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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.


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

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Product Reviews (7)
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Average product rating:

****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)


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)
items(alchemical:1 & tinctures{t}:16, equip:6)
magic items:(wpn:1, wondrous:16)

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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