Saturday, September 28, 2013


Pineal gland image by Nephron

Glanding is the term people in Iain M. Banks' Culture use for the at-will production of neuroendocrine  drug cocktails. Glanded substances can improve performance. Glanding may improve almost any aspect of human performance (intelligence, endurance, concentration, fear reduction, pleasure enhancement, etc.).

This kind of drug use (and for that matter, almost any other kind) is considered quite normal in the Culture. No one is going to go to jail for glanding. No one would accuse a game-player of cheating by glanding a drug that increases memory or concentration. The same goes for athletes and glanding to enhance their physical performance and endurance.

The drugs that people gland have specific common names by which the are known throughout the culture. The names provide fairly explicit clues about what the drugs do - they are neither chemical names nor the marketing brand names used today. The names instead signify use value. For example, early on in the novel Use of Weapons, Diziet Sma takes recall to savor and re-experience the previous night's erotic exertions.

Here's how to use glanding in your FATE SF games:


The ability to gland is a Stunt. Any player with the Glanding stunt may gland a drug at-will. It takes one turn for the drug to take effect. The player makes up a name for the drug (or cocktail of drugs) that their character is glanding, which becomes the Temporary Aspect:

Glanding (drug name)

The name should suggest a specific Approach or Skill enhanced by the drug. The substance can be invoked  to Create an Advantage or Overcome something once per scene for free.  Subsequent uses in the same scene require the expenditure of a Fate Point.

This Temporary Aspect lasts one scene, unless the character spends 1 FP to sustain it for a longer periodof time (up to 1 day).

Additional drugs may be glanded in a scene, but each additional substance produced costs a Fate Point.

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