Cyberpunk 2020 obviously discourages player characters from voluntarily using drugs. The rulebook includes hints such as:
Remember: Drugs are dangerous. Mess
with them and you’ll probably kill your
character. Or at least mess him up beyond
repair. The choice is yours.
Just like real life.
However, the mechanics of Addiction rolls do not seem clear to me. The entry for “Black Lace” contains the following offhand comment:
If you fail your addiction save (1D10 roll higher than Body Type)
That seems to imply that players must periodically roll 1d10 after using drugs, and that any roll higher than a character’s Body Type indicates that the character is now addicted. If the GM allows a player character to have a 10 Body Type score, that player character should never fail any Addiction save! (And presumably the GM would be obligated to find some poison that reduces Body Type temporarily, then rule that the player became addicted due to the temporary weakness of his body.)
It would seem excessive to roll an Addiction Save after each use.
Strength: + 1
Cost: 100 per 6 pk
Duration: 1 D6+ 1 minutes
Smash is 2020’s answer to
alcohol-it’s yellow, foamy,
and comes in cans. It makes
you loose, happy and ready to
party. The downside is that
when it wears off, its psychological addiction component
makes you suicidal. If you fail
your addiction Save, you sink
into total catatonia; a feebly mumbling ball of
pain-a ripe target for some Booster looking
for spare change.
Clearly, alcohol addiction can raise your risk for suicidal depression in real life, but the effects of real-world alcohol in reducing reflexes certainly last longer than 1 to 6 minutes. (I might believe that alcohol only produces euphoria for 1 to 5 minutes in many real-world cases.) I interpret the rules to mean that choombas in Cyberpunk 2020 typically drink a can of Smash in 1 to 5 minutes and open another can as soon as the euphoria has worn off. Unlike alcohol, apparently drinking Smash does not increase one’s risk of crashing one’s motor vehicle.
However, a recent Cyberpunk Red podcast showed Mike Pondsmith himself encouraging his player characters to drink Smash before an adventure, so Pondsmith probably doesn’t intend Smash to be addictive for most people. Apparently the GM is supposed to make a personal judgement call regarding when a player character has been drinking too much Smash, and then the GM forces the player to roll a saving throw against addiction. I can’t find the specific rules that explain how to do this. However, once a character has become addicted, I believe Smash addicts have to deal with the “psychological addiction” rules:
Psychological Addiction (-8pts): The character is psychologically addicted, and must
roll lower than his CL each hour following
the last dose of the drug. On a failed roll, he
suffers extreme anxiety, fear and depression;
he become driven to find more of the drug
and can do nothing else. Kicking the addiction
is a VERY DIFFICULT Endurance check, and
may take as long as the Referee decides is
That would be impossibly harsh if every Smash drinker had to roll to resist addiction after every single usage of Smash. Apparently the GM is meant to make up his own rulings regarding when characters must roll for Addiction saves. Perhaps the frequency is supposed to be higher for Black Lace than for Smash.
However, the usefulness of “Black Lace” might make it very tempting to players. Thus GMs might want players to roll an Addiction Save after each and every use.
Type: Pain Negation
Duration: 1 D6+ 1 hours
A high powered version of ‘Dorph which imparts euphoria, adrenal rush, and invulnerability to pain. Your CL is raised by 2, and you are
resistant to stun or shock effects. Lace is deadly.
Lace users become fearless, cold-blooded killing
machines-exactly what its military designers
were looking for. If you fail your addiction save
(1D10 roll higher than Body Type) roll an
additional 1 D6 and subtract the result from
your EMP stat. Treat the result as if suffering
from cyberpsychosis. If you go over the line,
too bad. Roll up another character.
Are there any “rules as written” that specify the frequency of addiction checks, or are GMs supposed to improvise?