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Chemical Gland

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Jayde Moon

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« on: <08-22-18/1823:48> »
Alright.  So, someone asked about Chemical Glands, seeking clarification on what is or isn't a legitimate Chemical.  So we cracked open the book and agreed that it was not entirely clear and went ahead and just said, "All of them, pending errata."

There is some legitimate concern that this may be exploitable.  So... I'm opening the floor to you to bicker and rage about it and see if we can't come up with a list of what should be allowed and what should not.

Before you do, take a look at the thought process by which the SRM FAQ team made their decision:

As written:

The Chemical Gland was originally intended to deliver insulin.  It can be used to deliver toxins.  The compounds must be 'naturally occuring' and not 'synthetic'.  It can be delivered internally through gradual release or internal release (a full dose at once).  It can be delivered through exhalation, spit, or injection.

Got it.  So what can we put in there?  For missions, we start with 'only things listed in the allowable sourcebooks.'

So we have a finite list.  Of those we determine which ones are 'naturally occuring' and not 'synthesized'.

Well, honestly, NONE of them are naturally occuring.  All of them require SOME sort of processing.  The committee determined that it can NOT be the intent that NOTHING is allowable.  So, we take that and turn it into 'organic', which there seems to be a community consensus on.

Synthesized LITERALLY means you put two things together to make another thing.  WATER is synthesized by combining hydrogen and oxygen.  By  RAW it is not allowed in a chemical gland.

However, synthesized usually connotes that it's made with more extreme chemical processes... absolutely man-made.  In the real world, cocaine does not need to be 'synthesized', methamphetamine does.

So, we went to the sourcebook to find which drugs were made through more extreme chemical processes.  We did not find any specifications.  For all we know, Kamikaze is a simple formula made by shaking two naturally occuring compounds together (unikely, but it certainly doesn't say it is or it isn't).

OK, fine, none of the drugs specify.

So now we don't want to remove anything 'arbitrarily'.  We now look at balance and exploitation issues.

Is there a way to use the chemical gland to get a result that you cannot get a different way or in a way that is game breaking?

We did not see it.  A chemical gland amounts to an internal auto-injector.  The costs are exhorbitant, relative to the cost to a runner just buying doses of the substance to use as necessary.  You'd have to buy 150 doses of deepweed to make up for the cost of the gland.  With 14 modules for 4 years, that's 2.7 doses of deepweed per mission.  It costs enough to purchase 2,100 individual doses of novacoke.  You'd have to use 37.5 doses per mission to make up for that cost.

What you get for that cost is an uninteruptable, unremovable, unhackable auto-injector.  We did not deem that to be game breaking.

Using a gradual release system means you would always be on the substance.  We looked at that and found it did not break addiction rules.  You would likely become a burnout within a few sessions OR have invested heavily in mitigating qualities and cyber-/bio-ware.  Again, the cost is steep, your addiction costs are just paid up-front rather than gradually.

Finally, many of the drugs in question would not allow you to rest.  A gradual release of Novacoke, and you would never be able to heal naturally.

Given that there are cheaper means of delivering the substance, that there are serious ramifications for attempting to cheese a gradual release for combat stime, and that your addiction would likely hit burn-out rates pretty quickly, we did not feel that there were balance issues that required removal of a specific substance.

SO, all that was left is arbitrarily deciding which ones to can and which to leave.  We decided against it, and, pending errata, decided to allow all drugs, allowing for a sort of handwavey notion that it is possible to naturally create any of the listed drugs and toxins.

So, with all of that... what are your thoughts, what drugs do you think are OBVIOUSLY unnatural.  What do you think about awakened substances (maybe only awakened people can create those, if they chose to take the essence hit, or nobody can).

Keep it civil, while we may relook the FAQ ruling based on what's here, it's a friendly discussion.
That's just like... your opinion, man.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #1 on: <08-22-18/1931:35> »
Hooray for Officially Sanctioned Nerdrage!


Sounds like we're gonna have a paradigm of "everything's in, except what's explicitly out".  So here's my initial take on what should be "Out":

Laes: That stuff is supposed to be hard to get.  Shouldn't be allowed to just cough some up.

DMSO: *insert techno-gook babble about how the chemical would just seep into the body through any conceivable storage sac/delivery system here*  Plus, like Laes, it's supposed to be something hard to get.

NeuroStun and Seven-7: Fluff makes it sound way too engineered to sound in any way plausibly "growable in someone's duct".

OTOH, in my completely arbitrary "suspension of disbelief" setting, I'd find CS/Tear Gas and Pepper Punch being perhaps not technically "growable in your glad" but could very well be game-mechanics identical to "naturally occurring" toxins.

Anything classified as a Drug instead of Toxin: Right out.  Partly for the same reasons as NeuroStun and Seven-7, partly because the game system doesn't really permit you to cook up your own drugs as opposed to buying them as gear.  Literally coughing up your drugs shouldn't be legal unless/until you can make them via the Chemistry skill (which, if it is already covered somewhere, I suppose I'd have to revisit my opinion on Drugs in Chemical Glands)
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Hobbes

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« Reply #2 on: <08-22-18/2127:30> »
What you get for that cost is an uninteruptable, unremovable, unhackable auto-injector.  We did not deem that to be game breaking.

Yay!!!! for letting inefficient but flavorful options.  Thank you!

Smuggling a chemical into someplace has cheaper options, the chemical gland is just the sneakiest and most expensive.  And 24/7 drug use is easy even without sci-fi magic-tech.  I live in Denver, I know.... 

Iron Serpent Prince

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« Reply #3 on: <08-23-18/1632:25> »
I can only easily find the Mission FAQ 1.1 on the internet.  I have the 1.2 version that I downloaded from I don't know where.  So my information may be outdated.

I don't see any ruling in the Missions FAQ about an auto injector permitting the injection of Inhalation vector drugs (namely Jazz and Kamikaze).
If the Missions team isn't getting all bunged up over that, why would they get all bunged up over the distinction over 'naturally occurring' and 'synthesized?'
After all, Missions play has a history of promoting 'ease of play' over 'sensible' rulings.


With that said, I think the Chemical Gland is poorly named.

I think it is pretty clear it was intended to be a Toxin Gland, or Venom Gland.  With it being Bioware (no technological parts what-so-ever) that would tell me that it can only create substances that are biologically generated.  Such as Venoms and some Toxins.

Even allowing it to create Ginsing (for G3) is a far cry from what it appears it is intended to do.  But hey, let it create Magical Compounds too!  Why not?  :P

Jayde Moon

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« Reply #4 on: <08-23-18/2000:56> »
Given that the fluff states it was developed to deliver insulin and there are two options in which the chemical gland administers it's contents internally (either by dose, or gradually and constantly), I am inclined to disagree with you (that it's meant to be a toxin or venom gland).
That's just like... your opinion, man.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #5 on: <08-23-18/2222:08> »
Given that the fluff states it was developed to deliver insulin and there are two options in which the chemical gland administers it's contents internally (either by dose, or gradually and constantly), I am inclined to disagree with you (that it's meant to be a toxin or venom gland).

That's what I get for voicing an uninformed opinion, I suppose. 

Still, I suppose it's not THAT big a deal being able to grow your own drugs rather than having to go through the gear procurement process.  Yeah I still don't like the principle of being allowed to use a loophole to get around the general 'no crafting' stance for SRM.. but it's not like you're "crafting" stuff that'd have been particularly expensive or hard to find anyway.

All that said, I still don't think the gland should be producing Laes.  Or any other drug that involves magic.  My reasons:

a) I'm stubborn
b) I don't think magical goods should be manufacturable by any artificial process, be it mechanical OR organic.
c) many (if not most) magical drugs specify what magical substance is required to synthesize the drug.  Laes requires awakened fruit.  Hecate's Blessing requires awakened tree sap.  I don't think it passes the sniff test to say that an artificially engineered lump of metahuman DNA can do what magic plants are doing.
« Last Edit: <08-23-18/2232:43> by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Iron Serpent Prince

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« Reply #6 on: <08-24-18/0003:27> »
Given that the fluff states it was developed to deliver insulin and there are two options in which the chemical gland administers it's contents internally (either by dose, or gradually and constantly), I am inclined to disagree with you (that it's meant to be a toxin or venom gland).

Insulin is a hormone.  And is therefor created biologically.  Unlike all the stuff on the drug list.

Kiirnodel

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« Reply #7 on: <08-24-18/0050:59> »
I whole-heartedly agree that magical compounds or magic-related drugs should not be allowed on the chemical gland. Those are explicitly things that require complex (magical) procedures to create, or synthesize, them.

Hobbes

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« Reply #8 on: <08-24-18/0808:07> »
I whole-heartedly agree that magical compounds or magic-related drugs should not be allowed on the chemical gland. Those are explicitly things that require complex (magical) procedures to create, or synthesize, them.

What Magic compound are you buying 100 does of at chargen?  And what campaign are you playing where 100 does isn't enough for the life of the character?  If someone wants to pay 190,000 to have Rock Lizard Blood on tap...IMO, let 'em.  There are far cheaper ways of achieving the same effect.

Jayde Moon

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« Reply #9 on: <08-24-18/1030:00> »
ISP:  Hormone or not, it indicates that it's not meant to be ONLY for toxins or venom.

I agree that Magic substances would be a hard sell, and at my personal table, I'd not allow it.  But the rules don't state that the naturally occurring compound can't be awakened.

As Hobbes states, there aren't any overbearing balance issues... only ones that deal with personal levels of suspension of disbelief.  Some people think it's silly that it can make anything other than insulin, others think it's silly to believe that in the techno-magic future with dragons and cyberzombies it's impossible to have found a means to internally manufacture meth in small doses.

But, anyway, the point of this thread isn't to broadly discuss the item and the SRM FAQ ruling, but to specifically make cases for individual drugs, toxins, etc. that you feel in no way can be considered 'organic'.

Even if you think all drugs should not be allowed, act like you're on a debate team and got teamed up with the side you disagree with... you now argue FOR that side.
« Last Edit: <08-24-18/1032:11> by Jayde Moon »
That's just like... your opinion, man.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #10 on: <08-24-18/1043:32> »
...
But, anyway, the point of this thread isn't to broadly discuss the item and the SRM FAQ ruling, but to specifically make cases for individual drugs, toxins, etc. that you feel in no way can be considered 'organic'.
...

It's your discussion to set, but I don't feel that's a fair way to debate what should be allowable in a chemical gland.

The reason being: we're not talking about an augmentation being put in a tangerine or maple tree, we're (for a SRM context presumably) talking about an augmentation in a metahuman.  So it shouldn't be a question of what's organic, but what's feasibly producible inside a metahuman body.  I'd say that if you want an artificial chemical gland to produce a magical drug, that gland would have to be implanted/grafted in the appropriate plant for the magical drug.  And that's not even going into the troubling implications of letting magic gear be manufactured rather than crafted by looney alchemists in a lonely lab.  If a purely chemical process can produce magical results, you'll eventually have to answer why one can't stamp out weapon foci on a press as fast as you could AK-97s.

I would like to reiterate something I said earlier about toxins:  I feel some (but absolutely not all) shouldn't be biologically producible but I'd have no trouble with there existing a biological toxin analogue that has the same game mechanics. CS gas, for example.

EDIT:
...

As Hobbes states, there aren't any overbearing balance issues... only ones that deal with personal levels of suspension of disbelief...

... you now argue FOR that side...

Given that the gland not only serves as a toxin producer but can instead serve as an alternative autoinjector, I have to agree I see the wisdom in deciding everything's "in" except what gets deemed "out".  As far as drugs go: other than magic drugs, I don't see anything objectionable enough to "override the ruling on the field" that everything is in by default.

Toxins, otoh, I have some negative gut reactions to a handful of specimens: Seven-7 and Neuro-Stun.  I don't like that the former should be on-tap, but the Chemical Gland rules (now that I've bothered to read them, like I should have before opening my trap in the first place) do state that the 20F availability code won't be bypassed/ignored.  In looking at Neuro-Stun, otoh, I think I can eludicate an objection that covers both it and Seven-7:

Being gasses that are both inhalation AND contact, I don't see how the gland will protect you from the effects of the gas when deploying them.  In fact, the fluff makes explicit mention that you get no immunity from your toxin.  So while I can turn a blind eye to CS gas not burning your throat/mouth as you cough it up, I'm not inclined to give the toxins with more potent game mechanics the same pass.  I'd say that contact/inhalation vector gasses shouldn't be allowed in SRM so as to avoid letting players unwittingly fall into a 'trap' by picking them, I'd also support granting an exception to that rule for CS/Tear gas and Pepper Punch. If it needs an explanation for why them and not the other more game-effective contact gasses: I could support some trashy interpretation/clarification that the mucus in your throat and mouth are sufficient for the brief exposure whereas the nerve agents aren't affected by such protections.
« Last Edit: <08-24-18/1116:40> by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Iron Serpent Prince

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« Reply #11 on: <08-24-18/1053:17> »
I never said that it was ONLY for toxins or venoms.

What I DID say was that it would be better named Toxin Gland, or Venom Gland.
Correction.  I just reread what I wrote, and that isn't what I said.  It is what I meant to say though.

Why?

Because when people read Chemical, the automatically go to "Drugs!" and that isn't what this is for.  That would be an Auto Injector.

The Chemical Gland is a biological sack that produces a biological agent.

Insulin?  Absolutely.
Scorpion Venom?  Sure.
Adrenaline?  Cool.
Black Widow Venom?  No problem.
<insert Critter Venom here>?  Go for it.

If there is a body out there that produces it, the Chemical Gland can too.

Once we get into botanical agents, it gets a lot less clear.
Can a Chemical Gland produce THC?  I doubt it.

Manufactured items are clear off the list though.  Even Oxygenated Flourocarbons should be off the list. If it has to be processed in any way, it is a no go.
« Last Edit: <08-24-18/1110:41> by Iron Serpent Prince »

adzling

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« Reply #12 on: <08-24-18/1321:39> »
that's how i've always interpreted it Iron Serpent.

Hobbes

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« Reply #13 on: <08-24-18/1353:18> »
Manufactured items are clear off the list though.  Even Oxygenated Flourocarbons should be off the list. If it has to be processed in any way, it is a no go.

Oxygenated Flourocarbons are a treatment that takes several hours.  Or at least there were in previous editions  :  )  I would presume something that isn't, Injectable, Digestible, or otherwise absorbable through the skin would be out.

The Chemical Gland is the Technomancer of Augmentations.  It's a mechanically weak option with a lot of flavor.  Quit picking on the poor thing, let it have its fun. 

kyoto kid

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« Reply #14 on: <08-26-18/2147:03> »
...hmm hydrochloric, acid is produced naturally in the body. 
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