bit silly to me.

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1) Yeah you can find exceptions to any rule. Compared it to scrolls, wands, and potions and I think you'll find it an uncommon aspect to most treasure tables.

2) Rarely use them aside form healing pots. I'm conservative about potions and scrolls less so with wands.

3) Yes indeed but some are more common than others. Like romance/sex or anything that can make folk uncomfortable in game I'd recommend discussing with the group first make sure everyone is cool with that type of plot.


GM_Solspiral wrote:

1) Yeah you can find exceptions to any rule. Compared it to scrolls, wands, and potions and I think you'll find it an uncommon aspect to most treasure tables.

2) Rarely use them aside form healing pots. I'm conservative about potions and scrolls less so with wands.

3) Yes indeed but some are more common than others. Like romance/sex or anything that can make folk uncomfortable in game I'd recommend discussing with the group first make sure everyone is cool with that type of plot.

I can dig that.


The point of drugs is they stack with potions. The bonuses are alchemical, which means you've got an extra something to bring to the table.

Aside from this though, they add an element to the world that makes it richer. There have always been drugs whether they're sacred substances or recreational pleasures, and they add to a region when you bring in that kind of flavor. You don't have to use them, but the fact that they exist means that NPCs and villains can use them even if you don't.

Grand Lodge

You know that halfling sticky bud is the bees knees man. Stickiest herb in the shackles..

Dark Archive

My Paladin is medically dependent on LSD due to his mom being an alchemist who indulged in the euphoric cloud spell during his gestation. He worships Shelyn.

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My DM warned me about people like you...


Pesh played a roll in the Katapesh adventure path I was on a while back. A quasi-arcane archer was addicted to it.


There are other alcoholic drinks with special effects:

These 3 (from Halflings of Golarion) are for halflings only:
Dragon Punch Whiskey: +4 saves v fear, -4 dex
Lisken's Medicinal Tonic: +2 stealth, -4 initiative
Luglurch Ale: +1 reflex & acrobatics, -2 perception

And some ales from Dwarves of G: These have no downside at all.
Auroch's Breath: Endure Elements v heat
Lost Halls Porter: +1 save v poison, dwarves only
Wondrous Whippersnap: +1d3 x 5 feet darkvision


Petty Alchemy wrote:
My DM warned me about people like you...

I take an inordinate amount of pride in this statement.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

This is why I play Alchemists, and rock n' roll Clowns.


I had a player in one of my games whose character was experimenting with further enhancing a drug that was newly on the market (which the party was investigating incidences related to at the time). This was a really nasty drug (and even its creation involved some highly immoral things), but, it was far too tempting for casters because of how it enhanced their abilities. Some of the other characters in the party were very against addictive substances (and this one was highly so), so he was making a point to be very sneaky about what he was doing.

I've had players whom played characters that were very into experimenting with substances and others whom worked alcoholism into their backstories as a tragic character flaw as well.

My group tends to like games where bumping up against real world issues and getting to explore them (though with fantasy trappings granted) happens a lot.


I am unfamiliar with drugs in the game. While I can understand the reluctance to use them as status items... but how well can they hold up in a treasure pile when used as a trade good.

Because the treasure pile of a crime lord looks rather different from the treasure pile of a dragon.

I'm just saying- if we were looking at an evil campaign, how much return could we get on this stuff? Any of it at the level where we can start looking at the +1 item catalogues? Or is it just the kind of prices meant for the 'in game economy', where you actually have to track things like silver and copper pieces? Come on- I am sure there are enough bored nobles to justify a market where you get 1000's per dose.

Or could you at least give me a kilo of the stuff? Most dealers would drool to have a bag of holding. And even if that doesn't work, I am sure we can find ways. How is your escape artist score, and can we get a grease spell in here? I think my bluff and will save is good enough to get past the inquisitor security guards. And if my guy doesn't come through with the money, I swear I am going to Geas him so hard that he eats his own-------.....

....I got a bit to excited here.... I should not have watched Scar Face and Breaking Bad back to back....

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Not all drugs are illegal, even in places where some are.

Not all drugs have a negative association, in every culture.

Heck, cocaine was, at one time, somewhere around coffee and cough syrup level of how society sees drugs.


Of course, of course.... but crime organizations are still often associated with seedy bars as well.

Crime lords seem like the type that would love to get a strangle hold on the supply of a highly addictive substance that people would be willing to sell everything they own for.

Of course, yeah, more legitimate authorities would also want to monopolize it. I doubt Cheliax is very strict on the sell of drugs (besides wanting a cut of the profit through taxes). They might restrict public intoxication, since it can be disruptive, and generally shows you have a poor grasp on the power in your possession... but what you do behind closed doors seems like it would generally not be questioned (since Cheliax has a strong tradition of doing much worse things than cocaine when no one is looking)

Still, this is an element that could be explored. Imagine a LE party trying to sneak booze into a LG country with prohibition laws. That sounds like it could be the start for an interesting campaign. Just imagine all the terrible Italian accents!

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Crime Lords have dealt with Olive Oil and Bananas. Especially bananas.

There is also noting inherently evil about drugs and alcohol either.

If anything, you could have religious organizations of good gods, that advocate the widespread use of certain drugs and alcohol.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Crime Lords have dealt with Olive Oil and Bananas. Especially bananas.

There is also noting inherently evil about drugs and alcohol either.

If anything, you could have religious organizations of good gods, that advocate the widespread use of certain drugs and alcohol.

I suppose, that has certainly been so with a lot of mind affecting substances...

Still, I just imagine that a god that advocates crystal meth is not the type that you admit to worshiping in polite company. And that is before you start getting into the crazy magic drugs. I do not want to see the long term effects of injecting yourself with daemon spinal fluid.

The fact of the matter is that there are just some products that people normally do not deal with in good conscience. Whether it is because your customers destroy themselves (the typical use of the hard drugs), or use it to destroy others (poison- I will admit that there can be poisons sold legally and morally- it usually involves phrases like 'I have to kill an owlbear'-still, in a big city with a half decent town guard, there are usually more people using it for nefarious purposes)

I will admit though-fake olive oil is apparently more prophetable than cocaine. That is the thing about gangs and crime- they turn towards that life because they feel barred from the more profitable opportunities. Once you get enough money to change that from crime, it is wiser to go for the jobs that the rich and powerful have made 'gray' and 'safe' by the manipulating the system. Thus, the Italian mafia have their hands in the New York trash disposal, and even food critics think real olive oil tastes 'fake'.


Why aren't you listing fatigue as a penalty? Fatigue is pretty brutal imo, enough that any drug that makes you fatigued is useless.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

We have good gods of wine, hallucinogenics, and all sorts of revelry.

We are just tainted by our own culture on how we see them.

Thing is, any commodity can be controlled, or associated with, nefarious folk.

Seriously, look what happened in the Banana Wars in Central America and the Caribbean.

Think about any favorite commodity of yours.

Now, imagine it controlled by, and associated with, terrible people, like terrorist/mafia/etc.


CWheezy wrote:
Why aren't you listing fatigue as a penalty? Fatigue is pretty brutal imo, enough that any drug that makes you fatigued is useless.

Not if you're high enough level to have access to fatigue-curing magic, or if you're confident of being able to rest afterwards.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
CWheezy wrote:
Why aren't you listing fatigue as a penalty? Fatigue is pretty brutal imo, enough that any drug that makes you fatigued is useless.

Look at any Rage-cycling build ever.

Fatigue, is something that can be dealt with.


CWheezy wrote:
Why aren't you listing fatigue as a penalty? Fatigue is pretty brutal imo, enough that any drug that makes you fatigued is useless.

Not all drugs make you fatigued, and I tried to list that for the ones that did. Also, if a -2 penalty to your actions and an inability to run or charge is going to screw up the caster taking a mind-enhancing substance, there might be a flaw in the plan.

The best strategy for using drugs is to counteract them with other drugs! A single dose of coffee (not listed, but in Ultimate Equipment) cuts fatigue penalties in half for an hour. A handy solution... so to speak.


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blackbloodtroll wrote:

Crime Lords have dealt with Olive Oil and Bananas. Especially bananas.

There is also noting inherently evil about drugs and alcohol either.

If anything, you could have religious organizations of good gods, that advocate the widespread use of certain drugs and alcohol.

Or how about especially olive oil. I've read from several different sources about how almost all olive oil is not what you think it is.

ie: cut with cheaper oils less healthy oils and/or manufactured with a not what they are claiming

I read that the profits from counterfeit olive oil is similar to selling cocaine.

On another separate note...Paladins and drugs...if they are immune to disease how would that effect addiction? Anyone?


If addiction is a disease then they are immune to disease


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I envision a stoner Paladin who, yes, can really stop anytime he wants to, he just doesn't want to.

"It's all natural, man. Abadar is a bro, why can't you be?"


So... Is there a save against the effects of drugs? I didn't know drugs were statted out and I don't see an save against any of the effects, positive or negative.

Some of the side effects seem like drugs would be a great alternative to poisons since I am not seeing a save...


Fruian Thistlefoot wrote:
You know that halfling sticky bud is the bees knees man. Stickiest herb in the shackles..

Halfling pipeweed is just a gateway to harder stuff, like licking toads, mad honey, and Luiren spring cheese.

And for a pharmaceutical critter/BBEG, check out the addiction devil (blatant self-promotion) in Wayfinder #11 (free!). Heck, just check it out for the awesome Michael Jaecks illustration.


DominusMegadeus wrote:

I envision a stoner Paladin who, yes, can really stop anytime he wants to, he just doesn't want to.

"It's all natural, man. Abadar is a bro, why can't you be?"

Or a paladin growing emotionally distant from his/her deity and humanity, and just needs a little something to dull the emptiness enough to get though the day.

Or a cleric that went deep undercover in a drug cartel(s).

Or a druid seeking deeper understanding through glimpses at the unseen interlocking chaos and order just behind perception.

"Yeah, back then, the visions, yeah most of the time I was convinced... S@&%... I'd lost it. But there were other times... I thought I was mainlining the secret truth of the universe."


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Crime Lords have dealt with Olive Oil and Bananas. Especially bananas.

And construction. And garbage collecting... and the art trade. And horse racing. Used car dealerships.

The list goes on and on.


I think this says it all

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uh7l8dx-h8M


Telziri wrote:

So... Is there a save against the effects of drugs? I didn't know drugs were statted out and I don't see an save against any of the effects, positive or negative.

Some of the side effects seem like drugs would be a great alternative to poisons since I am not seeing a save...

The problem is mostly the delivery mechanism. Syringe spears are okay but splashing heroin onto a knife is not effective.


Telziri wrote:

So... Is there a save against the effects of drugs? I didn't know drugs were statted out and I don't see an save against any of the effects, positive or negative.

Some of the side effects seem like drugs would be a great alternative to poisons since I am not seeing a save...

If one takes a drug then there is no save to prevent the effects. This would make opium a much better option than most poisons if it could be weaponized.

Drug users gain a small primary bonus for an hour, and then after that hour incur the negatives. The save versus addiction must also be made.

On the one hand I see what you're going for, on the other hand drugs that could be used in combat need to be chosen carefully.


Emmanuel Nouvellon-Pugh wrote:
The problem is mostly the delivery mechanism. Syringe spears are okay but splashing heroin onto a knife is not effective.

There's a discovery for that.


HyperMissingno wrote:
Emmanuel Nouvellon-Pugh wrote:
The problem is mostly the delivery mechanism. Syringe spears are okay but splashing heroin onto a knife is not effective.
There's a discovery for that.

Playing Devil's Rules Lawyer here, can 'drugs' be substituted for poisons here RAW?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Drugs are Poisons, as far as the rules go.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Drugs are Poisons, as far as the rules go.

Are we sure about that? They have their own section unique to them.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Neal Litherland wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Drugs are Poisons, as far as the rules go.
Are we sure about that? They have their own section unique to them.

That was created later. They are now more of a subset of poison.

So, things like "+1 against poison", or "+2 on Craft(Alchemy) to create poisons" and what not, all apply to Drugs/Alcohol.

Why do you think Dwarves have a bonus against poison?

Tolerance!


Also, since I didn't mention it earlier (but thought I had) there are all sorts of terrible things you can do.

Sure a paladin with a relatively small habit is great character, but what about the antipaladin who passes on his addiction? An entire city could be eaten up with hunger if he touches enough people, and such a plague-bringer might be great fodder for an adventure.

Just saying.


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blackbloodtroll wrote:
Neal Litherland wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Drugs are Poisons, as far as the rules go.
Are we sure about that? They have their own section unique to them.

That was created later. They are now more of a subset of poison.

So, things like "+1 against poison", or "+2 on Craft(Alchemy) to create poisons" and what not, all apply to Drugs/Alcohol.

Why do you think Dwarves have a bonus against poison?

Tolerance!

The "Iron Liver" trait from Adventurers Armory differentiates between drugs and poisons leading us to believe that there is a difference.

This also means that poison use does not function with drugs and explains why the addiction mechanic is disease based. I think it would be better to assume that drugs are a mix of poison and disease rules, but that hybridization does not mean that you can apply any rules you want from either genre without further investigation.


Pretty sure that Emmanuel is right on this one. But as with all things it's important to poke both the rules and one's DM to see how it will be run at a given table before getting too in depth with the mechanic.


Neal Litherland wrote:
Sure a paladin with a relatively small habit is great character, but what about the antipaladin who passes on his addiction? An entire city could be eaten up with hunger if he touches enough people, and such a plague-bringer might be great fodder for an adventure.

I'm going to have to steal this idea for my home game.


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Pretty soon you will see a lame life oracle popping opium pills in massive quantities while making fun of everyone around...
This sounds like a good TV show idea...


I played a witch once that dosed enemies with Opium at the end of fights to prevent them from tracking her. Drugs work similarly to poisons and remember that you can use them on your enemies if you are clever. Nothing worse than a witch using slumber and then dosing you.

I mean... I guess there are a LOT of things worse than that... Barbarian axes to the groin come to mind... mostly it is just an expression. Think of what the drugs can do to OTHERS :)

Liberty's Edge

Someone sold me Flayleaf fo' once. I think it was flayleaf. He told me it was pipe he'bs, though. I had 'im fined twice the sails (gp) I paid fo' it, though. That stuff makes ya bloody stupid, though.


So can a level 9 Druid get drunk or be effected by drugs in any way? Also a really crazy idea if yes. Does this mean that said Druid couldn't be healed by non-magical medcine? Not really a major issue with magic healing being so easy to come by, but still it would be a down side to Venom Immunity.

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