New Drugs

By Moe Lane


Tonics (Addiction cost: 3/level)

This type of drug is the latest thing to hit the streets: it's going to be a while before the corporeal authorities can properly assess that it's anything more than a particularly odd version of cocaine, though. That's not too surprising, however, as the DEA isn't exactly set up for the analysis of supernatural and alchemical substances.

OK, that last bit is a lie: the DEA has the largest proportion of outsiders aware of the War of any American government organization outside of the Secret Service and the Library of Congress. It's just that every one of those outsiders is still trying to make up their minds about whether they should wreck their careers by talking to somebody else about all the weird stuff that they're coming across. It should be amusing to see the inevitable cascade of mutual realization...

Tangents aside, not even the DEA has yet officially (or fully) recognized what precisely Tonics are: the official opinion is still that the drug is cocaine mixed with carbonated sugar water, caffeine and various compounds. Not quite as potent a kick as the snorted version, but addictive in it's own right and worth keeping down, especially since it's getting a reputation among the under-25 crowd as being both Cool and less destructive than regular cocaine. All of that is true (except for the less destructive kick), but there's more to the story than that, and mostly involves the "various compounds". The marketers have a secret ingredient, you understand, which can only be acquired from one place.

Celestial vessels.

Tonics are an alchemical product that uses special s u bstances only found in angelic or demonic vessels. The harvesting process inevitably vessel-kills the celestial; however, as a general rule the people working in the Tonic trade try to only use already-dead vessels (not through any sort of decency; they're trying to keep a low profile, which has special complications in a universe where victims can come back from the dead). The harvesting/refinement process is a fairly straightforward alchemical process that takes one day to perform: each level of the vessel processed will result in 20 doses for the final mixture. As per the regular Alchemy rules, Tonics retain their special potency for (Alchemy CD roll) weeks. The final results are bottled in standard 20 ounce plastic bottles: depending on the venue, they may be disguised as regular brands of soda.

Tonics are generally considered to be a Very Difficult, Easy Withdrawal (5 days) drug. The cocaine present is sufficiently attenuated to both not affect Characteristic rolls (except for a base +2 to Will rolls to avoid falling asleep) and to not act as a poison: however, taking three Tonics in less than an hour will have the same game effect as a dose of cocaine. What makes this drug so interesting (and dangerous) is that the supernatural ingredients give their own 'kick'. All types of Tonics give a +1 to Will rolls to avoid feeling the effects of pain and discomfort for the next hour: this includes all uses of Songs, Attunements and/or a demonic resonance designed to elicit such an effect. 'Stacking' the doses has no cumulative effect. Also, someone under the influence of a Tonic will not need to eat, urinate or defecate. Finally, Tonics come in specific 'flavors', based on the vessel's original owner. Below is a list of the possible variations.

Beefcake (Stone): Consuming this Tonic gives the user a +3 (instead of the regular +1) to Will rolls to avoid feeling pain/discomfort; also, any Fighting rolls are at +1 to Power. Unfortunately, the strain on the system is usually sufficient to cause 1 Body Hit per use.

Belch (Gluttony): This Tonic makes anything eaten while under its influence taste good (it also gives a +2 to the target number and CD of a successful Strength check to avoid the effects of Poison). The user will also suffer from Gluttonous/3 for the next day. Incidentally, the street name comes from the fact that the Tonic is extra carbonated, not from any supernatural additions.

Double Take Tea (The Wind/Theft): This Tonic causes a general personality reversal. Inhibited people will become exhibitionists, lives of the party will go off and sit by themselves for a while and so forth. The DEA really wants to stop production of this particular Tonic: aside from other things, on the right subject Double Take Tea makes a horribly effective date rape drug.

Double Take Tea requires both angelic and demonic ingredients to make.

Edge (War/The War): This Tonic was what got the attention of the DEA in the first place, thanks to the fact that it was the first one of its kind available on the street. Edge has a trace of PCP in it (as well as cocaine): not enough to make an actual difference, but quite enough to confuse the analyzers. Users of Edge will have a very casual attitude towards violence, plus a +1 to the target number of combat rolls, plus a temporary Toughness of 2. Unfortunately, they also get the Murderous/3 Disadvantage for the duration, which can complicate matters.

Edge requires both angelic and demonic ingredients to make.

Fireball (Infernal Fire): This Tonic is sold in shot form: the cocaine is replaced with crank and the sugar water with grain alcohol. It's also traditionally drunk right after being set aflame. While under its influence, the user becomes immune to feeling pain from fire (and gets a Toughness of 1 towards fire-based attacks): he or she also becomes Angry/3. Combining Fireball and Muse (see below) is contraindicated.

Free Ride (Drugs): The Tonic is sold almost openly, as it in itself does not have any conventional controlled substances in it. What it does do is temporarily mask the presence of any drugs in a person's system: aside from the uses for evading drug tests (the drugs actually disappear from the person's system, which means that a test will continue to show negative even after the Tonic's end of duration), Free Ride is useful as a temporary "sober pill".

Godshouter (Faith): Users of Godshouter prize it for its ability to give a visceral sense that their God (or favorite god) is present, watching over them and pleased with their actions dedicated to the service of their deity. Any action that is so dedicated (no matter how normally heinous) will be engaged in without later regrets and/or guilt. Interestingly, a user of Godshouter also gets a base +2 to resist any demonic resonance.

Guard Dog (Protection): This Tonic is usually purchased to give to other people. While under its effects, the substance in this one is THC, not cocaine (it's also decaffeinated and sugar free, although it tastes sweet). Drinking it causes the user to fall asleep after a half-hour of incredibly pleasant languor: once asleep, the user cannot be woken by anything less than direct infliction of pain on his or her body. It also has the effect of curing 2 Body Hits per use. Of all Tonics, this one is probably the most accepted, as it has the street reputation of being an incomparable palliative for terminal cancer and AIDS patients (a very well-deserved reputation, in fact).

Heterodyne (Technology): Use of this Tonic unlocks the user's creativity (+4 to all design rolls); however, it also suppresses any ethical and moral qualms about using questionable materials and/or s u bstances in said design. There is also a broad tendency to cackle madly at appropriate moments. Elements of the DEA are very interested in keeping this particular subject duty for a period no less than six months.

Illumination (Destiny/Fate): Someone who drinks this Tonic will find that everything for the next hour suddenly makes sense. It all fits together, the Big Picture can be suddenly seen and there are no more mysteries. As one could imagine, it is fiercely addictive, although it has almost no supernatural powers at all... except for one. Someone under the influence of Illumination has a chance to recognize that someone is a celestial, ethereal, Saint, Soldier or Undead: the user gets to roll against a target number of 5. Under no circumstances will the user be told just what the unusual person is. Illumination can be made with either angelic or demonic ingredients, or a blend of both.

Ineffability (Revelations/Secrets): A user of Ineffability will get a sense of what can only be described as pleasant paranoia. Every event will seem to be the result of unfathomable, indescribable and u n seen forces - but said forces will seem to be well disposed towards the user. The frightening thing is that this sensation may be correct; unfavorable Interventions do not seem to plague the user quite as often. If an unfavorable Intervention is rolled on a user of Ineffability, reroll the CD: if the new CD is the same as the original CD, no Intervention has occurred. Otherwise, the Intervention takes place as normal.

Jade (Dark Humor): Everything becomes funny to the user of Jade, no matter how depressing or sorrowful he or she might usually find something. Indeed, the worse the tragedy, the funnier it will become. Habitual users develop a facial expression somewhere between a smirk and a sneer.

Kaos Kola (Creation): This Tonic acts as a mild hallucinogenic; it heightens senses and makes everything seem more dramatic. This is good for a general +1 to Perception rolls, but it also gives a -2 to Will rolls to avoid doing something entertaining yet dangerous.

Mosh (Hardcore): This is a sensory stimulant. Sounds and lights become more pronounced and the user's adrenal system goes into overdrive, delaying his or her need to sleep for six hours after a dose of Mosh. Contrary to popular belief, this Tonic does not directly impose violent behavior patterns: it is merely a side effect of over-stimulation of the adrenal glands. The distinction is admittedly minor.

Muse (Divine Fire): Most of this Tonic's users are artists, who swear by its inspirational qualities (+2 to any Artistry, Dancing, Emote, Musical Instrument and/or Singing roll). The -2 to reactions towards anyone demonstrating Cruelty in the user's presence has not yet been widely noted.

Combining Muse and Fireball (see above) is contraindicated.

Poker Face (Judgement/The Game): This Tonic gives a +2 to Detect Lies (including default use). However, the user also gains an intense dislike (-3 to reaction rolls) to cheaters.

Poker Face can be made with either angelic or demonic ingredients, or a blend of both.

Sleepytime (Dreams/Nightmares): If taken by someone about to fall asleep (this flavor of Tonic is decaffeinated, which eliminates the +2 to Will rolls to fall asleep), the dreamer will have an increased control over his or her dreams, for that night only (Dreaming skill equal to the user's Ethereal Forces). Depending on the original 'donor', the user will find themselves on the appropriate side of the Vale: however, even Beleth's side of the Marches will not seem truly frightening.

Sleepytime can be made with either angelic or demonic ingredients, but not a blend of both: attempting to do so gives the user screamingly bad dreams/nightmares for the night. Few repeat the experience.

Smooth Move (Lust): Often mischaracterized as a date rape drug, Smooth Move is better described as a date rapist drug. The user gains a +1 to Seduction rolls, a +2 to reaction rolls from those that would be normally sexually interested in the user's particular gender identity - and a complete refusal to refrain from engaging in any activity that would minimize or hinder the user's eventual sexual pleasure.

Smurf Juice (Children): This Tonic regresses the user to an emotional state similar to that of an eight-year-old child. It is mostly popular as a prank drug, although certain users like to consume it just before watching Saturday cartoon shows. Smurf Juice is usually available in a form lacking cocaine, although stronger versions are certainly available.

Spark (Lightning): The user becomes fascinated with electrical and electronic equipment. This does not give a bonus to Computer Operation and Electronics rolls, per se, but does make it very easy for the user to, say, keep working on a project or play on a video game (+4 to Will rolls). Spark is practically street-legal: it contains only a trace of cocaine and enough caffeine to raise the dead. It is also the only Tonic usually sold in six-packs.

Splinter Soda (Factions): This particular Tonic is often found among the role-playing and wargaming crowd. It comes in both cocaine and cocaine-free forms; either way, use of it gives the user a +2 to any Emote roll to disguise his or her true feelings. It also instills Paranoia/1, although this is only likely to turn violent in extreme cases (usually fueled by the cocaine version).

Superman (Free Lilim): This Tonic is the most rare of all, and commands the highest price. Users of it are made... free. It completely breaks down all imposed restrictions and hindrances on a user's Will, to the point where it is effectively doubled for all rolls. The user also gains a +3 to all reaction rolls; the supreme self-confidence and unstoppable force of personality tends to overawe people. Of course, the lack of a governor mechanism means that anyone who thwarts the user is in deadly danger: a user of Superman will not hesitate to act ruthlessly and even murderously (although he or she will not lash out blindly) in response. Someone with a steady supply of Superman could take over entire countries...

Swap (Trade) and Swap Gold (Greed): These two Tonics are considered related, even though strictly speaking they are not. A user of Regular Swap can pass a drug test without any problems, as it does not actually contain any conventionally controlled substances. The user gets a +2 to Knowledge: Finances rolls, can add up numbers quickly and accurately and generally shows a deep and abiding interest in money. Users of Swap Gold share the deep and abiding interest in money, but not much else. Swap Gold is heavily laced with cocaine (the equivalent of two regular doses); furthermore, any investment/financial decision made while under its influence will trigger the user to unconsciously spend whatever Essence he or she might have to boost the appropriate roll.

Tarzan (Animals): A popular Tonic for those looking for new experiences. The user tends to lose general societal inhibitions and will tend to engage in whatever activities seem most pleasurable without regard for consequences. Users will derive great and visible pleasure from being stroked, petted, fondled and more carnal activities... but will think nothing of performing any and all bodily functions in public, or of attacking those that stand between them and their pleasures.

Vitae (Death): This Tonic interferes with the user's s u bconscious perception of his or her heartbeat, breathing and pain sensors: furthermore, it also gives the user a slight feeling of detachment towards the universe in general. In other words, it makes a certain class of user feel 'just like a vampire', which explains why Vitae is found in Goth clubs across the nation. Needless to say, Vitae has a distinctive color, taste and smell that is reminiscent of blood - which is, indeed, because it does have blood (preserved by the alchemical process) as an ingredient.

Zone (The Media): Any form of passive entertainment - television, radio, cinema, screen savers, flies crawling on a window - will be completely engrossing to a user of Zone. The sensation will be one of total and utter fascination: every word or sound will seem to be of deep and vital relevance. Interestingly, although the sensation will fade, the user will retain total recall of the experience for the next day. This is sometimes useful.


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