RECON: Drugs

Drugs and their use play a large part in the conflict in Nam, especially among the young draftee Stateside soldiers. As “drug culture” became more prevalent back home, so too some of the troops brought their vices to Nam, either as addictions, a way to relax between missions, or as the only way they could cope with war.

Warning: MDs should treat drugs in RECON with the seriousness they deserve, and only include them in the game if they feel their players can handle them maturely.

Also, remember that whatever one’s personal beliefs about drugs, a soldier under the influence is risking both their own life and that of their buddies as well. Many other soldiers and certainly most officers will take a dim view of troops who are getting high or drunk, and doing so while on active duty can be grounds for a court marshal.

 

Drug Effects

Drugs and alcohol have the following general effect on a character:

Psychoactive Drugs (e.g. Cannabis, LSD, Psilocybin):

AL -15      MO +20

Opiate Drugs (e.g. Heroin, Morphine, Opium):

AL -20      PT +10      MO +30

Stimulant Drugs (e.g. Cocaine, Amphetamine, Methamphetamine):

AL +10      PT +5      MO +15

Alcohol (e.g. Whiskey, Beer, Rice Wine):

AL -10      AG -10      PT +5       MO +10

Note that the above bonuses and penalties only last while the character is “under the influence”. Unless more is taken, the effects of most drugs will wear off (on average) between 30 minutes and 2 hours.

MDs should roll percentile dice whenever a character takes drugs to determine if the experience is “positive” or “negative” for them.

ROLL EFFECT
01-50 Buzzed. MO bonus as normal.
51-75 Far Out! MO +10 as well as listed bonus.
76-00 Bad Trip! MO -20 instead of any listed bonuses.

 

Addiction

Any time a character takes drugs, they must check to see if they become addicted. This is done by rolling against a character’s Shock Resistance, using the following modifiers:

Addiction Resistance Modifiers

Alcohol +30 to roll
Cannabis +20 to roll
Psychoactive (not Cannabis) No modifier
Opiate -20 to roll
Stimulant -10 to roll
Experience was “Bad Trip” +10 to roll
Experience was “Far Out” -10 to roll
Current MO is less than 25 -10 to roll
Subsequent doses of the same drug -5 to roll (cumulative)
Former/recovered addict -20 to roll

If a character’s modified roll is equal or under their Shock Resistance, they become addicted to that specific drug. It should be clear that the more times a drug is taken, the more chance there is of becoming addicted.

Addicts will suffer -20 to ALL Major Attributes (AL, AG, ST, MO) when NOT under the influence of their addiction.

After any mission where an addicted character totally abstains from all drug use (thus suffering the penalties above for the mission’s entire duration), a player may roll percentile dice against their Shock Resistance; if this roll is lower than their Shock Resistance, they are no longer addicted.

Former addicts suffer a permanent -20 modifier to any future Addiction Rolls they make, regardless of the drug taken.

 

Specific Drugs

The previous rules provide a basic framework for handling drugs in RECON. For those who want more detail and realism, you can use the following list of real-world drugs to determine more specific effects, penalties, “trip” roll modifiers and addiction roll modifiers. The Effect Duration listed is an average at best, and can differ depending on the individual user and strength/quantity of the substance taken.

Alcohol, Beer
Type: Alcohol
Intake: imbibe
Bonuses: MO +5
Penalties: AL -10, AG -10
Effect Duration: 2 hrs
Trip Roll Modifier: -10
Addiction Roll Modifier: +40

Alcohol, Spirits
Type: Alcohol
Intake: imbibe
Bonuses: PT +5, MO +10
Penalties: AL -10, AG -10
Effect Duration: 2 hrs
Trip Roll Modifier: -10
Addiction Roll Modifier: +30

Cannabis (“Weed”, “Pot”, etc.)
Type: Psychoactive
Intake: smoke
Bonuses: MO +10
Penalties: AL -15
Effect Duration: 2 hrs
Trip Roll Modifier: none
Addiction Roll Modifier: +20

Psilocybin (“Magic Mushrooms”)
Type: Psychoactive
Intake: ingest
Bonuses: MO +15
Penalties: AL -15
Effect Duration: 3 hrs
Trip Roll Modifier: +10
Addiction Roll Modifier: none

LSD (“Acid”)
Type: Psychoactive
Intake: ingest
Bonuses: MO +15
Penalties: AL -15
Effect Duration: 3 hrs
Trip Roll Modifier: +20
Addiction Roll Modifier: none

Opium
Type: Opiate
Intake: inject
Bonuses: PT +10, MO +20
Penalties: AL -20
Effect Duration: 4 hrs
Trip Roll Modifier: +20
Addiction Roll Modifier: -10

Morphine
Type: Opiate
Intake: inject
Bonuses: PT +15, MO +30
Penalties: AL -30
Effect Duration: 4 hrs
Trip Roll Modifier: +20
Addiction Roll Modifier: -20

Heroin
Type: Opiate
Intake: inject
Bonuses: PT +10, MO +40
Penalties: AL -30
Effect Duration: 3 hrs
Trip Roll Modifier: +30
Addiction Roll Modifier: -20

Cocaine
Type: Stimulant
Intake: snort
Bonuses: AL +10, PT +5, MO +15
Penalties: none
Effect Duration: 2 hrs
Trip Roll Modifier: +10
Addiction Roll Modifier: -5

Crack Cocaine
Type: Stimulant
Intake: smoke
Bonuses: AL +10, PT +5, MO +20
Penalties: none
Effect Duration: 1 hr
Trip Roll Modifier: +15
Addiction Roll Modifier: -15

Amphetamine
Type: Stimulant
Intake: ingest
Bonuses: AL +10, PT +5, MO +10
Penalties: none
Effect Duration: 3 hrs
Trip Roll Modifier: +10
Addiction Roll Modifier: -5

Methamphetamine
Type: Stimulant
Intake: smoke
Bonuses: AL +5, PT +5, MO +20
Penalties: none
Effect Duration: 2 hrs
Trip Roll Modifier: +15
Addiction Roll Modifier: -10

MDs playing in different eras (i.e. where other drugs would be more prevalent), can create any other needed drugs using the above statistics as basic guidelines.

Note that medics often use Morphine in the field as a powerful painkiller in cases of severe injury; while this may prevent a character from going into shock (due to the PT bonus Morphine provides) they will still have the same negative penalties as well, of course.

 

What about Tobacco?

During the Nam war, tobacco was so commonly used that it was rarely even consider to be a “drug”. However, if you wish, you can use the following rules for the sake of realism:

If a player decides that their character regularly smokes tobacco, they gain a +5 MO bonus as long as they are able to smoke. When unable to smoke (no cigarettes available, no smoking allowed due to enemy presence, etc.) they are -5 MO.

Characters who regularly smoke tobacco also suffer a permanent -5 to ST (re-calculate all related Minor Attributes, such as Carry Capacity, Pain Threshold and Shock Resistance), whether they smoke or not.

 

Designer Warning

Obviously, these rules are intended to add realism and drama to your RECON games and in NO WAY should be seen as an endorsement or encouragement of real-life drug use in ANY form. Drugs WILL mess up your RECON character, possibly permanently, just as they WILL mess you up in real life. The choice, however, is always yours.

Regardless, the above rules should ONLY be used by players who can maturely handle the subject matter and are ALL comfortable in including this real-world aspect in their fictional games.

Finally, please note that the rules and stats above – particularly the “real world” drug effects and duration times – are purely fictional and are intended for gaming purposes only. They are not meant to reflect real-life effects and side-effects, nor should they be used for educational purposes. Rather, the numbers are derrived very loosely from reality and then heavily adjusted and simplified for the sake of game balance.

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