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Branded Drugs
Marketing, it's not just for Corpies

(prepare yourself for tl;dr)

I think that the game would benefit from the branding of drugs. By branding I am referring to the real life analog of dealers putting their powder in distinct baggies and stamping their pills with recognizable symbols. (see images below)

Drug branding will contribute to the game in a number of ways.

1. In the current system, unless a character has specific skills, they have no idea about the potency of the drug that they are consuming. By branding drugs, chemists and dealers who are putting out good product can establish a following and create demand for their product. Conversely they can damage the competition who might not be producing the same quality product.

2. Branding drugs allows for the creation of 'turf' in the drug game. On one hand, people creating high quality product will naturally see the market shift in their direction. What about the people on the other end of that, who aren't willing or capable of creating a competing product? With branded drugs, they can target their rivals and take them out. "If you're selling anything other than Brand X drugs on Group A turf, you're going to have problems."

3. ???

4. Profit

How do we make this happen in game? I know zero about creating drugs, so this is all conjecture. I think that there are two important factors to consider though. One, how to actually apply the brand to the drug. Two, how to protect the brand.

Applying the brand is simple enough. The current drug equipment can be modified to append the brand to the description of the drug that characters can then see when they 'look' at the drug. To use mRc as an example, the BRANDING is in caps.

A bubble pack of mRc capsules STAMPED WITH A YELLOW STAR. 1 small capsules of powder marked 'mRc' remain wrapped in clear bubbles of plastic.

To keep the branding from getting too out of control, there should be a limited number of branding options. I am thinking the six primary colors of the rainbow, and a half dozen or so icons (star, heart, crescent, happy face, katana, handgun, etc.)

The first time a chemist uses the lab, they will be given the option to select a BRAND. Once the brand is selected, it becomes locked into the lab. For each subsequent batch, they have the option to apply the brand, or leave it unbranded.

I don't know enough about drug creation to know if it makes sense to have one brand apply to every drug created by the lab, or if each drug could have its own brand. Also I don't know if it makes any sense to be able to apply a different brand for different grades of drug.

Once a brand is established, it needs to be protected.

I think it is extremely important that it be difficult to change the brand once it has been selected. It should require secure_tech or something similar, akin to cracking a vehicle security system with the risk of destroying the lab equipment if you screw up. We don't want to make it impossible to 'steal' someone else's brand, but it should be difficult to do.

Thoughts? Critiques?

I really like this.

+1

I've actually talked this one out with a GM before and the current code just doesn't support it. It'd take a completely revamped system that's already been upgraded recently.

Not to mention, it'd make one of Chemistry's alternative FOIC uses pretty much moot.

The fact that drugs are rather indistinguishable also allows for some shadiness.

I think this is a great idea.
I actually like this idea quite a bit, but I'd like to see a second skill allowed to do it so people with lesser quality drugs can try to upbrand their drugs to compete with high quality candy makers.

Could do that through disguise, artistry, forensics or even business potentially. One of those. Maybe two.

I think this would mostly amount to cosmetics more than function. Pretty cool cosmetics, but I wouldn't get too wrapped up into it driving mechanics.
Another point, the logistics of having the absolute FUCKLOAD of drugs out there having nearly double or triple the modifiers and parent objects to keep track of this would be utterly insane as well.
This could be done with the current sticker system. The only problem is once a sticker is created - it lives on the machine forever so making counterfeit's without hiring a artistry person to forge the sticker is wayyyy too easy.

My solution would be to either create a portable sticker machine object with limited stickers ala e-note or just straight up add stickers as an e-note printing option.

Great idea though.

@Reefer

The talk I had also involved stickers, but right. The pricepoint for a single sticker would jack the price of drugs to absurd levels.

I was thinking the same Reefer, just a simpler way of applying mass stickers to drugs would do the trick.
@HolyChrome,

I admit to not knowing anything about MOO code. That said, I know a lot about programming in general.

It seems pretty straightforward (assuming that MOO code is object oriented).

The 'drug lab' object would need a new Attribute ($lab.BRAND)

The 'drug lab' would need a basic menu / picker interface to set the $lab.BRAND attribute.

The 'drug' object would need an additional Attribute ($mRc.BRAND, $LnA-3z.BRAND, etc.)

The 'drug' object 'description' attribute would need to be modified to include the .BRAND attribute.

I'm not saying it's SIMPLE but it's not super complex either.

I think that protecting the brand would be a bit more difficult. That's why I put out the suggestion of using the Vehicle Security System code. It's already there. Just copy / repurpose it.

I honestly dislike the coded brand protection besides some Artistry involved in the logo, that IMO will stifle, not breed RP. Now if I can make trash Marcy, but managed to replicate sticker of the best Marcy in town - I am rolling in flash. Of course, the person running quality drugs may not quite like that spirit and track you down for it.
There's far more to it than that, with no two batches of drugs virtually never coming out the same background numbers wise.

Not to mention, if you have access to a rival's lab...?

That shit isn't going to be tinkered with.

It's going to get got.

@HolyChrome,

I forgot to respond to the Chemistry point you brought up.

I think that Chemistry would still be valuable as an FOIC mechanism. Just because a drug is branded a certain way does not mean that it is equivalent to the previous batches that were branded that way.

I don't know the specific grades, so I'm just going to make something up here. If the BRAND applies to all drugs created from a lab, or all drugs of a specific type created from a lab, then there's nothing to prevent the chemist from changing Pharmaceutical grade to Bathtub grade. The BRAND remains the same, but the drug itself is weaker.

It's awesome that the drugs never come out the same background numbers wise.

All the more reason to brand the drugs and try to establish a following. YELLOW STAR brand drugs are created by someone always trying to make the best, highest grade stuff. BLACK KATANA brand drugs are created by someone making the least expensive doses possible.

Or buck the trend and don't brand your drugs. Nobody says you HAVE to claim the product that you put out onto the street.

Novel idea. Not likely to happen though.

Bear with me as I attempt to break things down in as vague but insightful terms as possible:

Chemists have no DIRECT control over their output. They have LIMITED control.

Whenever chemists brew up a new batch of drugs, they input a few commands with random rolls they hope turn out ideally. Yes, this makes for inconsistency, but it also means JoeBaka with insane chemistry can't pump out the perfect v-202 every single time.

How is this achieved? Not only do drug grades alone influence effectiveness, but those who are familiar with the system will know what additives are.

These additives roll randomly, within that limited controlled window, and you may very well despite your best efforts create military grade crap. Why? Because any player created drug can affect any stat, positive or negative, by varying degrees...

And these are rolled randomly every time.

The reason branding is impossible is every time you make a batch of drugs, you're rolling at a chance of say... Types of Drugs x Number of grades of that drug x number of stats x the degree each of those stats possesses x the combination of stat positives and negatives... And so on and so forth.

There is no QA for consistency with drugs as the system is, so there is no chance for branding to be had.

HOWEVER!

With the oft forgotten FOIC Chemistry usage I mentioned, each drug -does- technically have a name that -hints- at what that drug does... if you have enough experience making drugs or talking to a drug maker to know what that name implies.

I also get what you are saying Hek. Also Back in the drug dealer days on SD I would sell people some real fire shit, maybe like their first 5 orders, then I would sell them absolute generic trash forever at the primo price and They never said anything about it because the “brand” was just assumed to be the same because they got it from the same person. The way it works now I’m not so sure you can pull that off as easily though. I like the idea, It gives cooks more of an identity outside of other cooks recognizing the product.

It might make the equipment you use to test drugs more widely used to. “hmm, this shit is labeled as Crimson Death but it tastes kinda like nice dreams, let’s test this bullshit”.

If I regurgitated anything already posted I apologize, I didn’t read all the way through the thread.

Chrome brings up some good points. Maybe we should focus on making drugs less obfuscated in some ways but more obscure in others?

1. Add ansii Colors to drugs. Everyone will now be able to see the color of marcy powder, th-2c, v-202 vial, etc. Color will be impacted by quality and variant. I.E. There will be ways to make shitty drugs cut with something look -similiar- to awesome drugs.

2. Make drug names identifiable not just by chemists but by traders as well. A good fixer should be able to identify what they're selling by name, right? Otherwise, there's already a tool in-game for forensic people for once. :-)

3. If we could pull off the first two - I'd say we also switch gears and look into enhanced obfuscation. Different colored GENERIC powders, pipes, and vials. Identifiable by people with the right skills as stated above.

4. Add different consumption mediums for some drugs. I.E. Have a lighter? You can cook up your marcy and shoot it. The goal wouldn't be add gear to do drugs but rather different methods to interact with generic drug objects. I.E. That powder was lana. You should've cooked it and shot it. Not snorted it. Oh fuck. You gonna OD?

In most scenarios, #4 would be influencing side effects of drug use along with maybe adjust come-up and come-down times variably.

@Reefer

Those are really good suggestions for overcoming the already present hurdles in the code. A+ 10/10

It'd also allow a good bit of fun RP as people get canary yellow marcy, mistake it for banana yellow, and argue with their friends about what Neon Lightning Marcy does as they create RP generated names for things while utilizing the range of the ansii colors.

Spicy Reefer. Game changer shit.
Nope, I get the idea, and to an extent agree with it... But...

I have seen both in game and in RL, people trust their dealer when they shouldn't. The dealer *is* the brand. Even when they're selling drek-grade as lab-grade.

As a dealer selling that lab-grade shit it's your job to convince your customers that their other dealer is ripping them off. If your customers are dumb enough to pay lab prices for bathtub drek then fuck 'em, they ain't the sort of bakas I want to do biz with anyway.

This can be checked already IC, I don't see a need to cut out the middle-man/woman to check if your dealer is ripping you off/clueless about what they' re dealing.

Nope, I get the idea, and to an extent agree with it... But...

I have seen both in game and in RL, people trust their dealer when they shouldn't. The dealer *is* the brand. Even when they're selling drek-grade as lab-grade.

As a dealer selling that lab-grade shit it's your job to convince your customers that their other dealer is ripping them off. If your customers are dumb enough to pay lab prices for bathtub drek then fuck 'em, they ain't the sort of bakas I want to do biz with anyway.

This can be checked already IC, I don't see a need to cut out the middle-man/woman to check if your dealer is ripping you off/clueless about what they' re dealing.