Drug and Alcohol AbuseHard Drugs: in the Marvel Super Heroes game, a hard drug is defined as any addictive drug that is hazardous to the user's mental and physical health. Such drugs often block the awareness of pain, so that they have the short-term effect of raising Endurance one rank (to a maximum of Excellent) for 2d10 rounds. After that time, Endurance is lowered one rank from the original score for 24 hours. During this period, drugs also lower Reason and Intuition by two ranks each (to a minimum of Feeble).
Regular, uncontrolled abuse of drugs can lead to addiction. The Judge may call for a Psyche FEAT roll at the end of any week in which a character has used drugs more than twice. Shift down one for every week of continued use. A successful Psyche FEAT means that the character is still in control of his drug use. Failure means the character is hooked on the drug and craves more of it.
Drug addiction can be an ugly thing. The user needs daily doses of his drug, failure resulting in a one-rank loss of Endurance and Intuition per day without the drug, to a minimum of Feeble. In NPCs, the character will become violent if denied his fix. The only way to break the habit is going cold turkey (see below).
Alcohol: Alcohol is called 'courage in a bottle', and this is the effect in the game. Raise Fighting one rank for a character who has been drinking. However, lower the Agility and Intuition of drinking characters (including super-heroes) two ranks, to a minimum of Poor.
Alcohol also has a nasty aftereffect, the hangover. Make a Yellow Endurance FEAT (or Red, at the Judge's option) or suffer from a shift down one in all actions the next morning. Another drink will allow a second FEAT roll. This opens the door to...
Alcohol abuse, which is as deadly as drug abuse. NPCs can be determined by the judge to be alcoholic or not. Player characters use a similar method to that given for drugs. If a character is drinking alcohol more than three times a week, make a Psyche FEAT. Effects of success and failure are as for drugs, with the loss of Endurance (and resulting Health) if kept from drinking. Endurance cannot drop below Feeble.
Cold Turkey: This is the popular name for deliberately going without something - in this case, drugs - in order to break a habit. The addicted character stops taking the drug to which he is addicted and 'guts it out'. He will suffer the effects of not using the drug (loss of Endurance), but at the end of each day he makes a Psyche FEAT roll. Success indicates the loss of Endurance stops there; failure indicates that the Endurance loss continues into the next day with another Psyche FEAT roll at the end, combined with an overwhelming desire for the drug. If two Psyche rolls in a row fail, the character will become violent and will continue losing Endurance ranks. Roll for each day until a full week of not using the drug or alcohol has passed. The character can be considered 'clean' at the week's end.
Going cold turkey purges the body of its poisons, as does a hit from one of Dagger's light-missiles. Being hit by one of her missiles has the same effect as going cold turkey, but involves a great risk to the person affected (see the description of Dagger given above).
A character who has kicked the habit has a good chance of backsliding even after he has stopped using drugs or alcohol. Each week the 'clean' character makes a Psyche FEAT roll. One failure indicates some backsliding, while two in a row indicates a return to the addicted stage, with all the penalties of the original state. The Judge may modify the FEAT roll according to the immediate situation (business pressure, personal loss, or seeking help). Karma may be added to any of these rolls.
Karma and Drugs: Drug use and drug abuse are illegal in most states. Heroes will lose 40 Karma for dealing in hard drugs, 40 for using hard drugs themselves, and all Karma if someone's death results from these actions. Alcohol is slightly more acceptable; heroes lose 5 Karma points for every alcoholic drink taken or 30 for each night of drunkenness. Friends of an alcoholic or drug abuser lose 5-20 Karma points for not helping a friend in need. Villains suffer a similar loss as heroes, but receive a 10 Karma bonus for selling drugs, only if they follow up with another sale within a week. The super-criminal Kingpin (TM) will not traffic in drugs, because they are a deadly habit for villains as well as heroes.
A final note: The above rules are simplified for use in the game, and are optional. These rules were developed especially for this article, since drugs are a central part of Cloak and Dagger's background. To exclude reference to drug and alcohol abuse would be to exclude some of the realism of the Marvel Universe from which these two super heroes came.