It’s been about a month since the last time I touched on my Condition system, which is a substantial subsystem of The Catan Horror, serving as a bridge between Dungeons & Dragons and The Settlers of Catan.

Today, while I was walking to the bank (before my run-in with Crazy World War Two Guy…) I was thinking about how I might introduce a couple new social conditions, Addiction and Compulsion. Now, I realized that not everyone wants to play with awful stuff like addictions and compulsions, so they’re intended to be optional conditions.

From the mists of my childhood, I remember a partial quote from a movie I think was an adaptation of White Fang. It was a guy talking to the protagonist, saying something along the lines of “I never trust a man who doesn’t drink or smoke.” I did a search and the line may have been borrowed from W.C. Fields. I wouldn’t be surprised.

Anyway, it was something about vices, and that got me thinking about social habits, taboos, and communal vices, and I was thinking about how a character might “indulge” in certain social conditions to avoid the undesirable effects of other conditions. They aren’t necessarily healthier, they’re just more convenient. Well, marginally.

The basic idea is that a player chooses whether they want an Addiction or a Compulsion. It doesn’t matter which one they choose for their character, and they can also choose both of them, if they so desire. For each optional Conditions they assume, they permanently raise the stage of each physical malady by one.

That means a character with a Compulsion will forever be at Stage Zero of each the Contagion, Dehydration, Exhaustion, and Starvation Conditions. They don’t take any immediate penalties, of course, but it does mean they’re more susceptible to the negative effects of hunger, thirst, fatigue, and illness. Now, for the benefits!

Instead of immediately suffering the negative effects of a physical malady, a character with an addiction or compulsion may choose to indulge in one of their self-destructive habits instead. Since their habit will be designed with the intent to be at least as bad as taking a hit to stamina, this enables a character to “choose their poison.”

More about habit-forming behavior at a later date!