Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

Poisoner's Retort


Round 1 - Open Call: Create a Wondrous Item

Taldor RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Poisoner’s Retort
Aura faint conjuration; CL 5th
Slot -; Price 10,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.
Description
This head-sized heavy glass flask has two valves, clearly etched weal and woe, which connect to two small replaceable vials. When the heart of a poisonous creature is placed in the flask (the flask expands and contracts to hold a single heart of any size) and a command word spoken, the retort begins to bubble and hiss as the flesh is distilled and flows into the vials. The entire process of distillation takes one hour and the result is ruined if disturbed before the end of this time. One vial contains a single dose of the distilled poison of the creature from which it was created; the other contains a single dose of a special antitoxin that conveys a +10 alchemical bonus to Fortitude saves against that specific variety of poison for 1 hour. Once created, the poison and antitoxin last until used. The distilled poison has the same DC and damage as it did when the creature was alive and only one dose of poison and antitoxin can be created from a single creature.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, neutralize poison; Cost 5,000 gp

CEO, Goblinworks

Wow. Simple, easy to use, useful. Hard to abuse.

Keep!

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Kind of a cool alchemical item. It's like a juicer for poisonous creatures with the added benefit of not only distilling a single dose of poison from it, but also creating an antitoxin for it. It's interesting that the antitoxin can only provide a bonus for 1 hour against that type of poison. Presumably, a poisoner could thus subject himself (and a guest) to the poison after consuming the antitoxin to give himself a +10 bonus on his own Fortitude check to resist it. Meanwhile, the victim probably doesn't have any such luck.

I kind of like this thing, because it also maintains its usefulness even as a character advances in level, because, presumably, he or she will continue encountering higher and higher CR creatures who have poison the flask can distill. In addition, I like it because the only way the item continues generating its poison and antitoxins is by feeding it the slain creatures. It doesn't just do it on command from nowhere. That said, I would like to see an additional spell requirement along with neutralize poison. Maybe poison or minor creation/major creation/fabricate.

Aside from that, I'm cool with keeping this one around for further discussion. It borders on a modern-day, real-world item feel, but I still say...

Keep.

Contributor

My only concern about this item is that you can pour and store the poisons you make, which can be quite profitable.

Other than that, I vote to keep!

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
My only concern about this item is that you can pour and store the poisons you make, which can be quite profitable.

I came back to this one, because I kept mulling over this thought. Even if you could pour and store poisons you make, you can really only do so by harvesting the creatures you've slain for it. In essence, it's just giving you the ability to make money at poison-crafting if you've also gone to the lengths to hunt and slay the necessary creature. Granted, you might get XP by doing some of that...but it'll also use up other resources to do it. So, it's a lot more balanced in this area than say if the flask just auto-created poison for you without requiring any hard-to-get components.

Anyway, just thought I'd get that posted before the thought left me. I might not remember it by the time we get back to examining these things for the Top 32.

Paizo Employee Developer

If you have a scorpion or spider farm in your closet, you could keep this thing going for a long time as an economic venture. Their hearts are small, you see, and killing a single one to get a full dose of poison wouldn't be too hard.

Economic implications aside, this one seems pretty solid. I agree that it may not be one of the best we have when all's said and done, but I see no reason not to keep it in the running.

Weak keep.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, 2010 Top 4

Nice and simple, as Ryan said. Not too terribly new, different, or exciting. I like it, but is good and solid good enough?

Maybe the heart requirement is cool enough to push this over into Superstar material?

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

This is a nice item, a little mad scientist looking, but given there are alchemists in the game, I guess we have already gone there. Nitpick: hearts aren’t really ‘flesh’ I believe they are an organ made up of muscle tissue, it just caught my eye and distracted me. I like the very specific antidote bit more than the poison dose, I can get poisons in lots of ways, the ‘specific antidote’ only comes from your retort. I get what the other judges are saying about economic issues, but you have invested in 10,000 gp in this and can really only make 24 batches in a day. A limit of X times per day might have been good as well. I was going to ask about creatures with multiple hearts, but your last sentence covers that. What about a creature that has multiple types of poison? Say both a poison breath and a poison sting, there aren’t many that do, but which poison would the retort produce?

This item is good utility but it isn’t ‘exciting’ as the other judges have said. So make sure you show you can do ‘exciting’ in the next rounds. That said, the game needs items like this just as much as the more gonzo ones.

Welcome to the ranks of RPG Superstar! Ramp it up, go a little gonzo, and show your range of design skills. Best of luck!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

I agree with Neil, I like that this item scales with the owner’s ability to defeat monsters. I also like that it seems rather large and awkward. That means using it will be intentional and purposeful rather than an afterthought (that often comes with tiny and very convenient items). Yet, a determined party could stuff it in a handy haversack so you could take it in the field if you really wanted.

One thing that jumped out at me was the type of poison it created. Neil wrote a striking example of friend and enemy dining on death together, while only one has the anti-toxin. That’s very cool, but most creatures produce a poison that is ‘injury’ related, and only appropriate to applying to weapons. I’d see the item address the type of poison it creates, particularly in respect to ingested versus injury.

I’m not worried about the economics. Neil addressed why with the diminishing returns of monster hunting. I can see you making money, but not abusively. Not if the GM is on their toes.

Good job! I think you’ve boiled this down to a success. I would try for something spicy next time, and a little less utilitarian.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Back to back! Congratulations!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Welcome back, James! ;-)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

WELCOME BACK TO THUNDERDOME!

Good work James, I'm proud of you. Congratulations! Two for two!

Taldor RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

I'd like to thank the judges for their comments and for allowing me the honor of returning this year. I will endeavor to do my best to bring the gonzo.

James

Qadira RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Sect

Well, this item's sold me. Really cool mechanics and fluff, and very useful for both poisoner users and poison sellers.


Awesome item, good job and best of luck this year...
I over-all like your writing here, but the first line felt strange to me:
¨¨This head-sized heavy glass flask has two valves, clearly etched weal and woe¨
I get what you`re saying, but `clearly etched weal and woe` feels like it`s skipping something.

saying `clearly etched `weal`, and `woe`` (putting them in quotes) seems the least difference to what your wrote... or `clearly inscribed with the words `weal` and `woe` etched into it`s surface`. it`s just that `etched` + content + content doesn`t sit right with me as to how the verb `etch` actually works. i get that you WANT to use the word etch (rather than a more generic word like `labelled`) because it`s getting more visceral into the physical qualities of the item, but trying to use it in this way WHILE really cramming the words in tightly might just not work perfectly.

again, good job!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

I was thinking this would be some kind of counter to a poisoner, so I was pleased with the item. I like the ‘poisons R us’ aspect, as well as the anti-toxin. This also lends itself to the ‘we must carve out the heart of Winterfang to get the antidote’ plot.


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

This is really good, I might just have to use it IMC very soon!


I love this item! I haven't read all of the items yet, but this is my favorite so far.

I think the first sentence needs to be rewritten so that the description is a little clearer. Maybe something like:

This head-sized heavy glass flask has two valves clearly etched with the words weal and woe. Each valve connects to a small replaceable vial.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8, Contributor

James,I really like this and congrats on making it into Superstar-country again.
What I really really like about this one is the unspoken reason for its creation.
I'm hesitant to use poison as a player because there's almost always that chance to self poison, but that antidote that gives you a +10 bonus seems born out of someone that had been bitten by his creations one too many times.
I love items that have a backstory that is not just engaging but practical.
Best of luck.
-QGJ


The antitoxin bit is the neat little detail that really sold me on this.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6, Contributor , Dedicated Voter 2013

Agreed that the antitoxin dose makes the item much cooler. I might actually use it more for that purpose if I was expecting to fight more of the same creatures. Poison harvesting is a bit of a hole in the game, I turned over a spell to extract poison not that long ago with thought along those lines. The one change I'd make to this item is making both the poison and the antitoxin expire, but a very solid entry.


James, I love to see you back. I liked all your entries last year and am really looking forward to see how well you fare this year and continue to support you (unless you fail with your Archetype. My Support is a fickle maiden ;) ).

This item does something the Judges have openly said they don't like: salvaging dead monsters for parts and effects, as well as items that create other items.

But your item does this in such a natural, easy to use and well rounded way, there is no option but to keep it. It is fun, flavorful and not abusable. (possible Spider farming aside, which could easily be avoided by stating that the creature must at least be of small or tiny size )


I like the concept of the retort since I dislike poison use in the game but not the time mechanics and restraints of the retort which basically make usage very limited in most campaigns. Be a lot more useful if the antidote didn't expire after an hour, possibly just providing a generic anti toxin with specified mechanical benefits. Really nifty item in a campaign using long term poisons or if it treated long term natural poisoning like lead or a similar campaign poison effect.


James Martin wrote:
Poisoner’s Retort

Setting aside concerns about farming vermin for their poison and the economic implications thereof, I really like this item. Great flavor, tight mechanics, and it's useful for both good and evil purposes. Players and NPCs alike would benefit from using it. Big thumbs up.


Posioner's Retort, the one item that an Assassin just shouldn't be without. Very nice, albeit gruesome item. This has some of the tightest mechanics I've seen so far. Nicely done.

Andoran

This is epic. I love the idea of jamming a heart (but why a heart? Why not poison glands? Anyway...) into this item, and an hour later cruising out the door to go "off" a mark. What's that? He's hesitant to eat the food? But it's served in a common bowl! And here, I'll eat some first! (I have imbibed the antitoxin beforehand, of course, so I'm not poisoned...) Oh look, there he goes, face down in his mashed potatoes.

Priceless. I don't think you need more gonzo at all, personally. This is well-planned, well-executed wondrous goodness! Congrats on making it back to the top 32.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka John Benbo

I'm just envisioning the PC who uses this thing. After they kill some poisonous monster, "Hold on guys, I need to squeeze his heart into juice." I have some assassins coming up in my game that just may need this. Congrats!

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32 aka Hydro

Okay.. yea, alright, this one is pretty sweet.

I initially had reservations because I don't like PCs going after monster poison for the high save. A colossal scorpion's 32 poision DC is supposed to represent that it's pumping tons of poison into you, so letting PCs keep that DC when coating their blades with the stuff has always struck me as nonsensical and kind of twinkish. This isn't really the same, though; it's creating a poison out of the creature's heart (or equivalent organ?) using a magical distilling process. You might score some awesome poisons using this thing, but you also have to kill some nasty monsters to get them, and I can't really think of any big, poisonous creatures who are known for otherwise carrying a lot of treasure.

Furthermore (like John Bennett just suggested) I think that a lot of players WANT to do this sort of thing, because it's messy and sinister and dovetails with the kinds of characters that use poison. The fact that it does it (and does it quite simply and easily) makes this a really great idea. My one problem is that it is describe in a way which suggests that the monster's original poison is still there, meaning you can double dip if there are existing 'poison harvesting' rules in play.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Proud of you, James! I think it's a great item, even for someone who usually avoids poison and poison-related items.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4 , Star Voter 2013 aka raidou

Welcome back, James! This is a really well-executed item. Simple, thematic, good at the thing it's designed to do. No complaints from me, this is a solid entry. Looking forward to your future work!


Congratulations on your back to back!

Personally, I like that it's scalable. Too often, a hero will discard their trusty sword simply because it's "on to the bigger, better one" which kind of bugs me. It would be great if you could find an item at third level, get some use out of it but still have it with you at 20th. This one you can.

Granted, you can get some pretty nasty stuff (Linorm venom or the Sard's poison come to mind) at those higher levels but, then again, if you defeat them in battle HELL YEAH you should be able to get awesome stuff from them or sell that distilled venom for phat loot. Just like people always fawn over a dragon's hide for armor...

That in mind, it does change the total value of treasure gained as you are now adding in the extracted poison into that mix as a bonus. Granted, compared to the rest of the hoard, it's probably a nonfactor but that's a thought that came to mind.

Thumbs up from me. Nicely done.

Grand Lodge

Congratulations on your back to back!

Personally, I like that it's scalable. Too often, a hero will discard their trusty sword simply because it's "on to the bigger, better one" which kind of bugs me. It would be great if you could find an item at third level, get some use out of it but still have it with you at 20th. This one you can.

Granted, you can get some pretty nasty stuff (Linorm venom or the Sard's poison come to mind) at those higher levels but, then again, if you defeat them in battle HELL YEAH you should be able to get awesome stuff from them or sell that distilled venom for phat loot. Just like people always fawn over a dragon's hide for armor...

That in mind, it does change the total value of treasure gained as you are now adding in the extracted poison into that mix as a bonus. Granted, compared to the rest of the hoard, it's probably a nonfactor but that's a thought that came to mind.

Thumbs up from me. Nicely done.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Bats Kabber

So simple and sooooo gooood. I'm still reading all the items, but this one goes to the top of my list. Nicely done, James. I can see entire side adventures generated by the players themselves, just so they could use this thing.

"Hey you know what we need before we go do that thing?"
"What?"
"Some Purple Worm Poison"
"Yeah, that could come in handy."
"Let's go get some."

LOL

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Congratulations James! Again!!
Strength (Overall): 14
Dexterity (see time in my campaign): 18
Constitution (long-time keeper): 14
Intelligence (mechanics): 12
Wisdom (writing craft): 16
Charisma (flavor/visuals): 14
Antivenom?!? Yes we need more of that :) I have several characters who harvest poison from our critters, so this will see some use. I agree with the mechanic issues mentioned above. I was wondering why the heart? Poison generally comes from a stinger, or bite, or occasionally breath but heart (essence?) is balanced with the 'one per creature' so I get it. Overall just sort of meh, but as long as monsters have poison, this will be a useful item.

Congratulations! :)

Andoran RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka AWizardInDallas

These are my comments before reading the comments of the judges or others:

Another exciting alchemical item with a great core concept--create a poison and its antidote at the same time. I love the "weal" and "woe" detail and that the vials are replaceable. I'm not sure how attractive stuffing a Gargantuan heart into this thing would be, but at 5 lbs., it's quite reasonable that the item expands to hold it. The mental picture of stuffing a heart into a magic item is also sweetly, antique store disturbing, but then I like magic items when there is some revulsion, ugliness or sacrifice to using them.

I'm pleased that this doesn't rely on the tired old extradimensional space to function. This is a downtime item and I like that too. At first, I thought you contradicted yourself by saying that the antidote works for an hour and that both work until used, but a second read cleared that up for me. Finally, I like it that you didn't go the scientific route and make venom sacs the requirement--the beast's heart, the poison of its soul makes the juices. Well done.

The costing is iffy, but admittedly hard to gauge. The aura should probably radiate some necromancy too and it seems like the construction requirements should also include poison, since this thing creates both a poison and antidote.

Overall, this it a great magic item!

Andoran Dedicated Voter 2013

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

I really like this item! I think it is well crafted, tight prose (although the parenthetical part kinda broke the flow, I wouldn’t use parentheticals in things like this, but just my opinion).


James Martin wrote:

Poisoner’s Retort

Aura faint conjuration; CL 5th
Slot -; Price 10,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.
Description
This head-sized heavy glass flask has two valves, clearly etched weal and woe, which connect to two small replaceable vials. When the heart of a poisonous creature is placed in the flask (the flask expands and contracts to hold a single heart of any size) and a command word spoken, the retort begins to bubble and hiss as the flesh is distilled and flows into the vials. The entire process of distillation takes one hour and the result is ruined if disturbed before the end of this time. One vial contains a single dose of the distilled poison of the creature from which it was created; the other contains a single dose of a special antitoxin that conveys a +10 alchemical bonus to Fortitude saves against that specific variety of poison for 1 hour. Once created, the poison and antitoxin last until used. The distilled poison has the same DC and damage as it did when the creature was alive and only one dose of poison and antitoxin can be created from a single creature.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, neutralize poison; Cost 5,000 gp

Disclaimer:

Ask A RPGSuperstar Succubus is posting from the point of view of a CE aligned succubus – fairness is an adjective applicable to hair coloration, balance is what a couple of mortals on opposite ends of a plank pivoted on a rocky spire above a drop of several hundred feet into a pool of molten basalt frantically try to do, and logic is something which proves anything a demon of adequate status and charm requires it to demonstrate.

Is the item Pretty?
It's a glass flask you put vials in, lacking any kind of decoration, so no.

Does the item help a demonic seductress to keep a paladin house pet?
My initial reaction is again no, although some succubi might have fun playing games of 'let's poison the mortal then make him or her beg for the antidote'.

Is the item otherwise useful?
Maybe.

Other Comments? (including World Domination potential on the evil laughter scale, where appropriate)
Killing things to be able to use a magic item to make your own poison is soooo bothersome. Personally I don't see how it makes poison out of a creature's heart, since most toxic creatures tend to exude poison in the vicinity of claws/fangs, but I'll take your word for it that the alchemy of this works, and send a vrock after you later if the sample item does not deliver as promised. Ohh, wait for it, unless you mean 'poisonous' in the figurative sense? I know some alu-fiends who are toxic little things, as venomous as they come when it comes to the malicious gossip department. It would certainly be fun to bounce a couple of them and see what their hearts produced when inserted...
I'm a bit unclear from your sales pitch whether you mean to indicate that after being imbibed the anti-toxin works for an hour, or that after being manufactured it onloy lasts for an hour; but let's face it, I'm a succubus and gratuitously immune to poisons anyway. Anti-toxins really don't figure into how I'd rate this item.
To be frank, I can probably send a servant or admirer shopping for poison at least equal to anything that this little device can cook up, but I must admit that the notion of using a poison distilled from the heart of an enemy has a certain ghoulish appeal to it...
Okay, sirrah, I'm mildly curious to try this item out.

Gollum Rating:
What has it got in its pockets?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8 aka Mistah J

Congratulations on making the top 32...again!

I've got to say, I think your item hit the bullseye. It is simple, clever, and useful. In fact, I think it might be my favourite of this round.

Good job and Great Item!

Andoran RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013

I like this item a lot. Players like to cut up monsters and they get two useful items from doing so. Great design.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

The auto-scaling nature of this item is what sells it for me. You get huge props for that.

I also really like the little extra fluff in there describing how the thing works and churns.

It's a little bit steampunk, so that bans it from certain campaign types, but helps it flourish in others.

Nice work!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Serpent

My rating system: (++) awesome > (+) good > (+-) ok > (-) weak > (--) terrible

Core idea, innovation: (++) I had a similar idea for a wondrous item that I chose not to submit. This one's a lot better than the one I had! I like it how it produces not only poison but also antitoxin.
Flavor, description and name: (+) The name is not amazing but it's good enough. I really like the description, and you didn't need 250-300 words to make it sound interesting.
Mechanics, balance and rules-fu: (+) Tight design, no obvious flaws! (Other than the economy thing that has been pointed out.)
Formatting and spelling: (++) Nothing to complain about. :)

Overall rating: (++) Definitely one of my favorite items this year!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka surfbored

Three things:

1. I love utilitarian magic items.
2. I'm imagining the first time my players find this item. Can't wait to see them scratch their heads as it's described.
3. Players love to add flavor to monster slaying, and this will do it.

I like how this item stays focused, it's easy to understand and you probably never have to look it up again after the first use.

PS: It probably makes a wonderfully terrible noise while it's working too.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013 aka Shadow-Mask

I read this item and had to wipe a bit of drool from my chin. :D I immediately thought of characters I've had that could have used this and more I can create that would use this.

The mechanics are simple to understand. The item scales with the character. It is effectively alignment neutral since you get a poison (arguably "evil") and an antidote (arguably "good").

Well done. There's a lot I can learn from your back to back appearances.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

I like the thinking and care that went into this item. It's clear you took pains to describe its operation as simply as possible. For me, that ups the mojo value immensely.

Also, I want to stuff the heart of a colossal poisonous creature into to it just for giggles. ;-)

Nice job, James. I wouldn't expect anything less from a 16er. Good luck going forward!


James Martin wrote:
Poisoner’s Retort

Simple but effective.

Congratulations and good luck :)

Ken

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

A fellow poisoner I see! I really like this, it has just the right amount of mad scientist before becoming un-fantasy.

I want to use this. I WILL use this. You'll see! They'll ALL see!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Gamer Girrl

Simple, straight-forward, and I know an alchemist/wizard in Korvosa who will want one for his lab :) I like.

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2011 / Round 1 - Open Call: Create a Wondrous Item / Poisoner's Retort All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Round 1 - Open Call: Create a Wondrous Item
Shadow Falconer's Glove

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.