Pathfinder Player Companion: Potions & Poisons (PFRPG)

****½ (based on 7 ratings)
Pathfinder Player Companion: Potions & Poisons (PFRPG)

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Good for What Ails You!

Whether they're used to bolster heroes' abilities or take enemies out of the game, potions and poisons are key parts of many adventurers' arsenals. Far more options than simple healing draughts or strength-sapping toxins are available to savvy heroes, though, especially those ingenious enough to craft their own concoctions. Pathfinder Player Companion: Potions & Poisons offers a sea of new potions, elixirs, and stranger alchemical wonders for the discerning adventurer, plus heinous designer poisons. Class and character options for those who brew or regularly imbibe consumables round out these offerings.

Inside this book you'll find:

  • Feats and archetypes for races with an affinity for poisons, including gripplis, nagaji, and vishkanyas, plus the scorpion sorcerer bloodline for those with a toxic heritage.
  • Archetypes for a variety of classes known for brewing or poisoning, including alchemists, rogues, and witches.
  • Spells and feats specialized for potion brewing, plus drugs, elixirs, gear, poisons, and tinctures—alchemical remedies that produce potent effects but impair the user.

This Pathfinder Player Companion is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder campaign setting, but it can be easily incorporated into any fantasy world.

978-1-64078-000-2

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

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****½ (based on 7 ratings)

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Should be Drugs and Drinks

****( )

I'm going to say right now, this book has no major game-changers for potions or poisons.

The book is titled Potions and Poisons, but unfortunately this book has very little that really changes the game for those two types of items. Potions are by far the least explored part of this book, consisting of four feats total (of which only one will probably see any use in a game), a few pretty great potable versions of spells, a fairly lackluster Alchemist archetype, and a two-page spread listing spells that already exist and can be made into potions. Instead of anything useful, there's just two pages of effectively pointless filler, and not even particularly useful filler since most people work backwards when selecting potions (choose an effect then find the appropriate spell) instead of choosing from spells on a list, a list which isn't complete and even if it was would cease to be complete the moment a new 0-3rd level spell is released.

Poisons get a somewhat better showing, though still lacking. All the poison-using feats are racial feats, as are half of the poison-using archetypes. It would be less of an issue if the races weren't uncommon races; they're tied to the Vishkanya, Nagaji, and Grippli, meaning they'll see much less use than if they were for the more common races. There's also the Toxin Codexer Investigator, which at first seems to be the big game-changer in poison use, allowing the Investigator to boost the power of poisons to a DC equal to their spell DCs. Unfortunately that archetype comes with two issues: first, the DC boosts are class-locked, so a Toxin Codexer and ONLY a Toxin Codexer gets the bonuses. It functions more similarly to the Alchemist's Toxicant or Eldritch Poisoner archetypes, except that the Toxin Codexer also gives up spell slots to function. The other issue is that the poisons also become level-locked. Arsenic is a 1st level poison for example, while Hemlock is 5th. The poisons not listed are up to GM approval, which means that some poisons (such as Tongue Twist, presented in this book) may simply be banned for use with the archetype if the GM feels that it's too useful, or may be set at such a high level that by the time it comes into use every monster is immune to ability score damage or flat immune to poisons. And it's unfortunate, because it means all future poison boosters might take that same form, or this might supplant any need to make real useful feats or abilities since everyone can now say "Want to poison things? Toxin Codexer is obviously the way to do it."

The other sections of the book though are pretty solid. The talents and abilities listed for various classes make up for the overall weak showing in archetypes, and the Scorpion Bloodline gives a nice poison-based suite of abilities (though it functions based on a special scaling DC poison granted by the bloodline). The new elixirs are fantastic and make them into something more useful than just "drinkable Wondrous Items", like the Spirit Rush elixir which gives your villain a chance to always escape certain death, and even additional fleshcrafting elixirs. The new poisons are always fun to look at, since unlike the older poisons they focus more on strange and unique effects instead of ability score damage. The additional items are also pretty good, though most of the poisoner gear seems to be focused more on adding ways to poison a target instead of boosting the poison's power, and the anti-poisoner's gear is as would be expected, a number of items that grant bonuses to Fortitude saves and generally protect the wearer from being poisoned.

However, the real stars of the book are the Tinctures and Drugs. Tinctures are a collection of weird alchemical not-potions that grant boons at some cost (in a way similar to the alchemical items from Ultimate Intrigue), but their effects are shockingly useful despite their cost and lack of real magic. Similarly the drugs are fantastic in this book, becoming items that players could see real use in and that actually give a person a reason to take them at risk of addiction. An old drug gives a minor ability bonus at the cost of ability damage and a risk of addiction. These give major really interesting bonuses at the same cost, which makes them infinitely more appealing.

tl;dr Poisons are given not much support and there are no game-changers, potions are given even less. Everything else in the book is definitely worth it though.


A Little More Potions and Little Less Poisons

***( )( )

Not a bad book but not great. I really enjoyed the new options for the 3 races, sorcerer bloodline, elixirs, tinctures and a few other things. Really would have liked more stuff for potions, elixirs, tinctures, etc. and less poison. Finally got a periapt of proof against paralysis but it sucks, it doesn't grant full immunity, and for 8000GP at that!


Genuinely Game-Changing -- In a Good Way

*****

Start with the Toxin Codexer, which pretty much single-handedly makes a poison-focused character actually viable. You can prepare poisons in your extract slots for free, their DCs scale, and you can pick up Discoveries that allow you to bypass species poison resistance (you do need to do know what you're facing ahead of time, so this is an investigator encouraged to investigate). That's the big draw of the book, but not the only stuff.

The Vishkanya, Grippli, and Nagaji stuff is all good, most notably the Dispelling Blood feat and Nagaji Spit Venom line. The Vishkanya Bard and Nagaji Fighters are also pretty interesting, and worthy of characters.

The new potion-friendly spells are useful and interesting. Toxic Blood is going to be a BBEG staple, and Glimpse the Hidden is a seriously useful spell.

The witch hexes are impressive, most importantly in their ability to give witches more Fort targeting effects.

As with any Companion, there's plenty of dross in here along with the gold (the magic items come to mind), but the gold is so shiny and excellent this a five-star book. One of the best recent Companions, up there with the First World booklet and Blood of the Coven.


A solid supplement for the size

*****

There is a lot of good stuff packed in here. The Vaporous Potion feat especially, which allows brewing potions that can be delivered as a splash weapon.

The Witch Hexes are also especially useful, and I may make use of them on my next character.


Enhance Brew Potion, add Investigator(Toxin Codexer)

*****

Details:
pages:36 pages with content:30
traits: regional:10
racial feats:11 (grippli 3, nagaji 4, vishkanya 4)
racial archtypes:5 (grippli 2, nagaji 1, vishkanya 2)
class archtypes:7 (alchemist 2, witch 1, rogue 2{rogue talents 5, slayer talents 2}, investigator 2{inventigator talents 3})
spells:8 (mostly arcane)
feats:4(enhancements to Brew Potion)
poisons:10
drugs:12
items(alchemical:1 & tinctures{t}:16, equip:6)
magic items:(wpn:1, wondrous:16)
potions(elixirs:13)

overall it is a lot of new content with only 1 page giving a table of standard potions and oils(CR,APG,ACG,OA,UC,UI,UM).
This is your supplement for enhancing Brew Potion, introducing a poisoner (that's not an assassin per se), or adding to grippli, nagaji, or vishkanya racial abilities.

The material looks balanced on the whole and shouldn't upset most games. My only caution is that drugs with high addiction DCs should be reviewed before using in a campaign.

Standouts would be;

Magic Items: Aegis of Recovery, Greater $3750 (neck), Eye of Crystallized Venom $2250 (neck).

Alchemical: Venombane Lozenges $35, Dodger's Draught{t} $300, Mage's Assistant{t} $150.
The tinctures{t} are creative, expensive in general, excellent duration (1 hour or better) and they have drawbacks. A regular magical potion/scroll/wand might suffice instead but NPCs need stuff!

Poisons: decent effects & DCs at reasonable prices, only 2 are deadly. Insecticide as written doesn't kill vermin.

Drugs: interesting but some are actually very cost effective slow acting poisons with high DCs. Craft these for long term situations.

Art: pg 26 there's something special in that satchel!

I would have liked to seen more poisons in the work (say 20 total rather than 10), particularly under 100gp.


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Paizo Employee Community & Digital Content Director

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Announced for December! Image and description are provisional and subject to change prior to release.


Now we're cooking!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Looks awesome!


Hmm! More stuff for Alchemists and rogues in my life. ;)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hoping for more archetypes with free poison. Useful poison tends to be too expensive to justify getting instead of magic items or potions of buffing spells.


Cool! I hope we get a pathfinder version of the beaker of plentiful potions in here. I really miss that item from way back when.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Somewhat interesting.


Looks like another great book for the alchemists.

Dark Archive

Huzzah for alchemy! I'd love it if the book included more dynamic alchemy stuff, but I'm glad to see an alchemist-focused book in general.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This. This is something I'm looking forward to.


Hope there are some druid archetypes.

Dark Archive

Sweet


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yippee! Oh, wait. Something this cool means I cannot cancel my subscription and therefore have to throw more $$$ Paizo's way. Dang it!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The concept of "new potions" has me curious, that's for sure. The additional alchemy is something I'm really looking forward too, and, hopefully, more investigator archetypes.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am also curious about these "new potions".


interesting


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

....you know, at this point I may just want to see if I can't redo my budget and see if I can keep my subscription. :P


Another thing just got added to my Christmas list.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

excited for this one


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Please don't nerf poisons, please don't nerf poisons, please don't nerf poisons


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Alchemaic wrote:
Please don't nerf poisons, please don't nerf poisons, please don't nerf poisons

New traits that reduce poison ability damage by one and reduce the number of saves needed by one...

Two-feat chain for poison immunity...
Cheap magic item that reflects poison back on the poisoner, but it's one-time use on a major slot so it can be put on mooks without worrying about loot...

Am I getting better at this horror story thing?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm with Alchemaic. Poisons are nerfed enough as it is, having laughably low save DCs in nearly every case. Poisons are no longer anything to be feared like they were in 1e and 2e.


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This could be good for my hedge witch/herb witch who has the poison use feature. But then I though the same about the healer's handbook and it was completely useless.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
QuidEst wrote:
Alchemaic wrote:
Please don't nerf poisons, please don't nerf poisons, please don't nerf poisons

New traits that reduce poison ability damage by one and reduce the number of saves needed by one...

Two-feat chain for poison immunity...
Cheap magic item that reflects poison back on the poisoner, but it's one-time use on a major slot so it can be put on mooks without worrying about loot...

Am I getting better at this horror story thing?

You joke, but all of those are something I could definitely see being real in a four page spread titled "Preventing Poisons" in the middle of the book. Except for maybe the two-feat chain, that would be at least three feats plus have some kind of extra requirement like a god requirement.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
QuidEst wrote:
Alchemaic wrote:
Please don't nerf poisons, please don't nerf poisons, please don't nerf poisons

New traits that reduce poison ability damage by one and reduce the number of saves needed by one...

Two-feat chain for poison immunity...
Cheap magic item that reflects poison back on the poisoner, but it's one-time use on a major slot so it can be put on mooks without worrying about loot...

Am I getting better at this horror story thing?

Eh. To be honest, I think I'd be alright with feats/traits to reduce poison effectiveness. NPC/monster poison can be nasty since it's easy to just throw more gold at the problem as a GM. As long as it doesn't take too much space away from actual offensive poison goodies.

Then again, maybe I just don't play with a GM who build an NPC to neuter a build like a Poisoner. I've seen it happen for stronger fighting styles, but never something like poison.


Should be gold for Witches, Alchemists and I suspect Druids and Rogues....


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Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hopefully some love for investigators as well.

Though, random thought, since we have a psychic bloodline for sorcerers, an alchemical bloodline for sorcerers descended from alchemists or alchemical accidents whose spellcasting involves creating extracts out of their own blood (or possibly internally?) rather than traditional spellcasting could be neat.

Some sort of 'blood potion' concept where you can create a potion for cheaper (or for free) using your own blood, thus taking either hit point damage or Con damage, but the resulting potion is temporary (whether 24 hours or a week or so) could be interesting as well, or perhaps is temporarily more powerful without the discount...

Well, just a few random ideas.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

An alchemical bloodline would be cool.

Grand Lodge

The potion part of this book has me curious...

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

It would be neat to see a Feat that allows for a daily pool of creation points allowing someone to create X gold pieces (scaling up by level) worth of potions or poisons (or scrolls, or alchemical items, depending on what you select when you get the feat) that are good only for 24 hours (and perhaps only usable by you?).

I think poisons, in particular, would be more viable if one could use them without setting one's WBL on fire for an effect that, too often, won't fully be realized until after the fight is already over anyway.

But the ability to create 'temporary' potions (or alchemicals, or scrolls) could also be cool.

It could also be implemented as a class ability for an Alchemist Archetype, but that options kind of weak, and locks out other potential users, like a Cleric of Haagenti (demon lord of alchemy) or Norgorber (patron of alchemists and poisoners) or a Scroll Master Wizard or Cauldron Witch or similar thematically appropriate character.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If you Had a pool of points for temporary potions, would that be balanced as being increasing values of points for higher level potions(like maybe in a pool of 6 points, 1 points for 1st level, 3 for 2nd, and 5 for 3rd.) maybe you could also only brew up to a set number of temporary potions per day equal to a modifier+ranks in craft alchemy. That way people don't just overload on weak potions and ignore the stronger potions. Alternatively, could you also use excess creation points to improve the caster level of the temporary potion by 1 up to the max for the spell or your current caster level.

Again this is just a thought on how a theoretical system might function in the game.
I don't know if they will use that but that's just my thoughts based on what Set brought up.

Personally I wouldn't mind some offensive potions, used like spell based poisons. Giving someone a drink of hold person is probably going to be about as effective as casting from a wand or using a paralytic poison in their flask. It makes sense that some people would use poisons but having somebody create offensive potions or even make some potions contact could be fun. Like throwing a cure light wounds potion at someone to heal. Ranged touch attack to deliver and you use an action. However you deliver the healing(or buff) at longer range or while in the middle of combat without provoking an AOO for them to drink it.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I really wish poison was a damage type. It would be nice for green dragons to get their poison based breath weapon back. Having a poisonous blade could work like an energy weapon dealing 1d6 poison damage each strike. I mean poison would still have a poisoned condition but would work differently. It would deal set HP damage each round(1, 2, 5, 10, etc.) until the poison is cured, resisted, or (maybe)wears off. Of course it would have other effects like weakness, fatigue, sickened, blindness, paralysis, etc.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
ErisAcolyte-Chaos jester wrote:
Personally I wouldn't mind some offensive potions, used like spell based poisons.

Some spells, like summon monster, could work as potions, in that you just throw the potion to break open where you want the monster to appear. Others, like inflict wounds, ray of enfeeblement or blindness/deafness could require you to hit the target (or affect the drinker). In one of the Books of Eldritch Magic, IIRC, Monte Cook (who wrote the potion creation rules in the 3rd edition DMG) said that there wasn't really a balance reason to exclude that sort of thing, so he saw it as a possible addition.

It would probably make sense to have an offensive potion cost more if it affects a target when thrown at them, than if it only affects a drinker (forcing you to trick them into drinking it, or force feed them, or toss it down the gullet of a beastie large enough to eat you...). A potion of cause fear that only affects the drinker could cost the usual potion cost, while 'can throw at target' could cost 50% more or something.

Potions of area of effect spells would be a different animal. A potion of color spray or sleep or slow should only affect a single target. Potions of burning hands or lightning bolt likewise, not really creating a fan or bolt, just doing damage to the drinker / target, if they are even possible.

Offensive spell potions could make that Witch spell beguiling gift a bit more interesting. :)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You mean like vials you throw on the ground and monsters are summoned/created?

I would love some elemental spell stones/crystals that are one time use items that anyone can use and create spell effects based on elemental spells like gust of wind, fireball, wall of ice, etc. Though this would be the wrong book for that.


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Alchemaic wrote:
Please don't nerf poisons, please don't nerf poisons, please don't nerf poisons

Ha ha ha!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Nerf Bat wrote:
Alchemaic wrote:
Please don't nerf poisons, please don't nerf poisons, please don't nerf poisons
Ha ha ha!

Get out of here, Nerf Bat! Nobody likes you and you pooped on my lawn!


They just buffed poisons with Unchained, why would they nerf them XP


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Garbage-Tier Waifu wrote:
They just buffed poisons with Unchained, why would they nerf them XP

Pathfinder Unchained released in... 2015? My god, has it been that long?

Plenty of time to re-nerf poisons into uselessness. Again.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I wonder if we will see any magical poisons that can effect undead?


Looking forward to this, as are the rogues and ninja at our table.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Some potion and poison themed archetypes would be interesting.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
I wonder if we will see any magical poisons that can effect undead?

There is already a discovery for that: Celestial Poisons from Champions of Purity--a VERY fine book that one!

It allows poisons produced by the Alchemist to get past undead and evil outsider immunity to poisons.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I will have to look at that book again then.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am still on the fence about this one as well. Money is not as plentiful as it used to be so I have to be more picky about what I get.

Dark Archive

Alchemaic wrote:
Garbage-Tier Waifu wrote:
They just buffed poisons with Unchained, why would they nerf them XP

Pathfinder Unchained released in... 2015? My god, has it been that long?

Plenty of time to re-nerf poisons into uselessness. Again.

Unlikely, as the have even adopted the unchained poison rules for Starfinder.

Paizo Employee Community & Digital Content Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Updated with final image and description!


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Nice cover.

Well new sorcerer bloodline and new racial feats, well I will be getting this one after all.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oh so very nice. I do have a Grippli Alchemist who may find this very useful.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Now the question is which of the 2 iconic-held bottles on the cover could be the poison or the potion. my bet is the one in the background being the poison because most harmless concoctions don't make a skull shaped smoke cloud. then again i don't now many poisons that make an ominous image like that appear. its a toss up.


I've been hoping for a ninth level alchemical caster for a while, so it'll be really nice if that is what's coming with this book.

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