Thursday, December 4, 2014

Metro Medicine

Medical care was remarkably advanced before the Calamity. Even after, much of the knowledge has been maintained, and the major losses in medical ability are due to problems with the manufacture of things like antibiotics, availability of clean rooms, and specialty tools that cannot be produced in the Metros.

First aid remains at TL8, due to the more accelerated medical advancement gained thanks to things like magic and alchemy. Surgery and diagnosis, however, is much harder with limited magic and next to no specialized equipment. X-rays are still available, but they're very low tech, and give a much higher radiation dose per use. Sterile environments are hard to come by, blood is somewhat hard to store (usually in enough demand that those with no skills can get a decent income supplement by selling blood).

Hospitals are more or less a thing of the past, although there's generally an infirmary. Quarantine,
either for even magically incurable diseases or in the absense of magical or psychic healing being
available, is generally managed by way of a specialized bunk bed, stretched just enough to make room for a chamberpot, and big enough to allow just a little movement. Surgery is still fairly reasonable, due to the retained knowledge from before the Calamity, and wide variety of opportunities for the budding sawbones to practice. Occasionally there are still books and something approaching a formal education, but if you want a dyed in the wool doctor, you're going to need to track down one of the longer lived races.

Anyone with magery almost always learns a few basic healing spells. Even without magery, it's not uncommon for those determined to help people to learn a healing charm (1 point perk Charm, spells is at -5 for low mana area, rolls to learn the spell are also at -5 without magery). Similarly, psychic healing (and many psychic power applications) are equally in demand. Any level of magic or psychic healing can earn a living basically anywhere in the Metros (how good of one depends on abilities and variety of them).

Thankfully, a great many drugs are still available, being derived from various plants, animals, and fungi, and possibly alchemically derived or enhanced (alchemic techniques used in conjunction with regular chemistry is often referred to as mana-reactive chemistry. Quite powerful even in low mana areas, it allows the production of chemicals that otherwise require substantially greater access to specialized equipment, extreme purity ingredients, or other such components. In game effect is TL+1, with TL+2 available at extra cost for production of chemistry based things. Requires a roll of Alchemy and a roll of Chemistry)

Several specialty drugs have either been invented or gained far more widespread use in the dangerous confines of the Metros. Most are used with disposable injectors or applied via slap patches (ie, combined with DMSO, turning them into a contact agent).

Stabilizer: Stabilizer is technically two drugs in one; a single dose of a painkiller, and an alchemically derived healing concoction worth 1 point. It's used for its ability to stop all bleeding, including vital wounds that would otherwise require surgery. The painkiller is there as a courtesy to the injured, because if you need the stabilizer, you're probably hurting. $25

Fitemor: A combination of a painkiller, stimulant, and mild psychoactive, Fitemor is a workaround for lack of widespread magical healing. It's used in situations where having a fighter fall unconscious is essentially a death sentence. Early or improvised doses are unreliable, but those deliberately and
professionally prepared balance most of the downsides between the drugs, at least until they wear off. When used, it grants High Pain Threshhold, Unfazeable, +1d temporary FP, Doesn't Sleep, Overconfidence (12) (15 if experienced), and some effects of Berserk (Does not fall unconscious, no loss of move, +4 on rolls to not die). When taking it, the user makes HT-8 roll to resist, and if that fails a will roll (will+2 if experienced with the drug) to resist going into a modified berserk (usual effects of All Out Attacks, but you may make a will+3 roll to function normally for purposes of reloading, etc, still performed in an all-out fashion). The drug lasts for (60-HT minutes), and if the user is still alive at that time, loses double the FP gained by taking it and takes 2d6 of damage (a successful HT roll halves damage). There are some times when a man must walk off a battlefield with two broken legs. Further doses prolong the effect, but damage stacks multiplicatively. $25

Gofast: Gofast is an alchemical drug (based partially on alchemic Speed, Magic p. 214). Created from a psychostimulant, a regular stimulant, and a shot of adrenaline being alchemically modified, it gives +1 Basic Speed and +1 move. A second dose stacks, and additionally grants Combat Reflexes. Third dose stacks, and grants Enhanced Time Perception. A fourth dose can be taken, stacks, and grants Altered Time Rate 1. Lasts for (10-HT) minutes, minimum 1 minute. Possessing the advantages granted steps you further along the path with less doses taken. Gofast burns 1 FP per dose in effect per 30 seconds, and deals 1 HP of damage per 10 seconds of double speed used when it induces Altered Time Rate in a being not designed to perform at that level. Addictive as per regular stimulants, sometimes blended with regular stims to provide sufficient energy to make use of the boost. $35

ROIDZ: A combination of psychoactives, adrenaline, and alchemic magic. Triggers Berserk (with a successful Will-2 roll per turn, you may act normally) and +4 ST. Addictive, if you use it too often (and somehow survive). A second dose will give a further +2 to ST and -3 to Will to resist berserk, and a third will grant another +1, and -4 to will vs berserk. Lasts 30-HT/2 minutes. $15

Last Hurrah: This drug will kill you. There are essentially no exceptions. But you will sing the most beautiful of swan songs. It is a tailored combination of Fitemor, 4x doses of GoFast, and 3x doses of
ROIDZ. The combination of drugs grants Unkillable 1 (only die at -10X HP, no rolls to resist death), DR2, and Numb, in addition to the usual effects. The user makes a roll every HT minutes starting at 2X HT, at -1 per roll until failure. On failure, the user dies immediately of severe chemical overload. Should the user somehow flush the drugs from their system before it kills them, they are likely to suffer severe consequences even from the brief exposure. $225

Purge: Copious amounts of poisons, toxins, and drugs can wind up in your system in the Metros. Sometimes you need them out of said system as fast as possible, whether it's a wild party crashed by some murderous wildlife, or having to take some combat drugs to stay alive, but the fix might just kill you if you don't flush it from your system. A single dose of Purge gives a flat +2 to HT rolls vs. damn near any chemical or similar that can induce them. A second dose is likely to cause an upset stomach (roll vs. unmodified HT or begin Retching), but will deal with a single dose of each chemical in the system, and gives +5 to HT rolls vs. the rest. Three doses of Purge and you will most likely begin venting from all available ends (Roll vs. HT-5), but it will flush any and all things from your system in 3D6+6 seconds from when it kicks in. In any dosage, it takes 15 minutes if ingested, or about 30 seconds if injected or slap-patched. $40

Regen: Despite all the problems in the Metros, a few good things have come of it. Not long after the Calamity, one of the various weeds (now known as Healroot) was found to, when properly prepared, boost natural healing. It's brewed into a tea, which is distilled, aged, and then re-brewed with some fresh plant. Ready-to-brew single packets can be purchased. Using it gives +1 to HT for most purposes, and the effects of Very Rapid Healing for 24 hours, and Rapid healing that lasts for 48. Roll vs. HT when you take it, on a failure you become drowsy and lethargic. Prolonged regular use can make the +1 HT permanent, but your system becomes dependent on it to heal, -2 to HT without it. Treat as a -1 point addiction. $5/dose

Recreational drugs
The Metro tends to be somewhat lacking in subtlety of law enforcement. Minor crimes will get you beaten, flogged, or just ostracized, while major crimes get you punted out the door without equipment or maybe just a round to the back of the head. People who aren't trying to at least do SOMETHING useful aren't really put up with, but so long as you aren't committing crimes to fund the habit and aren't being a burden, you can smoke, snort, or shoot up with damn near anything you like and can find.

Most regular drugs that do not require large amounts of land to produce, or some analogue thereof, can still be found in varying quantities.

Shrooms: Some of the other drugs are made from these. Different shrooms can have different effects,
although it's unreliable. Roll a d6 to see what you get if you don't have relevant skills to make the identification and are purchasing from an unreliable source or foraging for them yourself. (1-2 gets hallucinogens, 3-4 gets stims, and 5-6 gets you the equivalent of sleeping pills).

Painkillers: Painkillers have been available since the 1800s, and are quite prevalent in the Metros thanks to the variety of ways to get hurt.

Animal derived drugs: Even trippier than before the Calamity.

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