Editor's Note: This article was originally intended for publication in Far & Away magazine, which ceased publication before this article was printed. Some of the unpublished articles were acquired by a Freelance Traveller contributor, and submitted to Freelance Traveller for publication. This article was originally posted to the website in 2004, and reprinted in the February 2013 and November/December 2023 issues of the magazine.
Elixir of Youth
Throughout human history, people have sought a source of immortality. Before advances in medical pharmaceutical technology began to increase life spans, even boast of practical immortality, a source of infinite life was the stuff of legend and myth. Appearing in almost infinite varieties, these legends range from the Solomani ‘Fountain of Youth’ to the Geonee ‘Touch of Shaarkivour’.
Anagathics are a recent development, producible only with Medical Technology level 15+. Many worlds refuse to sanction their production, citing these drugs’ “requirement for addiction” and often harmful side-effects as public health risks or ethically troublesome. Because anagathic drugs are really only effective if taken without interruption for very long periods of time, they are most often financially out of the reach of most citizens of Imperial space. This, coupled with their illegality on many worlds, helps to keep the number of anagathic users down. Still, the draw to these drugs is irresistible to many.
The effects of anagathics in MegaTraveller game terms is discussed on page 16 of the Players’ Manual.
Types of Anagathics
Complete details are given below for twelve different anagathic drugs. There are certainly many more types of anagathics on the market (legitimate or otherwise), but these twelve represent the most important breakthroughs in anagathic medicine.
Anagathics fall into four categories, based on the four key developments in the pursuit of effective anagathic drugs. Three examples of each category are provided below. The first example is the ‘generic’ form of the drug, and serves as a point of comparison for other examples. The second example is a brand-name development, representing the best-tested and safest form of the drug. Finally, a “street” version of the drug is listed, representing the typical clandestine production on worlds where the production or use of anagathics is illegal, or tightly controlled and restricted. “Street” versions are never tested, and generally can be assumed to be the most dangerous form of the drug. The fact that anyone would willingly take such drugs attest to the psychological attraction anagathics can have.
Each listing gives a short description of the drug, followed by the following information:
TL: The Tech level that drug first becomes available. If you’re using Digest Group Publications’ World Builder’s Handbook, remember to use the world’s Medical Technology Level to determine if anagathics might be available on the world.
Frequency: How often the drug must be administered in order to gain the proper effect. Expressed as the interval between doses.
Shelf-Life: How long a dose of the drug can sit before losing its effectiveness. All anagathics must be kept refrigerated (but not frozen), and the Shelf-Lives listed below assume this. If the drugs are not refrigerated, the Shelf-Life is typically halved. Expired anagathics have no effect, good or bad.
Price: This is the base price (in Credits) for one dose of the drug. Prices can vary wildly from world to world, depending primarily on prevailing local laws, tech levels, population, and Starport class. Modify the base price as follows:
- If anagathics are illegal on the world, immediately double the listed price.
- Then add 10% for each Tech Level below 15.
- Then subtract 5% for each UWP Population digit above 7.
- Then adjust the price based on Starport grade:
Starport Price Adjustment A -10% D, E +20% X +70%
For example, the adventurers are on a world with a UWP of D565899-D and have found a supply of Senidon. Senidon has a base price of Cr400 per dose, but anagathics are illegal here, so the base becomes Cr800 per dose. The world is TL13, so add 20% (15-13=2×10%=20%), making the price Cr960. The world has a fairly high population, however, giving it more potential anagathics users. Since there might be some competition here, the price drops by 5% to Cr912 per dose. Since the world has only a D class Starport, it’s more difficult to import the stuff. This adds 20% to the price. The final price for dose of Senidon is Cr1094 per dose. Notice that the price was modified in order by legality, technology, population and startport.
Risk: This figures into the To successfully administer anagathics task given later in this article.
Delivery: The means by which the drug is administered into the patient’s bloodstream. There are four methods of delivery:
Topical: A small strip of paper, plastic, or fabric treated with the drug and affixed to the patient’s skin, where the drug is slowly absorbed. This is considered the best method of delivery when steady administration over time is required.
Injection: Intravenous (most common), intramuscular, or subcutaneous injection. This is considered to give the most reliable results, but may be contraindicated if steady administration over time is required.
Oral: Generally, a pill or capsule which is swallowed by the patient; occasionally, the drug may be administered in liquid form.
Anal: Multiple methods, including enema or irrigation (liquid) or suppository (solid). Not considered wholly reliable, due to uncertain absorption and potential for expulsion of the drug.
Side-Effects: Typical side-effects caused by the drug are listed here. These side-effects can vary somewhat from patient to patient. If the patient has a specific allergy to that particular medication, these side-effects will be particularly acute and may even result in the death of the patient.
|Shelf Life: 30 Standard Days
|Base Price: Cr30
|Side Effects: Migraine, dizziness, nausea, hair loss, dehydration, chronic fatigue
The first recorded successful anagathic drug, Anagitos was developed
by a team of Solomani researchers on Arizona Sky (Aldebaran 1207) in
53 Im. There is some evidence to suggest that anagathics were in use
prior to the Long Night, however.
Inconvenient and unpredictable, Anagitos should have fallen into disuse with the development of improved forms, but use continues, especially in Solomani space, to this day. It is the cheapest and easiest to produce of all the anagathic drugs available. This most likely accounts for its continued use.
|Shelf Life: 90 Standard Days
|Base Price: Cr50
|Side Effects: Migraine, dizziness, dehydration, fatigue
A brand-name version of Anagitos produced by First Pharmaceuticals of Arizona Sky (Aldebaran 1207), the corporation that first bought the infant form of Anagitos nearly a thousand years ago. This version of the drug has been improved somewhat, but still falls terribly short of the standard of newer, safer drugs like Anagamycin. Anatox is available throughout the Solomani Confederation.
|Shelf Life: 6 Standard Days
|Base Price: Cr20
|Side Effects: Severe migraine, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, severe dehydration, chronic fatigue, Potassium depletion
This street version of Anagitos is the most dangerous anagathic drug known. Produced in clandestine laboratories on worlds throughout Imperial and Solomani space, “Baby” is cheap and simple to produce, but rarely works and almost always comes with severe side effects. Often used as a drug of last resort by Anagitos addicts. “Baby” is not legal on any world in either the Third Imperium or the Solomani Confederation.
|Shelf Life: 30 Standard Days
|Base Price: Cr275
|Side Effects: Dizziness, dehydration, chronic fatigue
Developed by Tristen Chemical Industries of Irlu (Massilia 2008) in 612 Im, Seniodril is a second-generation version of the Solomani Anagitos. Seniodril is built around the same “super-hormone” technology as Anagitos, but with new genetic coding instructions that improve its overall effectiveness. Improvement in refining techniques makes larger doses tolerable, so the patient doesn’t need to take the drug nearly as often. This is currently the most common form of anagathic found in human space.
|Shelf Life: 60 Standard Days
|Base Price: Cr400
|Side Effects: Dizziness, dehydration, chronic fatigue
The most popular brand name anagathic in Imperial space, Senidon is SuSAG’s highly refined version of Seniodril. In 1115 it was estimated that Senidon accounted for approximately 60% of all legitimate anagathic sales in the Third Imperium.
Though illegal on most worlds, Senidon is one of SuSAG’s most popular drugs and is considered by many as the “pride of SuSAG Pharmaceuticals”. In essence, Senidon’s improved refinement succeeds in doubling its shelf life, but does not affect its side-effects in any way. Most of Senidon’s success has come from SuSAG’s aggressive marketing of the drug and its political pressure for legalization of anagathics on key high population worlds.
|Shelf Life: 10-20 Standard Days
|Base Price: Cr250
|Side Effects: Dizziness, headache, severe dehydration, nausea, chronic fatigue
Best known for the Fountain Catastrophe of 915, when 17,000 people died in one month on Olympia (Antares 1915) from an imported supply of what they thought was Senidon. A disreputable free trader captain though he’d make a little extra profit by buying “The Fountain” from an underground source on Gimgir (Antares 2012) and disguising it as the SuSAG brand name drug. “The Fountain” is still available in much of Imperial space since it is easy to find samples of Senidon, which are examined and reproduced to make “The Fountain”.
Unfortunately no private or underground laboratory can hope to duplicate SuSAG’s advanced refining techniques.
|Shelf Life: 90 Standard Days
|Base Price: Cr1300
|Side Effects: Insomnia, headache, hair loss
This breakthrough anagathic was developed by SuSAG researchers on Rhylandor (Spinward Marches 2716) and announced to the public on 088-1112. What makes Anagamycin special is that it can also be used, with no loss in effectiveness, by Vargr patients. The drug spread quickly to coreward and can now be found throughout the Gvurrdon Sector. SuSAG itself produced Anagamycin for less than one year before releasing the improved version: Anagol-16. Rarely encountered in its basic generic form, Anagamycin is the target of intense antianagathic lobbying. Some say this attitude is brought on by Anagamycin’s increased safety, though SuSAG has produced little evidence to support that claim.
|Shelf Life: 125 Standard Days
|Base Price: Cr1400
|Side Effects: Insomnia, headache
Released in the early days of 1113 by SuSAG, Anagol-16 is that megacorporation’s newest wonder-drug. Because Anagol-16 users need only take the drug once each month, and the drug is available as an easy to take capsule, it is considered a “low maintenance” program. Its high cost and limited availablility, however, has drastically limited the potential customer base for the drug, and SuSAG has abandoned the idea of replacing Senidon with Anagol-16. SuSAG produces Anagol-16 on only six worlds in all of Imperial space.
|Risk: Hazardous (Vargr); Uncertain (Humans)
|Shelf Life: 30 Standard Days
|Base Price: Cr1000
|Side Effects: Severe addiction, insomnia, migraine, hair loss, short-term memory loss
This Vargr bootleg version of Anagamycin is available throughout the Vargr Extents, even though it has only been in existence since 1114. Dheghevarg is made everywhere from streetcorner labs to high-tech corporate factories. The drug is extremely dangerous and unstable when used by humans, but acts as Anagamycin in every respect if used by Vargr. The major-side effect of Dheghevarg is a serious physical dependency that has been known to result in shock, brain damage, and even death in patients who suddenly withdraw from it. TAS has declared Dheghevarg a Class 1A poison and even simple possession of the drug is a felony in both the League of Antares and the Ziru Sirkaa.
|Frequency: 60 standard days
|Shelf Life: 180 Standard Days
|Base Price: Cr3600
|Side Effects: Low blood pressure, minor dizziness
Immediately hailed as the state-of-the-art in anagathic drugs, Longevimine was developed by Professor Sidras Yoorvin of the Center for advanced Studies in Pharmacology at Vincennes (Deneb 1122) in 1117. This highly advanced anagathic boasts a low frequency and high shelflife, as well as simple method of delivery. The drug is invariably effective and its side effects are negligible. Longevimine and its derivatives may prove the most potent weapon in the proanagathic movement. It is by, by far, the least addictive anagathic currently in circulation.
|Frequency: 60 Standard Days
|Shelf Life: 1 Standard Year
|Base Price: Cr5000
|Side Effects: Occasional low blood pressure
Youthonol-B is by far the best anagathic drug in existence. First marketed in mid-1119 by S.Y. Partners Pharmaceuticals L.I.C., a young, “upstart” corporation based on Vincennes (Deneb 1122), Youthonol-B is an improvement on Longevimine that effectively eliminates the dangers commonly associated with anagathic side-effects. Youthonol-B was created by Professor Yoorvin less than two years after her development of Longevimine, whose superhormone/genetic redoubling technology provided the superstructure for the Youthonol series.
Professor Yoorvin and two of her four business partners were killed in a mercenary raid on their asteroid laboratory deep in the Vincennes systerm on 345-1119. The company which they helped found almost immediately dissolved and production of Youthonol-B ceased.
SuSAG, believed by many to be responsible for the raid which ended the life of S.Y. Partners Pharmaceuticals and its founders, announced on 011-1120 that they would begin producing and marketing Youthonol-B, under the guidance of Professor Yoorvin’s remaining partners, by the end of 1120.
|Frequency: 60 Standard Days
|Shelf Life: 120 Standard Days
|Base Price: Cr2500
|Side Effects: Low blood pressure, dizziness, chronic fatigue, occasional acute potassium depletion
Longetalon is a discount version of the state-of-the-art anagathic Longevimine. Produced and marketed by New Era Anagathics of Vincennes (Deneb 1122), a company owned by one of Professor Yoorvin’s former laboratory assistants, Longetalon is similar, though not as pure as Longevimine. New Era Anagathics has been selling quite a bit of stock recently after promising to upgrade its refining process to Longevimine standards. Longetalon comes in capsule form and has slightly more acute side-effects than Longevimine.
Anagathics are illegal on many worlds in Imperial space. Views on anagathics can vary wildly. Some worlds perceive them as somehow unnatural or unclean, others believe them to be public health risks whose benefits are far outweighed by their potential for harm. Still other worlds see anagathics as legitimate choices for their citizenry.
Since anagathics are a fairly recent, high-tech discovery and are quite expensive and difficult to transport due to their low shelf-lives, many backwater worlds never bothered to place laws on their books one way or another. In most cases, anagathics are considered to be prescription-only drugs that fall into the normal regulatory scope of drugs such as narcotics and psychoactive drugs.
To determine if anagathics are legal on a specific world, the referee should roll 2D. If the result is equal to or higher than the world’s Law Level, anagathics are legal there, or, at least, the world government never bothered to make a decision one way or another. If you’re using DGP’s World Builder’s Handbook, use the world’s Personal Freedom Law Level. All worlds with a Medical Tech Level of 15+ will have made a policy decision regarding anagathics. This roll has the following DMs: minus the UWP Government digit divided by 5 (drop fractions), and +1 if Starport class A.
Adventurers in search of anagathics will need to find out for themselves if anagathics are legal or not on any world they visit. Very few worlds where anagathics are legal advertise as such, since it is well known that the prevailing opinion in Imperial space is decidedly anti-anagathic.
The following task can be used by the adventurers in such cases:
To determine legality of anagathics
Routine, Admin or Streetwise, Edu, 20 min (uncertain)
No Truth indicates that the adventurers have run afoul of either a legal or criminal organization who doesn’t appreciate people asking too many questions about anagathics. Some Truth gives the adventurers some misleading information as to the legality and/or availability of anagathics on that world. They may, for instance, wind up as the targets of a local law enforcement department’s “sting operation” aimed at anagathic users or importers, etc. Total Truth gives accurate information as to the legality of anagathics on that world.
Finding a Supply
Once legality has been determined, the adventurers must then locate a sufficient supply of anagathics from the local economy. In rare cases, this is as simple as going to the local drug store. Most often, however, finding anagathics requires contact with the underworld: drug gangs, smugglers, etc. In any case, finding anagathics on a world where the adventurers know no one and no one knows the adventurers, is never an easy task. If anagathic drugs are illegal on the specific world, use the following task to determine if any are found.
To find a supply of anagathics
Formidable, Streetwise, Int, 4 hours (uncertain)
Additional DMs to this task are as follows:
Starport DM Tech Level DM Tech Level DM A +2 0-6 -8 13-14 +1 B +1 7-8 -4 15 +2 E -1 9-10 -2 16 +3 X -2
A result of No Truth means the adventurers have not only failed to find any anagathics, but that the difficulty on the task To avoid a drug bust is Difficult. They have some how tipped their hands to the local authorities. On Some Truth, the adventurers can purchase what they are told are anagathics. These drugs prove to be either fakes, the wrong drugs entirely, or anagathics that have passed their shelf lives. The task To avoid a drug bust becomes Routine. On Total Truth, the adventurers find a supply of anagathics (see What You Pay For, later in this article, to determine which specific drug the adventurers find). The task To avoid a drug bust drops to Simple.
The above task assumes that anagathics are illegal on that specific world. If this is the case, there will always be a danger that anyone snooping around into anagathics will be the target of local law enforcement. Upon completion of the above task, the following task should be rolled to see if the adventurers manage to steer clear of the law. The difficulty level is determined by the adventurers' success on the To find a supply of anagathics task, above.
To avoid a drug bust
(difficulty), Streetwise, Bribery, Persuasion, Int, 10 sec. (hazardous)
If Bribery skill is used, the cost of the necessary bribe(s) is Cr100 times the world’s (Criminal) Law Level. Penalties for anagathics possession, use, distribution, etc. vary from world to world but have been known to be quite harsh.
If anagathics are legal on the world, it's a little easier to find some … but not much.
To find a supply of legal anagathics
Difficult, Medical, Edu, 3 hours
Use the same additional DMs as the task for finding illegal anagathics.
What You Pay For
Ideally, the referee should determine which type of anagathic drug the adventurers happen across. To simulate the chaotic nature of the illicit drug trade, however, the following table is provided for random generation of available anagathic drugs. The individual referee should feel free to alter this table to reflect the specifics of his/her MegaTraveller campaign.
Anagitos, for example, is much more commonly found in Solomani space, so it will probably not be available to adventurers operating in, say, Vland Sector. Roll 2D on the table below:
Apply DMs as follows:
|Each level of Streetwise skill
|Each level of Medical skill
Once anagathics are found, they must be administered. This is not always as simple as it may seem. Anagathics are very tricky, very unique drugs on the forefront of pharmaceutical science. Even simple pills must often be followed by a certain amount of water, food, even specific foods in specific quantities. Unless all criteria are met, the drug may either fail to work, or backfire with especially acute side-effects.
To successfully administer anagathics:
Routine, Medical, Edu, 1 min (variable, unskilled OK)
The Risk factor from the description of each type of anagathic should be factored into this task. If the task is Uncertain, No Truth forces a 3D roll on the Mishap Table and the drug does not have its desired effect. Some Truth should be followed by a roll of 2D on the Mishap Table and, again, the drug has no effect. On Total Truth, roll 1D on the Mishap Table, but the drug has its full desired effect. Only the most unstable forms of anagathics require Uncertain task rolls. This is intended to demonstrate the potentially deadly side-effects often associated with improperly refined or early generation anagathics.