Introduction: Design Custom Drugs in Your D20 Modern Game

About: Gian is a computational biologist,maker, author, humorist. He holds degrees in Molecular/Cellular Biology, Biochemistry, Computer Science. He has a collection of 8-bit microcontrollers and a room full of compu…

Have you ever been playing your favorite modern RPG d20 game and wanted to add the effects of drugs or other pharmaceuticals to your game play but wasn't sure where to start?  Maybe you want a key character to feel the full effects of morphine that he injects into his arm after he got injured?  Maybe you want to simulate a massive drug trade, or even better, design your own hot street drug and make your next million $$ getting suckers hooked.  Or maybe you just want a new drug to roll into your own Spycraft 2.0 campaign setting in whatever capacity you desire.

For you d20 Modern gamers out there, I wrote a small app that uses The Little Black Drug Book as OGL source.  You can make custom pharmaceuticals for your in-game use with the app alone, but you won't get the full explanations without the PDF (it's only $1 from LPJ Design and  I use this PDF and my software when running Spycraft 2.0 campaigns and it works well.

Below (or included on this page) I've included a full ZIP file with setup executable as well as a naked binary (ie just the binary, no zip, no setup, etc.  just run it).  Pick whichever one you're more comfortable with.  I'm not sure why Instructables does this, but it renames the executable into a tmp file.  Right click and save as.... and rename to DrugDesigner.exe (or whatever you want to call it) without the .tmp extension.

Start the next step to see how easy it is!

Step 1: Determine Form

Determine the Delivery Method
The delivery method, or form, is just the physical structure the drug comes in.  Popular forms are gel caplets, tablets, and liquid.  Think about the delivery method as it determines -- in real terms -- how quickly the drug is available (or its metabolite) in the system.
The available delivery methods are:
  1. Direct contact
  2. Gel caplet
  3. Inhaled
  4. Liquid
  5. Pill
  6. Plant
  7. Powdered
  8. Rock
  9. Tablet
These forms are pretty self-explanatory, and again, they are detailed with more attention in the source PDF's mentioned on the front page of this instructable.

Step 2: What Type/Class of Drug Is It?

Type of Drug
These are the general/broad classes of drugs.  They don't map to pharmaceutical drug classes (like benzodiazapenes, corticosteroids) so just go with it and pick the drug type that your custom drug falls under or is the closest to.
  1. Antibiotic
  2. Anticoagulant
  3. Antidote
  4. Aphrodisiac
  5. Coagulant
  6. Contraceptive
  7. Depressant
  8. Euphoric
  9. Hallucinogen
  10. Hypnotic
  11. Pain Reducer
  12. Soporific
  13. Stimulant
I had considered making these lists from XML files so that extending them and adding new items would be as easy as editing an XML file, but didn't do it this version as I wasn't sure of the interest.

Step 3: Overdosing Effects

What happens if you Overdose?
All drugs have some effect if taken too much at once.  This is called the Overdosing Effect.  Some overdosing effects are temporary and minor, such as headaches, ataxia, etc while other overdosing effects are much more deleterious and permanent.

Step 4: Benefits

Your custom drug has to have some primary effect and this is known as the drug's benefit.  You may choose as many as you like but try to be realistic and keep the pharmaceutical balanced for game play.   You wouldn't want to select all the benefits, especially as some benefits are mutually exclusive.

See my application or download the PDF for a greater discussion and description of each benefit.

Step 5: Side-Effects

Besides the intended effects of the drug, there are also, shall we say, unintended effects which we know as side-effects.  Not all drugs have side effects but it makes for an interesting game situation if you allow your drug side-effects to be balanced with the benefits.  This makes taking the drug a much more studied affair -- you won't just pop an entire mouthful without thinking.

Step 6: Set Strength

Determine the Strength of the Pharma
The strength of the drug represents, of course, how strong the drug is and accordingly, how quickly it hits you, how long it lasts, its addictiveness,  and so on.  In the Little Black Drug Book and this application, the strength is an arbitrary ( pick it, but the scale is arbitrary) number between one (1) and five (5).

When you select a strength, the following values are set automatically:
  • Onset time
  • Duration
  • Fort DC save
  • Next Dosage
  • Withdrawal Period
  • Withdrawal Effects
The PDF goes into great detail discussing these areas.

Step 7: Name It and Describe It

Finally, at the bottom of the application you get a chance to name your creation.  You have lots of "flavor" choices such as pharmaceutical sounding drugs to the latest street named drug.  Good pharmaceutical sounding drugs might include memes like "benzo-" "-pene" "-pam" "-vril" and etc.  Look through a nurses guide to medications for some good choices.

Click "Create" and you've created your custom drug.

Once you've named it you need to describe it.  In the window of text following drug creation, there is a section with <> that you can select, delete, and fill in with your down wild description.  Describe the pill color, taste, anticipation, street/drug cred or whatever else you can think of that will add flavor to your game.

Step 8: Copy and Paste

The final step is to cut/copy and paste into your d20 modern gaming source material.  Click inside the window and Ctrl-A to select all of the text.  Next, anywhere in the selected text and choose "copy" from the context-sensitive menu.

Once you have copied the text, open a text file or copy directly into your gaming material.
Voila, you have now a d20-compliant custom drug to use in your campaigns -- for good or bad!

I hope you've enjoyed this instructable and have lots of fun playing your favorite Role Playing Game!  As always, feel free to comment or offer suggestions.  You can also catch me on as nevdull on #instructables.


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