#Narcosa is here at the request of +Rafael Chandler and a lot of folks are asking, "What is Narcosa?" Make something narcotastic... basically, drug-related OSR posts!
This is a kit/background for those fellas that make Narcosa go round: the Pusherman. The background is written for 5e D&D, however it can easily be used over any OSR system - simply remove/modify the fiddly bits you don't need. This background probably works best for a minor villain NPC, but some of our favourite anti-heroes fall into the Pusherman category: Tony "Scarface" Montana, Saul Silver or Red, Walter White or Jesse Pinkman.
I'm your mamma, I'm your daddy
I'm that nigga in the alley
I'm your doctor when in need
Want some coke, have some weed
You know me, I'm your friend
Your main boy, thick and thin
I'm your pusherman -- Curtis Mayfield
Skill Proficiencies: Insight (wisdom), Persuasion (charisma)
Languages: 1 additional of choice.
Tool Proficiencies: Dealer’s Tools (scales, scoops, pouches, vials) OR Alchemist’s Tools
Equipment: 5 hits of product, a set of clothes (fine or common that includes a long coat with many pockets), a set of artisan’s tools, a keepsake of your childhood (roll on trinket table).
Feature: Connected Pusher
You have contacts in the illicit goods racket all over. You know the best places to find, buy and sell the worst things. You can’t necessarily get a good deal, but you can get anything a customer needs. You also have a special type of product you can push, some close connection that can provide you with profits of 3d12+6 gp a week, if you forego other activities (no adventuring). There is an increased chance of getting pinched by the local constabulary each week (as determined by your DM). Choose or roll for your area of expertise:
- Narcotic powders, psychotropic magic dusts, ground mermaid fin and other nose candies.
- Illicit potions: dragon’s sleep, beholder’s kiss, bella mortis and other devious draughts.
- Broke-oak, Phnamana blue, Kuo toke and other potent smokeables.
- Mojo pins, white spikes, quiet quills and other injectables.
- Myconoidals, ascomytics and other fungal offerings.
- Poisons. (Small doses for pleasant effect, heroic doses for unfortunate ones.)
- Jellies, molds, and oozes. (Snort it, slather it, or slurp it).
- Illegal weaponry.
You try to be anything your buyers need. You are a friend, mother/father, sister/brother, bully, saviour, doctor, therapist, confidante, criminal, hustler -- you are the pusherman.
- Anonymity is my ally. I sell by proxy. If nobody knows me for real, I ain’t really getting pinched. You hide yourself away and no one knows this true life of yours.
- Being connected is the greatest thing there is. I can get you a-nee-thin’. So, what you need, sucka? Garrulous and aggressive, you live for the hustle.
- I don’t do drugs. I am drugs. You won’t use your product (or won’t use it again) and you hold yourself to that deeply.
- I don’t care who I sell to, as long as I am selling. You push your product on anyone with enough coin to buy it. People tend to hate you.
- Paranoia hasn’t always served you well. You’ve been pinched before. You aren’t going back, but the life has got a hold of you.
- It may be a little pond, but I am the biggest fish. You face problems with bravado and a bit of bullying. Maybe even use a little Sam Jackson angry eye.
- Sometimes you’re flush and sometimes you’re bust. You have a flexible approach to your lifestyle and you are always looking to be more flush. Choose a catch-phrase that shows how cool you are under pressure.
- You wear the latest trends in fashion, the best kicks and finest jewelry. You have a greedy appreciation for fine things and status. You are the sharp-dressed man.
- Respect: Everyone knows who I am and what I do. I wear it like a badge of honour and I live by my code. Fuck you if you can’t respect that. (Lawful)
- Winning: Hustlin’ is the only thing in life. The money, power, women (men) - while all are great, none of it matters. Just the score. (Neutral)
- Power: You will rise to the top. All the other cockroaches can be crushed under your boot. (Evil)
- Freedom: Live free or die. What I do sets people free! Everyone wants to be free. (Chaotic)
- Wealth: Coin. Clink. Cash. It’s all I live and breathe. Can’t afford another hit? Fuck you, pay me. (Neutral)
- Knowledge: Customer service. I provide a service and my customers appreciate the confidentiality that I guarantee. It ain’t my fault I know all their dirty secrets. (Unaligned.)
- My source is a dear old friend of mine. I have to protect them, even if they don’t feel the same.
- “Adventuring with my friends” has given me access to some of the most potent shit in the world.
- My bosses have me stitched up. I can’t get out of the life.
- My family is everything to me, but they can’t know the truth of my work.
- (Party Member) is the inspiration I need to change, but old habits die hard.
- The cardinal rule is: “You don’t use your product.” You break the cardinal rule.
- You’d pinch the pennies out of your momma’s purse... and you have.
- There is something you desire so deeply that you will sacrifice necessities to have.
- You try to exercise power over everyone, even your friends and allies. You are kind of a cunt.
- You don’t trust anyone. Nobody. Not your mother, not your allies. Especially not your mother.
- You are convinced that you are destined for greatness.