Author Topic: Addiction Rules - FAQ  (Read 498 times)

Jayde Moon

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Addiction Rules - FAQ
« on: (17:00:56/03-01-17) »
Looking at the addiction rules, it's calling for a lot of rolling for 'addiction'.

Are these rolls to adjudicate whether you need to spend the money to take the drug or are they testing to see if you are moving to the next level of addiction.

It looks to me like you could be rolling up to three times in a session (once at the beginning, once during, and once at the end).  If that's to see if you need to 'feed the habit' then that makes sense...

If it's to see if you move to a new level of addiction, that makes less sense.

Thanks for clarifying.  You know, once someone gets around to clarifying.  :)
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firebug

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Re: Addiction Rules - FAQ
« Reply #1 on: (17:18:01/03-01-17) »
It's just to see if you become addicted or not; it doesn't directly control the player and force them to make purchases or anything.  If you fail the roll, you either gain Addiction (Mild) or the severity increases; if you go past Burnout, bad shit happens.

Basically, it's like this:  When you take the drug, note its Addiction Threshold and its Addiction Rating.  In this example, let's use Cram (3 & 4, respective).

After a week passes, if you haven't used the drug, its effective Threshold goes down by 1.  If you use the drug again, it resets back to the written Threshold.

If (11 - Addiction Rating) weeks go by without the Threshold hitting 0 at any point, then you have to roll an Addiction Test with a Threshold equal to whatever amount is left over (which will be at least 1).

For example; Firebug takes Cram.  The Threshold is 3, and the Rating is 4.  That means 7 weeks have to go by without her letting it hit 0 for her to risk being addicted.  One week goes by, and she doesn't use again, lowering the Threshold to 2.  Then a second week goes by, and now it's at 1.  But before a third week passes, she is on a run and uses Cram again.  It goes back up to 3 on her third week.  Her fourth week goes by, and she's ignoring the stuff, reducing it to 2 once more.  Her fifth week she uses again, resetting it again to 3.  Sixth week she ignores it, and it's 2.  Seventh week comes, and it's at a 1.  It hasn't hit 0, so the ("11-4) Week Timeline" never reset, and so she must roll against the remaining Threshold.  It's only at a 1 though, so she's probably fine.


All things considered, this means it's not very likely to get addicted unless you have low attributes or are using the drug at least once a week with no breaks.

Some drugs like Kamikaze have Addiction Rating so high that their Thresholds do not reduce fast enough to avoid having to make tests.  In the case of Kamikaze, after only 2 weeks you'll have to make a roll, even if you've only used it once in your life.  While other drugs can be used once a month with no risk of every becoming addicted.

Is it realistic?  No, but there's no good way to enforce something like addiction through pure game mechanics without taking liberties.  If your GM thinks its overly complex, they probably think you should never be able to do a drug risk-free, making them significantly more dangerous, and making any user almost guaranteed to become a total junkie.  Watch out.
« Last Edit: (17:19:47/03-01-17) by firebug »
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Kincaid

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Re: Addiction Rules - FAQ
« Reply #2 on: (19:23:00/03-01-17) »
I think there's really no good way to enforce addiction mechanics in a living campaign.  Even if you're completely honest with your rolls, it's so easy to manipulate downtime in a way that you'll never have a particularly difficult roll.
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Kiirnodel

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Re: Addiction Rules - FAQ
« Reply #3 on: (01:54:07/03-02-17) »
Firebug, you made a pretty concise and accurate explanation of how the Addiction rules work from the Core Rulebook. However, the Missions Living Campaign has a slightly different stance on the rules as explained in the FAQ, which is what Jayde Moon was asking about. Based on the wording, it appears that these rules are pretty much used in place of the normal rules for determining the frequency with which you make the tests. Here are the first two paragraphs from the Missions FAQ about the Addiction negative quality and how it is handled differently from standard game.

I have add some bold/italic/underline for emphasis. bold text indicates where the rules are potentially different than normal (i.e. you don't make certain tests). underlined text is to indicate how the rolls have been changed to something that the Missions campaign can control.

Quote
Characters with addictions should be certain to spend the money needed or mark off doses of the addicted substance as needed during any downtime. No tests are made for addiction during downtime, but at the beginning of each Mission you are required to make a single addiction test for each substance to which you are addicted. Edge may be spent on this roll, but it is considered spent and unavailable until you are able to recover Edge. The threshold for the test is based on the Addiction Threshold minus any weeks spent conducting downtime activities on the SRM Calendar. If the threshold is 0, no test is required.
If you have an existing addiction, in addition to rolling at the beginning of a Mission, you must roll anytime Edge refreshes, i.e. after a good meal and 8 hours rest. If you take any addictive substance during a Mission, you make an addiction roll at the end of the Mission. The threshold for this test is equal to the full value of the addiction rating for each addictive substance. A test is made for each type of addiction (physiological, psychological, or both) listed for the substance.

So, to answer your question, Jayde Moon, yes you might have to make a roll more than once a session. You make a roll at the following times:
  • At the start of the session if you already have the addiction negative quality.
  • And again if Edge refreshes (personally, this seems somewhat excessive, but I don't see many missions where natural Edge refresh is a common thing)
  • At the end of the mission if you used any addictive substances (to see if you get hooked or if your addiction worsens)

You are correct, that this isn't clear if it is meant to be the test for "you have the urge to use" or if it is "your addiction worsens."
l agree that at least one of those Tests should probably be for a check for Withdrawal, rather than a chance for the addiction to worsen. Otherwise (with poor luck) it could potentially be possible for a character that started out with a Mild Addiction to go straight to burnout in only one or two missions (assuming they feed the addiction at least once). And that's nearly independent of the Addiction Rating of the substance.

Personally, I just avoid drugs and addiction and all that for my Missions characters...

Jayde Moon

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Re: Addiction Rules - FAQ
« Reply #4 on: (10:32:06/03-02-17) »
Thanks, Kiirnodel, that's exactly what I'm asking.

I push the question to our Teutonic Overlord to see what the intent is.

Honestly, if it's to see if your addiction level worsens, that's excessively punishing and almost makes certain drugs that are meant to be less addictive just as addictive as Nitro or Kamikaze... effectively removing the Addiction RATING from the equation entirely and only making use of the Addiction Threshold.

If it's to see if you must feed the beast... then it's a lovely rule, imo.
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Teutonic Overlord

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Re: Addiction Rules - FAQ
« Reply #5 on: (12:32:41/03-02-17) »

Thanks for clarifying.  You know, once someone gets around to clarifying.  :)

Now that I've taken a break from putting together bowling shirt packages, convention support packages, and surprise shipments for Agents who haven't received their surprise yet, I can take a moment to clarify.

The tests are to see if you gain an addiction or if the addiction level worsens.

The SRM FAQ Committee felt that the Addiction rules as written were far too lenient, therefore we came up with the current SRM version.

It was either that, throw out the Addiction quality, or create our own Addiction ratings/thresholds, etc.

As Kincaid pointed out, enforcing addiction mechanics in a living campaign is difficult.
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Jayde Moon

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Re: Addiction Rules - FAQ
« Reply #6 on: (16:35:39/03-02-17) »
WOOF!  That's a rough life for addicts.
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Kiirnodel

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Re: Addiction Rules - FAQ
« Reply #7 on: (17:46:56/03-02-17) »
I totally understand that the addiction rules need some work/clarification and that the living campaign needs to have a strong hand when it comes to this to avoid problems like people taking advantage of a system with potential holes in it.

Let me play Devil's Advocate for a moment.

Quote
C-B, the rigger has come along on a mission where the team can't bring the vehicle. He's feeling slowed down because he can't jump in and move at Matrix Initiative speeds, so he takes a hit of Jazz off of one of the guards the rest of the team just put down. The Jazz helps him out, but because he took an addictive substance he has to roll for addiction at the end of the mission. He fails, because he was out of Edge at the end of the mission and didn't get the 3 hits required (no reduction in threshold yet), maybe even twice because Jazz is both Physically and Psychologically addictive. Now C-B has a Mild addiction to Jazz.

At the start of the next mission, C-B has to make another addiction test (hasn't taken the drug again, mind you) because he has a pre-existing negative quality. If our unfortunate Rigger is low on Nuyen, maybe he can't afford to wait a few extra weeks before the next mission. If he fails the test at the start of that next mission, now he has a Moderate Addiction to Jazz, and he's only taken it once!

Now, the rules as they stand in the FAQ don't mention Withdrawal, or making that test, but if we assume that it works like it says in the quality, a moderate addiction only causes cravings every 2 weeks, so C-B isn't even feeling a craving yet, he manages to get through the next mission without using the drug. He goes on to his next mission, maybe he has some spare time between missions (but Devil's Advocate) he rolls badly and still fails to make the Addiction Test at the start of the next mission. Now he has a Severe Addiction to Jazz, and only ever took the drug once.


Now, this is admittedly an extreme, but completely plausible situation. The major problems I'm seeing with the rules as they are now in the Missions FAQ is that Characters have to make multiple Addiction Tests for a single occurrence of taking a drug (Once immediately after taking, and again at the start of each mission, and possibly even more if there are times for rest during a mission).


I see several ways for the rules as they currently stand to be more "playable"
  • A) If the test at the start of the mission didn't worsen the addiction, but was for Withdrawal, with failure meaning that they must take the drug or suffer the Withdrawal symptoms for the duration of the mission. In this case, the same would probably go for the test after resting.
  • B) If the test at the end of the mission didn't worsen the addiction, but was instead a test to see if they simply shrugged off the effect for that mission. Failure would mean that they have to make the test at the start of the next mission, Success would mean that they're free (for now).
  • C) If there was an option to "go into rehab" at the end of a mission to lower the threshold for the end of mission test.
  • D) If there was some sort of limit to the frequency you have to make tests based on the Addiction Rating.
  • E) If there was some sort of limit to the severity of the addiction based on how many times (or frequency) that you have taken the drug.
My vote would be for A, and potentially C, and probably adding in that extra weeks of downtime spent before the next mission would not reduce the threshold for the Withdrawal test. You could also use the severity of the addiction to determine when to make the Withdrawal tests; Mild: once a mission (max 1 per month), Moderate: once a mission (max 2 per month), Severe: once a mission, Burnout: Start of mission and every time you rest.


With the rules as they stand now, a character with an addiction that starts a Mission that spans several days could suffer sever attribute reductions or even die from Burnout without ever taking the drug during that mission.

Teutonic Overlord

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Re: Addiction Rules - FAQ
« Reply #8 on: (20:31:19/03-02-17) »
I totally understand that the addiction rules need some work/clarification and that the living campaign needs to have a strong hand when it comes to this to avoid problems like people taking advantage of a system with potential holes in it.

Alas, you have something right here...I have seen many players with the Addiction quality role-play their struggle with addiction each and every Mission and embrace this part of their character.

Unfortunately, I have seen more players with the Addiction quality on their sheet who haven't bothered bringing it up during a single Mission...unless forced upon them with GM intercession.  IMO, it was just a way to gain Karma at chargen instead of a role-play tool.  Not saying that is always the case, but it does leave me with that impression more often than not.

With that said, as always, I'm happy to bring this topic up with the SRM FAQ Committee for further discussion during our next call.
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Jayde Moon

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Re: Addiction Rules - FAQ
« Reply #9 on: (23:08:05/03-02-17) »
I think better bookkeeping with drug use is part of the fix.

I know that I have forgotten to make rolls for drug addiction and when I realized it made multiple rolls to 'catch up'.

I am alright with making this many rolls (up to three a session, and at least once every downtime week) but really feel like there needs to be something that delineates the addictiveness of, say, Nitro (addiction rating 9) vs the addictiveness of Cram (addiction rating 4) when the thresholds are the same.

Both the intent AND rules as written are that it's (far) easier to get addicted to Nitro than it is Cram, but these FAQ rules make them exactly the same.
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KarmaInferno

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Re: Addiction Rules - FAQ
« Reply #10 on: (11:48:59/03-04-17) »
The rules make slightly less sense for non-drug addictions like Gambling.



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Re: Addiction Rules - FAQ
« Reply #11 on: (16:13:28/03-06-17) »
I totally understand that the addiction rules need some work/clarification and that the living campaign needs to have a strong hand when it comes to this to avoid problems like people taking advantage of a system with potential holes in it.

Alas, you have something right here...I have seen many players with the Addiction quality role-play their struggle with addiction each and every Mission and embrace this part of their character.


Hobbes' Novacoke Addiction is more "Scarface" less "Nurse Jackie". 

Addiction is impossible to model "realistically" in a game.  The reality of addiction is extremely complex.  Trying to stuff thousands (millions) of pages of clinical studies and medical journals into a couple pages of rules is futile.  Game balance and "fun" need to win out in this case, IMO.  You kind of have to let the GMs and Players handle the Re-hab RP.

Currently the Addiction rules work.  You can absolutely build a character to optimize Drug use, but it has a cost.  The game mechanical advantage to buffing by Drug Use mainly stems from the fact that the costs are distributed and don't squeeze any of the typical character bottle necks.  Starting Nuyen?  Usually low.  Essence?  Not so much, just Narco really, maybe Nephritic screen..  Power Points?  Uh, nope.  You need a few stats at moderate values, but they were stats you typically want at moderate values anyway.  No skill points really.  Maybe some Positive Qualities. 

The ongoing costs can be high, (Designer Grade Psyche anyone?)  And the Risk is certainly a factor.  Out of Edge at the end of a run and need 2 hits on your 9 Dice?  That's a real chance for failure with non-trivial consequences.  From a game mechanic side, it's difficult to Qualitatively assign a cost to a variable risk.  It's pretty much a "Feels like..." decision to come up with the numbers to put on the paper.

I would say that there are a few drugs that can be used with almost no risk.  Really anything that is Threshold 2 that can be bought with higher grade to lower the Threshold to 1 is a small cost to be able to use safely.  However if you bump up the Thresholds, optimizing players will simply stop using buff drugs and move to different build strategies.  And you'd totally screw Technomancers, who just don't need it.

How much in game buff drug use do you see at Missions games, and how much do you want is possibly the question for the Missions team to answer first.

IME, the Technomancers are the pill poppers.  My own Samurai, Hobbes, is a total Novacoke head, but other than TMs and my own character I think I've only seen one other character really.  It's a complicated system requiring a decent level of system mastery to use optimally.  I just don't see it often at my table or at the tables I play at.  You'll see it with Technomacers because they've got nothing else, poor bastards.  YMMV of course.

Raven2049

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Re: Addiction Rules - FAQ
« Reply #12 on: (10:47:42/03-20-17) »
I currently have a technomancer that has 5 addictions from mild to severe so I know exactly what you mean about the techies being the pill poppers. My GM has been hard on the rolls following the Addiction rules strictly and I have paid the price for drug use a time or two. However I built the character specifically to rely on these drugs, and the BTL's that he is on so he could be a more interesting character. and I believe he is a better runner for it. I know I'm having a hell of a better time playing him than I would have if he was a straight up techie.