As adults we sometimes indulge vices for a myriad of reasons. Given the nature of the setting of Starfinder, I like to offer the player characters a wider selection of intoxicants than just "Dwarven space ale". Here are some of the things the PCs at my table have come up with.
Snails - These are mildly hallucinogenic, shifting the perception of color and smell slightly. A favorite among Vesk. (I'm not sure where we got this from but it's a running joke at our table that the party Vesk likes to "get slow")
Magnets - Only effective on Androids and SROs, think Bender with a refrigerator magnet on his head.
Throw some more ideas in here and i'll let you know if they make it to the table.
|Thrice Great Hermes|
Nova Coke: Lifted directly from Shadowrun.
BLT, Better than Life: Also from Shadowrun, a VR program/device with the ability to feed the user sensations far more intense than reality.
Spice: A drug that produces a euphoric state, it also has a number of mind expanding properties. The exact nature of the effect is determined by which of the several verities the users has imbibed. Heavy usage has the effect of turning the users pupil and scalar a vivid blue.
Eldritch: a drug made through a combination of alchemy and spellcraft.
The synthesis processes Binds magical energies(spell slots) to a physical form. That of a viscus, luminescent liquid it may also be vaporised. Eldritch is a powerful stimulant, the more powerful the magical energies used in its creation the more intense and longer lasting the high. Spellcasters that imbibe Eldritch recover expended magical power(spell slots).
Helpful Vineyards: On the colony planet Vesk-21, there is a winery run by a small crew of vesk brewers with a significant skittermander support staff. Because many of the skittermanders want to help their employers make the best brews in the galaxy, they often add various ingredients to the various wines before, during, and after the fermentation process.
For one reason or another, any time you take a drink of a Helpful Vineyards vintage, you'll always remember it.
Random idea: psychic psychedelics. For those people with telepathic ability, special designed crystals can be used to induce various altered mental states. The upside is, while pricier, a given "pleasure crystal" can be reused more or less indefinitely ( or at least until someone breaks it or rolls a 1 or whatnot ). Downside? A given crystal can be used indefinitely, so there's technically nothing keeping a given lashunta or whatnot from just tuning in and dropping out until they die of overdose or neglect.
Thus, all but the most benign of pleasure crystals ( ie, ones which only use an extremely truncated and benign form of the addiction track, or don't use it at all )? Are highly restricted, to say the least. Even something only as addictive as alcohol is considerably more dangerous when a single "can" can literally be drunk continuously and indefinitely.
The real issue with drugs in Starfinder is how brutal the addiction/disease rules are. Any attempt to play a Hunter S. Thompson would quickly turn into a William S Burroughs. I'm trying to play a character who has a professional interest in the analysis, creation, and sales of black magic thaumaseuticals and we're coming up with fun homebrew drugs. Which I am terrified to actually take in game. I guess it's not so much an issue just an attitude.
Plus my GM LOVES the disease rules. Nothing inspires hatred for every new planet and space creature knowing you're just one fortitude save away from having to stop everything so one party member can avoid slow death.
The real issue with drugs in Starfinder is how brutal the addiction/disease rules are. Any attempt to play a Hunter S. Thompson would quickly turn into a William S Burroughs.
This, right here. The Starfinder drug rules look like maybe whoever wrote them only knows about drugs because he watched Reefer Madness.
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I can think of a few reasons for this. Firstly the general content has to be appropriate for kids in order to still have the broad appeal that allows Starfinder to be such a success. Second the mechanic had to be balanced, and they chose to impose distinct mechanical advantages and disadvantages to the effects of individual drugs. It seems to adhere to the typical story arcs of typical drug users, in the typical ways stories are told about drug users. Does this allow you to accurately recreate the experience of several tech startups and take group bonuses to higher and higher Computer rolls towards the completion of a complex task as various physical and social side effects begin to creep up? No. Do we really need that? Not so much. Although it's fun to think about.
I would definitely read an 'adults only' Pact Worlds edition where all of the mutogenic hallucinogens of Aucturn and the Eyes Wide Shut Vampire parties on Eox are laid out in more detail. I suppose the Vestracs are already legitimately psychedelically horrifying. Like borgs that strap themselves into cenobite suits and scream in unison so they can boot up the Shadow Drive. They've got some heady gear.
But to be honest the space the setting leaves for the GM and players to co-create flavor to your groups individual taste is one thing that's so great about it. Want to make something that acts more like the drugs you know personally? Work it out.
I think the especially brutal drugs are written that because they're the especially potent drugs in the Starfinder universe. Hyperleaf is more, for lack of a better word, hyper, than your standard leafy drug, and as such has a more severe addiction. The same goes for things like transdimensional pesh, and who could forget megaopiates? The combination of magic and sci-fi tech can likely cook up some crazy drugs, and the addiction to them would probably be just as crazy. As someone mentioned earlier, alcohol has no addiction track in game, so your more standard drugs likely exist and don't have one either.
|Malach the Merciless|
As my campaign quickly got to the stage of "what does a X drink at the bar?" I'm glad to have discovered this thread. Most of my thoughts have already been covered, except for a few:
1) Since there are only two levels of addiction: super-heroin or "casual drinking until you drink so much the GM decides to treat you like an addict"... I figure that means that anything that is about as addictive as alcohol (or less) irl should be treated that way in the game. The PCs can engage in whatever weird social drugs they want at the bar, and unless their roleplaying looks a Burroughs novel, I'm not going to treat it like one.
2) Some Star Wars games had various aliens get intoxicated on particular gasses. This is entirely possible for humans and those who breathe a similar atmosphere, with something like nitrous oxide, for example. We just don't normally see nitrous dens on Earth... but who knows about twenty levels down in the spire on Absalom Station?
3) I want more options for constructs. I've been thinking about having some form of lubricant-based drug for androids that can be applied to their unique skin, but in the meantime, the webcomic Questionable Content has the option of intoxicating software:
The drunk droid can choose to turn off the program at any time, but of course, once they're drunk, they don't really want to be sober, so trying to talk them into it can look like this:
Hm would't there be spells to manage or on higher level instantly purge addictions?
For added fun you could have intoxicants who only work on specific species (or common items which act like an intoxicant for some species).
For example in an adventure for Traveller you had a human party or reception which was also attended by an alien ambassador/consultant. It was already tipsy and could be made completely drunk to steal stuff from it.
Only that it didn't got drunk from the wine it consumed in large quantities, that didn't affect it at all, but from the cheese served with it.
The 3rd level spell Remove Affliction would cancel out an addiction quite effectively, just like any other disease. It might take more than one casting depending on the strength of the caster and the potency of the addiction, but it'd do the job. Given that it is a general purpose "cancel out any disease, poison, curse, or other ailment, and also cleanse areas of said contamination, *and* neutralize attacks based on such from critters", one could easily justify an addiction-specific spell that is either lower level or more potent.
Note that most advanced medical facilities will also remove the addictive effect and the memory loss track effect as part of the care. This and Curari produce a death like state that helps surgeons remove that piece of metal lodged next to the heart.
Mythos addiction uses the mental disease track but instead of death it usually results in undeath. Also, the loss of conventional spellcasting is matched by increasing levels of mythos casting ability. I think comatose is an intermittent condition so the subject can get up and take more drugs.