Engine fluid, coolant, hydraulic fluids, and stranger substances have mixed together, the chemicals further transformed by the strange radiations of the ship’s drives. Fluids can be found in pools or springs, or collected as they drip from larger pieces of wreckage. Odd behavior in animal life or an abundance of mutations can indicate a nearby source of alien fluids. While many such fluids are no more magical or marvelous than crude oil—and often highly poisonous to humanoids—others have strange and sometimes desirable effects on biological life.
Strange fluids are considered drugs. Initially, the fluids expand perception and insight, opening the mind to new sensations. This overstimulation gives way to mental fatigue, leaving the imbiber distracted and vulnerable to suggestion. A pleasant euphoria lasts as long as the drug’s effects. Unlike most drugs, the effects of Strange fluids can be negated with a successful DC 20 Fortitude saving throw. Success at this saving throw precludes the need to save against addiction, but also prevents the dose from countering the effects of addiction. A person partaking of Strange fluids can open his mind and body to the fluid’s effects, voluntarily forgoing a Fortitude save. Of course, this also entails accepting the risk of addiction and any side effects from the specific type of fluids consumed.
Each distinct dose of Strange fluids requires a new roll for side effects, even if multiple doses were recovered from the same source.
The inherent instability of the fluid contributes to this variability, as the fluids undergo further reactions even after collection. At the Gamemaster’s option, fluids collected from the same source at the same time can have a higher chance of providing the same side effect. One option for handling such variation is to roll two d20s of different colors for each subsequent drink from a sample, adding one and subtracting the other from the previous result. Another option is rolling twice, and using the second result only if it matches the previous side effect. Either variant increases the potential value of a dose of Strange fluids, and the potential for unintended consequences in the campaign.
At least 1 pint of Strange fluids must be consumed to experience euphoria and expose the drinker to side effects. Smaller amounts leave the drinker slightly disoriented (no game effect). If a drinker consumes a full dose within a single 24-hour period, the drug takes effect when the final portion is consumed.
In addition to imparting normal addiction to the fluids, certain results also addict the imbiber to a particular side effect. This extra addiction and its strength are listed on Table: Strange Fluids Side Effects. Only rolling the same type of side effect for a dose of fluids alleviates this addiction. This is handled as a distinct case of addiction, rather than being grouped in with other addictions, as is normally the case. This special type of addiction has a frequency and a dose requirement of once per week, rather than once per day.
If a given creature has to save against the effects of both general addiction and this special addiction on the same day, only roll for the more serious addiction that day.
Identifying the effects of a dose of Strange fluids presents a challenge, as the composition of the fluids changes constantly. A successful DC 25 Craft (alchemy) check has a 75% chance of correctly identifying a fluid’s effects on a specific drinker, and a 25% chance of misidentifying a random effect instead.
The dose must be consumed within 1 hour for the results to remain accurate.
1d4 hours; +1d4 Wis, roll on Table: Strange Fluids Side Effects.
|01||The drinker’s cellular structure breaks down, and her flesh dissolves off of her bones. The victim dies in 1 round unless a limited wish, regeneration (not just the regeneration ability), or wish spell is administered. Immunity to ability drain prevents death, but immunity to death effects or poison does not.|
|02–04||The drinker permanently loses a random sense (roll 1d4: 1–hearing, 2–sight, 3–smell, 4–taste). A regenerate spell restores lost smell or taste. Moderate addiction.|
|05–07||The drinker ages 2d10 years.|
|08–10||The drinker takes 2d6 points of damage to all ability scores (roll once for damage, apply it to each). If any score reaches 0, death results. If the imbiber survives, roll again for an additional side effect, rerolling a result of 15 or lower.|
|11–15||The drinker takes 2d4 points of drain to a random ability score.|
|16–20||The drinker takes 1d4 points of Intelligence damage and loses the ability to speak or write (but not to listen and read) for 1d4 days. Moderate addiction.|
|21–30||The drinker contracts a random form of insanity for 1d4 days.|
|31–35||The fluids impart 1d4 negative levels to the drinker (Fortitude DC 20 to remove).|
|36–40||The drinker is rendered unconscious until the effects of the dose wear off. Mild addiction.|
|41–50||The drinker is nauseated for 2d6×10 minutes.|
|51–60||The drinker is sickened until the effects of the dose wear off.|
|61–65||The drinker is fascinated by visions of a far-off reality for 1d4 hours. An interruption that ends the fascination provokes incoherent anger (attack nearest creature) for 1d4 rounds. Strong addiction.|
|66–70||The drinker exudes an unpleasant odor, as the stench ability, for 24 hours.|
|71–75||The drinker gains increased empathy with mechanical minds for 24 hours, gaining a +10 bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sense Motive checks against androids and robots, but takes a –5 penalty on such checks against other creatures.|
|76–80||For 1d4 hours, the drinker is healed by a random energy type (acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic) instead of harmed. Being healed in this fashion staggers the drinker for 1 round.|
|81–85||The drinker’s skin thickens into armor-like plates. This gives a +2 bonus to natural armor and a –2 penalty to Dexterity. Multiple doses do not stack. It takes 1d4 months for the excess skin to slough off.|
|86–90||Roll twice. If the first result is below 20, add 20 to the result. If the second result is above 80, subtract 20 from the result. If the same side effect results on both rolls, apply it only once, but the drinker becomes severely addicted to that result.|
|91–92||The drinker gains fast healing 5 for 24 hours, but must consume twice as much food and water as normal.|
|93–94||The drinker gains a +6 enhancement bonus to a random ability score for 2d4 days.|
|95–96||The drinker gains telepathy with a range of 100 feet for 2d4 days.|
|97||The drinker gains the ability to see possible futures a few seconds ahead for 24 hours. Because the visions are distracting, the drinker takes a –2 penalty on ability checks, attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks, but for one such roll, she can ignore the penalty and roll twice, keeping the better result. The drinker must decide to use this ability before rolling.|
|98||The drinker becomes 1d6 years younger. If this changes her age category, adjust physical attributes but not mental. Mental attributes don’t increase when the original age category is reached again (see Young Characters).|
|99||The drinker foresees her death in a cryptic and disjointed vision. The next time an effect would cause her death, she can take an extra standard action just before she dies (including actions like healing spells that prevent the impending death).|
|100||Roll on Table: Strange Fluids Exceptional Side Effects (below). All exceptional effects are permanent.|
|1||Immortality||The drinker no longer takes penalties for aging (bonuses still apply) and does not die from old age.|
|2||Mutant||The drinker gains the mutant template. The mutations should reflect the drinker’s inner personality, as determined by the GM.|
|3||Phasing||The drinker gains the ability to become incorporeal for 1d4 rounds as a swift action, but takes 1 point of Con damage when he does so. Phasing can be extended as a free action by taking 1 additional point of Con damage. Coming out of phase inside a solid object is instantly fatal. Phasing cannot be used by creatures that are immune to Con damage.|
|4||Three-Dimensional Touch||The drinker gains blindsense with a range of 60 feet. Focusing on this sense as a move action improves it to blindsight with a range of 60 feet until the start of the drinker’s next turn.|
|5||Wings||The drinker grows a pair of batlike wings that grant a fly speed of 30 feet and average maneuverability.|
|6||Ability Score Bonus||The drinker gains a +2 inherent bonus to a random ability score.|
|7||Fluid Generation||The drinker’s body naturally creates its own approximation of Strange fluids, which he can, as a standard action once a day, redirect into his system to gain the effects of drinking 1 dose of Strange fluids. Treat the addiction, effects, and side effects of this dose as normal, save that it cannot provide an additional exceptional effect (reroll results of 100).|
|8||Grounding Skin||The drinker grows a metal mesh surrounding his skin that grants him electricity resistance 10.|
|9||Bioluminescence||The drinker’s body glows as gem of brightness. The drinker can produce this effect 5 times per day.|
|10||Sleep of Experience||For 24 hours, the drinker falls into a coma and cannot be awakened. During this time, he dreams of living an entire lifetime on a different planet in an alien body. The drinker gains the number of bonus experience points needed to advance 1 level. A creature can gain this exceptional effect only once (reroll all future exceptional effect rolls of 10).|