Circling the Drain with Addiction

Forum wizards and scholars, I have attempted to search for any threads on this topic but did not see any - so if I missed it, forgive me.

I’m playing in the From Distant Shores campaign that appears in the actual play forum and my character was just seriously wounded. He’s an alchemist - really a chemist in my mind - and he’s really all ready all about drinking.

So I’m trying to really push the slow degradation that comes with a blossoming painkillers addiction as well as drinking. Basically, I’m looking to create a slow burn in the forum of substance abuse.

Any ideas? My first guess was to slowly turn up a Trait - start with a Character Trait like Internal Damage, and then advance it something like Exhausted and culminate wiht Frail? Seems choppy and not quite right. Then I was thinking that it looks like an Emotional Attribute that ends with an overdose at B10 or something like that.

What do you guys think?

I think that the trait vote, rather than an Emotional Attribute, is what would work best. The trait vote is a good opportunity not just to give every character awesome abilities, but also to push the addicts story forward (or, as the case may end up, backwards). The problem with an Emotional Attribute is that the story goes in just that one direction, or pauses, so there’s no chance the addict can kick the habit; they tend to give some pretty nice benefits to compensate. If that’s the story you want to tell, then use it, but if you think there’s more just a downward spiral, use traits and traits alone.

Begin with two traits: one for the wound (which gets better if you take painkillers) and one for the desire to take them.
As the Wound reduces, amp up the need to take them. Give him a +1 or +2 Ob penalty if he hasn’t had his buzz yet today. And dangle the carrot of kicking the addiction way way ahead of him. If he’s on the wagon, and doing well, take the penalties away for a little while, but bring them back when they seem appropriate- perhaps after a failed test. And make sure he knows where he hid the last of his stash, and that all he needs to do is take them to get rid of that penalty.

Maybe tie in the addiction to his failed steel tests too.
That would demonstrate how an addiction can effect the addict when the chips are down.

Or have the recovering addict make steel rolls whenever confronted with their particular addiction (booze, drugs, physical stimuli, etc.) Failure indicates a disadvantage even after the stand and drool wears off until removed from the source of their temptation.

I think what’s interesting about testing anything Steel or Will or Forte is that BW makes you tougher. So the natural inclination would be in the long term, the addiction would make them stronger not weaker. It’s an interesting situation. You almost have to use a non-numeric mechanic…which is what led me to the Trait Vote since its non-linear, non-test based.

You could make a good emotional attribute out of addiction. Where it might get odd is that addiction isn’t a one-way road with no return. And I’m not sure it’s really empowering in any meaningful way; I don’t really see addicts leveraging their need the way Dwarves can use Greed.

A reasonable hybrid system could work. You have set Obs for test equivalents to advance Addiction (for Under a Serpent Sun reasons I want to call it Need), and you also get specific traits, good and bad, at certain points of advancement. Or even choices of traits, with which one you get left to a vote. You never directly roll the stat or add it to anything, it just gives you traits. And you could also have a set of reverse tests that act as Obs to decrease your level of addiction, although that’s making things complicated. Maybe you never truly become less of a fiend except by truly quitting, and then the traits can be voted off. Use again and you’re right back where you were before.

Like it, thanks Wayfarer

Ti me it sounds more like the Nature stat from Mouse Guard/Torchbearer, where it can go up or down, then a usual Emotional Attribute.

So for example doing anything that increases the addiction like painkillers or drinking would mean and ob for advancement.

You could also have a way of taking the addiction dice down. Maybe cold turkey where obs are higher or dice are lower for a bit but after awhile it allows you to take down your attribute by 1.

Something like that would definitely I feel fit more with addiction.